Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I was one goal away from my daily and silly prediction of a 4-0 shutout proving true tonight! However, who cares about that? The only thing that matters is the win!
On Thursday night at M$G, during a “national” telecast on ESPN+, the boys in Blueshirt blue defeated the Penguins by a final score of 3-0.
This Rangers’ victory was much to the chagrin of both the ESPN broadcasters and the officials themselves. These two entities were massively butt-hurt over Sidney Crosby missing this contest – a fact repeated ad-nauseum for nearly three consecutive hours.
I open up this blog by mentioning that Sidney Crosby missed this game tonight, in what was described as a “non-COVID illness.” I guess we’re left to assume that he ran out of Midol.
(And not for nothing, I can’t wait for the days that whenever we hear that a player has an illness, that we don’t have the phrase “non-COVID” preceding it. Those days are coming soon – no matter what long-time reader Zap has to say!)
I’m also left to assume that had you watched this broadcast, then you’re a million percent aware that Crosby missed this game. After all, that’s all the ESPN broadcasters/analysts talked about tonight. (I feel like Phil Mushnick, of the New York Post, with my scathing opinions on tonight’s broadcast!)
No joke, even with just two minutes remaining in regulation, ESPN, which to their credit, didn’t bombard us with their never-ending Epileptic Seizure Provoking Network camera angles tonight; they would just not shut up about Sidney Crosby. That said, I guess I’d rather hear about Crosby’s illness than be subjected to those erratic camera angles.
During a broadcast where I was waiting for Pierre McGuire to show up, and then sob tears over Crosby’s menstrual cramps; it was not mentioned at all, that as a result of this win, the Rangers finished the season-series 3-1 against their heated rivals.
Also not mentioned? The Rangers outscored the Penguins 11-4 in these four games. Not too bad for a Blueshirts team that had struggled against these Penguins during the last 2-3 seasons.
And oh yeah Part I – for the first time this season, CZAR IGOR battled an opposing goaltender on four separate occasions, where in all four games, CZAR IGOR was much better than Tristan Jarry. Should the Rangers play the Penguins during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this should all bode well for the team from the Big Apple.
And oh yeah Part II – the Rangers’ lone loss of the series? A 1-0 loss, a loss where the officials played their part in.
And oh yeah Part III – remember when the idiotic beat reporters, some fans, and even Sieve Vagistat himself, were all saying how CZAR IGOR was struggling? HA!
In a response to all of that ridiculous talk, Igor casually shut-out the Penguins – despite the officials gifting the Penguins several late power-plays during the course of the game, while also ignoring the nefarious activity of “Carrie Mathison.”
There is a lot of positive aftermath following this game – where of course, CZAR IGOR’s shutout, and the Rangers spot in the Metropolitan Division standings, trumps all.
While the Rangers did their job tonight, and increased their lead over the Penguins to six points; the Carolina Hurricanes did their job too on Thursday night.
In a game where the lowly Buffalo Sabres (who were recently officially eliminated from playoff contention, and for the eleventh consecutive season) choked away a 3-1 lead; the Canes marched back and won the game behind four unanswered goals, where they ultimately won the contest by a final of 5-3.
As a result, the Canes maintained their two-point lead over the Rangers for first place, where it should also be mentioned that Carolina has one game in-hand too.
However, and as mentioned several times during the past few days on this site – the Rangers will host the Canes in two separate games later this month. Win those two, and who knows – the Rangers could finish the season in first place.
And should Carolina keep their grasp over first-place, it won’t be that big of a deal anyway.
After all, aside from me, and a few of you guys too – back when Chris Drury first took over the organization, who predicted that the Rangers would open up the playoffs on home ice?
Furthermore, when talking about the standings – most Ranger fans would rather open up the playoffs against Pittsburgh anyway, rather than seeing Boston, Tampa or Washington in the first round.
While the Penguins seem to be a favorable match-up for our beloved Blueshirts; at the end of the day, I don’t care who they play. I’m just happy that they are there. I also don’t put much stock into regular season series victories as others do. Everything changes once the playoffs commence.
Lastly while on this topic, and perhaps the most important FACT (not an opinion) of them all – NOT ONE TEAM wants to see the Rangers in the first round – especially with CZAR IGOR at the peak of his powers.
