Rangers-Panthers in Review

1. First, congratulations to Sam Rosen. A class act all the way and very deserving recipient of the Foster Hewitt Award.

2. Second, welcome to anyone who has just found us. We’ve had a month to get some of the kinks out, but please understand this was Carp’s beyond full time job and I have my own beyond full time job. So putting aside that I could never live up to Carp’s standard of excellence, this is still just a half-assed venture (HAV). That said, I’m glad you’re here. Also unlike Carp, I’m not a reporter, so I don’t need to remain objective. That said, I usually have a pretty even take on the team. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2.


3. Third, my oldest son, who is four years old, has been obsessed with hockey this season, much to my delight. Last night, he recognized his first hockey player. “That’s Zuccarello!” He picked a good game for it, too, as Zuccarello was great. Not long now until I have him saying “ZUUUUUUUUUC!!”

4. Fourth, the biggest story from this game isn’t the two points, it’s the nearly two months they will be without their second line center, Mike Zibanejad, after a scary crash into the boards during overtime.  During the postgame, Dave and Joe broke it that Zibanejad had a broken fibula and is out 6-8 weeks. Good on the Rangers for coming out with his actual injury, and quickly, rather than going with some nebulous “lower body injury.” I have to say I’m shocked he didn’t have any ligament damage. As a purely speculative and amateur injury diagnosis, it looked like he tore his ACL.  That over rotation of the knee while being rapidly decelerated from the collision with the boards is the mechanism that is usually associated with that type of injury, so I would say he’s lucky to just have a broken bone. Poor guy took a forearm shiver to the back of the head moments before, too.  I’ll talk more about his actual game below.

5.  Now, for the game. In the first period, both sides started slow. The Rangers, playing the let down game that is typically associated with the first home game after a long road trip; the Panthers playing their fourth game of their road trip; terrible ice because of the Knicks game earlier in the day… it was a “methodical” pace.

6. In the first period, the Panthers gave up the neutral zone, much to the chagrin of Gerard Gallant. Even so, they collapsed towards their goal to make it difficult for the Rangers to get solid scoring chances from it.

7. Just under 7 minutes to go in the first, the Panthers back off of the Rangers as Staal has the puck behind the goal. They allow him to skate it out himself before he passes it to Stepan at the Rangers’ blue line. The Panthers allow Stepan to skate right through the neutral zone.  Just after gaining the Panthers’ zone, he passed it to Kreider coming up the left wing, totally unmarked. He fakes pump fakes a shot, Reimer bites big time, and then Kreider puts a snap shot short side over Reimer’s shoulder, 1-0. Not a good goal for Reimer or the Panthers. Just awful all around. Good on Kreider to finish it, though.

8. This was one that Hayes would probably want to forget about. First period, two on one break for Hayes and Miller, Hayes goes back to his form of last year of trying to stickhandle it into the goal.  Just about the worst two on one I have ever seen. Second period powerplay, he and Vesey can’t figure out how to break it out of the zone, leading to a turnover and a series of chances shorthanded, and ultimately to a Skjei penalty, which led to Yandle’s PP goal. He just wasn’t doing a lot of the little things that had made him so much better this year. In the third, it was a bit better as he drove to the net more consistently, but his improved two way play was still missing.

9. The power play looked too much like last year. A bunch of statues passing around the perimeter, no shooting. That especially goes for Zibanejad and Pirri, the two snipers who made the PP successful earlier this season by just firing it everytime the puck touched their stick.

10. In listing my castoffs, I forgot to mention Marschessault. He had a Pouliot in the second period.

11. On the power play after the Pouliot, the Rangers had a great chance squandered by too much passing, leading to one last pass to Nash that Nash wasn’t able to handle. Then the aforementioned Hayes/Vesey breakdown and Skjei penalty. Panthers go on the powerplay following Skjei’s penalty taken while on the power play, and Yandle rips one top corner on the short side through traffic, 1-1. Not a great goal for Lundqvist, but it definitely follows the Rangers’ MO of allowing former players torch us. After the game, Valliquette tried to defend Lundqvist with some stat about how screened he was resulting in an .870 save percentage, so maybe I’m being too harsh.

