The Rangers Game Log

Thursday, April 20, 2006

History is (not always) Bunk

- Stan Fischler pointed out tonight that the 1949-50 Rangers went into the playoffs on a losing streak, and yet went to the 7th game of the Finals. Of course, that was only two rounds. And 56 years ago. Fischler really has a way of bringing up the relevant points.

More significant is the recent history, which shows that the Rangers are 3-0 against the Devils, and more significantly, against Brodeur. Marty has a real stick up his ass about this fact, and it seems obvious that he bristles when the subject of Blueshirts come up. There was an absurd article the day after Mark Messier night in which major Rangers-hater Mark Everson interviewed Brodeur, who made some ridiculously bitter comment to the effect that had he made a couple more saves against the Rangers in ’94, perhaps there wouldn’t be such a fuss over The Captain. I don’t usually waste my time writing to these guys, but I emailed Everson, writing: If Ron Hextall makes a couple more saves in the '95 Conference Finals, then maybe Martin Brodeur Night won't be necessary. Talk about sour grapes, what a stupid article!

It’s a funny thing in professional sports how things about particular franchises stay the same even though all the players change. The Rangers could never be like the Flyers, even if the teams traded for each other tomorrow. They’d still be the Rangers, and no doubt suddenly the ex-Flyers wouldn't be nearly as tough. When we used to, or still say “Same Old Rangers,” well, it’s not really the same old Rangers, otherwise we’d be watching Phil Goyette. But as time goes by, it’s no longer quite as important who was occupying the uniform at any particular time. The team’s history can inhabit the present, and get into the heads of fans and players alike. When the Rangers and the Devils were in overtime, and then the second overtime in Game 7, you could feel the weight of the 54 years, right there in the Garden, waiting to crush our hopes, perhaps forever, or so it seemed.

Though it’s not quite as profound as going 54 years without a Cup with 29 of those years being in a six team league, I think there’s something to the Rangers’ post-season dominance of the least there can be if the Blueshirts make it that way. A strong start and an early score can start to stir those thoughts of the past, especially with Brodeur, who has lived it himself, and is particularly subject to its effect. You know he’s thinking about it. The Rangers can get to him, and the Garden crowd can remind him of the past. An early wraparound goal or two could send him completely off the edge.

- I guess we’ll have to suffer with Emrick on Saturday on NBC. Of course, you have to listen to him when you watch the tapes of Game 6 in ’94 too, since MSG didn’t televise the games from the swamp back then. I’m not sure if the new DVD uses Howie Rose’s radio broadcast instead, but who can listen to him anymore? Even Matteau, Matteau is ruined a little bit. OK, it’s not.

- Trautwig said on MSG that “half the team had the flu,” though he can be flippant at times. Dubi at Blueshirts Bulletin wrote that the top line just took the day off. In any event, Renney plans to play Ozolinsh on Saturday, and I think that’s a no-brainer. He’s a major offensive talent and can bring a lot to the attack, and the Rangers will have to deal with his mistakes; that’s what playoff-caliber goaltending is. They’ll particularly need him on the power play, which just must improve for them to have a shot. The good news is that the power play has been red hot / ice cold all year, and it’s about time for it to perk up.

- It was truly a playoff atmosphere on Tuesday night, even though there was only one Rangers goal. The audible groan and accompanying silence after each Sens goal told you how much the game meant, at least to the fans.


  • At 12:14 PM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    Liked your point about the consistent character of a franchise, and loved your Ranger-Philly example.

    I don't necessarily agree with you about the prospects of Brodeur going over the edge -- I think he's too seasoned for that. I do, however, agree with your previous comments about Brodeur not being the same goaltender he once was. This may very well be the type of tight series that has some games decided in OT, so let's hope the Rangers attack the net aggressively. You and I disagreed slightly on the Ottawa game: whereas you felt the tentative play was a natural result of the Rangers' situation at the time, I sensed it was a conscious decision by the coaches to play more conservatively -- a decision with which I disagreed. With HMO in particular, I felt it was as unnatural as it would have been for Baffert to instruct Gomez not to let Sinister Minister loose in the Blue Grass.

    I also hope that Renney doesn't get too caught up in this Jagr-Pandolfo chess game stuff, and just let's Jagr do his thing with Nylander and Straka -- I'll take my chances with that.

  • At 5:53 PM, Blogger alan said…

    You may have a point there about the coaches having them play like that. And I agree that Renney should just let Jagr play. I think he's looking forward to the challenge.

    I like Sweetnorthernsaint too.


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