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Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

The Rangers are away against the New York Islanders tonight – The puck drops at 7:00pm, and the game can be seen locally on MSG.

I’m gonna have to keep this clean, since I have been warned already (see my last postgame for the Islanders).  But, I will forge on, loyal 5-Holers.

Regina DiPietro will be watching from home.

Rick DiPietro will be watching from home.

 

I hate the Islanders.  I take that back – the Islanders piss me off.  They annoy me.  They’re like a pimple on my ass that keeps coming back.  They’re not really a threat, because they’re horrible – but they’re annoying as all hell.

That being said, the Rangers seem to be coming to the upswing of the regular mid-season slump.  Let’s hope I’m right about that.  I think I said that before the Montreal game, too.  But they’re not playing Montreal tonight, they’re playing the worst mother-effing team in the NHL.

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net tonight.  In the last week, he’s had his first 2 shutouts of the season, which are the 18th and 19th of his NHL career, and also gave up 5 goals against Montreal – the first two of which were 90% his fault.  And I’m never one to blame Henrik for a goal.  Hopefully tonight will be more of what we saw from him in the games against Pittsburgh and Ottawa, not Montreal.

Joey MacDonald will be in net for the Islanders.  Rick DiPietro’s knee is giving him trouble again, which I can only guess was caused by him forgetting to wear kneepads. 😉

Numbers breakdown:

Islanders record: 12-26-4   –   2-7-1  in their last 10  –  7-9-2 at home

Rangers record: 25-15-4   –  4-4-2  in their last 10  –  11-7-2 on the road

Average goals scored in a game:

Islanders: 2.55

Rangers: 2.50

Average goals allowed in a game:

Islanders: 3.62

Rangers: 2.61

Power Play

Islanders: 17.9%

Rangers: 14%

Penalty Kill:

Islanders: 82.4%

Rangers: 87.7%

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One Puck at a Time

dsc_0298Adam Sherlip has kick-started a new initiative known as ‘The Hockey Volunteer’, which brings hockey to underprivileged kids in, shall we say, less-than-affluent parts of the world.  The initiative’s aim is the bring the happiness that hockey brings to all of us, to all of them; one puck at a time.

While THV officially began less than a month ago, for Adam, things began rolling two years ago when he was hired by the NY Islanders to work on Project Hope, where he got to see firsthand how hockey improved the lives of the children in the regions of Northeastern China that he visited with the project.  This experience made him want to share that joy with children all over the world.  Adam will soon be traveling to the Indian region of Ladakh, and then to Kashmir in the Himalayas.

In order to bring of the game we all love to underprivileged children around the world, we here at 5-Hole urge you to support ‘The Hockey Volunteer’ by visiting Adam’s website, http://hockeyvolunteer.blogspot.com, and contributing to the effort.  Adam accepts donations directly through the site, and also raises money through auctions of hockey memorabilia, including some (if I do say so myself) frickin’ sweet new items, all autographed and donated by the NHL, including pucks signed by Pascal LeClaire and Dan Ellis(respectively), and an Avs jersey signed by John-Michael Liles.

To find out more, visit Adam’s website: http://hockeyvolunteer.blogspot.com

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Dear Gary Bettman,

The last time I checked, you can’t do this in the National Hockey League:

I know you don’t want to bring the hammer down on your snugglebunny and object of your late night fantasies, but you should.  You really should.

Regards,
Rory
Part-time Blogger, Full-time Hockey Fan.

For anyone who couldn’t quite figure out what was in that video, it was The Second Coming of Christ Sidney Crosby getting involved in a scrum in front of the net, and then skating up behind Atlanta defenseman Boris Valabik in a prone position on the ice, on all fours after fighting with another player, and sucker-punches him in the back of the head, and then repeatedly on the lower part of his body.  Upon another viewing, it looks like he decked him in the groin.  Seriously?

