From the desk of: RAISE GRESCHNER WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS: The Blueshirst Are Coming! The Blueshirts Are Coming! Battered and Bruised, Tex's Rangers Are Finally Coming Home.
A comeback overtime victory over Detroit should come with its just rewards. Now I'm forced to be fair-minded, and at least afford the Rangers the opportunity of playing a few games at home.
After going into Newark and Philadelphia, and allowing both teams at least one day of wellness at our expense, I was beginning to wonder if we were the Broadway Blueshirts or the American Red Cross. How ironic I thought considering we weren't allowed to know what ails Henrik Lundqvist, who has been hurt since the Los Angeles Kings game! And speaking of the King, their is still no contract extension in place.
Outside of another loss, I guess what we got in Philly was a style much more familiar to Rangers fans. Brandon Mashinter threw haymakers with Wayne Simmonds. Derek Dorsett and Zac Rinaldo scrapped as well. A misconduct penalty and a bunch of misconduct minutes highlighted the Rangers night. Typical Rangers/Flyers, but did it make you feel any better? I felt marginally better that they at least displayed a backbone, and that Brad Richards scored again. Almost all his goals have come on horrible angles. But what ever works for him works for me, as long as he continues to be productive.
Cam Talbot had himself one hell of an NHL debut. He faced 27 shots and stopped 25 pucks. His overall performance versus the Flyers was considerably better than the game's final outcome indicates. For this one game at least, it was a shame the Rangers forward lines suffer from a scoring disability, as Thursday night was no different.
Then the Rangers arrived in Hockeytown last night for the ninth and final game of this road trip through hell. Cam Talbot faced another 34 shots, and turned away 32 in three regulation periods. Detroit did not have a shot on goal during the overtime session. That makes 71 shots faced and four goals allowed, for a .941 save percentage. That's a good debut by any standard.
If John Tortorella had a dog house for rogue Blueshirts, I'm still not sure what Alain Vigneault's method of madness is yet. He did publically put Mats Zuccarello (a healthy scratch against Philly) and Derick Brassard on notice though, and has aimed a few choice words through the media at certain unnamed players along the short haul so far. He just did it with calm in his voice. Torts was more explanatory with his actions. As we know, he shared nothing with the media and went through great lengths to not criticize his players publically. You knew who was riddled with mistakes and who was in trouble when they suddenly disappeared from the ice.
Both Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard responded quickly to Coach Vigneault's chiding. In fact, three Rangers forwards scored their first goals of the season against Detroit. Benoit Pouliot, who also has also received an early low grade from Coach scored the Rangers first goal. MattZooks scored the game tying goal, and Derek Brassard scored the winner in overtime.
The Rangers managed six out eighteen points to start the season. Okay. They will have that many more home games to come. With only fifteen goals to date, the Rangers are currently the least scoring team in the NHL, twenty-five goals behind the Eastern Conference leading Maple Leafs, and twenty-eight goals behind NHL leader San Jose.
Defensively at least, they seem to have plugged-up some leaks. They have allowed thirty-three goals against, but the rest of the conference is starting to catch up. Even the two eastern division leaders, Toronto and Pittsburgh, have allowed thirty and twenty-eight goals respectively.
Next stop - Madison Square Garden, with $1 billion dollars of renovations finally complete. Oh, and by the way, I'm sick and tired of the ticket increases!