While CZAR IGOR will receive the lion’s share of praise from everyone across the playoff-bound streets of Rangerstown, USA; make no mistake about it – this was a dominant sixty minute performance from the entire team. There was no weak link tonight.
Gallant’s Gang never deviated from their game-plan.
After a defensive first period, the Rangers then scored two goals in the second period. It wasn’t until the third period where the Penguins finally showed some offensive spark, where some of that was due to the officials giving them power-plays; man-advantages for the road team which I thought were bogus.
And as is usually the case, when the Rangers needed their goalie the most – CZAR IGOR was there to slam the door on the opposition.
I thought everyone had a strong game tonight. Was it perfect? Of course not, but what NHL team is perfect?
If there was any negative coming out of this game, it was a hit that Tyler Motte received from Anthony Angello (not that one, as there is no “De” in front of his surname) during the latter stages of the third period.
Motte was leveled on the ice for a good thirty seconds or so, but he was able to skate to the bench under his own power, after Angello was assessed with an interference call.
As of this writing, there is no update on Motte’s status. We probably won’t get a true update until Saturday, when the Rangers play next.
Hopefully, Motte will be okay. Not only do you not want to see anyone get hurt – Motte has been stellar for the Rangers ever since arriving. In tonight’s game, he had another solid showing, only marred by this unfortunate injury.
There’s a lot to get into tonight, so at this time, let’s get into the news, interviews, and of course, the main event – the GAME REVIEW.
Following the bounce-back win on Tuesday night against the Devils; once high-noon on Wednesday hit, the team was back at practice.
A few of the regulars (Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Lindgren) had the day off for “maintenance.” Outside of that, and as expected – head coach Gerard Gallant used the same lines and pairings during the light skate.
Also of note, neither Kevin Rooney, nor Kaapo Kakko, were at the practice. However, they have been skating on their own. When these two will be available to play is anyone’s guess. (More on Kakko at the end of this blog.)
Here was the Wednesday edition of “Turk Talk”:
There wasn’t that much to come out of Gallant’s daily chat with the media, as it was a lot of the same stuff – “one game at a time,” “can’t look ahead,” and “we have to be ready.”
Gallant, who was in a good mood, also lauded heavy praise upon the youngest player on the team, Braden Schneider.
In fact, it was #45 himself who was the proverbial “Man of the Hour,” as it was the “Western Canada boy” (as Gallant described him), who had the top interview from Wednesday:
As mentioned since he first joined the Rangers – at only twenty years old (he can’t even legally buy a beer in America yet), not only does Braden Schneider carry himself like a veteran on the ice – he carries himself like a veteran off of the ice too.
While you can see glimpses of his youthful exuberance on display; at the same time, he’s quick not to get caught up in all of it. He’s also very complimentary of his teammates.
Schneider, who had the media laughing (Mollie Walker’s laugh always seems to dominate these interviews), mentioned that prior to Tuesday night, he only had one fight before, a scrap which took place during his days of junior league hockey.
Schneider said he went “black” when Sharangovich challenged him and then let his instincts take over. Those were some instincts, if I say so myself!
The right defenseman also talked about how his teammates have nicknamed him as “TJ” (Trouba Jr.) and as “Baby Trouba.” After watching that game with the Devils, I don’t think Boqvist, Sharangovich and Vesey would consider Schneider as a “baby!”
“Trouba Sr.,” aka Jacob Trouba, also spoke to the media, where he too jokingly told stories and ribbed Schneider.
If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that Schneider is already well-liked and fits in well with his teammates.
Aside from the jokes, laughs, fun-times and talk about kicking the crap out of the Devils; Schneider also said that he has no problem if he has to sit out whenever Gallant decides to go with Patrik Nemeth and Justin Braun as his third pair of defensemen.
Number 45 then echoed what his head coach has been saying all season – “I have to work hard and be ready.”
Schneider also admitted that he had a bad game against the Islanders and that he was happy with his performance against the Devils.
All in all, Wednesday was a happy day in Rangerstown, USA, where it felt like Braden Schneider had the keys to the city. He definitely deserved it after that game inside of “The Pebble!”
A day later, at 5PM Thursday, Gallant met with the media one more time prior to puck drop, where he stuck to his guns and didn’t give out any line-up information. However, he did laugh and suggest that everything would be staying the same, sans the goaltender.
