Sunday, April 13, 2008

Random Thoughts

Well we were going to take the weekend off since there was no real prospect news to report but a dose of some of the TV folks and players annoyed us enough to want to share some of the things we think

Crowd Noise is a Factor

OK let us knock this myth right out of the water right now. Crowd Noise can be a huge factor whether players, coaches or announcers want to get you to believe it does not. It can be a huge weapon if it is your home crowd or your worst nightmare if you are playing on the road.

We have seen it work in arenas all over the place whether it was Madison Square Garden when they brought out the old decibel meters and showed Ranger (or Knick) fans being louder than an NYC subway. We have seen it in an old MacArthur Court where 10,000 crazed Oregon Duck fans were actually shaking the place so badly that they were making the baskets move.

If you think for a second that while a player is sitting in a MSG locker room is not listening to the sounds of 18,400 Ranger fans chanting and screaming before the pregame warmups then you are only kidding yourselves. News Flash: NHL Players are human beings and noise affects them just like it does you or any of us.

What the Rangers Really Need to Do for Game 3

For starters forget that they won the first 2 games and play as if they were the ones who were trailing in the series. Keep the Ranger faithful loud and noisy past the first 10 minutes of the first period by working hard and giving an even better effort than from the first 2 games.

Experience has taught us that the first 10 minutes of your first home playoff game can go along way in helping a team win a series. It has been a very long time since Ranger fans have a real reason to be excited about a playoff game.

Feed the Ranger crowd early by controlling both tempo of the game and keeping the Devils pinned in their own defensive end. Scoring would be nice but the more important factors are as we said tempo and where the game is being played.

Sure we could say get the power play working but that is a given as is staying out of the penalty box. We could also use all those other fun catchy sayings but we won't because it insults you the reader.

Got to love This One

One of the reasons we miss the NHL on ESPN is Steve Levy, if it were up to us we would hire Levy to be the lead announcer on the NHL playoff games. Why you ask because Levy will call it like it is something that is very much missing from those calling the games on either NBC or VS.

Saturday evening during a discussion on what the Boston Bruins needed to do in order get back into their series with the Canadians, Levy does not say improve the power play or get a better effort. Levy says "The Bruins need to work on their embellishing skills like the Canadians have"

And Levy was telling the truth, the Canadians have done a wonderful and skillful job of acting like they have been shot if a Bruin came withing 10 feet of them. And remember what we said about crowd noise?

No home crowd can intimidate on ice officials like those in Montreal. The Ranger fans should take note of how those early angry crowd reactions led to 4 straight calls going the Canadian way in both the third period and in overtime.

It Would Have Been Nice But

Sadly Notre Dame did not set NCAA College Hockey Championship history as they fell in the Frozen Final to Boston College 4-1. Kind of hard to feel bad though as Boston College had lost the last 2 Championship Finals and we really are fans of 5'5 Nathen Gerbe.

Yes that is right we said 5'5 which is why we really did this kid because nobody has the kind of heart or fight that Gerbe does. What does worry us is that Gerbe is the property of the Buffalo Sabres and that will one day make him a problem to worry about.

For now, we will salute Gerbe and his 4 point effort in the finals while telling Notre Dame they have nothing to be ashamed of. In 2004-05, Notre Dame won only 5 games the entire season, look where they are today and they will be a force tomorrow.

Oh yea Prospect News

The Halifax Mooseheads announced today that their QMJHL semi-final series against the Gatineau Olympiques (subject to league approval) begin on Saturday April 19th with Game 2 the next day Sunday the 20th.

The series will shift over to Gatineau for Games 3,4 and 5 starting on Wednesday the 23, Thursday the 24th and Saturday the 26th (if necessary). Should the series extend past those days then Game 6 (Monday April 28) and 7 (Tuesday April 29th) back in Halifax.

The other QMJHL semi-final has still not been set as the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are awaiting the winner of the St Johns/Arcadie-Bathurst series. That series is going to their 6th game with St. Johns leading 3-2.

We got a response from the QMJHL as to why they do not have conference finals and all they said was that is the way they do things.

In the OHL, the Kitchener Rangers are already assured of a spot in the Memorial Cup by virtual of being the hosts but they are going to try for an OHL championship first. The Rangers are going to play the Saute Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the OHL Western Conference Championship.

In the Eastern Conference, the Belleville Bulls are awaiting the winner of the Niagara/Oshawa series.

We have not said much about the WHL this year because there were no Ranger prospects in that league this year which meant we could root for some of our favorite people.

Like former Ranger Kelly Kisio who's Calgary Hitmen are heading to the WHL Eastern Conference Championships against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. We are going to openly root for the Hitmen because some of our favorite people in the WHL work for Calgary and Lethbridge ruined our hope of a Kootenay/Calgary conference final.

In the Western Conference, the Tri-City Americans are awaiting the winner of the Spokane Chiefs/Vancouver Giants series. We are hoping for Spokane because the folks in Spokane suffered without playoffs for several years just like Ranger fans have.

Maybe we will take Sunday or Monday off and enjoy the weather.

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