NYR/STL 11/1 Review: Lundqvist & The Rangers Play Their Best Game This Season, Responding To Larry Brooks, Terrible Refs, Why The Rangers Are The Hottest Team in the NHL, Islanders Crushed, Talbot Up Next & Much More

Jimmy Vesey recorded his first 3 point game on Tuesday night. Photo credit: NY Post.

Welcome everyone to Brian Miller’s favorite Ranger site on the internets, the BlueCollarBlueShirts.com blog! After decimating a tough Tampa Bay Lightning team on Sunday night, the Rangers put on an encore performance on Tuesday night at MSG, defeating a perennial playoff team, the St. Louis Blues by a final of 5-0. This game was a savage beating, as the Rangers beat the Blues like their name was Jeurys Familia. And to not make light of the Familia situation, I want to go on record that he, and all these other women beating scumbags, should be thrown out of their respective leagues for life. That includes the woman abuser Henrik Lundqvist as well. (Refer to Stan Fischler’s “Rangers vs Islanders” book or my book review on this very site to understand that reference.)

It’s a weird and fun time to be a Ranger fan right now. Just think – the Rangers are built to be the best defensive team in the NHL. They spend more money on defense & goaltending than any other team in the league. However, it’s not their defense winning games, in fact it’s the defense & goaltending that’s cost them many playoff games over the years. What’s winning games for the Rangers right now is their offense. You got 10 or more players recording points in back to back nights. The Rangers have scored 11 goals in the last two games, with most of those goals coming in the second period. What a contrast to last year, when the Rangers had many flat second periods.

I feel that I always have to preface these blogs/thoughts with saying “IT’S EARLY.” Yes 1/8th of the season is down, but being hot in October/November means nothing. You really can’t assess or feel good about this team until the playoffs start, and even then, you drive yourself nuts. Who knows where this team will be, come the second week of April. Even with how bad Lundqvist was in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, I still think the Rangers win that series if Zuccarello was healthy. So it’s hard to chest beat now. You just never know in the first month of the season, with injuries, trades or whatever, where a team will be come the playoffs.

However, for present day, you have to love what you’re seeing, especially in tonight’s game.

Larry Brooks, of the NY Post, wrote an article today about Lundqvist vs Talbot, which I’ll dissect/get into at the end of this blog, but one thing he said in the article was, “Indeed, the story of the season thus far just might be how Lundqvist has not been the story of the season the way he has been for the past decade.” Brooks is right. Lundqvist may be the highest paid player (ugh) on the team, but it’s everyone else that’s exceeding expectations and stealing games.

I really don’t want to get too excited or jump for joy. 4 Cups in 90 years will jade anyone, myself included. However, when you see what Jimmy Vesey is doing out there, it’s hard to not break out in a smile. What you can smile about and be grateful for, is that Jimmy Vesey could’ve played anywhere in the league. He could’ve went to the Blackhawks, Kings or Penguins, the only three teams to win the Cup in the new salary cap era. He could’ve chose the Lightning, who was the Vegas top pick to win the Cup at the beginning of the season. He could’ve even chose his hometown Bruins. Instead, Vesey, perhaps with coaxing from Kevin Hayes, chose New York.

Really, when you look at the Rangers season thus far, it’s the play of the young guys that has made this team a speed demon on ice. Guys who have been here, like Kreider (who returned to the line-up tonight after missing several games with neck spasms) and Zuccarello are coming into their prime. I don’t want to say they are in their prime now, because I think the best is yet to come in those two. You got Jimmy Vesey, who not only leads the league in goal scored (6) but seems like he will be in the Calder running with Laine (WPG) and Matthews (TOR).

Zibanejad has been so playing so well that people are forgetting about the career of Derrick Brassard. Can you remember once this season where you said “I wish we didn’t trade Brass for Z-bad?” I know some fans hated the Brassard trade when it happened, but you don’t hear anything about it now.

You have a guy like Kevin Hayes, who dropped a ton of weight and added muscle during the off-season. Perhaps he didn’t want to be showed up by his good friend Jimmy Vesey. Hayes is having his best season, in albeit, his short Rangers career. JT Miller, a fan favorite, seems to be buzzing around the net every night. So does new face Brandon Pirri, who may be the steal of the off-season.

