NYR/VAN Recap: Point Streak Continues, Zucc, Defense Problems, SalaryCap, Goalies & More

Hank asking Cam if Cam will make a cameo on Hank’s silly mask show

 Welcome everyone to another blog here on DOINOW.com. As always, whether you agree with the opinions or you don’t, thanks for taking time out of your day to give this blog a visit. I’ve been up since 4AM for work, have to be up early tomorrow and the Miller Lites are getting me tired, so let’s save the normal intro, and get right into it.

The Rangers dropped a 5-4 shootout final to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. While the Rangers get the losers point and sole possession of second place, this was a game they should’ve won outright.

There were many reasons why the Rangers lost this game, despite scoring four goals. I mean where do you start? Do you look at Girardi & McDonagh, the turnover machines of the team? The overpassing? The powerplay looking nice but not producing? Skating into your own goalie? Bad rebounds? Taking penalties on your own powerplay? Not being physical? Not being able to move the puck? Or maybe it was just not doing their job, and blowing this game wide open in the first period when they had the chance.

As has been the case many games this season, the Rangers had a hot first period but trailed off as the game went on. The Rangers outshot the Canucks 14-5 in the first period and at one point, the shots were 21-9 in the second period. The Rangers had a lot of good looks too, but just couldn’t beat Ryan Miller of Vancouver during opportune times. The Rangers dominated the first period, so it was a huge sigh of relief when Stepan scored off a tic-tac-goal, via a picture perfect pass from Martin St. Louis.

Stepan scored one of the prettiest goals of the season

 With the Rangers taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, it felt good that they were winning, but you knew the score should’ve been 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0. They had many opportunities to bury it, and the powerplay, while looking good, didn’t produce any goals. However, winning is winning and the Rangers were winning the game.

Vancouver scored early into the second period. Hansen rushed up the ice, took a shot and had it stopped by Talbot’s stick. However, in the commotion, Dan Girardi tripped up his own goalie and on a rebound, Matthias beat a sprawling Talbot. What’s with the Rangers skating into their own goalies this month?

The Rangers took the lead back later in the period, due to a pass that covered a lot of yardage from Brassard to Rick Nash. You know the deal, Nash once again, while being left loosely defended, slammed home another goal, as he and Ovi continue their race to the Hart Trophy. 2-1 good guys.

The lead didn’t last long, as it was now McDonagh’s turn to make a boneheaded play. McDonagh pinched up way too deep and was burnt. The result? An easy 2 on 1 goal, off the stick of Horvat. 2-2.

I’m not here to pile up on Girardi & McDonagh. However, a lot of their play has been overlooked because the team is winning. However, it seems that both of them have been turnover machines lately. If that happens in the playoffs, the Rangers won’t go very far. I still have nightmares of Girardi’s turnover in the Stanley Cup. I might be in the minority saying this, but Kevin Klein has been the best all-around defensemen for the Rangers this season and I’d put Staal as number 2. I appreciate Mac’s aggressiveness and maybe he trusts Talbot to make the play with his risk, but with a one goal lead, it wasn’t a calculated risk to pinch like that.

Future HOFer, MSL

 When the Rangers & Lightening pulled the first ever captain for captain swap in NHL history, I had mixed feelings. Callahan wanted to be paid like his buddy Lundqvist.  Wasn’t going to happen. MSL felt burnt by Yzerman snubbing him in the Olympics. I thought the trade made sense, I just didn’t think the Rangers had to give up two draft picks to get the deal done. One maybe, but not two.

However, with hindsight being 20/20, you can say for the ride the Rangers gave their fans last year, you would do the trade 100/100 times if the opportunity struck again. I don’t think the Rangers make the Cup with Callahan & the Rangers made the cup & got by Pittsburgh because in large, of MSL.

I will never forget what MSL meant for this team during that 2014 playoff run. That is why it was so disheartening to see him slumping. However, with a goal against the Islanders and a goal & an assist tonight, let’s hope MSL has turned the corner. The Rangers will need his leadership and skill come the playoffs.

