Saturday, October 31, 2009
The Goalies: Again – we might as well have rested Hank. But to his credit – Lundqvist played well enough to win. It is not often that the losing goalie has a better save percentage on the night than the winning goalie – but that is what happened here. Hank stopped 29 or 32 shots for a .916. Backstrom also played well – stopping 18 of 20 for a .900 save percentage. Not quite as good as Lundqvist – but good enough to win. So the Goalies were not the difference – it was the shots allowed.
Special Teams: We were marginally better here. We killed 3 penalties and the Wild killed 2. But we didn't score on the powerplay – which would have made a huge difference here. And credit the Wild for committing only 2 penalties.
The New Veteran Rangers without Gaborik are down one huge player. Prospal had an assist on Marc Staal's goal. And that was it.
The Kid Rangers for the second straight game had a straight-from-the minors goal. This time a second period 18 foot wristshot from Dane Byers. And Anis was plus 2 on the night with an assist – hard to do in a loss.
The Returning Rangers gave us assist from Redden and Staal.
Defense on Offense: As just mentioned – 2 assists from Marc and Wade. No shots from Teen Ranger (Del Zotto).
In Conclusion: for some horrible reason two teams that haven't beat anyone in regulations have managed to beat us. We're not scoring enough. And we're giving up too many chances. It's really hard to win when you're outshot 32 to 20. That's 5 shots on goal in the first period. 8 shots in the second. And trailing in third we managed only 7 shots on net. You can't win like that – especially against Backstrom who has some skills between the pipes.
We've lost 5 out of 6 now. Suddenly, we stink. Of course – without Gaborik and Avery we are not the same hockey team. Let's hope their respective knees recover soon.
Next Up: The Dreaded Sunday Matinee. Boston Bruins at the Garden. Puck drops 1pm. At least it will be intimate – with the Giants and Jets on at the same time – you guys and me may be the only people watching.
Back in the morning with the Pregame.
Friday, October 30, 2009
So our Rangers are hurting as they limp into Minnesota. And after a one game reprieve against Phoenix, we have officially resumed “reeling”.
Okay – on with the Preview:
But hope springs eternal in my Ranger heart. Rangers will win 3-1. And the sun will rise again.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
And after a one game reprieve – we are officially reeling once again.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Rangers have dodged a few bullets recently. They broke their 3 game skid Monday, beating the Coyotes 5-2. Marian Gaborik – who has been lighting up the league with his offense – appears to be recovering from an undisclosed lower body injury. And Henrik Lundqvist has escaped from a auto accident Tuesday with apparently no ill effects.
Primary Skaters: Long Island is led by the 9 points of left winger Matt Moulson (5 G, 4 A). Right winger Kyle Okposo has 7 points (1 G, 6 A). Center John Tavares also has 7 points (3 G, 4 A). And beyond that – not much else.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Rangers are calling it a "lower body injury". So at least Glen Sather's top notch medical staff have ruled out the upper torso.
We're also hearing that it is is not the hip or the groin - the areas that the NHL's 2nd leading scorer got operated on last year. And unlike training camp - no one has used the word "tweaked".
Gaborik himself told reporters today: "It's nothing major". So there's some comfort in that.
Let's hope Marian is right. Because if healthy - Gaborik is on a pace to get more than 60 goals this year.
The latest news is that P.A. Parenteau of the Hartford Wolfpack (the Ranger minor league team) will be joining the Ranger team shortly - presumably to replace Gaborik in the lineup against the Islanders on Wednesday night.
Anyway - regardless of what the mystery injury is - from all of us at Blueshirt Brothers - Get Well Soon!
“It's nothing related to my groin or hip or torso. We'll see how everything is in the morning. I collided with one of their players, but it's nothing major. It happened with about five minutes left and the game was pretty much over."
So we have a “lower body injury”.
Oh yes – and there was a hockey game last night. The Rangers finally ended their 3 game slide, jumping to a 4-0 lead and ultimately winning 5-2.
