Rangers-Coyotes in Review

Today’s review is provided by Scottsdale Ranger, who attended the game in person. Great job!  As a reminder, I’ll be out of commission through the weekend and I’ve handed the keys to E3 to cover for me. God help us all. Clearly, this is a HAV.

First off, let me give you a little background about myself when it comes to hockey and our beloved New York Hockey Rangers. I am a 37-year-old, 3rd generation Rangers fan as my grandfather, a native of Goteborg, Sweden, was the original Rangers fan in the family that lived and died (mostly died) with this organEYEzation. He took my grandmother on their first few dates to Rangers games back in the late- 1940s. when she politely told him that she would like to go somewhere else on their next date, he showed up for their next date with 1 ticket to the Rangers game that night, and another ticket for a Broadway show that night…true story. When they got engaged my grandfather made sure that their wedding was going to be on the day of the Rangers home opener against the Montreal Canadians on Sunday, October 29th, 1950. They had the wedding in the afternoon and went directly to the old MSG that evening…another true story. That game ended in a 2-2 tie btw. My grandfather would later go on to take my dad (Scottsdale Dad) to many Rangers games at the old Garden and the current Garden when it opened in ’68. My first Ranger game was on January 15th, 1989 vs Mario Lemieux and the Fat Birds. The Rangers were down 3 goals twice that game before storming back with 5 straight to win 6-4. It was a Sunday matinee affair, but despite that I remember the crowd at the Garden being really impressive to this 10-year-old. I think Ogrodnick and my favorite Ranger at the time, Tomas Sandstrom, both tallied for the Blueshirts. Ah the memories.
As for this game, since I was there I will give you some observations about the actual game plus some observations about the crowd/atmosphere/general in-game experience.