That wouldn’t be the case, as during warm-ups, we saw that Patrik Nemeth was in, and Justin Braun was out.
Since my motto is “IN TURK WE TRUST;” I didn’t mind the change. Maybe Braun had an ailment. Maybe Gallant knew something that I didn’t.
(Update: in his post-game presser, Gallant said that Braun was fine and this change was a coach’s decision. Gallant just wanted to work Nemeth into the line-up.)
That said, I would’ve preferred Braun, especially since I thought he deserved the start after his last game; but who am I to question Gallant, a head coach who has pressed the right buttons all season long.
Here’s what “The Turk” went with for this “Scott Gomez Tribute” game:
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vatrano
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Copp
THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Goodrow
FOURTH LINE: Motte/Brodzinski/Hunt
Defensively, we had this:
FIRST D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD D-PAIR: Nemeth/Schneider
And in net, CZAR IGOR
BOX SCORE time.
The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, ESPN.com:
T. Jarry G
Tonight’s broadcast was an all-out mess.
In a game that was featured on ESPN+; M$GN had a thirty minute pregame show, and then followed the game with a post-game show.
I must enjoy pain, because I actually tuned into M$GN at 6:30PM, where once again, Bill Pidto was filling in for John Giannone and where Sieve Vagistat was filling in for a competent analyst.
Do you know what? I usually spend time talking about how bad Vagistat is, but I don’t want to let another horrible showing by the seven-foot Clairol Chart King goof bring down my mood. All I’ll say is that he questioned CZAR IGOR again, suggested that he was struggling, and by the end of the night, the legendary goalie of 46 NHL games was proven wrong – AGAIN.
One day, maybe we will find out who he has pictures of and/or who he is related to.
Somewhat worse than Vagistat (if you can believe it), was everyone on the ESPN panel. That includes Steve Levy, Hilary Knight and Rick Dipietro. No better were announcers Bob Wischusen, Brian Boucher and AJ Mleczko.
Why ESPN would have two people associated with the Islanders, in Rick “Even Bobby Bonilla is jealous of my contract” Dipietro, and the nauseating AJ Mleczko along for the ride too, call a Rangers game is beyond me. Both were horrid.
Dipietro barely talked about the Rangers tonight. Instead, he was focused on the rest of the league. AJ, like everyone else on the broadcast, spent all game crying about Sidney Crosby being out.
We all get it – Crosby being out isn’t a good thing for the Penguins.
However, after the 7896786896967896th time that this was mentioned – I think we all understood the point. In addition, it’s not like Crosby was much of a factor during the three previous games between these two rivals.
And it wasn’t just all about #87.
All of these morons spent a good chunk of time talking up “Rakell Rakell The Musical: A Man’s Journey from Anaheim-to-Pittsburgh,” as if he was Pittsburgh’s savior. In three games against the Rangers – he’s done jack shit.
Two players who should’ve received equal heavy praise and attention were Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano – two players who pretty much average a point-per-game for the Blueshirts, and two players who have made a bigger impact with their new team (where this can’t be debated at all) than Rakell.
And let’s throw Tyler Motte in here too – he’s been infinitely better for the Rangers than the erotic journey (Seinfeld reference) has been for Shitsburgh.
If you thought that Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti were bad, whenever our beloved long-time duo are fellating the opponent (especially whenever talking about the Islanders) – these two came off as the biggest Ranger homers after listening to the dreck that ESPN provided tonight.
The Rangers just dominated this game for sixty minutes and played strong playoff-vibe hockey.
Instead of talking about that, all we heard about was a player that wasn’t playing. Then came all the excuses for Evgeni Malkin (shut down by the Rangers), Kris Letang (shut down by the Rangers), Bryan Rust (shut down by the Rangers) and Jake Guentzel, who yep he too, was shut down by the Rangers!
One day, Sidney Crosby will retire. When that happens, these broadcasters aren’t going to know what to talk about.
Let’s pull this plane’s nose out of the waters of negativity and go back to the dignified air of positivity – and talk about this big-time Rangers victory!
GAME REVIEW time.
Just a few generalities before getting into the thick of things:
— Unlike last game, where Braden Schneider’s hit (and the fight that ensured) was definitely the turning point of the game – there was no turning point tonight. That’s not a negative. That’s a statement, as the Rangers owned this game from wire-to-wire.