(Be sure to read Nugman's amazing in-game analysis in the several posts below. Did anyone else notice that while Nugman was away the Rangers kept losing? Anyway, I'm glad he's back.)
The Coyotes are a hard working (if ownerless) hockey team and were 6-3 coming in to last night. They had their moments but in the end the Rangers had too much offense and too much Hank.
The Goalies: Lundqvist made 30 saves on 32 shots for a .938 save percentage. He came up huge once again. Phoenix had to pull Bryzgalov after he let in 4 goals on just 11 shots (.636). LaBarbera did better, saving 12 of 13 (.922) but it was our guy who made the difference. We were outshot 32 – 24 on the night, but having the superstar goalie made all the difference.
Special Teams: Another win on the powerplay. We were 2 for 5 and the Coyotes were 0-5. And that was too big an advantage for Phoenix to overcome. The Coyotes did score a shorty – but we did better than they did on the night.
The New Veteran Rangers were most of the show once again. The amazing Gaborik had 2 more goals and an assist. Vaclav Prospal continues to amaze with a goal and 2 assists. Boyle had an assist. Brashear had an assist! Kotalik had an assist. Lisin continues to be on the rise here with a goal, an assist, and some great play.
The Returning Rangers added just a little. Dubi, fresh off his benching, had an assist. Avery drew a penatly or two. And that was it.
The Kid Rangers again contributed big time. Anisimov had a nice spin-o-rama goal. I'm running out of adjectives for Del Zotto, but Delzy added 2 more assists.
Defense on Offense: Had Kid Ranger's 2 assists. Something every night from this bunch.
In Conclusion I had predicted a 3-2 win and we won 5-2. This is exactly how the Tortorella plan is supposed to work. The new guys score. The defense scores. Hank is Hank. Let's just hope Gaborik is okay.
How We Stand: The win puts us at 8-3-1 with 17 Points. This means 4th place in the Eastern Conference, 5 points above 5th place NJ, and just one point behind the 1st place Penguins. And by the way - our 46 goals this season lead the National Hockey League! How about that?
Next Up: Wednesday we have the hard-luck but still hated Islanders. Let's rest Hank – and Gaborik if he's sore.
Monday, October 26, 2009
7:28 to go, Rangers lead 5-2, and the crowd is breathing a lot easier as the 3 game streak is coming to an end.
UPDATE: Gaborik just limped off Rangers bench to head to lockeroom, no idea why, but....F*CCCCCCCKKKKKKK
It's 4-2 Rangers heading to the 3rd
Rangers follow with another strong shift where Gilroy draws a tripping penalty. Can put the game away here with a power play goal
12:44 left in second, 3-0 Rangers
2 points for Higgins on the season....has to get it going. Torts benched him in Montreal, where he played for 6 years, as a wake up call. Tonight he has gotten him out there on the power play twice, but still no results.
14:31 left in the second, and refs missed a penalty on the Coyotes
UPDATE: First period over, Rangers lead 2-0. Rangers allow 9 shots in the first, but unlike Montreal, almost no quality chances. (On offense, just 5 shots. Rangers aren't giving up anything, but don't seem to have a lot of life in their legs either)
Observation: From the always raucus atmosphere in Montreal the other night, to...whatever is going on at the garden tonight. Typically weak opponent, maybe some people suffering a little Yankees hangover, maybe a little Giants depression, who knows, but I can't remember such an enormous dropoff in crowd noise and life from one Rangers game to the next.
* - New Nugman phrase, averyian penalty? A penalty that is stupid, usually caused by a player playing with anything but his head, but almost never hurts the team since the guy was just made to play in New York and his kharma is just too good.
The crowd is LIFELESS.
UPDATE: Staal draws a hooking penalty. Strong effort from Staal in front of the Coyotes net. Michelleti LOVES it. Rangers go 4 on 3 for 50 seconds. (Rangers bring out 4 forwards, they want it)
Yanks with a few days off, Giants coming off a game I'd rather not think about, time to get the Rangers back on track and I can't think of a better way than some in-game blogging, a few beers, and some agressive profanity.
