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Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Garden’

No Brandon!  You’re on TV!!!

Oh well.

The Boys over at Top Gear on BBC have outdone themselves.  After playing a game of soccer with cars, they have now played a game of ice hockey… with cars.

Hockeyness starts at 2:43.

Picks after the jump… (more…)

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I guess you could call this a Season Preview but we’ll just call it the Game Preview. Also, today is my birthday!

Back on October 5, 2005, the New York Rangers played a game for the first time in over a year. The NHL was finally back after a lock-out that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season.

It had been 8 years since the Rangers had last made the playoffs–when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals–and the idea that the Rangers were going to end the drought was ludicrous. That year, almost every “expert” had picked the Rangers to finish 30th in the NHL.

Honestly, did you have much faith in that team? Look at the lineup they sported for the 2005-2006 season opener against the Flyers:

Rucinsky-Nylander-Jagr
Straka-Ruccin-Hossa
Moore-Betts-Ward
Hollweg-Lundmark-Ortmeyer

Rozsival-Malik
Poti-Strudwick
Tyutin-Kasparaitis

Weekes
Lundqvist

Admit it. You looked at that team and thought, “We’re screwed!” But Slats was keeping his word; the Rangers were rebuilding. We couldn’t expect greatness in the first year. Honestly, I would have been content no matter what happened that season. But what happened that year stunned everybody.

The Rangers sat in first place in the Atlantic Division until the very last day of the season when they were passed by both the Devils and the Flyers. More importantly, for the first time since 1997, the Rangers had made the playoffs and Jaromir Jagr broke the Rangers single season records for both goals (54) and points (123).

Now fast forward to this season. The Rangers come into the game with a 2-0-0 record with two wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning last weekend in Prague.

Here is the line up that the Rangers sported for the first two games of the season:

Naslund-Gomez-Drury
Dawes-Dubinsky-Zherdev
Prucha-Korpikoski-Callahan
Voros-Betts-Orr

Rozsival-Redden
Girardi-Kalinin
Staal-Mara

Lundqvist
Valiquette

Only two, yes two, players from the 2005 opening night roster are still on the team. Only one of them actually played in that game! Petr Prucha was called up from Hartford soon after the start of the season and stayed up for most of it. But still that is only 3 players that remain from the October 5, 2005 to October 4, 2008. Speaking of Petr Prucha, of all the players currently on the roster, he has the most games played and most goals scored as a Ranger.

Looking ahead to this season, the Rangers are a younger, faster, more offensive minded team that can still shut things down when needed. The problem is that almost every offseason move the Rangers made is counting on the player playing better because of a change in scenery. So far, Naslund and Redden have scored goals. Zherdev has shown how wonderfully he can control the puck but has not finished. He does have the potential to set up many goals for Brandon Dubinsky. I really hope Zherdev doesn’t end up like Matt Cullen did with the Rangers.

There were some questions heading into this season about Dubinsky. Would he have the dreaded sophomore slump? Would he be able to produce without Jagr on his wing? We’re only 2 games into the season, but Dubinsky doesn’t look like he’s going to hit the proverbial wall any time soon. He was arguably the best player on the Rangers throughout the Preseason and has skated very well with new linemate Nikolai Zherdev.

Some other young players that must prove themselves are Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan, and believe it or not, Petr Prucha. Dawes and Callahan will most likely thrive in a faster and more offensive minded environment. As will Prucha who is scratched for tonights game. But Tom Renney has to give Prucha more ice time. At least some more time on the Power Play.

As for any predictions, I think the Rangers will fight for control of the Atlantic with the Penguins for the majority of the Season. They will probably end up finishing in second place in the division which is good enough for 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight, the Rangers will hold their true home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. This team made a big splash in the free agency market by signing Brian Campbell to an 8 year contract for about $56.8 million. They also improved in goal with the addition of Cristobal Huet. This team is young and looking to prove themselves. They were very close to making the playoffs last season and you can be sure that New Captain Jonathan Toews and Sophomore Patrick Kane will skate circles around our defense at least once.

Hopefully the Rangers can find their scoring and break out against Huet who they have been fairly good against in recent memory.

I will be at the game and I might snap some pictures. I’ll post them later tonight if I can along with the recap.

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This is an obvious statement, but the Rangers have to win this game tonight. If they get the series back to 2-1, they are still alive. 3-0 is a different story.

