Join us tonight at 8:30 p.m. as TheNYRBlog Spreecast returns to dissect the Rangers opening-series victory over the Washington Capitals, preview the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Boston Bruins and whatever puck talk is on your mind. Come join in the fun!no comments
After a rough start to this lockout shortened season, there were plenty of calls from Rangers fans for John Tortorella's head.
He's lost the room, the players have given up on him and he's too stubborn were reasons given.
Apparently, Rangers fans forgot that he had guided the Blueshirts to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1997 just seven months prior and 35 games during an abbreviated season is not really the greatest indicator of a head coach's worth.
And to prove that, the Rangers finished on a 10-3-1 run in the final month of the season to claim the sixth seed and have now advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the second straight season under Tortorella.
Still think the players have given up on him? Still think Lindy Ruff is a better fit? Still think he should be fired?
Sure, Torts is terrible at adapting and his absolute refusal to change offensive strategy is maddening sometimes. But his players are willing to run through a wall for him. He's a great motivator, who gets the most out of his players in the big games. His 5-1 record in Game 7s proves that.
If he's able to get his team through a Bruins team that many feel could be the best team in the Eastern Conference, not only will Torts be back next season, he may have a permanent office at MSG until he feels like hanging them up.
I mean, the Dolans kept Isiah Thomas within the organization for FIVE years and he didn't have a fraction of the success Tortorella has had. Actually he didn't have any.
Tortorella's blue collar approach makes him the perfect coach for a Rangers team that had the reputation of being a country club for way too and the City of New York. He has single-handedly changed the organizational strategy from buying the best free agents on the market (ok they still do that) to actually trying to build a winner from within by giving the young talent a chance to develop at the NHL level. Something that was almost taboo just six years ago.
So I say this to Rangers fans, enjoy what you have in Tortorella. There are plenty of fan bases who would beg to have a guy like this behind the bench of their team.
And man are his press conferences entertaining. Here's last night's...
With his team down 3-0 going into the third period, you have to assume Adam Oates fired his troops up with an inspirational pep talk during the second intermission.
However, with the Capitals likely spitting nails and farting lightning bolts to begin the period, it was Ryan Callahan just 13 seconds into the final frame, who made sure there would be no Maple Leaf like collapse for the Rangers by icing the game by stealing the puck and then just undressing Braden Holtby with this move...
...what's funny is that I was watching Game 7 with a few of my boys and before the third period began one of them asked if there was any chance the Rangers could just make it 4-0 so that we could finally have a relatively stress free period. And my answer literally 10 seconds before the Callahan goal was "there's a better chance of this becoming a 3-2 game than a 4-0 one." You're welcome for the reverse mush.
...what a huge goal by Callahan as he put to bed any notion the Capitals might have had that they were coming back in this game. It's what captain's do in the big spot.
Here's Callahan after the game...no comments
Nothing more impressive in all of professional sports than the NHL's post series handshake...
...amazing that after seven grueling games in which they literally want to kill each other they're able to put everything aside and express a mutual respect for each other. Nothing better.
While the Rangers now move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, here's what the Capitals are facing (H/T to everyone who sent this to me)...
Ok, that's a bit rough. Ovechkin, tell us how you feel about being eliminated by the Rangers for the second year in a row (H/T to DP Snotty)...no comments
...while I hated that the Rangers/Caps series didn't start right away, I'm loving that the Rangers get an extra day to hopefully get Clowe healthy for what will be a ridiculously physical series. Although, with Clowe's concussion situation maybe he shouldn't be exposed to it. Which is a shame because he was brought in here for exactly this kind of playoff series.no comments
Bergen Record - Rangers rip Capitals, 5-0, move on to face Bruins
Bergen Record - Rangers notes: Callahan does all the little things
New York Post - Rangers get offensive help from unexpected sources
New York Post - Going old school gives down-and-dirty Rangers new life
New York Post - Rangers win with discipline
Daily News - Wounded McDonagh leaves mark on Ovi, Caps
Daily News - Bondy: All hail King Henrik
New York Times - One-Sided Ending to a Tense Playoff Duel
New York Times - Lundqvist Impervious To Capitals Once More
Newsday - Rangers crush Capitals to advance
Newsday - Rangers shut down Alex Ovechkinno comments
The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals by the score of 5-0 in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, tonight. For the box score, go to Yahoo! Sports.
...if you would have told me before the game that the winning team was going to score five goals, I would have started writing my Rangers season recap. Not sure anyone saw this coming.
...and another thing I didn't anticipate was the role players leading the way. With Nash struggling to find the net, the Rangers much maligned secondary scoring stepped up and carried the load in this series.
...but no one carried the load more than Lundqvist. He probably didn't know what to do with himself after being handed a five goal lead. But in typical Lundqvist fashion he remained focused and locked down his second straight shutout.
...instead of being a Capitals fan and complaining about the missed boarding call on McDonagh by Ovechkin, I'll just name McD my co-series MVP with Lundqvist for holding the Capitals captain to ONE goal in the series. He was literally a warrior in this series, especially after seeing him with those huge cuts on his face.
...Asham and Pyatt will be the first to admit their initial season on Broadway hasn't gone as planned, but if they can continue to score big goals in the playoffs all will be forgotten.
...couldn't be more giddy as Dorsett is proving to be a cross between Prust and Avery.
...Steve Eminger and Anton Stralman with a huge series stepping up in the absence of Staal. If the Rangers All Star defenseman can't get back into the line-up moving forward, I feel more than confident with those two picking up the slack. And can Torts please get Stralman on one of the power play units. Officially sick of Richards and Del Zotto doing nothing from the point.
...so, is Nash ever going to score again?
...not sure I've seen the Rangers offense as confident and free flowing as they were after the Del Zotto goal.Why can't they play that way all the time. Oh yeah, Tortorella is the coach.no comments
The New York Rangers visit the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals match-up starting at 8:00 p.m. The series is tied 3-3. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.
Rangers Game Notes
TV: MSG; Radio: ESPN Radio (98.7 FM), XM 212
Live Stream (Don't click on ads in stream, may download virus):
Henrik Lundqvist - 3-3, 1.92 gaa, .937 sv%, 1 so.
Braden Holtby - 3-3, 1.77 gaa, .938 sv%, 1 so
- Mathieu Perreault (1g, 3a), Mike Green (2g, 2a) and Joel Ward (1g, 3a) lead the Capitals in points with four.
Though nothing is official, all signals point towards the Rangers extending forward Mats Zuccarello, his agent, Erik Ryman, told Norwegian news source VG Nett.
The two sides have not gone into the very specifics of a contract, but the Rangers have told Zuccarello's camp that they want to extend him. Ryman states that other NHL teams or the KHL are still options for Zuccarello, but that his clear and foremost priority is to stay with the Rangers. By reading between the lines, we can infer that only a dramatic lowball offer from Sather and Gorton will prevent Zuccarello from returning.no comments
On the two-year anniversay of his passing, the family of the late Derek Boogaard have filed a wrongful-death suit against the NHL. In the complaint, the family argues the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage Boogaard suffered during his six NHL seasons and his addiction to pain killers.
Williams Gibbs, attorney for the Boogaard family, has this to say when questioned about the lawsuit (via New York Times)
“...you take a young man, you subject him to trauma, you give him pills for that trauma, he becomes addicted to those pills, you promise to treat him for that addiction, and you fail.”