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Goal Line Report

Scotty Hockey’s Rangers and Puck Thoughts

It is always a pleasure to do an e-mail interview with Scotty of the terrific New York Rangers’ fan blog Scotty Hockey. Hockey, one of the most honest New York Rangers’ blogger and fans’ out there.

Below, Scotty gives us his thoughts on concussions, Matt Cooke and of course, the New York Rangers.

PH: How do you think the NHL will handle the concussion issue now that some rules have been put in place? Do you think they’ll work?
SH: Who knows how the league will handle concussions now? You want to imagine that they will be harsher on clear-cut headhunting but the wheel o’ justice is still going to spin. The sanctions on Matt Cooke were just as heavily influenced by his history as by his elbow on McD.

Personally, I don’t think that this concussion hoopla is all that big of a deal. Sounds ridiculous but there have always been head injuries,
now we can over-examine every hit, every impact frame by frame - and making them seem worse as we do it. That being said, I do believe that there are guys getting hurt who shouldn’t be. The hitters are more reckless with the instigator around and the victims need to be more
aware. Watch the old games, you rarely (if ever) saw guys head straight into the boards or stand facing the boards looking down at
their feet. Most guys now seem to have no problem doing that, thinking they are wearing armour and if they get hit then their team will get a
power play. These are hockey players, they are more than willing to risk injury if it will get their team closer to a Cup.

The league should be removing the instigator, not coming up with quiet rooms. But that would mean admitting they were wrong so that won’t happen and we will keep getting closer to a no-contact NHL.

PH: Do you think there is a place in the NHL for Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins? Do you think he will finally learn his lesson or will it fall upon deaf ears?
SH: Sadly, no. And I do say sadly because he isn’t a horrible hockey player. He is just an idiot. He has been suspended before. He has had his ass handed to him in fights before. And he is still a reckless headhunter. Seeing as Pittsburgh already has a class clown in Max Talbot, do they really need Cooke back?

PH: We know how honest you are when it comes to your take on the Blueshirts so please provide us your outlook for the rest of the
season. Where will this team finish? Who will they draw in the first round of the playoffs if they manage to clinch a spot?
SH: I said from the start, the Rangers will battle for eighth down to the wire. Sadly, it seems like that is where they are headed. Losing the way they did to Buffalo on Wednesday is simply unacceptable at this time of year. We saw the bad starts and incapable scorers months ago; that they reared their head in a game the players themselves said was huge is horrifying. Washington has a few easy games left on their schedule so all we can hope is that they win them all and leapfrog Philly so the Rangers can get the more favourable matchup with them than one with the Flyers or Bruins - those would be bloodbaths.

PH: Could you see the Rangers’ making any kind of noise in this year’s tournament? Why or why not?
SH: It is possible but I doubt they can go far. There are some guys on the roster who are playoff-type players but the so-called skill guys aren’t scoring in the regular season so what makes anyone think they can do it when the stakes are higher? Gaborik, Christensen, Prospal, Wolski and McCabe all need to contribute and what are the odds of that?

You can be sure that any team the Rangers were to face will be bloodied by having to grind through the Blueshirt core but there
aren’t enough horses to pull the wagon deep into the postseason. One of the biggest keys to success this time of year is depth and,
frankly, the Rangers don’t have it.

PH: What kind of credit do you think head coach John Tortorella deserves this season? There is no doubt that he has played a hand in help shaping this team into a hard-working, never say die hockey club.
SH: Haha, I don’t give him as much credit as most. He has looked good because Cally and Dubi are maturing, rookies Sauer and McDonagh are playing like veterans and Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust are overachieving. Torts couldn’t solve the power play problem so Sather had to go out and grab McCabe ... and the problem hasn’t been fully solved. Torts couldn’t solve the consistency problem so the Rangers still don’t play 60 minutes per night and they fall flat in big games like this one against Buffalo. The players are so in fear of him that
they rarely stand up for their own goaltender because that would risk a penalty and Torts just can’t have that. He has totally screwed up
the handling of Sean Avery and the second the team starts struggling on the ice his bright idea is to juggle the lines. It doesn’t take a
genius to throw Hank in net night after night and pray that he stays healthy. That Torts is a character has little to do with the players
having character. Credit for that goes to Gordie Clark and Glen Sather.

PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
SH: Don’t believe the hype, watch the games and make up your own minds. It is getting increasingly annoying to hear the fluff from the broadcasts regurgitated as people’s opinions. But do watch the matches, this is still a great game and now we are heading to the best postseason in all of sport. Strap in kids, this is going to be a good ride.

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.

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