1. I went with my dad, my sister who actually grew up a Tire Fires fan but now roots for the good guys, and my father-in-law who isn’t a huge hockey fan like we are. When we first got there it took me about 10-12 Rangers jerseys before I saw one stinking AZ Puppy Dog jersey. That’s not an uncommon thing however, because I figure there are about 6,000, maybe 7,000 die-hard Puppy-Dog fans in the whole world. That might be a generous estimation, too.
2. While we’re on the subject of the AZ hockey club, I am really not sure how Dave Tippett still has a head coaching job with that team. He clearly screwed Don Maloney out of the organization, that’s for sure. He probably did him a favor though.
3. Watching the Rangers warm up I noticed a couple of things. First, the Rangers’ siblings were watching warmups from the bench. Pretty cool. The 2nd thing that jumped out at me were Mike Smith’s enawwwwmous black pads. I knew he’s a tall dude but I’m not totally sure that those things are legal.
4. So the game starts and just 26 seconds in the Rangers go on the PP. Faceoff win-shot-crossbar. So close. Then after some fancy-boy passing Puempel (I believe his bonehead nickname is “Pimple”) [Editor’s note: I’m partial to Puempelnickel] notches his first tally of three on the night (all on the PP) with just 2 seconds remaining on the PP. Good start.
5. Then at about the 6-minute mark, the Rangers get another PP. Watching from section 222, Row E, I thought Zuuuuuuuuuuc was a little too fancy on this PP… passed a couple times when he should have shot. Then, similar to the first PP, this time with 3 seconds remaining, Nick “Bobby Orr” Holden scores his 7th of the campaign to give the good guys an early 2-0 lead.
6. A couple of minutes later the Pups turn it over and Hayes breaks in one-on-one on Mike ‘’definitely not Billy’’ Smith (the left post would later disagree) and is not able to give the Rangers the dreaded 3 goal lead as Smith makes the nice save with his ginormous black pads.
7. With about 5 minutes to go Christian Dvorak (nephew of my coworker) skates in and if Brady Skjei seemingly screening Uncle Auntie is not enough, Skjei also deflects in the puck for the Puppies first goal. I was very happy for my coworker, Kathy, but felt the opposite about Mr. Skjei. Cmon kid, learn how to block shots! I thought the 5/76 pairing was horrendous btw…and I don’t think even Girardi apologists will disagree. More on that later…
8. The Rangers successfully kill another Oscar Lindberg penalty at the end of the 1st and they take a 2-1 lead into the second. I felt the lead could have been much more though.
9. A little more than a minute into the second period we see Chris (3rd year in a row scoring in the Desert) Kreider deflect a shot from Nick Holden. Beauty. 3-1 and another good start to a period.
10. A few minutes later the Rangers have a horrendous 3 hour shift in their own zone where Fast can’t clear the zone at least twice with easy opportunities. I thought the Swedes had a tough night…even Shampoo Boy had a rough night on the bench.
11. Holden, who had another great night in my opinion and not just because he scored again and added another helper, saved an AZ goal on a 4-on-4 about midway through the period. He’s been a great pickup by our GM and he hasn’t been the only one.
12. And then we have the predictable former Ranger scoring against the Rangers goal when Anthony Duclair makes the 5/76 pairing look silly (and that’s being kind) and makes it a one-goal game again. I’m surprised Josh Jooris didn’t score too in this game. Ugh.
13. The 3rd period begins with the Rangers clinging to a 3-2 lead and predictably start playing typical AV inspired prevent-hockey. Raanta is forced to make a GREAT save about a minute in. I actually had Raanta as my 3rd star tonight. I thought he was solid again despite giving up 3 goals which were mostly not his fault.
14. If you saw my notes from the game you’d notice that I took a lot less notes in the 3rd period. This was due to being a die-hard fan and being very nervous about only having a one-goal lead against a garbage team/organEYEzation.
15. Sure enough the captain “holds” I believe it was Duclair and the Rangers have to kill off what is a horrendous penalty call against them. I mean what was the captain supposed to do there? I thought he played it perfectly. Disgraceful call in my opinion. [Editor’s note: that same ref made an equally bad makeup call that led to the winner] It reminded me of some “holding” calls the NY Football Giants get called against them that are phantom. Whatever.
16. On that PK AZ ties it when Girardi loses Tobias Rieder not once, but twice before Rieder scored. Girardi almost made matters worse when he went after Rieder right after the goal causing a scrum behind the net. He’s lucky he didn’t get escorted to the box for that. I’m not sure how anyone defends this guy anymore. It’s not a personal thing because he seems like a great guy and I’m sure he’s a good teammate and very good with the media personnel as well. He was a warrior for many years for this team and was also one of the best defensemen in the league in my opinion. But let’s face it… he’s been atrocious starting with the 2014 SC Finals. At best he’s a #5/6 D right now. He’s slow, handles the puck like it’s a grenade, out of position a lot, and makes bad decisions and simply gets beat A LOT. Yeah, this season has been slightly better than last season for him. But, that’s not really saying much at all, is it?
17. Btw, the in-game production at Gila River Arena or whatever they call it now is so bush league and amateurish. But of course the amateurish Puppy Dog fans love it. I wonder what percentage of those fans there actually are aware that AZ is one of the worst teams in the league and is in last place in their division. I’ll say 50% at best.
18. So long story short, the Rangers go on another PP and the captain sends one on net and Puempel deflects in his 2nd of the night giving them a 4-3 lead with 5:20 to play. Nice. Not only am I happy that the Rangers retook the lead, but they play “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who in the arena. Double awesome! Too bad for AZ that they were “fooled again”…twice.
19. Miller adds an EN goal with about 26 seconds left and although I didn’t see it due to celebrating with my sister and dad, Ekman-Larson I guess shoots a puck at a ref or linesman and gets an unsportsmanlike penalty. (Can’t he be suspended for that or at least fined heavily?)
20. Literally 10 seconds later Matt Puempel finishes off a beautiful play to complete his first career hat-trick and the place goes wild. Plenty of hats and even those goofy 20 year Coyotes anniversary tee shirts (btw-they’ve won a grand total of 2 playoff series in that time…twice as many as the Tire Fires though) litter the ice. Mike Smith would also take his frustrations of losing the final of his fantasy football league on the left post. [Editor’s note: I know how he feels] Great, great finish. Good for Puempel, too.
21. When my 22-month old daughter and I were on our way out of Starbucks earlier in the morning in the Kierland Commons in Scottsdale we ran into Dave Maloney. I said, “Let’s Go Rangers!” He laughed and said, “Happy New Year!” before saying hello to my daughter. She was too busy munching on a piece of cheese Danish to acknowledge him. He then said, “Enjoy the game.” Nothing special but a pretty cool moment nonetheless for me.
22. Let’s Go Rangers!

My 3 Stars:
1. Matt Puempel
2. Nick Holden
3. Annti Raanta
HM: Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist’s sister

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130 thoughts on “Rangers-Coyotes in Review”

  1. Good morning, boneheads!
    Nicely done, SR. Well written, and enjoyable.
    You have to like how Puempel scored his goals last night. Not necessarily how, but from where.
    I consider myself to be in the group of Girardi defenders. He’s given up all he’s got for this franchise, and I root for him. But there is no way to defend him, especially on the GTG. No idea what he was doing, total lack of concentration. They’ll have to buy him out after this season.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It can’t be easy to be able to write a review when you’re at the game as a fan. Nice write-up. Let’s dispose of Colorado on Saturday and get back home.

