Yes, Craig, it is as bad as it looks.
I was watching some hockey game last week – Lord knows it wasn’t the Rangers, since they had basically all week off – when the standings flashed on my screen and I nearly choked on my hot chocolate. The FLORIDA PANTHERS have more points than the Rangers!? Surely I must’ve been drunk, but no, I wasn’t. I wondered what the heck was going on around the league.
We’re more than a third of the way through the season, so although nothing is set in stone, most of the trends we see are, well, more than just trends. There were some predictions I made early in the season which are horribly wrong (I thought the Oilers would break out. I understand if you don’t want to read this post anymore), and some that were right. Instead of analyzing these, I’m breaking down what you need to know in my (second) favorite form: bulletpoint.
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Cam kisses are becoming the norm
The Rangers played the Thanksgiving Classic on a national broadcast yesterday as the first of their back-to-back afternoon home and home games against the Flyers. The national broadcast was on NBC, so we got the opportunity to listen to some fine pre- and postgame analysis from the Milbury-Jones outstanding duo. How lucky.
From 1pm unti the puck dropped around 1:20, the analysis focused on Henrik Lundqvist’s “not king-like” season, which apparently is why Cam Talbot started yesterday. I guess it has nothing to do with back-to-back games, but I’m not sure. Some things to actually note about this game are that Tanner Glass was out with the flu and Ryan McDonagh is back from his injury.
On to some points..
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With the Rangers playing so many games in such a little amount of time, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole league out there that’s been happening without us. Luckily, you don’t need Center Ice or NHL.com when you’ve got a Sunday BSB update. A lot of really amusing things have been happening lately, so let’s go through them.
The Maple Leafs (temporarily) turn into the Oilers
On Tuesday, the Maple Leafs lost to the Predators 9-2. As in, if you were watching TV and just saw the score, you’d think Toronto just got an NFL squad and lost in a strange, safety-filled game. Though the Leafs are prone to these blowouts at least once per season (hello Rangers last season), this loss came after a lifeless loss to the Sabres. The Leafs didn’t even look like they were trying against Nashville and, surprise, fans were pissed. This came in a week where Phil Kessel blew up at the media and the Leafs, after finally winning, didn’t salute their fans in an effort to “try something new.” The Leafs truly are the gift that keep on giving. Read more »
Tonight is just another game in the Rangers action-packed, though sometimes exhausting November, right? Sure, they’re up against the best offensive team in hockey, a team tied for second in points in the entire National Hockey League, so it’ll be a tough one, but otherwise, nothing crazy happening tonight at the Garden.
The talent here at BSB later today will post about what kind of special teams they throw and exactly who to watch for (spoiler alert: it’s still Steven Stamkos.. and Tyler Johnson, who you’ve probably never heard of), but this morning we need to focus on what MSG has been pushing for weeks, the big elephant in the room. Tonight marks the return of former captain Ryan Callahan, along with Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle, and much like ripping off a bandaid, I think we’ll all feel better once it’s done.
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Memories light the corners of my mind
Going in to last night, there was good news and bad news. The bad news: the Rangers returned late last night with barely any time to rest up and prepare for their 6pm start. The good news: the 6pm start was against the Edmonton Oilers, known for not playing up to their talent level. Nothing like a quick victory to forget about a pretty awful game Saturday, right?
Well, it would have been right, except that the Rangers played at least 50 minutes of brutally bad hockey last night. Like, embarrassingly bad hockey. Even Ulf Samuelsson had a whole lot to say about it. I’m no Ulfie, but I did have some feels (mostly of the crabby variety) about this game, and, per usual, I threw them into rambling bullet form. Read more »
The Rangers hosted the Red Wings on a slow night in hockey in what was a pretty riveting Original Six matchup. I’m still wrapping my head around what the term “rivalry” means to NBCSN, but so far I mostly think it means “the game that’ll generate the most viewership.” I also think it means an 8pm start, which means this post won’t be a goal breakdown – sorry Dave.
All jokes aside, this game was pretty phenomenal. There was a lot of energy, lots of momentum changes, some really beautiful goal scoring, and, of course, a minor heart attack when Detroit tied it with 7.7 to go. Horrible officiating was a major theme of this game, but we all know that you can’t blame the refs for a loss; you just have to work harder to win.
My thoughts, in bulletpoint form..
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As speculated last night, Ryan McDonagh suffered a separated left shoulder and will be out for 3-4 weeks. The fear here is that this is the same shoulder that sidelined him at the end of the regular season last year.
Kevin Klein suffered a foot contusion last night, blocking a shot with his left foot, and is considered day-to-day. He was seen on crutches but without his foot compressed. He obviously won’t play tomorrow, but hopefully this bone bruise heals quickly and he’ll come back in a week.
Time to see what the kids can do!
Raise your hand if you need a defenseman!
Saturday night’s alright for hockey. You’ve got Don Cherry’s fantastically insane suit choices on HNIC and typically some fantasy hockey nightmares when you decide who to bench since so many games are happening. The Rangers took part in this last night, playing their first game since Monday’s third period surge to come back against the Wild. Last night also kicked off a busy November for the Rangers, with 15 games in 29 days.
Unfortunately, this game was a big fat shutout. Since I don’t do goal breakdowns, this turned out to be really beneficial for this blog; however, this was really bad for the Rangers. Adding injury to insult here was losing both Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein in the first period, leaving the Rangers with four defensemen for the majority of the game. Let’s go through some thoughts. Read more »
Voynov and family
LA Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested early Monday morning on charges of domestic violence, a story that unfortunately made more headlines than your average NHL story. Voynov has been suspended indefinitely pending the investigation, which came after his girlfriend was rushed to the hospital with injuries.
Of course, when something heinous happens, it’s very easy to assume things. We think we know everything because we have a nasty habit of wanting to know the news as soon as possible, regardless of its verity. The facts here as we know them are that a woman involved with Voynov was rushed to the hospital, and that the doctors deemed it necessary to alert police. We also know that, although we rip on Gary Bettman mercilessly, the NHL doesn’t want to channel their inner Roger Goodell, and would rather the player be suspended to handle the situation than be playing and glorified when they’re accused of a disgusting crime.
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Coming to a Garden near you…
We’re almost two weeks into the regular season, giving teams a light litmus test of where they stand against the league. It’s important to remember that it is still very, very early in the season, but 5 or 6 games gives coaches enough of an idea of which lines are working and which aren’t.
Here in Rangerland, we’ve spent a lot of time analyzing defensive woes and arguing over whether or not we should be worried. It’s easy to forget that there’s a whole league out there, even though there’s a team only 15 miles away from us. In the spirit of keeping our friends close and our enemies closer, we should take a look at what’s going on around the league.
So… what exactly is happening outside of the Garden? Read more »