There's an old adage, if you're ever sent to prison, find the biggest guy and punch him in the face. Well, it looks like Dylan McIlrath took that advice to heart as his first NHL fight was against one of the toughest heavyweights in league, Brian McGrattan...
And while McIlrath was far from the victor, he held his own and impressed his teammates enough to receive the Broadway Hat as well as this accolade from his coach (via New York Post)...
“I thought that was a very courageous thing to do. That’s a very big opponent there and a young man that was testing that opponent. … I’m not really sure a fight one way or the other has that [much] impact, but I do think it brings a little emotion to the game and it certainly didn’t hurt.”
...AV can try to down play the impact a fight like that has on the team all he wants, but when McIlrath receives the Broadway Hat over other deserving teammates you know it was appreciated.
...to the fight itself, sure, McGratton pretty much controlled the bout from start to finish, but for a 21-year old to hang in there against an experience fighter like that was impressive. McIlrath could have easily fought a patsy for his initial NHL fight, but to start at the top sends a message for opponents to be on guard. Trust me, enforcers and other teams around the league took notice last night and I can guarantee you that as long as McIlrath continues to be in the lineup, we'll see opponents taking less and less liberties with the Rangers skill players.
...AV obviously still doesn't completely trust the kid as the Rangers coach shielded McIlrath by dressing seven defensemen and only gave him five minutes of ice time. However, if the bruising defenseman continues to look more and more comfortable as he did in the second half of the game last night, he'll easily be getting double digit minutes before we know it.
...i also thought it was pretty neat for McGratton to give McIlrath, what looked like a little encouragement talk after the fight. There's definitely a small fraternity among NHL enforcers and it looked like McGrattan was welcoming the Undertaker to the club. Cool stuff.
Brian McGrattan is not only experienced, but I'd say he's the best fighter in the NHL. Period. Great guy on top of that. Dylan certainly picked the meanest opponent in the NHL for his first fight.
I'm going to stick my head out on the chopping block here and say what I really feel, not saying I'm right but respond unbiasedly if you can ......I can feel the backlash already...
The Rangers are close!!... If we find the right defensive player we will be playoff contenders!!.....In the worst conference in the NHL. I just looked at the western conference and we would be tied for 3rd!!.... for last place. Yes, there's a lot of hockey left.. Yes anything can happen but I don't see a cup team here at all when we are struggling to beat the Flames who are in 2nd in the western conference!!.... for last place. I fear our 8.5 million dollar goalie is a shell of his former self which has lost that desire, which gave him the name 'The King'... it happens.... you get old... you have a family.... you concentrate on them more. Compare the desire to a kid fresh out of the AHL who all he wants is to play in the NHL and stay there doing everything, save every puck he can because that is his one and only desire he has. He has no distractions. Sounds like the Hank we once knew right? Or a young Gaborik...Messier still had desire at his age, thats what was so great about him at an older age. I love hank but that contract was too much for a 32year old goalie... you give that contract to a 32year old goalie who has won the cup for you and out of respect and a thank you. You give him what he earned. As I see it now, Talbot plus 8.5 million on the market/trade would produce better results. A goalie will not save us all the way to the cup. But cant do anything about that now so....
MacIlrath... yes he is a liability on D, but he has what this team lacks most. The kid is 21!! Took on an experienced heavy weight!! Has that desire I was talking about previously. Give him some minutes, get him confident, get him use to the speed of the NHL. I'm sure he is still looking into the rafters and at the fans with blood on their teeth. Let him get the awe factor out and let him get his head straight. You adjust quickly with confidence and playing minutes. You think hes going to take a run at a forward coming out the offensive zone again after giving up a goal. He was trying to make an impact which is more that I can say for the rest of the team. He knows his role and is doing an outstanding job of it, getting in peoples faces, drawing penalties. He may take some but that is his game. We already know he has a better IQ than Delzotto... unless he has a rock for a head. Just let the kid keep playing.
The rest of the team... they look great on paper. How they cant score... I don't have an answer for. Derick Brassard, Brad Richards, Taylor Pyatt,
Benoit Pouliot, Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal (yes Mark Staal) all need to go.
Brassard and Pouliot - first round busts that do not deserve a spot in the top 6.
Richards (Hank)- decline with age and contract issues.
Delzotto- no hockey IQ
Staal- Injury prone(plus I still think hes going to Carolina anyways)
Top line Center...Stepan is a great 2nd line center.
A True Puck moving defenseman
A defensive minded heavyweight (forward)
For Hank to play like an 8.5m goalie
Quality 3rd and 4th line players.
Heart and Desire- See Callahan and Zucc for more on that...
If every player on the Rangers played like Cally and Zucc, I don't think we would have these problems. Half ass hockey will get you half ass results...
In short, love the Rangers but bad decisions and supporting cast of players got us where we are, which I know is obvious a la Sather, but I think our pain will continue. Anyone else want to stick your head out on the block and tell me how you see it.... would love to hear... Or if you want to chop my head off, thats cool too.... I just don't want to hear fantasy bias stories looking through the overpriced Rangers kaleidoscope you bought at MSG....
C'mon McGrattan is one of the top tough guys in the league and no Ranger would haves messed with him this season. Until McIlrath yesterday which translates into the team knows it now has an actual deterrent to guys bullying the skill players. That's the basic code.
Next up, McGratton looks like he respected the effort and yes he could have crushed McIlrath, but he gets the role. Lets see what happens if McIlrath starts checking some of the Penguins, provided he can catch one! Engelland will step up and he is another serious tough guy.
I thought the whole situation -- from start to finish -- was very cool. I didn't expect the kid to win his first fight, but he had a good accounting of himself, which apparently was recognized and appreciated by his opponent. I loved it and good for Dylan.
looks like Malkin and Letang might be out Wednesday:
You just know at the end of the fight McGratton told McIllrath nice fight rookie or some compliment like that.. They both smiled, McIllrath gave a tap and skated away clapping. Made me smile because he wasn't afraid (you knew after the 1st pd it was going to happen) fought the big guy & got respect for it. He also stood up for his teammates (didn't he pull McGratton away during an earlier altercation). Yes he lost but he just missed on a few hailmakers.
He's fought some real tough guys now:Brett Gallant, McGrattan I think McGrattan just wanted to check out how tough McIIrath was. McIIrath's going to get that now that he's the new tough guy on the scene.Other heavyweights are going to want to fight him just to see how good a fighter he is.
It''ll be good for the Rangers cause he won't be getting embarrassed like Boyle.maybe It'll spark some more wins.
I am honestly shocked at all the positive comments that are coming out of last night's game. I did not think we played all that well. We gave up way too many odd-man rushes, Hank bailed us out multiple times, and we had to make a comeback against one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Then it took SEVEN rounds in a shootout to finally beat another backup goaltender. A win is a win, but before we start prepping for the parade, let's see how we do against a contender. If we really have begun to come around, then we will see it this week. Until then last night was what it was, a win against a team we should have been able to handle in regulation. If we can compete against the Penguins on Wednesday, then the clouds may finally be starting to break.
Saw that pep talk from McGratton too. McGratton definitely gave him some pointers which are needed for a young heavy weight. ESPN did an amazing article on Parros recently. Who, apparently, didn't even really know how to fight (went to Princeton) until he got into the league. He "learned on the job" so to speak.
Team needs McIlrath. Just the fact that his team gave him the hat shows how much the teammates admire, look up to, and appreciate a heavy weight that has their backs.
The fighting is fine and can get the adrenaline up and fire up a team but I want to see the terminator (I mean the Undertaker) cross check some guy into the post, give the next guy a facial, level the next guy messing with Hank face first into the ice and keeping the crease clear for our world class goalie to play his game. that's why he was drafted in the 1st round.
to Betweentheworlds: you just hit a home run man. the gigantic pussies that are on this team need to turn into jaguars with a good size pair of balls. just stick up for each other because until that happens they aren't a TEAM.
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants: "At the end of the fight, McIlrath could be seen smiling.
“We just tapped each other and he said, ‘Good job, kid.’” McIlrath said. “That put a smile on my face. To have a good tilt like that, no harm done, and get the boys going.” "
@TheNYRBlog what movie is that from?! aside from the adage
Interesting last paragraph Kevin as I thought McGratton held back on the newbie, otherwise it could have been ugly. This is one of the biggest and best fighters in the league so you got to admire the courage but McIlrath alone is not an intimidating factor in the toughest league in the world. We're going to get tested and abused game in and game out until the whole team culture changes. One guy won't do it. Trust me. He's just one big minor league defenseman in a league of giants, who unless he develops more maneuverability on his back skating and directional shifts real quick will likely wind up back in Hartford when Staal returns anyway. Also other teams are looking more for our team's response as a whole when it comes to taking liberties rather than one big guy who's willing to fight. The only way we will ever gain respect and stop the bleeding is for everyone to stick up for their team mates EVERY time someone takes a liberty against us. Ill-equipped or not we need to play nasty with the guys we have until we bring in more sandpaper to compliment this soft squad. (Slats???). Just one or 2 guys willing to drop the gloves alone won't do it IMO. I'd love to see McI stay here and develop in NY but if you're going to just play him 5 minutes a game and keep him here for fighting you might as well call Bickel up for that role who's a better fighter. Personally I would not use a roster spot on him until he demonstrates that he can actually play but just saying.
Was pretty strange seeing the #42 getting hit and not flopping like a Brazilian soccer player! I watched some of McGrattan's fights on YouTube. For McIlrath to go up against him in his first fight, stay on his feet, and come away with a battle scar is very impressive. Although I REALLY hope he doesn't just become another goon. Someone mentioned it on another thread...an Orpik that fights when needed would be ideal! He's not close to that yet, but he does have some skill so it's not far-fetched at all!
New rumor from Spectors that Av's looking at MDZ, maybe thats why he was brought up to see if its for Stasny and not a defenseman.
According to beat writers, McGrattan told McIlrath "good job kid" which is why you saw McIlrath smile after it was over. He said it made him smile to hear that.
Btw, I find it funny that AV dressed 7 dmen yet McDonagh still played over 30 minutes. I know OT helped that but closest was Girardi at 25.
Have to give you the dig, Kevin....on your creative spelling....Two times trying to spell McGrattan and 2 times a fail.....LOL
@josh930 brassard is way better than his numbers.. just needs more icetime with better players.. and he needs to start shooting more... same with zuccarello... hes second on the team in points but hes capable of even better believe it or not.. hes only got 6 goals i believe he could have 12 if he shot more... i play hockey with the rangers practice goalie he says zuccarello has the best shot on the rangers
@Copadavis Engelland is tough, but he is suspended--out for at least 6 games for a cheap shot on Abelkader of the Red Wings.
@teemuNYRKid better practice and get some lessons then.
@JustinRP37Exactly - the only positive in that game IMO is that finally we have someone on this team other than Dorsett with a set of balls. As far as everything else goes,it took a shootout to beat one of the worst teams in the league and they were lucky they didn't lose. This team is not good. Still too soft, still too small, still to skilled. The funny thing is for all the skill they have, they can't score. Very few guys on this team are willing to pay the price to score goals
@MUnation2@TheNYRBlog The goon with stiffle. lol
@Betweentheworlds Bickel a better fighter? You're kidding rite?
I did notice a couple "soft-paw" punches as well- like a mama tiger teaching her young. That said there were some bombs landed as well. Seems like we do need this guy here
@gravey94 Orpik who fights when needed, what happened against Thornton? why didn't he fight back against him?
I agree, players that play tough the whole game are much more valuable than one who fights every 3-rd game.. Plus you can really only fight the other teams fighter but can play nasty against whole team
haha, yeah, OT does help when your coach plays you for the entire 2 minute PK and then the next shift after it's over. This like Torts all over again. Not that im disagreeing with the decision, but there must have been quite a few of our D getting cramps on the bench from sitting for so long. Surprised McD wasn't our first shooter in the Shootout, just for continuity...
