Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the Ny Post,
The only way for the Rangers to ensure that they maintain control over their destiny is to defeat the Canadiens tonight at the Garden in the franchise’s most critical regular-season game since the lockout.
Leading Florida by only the victory tiebreaker (40-39) in the contest for the East’s final playoff spot with three games remaining for each team, the Blueshirts’ magic number for clinching a fourth straight playoff berth stands at six points.
If the Rangers run the table with victories tonight, on Thursday in the home finale against the Flyers and then on Sunday in the season finale in Philadelphia, they’re in, regardless of how the Panthers fare tonight in Philadelphia, Thursday in Atlanta and at home on Saturday in their finale against the Caps.
But one slip, one defeat in either regulation or extra time, and control would be ceded to Florida.
from Steve Soldwedel of the Blue Seats at the NY Post,
Even if they squeak into the playoffs this year, does anyone—even the most starry-eyed idealist among the Garden Faithful—believe the Rangers can compete for the Stanley Cup? Measuring them against potential opponents that have put on far better performances, and against rivals of equal quality like the Panthers, to favor the Blueshirts in any series is either great hope or boundless delusion.
Negative critiques are often met with the harshest criticism, but it’s about time the fans lobbed some harsh criticism of their own at the Rangers franchise. Put pride and loyalty aside for a moment to see how people like James Dolan and Glen Sather have hoodwinked the fans, proving P.T. Barnum right year after year. The only reason the Rangers continue to be a poor performer is because the fans enable it. So long as fans continue to shell out money and throw their support behind a disappointing team, the people counting the cash will have no reason to change their tactics.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Excuse me, but Milan Lucic sticks out his leg and injures a defenseless Nik Antropov by going knee-on-knee midway through the second period on Saturday, and it’s Sean Avery who should be suspended for kind of stupidly using his stick to tap Tim Thomas on the back of his helmet during a TV timeout?
The absence of context is the crux of the issue here, just as always. Headhunters such as Chris Pronger and Gary Roberts, who historically injure opponents, are routinely deified, notably by the sanctimonious brigade north of the border, but Avery, who has never hurt anyone but himself, must be banned for the good of the sport?
Avery has been a better pure player this time around than he was in his first Broadway run, but he hasn’t had quite the same impact. That’s because he’s trying to figure out how far he can go without being hauled in for a strip-search.
more on the Rangers…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Sean Avery felt yesterday was the perfect time to give Thomas one to grow on - specifically, a smack to the back of the helmet as the Bruins’ No. 1 goalie was stretching his legs during a TV timeout in the third period.
“Unwritten rule,” Thomas mused, following his 31-stop afternoon and a 1-0 win over the Rangers that led to the Bruins clinching the Eastern Conference regular-season title. “Nothing happens during TV timeouts.”
Like most parts of the rulebook, the TV timeout rule hasn’t been committed to memory by the pugnacious Ranger forward. With Thomas some 30 feet out in the slot, stretching his hamstrings, Avery oh-so-subtly cruised up from behind and smacked his stick to the back of Thomas’s head.
“You look up and see who it is,” recalled Thomas, “and you’re like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ So it was just reflex.”
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
“What Is There To Do? And What Is There To Say?”
It once was a top tune — love-song-type on The Hit Parade — but the words also apply to the dear, fond admirers of the Rangers.
What IS there to do?
The Maven will tell you what, as John Tortorella’s troops await the arrival of the suddenly surging Canadiens on Tuesday night at The Garden. Scoring a goal would be a good start; and then, maybe a couple or even three more.
What IS there to say?
That’s easy; find a quick — make that INSTANT — cure for the Blueshirts power play.
Late in the 3rd period with the Bruins leading the Rangers 1-0. TV timeout, Bruins goaltender taking a break on his knees.
Avery skates by and stick makes contact with Thomas. Avery looks innocent, and the fun begins.
Both Avery and Thomas received 2 minutes for roughing and the Bruins ended up winning, 1-0.
The above video is via the Rangers network and watch the Bruins network broadcast of the play below…
from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,
“The clouds are following us around, figuratively and literally” said Jim Schoenfeld before he stepped onto the RBC Center ice this morning for a 30-minute practice dominated by power-play drills on both ends of the ice and coach John http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/2009/04/torts_get_job_done_or_were_don.html later calling out his top players to gut it out in the third periods.
“If we don’t,” Tortorella said, “in a week we’re done. We’re done…”
“No one’s off the hook,” Tortorella said after a brief meeting with the team here before leaving for Boston.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There is essentially no remaining margin for error. The eighth-place Rangers have frittered it away. Every team within proximity is streaking and the Blueshirts are faltering.
The finish could be ugly for the Blueshirts, who have four games remaining following last night’s 4-2 defeat here to the surging Hurricanes and just a two-point lead on the Panthers, who will make up their game in hand tonight at home against the Thrashers.
The Hurricanes are 10-1-2 in their last 13. The Penguins are 13-1-2 in their last 16. The Canadiens, who leapfrogged the Blueshirts by defeating the Islanders, are 4-0-1 in their last five. The Panthers have won three in a row. The Rangers, meanwhile, are 2-3-1 in their last six.
continued and watch Tortorella’s post game press conference below…
from Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star,
Playing hockey was his job, and he took his skills east to play with the New York Rangers’ farm team, the New York Rovers, of the Eastern Hockey League in 1946-47. He played in 47 games, scoring 19 goals and 37 points.
The following year, (Larry) Kwong would make hockey history, becoming the first Asian-Canadian to play in the NHL, when the Rangers suited him up for a game in Montreal against Rocket Richard and the Canadiens at the old Forum.
Kwong, a left winger, waited for two periods before Rangers coach Frank Boucher finally tapped him on the shoulder in the third period.
On March 13, 1948, Kwong hopped over the Forum boards, along with the Rangers’ top two scorers, Buddy O’Connor and Edgar Laprade, and into the record books.
His shift lasted one minute. He didn’t score and it was back to the bench, never again to play in the NHL.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Five weeks and 16 games of 9-5-2 hockey into his tenure, what stands out about John Tortorella’s crash course from behind the Rangers bench?
1: Well, the head coach’s oft-repeated pronouncements that he “isn’t an X’s and O’s guy,” and that the game “isn’t about X’s and O’s,” seem to be hogwash. Indeed, Tortorella appears to be every bit as much about using video to teach as was his predecessor, Tom Renney, not that that’s a bad thing.
Tortorella may encourage more instinctive play from his athletes than many of the league’s more defense-oriented coaches, and he might be a greater believer in the upside of risk/reward hockey than the individual he replaced, but Tortorella, too, has a system he teaches. It’s not freestyle hockey by any means.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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