Veteran Rangers, like Rick Nash & Derek Stepan, are suddenly not relied on so much anymore. Maybe that is why Nash looks more comfortable out there with the “A” on his chest. Nash is playing like the way he’s being paid to play. We all have hated that Nash contract for so long. We want to see this man deliver and he is. Stepan, while not playing out of his mind, isn’t playing bad. That said, for the money, he needs to notch some goals. With this team though, it seems like someone else has the hot stick every night, where it will soon be Stepan’s time to shine. After all, who saw Michael Grabner not only scoring the first goal of the season, but recording the first hat-trick of the year, against Ben Bishop nonetheless?

Just wait until the snake-bitten Pavel Buchnevich gets accustomed to everything. He’s been buzzing but hasn’t finished for a goal yet. It’s coming though, I guarantee it!

The Rangers, who spend more money on defense and a starting goalie than any other team in the league, are the hottest team in the NHL in spite of that, not because of that decision. How many times were Ranger fans frustrated with Dan Girardi and Marc “I’m not scared” Staal last season? Not only are the two of them scoring goals, but they have seem to have restored faith in AV. I said it all along, in regards to Girardi – he’s just never been healthy.

Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein have always been the strongest parts of the chain on the Rangers defense. Newcomer Brady Skjei has cemented himself as the Rangers 5th D-man. The Rangers have been rotating a merry carousel of defensemen when it comes to the 6th defender. I will say, as of right now, I am not a fan of Nick Holden. Unlike some Ranger fans, I trust in AV. He sees these guys all the time. That said, I would prefer Clendening or McIlrath over Holden. Still – it’s a minor nitpick and who can argue with the success AV and the Rangers are having?

The Rangers are the hottest team in the NHL and right now – nobody wants to see the Rangers on their schedule. For a team many predicted to not make the playoffs or to just make it as an 8th seed  (That’s what I predicted), the Rangers sure are making their naysayers doubt themselves. Put it this way 99% of NHL writers, experts, bloggers, fans, hot dog vendors, you name it, all had the window closed on the Cup for this team. Again, Cups aren’t won on November 1st, but if the Rangers can continue this play (It’s hard to fathom they score 5+ a game though), you will be able to fit Marty Brodeur’s fat ass through that window!

Lundqvist got his first Broadway Hat of the season. Photo credit: NY Rangers facebook page.

While the Rangers skaters remained hot, for the first time all season, Lundqvist pitched his first shutout, a 35 save performance at that. Of course, because Lundqvist played well, I got a ton of Facebook tags, texts, Twitter mentions and emails about this. Can we face the facts first? This game was over by the time the horn went off to signal the end of the second period. Raanta did the same thing Sunday night and for $6.5 Million less. Hank is paid to be the best goalie in the game. We shouldn’t go nuts like this is the second coming of Jesus Christ when Hank gets a shutout. We should expect this. After all, he demanded to be paid the best, so he should be the best. Plus, isn’t this the same guy who said, “Give me two goals and I got this?” Even my fat ass can look good if what that really means is “Give me 5 goals and I got this.”

When your team gives you a 5-0 lead in the second period, it’s hard to call Lundqvist a difference maker. However, that didn’t stop coach Alain Vigneault. AV said Hank was “the difference” in tonight’s game. I mean I know I’m not a Lundqvist fan, but even the most ardent Hank fan can’t buy this bullshit. The goalie is the difference in a 5-0 game? Really? How come Raanta wasn’t the difference in the 6-1 win against Tampa? Do we still have to massage the ego of the highest paid goaltender after a win?

What also drives me nuts are the people who blame Girardi & Staal and the rest of the defense after a Rangers loss, because as you know – NOTHING is Lundqvist’s fault. Where are these people to praise Girardi, Staal & the defense tonight? Even Lundqvist himself ignores the defense in a win, but is quick to say “WE” “WE” “WE” when the Rangers lose. It’s the Me vs We shit that makes me go batshit. Either you all win together or you all lose together. You can’t have both. Then again, these are the same people who say “walk it off and forget about it” after a loss, but are throwing confetti right now.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Lundqvist. He was great tonight. Best game of the season. I’m happy to see him play well, the team needs this, especially in the playoffs. However, making him out to be a Superman that destroyed Isis, ended world hunger and cured cancer is a tad too much for me.

