Rangers-Stars in Review

Rangers 2, Stars 0.

1. I originally wasn’t planning on writing a review, but there is obviously one event from last night that needs to be addressed: Eakin’s hit on Lundqvist.

2. First, let’s look at the hit itself. Lundqvist has the puck near the end boards, mishandles it a bit, and then comes right up against and facing the boards, looking to pass the puck on his backhand to the Skjei, who is on his left. This whole time, Eakin has come down the right wing boards and around the goal to put pressure on the puck. Eakin takes a line along the wall. Lundqvist turns towards Eakin just as Eakin is about to make contact. Eakin puts his shoulder into Lundqvist’s head, and explodes into the hit. Lundqvist is obliterated, left splayed on the ice. His helmet flew off, fortunately without his head still in it. Eakin is given a five minute major for charging (somehow not an illegal check to the head) and a game misconduct.

3. I’m usually a pretty even keeled guy, but the hit was so egregious that I jumped out of my seat and yelled “WHAT THE [FUDGE]!?” Then, while standing in shock for a couple of seconds “Where is the [Byfgulien] response!?”

4. Ultimately, that’s the talking point this morning. Eakin was somehow allowed to skate out without having been challenged at all. Skjei was right next to him when it happened. I get that he’s got a full face shield because of what happened on Tuesday, but he’s at the least got to engage Eakin until someone else can come over and drop the gloves. Use your stick, use your gloves, hell, head butt him with the shield if you have to, but the response should have been immediate. Pathetic.

5. And the rest of the guys on the ice are just as guilty. Vesey is just on the other side of the goal when the hit happens and he skates next to Eakin coming out of the zone. Nothing. I get you’re a young kid, but come on. Get in there. Nash is on the half wall on Skjei’s side and comes back a little bit but then turns to join the rush. Nothing. Nobody else is responding and you’re 6’4″, 220. You’re the veteran and you’re wearing a letter. Set an example of standing together as a team. Nothing. Hayes came back into the zone but turned to join the rush, nothing. And Miller was nowhere near the play, but I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t go back and make Eakin answer the bell. I had been thinking of him as being captain material, like the next Callahan, but a bit more skilled. But you could bet your Aasen that Cally would have been all over Eakin.

6. Worse yet, the rest of the team didn’t respond in kind through the rest of the game. Sometimes, there are things more important than the 2 points.

7. I am reminded of another game in which Lindy Ruff was the coach.  November 12, 2011, Bruins vs. Sabres. First period, Milan Lucic gets a breakaway but loses control of the puck. Ryan Miller comes out to play it and Lucic runs him over.  The media narrative the next day was that nobody fought Lucic, an intimidating figure (Paul Gaustad got his face punched in the next time the two teams met), but watch the video. At least they get in his face and there is an immediate and big scrum. The Sabres never recovered.

8. I’m not predicting a similar downfall, but a team with so little heart and pride isn’t going to win. We don’t need a face puncher. Anyone talking about Glass should have their hockey fan card revoked. We just need the guys already on our team to have some stones and some pride. When’s the last time you saw a “big as the building” moment? And don’t talk to me about deterrent because I’ll point you to McIlrath and Stepan or Vesey. It’s just about having each other’s backs and everyone stepping up when required. And they failed that test mightily.

9. Some people argue that the response you should take is on the powerplay. First of all, no. You need to be a team and have each other’s back. Remember on 24/7 when Kopecky suckered Del Zotto?  He went back to the dressing room and the first question he asked was “who jumped in for me?” (He guessed “Dubi” but was informed it was “Rupper”) He didn’t ask if the Rangers cashed in on the PP. He didn’t ask if they got the 2 points. He just wanted to know the team had his back.

10. Putting that aside, the team did not make the Stars pay.  If anything, the Stars were energized a bit by the strong penalty kill.  I thought the 5 on 3 was atrocious. For some reason Stepan was the shooter in the rare times they actually looked to shoot. I can’t say it enough the way you’re supposed to run a 5 on 3. Two passes: high to low, then across the goal mouth.

https://www.nhl.com/video/embed/barkovs-5-on-3-goal/t-281165484/c-40726203?autostart=false

I thought there was some good work around the 3 minute mark of the major, but otherwise, the PP was pretty ugly throughout. And as I said, the Stars seemed to build momentum off of their kill.

11. Now let’s talk briefly about, you know, the game. It was entertaining. Lundqvist was really good, but perhaps let’s wait a few games before declaring that he’s back. Nash was also really good. That goal was fantastic play, all around. The PK was good but the Rangers took way too many penalties. What happened to the team’s improved defensive play, especially in the neutral zone? I was glad to see Zuccarello get off the schneid, even if it was an empty netter.  That said, he’s going to have to score them when there is a goaltender in the net as well. Honestly, I’m still so disgusted with the first part that I don’t have much of an appetite to talk about everyone else.

My Three Rangers Stars:

  1. Henrik Lundqvist
  2. Nick Holden
  3. Mats Zuccarello

Everyone who was on the ice when Lundqvist got hit was disqualified. Otherwise Nash would have been 2.

146 thoughts on “Rangers-Stars in Review”

  1. I think that in 2016 hockey this stick up for your guy by pummeling the guy who did it just doesn’t work and doesn’t matter. It’s a different game. I agree with those who say that the way to make them pay is to score two goals on the PP. EVERY POINT matters and to give up a PP is to risk giving away a point. If you don’t think this team is playing like a team then you aren’t watching

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Despite an aberrant opinion at the end of the previous thread, Take it to the bank – If Eli is cheapshotted with obvious intent to injure, the Giants would go postal. Do not for a second doubt it.

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  3. And…I seem to remember when McDonuts played tougher and stood up for himself. To watch him be ragdolled by Liverlips and others tells me the Captain is following orders from the White House, currently occupied by AV.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I mean, do we start to ask the question of how Lundqvist is perceived in the room?

    I know it sounds silly, and borderline sacrilegious, but, like…

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  5. Agree that these are orders from the bench. Buek must have thrown up in him mouth after that play.
    Fast Froward to 1:20

    AV wants to turn the other cheek, sometimes you lose the battle (game) to win the war (season). Henk should be pissed

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  6. We are all pissed about the lack of reaction, but the team didn’t seem bothered. They went on to win the game, and played hard doing it.

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  7. Re: Cally – If by moving to Florida, YOU could get another million a year on top of your salary, plus another (effective) 3/4 of a mil in saved taxes, do you refuse the offer because you’d feel bad leaving the guys in your NY office?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would wait til we face the Bruins, and get revenge for the Eakin hit by taking out Pastrnak. Or one of their other stars.

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  9. To all those arguing that going after Eakins to make him pay for the dirty hit are missing the bigger point. The ref immediately puts up his arm to signal the penalty and Vesey immediately turns to the ref and notices that. From the video it appears that Skjei is intent on the puck and doesn’t realize what just happened to Hank. It’s no big leap that everyone else on the ice and on the bench knows a penalty for the hit has been called so we can give a small pass that no one wants to negate the pending penalty. However, excepting Nash, who’s no fighter and would likely fall down with his first attempted shove or punch likely injuring himself, there’s NO RESPONSE. Nothing. It’s as if Hank isn’t lying there on the ice with his hat 20 feet away after it was catapulted from that gorgeous head of hair. I remember launching myself from my big comfy couch with fire in my eyes and lava spewing from my lips. My anger and disgust quickly turned to disbelief and disappointment. Everyone on the team looked like they were the one’s hit, dazed and confused. With little exception, the resulting PP certainly looked like they still hadn’t recovered even though the victim was in the locker room. The lack of ANY response for the remainder of the game is still unfathomable to me. NO physical response, even within the rules. Hell, there weren’t even angry words exchanged. How do these guys look each other in the eye today? What must Hank think? The lack of any response does not bode well and will likely cause this situation to be an issue far longer than if someone, anyone, had stepped up at any point for the remainder of the game.