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  3. Also, Nick Holden it was nice knowing you. Vegas is going to grab him. They are not going to waste there time with Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg or Kevin Klein.

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  4. Nice review, have to like the personal touch on so many of them. So with the G pairing with Skjei I think we see two things: a) we kind of know why AV keeps him paired with McD because to do otherwise is a complete disaster rather than just a boat anchor and b) its an organizational issue. I do think management is in a bind here as its clear that G is not going to make it this season, the downhill picking up speed the past couple of weeks. Yet they seem unwilling to bury him in Hartford ala Redden, probably because of his loyal and past good service (the same probably applies to the press box). Really not sure how they work this out but they will have to do so fairly soon. Team can suffer through Skjei learning on the job but not both of them.

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  5. @ilb – I stand corrected – I though the NMC only applied to NHL level moves. So guess the box upstairs is their only choice.

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  6. Nice job Scottsdale enjoyed the read! Like I said in the previous post Girardi is playing in another time zone, foot speed does affect decisions on the the ice! He has given it all for the Blueshirts but the tank is now empty! Girardi must be bought out. I know it is almost impossible but somehow Gorton must find away to keep Holden!

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  7. What are the rules on D they have to expose? If they buy out G cam they protect Holden? BTW great review and family story. I assume the official didn’t think he shot it at him on purpose and gave him 2 for being an A hole. Puempel or Pirri when everyone gets healthy? Hrivik and Lindberg play hard and skate well but can’t score.

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  8. ORF- if they go (they most likely will) the more conventional route of protecting 7-3-1 ( forwards-Dmen-Goaltender), as opposed to 8 skaters-1 goaltender, they can only protect 3 defensemen, including the ones with NMC. That’s McD, Staal, Girardi. Skjei is exempt from expansion. That leaves Klein, Holden, and Clendening unprotected. If they buy Girardi out, they can protect another D-man instead. Another ( unlikely) option is Girardi waives his NMC, then they can expose him. Why he would that is another story.

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  9. ORF,
    If all the forwards are healthy, and that is a BIG IF, there are 11 locks.
    Stepan, Kreider, Zucc, Nash , Zika, buchnevich, Hayes, miller, vesey, Grabner, and Fast. That leaves Hrivek in Hartford where he belongs. Then 2 spots for 3 guys. Oscar, Pirri and Puemple. I would keep Pirri and Puemple.

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  10. Ilb,
    The only reason Girardi would waive his clause, that I can think of, is for the teams sake. Knowing Vegas would not claim him, and that it would allow the Rangers to keep Holden. But he would have to trust that they would then bury him in Hartford. The contract is not tradeable, so that should not be a worry for him.

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  11. Those other guys are just names, ilb.
    They would lose Holden. With a very outside chance of Grabner. But really, who would you take. It’s a an easy and
    Smart choice if you are Vegas.

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  12. Scottsdale
    That was a stellar review. Great read, thank you for taking the time to do it.

    Ilb
    I’m not an apologist of Girardi but he now has skjelitis and every other D man paired with skjel has seen their game “drop off”.

    Are vesey and buch eligible for the expansion draft but skjel isn’t? No way I protect fast, none.

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  13. I wonder what the window of time would be if Girardi waived his NMC. I mean, he and everybody else in the hockey world know that Vegas would never claim him (or Staal for that matter). If he waived his NMC, does the clause just go away forever? Or can he waive it for, say, a day (ie the day of the expansion draft). That way, he’s gives his spot to someone else that we don’t want to lose (Holden/Klein), he doesn’t get picked up, and the next day he goes back to having the full protections of his contract.

    Personally I think the waiving of the clause IS circumstantial. For example, if the Rangers worked out a trade with Columbus…maybe Girardi (just for example) says yes, he’ll waive it. Trade falls apart, and Girardi is still our property. Then we work out a trade with Calgary – but Girardi can say he won’t waive it for THAT subsequent deal.

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  14. Girardi’s drop off in play,even from the beginning of this season, has really put them in an impossible position. He has to be bought out. If he waives the NMC to be put on the expansion list they will be stuck with him on the roster for another year since the buyout period is before the expansion draft. I can’t see how they will do that to themselves. 5 years ago he would have been the perfect partner to protect Skeij during his OJT project. Not now. He just compounds every mistake Brady makes.

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  15. Despite staying up until 2am AZ time to do it, it was a pleasure writing it! Thankfully my daughter slept in until 8:15 this morning.

