Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post,
The New York Rangers can’t hope to consistently out-skate or outscore the Washington Capitals, so their strategy is to outfight and out-argue them. Throughout the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, they’ve counted on belligerence as a neutralizer, but it’s an approach born of inferiority, and they don’t seem to have a Plan B. You know they’re desperate when they’re reduced to whining about foul language.
from Artur Staple of Newsday,
There’s a Game 7 coming on Tuesday in Washington. The Rangers may want to skip the trip.
It was clear from the start of this series with the Caps that the Rangers needed most, if not all, of the breaks to win each game. They needed Henrik Lundqvist to stand on his head, they needed Alex Ovechkin to hit a post or two and they needed a couple lucky bounces to produce more than a goal.
The breaks are gone now, washed away with a squirt from a water bottle on Friday night. John Tortorella watched from a suite in Madison Square Garden today, with Jim Schoenfeld behind the bench for the 5-3 Caps win that forced Tuesday’s Game 7.
Schoenfeld, Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Toe Blake… Wouldn’t have mattered who was coaching today, really. The Rangers are overmatched in this series, they have been since it began and the only way they can win is for Lundqvist to work his magic.
added 6:27pm, from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
Rangers fans were howling about the injury suffered by ace penalty killer Blair Betts, who was hit in the head by Caps forward Donald Brashear midway through the first period. Betts was left sprawled on the ice, had to be helped to the dressing room and didn’t return. Brashear and Rangers defenseman Paul Mara both got roughing penalties after some post-hit grappling, but Brashear wasn’t nicked for the initial contact.
Rangers stand-in coach Jim Schoenfeld said Betts was hurt “significantly,” and then also said that center Brandon Dubinsky was bit on the arm by Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn during a different scrum.
“We’re gonna have to do without Betts most likely,” Schoenfeld said. “Dubinsky had to get a tetanus shot because he was bit on the arm in a scrum, I don’t know what effect that will have on him, so his status remains in question.
Donald Brashear with a hard hit on Blair Betts today.
Brashear received a 2 minute minor for roughing as did Paul Mara of the Rangers.
Elbow, shoulder, late hit or just a clean hit?
Betts has not returned to the game and no report on his condition.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Schoenfeld talked about what triggered Tortorella’s outburst, which was caught by Verizon Center security cameras and which led to the N.H.L.’s suspension, levied at 10 o’clock Saturday night. In suspending Tortorella, the league said that the coach squirted water at fans, then had a drink thrown at him from the stands, then threw a bottle that struck another fan.
“I’ll tell you, I know the heart of the guy, and I know the thing that triggered him,” Schoenfeld said, then referred to the Verizon Center fans behind the bench area. “It wasn’t any sling they threw at him, and there were many. It was something they said about one of his players.”
Schoenfeld continued, addressing reporters: “And you guys, it’s easy to say that you’ve got to keep control or you’ve got to keep it in check, turn the other way, that there are rules. But there’s a certain part of your being when you’re a coach, and it’s just like being a parent. There are certain things you’ll put up with when people slander your kids, and there’s a certain line that people cross. And that’s what happened with John,” he added.
added 2:17pm, also from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot,
Just before Game 6 Sunday afternoon, the Rangers released a letter to N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman from G.M. Glen Sather, asking that the Washington Capitals be disciplined for failing to control the actions of their fans in the incident that led to the one-game suspension to Rangers Coach John Tortorella for squirting water and throwing a water bottle at fans late in Game 5.
The letter alleged that fans spat on Ranger bench personnel, shouted homophobic remarks about Rangers players and screamed in Tortorella’s ear. The letter said that Verizon Center security guards and ushers did nothing when asked by the Rangers bench personnel to restrain the fans.
continued, copy of the letter can be read there…
from Dan David of NewYorkRangers.com,
No Rangers team has ever lost a playoff series that it led 3-1, going a perfect 12-0 in such situations (perhaps because the opponent had to win some desperation games in front of New York’s fans).
There is also the matter of Game 6 history. Over the past 10 seasons, two-thirds of all first-round playoff series that one team led 3-2 ended in Game 6. Since 1998, only one in three teams faced with the Capitals’ current situation—at home or away—has managed to force a Game 7, and more than half of those teams (56 percent) still went on to lose the series.
more on the Rangers…
“While it is a difficult decision to suspend a coach at this point in a playoff series, it has been made clear to all of our players, coaches and other bench personnel that the National Hockey League cannot—and will not—tolerate any physical contact with fans,” NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said. “We do not take this action lightly. It is the result of an entire day of investigation and evaluation that included the retrieval and review of videotape of the incident and discussions with Mr. Tortorella, other Rangers’ bench personnel and a number of other people, including the security personnel at the Verizon Center.
added 11:04pm, The Rangers issued a one line statement on the suspension- “We disagree with the suspension and will have no further comment.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“I totally stand behind what Torts did,” said Avery, who took two mindless penalties in the final 10 minutes of the Rangers’ 2-1 Game 4 victory. “The team comes first.
“I made a mistake. I took two bad penalties. I put the game in jeopardy. It wasn’t something I did intentionally, but that’s no excuse. I did it.
“I realize that Torts is making me a better player. The team always comes first. I’ll do anything for these guys. No one feels worse than me at this point.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
John Tortorella faces disciplinary action from the NHL after throwing a water bottle from the Rangers’ bench into the stands at 6:33 of the third period of last night’s Game 5, 4-0 defeat to the Caps.
The head coach, who would not answer questions about the incident, could be suspended by commissioner Gary Bettman for tomorrow afternoon’s Game 6 at the Garden. The Rangers’ public relations representative threatened to end last night’s postgame press conference if questions on the subject continued.
Tortorella, who may have thought he had been doused by a beer or spat upon during a television timeout, wheeled toward the stands and threw a bottle over the high glass protecting the bench.
note: original post date was 4/24/09 at 9:42pm
With only one game tonight, it looks like those of us that have been watching all the playoff action can get to bed early tonight.
The question of the day is, will Washington extend the series tonight or will the Rangers move on?
from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,
After the few Washington Capitals who skated yesterday at the team’s Arlington training complex came off the ice, they removed their sweaty pads to reveal red T-shirts that left little doubt about what they consider an acceptable outcome to this season. On the back is the silhouette of a man hoisting aloft a familiar oversized chalice, all stenciled underneath unambiguous words: “Our Goal Now.”
That would be the broad picture, because the group that will assemble tonight at Verizon Center believes a Stanley Cup championship is a realistic possibility, considering the youth and talent of the team’s core.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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