Go Blueshirts, see you all at 7 pm est.
Who The Hell Are We Playing? The Phoenix Coyotes are 6-3-1 which is currently good enough for the 8th and final seed in the Western Conference. They are 3-1 on the road. Hank has beaten them the last two times we faced them.
Primary Skaters: The “yotes” are led by the 9 points of RW 33 year old Shane Doan (3 G's, 6 A's). Radim Vrbata may be missing a vowel or two in his last name, but he's leading Phoenix with 4 goals.
On Defense: There's only 6 guys. They'll all play. Usually rookies Del Zotto and Gilroy play with the overpriced vets Redden and Rozsival, but Coach has been shaking that up too.
In Goal: No way Valiquette gets a start now. Maybe the next game against the Islanders. But I think we will start Hank until he either wins or gets run over enough times to cause an injury
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I said "blanking" not as an obscenity - but because I'm not quite sure what the verb should be.
So not stumbling. And not reeling. But they are getting that feeling where you start to doubt yourself and the confidence and delusions of grandeur that came with seven straight wins has faded away.
(Editor - Hey - Dave Pucks - stop with the thesaurus and do the preview already)
(Pucks - Will do, chief)
Who The Hell Are We Playing? The Montreal Canadiens - are struggling at 4-5 and currently below the playoff "line of death" despite having the former Ranger Scott Gomez on their side. The Canadiens (also called the Habs for a reason I once knew and forgot) are the premier franchise in this league but have fallen on some hard times recently - nearly missing the playoffs last year and doing even worse so far this year. In fact, their victory over the "'slanders" last night was their first non-OT win of the season.
Primary Skaters: The Habs are led by Center Tom Plekanec’s 8 points (2 G’s, 4A’s), and Mike Cammalleri’s 7 Points (2 G’s, 5 A’s). Only Brian Gionta has more than 2 goals (he’s got 4).
In Net: The Canadiens have split time between Carey Price (6 games) and Jaro Halak (4 games). Price is 2-4 with a .886 save percentage and a 3.36 goals against average. Halak has been much better with a 9.21 save percentage and an impressive 1.87 goals against average. Our own Hank, in comparison, has a .922 save percentage and a 2.42 goals against average. Let’s hope they start Price.
Scoring & Defense: The Canadiens score 2.44 goals per game this season and let up 3.22. The Rangers have been slipping in both categories this week, but still average 3.7 goals per on offense and let up only 2.6 per on Defense. So on paper it’s a 3-2 win for us.
Special Effects: Our special teams continue to rock. With a week to go in October we’ve already got 12 PP goals – and we had only 48 all of last year. The Ranger PP is 12 for 44, a 27.3% success rate. The Canadiens on the other hand, are hitting on just 16.7%, almost a Last-Year-Ranger’s pace. On the PK, we’ve killed penalties 86% of the time – while Montreal has killed just 77.1%. So we’re in the plus category here as well.
Scheduling Conflicts: We’re coming off a tough Thursday night loss at home to the Devils, while the Canadiens broke a light sweat polishing off the Islanders 4-1. So the rest factor is about even – unless the Habs get in early and go out partying Friday night.
Probable Lines: Really? You know – this was a fairly easy section to write for the past 9 games – but after the mix and match free-for-all that we saw Thursday night – I can honestly say I don’t have a clue what the line will be. I mean, Coach Tortorella said the same thing in the post game interview. He did call pairing Dubinsky and Gaborik to be “stale” – so it’s a safe bet the Dub-Warrior is off the top line and Prospal will center Gabby and somebody. But who? Avery? He’s been on every other line so far. Lisin? Kotalik?
Higgins and Callahan seem to be in some kind of free fall this season. Higgy hasn’t even scored yet and is getting more despondent by the day (in an almost Nugman-esque fashion).
So – sorry –I don’t have any probable lines for you right now – other than Gabs and Prospal on the top line and Brashear and Boyle on the bottom.