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  10. Coos,
    If I am the captain of the New York Rangers, and they offer me 6mill a year to still be captain of the New York Rangers, I am still captain of the New York Rangers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m ready for the league to throw the book at Eakin.

    The San Diego Gulls coach is a stand-up guy, though.

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  12. Eakins blew it, came in too aggressively, no way to get out of it once he was committed to getting the puck Lundqvist was dangling there like a carrot–there’s no forward in the NHL who doesn’t know Lundqvist’s bizarre weakness as a stickhandler/decision-maker outside his crease. I doubt if there was much intent to injure–the guy has zero reputation as a dirtball or fighter–and that might have had something to do with the lack of response. Had it been a Marchand…line brawl. Eakins will get a long suspension because you can’t have forwards coming in that way on goalies regardless of intent. That fans want to exact retribution on their television sets is interesting but beside the point. The Rangers won the game, bottom line, and didn’t lose their focus involving themselves in some yesteryear morality play. The silver lining may be that Hank never leaves his crease again.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sure is, BDL. He looks good for 25 points over 50 games a season. Only 3 more seasons past this one at $5.8M cap hit. But what they really like are his skills as a recruiter.

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  14. Norm – going at that speed, contact was inevitable. But its up to Eakin to realize that the rules prohibit him to make contact with the goaltender, and to mitigate the damage by trying to hold up or veer away from Hank. If he did either of those, he still makes contact, but it’s a two-minute minor, he gets to stay in the game, he doesn’t risk the major, the suspension, the potential injury to his opponent, and what might’ve been a line brawl. That wasn’t one of those split-second decisions that went wrong – there was plenty of time for him to think. And the cherry on top – Eakin went high.

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  15. Norm, to a point I can agree w/ what you’re saying. However, it’s difficult to understand the lack of emotion in a game that demands a certain level of passion to be successful.

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  16. My favorite line from the opening of the post;

    ‘Lundqvist has the puck near the end boards, mishandles it a bit…’

    sort of like beginning a book; it was a dark and stormy night…

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  17. Dave, good points. Eakins hadn’t even rounded the net when Hank was behind the net attempting to play the puck. Plenty of time for him to read and react. Instead he went straight into Hanks head w/ absolutely no effort to slow up and he raises his elbow as he finishes Hank off. The fact that he’s a “nice guy” shouldn’t mitigate the league’s response.

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  18. Remaining Unsaid: 9 out of 10 goalies in this league would have been able to play the puck and get out of the way. Doesn’t make what happened right, but his team also knows how bad he is at playing puck. Major case of the slows…

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  19. As I said, Eakins blew it, came in too hot. You can see his eyes on the puck, though–like a dog spying a sirloin–before he realizes he’s screwed. Not a mistake he’ll make again, as his accountant will offer as advice.

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  20. True SN. I didn’t think it was possible, but he’s worse at handling the puck that Richter.

    Heave Ho, it’s almost like he double-downed. He knew he was gonna get called for something…might as well get his money’s worth. But yeah…I don’t think his status as a non-offender should get him off the hook for anything.

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  21. Heave, I get it about the passion, as a former player and coach and all, but my view of this year’s team is team is that their passion is directed at playing hard, playing fast and winning. Their passion for backchecking stands out in particular. I haven’t looked at their PIM rankings lately, nor their Hits count (not the best-kept stat, I know) but none of them are having their mail delivered to the sin bin this year, even if Lindberg uses it to take a nightly breather.

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  22. Back from looking at stats. Rangers are middle of the pack in Hits, last in the league in PIM/game. What stands out there, though, is the Hawks, Caps and Bluejackets, all at the bottom in both categories. More than one way to butter the biscuit.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. PIM rankings are hardly a measure of aggressiveness. Maybe if broken down by physical infractions; (roughing, charging, elbowing, boarding, fighting) compared to stick/non-contact infractions (high sticking, hooking, tripping, et al)
    .
    Don’t believe this team plays soft whistle to whistle, they just have marching order to abide by tAV’s pacifist’s guide to hockey etiquette after the whistle. Doesn’t mean getting thrown in the bin for eye gouging, but clearing the crease and not allowing perps to take shots at your stars is a start.
    .
    Ironically, the last 4 or so games have been very entertaining, seeing PO type hockey in December

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  24. Norm, I’ve played as well and know how difficult it can be for me to contain my emotion at times. These guys are pros and I guess they are where they are because they can channel that emotion into a focus and intensity as they continue playing. For me, the hit on Hank was so far over the line that I still can’t understand everyone maintaining their composure. I certainly lost mine last night and couldn’t get to sleep for a while. I also don’t trust the league to do the right thing after so many players have gotten away without any consequence for actions that are downright dangerous and IMHO not good for the game.

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  25. Eakin expressed zero remorse in that interview

    Only felt bad that he out his teammates down on the kill

    Of course a suspension does nothing to help the rangers being an out of conference team

    I wish suspensions (like the Pasternak one ) would be served next time that team faces the team they wronged.
    That would be more useful.

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  26. Also. Love how hank answered the critics

    Showed some major toughness coming back after the “benching” let alone the collision to not just play well. But to be so calm as pitch a shutout. Pretty spectacular

    Stinks that raanta didn’t even face a shot but hank still doesn’t count the official shutout.

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  27. Best Hank moment for me was when one of the Benns (I think) hit the crossbar as Lundqvist threw his face at the puck. Yes, it’s masked, and yes, the guy should have scored anyway, but…he threw his face at the puck.

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  28. Extremely disappointing that even if nobody was willing to step up and pummel that guy then at least surround him in a big scrum. There was *zero* response. Nada. Not even a drive by the Dallas goalie. What strikes me though is the difference in reaction to this than Klein standing up for Skjei. Or other earlier incidents where there is at least a gathering of pushing and shoving as they drag the miscreant to the box. Even if there is some problem with Hank in the room, you still have to have each other’s back.

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  29. Major collisions are all but impossible in NHL hockey IF one of the colliders sees what’s about to happen. These guys, even the half azz skaters can stop on the proverbial dime. When you see something like last night happen, it’s not accidental.

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  30. Coos, Eakins made no attempt to stop, slow down or alter his path. Let’s see how the league responds and if they grab the opportunity to send a message. I’m hopeful but not expecting an appropriate suspension. “Hank wasn’t injured and he returned quickly to the game” is surely to be part of their response.

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  31. I’m with Norm. I don’t get fans who get all tied up in some kind of “yesteryear morality play.” They played hard and won. That’s the bottomline. Nash went after Eakins but smartly kept it this side of the line so we didn’t lose the powerplay. Yeah, I know we didn’t score, but we had them backed in their corner for five minutes. Fine. That’s the game today and that’s the way the game should be played today. I for one will be more than happy when fighting is eliminated from the game.

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  32. Retaliation is really being discouraged for young players and as noted the other night the Ranger forwards in particular are a very young group that includes many Europeans and US college players. The NCAA even has a penalty for “hitting after the whistle” and European hockey has always been less physical. I think only Nash, Pirri, Miller, Staal, Girardi, Klein and Holden played Canadian Juniors where there aren’t heavy sanctions against fighting. Even if AV was replaced by Reggie Dunlop this group it not likely to go brawling. It was not put together for old time hockey. Again the NFL plays whistle to whistle and no one calls them pansies. I can’t recall a single NFL incident of a player being ejected for “sticking up for a teammate.” And if one was, his coach probably criticized him for losing his composure just like Beckham has been called out. Football has a different culture and it probably is where hockey is headed like it or not.

    Having said all that, I re-watched the game today and was a little surprised the Rangers didn’t at least finish their checks a little more aggressively after the incident. But that might be just what we have. The 70s are long gone. The goal is to win games not prove your manhood.

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  33. One thing about the retaliation is Eakins skated away from the incident very quickly. It would take chasing him down. Linesman were already able to corral any vigilanty justice.
    Many players were already flying the zone because of the existing PP.
    I’m not trying to excuse the softness. But our PP guys except for Nash kreider and to an extent miller are not of that ilk. Skjej in a face mask can get a huge instigator penalty I believe if it’s on and he instigated. I could be wrong though.