You won’t see me quote a basketball coach too often in a hockey blog, but Doc Rivers had a great quote last night after the Celtics lost game 4. He said, “I could hear them in the locker room, saying ‘hey, guys we’re going back home, it’s going to be okay.’ I told them, ‘You have to go make it okay.’ We have to go make it okay.”

Since falling into the 0-2 hole, the Rangers have all been saying that they were still in this series because they were heading home to MSG. I just hope they remember that nothing magical happens when you take your home ice that suddenly makes you play better. The team is going to have to earn these wins. Playing at MSG with 18,000 fans at your back is going to help, but nothing is automatic.

A few game notes:

Remember that lineup shuffle from yesterday? Scratch that. Petr Prucha will be scratched in favor of Ryan Hollweg, which presumably means that Shanahan will skate in his usual spot with Gomez and Avery. Strudwick will also be scratched, which means the fans at MSG will see plenty of Christian Backman tonight. Renney said that Paul Mara will probably see some time on the power play unit, so we got that right.

Despite Therrien’s comments yesterday that suggest otherwise, the Rangers feel they have done very little this series to make it hard for Marc-Andre Fleury to see the puck. Renney’s reaction to hearing Therrien’s comments: “Really?” The Rangers beat up on Martin Brodeur in round 1 by putting bodies in front for screens and deflections. Look for a return to that form tonight at MSG.

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Game 1
Friday, April 25, 7:00 PM
Mellon Arena

Game 2
Sunday, April 27, 2:00 PM
Mellon Arena

Game 3
Tuesday, April 29, 7:00 PM
Madison Square Garden

Game 4
Thursday, May 1, 7:00 PM
Madison Square Garden

Game 5*
Sunday, May 4 2:00 PM
Mellon Arena

Game 6*
Monday, May 5, 7:00 PM
Madison Square Garden

Game 7*
Wednesday, May 7, Time TBA
Mellon Arena

*if necessary

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Going into game 4 of the series the visiting team has won each game. In fact, visiting teams are 13-14 so far in the playoffs. Jaromir Jagr, while laughing, had this to say.

It’s been huge so far. I knew it was going to be like that. That’s why we lost the last game (of the season). Everybody thought we lost but it was pretty smart. Sometimes when you lose, you actually win.

Hopefully the Rangers can break the streak in their series tonight when they play Game 4 against the Devils at Madison Square Garden.

Tom Renney is gonna be going with the same lineup as Game 3. That means that Petr Prucha (poor Petr 😦 ), Jason Strudwick, Marek Malik and Colton Orr will be the scratches. I guess it makes sense to keep Petr out of the lineup since the series has been very rough and he’s a pretty small guy. I have a feeling that Orr might take Hollweg’s place once he’s skated some more.

Something to look for in tonight’s game:

  • Does Sean Avery set up shop in front of Martin Brodeur?
    • Which way is he facing?
  • Does he continue his goal streak?
    • Sean Avery has scored a goal in all 3 games so far.
  • Will anyone drop the gloves?
    • There’s been so much tension between the two teams yet there hasn’t been a fight yet.
  • Will VS be blacked out again in the Philadelphia area?
    • They showed PBR (bull riding) here at Drexel (which is in Philadelphia) on Sunday Night
    • Oh yeah, the Game is on VS. Kill me now!

Note: in the NY area, the game is on MSG. -Marc

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MSG executives announced a plan this afternoon for the renovation of the existing Madison Square Garden. In announcing this plan, MSG execs have essentially dashed the hopes of local politicians who were hoping to include a new Madison Square Garden as the centerpiece of the $14 billion plans for the new Penn Station between 8th and 9th Avenues, and 31st to 33rd streets.

The $500 million renovation plan calls for an overhaul of both the inside and outside of the World’s Most Famous Arena, and is scheduled to be ready for the 2011-2012 Rangers and Knicks seasons. The work will be done primarily over the summers of 2009 and 2010, and will not displace any Rangers or Knicks games.

Major changes include the construction of a glass-enclosed atrium with 25-foot ceilings at the 7th Avenue entrance, a complete overhaul of the interior concourses, and the addition of luxury suites at both the floor and middle levels of the arena. The seating capacity will remain the same.

MSGbefore

MSGafter

Photos from Newsday.com

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