The Rangers Game Log

Monday, November 14, 2005

Game 19 - Rangers 6 at Pittsburgh 1

Record: 11-5-3, 25 pts.
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Conference Standing: Tied for 3rd with Carolina
Islanders: A perfectly good night at the Mauseleum watching their garishly orange-clad heros ruined by the incessant sight of the Rangers winning, and maintaining their nine point bulge.

- Things have now gotten to the point at which I’m actually worrying about when to schedule a late winter vacation so as not to miss a possible dramatic playoff run, oh man. The Head Chef and I like to go away sometime in March, and I haven’t lost much sleep over the timing the last few years. In 2002, I was in Jamaica when the team acquired Pavel Bure from the Panthers, yet still lost at home to Vancouver in his debut and then were humiliated by a pitiful Atlanta team 5-2 at home (and if I’m not mistaken, that was the game in which Richter suffered a fractured skull); two of seven losses in eight games that doomed their playoff hopes.

In 2003, we were in Grenada and only missed three games at the beginning of March. The team went 2-0-1, including a resounding 5-1 win against the Flyers at the Garden in which they scored four goals in less than a seven minute stretch in the first (Holik, Nedved, Lundmark, Dan LaCouture – do we miss any of those guys?). But when I returned, they dropped their next three in a row on their way to oblivion. 2004 was too pitiful to even remember, and last year was, of course, a free pass.

Going back just a little further, I was actually in Florida the night in February, 1979 that Denis Potivn hit Ulf Nilsson, breaking his leg. I remember trying to tune the game in on radio, and between the signal fading in and out, caught something about the Islanders being held shotless in the second period, and about some kind of injury… To this day, I have still never, ever seen that play. So when everyone goes “Potvin Sucks,” I’m not really entirely sure why, and in my more mature days, I would substitute Nystrom, by far, in my opinion, the most despicable of the Islander players during that time oh so long, long ago, when they used to be good.

Coming into this season, in which the team would rebuild and not even be concerned with a playoff spot, the last thing I thought I’d be worrying about is when to go away. Now, with their gaudy 11-5-3 record, I find myself consulting the schedule, and thinking which week I’ll miss less games. Even worse, I must admit that the thought has crossed my mind that by then, they'll have a playoff spot virtually locked up. A sure sign that I’m getting quickly sucked in. Rebuilding? Now?

- I wondered after the Tampa Bay game what would happen if, in addition to the supporting cast continuing to produce, Jaomir Jagr regained his touch. The answer is Saturday’s facile 6-1 win in Pittsburgh. Amongst all the fine efforts in that game, I noticed that of Maxim Kondratiev, who is showing more confidence with each game, keeping the useful Jason Strudwick out of the lineup. He moves the puck with alacrity and confidence, isn’t afraid of the physical stuff, and could prove to be an asset on the power play in time. And he’s just one half of the return for the now-injured Brian Leetch. The other, Jarkko Immonen, currently leads the Wolfpack in scoring with 7 goals and 6 assists in 15 games.

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