I will say, for Lundqvist and the Rangers, a game like this makes you wonder why they couldn’t handle a last place Carolina. For the first time in ten games, Lundqvist looked like he was in his prime again. Let’s hope he can string a bunch of games like this together, rather than this being an anomaly.

This was 99% of Rangers twitter tonight. I hate to be so jaded and pessimistic, but come on, it’s November 1st!

As always, here’s the box score from tonight, courtesy of ESPN.com:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail STL NYR
Dan Girardi (2)
Assists: Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh
0 1
Jimmy Vesey (6) (Power Play)
Assists: Derek Stepan, Brady Skjei
0 2
Time Team Penalty Detail
Jori Lehtera: 2 Minutes for Hooking
Pavel Buchnevich: 2 Minutes for Hooking
Patrik Berglund: 2 Minutes for High-sticking
Jori Lehtera: 2 Minutes for Goalkeeper Interference
Rick Nash: 2 Minutes for Slashing

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail STL NYR
Rick Nash (5)
Assist: Jimmy Vesey
0 3
Mats Zuccarello (5) (Power Play)
Assists: Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad
0 4
Kevin Hayes (3)
Assists: J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey
0 5
Time Team Penalty Detail
Jaden Schwartz: 2 Minutes for Interference
Joel Edmundson: 2 Minutes for Roughing

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail STL NYR
No scoring this period 0 5
Time Team Penalty Detail
Alexander Steen: 2 Minutes for Roughing
Nick Holden: 2 Minutes for Roughing
Nail Yakupov: 2 Minutes for High-sticking

Goaltending Summary

St. Louis Blues Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
J. Allen 20 4 16 .800 32:55 0
C. Hutton 9 1 8 .889 27:05 0

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
H. Lundqvist 35 0 35 1.000 60:00 0
LBL has been my favorite beer for the past 18 months. In fact, I was drinking it during the game and drinking it as I type this manifesto up. I’ve always been a Miller Lite guy, but prefer LBL ever since I tried it. If anyone knows where I can get these Zubaz cans, contact me! Zubaz is an ongoing joke among my girlfriend, my friends and myself. And yes, I even own Zubaz Giants pants!

When the puck dropped Tuesday night, the Rangers picked up where they left off on Sunday night. After skating around and buzzing for a bit, Girardi got the scoring going, with a bomb. He’s shown more confidence in shooting the puck this season. I don’t know if it’s an AV thing, a new coach thing or just a confidence thing, but the Rangers just don’t give a fuck as much. They will shoot from anywhere, a delightful surprise from seasons past.

To quote Larry David, after some “pretty, pretty, pretty” passing on the powerplay, Jimmy Vesey scored his 6th goal of the season. I feel like I’m gushing about the kid too much as it is and don’t want to jinx it. That said, I hope Jimmy Vesey becomes my favorite Ranger one day! That would mean he’s been consistent and has been here for a while! The Rangers took a solid 2-0 lead to the locker room after the first period. They weren’t done.

Vesey would show up again in the score sheet, this time in the second period, assisting on a Rick Nash goal. After a mini-scrum in front of the net, Nash was able to maneuver the puck behind the goal line. Zuccarello would join the party, getting the Rangers fourth goal, a power play goal at that. Remember how bad the Rangers PP used to be? You don’t need a milk carton anymore to find it!

Kevin Hayes got the fifth and final goal for the Rangers. This one was a beaut. Miller and Vesey assisted on a picture perfect man advantage rush and the Rangers found themselves up 5-0 going into the third.

I thought the Rangers took the foot off the pedal in the third a bit. Granted, there was extra physicality, mostly from a frustrated Blues team, but the Rangers were happy with their 5 goals. Can’t blame them I suppose. Lundqvist made a bunch of great saves in the third period, going 10-10, earning his first shutout of the season. More on Lundqvist’s historic shutout in the Larry Brooks section.