— Unless you’re a huge “Nervous Nellie;” there wasn’t one point in this game that you ever thought that the Rangers would lose it. They were great defensively, got their goals, and then buckled down to protect their lead.
— Sure, some might talk about the 0-2 power-play, a power-play that didn’t register a SOG during their four-minutes of action; but at the same time, the Penguins have the second-best penalty kill in the league. The power-play isn’t always going to be 100% effective, so it was great to see the Rangers put up two even-strength goals and then secure the win.
— While the Rangers lead the league in comeback wins, and have set a single-season franchise record for most wins in this fashion (25) – I much rather see a game like this, to say the least!
— I think what’s often lost in the never-ending world of second-by-second “instant gratification,” two words that often go hand-in-hand with the word “complaining;” is that the other team is paid to play hockey too. While this game wasn’t completely flawless, the Rangers held up their own end. They battled. They won. That’s all that matters.
Mika Zibanejad, who has been much better at faceoffs lately (he won fourteen of twenty, for a winning percentage of whopping 70%), won the opening draw of the game. Just 29 seconds later, Jarry was forced to stop Kreider, as the Pens’ goalie prevented “CK47” of his 48th tally of the season.
A minute later, Trouba and Miller put out a Pens’ scoring threat, which then led Jarry into making a stop on Strome.
After Jarry stopped Motte; at the 3:41 mark of the period, Jacob Trouba (or is it “Trouba Sr.” now, in light of Braden Schneider’s new nickname?) was boxed for elbowing Jake Guentzel. This was a legit penalty – a rarity.
Once again, and is always the case, Barclay Goodrow stood out on the penalty kill, as he killed off 10-15 seconds by pinning a puck into the boards. Ryan Lindgren was equally as impressive, as he almost had Motte sprung for a breakaway.
Following the fantastic penalty kill, one that CZAR IGOR made two saves on; Motte turned over the puck at the 6:10 mark to Teddy Blueger – but fortunately, the Pens’ centerman went high-and-wide on this gift-wrapped opportunity.
In what was the Rangers’ best scoring chance of the first period; with 11:33 to go, Chytil streaked towards Jarry, but to his credit, Jarry made the save. During this, the net went off the moorings, just as Goodrow was looking for the goal. Mike “Don’t Call Me Carrie” Matheson blocked this try – but had #21 in blue scored, it wouldn’t have counted anyway, as the shot came after the official blew his metal apparatus.
With 9:28 to go, the Rangers were out-shooting the Penguins 8-5, as Jarry made a save on Nemeth.
In other words, in just ten minutes worth of time, the Rangers had doubled-up their SOG production when compared to the final 28:15 worth of time during their win over the Devils.
Ten seconds later, Trouba was tripped by Rakell Rakell the Musical.
This Rangers power-play wasn’t that good, where the Penguins second-best penalty kill of the league halted the second-best power-play of the league. The Rangers didn’t get a SOG during this, much less set anything up.
With six minutes and change remaining, the ESPN announcers started crying on-air about the lack of offense exhibited. It was like they were wishing for a 1980s Oilers’ game here, rather than realizing that they were watching a game with playoff vibes attached to it. (That most certainly was the case once the final horn went off.)
In perhaps Jarry’s best save of the period; with 4:59 to go, Adam Fox did his shoulder shimmy move, got to the net and Jarry fought off the shot with a save off of his own shoulder.
Under four minutes remaining, CZAR IGOR, who wasn’t really tested that much during these first twenty minutes, made a pair of saves on Rodrigues.
As we started to wind down to the end of the period, two things were extremely noticeable.
One, the Rangers were getting too cross-ice pass happy in the Pens’ d-zone, where they had a tough time connecting on passes. Two, the Rangers weren’t going to be aggressive and/or force the issue, as instead, they were going to bide their time and wait for Pittsburgh to make mistakes.
With five seconds to go, Kreider had a clear path to Jarry, but missed the net.
After twenty minutes, we remained scoreless, in what was a pretty evenly matched game at the time.
After suffering through several brutal intermission segments, we returned for the second period.
Just 24 seconds into the middle frame, this happened:
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) April 8, 2022
1-0, GOOD GUYS! Frankie Vatrano, our new favorite “eye-talian,” did it again!
This goal was a hard-working goal. (“Oh Joe!”)