Had this been any other player, they would be suspended right now.  If Crosby had been the one getting punched, the guy who punched him would be out of the league without question.  Hell, he’d have been taken out back and shot during the next intermission.

We have seen hits like these before.  Specifically, this one(for some reason, no sound – sorry):


And this one:

Why is Crosby allowed to get away with practically the same thing that ended both of these two players’ careers?  Everyone knows how the Bertuzzi/Moore incident turned out, and Ranger fans know that that was the last game Jeff Beukeboom ever played, and Matt Johnson was suspended for 12 games, which at the time was fairly hefty.  Apparently, in the NHL, you have to end someone’s career or almost kill them for there to be any sort of penalty.

It’s not that I hate Sidney Crosby.  Yes, I despise the fact that he dives (he does), embellishes and looks like a mentally challenged duck.  But, I actually admire the fact that he’s been able to handle the immense pressure and expectations being put on him by the NHL.  They chose him to be the face of the league, and I commend him for not crumbling under the pressure.

That being said, I do think he gets away with some things that other players wouldn’t be able to.  This is one of those things.  However, unlike the Bertuzzi and Beukeboom incidents, what Crosby did wasn’t on it’s own, in the middle of open ice, much like those two were.  That doesn’t make it alright.  You can’t skate up behind a player who is down on all fours, surrounded by other players, and punch him in the back of the head, then proceed to wail on him, while he can’t defend himself.  I don’t care who you are, you cannot do that.  If he had done this to a Ranger, there more than likely would have been some sort of riot at MSG.  Unfortunately for Valabik, the Thrashers suck and no one cares about them, so this goes unnoticed.

As of right now, there has been no mention of a possible suspension for dear, dear Sidney, and I’ll bet you all the money in my bank account that there won’t be.  But I want to go on the record as saying that there should be, and it is disgraceful that just because he is deemed a ‘superstar,’ that he can commit unallowable, and downright cowardly acts of violence.

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Holy Christ, am I scared for this game.

Clearly, Henke feels the same way I do about this game.

Clearly, Henke feels the same way I do about this game.

Yes, the Rangers have won the last two games on their California road trip, and yes, one of them was in regulation(holy crap!).  But neither win was particularly spectacular, neither win really gives me any confidence that tonight is going to be anything less than horrible.

In case you live under a rock, the San Jose Sharks have been kicking ass and not bothering to take names all over the league for basically the entire season.  They’re first in the league, first in the Western Conference, and boast a record of 25-4-3.  That’s right, three months into the season, and they’ve lost only 7 times.

The Rangers, on the other hand, barely just squeaked out a win against the Los Angeles freakin’ Kings.  Yes, the Rangers are second in the Eastern Conference, but that’s mostly due to a strong early start, and being several games ahead of everyone else.  They haven’t been able to sustain much momentum, and it’s starting to show.

There are two ways this game can go down:  either the Sharks are tired from traveling to Colombus, then to Detroit, then back to San Jose, and are feeling beaten down and dejected from losing their last two, including a blowout 6-0 loss to Detroit.  If this is the case, hopefully the Rangers and capitalize on their misery and come away with 2 more points.  The other way this can go is that the Sharks are comin’ back mad and looking to make a statement and spank someone on home ice to get their confidence back, in which case the Rangers are goin’ down in flames.  Something tells me the second scenario is much more likely.

My guess is that the Rangers lines will be similar, if not the same as the last two games.

What’s for sure is that Lundqvist will be in goal for the Rangers, and probably Evgeni Nabakov will be in goal for San Jose.  Also for sure: I will be drinking heavily during this game.