On Defense: Again – Torts has been messing with the pairings. I’m pretty sure I even spotted Gilroy and Del Zotto together out there once on Thursday. But it’s the same "Original Six" guys – and despite a couple of “bonehead plays” (Tort’s terminology) on Thursday they’re played pretty well overall.
In Goal: Unfortunately, with the ship taking on water, you gotta throw Hank out there until we can win a hockey game. Although Vali might be able to win this game – we do have the Islanders coming up. And last time Vali was a disaster – and we can’t afford another one right now.
Dave Puck Predicts: I always think we’re gonna win – that’s part of my definition of what it is to be a Ranger fan. But the Canadiens can’t play "system" like the Devils and can’t skate and shoot like the Sharks. So even though it’s the road – I think our Rangers will get 3 for Lundqvist (and maybe more) and I can’t see the Habs netting more than a pair.
No need to panic yet. But if we lose again tonight – then you can feel free to panic - just a little - in the privacy of your own home. For tonight, let's call it pre-panic readiness. Something no Ranger fan should ever be without. And if we do lose 3 in a row I can say we're reeling - which is worse than that "blanking" term I still can't come up with.
Depending on the Yankees and Nugman’s state of mind and sobriety – he may jump in for some game stuff. Or he may be gone forever - I really don't know. Otherwise I’ll give a post-game reaction and then the full recap sometime after midnight.
Oh, and our poll results are:
77% “Don’t Go Nugman, we need you.”
23% “Who’s Nugman?”
I think the 23% are just Nugs friends giving him a hard time. Nugs, if you’re out there, come home. All is forgiven.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Lundqvist has owned the Devils as of late - especially in our own building - but not last night. Hank wasn't bad - he was good - but not stratosphere stellar. Still, if he'd been given that key 3rd goal - he'd have gotten us at least to OT (the 4th goal was an empty netter).
As Tortorella said in the post game - the Rangers are getting goals from Gaborik - but they need other top six forwards to light the lamp - especially Higgins and Callihan. Higgins has zero goals and seems to be fading. Tortorella did not like what he saw on the ice and kept mixing up the lines trying to find something that works - a new tactic for him - he has been pretty patient with his lines up to now. But Torts has no patience for losing - and he will coach this team - so he tried everything he could think of. Afterwards, Johnny T told Sam Rosen that he wants to look at the game tape to figure out what lines we're going to see Saturday.
Anyway - on the the unhappy recap:
The Goalies: I don't want to have to write this part. It hurts. Brodeur faced more shots - 31 - and only let up 2 goals for a .935 save percentage. And Hank, facing just 24 shots, let three of them slide by for a save percentage of .875. It was that discrepancy that let the Devils win this game.
Of course - the first Devil goal by Parise was a full breakaway as the Devil's top scorer was untouched behind the Ranger defense. And it took a double deflection and an unaccosted Dainius Zubrus at the side of the net to get that third goal past Hank. So I would not blame the King for this one.
Still, in spite of everything, if we'd gotten that 3rd goal for Lundqvist - it says here we would have found a way to win this game.
Special Teams: We actually won this part of the game - what there was of it. The Rangers were whistled for just one penalty and killed the lone powerplay against them. And we converted one of the three chances they were given on the Powerplay. So our specials are still looking good.
The New Veteran Rangers were again the main contributors. Gaborik got us yet another goal. Kotalik added a goal and an assist. And Prospal had an assist as well. Another "pointless" night for Higgins though.
The Returning Rangers? Well, Girardi had an assist. But our forwards? Callahan? Captain Drury? Dubi (minus 2 on the night)? All "Pointless". And we're going to need more from these guys to compete.
The Kids were held off the scoreboard, but every game where Gilroy and Del Zotto play competent defense - like tonight - is a victory for these rookies. And it was out teenager - Zots - who finally stood up for Lundqvist and went after a Devil who tried slashing Hank. (By the way - contrary to some reports you've read - the Rangers can still send Zots back to Junior hockey this year - but not to the AHL - and if they send him - they can't get him back until the Junior season ends.)
The Defense added just a little offense. As a unit they netted one assist.
