Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wishful thinking

Henrik Lundqvist- New York Rangers

The next time they do that show "Toughest jobs in America", I think they need to include being a New York Ranger fan as I don't think there is any tougher job than being one.

After winning game three 3-0 over New Jersey in their house, not only do the Rangers lead the series 2-1 but are six games away from that magical feeling called winning the Stanley Cup. Six wins which is the closest the Rangers have been to a Stanley Cup since 1994, so excuse me while I dream.

It's easier after you win to point out all the great things that are happening with the team but not this team because I don't think I'm the only person who has a lot of faith in this team finally getting over the hump. That's what gets me so frustrated because why can't we expect the Rangers to play back to back strong games?

This game was "the game that Henrik stole" as that's exactly what happened. The Rangers played a good 20 minutes while Henrik was standing on his head for the entire 60 minutes.

Which of course leads to the question "why can't the Rangers play a full 60 minutes of effort?" It's a scary that the Rangers after being dominated still won a 3-0.

Why is it so hard for the Rangers to jump on a team, set the pace as well is the tempo and blow somebody out? Call it wishful thinking but I don't think I am asking too much for the Rangers to blow somebody out.

Call me arrogant, call me egotistical or what ever you like, but here is the cold hard truth. It is not wishful thinking when the Rangers dominate a team in the 3rd period.

How many times have we fans watched the Rangers play an almost flawless third period during the playoffs and win a game going away? So why can't they do this for 60 minutes?

I know I am not alone, that on Monday night when the puck drops I will not be the only one holding my breath wondering which Ranger team is gonna show up?

I know just about every single one of you reading this right now is nodding your head wondering the exact same thing. There is also no excuse for the Rangers not to jump all over the Devils and kick their tails from Newark all the way back to the Garden.

It is not wishful thinking wanting the Rangers to deliver a fatal blow to the Devils in game four so that come next Wednesday night they finish the Devils off.

I watched John Tortorella talk about the personality of the team during his post game press conference but there is something missing. I want to know where is the Ranger's killer instinct?

One of the reasons I really enjoy watching the Edmonton Oil Kings is that when they have a team on the ropes; they show no mercy. They sense when the other team is ready to toss in the towel and that's when Edmonton turns it up and keeps it up until the final buzzer.

Forget the shot blocking, give me a team that when they see a team on the ropes they just up the pressure. You want to talk about wishful thinking?

I want to see the Rangers choke out the Devils in game four then force them into submission in in game five. I want to see Marty beaten and his season end in Madison Square Garden in game five.

I want a real John Tortorella team, you know unleash the beasts and play "safe is death." I know this Ranger lineup and I know what it's capable of doing and I don't believe for a second that New Jersey would stand a chance against a wide open Ranger attack.

Go right ahead and say that I am wrong, but I know that if you let the Rangers play the way that Tampa Bay used to play then we are talking about that big party with confetti heading down to City Hall. That's not wishful thinking that's the truth about the talent level on this team.

You didn't sign Brad Richards or Marion Gaborik to be throwing their bodies trying to block shots. That's not who they are and quite bluntly, it's a waste of their talent.

You didn't draft Chris Kreider Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin or even Ryan Callahan because you wanted to win games 2-1. Yes, this is wishful thinking because I want to see Michael Del Zotto on the attack not Michael Del Zotto leading the team in hits.

If you really look at the players the Rangers have drafted then you'll see that the curve is now turning towards the skill players. Let the skill players be who they are and what they are capable of doing.

And you know what you're talking about how Henrik Lundqvist is the personality of the team then let's make his life easier. One more wishful thinking. Get out of his way and let the man do his job.

When Henrik Lundqvist can see the puck then it's really hard to beat him. But when you're going down, trying to block shots then you're creating screens to blind your own goalie.

Sometimes the best defense is pinning the other team in their own defensive zone while you're attacking. Can't score if you can't get out of your own end.

I swear I am so sick about how many hits or how many block shots a team has because in the end that's not what wins games. So please join me in wishfully hoping that the team that played the third period in game three shows up at the beginning of game four and doesn't stop playing until the end of game five.

I know wishful thinking.


Day two of the 2012 Memorial Cup featured the 2011 Memorial cup winners, the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL taking on the London Knights of the OHL. I also guess that I'm the only one who was not surprised when the London Knights defeated Saint Johns 5-3.

The Knights are coached by Mark Hunter but play in the same manner as their former coach Dale Hunter. Yes, as in the same Dale Hunter who just walked away from the Washington Capitals job.

If you didn't watch the game, then think Washington Capitals being effective at what Hunter was trying to do it really was a matter of the Knights getting under the skins of the Sea Dogs top players. It works as the Knights play a pressure defense that drives you insane.

Give the Hunter's credit they don't hide what they do, it's as plain as day. They play a blue-collar game and to their credit, they use their people the way a coach should use his people.

A good coach gets the most out of a player's talent while protecting his weaknesses. That does not mean that London is a super team because if you can remain focused you should be able to beat them.

Give London all the credit in the world because by the end of the game, they had even Gerald Gallant the coach of the Sea Dogs blowing several gaskets over the officiating.

Now, no offense to Mr. Gallant but even the people who play rec league hockey know that the referees will never see the first shot but they will always catch the retaliation.

A word to the wise which is Saint Johns scored 2 out of their 3 goals shorthanded which would be an Edmonton strength.

London is in a great spot now as they face the host team Shawinigan on Sunday while Saint John finds themselves in a position they're not used to being. Monday is now a must win for Saint John against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

No comments: