Here we are. It’s Friday and the Rangers are heading home one win away from dispensing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. Naturally, I have thoughts…
- I didn’t get home Wednesday night until the first intermission. Although I had it on the DVR, Twitter was kind enough to let me know I hadn’t missed anything.
- Marc-Andre Fleury has been surprisingly good so far in this series. I know The Suit is not a fan, but you have to give credit where credit is due. His angles have been sharp, his movements have been controlled (for the most part) and he really hasn’t given away anything to New York.
- In that same vein, Henrik Lundqvist has been even better. With the Pens being forced to come 200 feet all series, since, you know, none of their defenseman can move the puck, Hank hasn’t had to do a ton. When he has been called upon, though, he has shown no rust from his nearly two month layoff. Hopefully the rest helps him as the playoffs march on.
- James Sheppard cannot be a happy camper right now.
- With all the consternation about the lack of scoring on the Rangers part so far, no one is really recognizing the tremendous defense they are playing. The Blueshirts have not allowed more than 25 shots on goal in any game in the series. They got a little lax on Crosby in game 2 and got burned, but for the most part, all these 2-1 games haven’t been nearly as stressful as they should be.
- It’s so much fun to watch the Caps and Isles beat the snot out of each other. I hope whoever the Rangers *may* draw in the second round comes limping in broken and bleeding. It’s also a wildly entertaining series. Two very evenly matched teams.
- Man, would I love to see Detroit knock out Tampa. I know, “to win the Cup you have to beat the best, yada yada”, but Tampa scares the bejesus out of me. I would much rather potentially deal with Detroit and their “veteran wiliness” than Tampa Bay and their hugely talented roster.
- It’s going to suck when MSG loses their regional rights to the playoffs. Notwithstanding that listening to Doc Emerick is like ear rape, it’s not fair to iconic team broadcasters that they don’t get to share in the excitement of their team advancing deep into the postseason. Here’s a radical idea: let the play-by-play guys who call the games for each Stanley Cup Finalist join Emerick in the booth for the final series.
- Dan Girardi is not human.
- I love the circus that is this Calgary Flames team. They have no business in the playoffs and less business having success in the playoffs. Yet here they are, up 3-2 on a pretty decent Canucks team.
- Tin Foil hat time: many media outlets have already dismissed possible conspiracy theories regarding Connor McDavid. The basic idea is that it wouldn’t make sense for the NHL to allow it’s next big star to toil away in the obscurity of western Canada on a terrible team. Consider this: one of the league’s most proud franchises, moving to a new facility with no central star to build it’s team around. Think about it…not that the NHL would ever do anything like that…
- I can’t conclude my thoughts without touching on the goalie carousel going on around the league. I actually had a conversation with my uncle last night about this. I’ve said ad nauseum in this space that all NHL goaltenders are very talented athletes. What separates the good ones from the great ones is consistency across a long, grinding season. In the playoffs, though, anyone can get hot and make a run. Look at Antti Niemi, who has proven himself wholly mediocre as a full-time starter, but had a sensational run in 2010 and has a Stanley Cup ring.
- Might as well finish on a Rangers note. They better win tonight. No more of this mucking about and letting teams hang around. Finish them and move on. I picked the Rangers in six, but I would very happily be wrong for one less game. Let’s get it done.