What’s up Ranger fans and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. As always, previous blogs are located on the main page or you can search through the archives, located on the right hand of the site.
The Rangers lost a stinker to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, with a final of 4-1. The story of this game was the hissy fit of the Rangers best player on the ice all season, Henrik Lundqvist.
Before getting into King Hissy-Fit, let’s just take a breath and really assess what this loss meant for the Rangers. Does it suck that they lost? Of course. It sucks seeing that little bitch Sidney Crosby win a game. At the end of the day, the Rangers still own second place in the division and will be either the second or third best team in the conference, point wise, depending on what the Panthers do at the time of this writing.
As I’ve been saying all season, here on this site and on my twitter @NYCTHEMIC, the regular season for the Rangers is a chore. They aren’t a team clawing for a playoff spot. They aren’t looking to make gains for the franchise by grabbing a 7 or 8 seed. There is only one goal for this team. It’s the same goal ever since Alain Vigneault got here – win the Stanley Cup.
We can talk about windows closing, the foundation getting older, bad trades, and yes I’ve done all that on this site, but moving ahead, right now, at this point in time, the only thing that matters is this team winning a Stanley Cup. The Rangers, especially the last 3 seasons, have mortgaged their future time and time again, to win that elusive Stanley Cup. This may truly be their last crack at it for some time.
Just like how you can’t overreact and go ape-shit about the Rangers having a 3 game win streak, you can’t go insane about the Rangers losing one of their ugliest games of the season either. They didn’t get any points tonight, but come the playoffs, and the Rangers will be in the playoffs, no one will remember this game, just like how they won’t remember the three previous wins before tonight’s game.
Just keep in mind, as you read along, while we will probably remember Hank going nuts, for his epic Hank Smash, this game has no bearing on what the Rangers do in the playoffs. I’ve been saying it all season on this site, my mantra is “playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.” Once we hit the playoffs, then we can truly judge and overreact!
If you haven’t seen it already, here’s the story of the game:
With 6 minutes left to go in the second period, Ryan McDonagh crashed into an out-of-position Henrik Lundqvist. Hank lost his stick in the process. If a Penguin crashed him into him, I could see Hank’s argument for going berzerk. However, McDonagh crashed into him and again, Hank was out of position.
By the way, can Hank just stay in the net? He’s been a great goalie his whole career, but come on, he sucks handling the puck and is dangerous when he leaves that blue paint. STAY IN THE NET.
Hank wanted a whistle since he lost his stick. Originally, I thought maybe his stick got jammed or stuck into the boards, but that wasn’t the case. Hank just threw one of his hissy fits. If you watch the play back, it’s Hank’s fault for being so out of the net to begin with. McDonagh was playing the puck, so you can’t blame him for crashing into Lundqvist.
With the puck on the other end of the ice, Hank got so mad, that he just flipped the net over. It’s pretty funny, but bottom line, a player of his stature shouldn’t be so rattled, especially in a 0-0 game at the time.
As a result of Hank being a diva and not being able to keep focused under the pressure of not having his stick, the Rangers took a two minute delay of game penalty.
What drives me nuts and as I’m learning by conversing with “Rangers Twitter” is that Hank can do no wrong. However, it was the complete opposite here. Hank was 100% in the wrong. Was it funny? Yes, I will grant you that. But the penalty was detrimental to the team. Luckily, the Pens didn’t make the Rangers horrible PK pay for the bad penalty. Seriously, this Rangers PK is worse than finding a lump on your balls.
If you follow me on twitter or been reading this blog, you know my feelings on Lundqvist and his contract. No reason to rehash all that. Just check the archives if you don’t know how I feel already. To sum it up quick – his contract sucks and I think it hurts the team success. I want to see the RANGERS win a Cup, I don’t care who’s on the roster when they do it.
While talking about this play on twitter with all the other crazy Ranger maniacs, I figured out that 99% of Rangers twitter have only grown up with Lundqvist. When I said “I’ve never seen Richter act like this ever” and “I don’t remember Richter blowing a lead, then giving up 3 goals in less than 2 minutes”, I got responses such as these:
“Well, why don’t the Rangers sign Richter then?”
“Richter isn’t even in the NHL, so he can’t be that good.”
While Twitter is fun to vent/gloat/discuss/argue during games, I’m learning that the large majority of the fans that talk the Rangers on twitter must’ve been born after 1994.
I’ve talked about this in the book reviews I’ve done on this site. I love history. I read hockey books all the time. One great Ranger book that every Ranger fan should read is Adam Raider’s “100 Things Ranger Fans Should Know Before They Die.” I even did a review of the book which you can read.
