Rangers vs Islanders Reaction, Hank Gives Up & More Ranger/Isle Reaction

No intro today. You know where you are and where to get my previous articles. As shown by the picture above, there is no Rangers Papajohn’s coupon tonight, which seems like a rarity during this 13/15 game win streak. Not that I eat the shit anyway (I’m a local pizzeria type of guy) but it sucks knowing that Ranger fans won’t get their 50% off coupon tonight.

First things first, congratulations to the New York Islanders and their fanbase. I can’t be bitter here. I was offered several bets on this game, but stayed clear of all action, manhood bets or any other type of gambling on this game. I felt like the Rangers were due for a letdown. If you’ve been reading my columns, and I assume you have been, you know that I’m a Cam Talbot guy.

Henrik Lundqvist has been playing his best hockey of the season during this recent Rangers win streak. Sure, he’s beaten several good teams during this run, like San Jose and the Ducks with their back-up goalie. However, Hank has gobbled up a lot of bottom feeders, like the Hurricanes, Sabres, Devils, Oilers and the rest of the riff-raff.

You know there are tons of Talbot vs Lundqvist articles on this site already. I’m not going to re-hash, but will bring this up – when the Rangers needed two points, during drastic times this season, they’ve turned to Cam Talbot. They turn to Cam after Lundqvist gives up a shit-show of a performance, usually after a 4-5 goal game. Cam responds with shutouts.

I’ve made this point before, I’m not the coach. I know the workings of the Rangers. I get the deal. Hank is the guy. Hank should be playing less, with the hopes of a deep playoff run. However, Cam is starting against starting goalies during his starts, while Hank plays against back-up goalies. The Rangers should have Cam start against the back-up goalies, and let Hank rest. However, whether it’s an ego thing, or to help push Hank’s confidence, Hank gets the start against many back-up goalies. It’s been that way all season.

Another trend this season is that Hank gets embarrassed on home ice against quality teams. He got blown out in the home opener. Destroyed by the Islanders twice. Shamed against the Lightning three times. Put it this way, against the Islanders, he’s given up 9 goals in 4 periods, while giving up 15 goals to Tampa in 3 games. Sure, we love chanting “HEN-RY” when he’s stopping shots against the Sabres, but during this win streak, he has gotten 5 goals in many games by his offense. He hasn’t been pressured. When the Rangers needed him to steal a win, it’s happened very scarcely this season.

 To me, this wasn’t a “MUST-WIN” game. It’s not a playoff game. It’s only January. Sure, for shit-talking rights, you want to see the Rangers win this game and move up in the standings. This game doesn’t make or break the season, but piled up, Hank’s losses against top of the conference teams have hurt the Rangers all year. That is why, during this 13 wins out of 14 games win streak, the Rangers are only a wild-card team. I couldn’t stop laughing when Hank complained about not being an All-Star this year. Am I the only one who watched the first 33% of this season?

What infuriated me about this game was that Henrik Lundqvist quit on the Rangers. He wasn’t hurt. No one skated into him. He was 100%. Let me break this down for you, the Islanders have blown 5 three goal leads this season. While down 3-0, going into the third period, the game wasn’t over. After all, the Rangers mounted a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild, earlier this season, despite being down 4-0 in the third period.

Hank gives us a great 20 minutes here and there, but has not been a dominant 60 minute goalie all season. Hank was lights out in the first period. In the early goings of the second period, Hank made incredible saves. However, he would quickly fall apart and surrender 3 goals off of 19 shots in the second period.

Before continuing, let me make it clear. This game wasn’t Hank’s fault at all. Far from it. The Rangers played like shit. They couldn’t win a faceoff. They couldn’t dominate the puck. They were playing defense all game. They couldn’t clear the zone. When they did, the Islanders quickly marched up, with no one meeting them at the blue line. The Islanders dominated this game in every way possible. However, I did notice Halak, on the Islanders, making save after save, and that’s when the puck actually got to the net, as the Islanders have to be black and blue like one of Chris Brown’s dates, from blocking so many shots.

My point has always been this, IF YOU WANT TO BE THE HIGHEST PAID GOALIE, BY FAR, IN THE NHL, YOU NEED TO BE SPECTACULAR. Hank is not that at all.

As I said, The Rangers played like dog shit all night. Eventually, Hank couldn’t stop the levee from breaking and the Islanders flooded in goals.  The first goal, off the stick of Anders Lee (Remember him, Islanders reporter Shannon Hogan?)  was just the culmination of the Rangers being on defense for the whole second period. I felt the Rangers were due for a let down and that’s because I don’t believe in Hank to steal games the way he used to, which makes his contract that much more infuriating to me.