Following Mika’s faceoff victory; Kreider stuck with a play and muscled a puck towards Jarry. That’s all it took, as Vatrano then banged home the rebound. Another pure first-line goal for the GOOD GUYS!
After the goal, the Penguins then had a long shift in the Rangers’ d-zone, with the Rangers’ second line and second pair on the ice. However, no matter for the Blueshirts, as during this time, Trouba blasted Boyle and Vatrano (who came on afterwards) laid a nice hit on Rust himself.
The Rangers continued to motor on as the period progressed; but Jarry, to his credit, was then able to stop Panarin, Trouba, a Chytil stuff-in try, and then with 13:00 to go, the goalie also made a “short-stop” glove save on Miller.
After ESPN actually spent time talking about the Phish banner that hangs from the rafters of M$G (I won’t go into this again, but you can buy my book for more on this pet peeve topic of yours truly), Jarry stopped Fox again, with 12:12 to go.
In something that ESPN didn’t notice at all (nor did Vagistat during the post-game show) – if there was a turning point in this game (and I don’t think there was), it started with 10:32 to go.
At this moment in the game, the Rangers iced the puck. On the d-zone faceoff, a rare loss for Zibanejad on this night; just seven seconds later, Igor made a clean glove save on Rodrigues. In turn, the Rangers were able to make a change and get their tired skaters off of the ice.
Twelve seconds after Igor’s stop, this happened:
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) April 8, 2022
2-0, GOOD GUYS, as “The Breadman” took a pass from Copp and scored one of the best looking goals of this season, as he backhanded a puck top-shelf past Jarry!
Seriously, if you didn’t see this goal, watch that video above.
I don’t know if this was the prettiest goal of the season or not, but it’s up there. And before you say it – yep, they all count the same.
For me, I’m a bit impartial to the Miller wrap-around goal against Detroit, because he’s the only player on the team, due to his long reach and stick, that could’ve scored it.
That said, this was a beaut for Panarin. Even better – the Rangers had their insurance goal.
With 8:06 to go, and now up by two; the Rangers’ fourth line had a two vs one odd-man rush, but Dumoulin was able to break it up in the nick of time.
Three minutes later, it was evident that the Rangers’ game plan was working. They slowed the pace of the game to the speed of a snail, and just wouldn’t allow the Penguins to even sniff Igor.
However, that would temporarily change with 2:48 to go; after Mika failed to shoot when wide-open. (He forced a pass to Kreider instead – a turnover, in a play that had me wondering if these guys are trying to get Kreider to goal #55. And for the record, if that’s the case – these guys would never admit it anyway, nor do I think Kreider cares – he just wants to win games.)
After the turnover, CZAR IGOR was forced to make a stone cold save on Guentzel. The Pens’ left winger was inches away from CZAR IGOR on this try, but #31 in blue said “NYET NYET.”
On the Rangers’ next possession, Jarry made a save and tried a patented CZAR IGOR home-run pass, a pass that Panarin intercepted at center ice. Jarry then bailed himself out, when he made a glove save, a save which prevented #10 from getting his second score of the game.
Chytil, like Mika earlier, would soon have a wide-open look at Jarry, but instead, he made a blind drop pass to Lafreniere for a turnover. I get being unselfish, but sometimes you need to go for the glory.
Not to be outdone, with 18 seconds to go, Kreider had another GOOD LOOK at Jarry, but he forced a pass to Copp – another Rangers’ turnover. Kreider has been prone to this, but that’s just him displaying his captain qualities, as he rather get his teammates going than being greedy.
As a generalized thought, I don’t think all of these turnovers were indicative of bad play; I just think it’s the team mentality and everyone wanting to be a good teammate. And had the Rangers not had a two-goal lead, perhaps these guys would’ve shot these pucks themselves.
Right after the final horn went off, as in 1.5 seconds following the siren; Zibanejad scored. However, this was obviously a late goal, so we remained 2-0, GOOD GUYS, after forty minutes of action.
After listening to the ESPN guys and gals force themselves into talking about the Rangers, an experience which felt like it was painful for them; two minutes into the final frame, K’ANDRE THE GIANT broke up a Penguins two vs one odd-man rush. If he hadn’t, the Penguins probably would’ve scored here.
Rather than talking about Miller’s great defensive play; the ESPN crew tickled Crosby’s balls some more and then gently stroked Rakell.