Heading into the third period 2-2, the Rangers got a powerplay because Chris Kreider kicked the shit out of Alexandre Burrows. Earlier in the game, Burrows, the coward that he is, picked a fight with the smallest NYR, Mats Zuccarello. Kreider defended his buddy, right off the bat in the third period. Burrows got an extra two minutes, after getting sonned by Kreider, for instigating the fight. With the NYR PP on a cold snap, this seemed like a good time to break out.

However, that’s not what happened. Kevin Hayes took a Benoit Poulioutesque penalty in the offensive zone, killing the powerplay. The Canucks held on to the puck, and let the time run out on the even strength. When it mattered the most, the Canucks were able to dominate the possession of the puck.

Once the PP officially started, Henrik Sedin scored a powerplay goal over a screened Cam Talbot. 3-2 Canucks. The lead wouldn’t last long, as MSL would fire right back with a beautiful forehand shot, above Miller’s arm level. Tie game and the NYR had the momentum.

Will Hagelin be a NYR next year?

 Carl Hagelin, perhaps the fastest skater in the NHL and in a contract year, would score 21 seconds later, making the score 4-3, off a Dan Girardi deflection. Many people are wondering if Hags & Zuc will be here next year. Let me get this out of the way now. Henrik Lundqvist is overpaid at $8.5 million and is the biggest hypocrite on the team. Don’t say you want to win at all costs, then demand to be the highest paid goalie, by far in the NHL.

Girardi, McDonagh and Staal, all great defensemen are probably a tad overpaid. Not as bad as Hank is, but with each averaging $6 million, they are well-compensated.  Remember, these four deals are all long-term, so as a player ages, they are still taking a ton of money.

So when I look at Zucc & Hags, two young bucks, who could be the future of this team, are you telling me you can’t find money for these guys? Zucc is one of a kind. You can’t lose him. The line of Hags/Hayes/Miller has at times been the most productive NYR line this season. In a league where the perfect mix of youth & experience is ideal, it would be nuts to let Hags/Zucc go over money, considering the deals the defense & King Contract has.

While Sather has made some good deals lately, (you can argue MSL deal either way, based on your value of draft picks), Gomez/McDonagh, Klein/MDZ, his track record isn’t the best, to say the least. Letting Zucc or Hags go, would be criminal. I still don’t know how Sather lets Stralman walk in favor of Dan Boyle, giving up Dorsett for that piece of shit Tanner Glass or letting Brian Boyle go, without getting any real center help in the off-season.

On an aside, can anyone see Brad Richards coming back next year, on the cheap? I wouldn’t be opposed to Brad being a fourth line center for this team, if the money was right.

Also, while on all this talk of money, the NHL should raise their cap, especially if NHL commish Gary Bettman is going on Mike Francesa and bragging about how much money the NHL makes. Nothing turns off fans more than seeing a team being forced to give up on guys, not because of their play, but because of money. Look what happened to the Blackhawks. They got fucked royally this year, with Hayes & Leddy.

Back to the game, where the score was now 4-3 Rangers. However, the Rangers blew another lead because of bad defense and because they got tired.


 With four minutes and change to go, Vancouver got the puck into the Rangers zone and just toyed with them. Nevermind getting a clear, the Rangers couldn’t touch the puck. Talbot made a few saves from different angles. The Rangers couldn’t get a change though. The Rangers gassed up like Melissa McCarthy running through the Sahara desert in the dog days of the summer. The few times they got  close, it was like that  commercial with the old fisherman guy saying “you want a dollar, oh so close.”  Vancouver pulled their goalie, just as the Rangers cleared the puck, but the Rangers were desperate for a change & Vancouver easily regained possession. Two minutes later, with the Rangers on dead legs, bang, Sedin strikes again, 4-4.

At this point, this was deflating. Let’s recap the four goals let in by Talbot, who once again makes impressive saves but not doing anything superhuman. During his 5-1-2 streak, he’s stolen two games, but has been the victim of bad defense. He’s only getting $550,000 a year, compared to King Contract’s $8.5 million and maybe the time & experience will mature and strengthen his game, but he didn’t steal the game tonight.