 

Numbers breakdown:

Sharks record: 25-4-3   –   7-1-2 in their last 10

Rangers record: 22-11-2   –   6-4-0 in their last 10

Average goals scored in a game:

Sharks: 3.44

Rangers: 2.46

Average goals allowed in a game:

Sharks: 2.44

Rangers: 2.57

Power Play

Sharks: 21.9%

Rangers: 14.9%

Penalty Kill:

Sharks: 85.8%

Rangers: 90.4%

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83370146JM010_CALGARY_FLAMEThe Rangers have just three regulation wins in 17 games since the start of November with two goals or fewer in 12 of those 17 games. They have been shutout twice on home ice in the last three games and have only scored 2.33 goals per game, second-to-last in the NHL, better than only Tampa Bay.  The Rangers have had the benefit of a fairly easy schedule through the early part of the season.  Now that they’re playing better teams, their true colors are showing. The stars are not playing up to their abilities and the young players have all plateaued.

Scott Gomez has 1 goal in his last 13 games.  Chris Drury has no goals in his last 8, Dubinsky has 1 in his last 20 and Ryan Callahan has 1 in his last 14

Last night’s game against the Flames was not the worst game this season but it was up there (down there?).  They actually played well through the first period and were sticking to the defense first mentality that has worked so well in years past.  They even held the Flames to just 2 shots in the second period.  Those two shots were the shot that led to the rebound which was Jarome Iginla’s goal.

Dear NHL, can you please make a rule change that allows teams to decline penalties?  Honestly, the Rangers’ power play is so bad that they would be better off just playing at even strength.  They had a better chance scoring short handed last night then they did up a man and they now lead the league in short handed goals against.

How is it that a team that has the best penalty kill in the entire league can be so dreadful on the power play?  It’s not like the players are that different.  Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Ryan Callahan all had time on both the power play and the penalty kill.  And it’s not like we play with four forwards on the power play.  Why then, can we not defend our net when we have more players on the ice than they do!?!

The highlights of the night were when the crowd started chanting “sloppy seconds” at Dion Phaneuf and when my brother mentioned that the guy sitting behind us sounded exactly like Zoidberg from “Futurama.”  That was the gift that kept on giving.

***

Notes

  • The more I watch this team, the more they remind me of last year’s Ottawa Senators.
  • The Lightning just waived Radim Vrbata.  If they try to bring him back up, the Rangers should snag him at half the price.  This guy had a great year with the Coyotes last season and I think he would play wonderfully next to Brandon Dubinsky and Petr Prucha.
  • Michal Rozsival played his best game of the season last night.  Hopefully he can make a habit of it.
  • Corey Potter played very well in his first NHL game and reminded me of Dan Girardi when he was first called up.  Defensively sound.

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Can you name all 30 NHL teams in 5 minutes?

Mental Floss has a new quiz up to keep us hockey fans busy.  As you can tell from the title of this post,  it asks you to name all 30 teams in under 5 minutes.  I did it with 3:18 left on the clock.  Can you guys do it faster than me?  Post your time in the comments below.

Thanks to long time reader, Mel, for sending me the link to this quiz.

Mel: http://www.mentalfloss.com/quiz/quiz.php?q=455&p=1mental floss is a cool magazineEric: what is that?finished with 3:18 left how’d you do?Mel: i got bored halfway throughEric: took me 1 minute and 42 secondsMel: i cant even remember all 50 states

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If none of y’all read Greg Wyshynski’s hockey blog on Yahoo!Sports, then we simply cannot be friends anymore. Puck Daddy is a staple in my daily blog-check, and in today’s Puck Headlines, he included this little gem which, blame it on me just waking up from a nap if you so wish, left my cheeks hurting from sheer ridiculousness. It may not make you laugh out loud, but instead make you do a I’m-smiling-like-a-retarded-orangutan-and-I-can’t-stop type thing. Or make you seriously question my sanity.

Martin Chabada is a prime example of what will become of you if you get drafted by the Islanders. He currently plays in the Swedish Eliteserien, and this is probably the only time he’ll ever be talked about on any hockey blog. Either that, or you get paid obscene amounts of cash to sit on the bench for 15 years and everyone calls you the name of a popular series of porn movies (first prize to anyone who gets what I’m referring to).

(Ed. Note: What’s first prize?)

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