    Still pumped about last night’s in person win. I feel really bad for Girardi but it’s time they figure something out with him. Skjei is a rook so he’ll learn (hopefully). Btw, Klein was awful last night too and has been all season.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Klein was last season’s Holden. We were all giddy of the bargain he was.

    So, the question is, is this play by Holden the norm or an aberration?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great review. Sure do enjoy the family history stuff too. As for the issue du jour…..Dan Girardi…..I am still baffled as to why he was paired with Klein on the PK where they both imitated pylons on the 3rd AZ goal. And as others have opined, this is a real bind for Jeff Gorton to be in. A good guy, a warrior for the franchise, but clearly in decline and struggling with the Rangers style under AV. Had the Rangers employed the former “zone defense” coverage from the Torts days, Girardi would be a lot better off. That is not their game, and I can only assume that Clendening has not played more often instead of Girardi because the club has such respect for him and his contributions over the many years. I feel the same way about him. But last night tells me that AV was probably playing him with McDonagh so that McDonagh could drag the anchor through games successfully, because pairing him with the rookie resulted in repeated fire drills. Skjei is a kid, very talented but also has a lot to learn that will only come with experience. Rather than being a safety net, Girardi is gasoline on the rookie initiation fire. It makes me sad more than it makes me angry. Although the Sather method of gifting utterly stupid contracts and NMC’s still does make me angry.

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  18. Great review, Scottsdale! Glad to see the boys kept their composure after the Yotes tied it up and played hard to get the win. That was hysterical the damage Smith tried to inflict on that post after the hattie. Did he think the Rangers were pouring it on? As for Girardi, I’ve also been in his camp all along and hoped he would bury last year with inspired play this year, but sadly that has not been the case. Similarly with Klein; I don’t understand what happened to him. With Girardi I figure that the years of abuse and injuries have finally taken their toll. Klein has had his share of injuries, too, but his play has really tailed off.

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  19. Yes, I remember a Ranger rookie named Brian Leetch storming in on a breakaway for the first Ranger goal. I believe that was a SHG too.

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  20. Thanks for the review Scottsdale.

    Peumpl made some good deflections, but they were uncontested layups. The Arizona’s goal front defense reminded me of the Avalanche and Rangers a bit.

    Holden can skate with the puck fairly well, which puts him near the top on the Rager’s D-corps. Nice to see him getting some points.

    Kreider is getting back to the bully he said he wanted to be in the preseason. He definitely stands out on the ice. He always leaves me wanting more. I am saying to myself, “if he can do that, why doesn’t he do it all the time?”

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I think there are a few teams out there who would be happy with Girardi as a sixth defenseman. Many have a rotation through that spot. On this excellent team, it may not be all bad to skate an experienced D, a leader admittedly on the downside. Come playoff time, it will be a tougher decision. Clendening or someone else will need to grab that spot, though–I don’t think it will be given.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Kreider crunched somebody into then boards pretty good last night. I forgot who it was. He always seems to play well in AZ for some odd, random reason.

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  23. interesting fan views on Holden. It’s either “he sucks” or “we’re gonna lose him in the expansion”. Haven’t seen that one before. But then again the blog wasn’t around when Richter and Beezer were a tandem..

    Liked by 1 person

  24. To the Girardi contract, does it really matter that much? Does contract justice doesn’t really exist? (I’m guessing there are a few here that might want to see Kopitar, for example, in a Rangers uniform, but if that actually happened he’d be the #1 whipping boy in less than a ny-minute, no? All that money, so little production, at least at the moment.) A lot of big-contract guys in professional sports are paid today for previous performance, just as a lot of little-contract guys are unpaid today in hopes of earning a big contract later. Surely the job is to balance that, to offset the Girardi/Lundqvist/Nash contracts with the Skjei/Raanta/Fasts? I’ll leave it to the ilb-scholars to comment on the contract imbalance of the Rangers over the last few years’ high performance and whether its sustainable moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Lumping Done G with Nash and Henk is funny. 2 have been Top NHL players, one is a marginal talent; top pair contract for AHL Defense.
    .
    A great stat to review is production per 60 mins TOI which shows how some are given ample ice time in key situations and don’t produce to their contracts by a long shot.
    Butch (11), Kreider (23) and Zika (26) are top 30 NHL which speaks to the offense drying up in the last 5 weeks save for a walk in the desert every now and then.
    Haze – 57
    Nash – 64
    Step- 69
    Miller – 76
    Grabber- 83

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  26. Rangers set a new rule just in time for the siblings trip

    Anyone with a Hattie in Phoenix buys all weed in Denver. #bigpuempin

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  27. Loved the review. Our sexy sexy boys are back on track to win the cup.