With 16:20 to go, Motte laid a monster hit on a black-and-yellow fellow, which in turn, forced Jarry to stop a sneaky Zibanejad, a #93 in blue who was camped out to the right side of the goaltender. This save kept the game alive – at least for this moment in time.
Two minutes later, Braden Schneider made a FABULOUS play, where he showed off his stick-handling and skating skills, when he thwarted a Penguins’ attack and got the puck out of the Rangers’ d-zone.
As CZAR IGOR started to get challenged a bit, challenges that he aced; with 13:26 to go, the refs called a phantom interference penalty on Trouba. This was complete bullshit and another example of the officials trying to swing a game. You’d never see this called in the playoffs, as Trouba hit Malkin just a nanosecond after #71 vacated the rubber.
At this time, I should also share the following PROP bet that I made before the game:
Listen – my own personal bets mean shit. All I care about is the team winning. Everything else is gravy after a Rangers win!
However, for CZAR IGOR, the 2022 Vezina winner – this was another example of the officials trying to take a shutout away from him. We’ve seen some really bad officiating this season, and one day, perhaps friend of the site, Howie S., can write the manifesto of all manifestos concerning terrible officiating.
You know how bad this penalty was? Even the pro-Pittsburgh ESPN announcers were calling out the officials for this horrid call.
Igor would stop Letang six seconds into this kill. Following that, Zibanejad, Goodrow and Motte made some good plays. Then, just as the power-play was set to expire, Ryan Lindgren made a diving block and that was that. Puck don’t lie!
As the two goalies continued to exchange saves; with 7:23 remaining, we had the play with Angello and Motte, a play which I described at the top of this blog.
I thought Angello’s hit was clean, but as talked about last blog following the Schneider hit; the Rangers defended their fallen teammate. I have no problem with teammates sticking up for each other, whether it be the Rangers or their opponent.
The end result was an Angello interference penalty, where upon review, I’m not sure if this was really a penalty. I think the aftermath led to the call, as Motte was near the puck when the hit took place.
Again – no update on Motte yet, but here’s to hoping that it’s nothing serious.
The Rangers power-play didn’t do anything here. Once the Penguins had their kill, Lafreniere laid a nice hit on Angello.
With 4:52 remaining, JONNY HOCKEY was boxed for a hook on Letang, as the officials continued their best at trying to rob Igor of his shutout.
After Igor made two saves on the PK; with 3:27 remaining, we saw more ineptness out of the officials, where this instance was the most egregious.
As Goodrow and Malkin went at it, Carrie Mathison attacked Goodrow. Matheson (correct spelling, as opposed to Clare Danes’ character from “Homeland”) even face-washed an official during this display of grotesqueness.
To recap, and to be clear – Matheson dropped the gloves with Goodrow and hit an official during this.
The end result? Off-setting penalties for Malkin and Goodrow. Should I even be shocked anymore?
Matheson just went to the bench and wasn’t assessed a penalty at all. Once again, the ESPN analysts, despite their black-and-yellow colors on; screamed foul. They too thought that the Rangers should’ve received a power-play here.
Once returned to full-strength, with 2:52 to go, Jarry was pulled.
Just like the last time these two teams played, the Penguins made it interesting for a bit.
After watching the Penguins test the Rangers; with just 37.9 seconds remaining, Dryden Hunt, from long distance (beyond his own blue line), dialed up a goal. 3-0, GOOD GUYS.
3-0, GOOD GUYS, your final!
But wait K-Mart shoppers, there’s more.
With the game now concluded, the Penguins, obviously frustrated after getting their asses handed to them, incited a brawl with the Rangers.
The end result of all the physicality?
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) April 8, 2022
Here’s the CZAR, after his shut-out, telling the Penguins “BYE BYE!”
This was another display of CZAR IGOR showing off his compete level, and perhaps his sense of humor too.
If you recall last season, following the Georgiev/DeAngelo debacle (against these same Penguins no less); the Rangers won their next game, where following it, Igor and Panarin had a mock fight in the tunnel.
Igor and Panarin allowed the good times to roll during their post-game interview too:
During the interview, the two
“Redshirts” Blueshirts joked about their salaries and scoring. It’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.