With the win, the Rangers move to first place in the division with 14 points, with an extra game played over trailing Washington & Pittsburgh, who have 13 points each. The Rangers only trail Montreal & Edmonton in the league in points. Perhaps because both those teams have better goalies! You knew I had to sneak that in!

The refs in the first period of tonight’s game. Pic courtesy of Raccoon Fink.

Lost in a 5-0 win were the referees tonight. Again, the referees blew two calls that would be crucial if this was a one goal game. Patrik Berglund high sticked Ryan McDonagh in the eye in the first period. Jori Lehtera was called for goalie interference instead. McDonagh was so banged up that he skated into the boards. Refs missed it.

Later on in the period, the Rangers were making a mad dash to the net. Jaden Schwartz found himself in the net, next to goalie Jake Allen. Schwartz, not once, but twice, put his hand on the puck while laying in the crease. AUTOMATIC PENALTY, right? Of course not. The refs reviewed the play, looking for an errant puck that may have skipped over the goal line. While the refs saw Schwartz cover the puck with his hand, a penalty shot, which should’ve been rewarded to the Rangers, was not. Rangers announcer Joe Micheletti (Aka Joe Mickle Eddy to Mike Francesa Mongo Nation listeners) was going ape-shit about this, and rightfully so.

Bottom line – what’s the point of instant replay if we’re not gonna get the calls right? There was no goal on the play. That was a good call. However, you can blatantly see Schwartz committing the penalty shot inducing penalty on the play. The Rangers went on to win 5-0, so this will be ignored. However, if this was a close game, you’d see more rage about this on the internet.

All in all, I thought this was the best Rangers game of the season. It seemed like nearly everyone was on the score sheet. Lundqvist looked like something Donald Trump could get behind, because he was a wall all night. I was extremely happy with this victory, especially since it came against a team that’s always in the playoff mix.

That concludes the Rangers/Blues portion of this blog. Now I want to talk the Larry Brooks article, the Islanders and the Oilers. Keep reading for more rantings and ravings!

John Tortorella and Dan Boyle may not be a fan of Larry Brooks, but I am.

Full disclosure: I’ve defended Larry Brooks of the New York Post time and time again on this blog. I thought he was right in his battle with Torts and with the crap with Dan Boyle last year. While I know many Ranger fans think that Brooks hates the Rangers, as he got his start with the Post covering the Devils/Islanders, only to get better page placement by covering the Rangers, I don’t feel that way. The guy has been covering hockey for a long time. How is Brooks supposed to be super uppity and giddy about the Rangers? Four Cups in Ninety years, guys, don’t forget that.

On Monday, Larry Brooks wrote a column called, “Why Henrik Lundqvist disproves Cam Talbot hindsight complaints.” You can read the article by going to: http://nypost.com/2016/11/01/why-henrik-lundqvist-disproves-cam-talbot-hindsight-complaints/

It is funny, before this column was posted to the NY Post website, Brooks contacted me on twitter about this subject. I responded to him, but didn’t get a reply.

I want to also say before continuing, I respect the work of Brooks. He’s one of the last writers from the old guard still out there. We’ve seen Jim Cerny and Rick Carpiniello, long time Ranger reporters, get canned this season. Why were they canned? In my opinion, it’s cheaper to pay to someone out of college to do the same job. In Cerny’s case, it’s cheaper to get a young blonde with a nice rack to do the same job.

I don’t know what these reporters make, but I’m assuming that since they’ve been around a while, they get a good income and medical benefits. These media outlets covering the Rangers can hire anyone to do the job, if it’s just going to be black and white stuff. That’s what they are doing. They are getting cheap people out of college (who they probably don’t even give medical benefits to) to do the job out of long-time professionals. If I could make a stretch, like AV who made a stretch tonight by calling Lundqvist “the difference” in tonight’s game, firing Cerny & Carp for pimply faced college kids is like firing Vin Scully for a 22 year old out of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Yes it’s a stretch, but stay with me here!

