I know the deal with Chico Steve. As a former production assistant, he is a good guy. Even mentioned my name once on air giving me proper credit for a hat trick stat I discovered when the Devils hosted the Thrashers back in 2000-01.
It's just hilarious listening to the former three-time Vezina runner-up on the 70's Isles go ga ga whenever a goalie makes a decent stop. I don't remember it being as nuts back then when I worked for FSNY.
So, I see the Ranger season officially ended today as they placed MSG whipping boy Marek Malik on IR with a bum shoulder and recalled Bryce Lampman from Hartford. Last year it was Tom Poti. As it turned out, Poti was better than any Ranger supporter would want to admit. He now has become a vital part of the Islanders D and logs 25-26 minutes a night. Malik catches flak because he's not physical for his size. But truth be told, he's one of the team's most reliable defenders and can log a ton of minutes along with Michal Rozsival, who btw is still a question mark for tomorrow night at Tampa Bay.
When you see that Karel Rachunek is still logging major minutes along with Thomas Pock, you know there's problems. Now Lampman will be part of it. Honestly, if Malik and Rozy are no go, the best D on the team becomes Daniel Girardi. Yes, he's shown more in three games than sophomore disappointment Fedor Tyutin and vet Aaron Ward. Yet the clueless coach was afraid to use Girardi in the third the other night summing up things well. No guts.
Now the fans who think Malik is so brutal are going to have to watch as the Lightning skate circles around these guys. How many points will Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier combine for? The over/under is at six.
I'm going to make one thing clear regarding Brendan Shanahan and the league backing off fining him. I don't care if he was an integral part of the rule changes. If he speaks out against the officiating the way he did the other night even if he has a good point, he has to get some kind of fine. I admire how Shanny has carried himself this season as a Ranger. He's been a model citizen and a leader on and off the ice. Ask fans who the real captain of the team is and they'll tell you. It's easy to respect how he goes about things. I understand going to bat for Jaromir Jagr. But again, I will reiterate that it wasn't why they fell short. There was still an opportunity to win. The bottom line is they didn't get it done even if the officials didn't call a great game. Sometimes, you have to dig deeper and overcome that stuff.
Honestly, this Ranger team just doesn't win me over like last year's. They aren't consistent and can't win on home ice. You can't do that and you may as well pack your golf clubs this Spring cause that's where it's headed. They can say whatever they want. But anyone can see the writing on the wall. They're not good enough this time. It's going to be a huge step back. Who is going to blow it if not them? Montreal? Tampa? Pittsburgh? Carolina? Toronto? Those teams show me more.
A couple of days ago, I tried posting a link to the last NY Hockey Report, only it didn't work. This link should take you to this past Wednesday's edition in which among other things, the Islanders loss to Detroit, Martin Brodeur's shutout chase, the Rangers' issues and why the NHL gaffed by scheduling the All Star Game in primetime last week were covered by Gary, myself, Patrick, special guest Ron and Joe:
NY Hockey Report 1-31-07
Hope ya'll check it out.