As these words reach your eyes, Henrik is blaming his teammates once again. This goes back to a point I made in an earlier blog – when the Rangers win, Hank takes the glory, when they lose, he blames his teammates. No wonder he wasn’t included in that Mats Zuccarello team picture.

Notice that Cam Talbot is front and center in that picture. Hank is just not a team guy. Time and time again, he will blame his teammates but never accept responsibility for his own shortcomings, such as giving up a short handed goal, late in the third period, making the score 3-0, off the stick of Frans Nielsen. It was a deflating goal.

Make no bones about it, the Rangers came off flat tonight. What made me think I’ve been right about King Contract all along is the way he didn’t come out for the third period. The Isles have a history of blowing 3 goal leads. The game wasn’t over. Was AV trying to protect Hank by pulling him? Maybe. However, great athletes stay in the game. Michael Jordan could shoot 2-20, but he will be out there on the court. Mariano Rivera could blow a save, but be out there to finish off an inning. Peyton Manning has a torn fucking quad, but he still is out there with his team losing. THE GREAT ATHLETES ALWAYS STAY PLAYING.

Hank gave up tonight. Even if AV pulled him, Hank could’ve said he wanted to be back out there. Even in his post-game press conference, Hank is whining about turnovers and not how he wanted to be out there for the third period. I’m sorry, there is no way you can spin this – HANK GAVE UP ON THE RANGERS.

It’s great when the Rangers are scoring 5 goals a game for Hank or beating some bottom feeder team, but when the Rangers needed him the most, Hank took a seat on the bench and let Cam Talbot shut out the Islanders in the third period, making 12/12 saves. Even if you want to play the Rangers shoddy play, Jaroslav Halak turned down 27/27 shots for a shutout. When do Ranger fans jump on the Talbot train and admit that Hank is overpaid and his contract will cripple this team moving forward, similar to Carmelo Anthony’s deal on the Knicks? Is Halak better than Hank? Halak was tested, and sure, he got three posts, but that’s what happens when other players respect the goalie and try to be too tricky with their moves.

For the Rangers, I thought Rick Nash played well, making a beautiful move off of two Islander defenders and getting the post off a shot. Brassard, who always seems nervous to shoot the puck, followed up, with what should’ve been an easy goal, with a post. Stepan was injured, which makes you worry, as he’s been injury prone a lot. He’s another one who doesn’t shoot the puck as often as he should.

It won’t happen, but if it’s up to me, Talbot should start the next three games, since it’s all playoff contending teams and we’ve already seen how Hank shits his pants against playoff teams this season. During this streak alone, Talbot has a better GAA and SV% than Hank, and played tougher competition during that time. GIVE TALBOT A CHANCE. Let’s see what we truly have with him.

This was one of the worst Rangers losses this season and like all bad losses this season, it has come with Hank in net. It’s to embrace “IN CAM WE TRUST” and let WEBLEEDBLUE.com make some money off their Cam  Talbot shirts. I will never forget Hank not taking the ice for the third period of this game and giving up. I expect this shit from the Jets, not the Rangers.

There’s not much to say about this game, except that this is a long season and the games really matter come April. Will Hank deliver for us then? A Rangers fan has to hope so.

The Rangers tough schedule continues with games on the road with Boston, Columbus and Pittsburgh, all on the road. I’d have Cam start all three, but I’m assuming Cam starts Thursday and Hank will make Rangers fans nervous on Friday and Sunday. Hank has always been beaten like a red-headed step child against Boston, which would make sense for him to run away from that game, just like how he refused to play the Kings and wanted to play against the Ducks & their back-up goalie.

For the Islander fans reading this, congratulations. The better goalie and team won tonight. However, Stanley Cups are won in the Spring. Rangers have 3 more games, all at the dump called the Nassau Coliseum with the Islanders. Those three games could determine playoff positioning.

I’ll tell you one thing, no one in the east wants the Islanders or Rangers in the first round this year. The hockey and NY fan in me would love to see a Rangers vs Islanders Prince of Wales showdown, come May.

Another thing I would like to comment on is that I love that this rivalry means something again. I do think the Islanders bandwagon only  comes out when they are winning, but it’s great for NY sports to have two teams that actually can contend for a championship. Enjoy the night of trash-talking Islander fans, you deserve it.

I’ll be back late Thursday/early Friday with Ranger/Beantown reaction.


Sean McCaffrey
@nycthemic on the twittter

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