Rangers vs Islanders Reaction, Blizzard, Front-Runners in Nassau, Ticket Prices, King Contract & More

How many times will we see this face after a game with a top team?

 Before starting, when I started this blog, I didn’t realize it would be this long. I hope you stick with it and submit your feedback on twitter/fb/email like usual. As I say below, thank you for reading as site traffic has increased exponentially this last week. I’m glad you take the time out to read my ramblings, even if you just skim through!

 Welcome to another Ranger game review/report blog, here on DOINow.com. I would like to thank all the new readers we have picked up here over the last week and for the feedback. It seems the “Rangers Mid-Season Report Card”, “NHL All Star Game & Jagr’s Snub”, “Francesacon” & “The Royal Rumble Review” were all appreciated due to site traffic & response. So thank you for reading!

As always, you can find previous columns & reports on the right hand of the site in the archives section. I will not re-hash what I’ve said in previous blogs, so if you find a point kind of out there without an explanation, just scroll through previous blogs. I would suggest you read two of my “Henrik Lundqvist vs Cam Talbot” articles, which you can find here:

From 11/15/14 http://doisports.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-henrik-lundqvist-overpaid-looking-at.html
and
From 12/2/14: http://doisports.blogspot.com/2014/12/ranger-reaction-its-time-to-bench.html

The above blogs were both written before the Rangers historic winning streak. While it is impressive for Henrik to beast and feast on bottom feeder teams, Hank did, to his credit, steal a game or two during that stretch. That’s what he’s paid to do. He’s the highest paid goalie in the league and takes up the most cap room than any other goalie in the league. He should be standing on his head every night.

However, I will always question Hank’s relationship to this team. I made some points about why in this blog:
http://doisports.blogspot.com/2015/01/happy-new-year-rangers-finish-strong.html

Before tonight’s battle with the Islanders took place, I said and thought that Cam Talbot should’ve got the start. Yes, I know the Rangers were coming off of the NHL All-Star break, but the Islanders have owned Hank like a southern slave from the 1800’s all season long. The Islanders have embarrassed Hank. They have exposed Hank. They beat Hank so bad, that Hank wouldn’t even come out for the third period two weeks ago, in a game where the Islanders led 3-0, going into the third period. Despite the Islanders blowing more 3 goal leads than any other team in the league, Hank wanted nothing to do with them in that game. That’s just a defeated man.

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Cam Talbot Follows Me on Twitter! IN CAM WE TRUST!

I have been singing the praises of Cam Talbot here all season where it’s basically come to a satire/parody level. While at times, I lay it on extra thick for shits and kicks, I do truly believe Talbot needs to play more for reasons I got more in-depth on during the Rangers Mid-Season Report Card blog. Long story short, this will be Hank’s team due to that ridiculous contract he was presented. You need Hank fresh for the playoffs. Having him play more games than any other time in his career doesn’t make sense. The Rangers had the long run last year and the Olympics. You need Hank to be the Hank of old or at least live up to his reputation and contract, come the playoffs. You don’t need him out there every night.

We’ve seen Hank duck some teams before. He wanted no part of the LA Kings. He wanted no part of the Boston Bruins. He has opted for easier match-ups, at times during this season. It will be no shock to me if Cam Talbot starts on Thursday against the Habs, allowing Hank to raise his hands, in what should surely be a victory against Carolina, on Saturday.

Call me a Talbot fan-boy all you want, but the kid should play more, if at least to give Hank a rest for April. I think the team plays better in front of him too. Some people might say that’s because he’s young and the Rangers won’t take as many chances. I think it goes back to the team CAM-araderie issue I’ve talked about before. Zucc takes a team picture on a plane and Hank is nowhere to be found. Then, during the pre-game interviews tonight, Hank said he traveled solo to the game! So while the team traveled together, Hank traveled alone. When Hank has his silly boat TV shows, you don’t see his teammates ever on that boat, where you always see Zucc/Hags/Brass always hanging out.

I’m telling you, you won’t hear it now. You won’t hear it next year. But when the players, who have played with Hank, start telling war stories 15-20 years from now, I won’t be surprised when they say “Hank was kinda of a dick.” There’s something wrong about a guy who is just never involved with his teammates socially. There’s something wrong with a guy who blames his teammates after every loss, but quickly there to soak in the “HEN-RY” chants after a 6-1 drubbing of the Sabres. Anyone who has played team sports, at any level, will tell you this. Team sports, from at the earliest age, teaches the value of friendship, trusting your teammates and building bonds. Sure, the pros get paid to succeed, but really what’s Little League? It’s a way for kids to make friends. I don’t see Hank with any friends on this team. If you do, send me your evidence and prove me wrong.

