Monday, April 16, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ It's a Series Now; Game Three


Pictures from Game Two

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Just Keep Playing Blueshirt Hockey.

I wonder how the Refs like their payoff, in American dollars or Canadian?  Because Saturday's Game Two against the Sens was one of the worst officiated games I ever witnessed.  Yeah, I was there, and what I saw made me sick.  And not because the Rangers lost in overtime either.  I'm still waiting for someone to show me where Brad Richards deserved a roughing penalty.  Sorry, that one was a little lost on me.  Just as an elbow to Ryan Callahan's head went unpunished.  At one point, two pucks appeared on the ice at the same time.  Way to go guys!

Sometimes I forget this isn't the old NHL from my childhood, when players still policed each other.  This league of never ending rule modification is getting farther and farther away from what's in the best interest of their players.  In the League's system, you get to be an on-ice rogue for as long as you act first and don't target the head.  Do that, and odds are you'll get away with something.  But don't you dare retaliate.  Or at least that's the way Brendan Shanahan sees things.  Because apparently, what's good for one player, isn't necessarily good for the other.

When I was growing up, players thought twice before perpetrating any kind of crap upon each other. Why?  For fear of getting their ass kicked - Period.  I will only say the Player System was far more successful in striking an equilibrium between players, thuggery, and a hockey game, than the Big Brother legislation technique practiced by the League today.

Bottom line, Brendan Shanahan served Carl Hagelin a three game suspension for a hockey play that ended rather high to the head of Daniel Alfredsson, which resulted in yet another concussion for the Sens' forward.  It wasn't any different than the elbow Ryan Callahan took.  Difference was, Callahan kept playing seemingly undeterred.  While Alfredsson did not return to Game One action.  Meanwhile, Matt Carkner only received a one game suspension for premeditated violence upon Brian Boyle.

This just wreaks of the call against Adam Graves for a slash to the wrist of Mario Lemieux back in 1992, that supposedly broke the Penguins' star's wrist.  While Graves sat out his suspension, Mario Lemieux returned to play and helped eliminate the Rangers from the playoffs.  It sucked then.  This sucks now.

Aside from all that, and losing, Saturday's game was actually a great game to be at.  And say what you will, but the Senators did what they needed to do at the precise time they needed to do it.  The Sens took a time out from Hockey to send their own message at MSG Saturday.  It was smart on their part now that they are headed back to Canada, and have wrestled home ice advantage away from the Rangers after literally knocking the Rangers off their game.

It took roughly twenty-two minutes to get through the first 2:30 of the game.  That's because the Sens'  Matt Carkner stalked Brian Boyle and assaulted him in retaliation for shenanigans stemming from Game One.  Brandon Dubinsky was labeled as a Third-In during the ensuing melee, and along with Carkner, was served a Game Match penalty.  On the way off the ice towards the locker room, Brandon Dubinsky did his best to channel his rage on a water cooler before disappearing from sight for the rest of the evening.

The Stripes try and assess the damage of the opening melee.

Matt Carkner is led off the ice after assaulting Brian Boyle.

Dubinsky's ejection would hurt the Rangers dearly late in the game.  Boyle and Dubinsky are usually on the ice together.  In Dubinsky's absence, Brian Boyle was forced into taking face-offs the rest of the evening.  Dubinsky's defense, fore check, and overall physicality would have been a welcome presence in the third period.  With him on the ice, maybe Ottawa doesn't tie the score late in the third period.

And maybe if Michale Del Zotto doesn't knock yet another puck inside his own net, we win that damn game!  Michael Del Zotto has done that before.  I like him, but he better get his crap together now.  He takes far too many unnecessary chances handling the puck in front of Henrik.  And that needs to be corrected.  It's the second time in the last month and a half I watched him score on our own net.  I find that absolutely PONDEROUS!

The rest of the story goes like this - Overtime.  Loss!

The Rangers and the Sens are now tied at a game apiece as the series shifts to Ottawa for the next two  games.

Just regroup and play Ranger Hockey boys.  I personally don't think the Senators can sustain their toughness all series.  That's more our style of play.  At some point, Ottawa will need to go back to doing what they do best, which is pass, skate with speed, and move without the puck.  The Sens did what they had to do Saturday.  But were it not for a Del Zotto and some bad breaks, they should be down 2-0 this series.  The Sens were fortunate to gain a tie.  There are only so many minutes the Sens can afford to keep Chris Neil on the ice.


Game Three
Quarter Finals

Ottawa Senators

The Great White North


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