12. Third period, some passing by Zuccarello’s line, including a total wish pass by Zuccarello, no look behind the back towards the goal…and it goes in off of Zibanejad’s skate, 2-1. It truly is better to be lucky than to be good. On this night, Zuccarello was both.

13.  Shortly afterwards, Skjei took another penalty, this time for interference. It’s a shame, because until he took his first penalty, I thought he was having another strong game. On the ensuing power pay, Lundqvist had his best sequence of saves of the entire night. He rebounded later with some good defensive plays in the third period and overtime, and nearly set up Stepan for the winner in OT.

14. Listening to Sam and Joe talk platitudes about Shawn Thornton made me want to puke. This is a thug who is lucky that he wasn’t prosecuted for his cheapshot on Brooks Orpik.

15. Say what you will about Fast as a player, and I know reader BDL will, he sure is great at deflections. In the second, he knocked a shorthanded feed from Grabner out of the air and on goal, forcing a great save from Reimer. In the third, he nearly scored on a great deflection just after the whistle blew on an offside. I’m actually surprised that the linesman would blow the whistle on that play instead of let it unfold, and if the Rangers scored, let the Panthers challenge.

16. Moments later, Skjei tracks Trochek into the Rangers zone and completely eliminates him using his skating alone. But the Rangers can’t get the puck out, and Ekblad unleashes a shot from the right point that is deflected by Miller and past a helpless Lundqvist, 2-2.

17. Josh Jooris was pretty good in making his return to the lineup. Certainly good enough to keep Oscar “The Machine” Lindberg out if everyone was still healthy. But Zibanejad’s injury will get Lindberg back into the lineup, for now.

18. McDonagh was using his legs again to great effect. Staal also made his presence known on the offensive side of the puck, even hitting the net with one of his shots. He had a solid game.

19. Just wanted to take a second here to talk about Jagr. I love Jagr. What a player. What a career. Seriously one of my all-time favorites. And did you see how much he played in this game? Lundqvist absolutely robbed him when it was 2-2.  If that was Jagr in his prime, that puck is in the goal before Lundqvist can even figure out what happened.  Father time remains undefeated.

20. Daily Nash-O-Meter: flubbed a pass on the second period power play that eventually ended up in Skjei’s penalty. Had a glorious chance in the third stopped by Reimer’s paddle, although some elevation would have helped. He had a good forecheck during a late penalty kill. He’s just not doing enough on either side of the puck. I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about expansion, but I don’t see how the Rangers can afford to protect his cap hit for next season.

21. Zibanejad is still passing too much. Sure, he scored the goal off his skate, but that’s not him shooting it. He had a few stuff in tries during the third period, but he’s a sniper.  He needs to be firing, especially on the PP.  It looks like he will have a lot of time to think about it after crashing hard into the boards in OT.

22. Did McDonagh play all five minutes of the OT? Seemed like it, at least.

23. Zuccarello was buzzing. All three zones. Doing the little things, too, forcing turnovers, breaking up passing lanes. What a player. Still our best forward. Easily the best Ranger in the game.

24. Lundqvist was very good, Yandle goal aside, but for a couple of seasons now, I feel like he’s been pretty bad at shootouts. Good thing they don’t have those in the playoffs. He was strong on rebounds and with his rebound control. His kick save in OT stands out, as it displayed a level of awareness and intelligence to kick the puck into a soft area, all the way out of the zone, so that Stepan could get to the bench and get a stick to replace the one that broke on the faceoff. And the glove save on Jagr is worth mentioning again.

My Three Rangers Stars:

  1. Mats Zuccarello
  2. Ryan McDonagh
  3. Henrik Lundqvist

Your Three Rangers Stars:

  1. Mats Zuccarello
  2. Mika Zibanejad
  3. Chris Kreider
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119 thoughts on “Rangers-Panthers in Review”

  1. Buncha no good excuses for a NY sports team. They lost again. So if we don’t scores 100 goals, this gazillion dollar goalie will sink the ship. He’s old. Time to trade him. Maybe we could send him to NJ fir their goalie. He’s good. His name is Schneider. We could send lundqvist and this Fast fella. Make it happen Gordy baby!

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  2. Great review again RR2.0 !!
    Like everyone else, i expected the let down game and being a Sunday night I decided on sleep over hockey. Right decision it seems.

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  3. Great review Doodie honestly I don’t know how you find the time something special about Ranger fans? Get use to disappointment I guess. Sorry First Time but nobody wants Lundqui at his age and cap hit. I’m not sure the Rangers want him either we’re just stuck with him! Fire Sather!

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  4. 6-8 weeks is the preliminary report on Zibanejad. Broken fibula which for those unfamiliar is the thinner bone that runs along the shin bone. It’s not the weight bearing bone in your leg but it’s gonna take time
    Stepan broke his a while back. Forget the time frame from his.
    Seems the offense is back down to earth now with some games against Eastern teams and some better goaltending.
    Getting ugly here..

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  5. Good morning, boneheads!
    Very well written, Doodie! Enjoyable, and precise. Thank you!
    Throughout the whole write up the one thing is constant- they forgot one of the things that made them successful and dangerous so far- to put pucks on the net. That other teams will adjust to their breakouts was expected. But I don’t think it’s a problem, the Rangers have been able to readjust too. Oftentimes during the game, credit to coaches. Not shooting pucks on net when they should is becoming an issue.

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  6. As to Mika’s fracture. Not going into medical details, but his recovery depends on the type of fracture, and its location, most importantly. Either way, it’s much better than what it looked like initially- a severe knee injury.
    Now their depth upfront will really be tested. 2 top 9 ( if not 6, I think Buchnevich belongs on top 6 and will eventually end up there) are out, at least one long term. I would not panic and make a trade.
    While logic would suggest to play Miller at center, I like his chemistry with Hayes. Give Lindberg another chance, if he keeps taking dumb penalties, I’d play Nieves until he either proves he can play on this level or belongs to minors.

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  7. Another fine review from our Fearless Leader. When I saw Zibanejad my first thought was at least 6-8 weeks on some type of knee sprain – didn’t even think of any type of break. It will be interesting to see how AV juggles the lines. Does this mean Oscar has to step up of is it a boon for Boo?

    In reference to #15 – I think that ever since they went to video review for offside calls linesmen are more willing to blow the play dead as offside then to let it play out, have a goal scored, and then have to be overturned on video review.

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  8. I debated whether or not to post this, but since I received so much comfort during my time of trouble I decided to post this so that everyone could get know Roe a little better. Thank you!

    I normally only post links to my blog when I finish my treatise of the NHL Draft so I got Fearless Leader’s permission 0 and for that I also say thank you.

    After 17 months away from blogging, I have posted a new edition of “Ranger Ramblings”. It is not your ordinary posting because it is dedicated to my wife Roe who passed away on May 20, 2016. The blog offers a look at Roe and her relationship with her favorite team – the New York Rangers.

    http://www.rangerramblings.com/2016/11/19/requiem-for-a-fallen-rangers-fan/

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  9. I had a feeling at 1-1 that it wasn’t going to be the Rangers’ night. Sometimes you just get that feeling.

    Yeah, the over passing was a problem again. Shoot the puck! I remember Zucc alone in the slot with the puck and tried to pass outside to somebody (I forget who). Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Shoot the puck! Michelletti was raving about the Rangers’ passing on the power play. Whaaaaaaaat? Shoot the puck!

    I think now we’ll really see what AV thinks of Lindberg. If they bring up Boo, then Lindberg will be the next McIlrath – that is, banished to the minors and eventually let go for a bag of pucks.