    Mcd if he’s out there I don’t think has ever thrown a punch and has his own concussion issues lingering from simmonds last year.

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  34. Coos
    Glass was never that big of a body checker himself

    Miller kreider girardi Holden Lindbergh and fast have thrown a few body checks of note

    Miller and kreider do great jobs of becoming the hitter when about to be hit too.

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  35. cregg, the rule called for an extra two for instigating with a shield. I think that rule is off the books, though, since all players — except the grandfathers — have to wear shields.

    But, yeah, you don’t want Skjei getting his butt kicked there. For what? And the NHL linesmen are now trained to instantly protect the perp in these situations.

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  36. Great review Doodie don’t burn yourself out though! So disappointed in the lack of response from this group no excuses screw the coach and the 2 points! Pound Eakin a statement should have been made embarrassing!

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  37. Hank’s hair is the big concern regarding that hit. It seems nary a strand was out of place after he got up. No worries.

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  38. I gotta be honest, something like that hit happens and I’m not worried about 2 or 5 mins of pp time. In fact I’m not even worried about the two points. And if you want to Call me ignorant or say I don’t understand the game as it is today and my response is that you’ve never played. And if you have? I’m glad we were never teammates.
    That’s an atrocious hit and the lack of response is even worse. But they took two points from a western conference team and kept pace with the metro? Again, would rather have a team that lives and dies with one another on the ice in those situation and doesn’t finish first overall. ill gladly take 3rd or 4th place finish and a playoff berth knowing my team AND it’s coach have the balls to take care of one another while competing/contending. Like it or not that’s hockey and that’s what it takes to be a team. The days of enforcers and banger lines are over but do you think Mike Richter ever got hit like that? Want 50 reasons why he didn’t? Messier, Graves, Beukaboom, Kocur, Langdon, Samuelson, and Messier or Graves 44 more times.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. James – you have nothing to worry about. I’ve got sources that are telling me that the reason Hank left the ice was not for concussion protocol but rather he felt a twinge of hair a bit misplaced. Once he saw that his mane was indeed perfect, he looked into the mirror, winked at himself, flashed his winning smile and just like that he was back on the ice. In an interview Hank mentioned that after the hit and his helmet flew off, he tried to strike a pose knowing the cameras were in him.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Doodie
    Best review all season! Great work and I couldn’t agree more.

    James
    Well said sir, well said. Excellent post.

    AV leading team tapioca will continue to foster the victim mentality

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  41. ‘Learn to work the saxophone
    I play just what I feel
    Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
    And die behind the wheel
    They got a name for the winners in the world
    I want a name when I lose
    They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
    Call me Deacon Blues’

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  42. My 1.5 cents… As much as I would have liked an immediate reaction to the Hank Hit, we just don’t have the size for full on retribution. All that would have done was escalate everything and then OUR smaller players end up getting hurt from a nasty check. Too many injuries already to waste the effort. Put the effort into the win and keep on truckin’. If we had a 3 goal lead then MAYBE. Otherwise they did the “right” thing given all the circumstances. And I’m usually all for giving a deserving punch to the face.

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  43. Richter was run plenty. As was Beezer. Just look at the 86 playoff highlights vs Philly. I agree that a response was needed, but the best response was beating them.

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  44. Good morning, boneheads!
    Still debating it? There are, obviously, many different opinions on that.
    One of the better ways to find out is to ask the players what they really think about it. Including, and especially, Hank. Something tells me they wouldn’t give an honest opinion until after their retirement from NHL

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  45. There were many factors that played into the non response, all touched here.
    AV is certainly at the top of the list, but also the way it played out. Much of the line had already started to transition to offense, the perp had fled the crime scene to get protection from the law and the crime was soooooooo odd that it looked like the team was in a bit of shock.