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The Islanders Facebook Page got 150,00 More Likes During This Run

Switching subjects, as I continue on this extended introduction before recapping the game, let’s talk Rangers vs Islanders for a bit.  As we all know, here in the northeast, we had some snow. While “SNOWMAGEDDON” was hyped up as the Titanic hitting the Hindenburg, in reality, it was a minor storm. Most places in NY got 8-12 inches of snow, after predictions of up to 36 inches being reported. Suffolk County took the brunt of it, getting 2 plus feet in some places. As far as NYC and Nassau County, we were inconvenienced, but not trapped in our houses.

On an aside, after Bloomberg bobbled those two snow-storms several years ago, the city will always over-hype storms. They will never want to be caught with their pants down again in this situation. You will never hear any snow storm being predicted as something minor and manageable ever again.

I live 15 minutes away from the Nassau Coliseum. At 12PM, the snow started to stop. I was checking ticket prices for the game with my friends. Ever since my freshman year of high school, I’ve always attended Islander vs Ranger games at the dump in Uniondale. Due to the Islanders being competitive this year, tickets that used to be $25 are now $100. Tickets that were $100 are now $400. Keep in mind, last season, during the first Ranger/Islander game of the season at the Coliseum, I paid $50 each to sit in 102x Row A seats 1&2. Now all of a sudden, the Islanders have a team and that seat yesterday was going for $1000+.

It’s nice to see the Islanders are learning from big brother about “supply & demand.” The Islanders, like the Mets, were always the little brother in this town. What attracted their fanbase was cheap tickets. The Mets have always been affordable. Until this year, the Islanders were always affordable. With the Islanders going to Brooklyn and raising their ticket prices astronomically next season (And what a bad business move, why would they fuck over their season ticket holders by raising prices during their move?) it’s a shame that fans are being priced out in Nassau.

On Monday afternoon, with this snow storm being hyped up as the Hurricane Sandy of snow, ticket prices dropped to as low as $70, which is still too high for a regular season game at Nassau. I didn’t buy tickets, as it looked like the NHL was hell-bent on getting this game off, and not postponing this game until Wednesday. I figured if I waited until Tuesday, at around 5PM, ticket prices would drop.

What happened is that News 12 and other media outlets reported that the snow was weak. Driving bans were lifted. Photos of clear roads were shown. At around 2PM, those tickets sitting at $70 jumped back up to $150 a pop on secondary market sites like SeatGeek and StubHub. I wasn’t going to pay that much and decided to watch the game at home, where I always have a good time with my friends/neighbors in my building.

For shits and kicks, I checked to see what ticket prices were going for at 6:30, a half hour before game time. The cheapest ticket available was $170, on an end zone, in the 15th row, squished in the middle.  While it’s great that the “demand” for the NHL is huge in NY & for the sport, it’s a shame that creeps are gauging the secondary market to astronomical prices with their “supply.”

Who are Six Guys the majority of Islander fans don’t know, Alex?

 Listen, I don’t want to do the Cup thing, I’ve done it before and it’s dated. It’s a fact, Rangers & the Islanders have the same amount of Cups. I get it. However, my point here is that Ranger fans are always there. MSG is always sold-out. For the limited talk Hockey gets in the mainstream NY media, it’s always Ranger talk. Ranger tickets are always expensive, because there is always a demand for it.

The Islanders have the biggest front-running fan-base in all of NY. I have been to that Coliseum hundreds of times. It’s so quiet in there, that you can hear the beer vendors complain about not getting paid over-time. All of a sudden, the Islanders are good and everyone you know is now an Islander fan. I mean their social media statistics, attendance, and trending measures alone, have jumped to numbers never seen before. You have Islander fans talking shit like they’ve been watching this team their whole life, but couldn’t tell you the difference between John Spano and Bobby Nystrom. I truly feel bad for the life-long Islander fan, the father with his kids, those crazy women Islander fans, even the glitter guy fan, who have to deal with all these people jumping on their bandwagon and hurting their pocket with these elevated ticket prices.

Let me make it clear. There are good and loyal Islander fans out there. However, more and more of them are jumping out of the wood-work like creepy pedophiles lurking at a school playground. Please, as a dedicated sports fan, please do not talk shit about how good the Islanders are or winning a game in January unless you went through the fishstick years, the Yashin years,  the Peca years and the Nabby years. You are the same people that won’t be in Brooklyn the second the team falls off.

Plus, what these fans don’t know either is that the Islanders have sucked for so long and have been cheap even longer. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. These shit-talkers don’t realize this Islanders storm has been tracking for a while. With all these great draft picks from sucking for so long, the Islanders built a great nucleus. With not paying anyone for so long, the Islanders made savvy trades with playoff teams that had to dump players due to a salary cap. The Islanders are making the most with their perfect mix. They got the youth, they had time to develop homegrown talent and they had the money to make deals for Boychuk, Leddy and Halak.

Oh and for these all of a sudden “diehard” Islander fans – the real games start in April.