Larry Brooks is one of the few old timers left. Just look who is a paid reporter for the Rangers these days. It’s mostly young kids who don’t know what they are talking about and play with charts all day in their mother’s basement, like Sean Hartnett or Seth Rothman. These reporters never even saw Messier or Richter in their prime, but are talking about hockey like they’ve seen it all. Hartnett would be ID’d trying to buy a 6 pack of beer. I believe it was Rothman who said to me, “Who is Frank Boucher?” Get lawst (Francesa-ism) you clown! Actually he did get lost, as he’s no longer covering the team anymore!

I give Brooks all the credit in the world, because while many of the reporters won’t challenge the team or players, Brooks has a reputation of it. We’ve seen it time and time again.

Not to give myself a pat on the back, but we all know who the unofficial leader of this Talbot should’ve stayed, Hank should’ve been traded movement was. It was me. That’s why I get death threats through twitter! (I don’t take any of them seriously, but I do find it deranged that people would make death threats in this day and age when the government reads everything.)

I want to break down the recent Brooks column, as while I applaud him for writing it, he left a lot out.

I think I made this two years ago, this was the start of the Talbot vs Hank stuff.

Again, this column is from the NY Post. I have put Larry’s words in blockquote, my comments in bold.

Henrik Lundqvist isn’t beating himself up over a middling start to the season in which he posted a .901 save percentage and 2.45 goals-against average in his first seven starts, but neither is he delusional.

“I feel like technically I’m playing the way I should be playing, but I want to cut down one goal per game,” The King told The Post before facing the Blues at the Garden on Tuesday. “My style, decision-making and technique feel good, but I know that there’s more there.

“I’m working on it.”

Lundqvist is working on it while the Rangers were working on a 6-3 record, with Antti Raanta having provided two victories in his two starts in nets. Indeed, the story of the season thus far just might be how Lundqvist has not been the story of the season the way he has been for the past decade.

Of course Hank isn’t beating himself up. He starts slow every season. What other job in the world are you paid the most at your profession, but allowed to start slow every year? He’s not being paid to “work on it.” He’s being paid to deliver. I’m glad Hank did tonight, but it’s just one game.

Brooks should’ve asked Hank, “Do you feel like you’re overpaid?” Hank is the only goalie in the NHL to make the most money on his team. He also has no cup, while a $600,000 Matt Murray does. Questions about where the art of goaltending is going, as opposed to stacked offenses, would’ve been key here.

Brooks also ignores the work of Benoit Allaire. Look at the way Talbot, Raanta and even Skapski have played while wearing Rangers blue. It’s also worth mentioning that Hank posted his best numbers under Tortorella, who employed a shot blocking and heavy defensive system.

The Blueshirts have not been wholly dependent on their franchise netminder. They haven’t required him to steal games, the way they most surely have year after year after year, and specifically last year, when Lundqvist’s early brilliance (.947/1.69/10-2-2 in the club’s 14-2-2 getaway through Nov. 14) staked the team to a cushion that proved all the difference in making rather than missing the playoffs.

There is this bizarre narrative that’s taken hold across much of social media that the Rangers blew it when they signed Lundqvist to his seven-year contract extension in early December 2013 under which he carries an $8.5 million cap hit per year through 2020-21 instead of dealing him and keeping the younger and ultimately more cap-cost-effective Cam Talbot for the long haul.

If the Rangers aren’t dependent on their “franchise” netminder, then why the hell is he 13% of the salary cap and the highest paid guy on the team? Especially on a team that could use an elite blue-liner? We got 4+ more years of this contract you know!

The narrative was you don’t sign a goalie to a 7 year deal, in a league with a strict and tight cap, when his prime is over. This isn’t the NFL. Defense doesn’t win championships. The guy never has won a Cup. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The Rangers were better off calling Hank out on his bluff and letting him test free agency.

Can Brooks or the Rangers name one team that RIGHT NOW, would trade their best player or highest paid player  for Hank and his contract? Washington? Pittsburgh? Chicago? LA? Tampa? That would be no, no, no, no and no.  Can Brooks name one team with a top 5 paid goalie that’s won a Cup in the new cap era? Of course not. At the time of the contract, it wasn’t about Talbot, it was about making the goalie the focus of your team while every other team (those that won Cups, especially) were focusing on the offense.