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  10. Zucc with puck, skates off wall, across middle uncovered 12 ft in front of goal and passes it to someone double covered in slot. Has been playing well, but sometimes when you have a scoring chance…shoot!
    .
    Top 9 center needed so either Pirri is moved up to 3C or Miller is shifted to 3C pivot, Haze to 2C and Pirri as 3LW with Grabby at 3RW (or vice/versa) Be nice if Butch comes back to play top 9 with JT/Grabby.
    .
    D had trouble moving puck for 2nd game in a row so scoring chances were down, no flow. The book is out, dump it in and force D to carry puck; only McD and Shea can bring it out.
    .
    Busy week with 5 games in 7 nights (including last night). Pens 2-2-1 in last 5. Good test.

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  11. I am guessing that pretty much everyone heard about what happened to Craig Cunningham who collapsed before an AHL game over the weekend. Cunningham has a connection to the Rangers because he was invited to play for the team in the 2009 Traverse City Tournament and I think he might have been invited to Training Camp before returning to Juniors.

    http://www.foxsports.com/nhl/story/former-nhl-player-craig-cunningham-collapses-prior-to-ahl-game-112016

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  12. Still do the Brass-Zika trade but in his 3 full seasons with NYR, Brass played in 81, 80, & 80 games in reg season and, I believe, didn’t miss a PO game either.
    .
    Oh yeah, Nash is so soft on his skates if anyone touches him. You CANNOT protect this guy; may say the same about the other BIG cap hit before season is out…

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  13. Wow! What a touching story and tribute, Anthony. My heart goes out for you. Unparalleled dedication to both to Roe and Rangers, makes me proud to be your “co-blogger”. Hang on, buddy.

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  14. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call Zibanejad a sniper. When he gets to a 30 goal season, then maybe we can revisit that.

    I also have wondered why Nash can’t stay on his skates. He is pushed off the puck much too easily for a guy that is as big as he is. Maybe Walt Tkaczuk can give him some lessons on how to stay on your skates.

    While I’m not really sold on Zibanejad I don’t really care for the prospects on his replacement. Pirri? Lindberg? Jooris? Ay yi yi.

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  15. I wouldn’t cal Zibanejad injury prone. He just turned 23 in April and already played 300 games. The injury will slow his progress down somewhat this year, but I still see him taking over 1st line center spot in the near future.

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  16. Doodie- you’re probably right. The way his leg hit the boards, his lower leg got most of the pressure, and fibula being a thinner bone comparing to tibia, it gave in before the impact reached his knee.

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  17. Amazing how great a coach AV is. Not only was he able to bury McIlrath when Dylan was a Ranger but he managed to get The Commish, er, Gerard Gallant to bench The Undertaker 🙂 🙂

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  18. Typical that we have a packed week when we get the injury bug. This means there is an opportunity for Hayes and/or Miller to step up, also when is Buke due back?

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  19. Anthony, the story in the Post this morning quoted Gallant as saying that Dylan needs to work on his foot speed. You’d think that by now what you see is what you get.

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  20. Anthony
    Amazing read.
    Redacted
    Nice review
    SN
    Couldn’t agree more re zucc and the “non-shot” play.

    So step now slides up to 2C…boo doesn’t seem to have the confidence of the coach, machine (I like, but seems like the forward version of mcilrath for the coach), pirri had no business being a centre and still doesn’t..still need to trade for a centre than can continually win vital draws.

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  21. Man just when you start to think is this team for real? Reality sets in slowly but surely things begin to go south. Injuries, bad habits, and now the pens! 5th in Metro?