In Conclusion our once red hot Rangers now have a little two game losing streak going - a two game HOME losing streak. Tortorella had his team in better physical conditioning than the other teams at the start of the season - and we got a nice jump on the opposition. But now - it may just be that other clubs - playing for the long haul - are catching up to us.
Or it could be that a little success has some Rangers thinking that all they have to do is throw their skates on the ice to win. Dubinsky seems to have played his way off the Gaborik line. Tortorella referred to several "bonehead" plays losing he game for us.
But it may just have been an off night. We outshot our opponents 31 to 25. With Hank in goal that's usually enough for a win. We didn't give Hank the proper support back there - but Give Fatso a little credit. Brodeur can still win a game now and again - he's not a bad goalie.
And also - I agree with Dave Maloney. Whatever's causing it, the guys need a little more oomph.
Next Up: Game Six at the Stadium against the Angels. Sorry, I mean the Rangers get one day off and hit the road to face the Canadians and Scotty Gomez in Montreal at 7pm Saturday night. The once proud Habs are 4 and 5 and currently in 10th place in the conference despite beating the hapless 'slanders 5-1 last night.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Who The Hell Are We Playing?: Our opponent tonight is the Devil we know – the New Jersey Devils – our nemesis – that team we hate above all others. The Newark team is 4-3 so far this year, with one of those losses to your New York Rangers. If the season ended today (everyone would freak out that season ended in October and) the Devils would be the Eastern Conference's 7th seed.
Primary Skaters: NJ is led by the 7 points of left winger Zach Parise (3 G's, 4 A's) and the 7 points (4 G's, 3 A's) of center Travis Zajac. For a team leader though, Zach's goals-per-shots-on-goal are an anemic 9.1%. Not a lot of scoring here.
In Net: The one and only – most overrated goalie in the history of hockey Martin Brodeur. His save percentage this year is .903 and his goals against average is 2.68. Our King Henrik dominates in both categories with a 2.33 goals against average and a save percentage of .927
Scoring & Defense: The Devils have had trouble putting the puck in the net, much like we did last year. So far they've average 2.57 goals a game. The Rangers are faring much better this year with 3.89 goals a game. And the Devils are letting up 2.71 goals per contest while our guys have let up just 2.44 per game (and this average was much better before Valiquette forgot to show up against the Sharks this week).
Scheduling Conflicts: After back-to-back games on Friday (Atlanta) and Saturday (Carolina) where the Devils scored a pair of goals in both games – they have been given a surreal 4 days off to rest and focus their rage on the New York Rangers. We, on the other hand, have had 2 free days to try and get our mojo back after our streak-ending blowout loss to the Sharks. And the trip for the Devils couldn't be shorter – so no travel trauma is on our side this time (not that it helped last time).
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I don't understand it. The move makes no sense to me. And now seeing that Hank got the win in Toronto (a game where he ended with a lot of saves, but my drunken eyes didn't see many good chances in a game the Rangers again dominated), and Vally gets lit up against San Jose.....why? All I can wonder is why? To get Hank another easier win? Because Toronto is in the east, and technically their game matters more to the standings? I wanna win every game. I want Hank in net against the Sharks, let Vally handle the Maple Leafs of the world.
On to the GameDay preview:
Who The Hell Are We Playing?: San Jose is 4-3-1 this season, good enough for the 8th and final seed if the season ended today (which would be mighty odd after just 8 games, don't you think?). But they're just one point behind Phoenix for 1st place in the pacific division. Last year of course they topped the NHL with 117 points.
Primary Skaters: San Jose is led by Center Mighty Joe Thorton with 13 points (2 G's, and a league leading 11 A's). The famous Left winger, Mr. Dany Heatley who talked his way out of Ottawa and nearly on to the Rangers before landing on the Sharks, has 10 points (5 G's, 5 A's). Center Pat Marleau leads the team with 6 goals (and 7 points).