Of course, there never was a realistic choice between Lundqvist and Talbot. At the time Lundqvist’s extension was signed, Talbot had made a total of six NHL starts. And Lundqvist’s no-move clause kicked in two weeks after he took the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup final in two decades.

Only those looking through a warped rearview mirror could suggest there was a choice to be made between the two goaltenders. By the next winter, when Talbot constructed that remarkable .929/2.16/16-4-3 six-week run while Lundqvist was recovering from the vascular injury he sustained while struck in the neck with a shot, the only question was what the Blueshirts could get in a trade for Talbot, a season away from unrestricted free agency.

Lundqvist took the Rangers to the Cup? Refresh my memory. He lost 3 games to a back-up goalie in the Philadelphia Flyers. How Kingly. He went 1-3 against the Penguins, until the passing of Marty St. Louis’ mother. Her passing, as morbid as it may be, motivated the team to fire back. Chris Kreider then skated into Carey Price in the ECF and it still took “The King” 6 games to beat the Canadiens in the ECF.  Jonathan Quick (Who was the 30th highest paid goalie in 2012 and the 9th highest paid goalie in 2014) outplayed Lundqvist in the SCF.

As a Ranger fan who roots for the front of the jersey and not the back, and would rather see the the Rangers win a Cup without Hank, than see Hank “Bourque” it up somewhere, I’ll take Matt Murray, $600,000 and his 6 weeks over any 6 weeks in the career of the crownless “King”.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the Rangers who made the wrong choice by a) signing Lundqvist to his extension; and/or, b) by not asking the goaltender to waive his no-move after 2014-15 and signing Talbot to an extension, it was those teams that wouldn’t ante up on New York’s understudy when he went on the market. Imagine the Stars with Talbot. Better for Dallas GM Jim Nill’s mental health that he does not.

Talbot, who struck gold as Canada’s netminder in the 2016 World Championship, is Edmonton’s gain. On Thursday, he will lead the Oilers into the Garden, where he last played in a 5-2 Rangers loss to the Caps on March 29, 2015. He didn’t play in either of Edmonton’s games against the Blueshirts last season. Now, he could go up against Lundqvist for the first time.

It’s Sather’s fault for not recognizing talent. Senile Sather, the worst GM in the history of NY sports with the longest tenure (Not one other GM in NYC sports history lasted 15+ years without a champiomship and yes you can blame ownership for that. In fact, I’m surprised Dolan hasn’t tried to give Isiah Thomas the job.) botched this all up.

In the career of the faux “King”, the Rangers best regular season record was with Hank out for nearly 3 months. Hank’s Win Above Replacement average would be the worst in the league, if the NHL recorded such a stat. When you look around the league and see who is winning, paying a goaltender, especially one that peaked in 2012, is asinine!

“There are always different matchups that are special,” Lundqvist said. “It could be against your friends or maybe a former teammate. It was special for me when I played against [goaltender Robin] Lehner for the first time because I knew him as a kid and had his dad as my goalie coach back home.”

Lundqvist has started (and won) two games against one-time Ranger backups. One was against the Devils’ Kevin Weekes in 2008-09. The other was against the Sabres’ Chad Johnson last year.

“If I play against Cam, who is someone I spent so much time and got to know so well, that would be very special,” Lundqvist said.

You can’t compare Lehner, Weekes (in 2009) or Johnson to Talbot. Talbot is just about to hit his prime, where those other guys already peaked. Those other goalies also didn’t play as much for the Rangers as Talbot did, nor led the Rangers to the President’s Trophy.

Talbot enters Tuesday’s game in Toronto with a .936/2.04/7-2 slash line.

“His success doesn’t surprise me at all,” Lundqvist said. “He was always a very hard-working guy. Combine that with his skill, and this is the result.

“And you can see that his confidence is huge, too. I’m very happy for him. He’s worked very hard to get where he is. It would be fun to play him.”

Bottom line, and yes, after 10 games, Talbot is in the Vezina talks. Way too early to take that seriously, but Talbot since the trade, has had a better career stat wise and professionally than Hank. Talbot won the gold in the IIHF, while Hank gave up 5 goals & lost every OT game in the WCH. Talbot had a great second half of the season with rebuilding Edmonton, even with star rookie, Connor McDavid out for a large chunk of the season. Lundqvist was on the bench more times last season than the previous 3 seasons of his career combined. He had his doors blown off in the playoffs and quite frankly, was an embarrassment. I believe it was Larry’s NY Post that ran the back page of “Hanks For Nothing” during this period.