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  22. No way this 1 trick pony was going to continue as it was. Lucky it did as well for so long. This coach put all his eggs in a speed basket and there needs to be 2-3 player upgrades over the course of the season

    Liked by 1 person

  23. RR2/Mr Objective; very hard for a player to contribute when not playing, in fact almost impossible.
    .
    Brassard played 241 out of 246 regular season games. That is a fact. How well he performed in those games is your opinion; subjectively speaking…

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Are we beating up on the injured guy because the team lost now? Honestly, it’s still too early to decide what this team may be over the long haul. Shame on any of you no matter how positive you try to be if you were assuming the goal scoring wouldn’t slow at some point or that this team would stay healthy all year. Most here have been following the sport long enough to know how it goes.
    They made bad decisions and have gotten away from what works. Speed. shots on goal. effective power play work. Those are some of the things that have brought success thus far. That OT was brutal to watch. All that open space and guys like Nash and Hayes are still looking for someone to feed the puck to. Remember safe is death? Well, now Fancy is death. It’s a long season. If they get back to their game they should be alright. Guys are going to have to step up for sure.

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  25. Yeah Brassard is so good that if he went into the boards with that same impact last night his leg wouldn’t have broken. Gorton got smoked on that trade.

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  26. Wick, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the three positions you’d upgrade would be Stepan’s spot, Skeji’s spot and 4th line center ; )

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  27. JamesG – whoa! Calm down; switch to Sanka. The comment was in reference to Mr Objective’s iron man reference.
    Still like the deal. Kid’s a keeper, hope he heals quickly. no 2 injuries are the same but Step broke the same bone in preseason and was out 6 weeks; only missed 14 games.

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  28. SN how’d you know I had my third cup of coffee in my hand? 🙂 (no joke) just speed reading and posting quickly in between studying. mea culpa. Regardless, this team is going to get tested now. It’s a shame the schedule didn’t permit us to see them against some Eastern rivals before all these injuries set in. At least we’d have more of a measuring stick to go on than just beating up Western teams and Tampa.

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  29. I do remember Stepan breaking his fib as well but didn’t remember the time frame. The injury itself is best described as ILB explained. depends on where and what kind of break. I’ve X-rayed 70 year olds that were walking around for weeks with a fibula broken and just complaining of soreness. Of course it’s more severe in Zibanejad’s case but just goes to show.

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  30. Wow Anthony, what a beautiful, poignant & ,dare I say, funny story. Thanks for sharing.
    RR2 good review, again.
    So we’re on an 0-1-1 streak, and the man-games lost are starting to pile up. But, they have an opportunity to get back on track tonight. For that to happen we’ll need at least 2 goals, cuz I know damn well Hags will net one

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  31. James
    I’d address 4C and 4th line wing sooner than later. I’d address a top six wing position (nash or zucc) at some point this season. As far as D goes, I’m in agreement with ilb and others…I think the right side needs to be upgraded at some point (with a right handed D man), so a lefty playing right moves back to the left. Obviously that means something has to give on the left. My personal preference is to get rid of staal (I know, move clause)and keep mcdonut, Holden, and skjel (ultimately graves in there somewhere), but that’s my preference.

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  32. When I saw Puempel was waived yesterday, I considered suggesting that we claim him. Then I looked at his NHL numbers and I didn’t. I wonder how much of this has to do with Zibanejad and Buchnevich’s injuries. Also, not a good sign for our boys in Hartford that they want to kick the tires on Puempel first.

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  33. SN, a player is much more likely to stay healthy when he isn’t engaged physically. That’s why Yandle and Cogliano are current;y the leaders in active iron man streaks, and why Jay Bouwmeester used to hold it, and why one of the Sedins did as well.

    This isn’t to say any of them are bad players, just that it means their style of game is not a physical one.

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  34. They claimed Puempel? Better get the trophy case ready for that Stanley Cup. Just one question: who in the world is Matt Puempel?

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  35. Honestly, I’m not sure of the rationale here. Do they really just want a warm body for practice without calling someone up from Hartford? Or maybe Ottawa called us up and asked us for a solid to take him off of their books? But he’s on a two-way contract, so the 75k isn’t breaking the bank, even for super budget conscious Ottawa, is it?

