Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks For Giving Gilroy

After watching Matt Gilroy fight; it is a cinch that he is not a threat to Donald Brashear or even Aaron Voro's role as team enforcers but circle that moment because it could be one of the most important events of the Ranger season.

In it's own way what Gilroy did was just as important to the Ranger win as Henrik's saves or Parenteau's shootout efforts. But this moment might mean more down the road than even the 2 points the Rangers earned

That bit of blood that Gilroy shed in coming to what he felt was the defense of Vinnie Prospal just might be the turning point into bringing the Rangers closer as a team than anything else. That folks was old school hockey where it does not matter who it was "but you messed with my teammate and I am going to fight you."

That response is what should have happened anytime someone ran over Henrik, it should have happened when Drury got blindsided in Calgary and it should happen anytime someone appears to run a Ranger. Of course Gilroy picked a moment when Victor Oreskovich actually did hit Prospal cleanly but it was the appearance that mattered at the moment.

Gilroy as we saw in the fight also knows that he has no business being in a fight judging by his performance but his teammates saw the rookie stand up for a teammate. It is one of those events that can bring a team closer together in so many different ways.

You can start with Gilroy sending the message to the team that we need to stand together to protect each other. Toss in how it was protecting a key player as well as team leader in Vinnie Prospal and the message was sent loud and clear.

To the veterans on the roster, it helps build a bond with the younger players as what happened here can be used as a teaching moment. Guys like Brashear, Voros and Avery can give Voros some pointers on how to survive an NHL fight.

It will give the team some laughs as the fight was one in a way a rather ugly performance by Gilroy as if in the middle of things he realized he was in an actual fight and forgot what to do.

But hopefully the bigger lesson we hope the team gets is that they are in it together and that they need to stand up for each other. Give Gilroy all the credit in the world for wanting to protect his teammate as he saw the same player take out his defensive partner in the first period and said enough with hurting my teammates.

Hopefully the team will see that they need to protect their leaders as well as each other and put an end to the running of Rangers. If they do then the blood that Gilroy shed will be well worth it.

At the same time we also have to give John Tortorella some serious credit here too as in this situation the coach knew when to keep his mouth shut. Yes Gilroy's actions put the team in a bind, Gilroy's 17 minutes left the defense corp shorthanded.

It gave the Panther's a power play, it meant the team had only 4 defensemen for those 17 minutes but in watching Tortorella on the bench he deserves major credit for seeing how his players reacted and took the cue from it.

Tortorella saw the players loved what Gilroy did and did not ruin the moment even though you know inside that he was biting his tongue. Give the coach an assist here as he was smart enough to see how this could make his own life easier down the road.

Even being on the West Coast, we could still hear Mitch Beck of Howlings screaming "I told you so" after P. A. Parenteau scored his second game winning shootout goal in as many attempts.

Mitch has been saying for over a year that Parenteau deserved a legit shot by the Rangers as a reward for his hard work at Hartford. Parenteau has been proving him right since joining the Rangers with a 1-3-4 mark in the 6 games he has played.

If anything Parenteau is showing the Ranger Universe that hard work does deserve to be rewarded and it is hard for us to disagree. Parenteau has disproved every single knock that has been used to not give him his shot at making the NHL.

Parenteau has been responsible in his own end, in the games we have watched of him; Parenteau has stuck close to his check in the defensive zone and has not cherry picked at the blueline. Parenteau may come across as confident but in our eyes he is actually hiding his smarts as he has to know that he must make the best of this chance or else he might not ever get a chance at the NHL again.

We also love a player who forces the coach to use him because of his hard work not how fat his contract is. It is also hard to dispute that since Parenteau and Artem Anisimov became a line with Sean Avery that we are seeing a better performing Sean Avery on the ice.

It may sound crazy reading this but playing with the 2 more inexperienced NHLers is forcing Avery into playing the role of veteran on his own line which in turn is helping bring some badly needed maturity to Avery's game. We say that is a win-win for everyone here.

Except for us we might have to listen to Mitch pat himself on the back for a while (but he really earned it here as he was right and many of us were wrong).


Just one prospect in action but his actions might cost him a game or two in the press box. Luke Walker (Traverse City) was held scoreless as his Portland Winterhawks got whipped by the Tri-City Americans 6-2.

Walker took a 5 minute major for elbowing along with the resulting game misconduct at 17:35 of the 3rd period which in the WHL tends to lead to a suspension. The Winterhawks as a team looked undisciplined here with 3 players earning 17-19 PIMs.

(Gilroy and Parenteau courtesy of the New York Rangers)

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