The Rangers Game Log

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Boys Are Back!

- I can't quite say that the Rangers didn't miss a beat after the break, but it was a a fast beat, and Kevin Weekes, looking more confident than he has at any point this year, kept his team in the game with one big save after another, including a magical shoulder stop early in the game in which the puck seemed to float in mid-air before landing safely underneath him. But even during those perilous opening minutes, you could see the 2006-06 Rangers percolating under, and the performance improved as the penalty kills went on.

But what I liked most about the game was Jagr. Not just the fact that he scored two goals and added an assist, but it was the way he went about it. Backing up his earlier comments about his commitment to the Rangers, Jagr had his game face on, showing little emotion after his scores, and even adding a big backchecking play on a Flyers 3 on 2 in the first. He sent a message that he's back, and that he means business. Taking their cue from Jagr, the Rangers did the same. They showed the Flyers who's boss in the division, and did so with disdain for the Flyers' bush league attempts at intimidation. The Blueshirts are looking more and more like a very serious team.

- Donald Brashear always seems larger than life against the Rangers. Not only the physical stuff, but he actually at times acts like a hockey player. He hits hard and mostly clean within the rules of the NHL, at least when he doesn't lose his mind. However he always hits with what looks like an attempt to injur. I guess the Flyers feel the same way about Kasparaitus. Of course, it was OK for Scott Stevens to do it.

Early in the game, I feared for the team's physical safety against the rampaging giant, and wondered if it was smart to sit out Colton Orr. But Renney was right as usual. The Rangers didn't back down, and tag teamed him. Roszival gave him a facial, earning a minor penalty. Tom Poti nailed him along the boards; Betts and Ward hit him in rapid succession; and finally, Kasparaitus put him over the edge. Is there a penalty in the books for pulling hair?

Of course, any self-respecting coach would have benched him after taking two ridiculous minors long after play had stopped. Instead, Brashear was awarded power play time in the third perod, and his sophomoric attack at the end of the game showed that nothing ever changes down in Philly - their hockey team is still garbage after all these years. That was Mick Vukota material, and Hitchcock earned every penny of his $10,000 fine for fetching his moronic goon on Kasparaitus at that point in the game.

- Blair Betts rocks. Thirteen minutes in his first game back, scored a goal, 10-5 on faceoffs and the usual solid work on the PK. I'm telling you man, this guy is going to score a big playoff goal or two, if we make the playoffs. (Do I still have to say that?)


  • At 8:34 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    Though I'm just about at the point where I'm thinking we can hold our own with any team in the league in a 7-game series, yes, you need to keep saying that!

    Did you feel it was a case of deja vu all over again when you saw the Blueshirt Bulletin headline today?

    You say Betts. I say Nieminen. We'll have to monitor this situation as we go!

  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger alan said…

    Nieminen must have scored a big goal or two in Calgary's run, didn't he? Also had some deja vu when I read in the Daily News that it was Kaspar who hurt Jagr! Maybe I shouldn't write things like that. Wish I could pick horses that well.

  • At 12:29 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    speaking of the latter, i'm a little behind on the tc trail. was thinking of playing bob and john in the futures, 25-1 in the paper today -- any early insight? i'll try to get over to "left at the gate" to catch up a bit.

  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger alan said…

    I like Bob and John, and I like the way Baffert is preparing him. He's getting a lot of foundation, and has been showing steady improvement. He actually ran the same time on the same day as High Limit, though he was given a lower Beyer (see this post on Left at the Gate for more on that). I like his breeding too, and I think Baffert has him right on schedule. 25-1 would be a fair price I think.

    Hey, I'm going away for a week tomorrow, so hold down the Ranger fort....I want to come home to a healthy team!!!


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