    Hope Run Tuh gets another start. Seeing Hank and that gorgeous head of hair on the bench puts me in a dream like trance…

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  28. Who’s watching Haze while our boys are in Denver. Hopefully they’re not flying commercial as that giant duffel bag full of sweet deisel Sativa won’t make it thru security.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Kooz – I’ll be doing the review for Saturday’s game from the can. Just got a nice TV with an ottoman for the feet. I figure they won’t go numb until late in the third period.

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  30. Now if one of you fine people would pour my lady friend here a glass of cheap white wine, I’m gonna go down the hall and look for the can

    Sometimes I talk so much I forget to go.

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  31. Tess – Why didn’t you tell me we needed gas when I got the oil?

    Sam – I gave you a 50, maybe you come back maybe you don’t, couldn’t trust that you wouldn’t keep the change.

    Tess – why don’t you trust me.

    Sam – last Dame I trusted was in Paris before the war. She said she she was going out for cigarettes. The next thing you know, the Nazis invaded.

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  32. “You’re good, Charleston. You’re not my kind of cop, but you’re smart and you smell good. You’re not a pansy, I know that, but what the hell are ya?”

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  33. And you mr. Charlston from New York, Palm Beach, and Beverly Hills…..hanging around a pool sipping martinis …..spending your wife’s dough…all you have to do is give her azz a squeeze once in a while. 1 million dollars buys a lot of silk suits

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  34. Not much chance AV will scratch couch.

    Agree that Holden will be the most attractive unprotected Ranger for Vegas … but if the Casinos load up on defensemen elsewhere they could go for a young forward. Or Raanta.

    Every team is going to lose a player they want to keep, bottom line.

    In the old days, a guy like Neil Smith would circumvent all sorts of expansion drafts. Made the Vanbiesbrouck deal in June 93. Actually left Richter unprotected once, with a side agreement. … I don’t think that type of under-the-table deal will be available now, with these rules, and with only one expansion team coming in.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Rumour out there with the signing of the bread man in Chicago to an extension, hjalmarsson might be available…any takers (most likely in the offseason)

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  36. Just in case I don’t get the chance to do it later, I want to send out my best wishes to everyone for a healthy, safe, prosperous and Happy New Year! If you are going to be out partying tonight please do NOT drink and drive. The life you save may be your own.

    Good riddance to 2016. Worst. Year. Ever!!!!!

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  37. AV is confident that Couch won’t do something stupid at a critical time. That’s why he will stay in the lineup. I think Pirri and Puempel fight it out for the other spot. When Buch comes back do they carry two spare forwards or put one of the two P’s on waivers?

    Happy New Year to everyone and be safe tonight.

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  38. Checking in from the couch (no, not Jesper). Just saw Kristo assist on a PPG in the 2010 world junior final. Stepan and Kreider there as well.

    Still to early to project expansion. Too many questions for teams with obvious exposure problems like Pittsburgh with Fleury.

    I do expect the Rangers to ask Girardi to waive his NMC to be exposed to Vegas with the understanding that he almost certainly won’t be claimed. His other option will be a buy out.

    I’m excited to see what happens with Halak. Some potential destinations I’ve considered, in no particular order:

    1) Jets- perpetual goaltending issues, but Pavalec presence makes a fourth goaltender unlikely
    2) Stars- also perpetual goaltending issues
    3) Vancouver- allows them to trade Miller and stil keep a second goaltender with Markstrom
    4) Buffalo- protects them from Lehner injury/nonproduction.
    5) Ottawa- Craig Anderson spending a lot of time away from team
    6) Pittsburgh- allows them to trade Fleury and keep a safety net for Murray.
    7) Tampa Bay- ditto for Bishop/Vasilievski.

    Honorable mentions for LA (still no Quick), Edmonton (nothing behind Talbot), and Toronto (Enroth? Yuck).

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  39. Just watched the Wilson hit. I’m not sure what he could have done differently, other than not hit him. Moore put himself in that spot, and it was as not an overly violent hit. As much as I don’t like Wilson, this does not seem to be a dirty hit.

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  40. Just watched the replays. Moore with really bad technique not leaving space between him and the boards, had his skate right on the dasher. Wilson, though, hit him in the numbers–he may or may not get suspended depending on the mood of the Dept. of Player Non-Safety member on duty, but Wilson did not need to do that. No boarding called, I guess because Wilson did not “commit any action that causes an opponent to be thrown violently into the boards.”

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  41. Happy New Year to all youse boneheads. Glad I found this place. I haven’t lol’d & sprayed this much Gin through my nose in years.

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