@LanceGold1LOL! Wow, that's bad. Making it even worse is that it's spelled correctly on the video I posted.
Of course, do you remember some of his fights from 2 years ago? That's not to say McI won't be better with experience
@SmellyKisioNot to misunderstand my post above, a heavyweight is important, just not enough IMO when nobody else is willing to pay the price for the team. Agreed, I as long as he's not a liability on defense I hope he stays and gets enough minutes here to develop. Skating is still a downside.
@shoot_the_goalie@McPhee37@gravey94@scrangersfan Hmm interesting McPhee, though I'm not sure it's that simple. some guys are not fighters but if they cross the line too much does the league police itself in different ways? Were you playing during the Legion of doom days? I kept thinking someone needs to take Lindros out - the guy was as big and strong as they get and could have played clean and been one of the greats but he was dirty, nasty out of control and too many players were getting injured, then Scotty took him out with a "clean" hit. That really looked like league justice to me.
@McPhee37@gravey94@scrangersfan In all due respect, the "code" is stupid.
I'm all for sticking up for you teammates, but when a guy throws a clean thunderous body check (Orpik does not have a rep as a dirty player), he should't have to fight every time he knocks someone down with a clean hit. The example you used of the "rat" is mute in Orpik's case, cause the "rat" was a dirty, headhunter, as you describe. Orpik is not that, and in this case, if someone wanted to get back at Orpik, then they should have nailed him with a clean hard body check. I mean what is hockey coming to when you can't even throw a legal hard hit anymore?
Second point, the "code" is never respected by guys who talk so much about the "code" anyway. Shawn Thornton violated the "code" because he attacked Orpik during a play STOPPAGE. Even Thorton admitted this himself...that he took it too far. The "code" was also violated by McSorley when he used his stick as a weapon into Brashear's head because Brashear didn't want to fight. And probably the worst violation of the "code" has got to be Bertuzzi/Moore incident. By your theory, the "code" should have absolved Steve Moore from the hit he took from Bertuzzi, as he "answered the bell" by fighting Matt Cooke early in that game. I assume Moore thought "that's that" and that the issue was over, but clearly the rest of the Canucks did not, and then we all know how that ended.
Too many people worship the "code", and I understand the premise for it, but it's an imperfect philosophy/mantra, yet so many people act like it's a moral responsibility to follow it to a tee.
All due respect McPhee, but that's crap. Orpik threw a hit and was challenged by the other team's enforcer. BS. Orpik is not a fighter. He's fought such heavyweights as Bertuzzi, Cole, Lupul and Burrows the past few years and has not won any. He caught the guy with his head down and he's supposed to take a beating for that? Thornton should have punished him with a forecheck instead of trying to get a non-fighter to fight. Then he suckered him and punched him on the ice. Sounds to me like you got the wrong guys breaking the code. Difference with the guys you mentioned sounds like he was dirty, whereas Orpik was not in this case. I'm all for retribution, but Thornton's actions were indefensible. Much like what Vukota did to Blomberg way back when. .
Oprik violated the code. It's not in the rule book...its a code passed down from tough guy to guy. One part of the code is that if you like to throw your weight around and blow people up(whether it be clean or dirty..doesnt matter)......you must answer the bell when challenged. The Bruins challenged Oprik three times to fight...he refused...he violated the code...and paid the price.
I played against a guy who was small...but notorious headhunter. Little rat...who never ever dropped his gloves when challenged. Violated the code. Tough guys around the league started hammering him. Then the little rat starting targeting team captains. Another code violation. Tough guys around the league started talking....even talking to the tough guys on the rat's team....telling them to talk some sense into him...before someone took him out. The Rat didn't listen.
Not anyone on my team, but another tough guy took out the rat......stuck his knee out at center ice...caught him knee on knee. I've never saw the rat play another game in that league.
He was given a lot of leeway....but he violated the code too often...and was taken out. Happens in the minors...happens in the NHL.