With the longest intro ever now complete, let’s look at the game:
 If there was a true blizzard in the NY area, it was the beating the Rangers took last night, losing 4-1. The game was effectively a shut-out, with Carl Hagelin connecting on a powerplay goal with 8 seconds left in the game. What has to make you happy as an Islander fan, is seeing Halak and his teammates pissed off that Hags scored. Whenever I see Hank giving up goals, I just see him pout and whine. When that Hags goal went in, Halak slammed his stick. This Islander team has something special, as much as I hate to say it. Of course, let’s see what they do in the playoffs, but if you’re an Islander fan, there’s no reason not to feel on top of the world right now.

The Rangers traveled to Nassau Coliseum, early Monday morning due to the weather reports. They were rested off the break and had no travel issues with this game. There was no excuse to come off so flat-footed, committing turnovers and just being beat in every facet of the game. It’s easier to make excuses when the team is coming off a back-to-back or has mumps (Can you believe mumps is a thing in 2015?) but no excuses here – the Rangers got beat by a better team, yet again.

As I said earlier, I thought Talbot should’ve started. Hank made 30 saves and was pressured alot. However, on the other side, Halak made 40 saves and made fantastic saves as that. My issue, with Hank, as it’s always been, if you want to be the highest paid goalie in the league and called “King”, then you need to outplay your competition and steal games. You can’t say the Rangers didn’t have opportunities. They did. Halak made the big saves. Halak shut the Rangers down. On the other side of the ice, Hank couldn’t pull off the superhuman saves that his counterpart was making. You could make the argument that Talbot may have not either, but the loss would’ve cost you $8 million less a season & with that money, maybe you get another center or a defensemen not making bad turnovers.

Some people said that Hank prevented this game from being 6, 7, 8 to nothing. What’s to say that Talbot doesn’t go out there and plays the game of his life? We will never know. All I do know is that Halak came up big for a big game.

I thought Hank had no chance on two of the goals tonight, as the Rangers defensemen played defense just as great as the defense in the All-Star Game at times, (Yes that’s a joke), but Hank gave up two bad goals. One of the goals, the Nielsen goal, made Hank look like Bill Buckner, as it just dribbled right by him. All you could do is groan. The first Islander goal, off the stick of Grabovski, looked like something out of the All-Star Game, a perfect tic-tac-goal. (And that’s not a joke.)

I can’t sit here and dump on Hank though. As a team, the Rangers just couldn’t find the net. I thought Nash made some great plays, but Halak was there to stop him time and time again. The Rangers got 40 shots off and the majority of them were good looks and powerplay shots, especially in that second period. They just couldn’t find the net. In the second period alone, Halak turned back 18 shots.

Where the Rangers just match up better against the Penguins this season, the Islanders just have the Rangers number this year. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a money thing. The Islanders are a young group, with solid veterans sprinkled in, where a lot of the Rangers already have their contracts and are an older team.

Zuccarello, who became a fan favorite very quickly, has not produced like he did last season. While he’s a punchy guy, he seems lost at times in these big games. He’s in a contract year and subject of trade rumors. Games like this doesn’t help his case, and that’s sad, because I enjoy him on this team.

I thought the Kreider penalty, where he was pushed into Halak, netting a goalie interference call, was a reputation call. Kreider’s name has to be discussed by the referees before every game. He just has that reputation, and I believe he will be looked at under a microscope. Can’t say it’s not deserved though.

I was kind of disappointed in the Rangers intensity. Tanner Glass & Dan Boyle, involved in scraps with the Islanders previously, with Boyle starting a fight at the end of the game two weeks ago, didn’t decide to get tough until the final result was long decided. I miss the old fights of old between these two teams. It’s not intense or important if you’re starting a fight when you’re already losing 4-0. It comes off cheap and desperate.

There’s not much else to really say about this game. It was one of those games where the Rangers goal scorers, outside of Nash were just there. I’ve talked about how in some games MSL is all the difference in the world or he’s just not noticeable. Today was the latter. The defense, which has been strong this year, was busted open. Hank, who looked like sharp in recent one-goal victories, couldn’t put up with the 60 minutes of pressure like Halak did.

Overall, this was one of the most disheartening losses of the season. There is nothing positive or anything to take away from this game, unless you think snapping a 2 hour goal-less streak against the Islander is something to jump up and down about.

Congratulation to the true Islander fans reading this blog, you deserve it. For the Rangers, it’s time to forget this shit-show and move on to the Canadiens.

If Cam Talbot is starting on Thursday, like I’m predicting he will, I will see you at MSG. Look for the guy in the Cam Talbot shirt, with a Miller Lite in his hand, if you want to talk or scream HEN-RY in my face.

As mentioned, Rangers finish off the month with two more games, both at home, playing Montreal on Thursday and Carolina on Superbowl Eve on Saturday. With the Islanders and Penguins both winning, the Rangers need a quick turnaround to keep pace in the standings.

I’ll be back late Thursday/early Friday with Habs/Rangers reaction.

Thanks for staying with this long blog and always, LETS GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey
BULLSMC@aol.com
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter gimmick

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