Saturday, April 14, 2012

Really? No really? No really really?

Okay we're the first to admit that we are not always the most politically correct when it comes to talking about the New York Rangers or the rest of the National Hockey League.

But as we get ready for game two on Saturday night, the Rangers do have some questions they need to answer. For the first one is did they learn anything from the slow start Thursday night?

Really take away Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Callahan's efforts and  the Rangers by all rights should be in trouble. The one thing that really bothered us was seeing a team that was made up of intelligent players playing dumb.

That cannot happen in game two and still expect a win as you can only hold a Jason Spezza or Daniel Alfredsson off the board for just so long as they will make you pay for your mistakes.

It's not like we're asking the Rangers to come out score a dozen goals in the first 5 minutes but rather to be more aware of where they are on the ice and who is around them. They kept putting the puck right on the Ottawa sticks and honestly if not for Henrik Lundqvist you're looking at being down 2-3 goals instead of escaping with a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The Rangers need to dictate the tempo and force Ottawa into playing their kind of game. Don't give Ottawa's stars like Spezza the time or space to operate because you can only hope to contain not totally shut down someone like Jason Spezza.

Don't think ahead but rather play as if you lost game one and need to win game two. Keep the fans in the game as it becomes a factor in your own favor the louder that crowd can get.

If you're looking for lineup changes in game two then it looks like you might be disappointed. If you're looking for Chris Kreider then I think you're really gonna be disappointed as I think it's going to take an injury to get Kreider into the lineup but rather how quickly Kreider adapts to the Tortorella defense.

John Tortorella is not going to sit John Mitchell for Chris Kreider if anybody would be setting then it would be Michael Rupp as you can always shift a center to winger but you'll never shift a Michael Rupp to center.

And this is just me but to throw the Senators a curve, I would stick Derek Stepan out there with Brad Richards and Marion Gaborik for a shift here and there. Call it a hunch but if you want to establish a better forecheck then Hagelin with Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov might be the answer to go with.

And I don't think anyone who's watched these three play know why but if you didn't see them than it is Hagelin's speed, Callahans take no prisoners and Anisimov's stealth.

You have home ice then use it to your advantage dictate your tempo and your game plan on them. Impose your will on the Senators and make them into the angry team.


Again we only had one prospect in action and that was Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) and his Shawinigan Cataractes hosted the Chicoutimi Saguenéens for game five of their QMJHL playoff series.

This my friends was a wild one, a very entertaining one and a strange one all-in-one as the two teams lasted all of 27 seconds before players were sent off for roughing. The next duo went off a couple minutes later at 2:11 and then Kabanov himself was called for goalie interference at 2:30.

The Sagueneens needed all 19 seconds at 2:49 to score on a power-play to grab a 1-0 lead. The Cataractes responded with an even strength goal of their own 29 seconds after that at 3:18 time the game.

It was quiet for about 10 minutes when another flurry of goals to place starting with the Cataractes scoring their second goal had 14:35. The lead lasted all of 53 seconds as the Sagueneens responded at 15:18 once again forcing a tie score.

Kirill Kabanov broke the tie yet again when he scored to make it 3-2 Cataractes at the 17 minute mark. And of course the Saguenéens answered that back 2:11 at 19:11 tying the game at 3-3 and that was how the first period ended.

The two teams combined for six goals but none in the second period which brought us to the third. Where the Cataractes exploded for four goals over a 6:02 span blowing the game open and making it a 7-3 win for the Cataractes.

The Cataractes now hold a 3-2 lead in the series and looked to close it out Saturday night in Chicoutimi. For Kabanov the goal was his fourth improving him to 4-9-13 in nine games not that numbers but like we said we expect better from him.

(Tortorella- New York Rangers, Kabanov- Shawinigan Cataractes)

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