And as someone who enjoys kicking an opponent when they are down, especially when the opponents are the Penguins – I enjoyed Igor and Panarin hamming it up here!
Great win tonight!
One last thought before signing off – one that you may disagree with. (And that’s fine too – we’re all entitled to our own opinions. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing – the Stanley Cup!)
While what I’m about to say next is opinion-oriented; this is also an observation.
As talked about before, where does Kaapo Kakko fit in now?
Not only has Kakko been out longer than expected; there are only ten games remaining too.
And let’s face it – Kakko is somewhat streaky, and takes a bit to get going, where the word “going” is being kind.
I know that many, especially young fans from the ANALytical realm, think that Kakko, once healthy (whenever that day comes), should walk right in and play.
As stated previously on this site – how can you bump Vatrano and/or Copp from the top six?
Both players, during their short duration in New York, have been infinitely better than Kakko. Can anyone truly argue otherwise?
Plus, Drury traded for these two for the playoff push – a push where Gallant will go with the best line-up possible – and not what’s best for the young Finn.
I know that others, who are with me and agree that Vatrano and Copp should be the Rangers 1-2 right wing punch; at the same time, also believe that Kakko should take over the third right wing position from Goodrow.
My response? How do you do that?
The Rangers’ third line is the best it’s ever been. Lafreniere is playing with more SWAGGER. Chytil is playing his best hockey of the season.
And sure, while you could have Goodrow center Lafreniere and Kakko – do you really want to mess with what’s working?
Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to see Goodrow demoted to the fourth line either.
In my eyes, Goodrow, a Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award candidate, should be playing as much as possible.
Not only does he win faceoffs, but he’s a valuable player on the PK too. And then there are all of the intangibles that he brings.
Where Kakko could become a problem on the third line; Goodrow, who is defensively minded, even if he’s enjoying the best offensive performance of his career – complements his young linemates. He’s a veteran presence – Kakko is not.
Again, while I’ll be fine with whatever Gallant does, as he would know better than me; we all must remember that Goodrow was acquired because of his successful playoff experiences.
In less than a month’s time, when these games really start to matter – I’d rather see Goodrow than Kakko.
There are a lot of players on this team without playoff experience. Goodrow has to be there. He’s been great all season – no matter what some analytical geeks may suggest – geeks who are ALWAYS wrong.
And while I’m not saying that Kakko should never play again – I’m just saying that Goodrow’s playing time shouldn’t become collateral damage.
To wrap-up on this, and as stated 7896768967896789689 times before – it’s not a bad thing if Kakko takes a back seat. It will only help the Rangers negotiating power with him, come the off-season. He’s not getting a contract that his peer from that 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Jack Hughes, received from the Devils.
When contract time comes, the Rangers will really be up against the salary cap – a topic we can get into once the playoffs are over. For now, my eyes remain on the prize – the Stanley Cup.
On Thursday morning, Ron Duguay and company returned with a new episode of “Up in the Blue Seats.” To listen to the show, click the link below:
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) April 7, 2022
My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”.
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/NJD 4/5 Review: “Mess with the Bull, You Get the Horns!” Schneider Trucks Devils; Braun Chews Daws; Strome’s FABULOUS Return; Amazing Kreider-Man Sets Franchise Record, Special Teams, Gallant & Georgiev Stand Tall, Standings, NYR Pods & More
NYR/NYI 4/1 Review: April Snooze Day! Rangers Play Like Horse Manure; Isles Still Stink, M$GN Broadcast Worse than NYR; Romulus & Remus, “National Isles Month,” Wolfpack D-Men Report; NYR Sign Another, Kakko, Gallant Laughs Then Fumes & More
NYR/DET 3/30 Review: Copp’s Overtime Game Winner and Kreider’s Historic PPG Propels Struggling Georgiev & Blueshirts to Victory; Find-A-Way NYR Do It Again, CK46 Chasing JJ68, Breadman Bakes Three Points; Third Line Rolls, Tree of Trouba & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Up next: Rangers vs Senators, in a game that the Blueshirts must not overlook.
Like a lay-up, the Rangers need to take two points against the bottom-feeder team from Canada’s capital.
After Ottawa, it’s a back-to-back set, where on Tuesday night, the Rangers will play their next “biggest game of the season,” when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. 24 hours later, on Wednesday night, the Rangers will look to get revenge on the Flyers in Philadelphia.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!