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  46. Because for whatever reason they did not retaliate (I agree they should have), does not make this team soft. There are to many guys on this team who have been through the playoff wars for the team to be considered soft. They pay the price to do what is needed to win.

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  47. I don’t believe there is an AV mandate for absolutely NO retaliation. Teams would know that in a heartbeat. I think they’re told to avoid it at all cost (no pun intended). So, yes there should have been retaliation and yes the next time one of our players gets run there will be. I mean, there has to be right? If not I’ll be the one going ballistic & jumping through the Boob tube.

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  48. Your franchise player is run over by some wimpy Stars’ forward; perfect time for a beat down if you want to. Obviously nobody did save for Nash with a half hearted push. The elbow from Stuart that concussed Nash was in AV’s third game behind bench received NO response from anyone on team.
    .
    This has been going on since AV arrived. You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to understand this is either a direct order from the bench or a culture that has been nurtured by this staff. Need only to review the Torts’ teams play just prior to Elaine’s arrival. First time in the history of the franchise when they not only stood up for one another but were the aggressor. Early 90’s would put up with no sheet, but did not have to be the aggressor as they were highly skilled.

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  49. Completely agree with SN.

    This team has been soft from the get go,not just because of the lack of response to the hank incident.

    -27 this morning…love it 😉

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  50. You don’t have to be a Brain Scientist to see that this is much more skilled team than the Torts teams. And the Torts teams always ran out of gas-caused in part by the way they played and having to rely on the very few skill players on the team to much.

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  51. In just my view, I consider lack of pride part of being soft. If you will not stand up for your goalie, one of your best players, after an absolute no doubt of an anywhere close to legal play regardless of your perceived “role” on the team, then you lack pride and intestinal fortitude. Which, in my eyes, means you are soft.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. Lack of pride is one heck of a leap. I agree that something should have been done, and I am as disgusted as the next guy that they did nothing. But lack of pride, or being a soft team was not the reason for the lack of action. Discipline was.

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  53. BDL – I did note the Torts teams had to be the aggressor due to lack of skill. My main point was after over 4 decades of watching this franchise, it was the first time you knew they were not going to back down from anybody and, in fact, be the aggressor.
    .
    Those teams won as many Stanley Cups and Presidents Cup than this version…
    .
    Ironically, the players rewarded for their play during that period now have contracts holding this team back with AV’s speed game; Girardi, Stepan, Staal and yes, even Henk’s deal.
    .

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  54. My 5 cents:
    Pragmatism against emotion. Forever disputed topic. But there is certain cases where intangibles like team closeness, feel of brotherhood or justifiable wrath (or lack of thereof), have very real, long lasting consequences on individual players (building or ruining confidence and relationships), team and relations with others teams and the whole League(called reputation). That’s the case of that very “tangible” hit on Hank. It’s not the matter of how big or small are players on the ice at this time, – after all, it is a Character what wins the fights, or even a possibility to lose the game – it’s not a playoffs anyway. It is indomitable show of unstoppable collective desire to stand for your guy to the last, no matter what. It is worth a lot and should live in any player’s genes, and with no doubt should be cultivated in the organization. Hello, AV!

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  55. From the Bonehead Byng wing: Not sure about attempting a psychoanalysis of a Rangers locker room none of us here know anything about. I like the way the team is playing this year, fast and hard, and don’t give a rusty you-know-what about retribution or lack thereof.

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  56. A lot of good points by my fellow Boneheads, it’s time to bring some Rock-N-Roll to the Grand-Ole-Opry tonight! Just saying!

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  57. I’d play Glass with Ribbit and the Spirit of St. Louis.

    Kooz – nothing wrong with soft shelled crabs. Nothing at all. Lobster is my personal fav with Oysters and Mussels on its heels.

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  58. Listening to AV, I heard zero disappointment. If anything he seemed relieved that times have changed, that the bench-clearing that would have been automatic back in the day is now over with. Not sure what I missed there.

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  59. VC has, like, 5 black belts. How much blacker could they be? None. None more….black. What was on the white album? You tell me! There was nothing on that *** **** cover.

    Like

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