Friday, April 13, 2012

Pretty it wasn't

Well one thing is for sure and that is the New York Rangers are not going to make it easy for their fans during the 2012 NHL playoffs. Forget Brian Boyle's goal, forget Henrik Lundqvist 30 saves and realize that the main reason that the New York Rangers came away with a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators was Ryan Callahan.

In a first period where the Rangers were two steps slow and handing the puck over to Ottawa just about every other play that it was their captain doing what he is done all season long and that is make plays. Whether they were big plays like the first goal or small plays where Callahan was hitting anything wearing white, the Rangers were lost if not for Callahan.

The Rangers did a lot of bending in the first period but because of Callahan they never broke and for us Callahan saved the Rangers from what could been a psychologically damaging game one loss. It's been long time since the Rangers have had a player who constantly and consistently wants to make the big play.

In the military when one talks about leaders and leadership; the key is always somebody who will set the standard and then lead by example. Ryan Callahan would've made one hell of a soldier because he does set the standard and he doesn't wait for somebody else to make the play, he goes out and makes it himself.

What Ryan Callahan really did was buy time just as Henrik Lundqvist was making saves to keep Ottawa off the scoreboard. Ryan Callahan deserved more than just that Broadway hat as he deserved all of Broadway for the great performance he put on.

And this is not to knock the team because game one jitters are not uncommon and to be honest one would have to prefer seeing this kind of effort in game one than in game seven. The Rangers have some work to do but they have a leader who will show them how to do it.


There was only one game involving two New York Islander prospects on the schedule for Thursday night. Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and teammate Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) were leading their Niagara IceDogs into Brampton to face the Brampton Battalion with a chance to sweep the series and earn a spot in the OHL's Western Conference final.

Against Brampton in game four, it was the game's first star Ryan Strome leading the way for the Niagara IceDogs to a 3-1 win which gave Niagara the series 4-0. Strome had two assists in this game, first he set up Brock Beukeboom (yes son of) for Niagara's first goal of the game at even strength at 10:11 of the first period.

Strome also set up Tom Kuhnhackl for Niagara's third goal also even strength at 5:17 of the third period making the score 3-1 Niagara. And from there it was playing some solid defense while avoiding taking penalties as Niagara ended Brampton's season.

Mitchell Theoret did not score but played a strong game defensively and if you follow him on twitter is rather happy that Niagara is on their way to a second consecutive OHL Western Conference final. All kidding aside we know how important this is to Strome who in last year's conference final was shut out as Niagara lost to Mississauga..

This season Strome is 6-11-17 in 10 playoff games (good for fifth in the OHL) and now they get to wait to see who win the other semifinals.

(Callahan- New York Rangers, Strome- Niagara IceDogs)

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