No one could’ve said when Hank got his team unfriendly $8.5M cap hit contract in 2013 that Talbot would’ve been the smarter move. What was said was that money was way too much for a goalie who doesn’t play every game and in a league that is trying to make it easier to score, rather than trying to showcase goalies.

What also was said after the 2014-2015 season, after Lundqvist gave up touchdowns left and right to Tampa, was that keeping Talbot for $8M less and trying to get a Cup in 2015-2016 was the smarter move. I guess what can you expect from a team that thought Dan Boyle was better than Anton Stralman, thought trading two number 1 picks with Cally for MSL was a wise move, trading eventual Cup winner Carl Hagelin for Emerson Etem was aces, etc, among the other boneheaded dumb ass shit Sather has done over the years!

I have never faulted Hank for being paid. I have only called him out for the stuff he’s said over the years such as, and I paraphrase here:

“Give me two goals and I got this.”
“I want to win a Cup in NY at all costs.”

Guess what – he got two goals a plenty in the playoffs and lost many of those games, none bigger than two goal blown leads in the SCF or the five goals he got against Tampa in the ECF a year later. If you wanted to win a Cup at all costs, you don’t tease FA, get the coach fired and demand to be the highest paid goalie in the NHL.

Bottom line, there is no logical way of thinking, that on 11/1/2016, that Hank is the better salary cap acquisition than Cam Talbot.

After saying all this, someone tagged me in this tweet tonight:

I wonder what all those goalies besides Luongo has that Hank doesn’t? Hmmmmm….

Your move Larry Brooks!

Cam Talbot can potentially make his MSG debut as an Oiler on Thursday

Wow this blog is already past the 5000 word threshold and I know many of you have short attention spans, so let’s wrap this up.

First off, how about the Islanders getting  crushed 6-1 tonight by the Lightning? Halak is good as gone there. The Islanders had a terrible off-season and have a goalie controversy. With the Rangers kicking ass tonight and the Isles having their ass kicked, it’s like the Rangers won a double-header tonight.

Secondly, no Vally on the MSG Networks broadcast. I missed his banter with Al Trautwig. Vally vs Trautwig has been hilarious as of late.

Up next for the Rangers is the showdown I’ve been waiting for. The best team in the west, the Edmonton Oilers, come into town on Thursday night. I really hope Talbot plays. Talbot has played every game for the Oilers this season. Talbot played last night, in the Oilers 3-2 OT loss to the Leafs. I really thought he’d sit that game out and come in fresh for NYR.

Talbot didn’t play against the Rangers last season as the Oilers were trying to decide if Nilsson or Talbot was their starter. By the time the SB ended, Talbot was anointed the starter and Nilsson was moved.

Connor McDavid will also be making his MSG debut on Thursday night. The Rangers didn’t see him last year, as McDavid was hurt after a shot from Michael Del Zaster.

The Oilers, Rangers and Canadiens are the three hottest teams in hockey. The Rangers look to be the top team in the league with a win over Edmonton. The Oilers await to be the best as well.

All I know is I’ll have my Talbot Rangers jersey on!

And for the record, I’m rooting for a 0-0 regulation score, followed by a 1-0 Rangers shoot-out victory.

Please Edmonton, start Talbot on Thursday, then rest him!

Talbot vs Hank, let’s do this! (Although I will have to give the advantage to the Lundqvist, because the Oilers offense, and basically every team in the league’s offense, can’t match what the Rangers are doing now. It’s gonna be a test for Talbot.)

Thursday also begins four games in four nights for me, as I plan on being there Thursday night for Oilers/Rangers, followed by Wolfpack (Want to see McIlrath & Glass) on Friday, followed by Rangers vs the Bruins in Boston on Saturday and finishing up with Rangers/Jets on Sunday.

Thursday night’s blog will be posted later than usual.

Until then…


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on twitter

PS: 5800 words tonight. Minga!

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