In Net: Their primary goalie is Evgeni Nabokov, with a 2.63 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. In contrast, King Henrik is better – having only let up 2.15 per game with a .932 save percentage
Scoring & Defense: So far the Sharks have been averaging 3.13 goals a game (we have been letting up 1.88 on average). And San Jose's defense has let up 2.88 goals a game (we are scoring an amazing 4 goals per)
Scheduling Conflicts: The Sharks come in after an off day. They beat the Islanders 4-1 on Saturday and lost 4-1 to the Caps on Thursday. After tonight they get two off days and play Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Rangers beat the Leafs on Saturday but didn't look all that great doing it. So in theory, both teams will be in about the same state rest-wise. But in reality, as the Sharks have been away from home and partying in New York all weekend - they may show some sag by the Third period tonight. The New York Nightlife: that's what we call home ice advantage.
Special Effects: The Sharks powerplay scores 26.5% of the time (the resurgent Rangers PP is at 26.3%) . San Diego's PK is at 81.6% and ours is an amazing 88.1%
And for your New York Rangers, Probable Lines:
1: The GAB line: Gaborik-Dubinsky-Prospal – still firing on all cylinders. One more point for Gaborik and he breaks the all time Ranger record for consecutive point games from the start of the season – which has stood since the 1950s.
2: The former American Line will now be known as the Old Rangers with Avery replacing Chris Higgins – who has not scored and is struggling and was demoted by Tortorella in the 3rd period Saturday. Avery joins Drury and Callahan – all contributing Rangers from last year's team.
3: The third line changes yet again as Kotolik joined Sunday from the 4th line and Higgins flops aboard tonight from the 2nd line. Anisimov will have had different linemates in 3 straight games now. We'll call it the HAK line (for Higs, Anis, and “Kannon” Kotalik).
4: The Brash Line – named for Brashear – stays the same with Boyle and Lisin. Lisin contributed with a Goal Saturday. Or Voros, a healthy scratch Saturday – could scoot in here
On defense - Torts has the 6 backstops playing pretty well – though Rozy's not exactly sparkling back there. This will be the 9th game – the one where the official decision on Del Zott0 will have to be made – but save your worry beads – Zots has made the hockey club.
And in goal – the continuing question - should we rest Hank tonight? I would have done this over the weekend – but not sure about now. You would want him against the Devils later in the week though – so maybe he sits here.
Predictions: Not sure what to make of this. We've played worse these last 2 games, but kept our win streak alive at 7. So far Torts has stepped in and fixed any trouble spots – and he'll need to here to keep the streak going. Tough opponent.
I'm not sure what Nugman will do – he's having a crisis of faith right now (and please take a moment to support him in the poll on the top right side of this page) – but no matter what - one of us will be back to recap later on tonight. Thanks to all of you who voted in the pool – and if you haven't – it just takes a second.
Puck hits the ice at 7PM. I think we've got an not-on-MSG cable issue tonight – so you can expect to find me hunting down a good web-feed of the game.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Can you friggin believe this?
We're tied with Pittsburgh with 14 points at the top of the entire NHL. As I am writing this - we have the most goals of any team at 32. We are 7 and 1.
Coming in to the season - I thought we'd be good. At least, I hoped we be good. But I never in my wildest imagination thought we'd be this good. I mean, the Flyers, for example, are a pretty good hockey team. And they're 3-2-1. And they trail us by 7 points already.
Right now it's very simple. If we can score 4 goals a game, as we have averaged over the first eight contests, it's going to be very tough for any other team to beat Hank for three goals, let alone four.
Anyway - more analysis in the morning - but right now - it just feels really good to be a Rangers Fan. Enjoy the moment - because starts like this are extremely rare around here.
How the once mighty Leafs have tumbled! This season has so far been a disaster for them. They can't score. They can't defend. They can't play special teams. Add it all up and its a winless record and a season that may be lost beyond repair in October. In their last home game the Toronto fans booed their way through most of the third period (and don't laugh - we've been there).
So tonight our Rangers are likely to see a team focused and determined to compete. The Leafs will not go quietly. We are more likely to see a war this evening. One win - especially over a hot team like we suddenly are - would be a huge boost for Toronto - and they know it and will give it everything they have.
