Thoughts heading into Game 5

Bruce Bennet/AP Photo

Bruce Bennet/AP Photo

Good morning, BSB’ers. You’ll have to forgive something of a sleepy “Thoughts” post. I haven’t even had a full cup of Earl Grey yet. The Rangers are back in Los Angeles tonight trying to hold off the fates and send the series back to New York, if only to give the Blueshirt faithful further coronary/anxiety/substance abuse issues. Here are some scattered thoughts on a rainy morning…

  • With all the debate and enthusiasm leading up to this series, it’s kind of a strange limbo we find ourselves in. Obviously, it was nice not to be swept, but I think most realistic fans are disappointed in what seems to be an inevitable result. Yet here we are, still fighting.
  • I feel like this series has just thrown all of our #fancystats and analysis out the window. The first two games, Rangers executed their game plan the best we could have hoped against a strong LA side, yet blew two goals leads and surrendered the games in OT. Yet in Game 4, they mustered a measly 19 shots on goal, got some help from everyone’s go-to guy, Mr. Crease Snow, and managed to win. Go figure.

  • What happened to Brad Richards over the course of like, two weeks? Through the first couple of rounds, I was getting legitimately concerned he was going to trick Slats into keeping him around. Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed/pleased with his play, but this is a no-brainer business decision. Then he fell completely off the map. Fatigue? Just that overmatched? To find Richie on the 4th line in the Final was not something I expected. At least the buy-out is inevitable again.
  • Hank’s beard has turned into something to behold, huh?
  • Thank whichever deity of your choosing that the Kings didn’t get to lift the Cup on Garden ice. Yet…
  • At this time of the year, we can harp on individual performances, both good and bad, but at this stage of the game, we are just looking for the results. Hank stole Game 4, does he have a couple more showtime performances in him after a long and grueling playoff?
  • The players have to have that clichéd, “one shift, one period, one game at a time” mentality, because that’s the only way you can claw your way back in to a series with a 3-1 deficit. But since I don’t have to do that, I can wonder what the Garden would be like if the Rangers were able to force another game with a chance to go back to LA with a 50/50 shot for the Cup.
  • Ticket prices for said 6th game would probably put a dent in most 401(k)’s.
  • I think the most frustrating thing about what this series has become are those first two games. If LA just steamrolled us and took the Cup, I could live with that and try to determine what needs to be addressed in the off-season to get the Rangers to a place where they could stand toe-to-toe with the best of the Western Conference. But, those two games were winnable. Very winnable. It just feels like a huge missed opportunity.
  • Expanded instant replay is a no-brainer to me. This game is so fast, and officials have to pay attention to so many things, why shouldn’t we do everything in our power to get the calls right? Not to mention getting some consistency in our goalie interference policies.
  • The realist in me wants to start to look to off-season analysis, start to appreciate the roller coaster season we have had, and look forward. However, we’re still alive. The Kings look to be a team that is just too talented to let a lead like this slip away, but until it’s over, it’s not their Cup yet.