Here are the four goals:
1. Girardi skates into him, rebound goal.
2. McDonagh pinches, is beat, two on one goal.
3. Hayes takes a penalty on the Rangers own PP. Talbot is screened on ensuing play, goal.
4. Rangers are exhausted, can’t clear, Talbot is peppered and making saves, defense literally falls down, goal.

When you put it this way, you can’t really put this loss on Cam. He played well enough to win, but his defense did him no favors.

A man who must have naked pictures of James Dolan having sex with gay kinky midgets

 The Rangers & Canucks ended the game in regulation, tied 4-4. Miller & Talbot were perfect in OT, so the game was over and we had the skills competition. I said it on twitter (@NYCTHEMIC) when it happened, the Rangers were doomed. You can’t blow games like this and Miller is better than Talbot.  I also question AV a bit, why is Zucc & Stepan leading off the shootout when you have Nash & MSL on your team? Maybe there was a reason behind this that I missed.

AV once again deferred on the shootout, putting the pressure on his own goalie. I would rather put the pressure on the other goalie and shoot second, if you ask me. Zuc & Stepan were stoned and the Canucks scored on both of their skills competition attempts. Canucks won a game the Rangers handed to them. While the NYR get the point, it was just a loss that should’ve never happened. This should’ve been a two point game.

Yea, I used the Islanders graphic for this because it was readily available !

 As a result of the Isles & Caps winning, the Rangers getting the losers point and the Pens losing, above are the updated standings. The Rangers are in a good spot right now. Sure, not winning this game sucks, but the point helped. Rangers have games in hand on everyone that matters. They have the house money, they just need to spend it correctly.

What’s more impressive than the NHL not suspending Dubinsky for the season for picking a fight with their golden cunt Sidney Crosby, is the fact that at the beginning of the month, the Pens were in first place. Now they are a wild card team, due to the hot play of the NYI, NYR & WSH. Can you imagine if the Panthers were able to catch up and bump Pitt out of the playoffs? That would be something.

Garrett Gorton is already printing out ISWT Tees

 As a result of the 4 game win streak being busted up, there is talk that this ginger 20 year old fuck could be starting in net for the Rangers tomorrow. I say this in a comedic way, but for real, this 20 year old soulless bastard, MacKenzie Skapski, born the day after the Rangers 1994 cup win, could be starting in Buffalo tomorrow night.

There are a few talking points here. Cam has played 8 straight now. He hasn’t been lights out. This would in no way bump Cam, but a way to give him a break. However, Hank was back on the practice ice today, so he could be coming back soon. You could just ride Talbot if Hank is coming back.

The Rangers are playing a bottom feeding lowlife team in Buffalo tomorrow. There would be no better time to start a rookie than now. Could give him experience. However, this is Hank’s team and Talbot just re-upped his deal. Does it really matter if Skapski gets time? Wouldn’t you want your best available option to make sure the two points are a slam dunk tomorrow?

AV’s press conference seemed to lean towards Skapski starting tomorrow. Like I said, you can go either way on this one. The NYR are scoring in bunches now, so they should bail out Skapski. You can always put in Cam if things are starting to get out of hand. However, if this backfires and the NYR lose to one of the worst teams in the league, than AV deserves to be second guessed.

I don’t know how close Hank is from returning. If it is within a week or two, I would still ride Talbot. If it’s going to be longer than expected, than perhaps you give the guy Eric Cartman hates already a shot. Whatever the case, this is a MUST-WIN game. That’s right, I said it. I always say on these blogs that no game is a must-win game, with a playoff spot secured, but there is no excuse to lose to Buffalo at all tomorrow. Anything under two points is unacceptable.

I’ll be back tomorrow tonight to recap Sabres/NYR. See everyone at the BOLD tomorrow night for the game!


Sean McCaffrey
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter

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