The two teams met on our home ice last week - and it was fairly close until the third period. The Rangers started the final frame clinging to a precarious 3-2 lead. But that's when Tortorella's focus on conditioning took over and let the Rangers pull away for a 7-2 win (including Avery's first pair of goals for the season)
The Blueshirts eventually made a party of the game - as Nugman pointed out - Avery celebrated like it was a playoff game - and this is not likely to be forgotten by the Maple Leafs.
Here are our probable lines tonight - and we commend Tortorella for forming good lines and sticking with them to let the chemistry develop.
The Gab line: Gaborik-Dubinsky-Prospal - these guys are lighting up the night sky. Gab and Vaclav with 10 points each. Fun to watch
The American Line: Callahan, Drury, and Higgins. Hard working - and a point explosion waiting to happen. Chris Higgins certainly looks like he's going to combust if he doesn't get a goal soon.
Sean's Line will change as Kotalik will replace Lisin -changing this to the A-K-A line. The rookie "Anis" is is hanging in there at the NHL level and will only get better as the season goes on. Sean missed the first 5 games with a knee injury but is back being his Avery self - drawing penalties and driving his opponents to distraction - which is the plan exactly.
The Brash Line - Brashear-probably returns to join Boyle. And Lisin either falls here to replace Voros - or Lisin falls all the way off the active roster. Boyle had a big goal against the Kings Wednesday. And Brashear has - well - he's had some interesting fights and taken some penalties.
On defense - Torts again looks smart in figuring that rookies like Gilroy and Del Zotto could jump right in - and they have. And an in-shape Redden is playing better this year.
And in goal - should we rest Hank tonight? You know - I'd do it. Valli threw a shut out last time out and the Leafs just saw Lundqvist. But word on the street is Hank takes the net.
So expect Toronto to come at us - hard - all evening. But then - this is another good test. Can Torts keep the guys on track and working hard in the face of all this success?
The puck drops at 7pm.
Don't forget my fellow BlueshirtBrother Nugman. Take a few seconds to vote on the poll to the right. Tell him we need him - or he'll leave the site forever.
Friday, October 16, 2009
As you've probably read by now - the amazing Nugman has posted that he plans to gradually step away from this site and gently fade into the Internet ether.
Well, this just sucks donkeys, and no one knows it more than yours truly Dave Pucks. I launched this little web show because of Mr. Nugman in the first place. I really liked his emails on the Rangers and wanted to amplify and share them with you folks. I am the original Nugman wanna-be - long before Steve Zipay started trying his own lame version of the in-game-post and Jeff Klein started borrowing our story ideas. Nugman is my Ranger blog hero and I will be very very sad to see him go.
I've let Nugs know the door is always open here - this will always be his home and he's welcome to post whenever the mood hits him. He will now and forever be a Blueshirt Brother - and nothing can change that.
I'm hoping this is all the result of some bad acid or a five star hangover and Nugs will find his way back here. I think he skated too long and hard a shift right out of the chute and just burned himself out for a while.
Look - his in-game posts are a thing of beauty. The man spouts cohesive, emotionally charged, manifestos - like, 12 times in the same hockey game. It's super-human. And it's no wonder it's wearing him down. Just save that for the cup finals, Nugs. We'd be more than happy to get a quick game recap or a sporadic rant.
He's emailed me about stepping away before. But he sounds serious this time.
So I set up a little poll in the right hand corner here. And I'm asking all of the BlueShirt Brothers faithful to rise up as one and show Nugman some love. Click on that "don't go" option. Show Nugs that you're alive out there and you enjoy reading his lunatic masterpieces as much as I do.
It's the right thing to do. Give the man his due respect and send him off with a little class. And maybe, just maybe - if enough of you let him know how you feel - we might coax him back on the ice.
So don't just sit there reading this- vote! Vote like you've never voted before. Nothing less than a man's blogging life hangs in the balance.
Sincerely - Dave Pucks