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  36. That’s funny RR2 because I had Puempel in the mix for the Rangers in 2011. He is only 23 and represents the second 2011 1st rounder they have acquired (Nicklas Jensen). Not sure if this speaks to how Hrivik and Jensen have fallen or if the organization is just high on Puempel. Here is is his Scouting Report:

    Scouting Report
    Assets: Has plenty of scoring prowess and offensive instincts. Displays great hands. Knows where to be in order to score goals regularly. Also displays a strong lower body.
    Flaws: Needs to improve his play without the puck, as well as get stronger in his upper body, in order to maximize his pro prospects. Will never be a great defender.
    Career Potential: Talented winger with some upside.

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  37. Jus the facts ma’am.
    Not saying Brass was Joel Otto but he averaged 110 hits/season in his 3 with NYR; 1.4/G.
    H. Sedin has a total of 164 hits in 16 seasons; D Sedin has 141 total; 0.12/G
    .
    Intersting to note in the Torts Era Step averaged over 1 hit/G; in the AV Era .5/G

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  38. Puempel-Stepan-Fast. First line. First PP unit. You beat me to it, Doodie. Was about to say that it’s not a good sign when they claim someone like that off waivers instead of calling up a guy from Hartford. Thought the Pack was supposed to be stacked this year? Where’s Nathan Gerbe when you need him, eh?

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  39. Anthony, I rush through skimming posts most of the time these days but I just wanted to let you know I took the time to read the blog and it’s truly a beautiful story. I’m glad you’ve had the team and the knuckle head fans around these parts to find some solace. From one Salesian Eagle to another- thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Few notable names taken after Puempell in the ’11 draft- Trochek, Kucherov, John Gibson, Saad, Victor Rask, Marcus Granlund and “Daniel” Boone Jenner…

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  41. This Pumple better be slow. Need a pony with a new trick, Rangers too fast, it’s killing them. Only one point in the last two. Sky falling, 8th in Metro.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. It was pretty obvious the organization was looking for a bigger d man with a bigger shot that draft…organization drafted for a perceived need at that time at that spot with that coach and system…whether we liked the pick or not

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  43. Doodie, you especially don’t pick for need when a guy isn’t going to be in the league for another 3 or 4 years. By then, half of the roster will have changed anyway.

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  44. I didn’t realize Zibanejad got seriously hurt last night. I turned the game off in disgust after the 2nd period, turned game back on to watch lundqvist look like a fish out of water on 2nd shootout attempt and the funny thing is I was thinking the same thing the 1st blogger mentioned, lundqvist, my god, 8.5 mil for that guy at age 34, it will only get worse and the game in columbus is on Lundqvist, horrible and for 8.5 mil, could you stop at least 1 shootout attempt, awful. I had the rangers getting one of the wildcard spots anyway so I wasn’t buying into this offensive juggernaut the rangers were displaying in the first 15 games of the season. I had pens in first, caps in 2nd, jackets in 3rd and the rangers battling for one of the wildcard spots. I believe in Gorton but thanks to sather the rangers will take a step or two backwards before they become a stanely cup contender again.

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  45. Tonight we will see what are boys are made of. A real test of character. No excuses, no we need to be better! Just win the battles one shift at a time! Beat the dirty birds!

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  46. Wheels starting fall off. Few more blue jacket wins we’ll be 4th in metro before you know it.

    I hate losing centers for an extended period of time. Will cripple rest of line up. Downward spiral is beginning

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  47. Pens have the better goalie! I’ll be shocked if the Rangers win tonight!
    5 – 1 pens. I’m not a pessimist really!

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  48. Eric the downward spiral came out in March of ’94. Some of Trent Reznor’s better work. Still prefer it over further down the spiral.

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  49. Rangers 6-3-1 against Eastern Conf opponents. 7-2 against West. Shooting % of guys like Grabner have nowhere to go but down when @ 30% in October.

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  50. I’m not defeatist. Not at all. But I have a bad gut’s feeling of Rangers meltdown tonight. Will take any reasonable punishment if I’m wrong. Gladly.

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  51. I’m out on the ledge, sweeping the floor, dusting off cobwebs, checking the bar supplies. Could be a big night here. Oh, hey, Eric.

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