For disclosure, I will be 34 this year. The 1994 Rangers were my heroes, as were the 1996 Yankees. Still, at near 34, I have a Frank Boucher jersey and trying to petition that the Rangers should hang his jersey in the rafters too. If you don’t know your team’s history, you are clueless and only doing yourself a disservice. Plus, learning about the old days and how things were is always fun and interesting. Stan Fischler does a great job with all his works and is the last living link to a lot of the guys from the 1920-1940 era, where the Rangers won 3 Stanley Cups.
Man, can I go off on a tangent.
Anyway, Lundqvist put his team in a bad position, but the Rangers PK miraculously and valiantly fought and prevented the Penguins from scoring after his delay of game penalty. The Rangers and Penguins, who started off with an uneventful first period until things got a bit chippy, were scoreless, until Chris Kreider was able to beat Fleury with 3:50 left in the second period. A late goal is always good and every Ranger fan was going nuts.
Lundqvist, still clearly rattled, then gave up 3 goals in under two minutes. 3-1 Pitt to close the second period. The whole game would essentially be decided in the last 3 minutes of the second period, as the Rangers did themselves no either, by essentially looking flat and rolling out their dreadful PP that produced nothing.
Here’s the quick box score, courtesy of ESPN.com. I would like to use NHL’s box score, but their site is impossible to navigate these days. As always, my notes in italics:
1st Period Summary
|No scoring this period||0||0|
||Dominic Moore: 2 Minutes for Hooking|
2nd Period Summary
||Chris Kreider (14)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonaghKreider got a puck high and over the shoulder of Fleury. Kind of a bad goal for Fleury to allow, as it was a tough angle for Kreider to sneak it by.
||Sidney Crosby (26)
Assists: Carl Hagelin, Kris LetangTough to blame Hank for this one, as it was a fluky goal that bounced off the back boards and behind him then into the net. He was so rattled after throwing the net that I think he was seeing red anyway.
||Evgeni Malkin (25)
Assists: Chris Kunitz, Trevor DaleyHank just got beat. He was losing his composure and flipping the fuck out after this one too.
||Patric Hornqvist (17) (Power Play)
Assists: Phil Kessel, Evgeni MalkinHank continued to get lit up like Christmas tree and seemed like a defeated man on this one.
||Henrik Lundqvist: 2 Minutes for Delay of Game (Served by Dylan McIlrath)|
||Phil Kessel: 2 Minutes for Slashing|
||Sidney Crosby: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Keith Yandle: 2 Minutes for Interference|
3rd Period Summary
||Phil Kessel (20)
Assist: Evgeni MalkinEmpty netter.
|No penalties this period|
After losing his cool and being a mad-man, Lundqvist didn’t come out for the third period. His hissy fit hurt the team. What if Raanta got hurt in the third period? There would be no goalie? The Rangers & AV said after the game that Lundqvist was having neck spasms. I don’t know if “Neck spasms” was a code for “acting like a little bitch.”
In the NHL, injuries are always hidden, disclosed, made up or not talked about. Just look at the Zucc saga from last season. Does Hank have neck spasms? Only he knows. What I do know is that the Penguins official twitter page was making fun of Hank all night and even reported that he was going nuts after the second period. If you’re able to throw shit around and act like an NBA primadonna, then I’m more liable to think that he was so out of control that AV said stay back.
Hank, one of the oldest guys on the team and the leader of this team, is supposed to set a good example and be the foundation for this team. His behavior tonight was a fucking disgrace. I get being like Paul O’Neill and being a little emotional, but Paul O’Neill also won the World Series 5 times. He gets a pass. All Hank has done is his hair and come up short year after year. What kind of King are you? King Henry VIII? (Look him up if you don’t know him and judging by some of you maroons who didn’t know who Mike Richter is, I’m assuming you don’t know who King Henry the VIII was either.)
While coaches like Tortorella or other fiery players, in any league, can get emotional and try to rile their team up, this wasn’t that. While the Rangers played like crap all night, couldn’t muster any real good offensive opportunities and just skated goal line to goal line, Lundqvist didn’t do the team any favors either. However, I’m sure everyone on Rangers twitter will say “IT’S NOT HANK’S FAULT!” It never is. At least he will have no fault to go along with his no cups too.
Bottom line – it’s one game. If Hank pulls this shit in the playoffs, which I don’t think he will, then the Rangers are in trouble. For one night, the Rangers looked bad. I wouldn’t even call Hank’s hissy fit a motivational tactic, as the Rangers continued to play like bullocks and it just amped up the half-empty Penguins crowd.
Ranger fans also need to hear me out quick on this. I know Hank is a HOFer. I know his number will be retired. I know he’s one of the greatest players to wear a Rangers jersey. It just doesn’t change the fact that he’s a hypocrite, overpaid, a product of playing in NY and a king without a crown. Let’s hope he changes that last part this spring.
Lundqvist nonsense aside, the team didn’t play well either. Eric Staal, the big piece that the Rangers think will put them over the hump for the Cup, was pointless, stat-sheet wise, in his second game as a Ranger. Of course, it’s not his fault really. It took MSL a while before he got hot and helped carry the team through the 2014 playoffs.
Eric’s brother, the newly named “M. Staal”, was out with the flu. Jesper Fast returned from the same flu, which means it spread in the locker room, and had an ok game with one good shot.
When the Rangers lose games like these, I like to pull out my “Rangers are consistently inconsistent” line, and it applied here. Stepan, Brassard and Zucc were barely there. Girardi was terrible. McIlrath shot two of the ugliest pucks I’ve seen in a while. Boyle looked like a “Walking Dead” Zombie. Miller couldn’t get anything going.
The only thing consistent was Nash did nothing.
A game like this, against a non-playoff team, really makes you wonder why the Rangers didn’t LITR Nash and try to add more pieces for the playoffs. I still don’t understand why Gorton didn’t make that move.
Oh and for long time readers of this blog and for the people who know me in real life, Cam Talbot had a shut-out tonight. I’m telling you, and I’m a betting man, Talbot & McDavid will wind up with more Cups than Lundqvist & Nash.
So the Rangers are now sticking to their “neck spasms” story for Lundqvist. That’s fine. Again, it’s only one game.
Up next for the Rangers are the Washington Capitals, tonight. AV can’t really bench Hank for being a crybaby, so I think he should get this game. Let the Rangers test their mettle. Let’s see what they got against a heavy Cup favorite with their best players on the ice.
Let’s close this on a positive note. The Rangers do so much charity work that goes unnoticed/unpublicized. The Rangers have raised millions of dollars for the Garden of Dreams charity. This picture above, was the 2014 fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House charity, where they raised $1 million for kids. The Rangers, in the last few weeks, had another Ronald McDonald House charity fundraiser, as well as casino night, which also raises money for charity.
The faces pictured above were the same faces involved in the last few charity events. I’ve gone on and on, on this blog about Adam Graves. He should receive saint hood. The guy is just pure class. Unlike Lundqvist, who I hear these days ignores kids who want autographs after games.
Let me tell you, I was that kid 20 years ago, and Adam Graves, Leetch, Messier & Richter always signed for me after games. It’s heartbreaking for kids when their heroes are assholes and won’t sign for them in real life. I get that athletes have shit going on and it’s tough, but it’s part of the job/responsibility. I was that kid in 1994, 1995, 1996, all the way through 2000, that got autographs after games, and everyone signed, even Wayne Gretzky. If Hank can’t sign for kids, as I’m reading on facebook and twitter pages, than he really has no fucking clue. Go read Gordie Howe’s book you Swede! This is America, remember where you make your money and where it comes from.
SImply put, Adam Graves is the most charitable Ranger in NY Ranger history. The work he does is endless and incessant. He really deserves some sort of award or notoriety for the work he does on a daily basis. He’s the greatest ambassador the Rangers and even the NHL in general, could ever have. THANK YOU ADAM GRAVES!
I go back to the picture. This happens every year. Look who’s there. You got ex-Ranger captains doing this. Messier does this from time-to-time if he’s in the area. Leetch does this. The greatest goalie in Ranger’s history, Mike Richter, does this. You got Rangers from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s doing this. It just makes me proud as a Rangers fan. These guys don’t have to do this. Props to Bill Pidto for his package showing the highlights of this recent charity drive during his pregame. Thank you to the guys who do this.
Very rarely do you see positive stories in sports, when it comes to outside the arena. I hope everyone knows what these guys do and appreciate the efforts of these guys to make the world a better place.
On tap for the Rangers is a showdown with the best team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals. Let’s hope Hank keeps all the furniture in place. After that, the Rangers host the Islanders on Sunday. Hank is 0-5 in his last 5 against the Brooklyners, so let’s hope he can turn that streak around real quick.
Sorry for the quick recap, I got a train to catch at 4AM.
Win or lose,
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter