Sunday, September 30, 2007
Other than Staal, Brandon Dubinski recorded a power play goal in the second period and Nigel Dawes recorded his own power play goal in the third. Lundqvist played the entire game, giving up the two goals on 28 shots.
Ryan Hollweg was again the center of attention. While trying to establish a physical game, he took a boarding penalty in the first, and a charging penalty in the third. While the boarding call was borderline, and most likely deserved, there was no reason for a charging penalty in the third. Hollweg has earned a reputation for playing a hard nosed game, and it led to him being scrutinized after every hit he throws.
Chemistry between Gomez and Shannahan was again strong, and Drury and Jagr looked well playing together. Over the next four days there will be three more cuts, all of them tough. I'll be back when those happen.
I'll leave you with this...
London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared-and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing
The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river
London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, an' go it alone
London calling upon the zombies of death
Quit holding out-and draw another breath
London calling-and I don't wanna shout
But when we were talking-I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no highs
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes
Now get this
London calling, yeah, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?
I never felt so much a' like
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Devils more than doubled the shot total of the Islanders tonight.
I'll be back with a pre-season wrap-up tomorrow.
#30 Martin Brodeur
#1* Kevin Weekes
#2 Vitaly Vishnevski
#6 Andy Greene
#7 Paul Martin
#24 Richard Matvichuk
#27* Mike Mottau
#28 Karel Rachunek
#29 Johnny Oduya
#9 Zach Parise
#10* Rod Pelley
#11 John Madden
#12 Nicklas Bergfors
#14 Brian Gionta
#16 Dainius Zubrus
#17 Mike Rupp
#18 Sergei Brylin
#19 Travis Zajac
#20 Jay Pandolfo
#22 Aaron Asham
#23* David Clarkson
#26 Patrick Elias
Here's tonight's Devils lineup, without Elias and Oduya, courtesy of Islanders.com
1 Kevin Weekes
30 Martin Brodeur
28 Karel Rachunek – 6 Andy Greene
2 Vitaly Vishnevski – 7 Paul Martin
24 Richard Matvichuk – 27 Mike Mottau
9 Zach Parise – 19 Travis Zajac – 14 Brian Gionta
11 John Madden – 10 Rod Pelley – 22 Arron Asham
17 Mike Rupp – 18 Sergei Brylin – 23 David Clarkson
20 Jay Pandolfo – 16 Dainius Zubrus – 12 Nicklas Bergfors
The biggest things to take away from the game last night were the chemistry between Gomez and Shannahan, an increased level of play from Lundqvist and Nigel Dawes playing extremely well. Gomez and Shannahan looked great together, and that only helped out Dawes, who was playing on the other side of that line. Dawes is making a strong case for himself with the final roster cuts happening shortly after tonight's game against the Flyers. It's a toss up right now between him and Dubinski, who didn't really show much last night playing with Hollweg and Orr besides having another impressive scrap with Johnson of the Islanders. Lundqvist wasn't tested much, but after an initial bad goal allowed, looked sharp. His side-to-side movement looked better than previous games and his movement of the puck was minimal, but much better as well.
Jagr is playing tonight, but Avery and Anisimov will not. Anisimov will most likely be headed down to Hartford immediately following the game, and then Renney and the rest of the coaching staff are left with the tough decisions of Dubinski or Dawes, Montoya or Valiquette and Pock or Staal. We'll see what comes of it.
Also, if you get a minute, there is a real interesting read for Rangers fans over on Blueshirt Bulletin about the league and it's view on Hollweg, Simon, Downie, etc. I enjoyed it so I figured I'd pass it along.
I'll check back in later after I get the recap of Rangers and Flyers tonight.
In watching some of last night's game, I will say that Hollweg's hit on an Islander was cheap because it was late and near the boards. I do think sometimes he pushes the envelope. So, I am not going to take him off the hook when he does stuff like that. He needs to keep his head. He also got a dumb penalty for high sticking.
This game is very intense and everyone is battling. I just didn't expect it to be at such a feverish pitch in exhibition. There's eight regular season meetings still between these teams and I'm certain those will be very exciting.
Anyway, I also want to apologize for causing any animosity. It's a long season and hopefully will be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
And on that note, the Ducks drop the opener to the Kings 4-1. Mike Cammalleri scored twice and Jonathan Bernier notched his first win in his NHL debut.
Bobby Ryan tallied his first career NHL goal for the Ducks.
The rematch is tomorrow in London.
That's right! They're in the second period in London with the Kings ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks 2-0 on power play goals by Mike Cammalleri and new Los Angeles captain Rob Blake.
Not surprisingly, there's been a ton of penalties called as the teams have already had a combined 11 power plays and we're not even through the 2007-08's first 40 minutes!
What would you expect with Gary Bettman in attendance?
The best part of this game though was the beginning. The first ever NHL game in London and what happens? A half hour delay due to bad lighting!!!!!!
You got to love it. Only could happen to the NHL.
One thought on this game. The Ducks miss Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. Their power play has looked out of synch thus far which would help explain their 0-for-5 output as we near the end of the second.
Two quick others:
1.The Kings D looks really good. They're getting in lanes blocking shots and breaking up plays. So far so good for them.
2.The rookie Jonathan Bernier who impressed so much in the preseason has looked very steady stopping all 16 Anaheim shots. If this is any indication, the 19 year-old 2006 first round pick (11th overall) should get his shot at being the No.1 goalie for L.A. It would also be in their best interests as a franchise.
Well, maybe we'll be back for more later. Happy puck day!
Friday, September 28, 2007
SL - Yours Truly
PG - Patricia Greuter from 2 Man Advantage
JB - Josh Burnett from 2 Man Advantage
JF - John Fischer from In Lou We Trust
We begun the big show by speaking about Scott Gomez, and his legacy as a Devil.
John Fischer : Scott's legacy? He was a winner with a winning team.
Patricia Greuter: I certainly appreciate the little bastard's contributions, no doubt.
JF: That should detract from what he did in, say, 2000 and 2003.
Steve Lepore: he gave this team as much of a personality as they've ever had under Lou.
PG: But he also turned into somewhat of a diva this past season, it felt like.
SL: But if i remember correctly, he was awful in the '00 playoffs.
PG: I mean, come on, dude doesn't even know what backchecking is.
JF: I didn't get that impression at all, Pat. And he was a rookie in 2000.
SL: He tore up the league in 2000 though, and he had AlMo on his wing, didn't he?
PG: Oh he was great in 2000. He and AlMo's chemistry was amazing
JF: It was amazing how Mogilny did even better in 2001 whereas Gomez hit the sophmore slump hard.
PG: Gomer had been benched for poor play a few times over the span of his career in NJ.
SL: Lets not get into Gomez v. Burns.
JF: Overall, Gomez gave the Devils depth at attack - someone not named Neidermayer leading breakouts was nice, as well as a specific playmaking center.
PG: Like I said, on a defensive minded team, Gomez was stifled. And that's quite awkward coming from a guy who doesn't like shooting the puck.
JF: Now, now, he shot the puck plenty of times 2 years ago.
SL: anyway, how do you think a new centerman will affect Elias and Gionta?
JF: Which is what probably convinced the Rangers to spend $10 mil. Thinking gomez will return to that year, and all that
PG: He's pretty set on the fact that he can dazzle the opposition with his puckhandling, which he CAN do. I think he will shoot more, yes.
JF: He'll have to. Jagr likes to dish too.
PG: I don't think you're going to see some miraculous breakthrough though
Josh Burnett: I need to type faster, points I'm on th verge of making are made before i make them!
PG: Anyway, in terms of Zubrus
SL: I dont want to deny you the excitement of discussing Dianus Zubrus
JF: Dainius Zubrus.
SL: Eh, fair enough, let's talk some Zubi.
PG: Dainius, Steve
SL: I'm going with Zubi for the rest of forever
PG: Let's let Josh field this one first
JF: Chere's article indicates he's fitting in well. He'll have to given his contract and role on the team.
JF: Oops, my bad
SL: Does anyone think Zubi's going to play center on the top line? He's really more comfortable on the wing
PG: Yeah, but who are you going to put there otherwise?
JB: No problem. I like Zubi personally. I think his size complements Patty and Gio well.
SL: I really want to say Zajac, but im not splitting him and Parise.
PG: I wish Zubrus would use his size more to his advantage.
SL: And your right on the size factor.
JB: I don't think you put Parise or Zajac on the top line, so Zubi's your top center by default.
SL: Is Zubrus the 2nd coming of Viktor Kozlov?
JF: I do NOT want to see Elias centering the top line again. And I will cry if I see the second coming of Viktor Kozlov. Zubrus has proven more so far in his career.
PG: Although it seems Kozzie has had somewhat of a re-birth in his career
JF: He isn't afraid to use his body and he's versatile enough to fit on a first line.
PG: He was just awful with New Jersey
SL: Alright, lets talk about the other defector. Brian Rafalski hasnt taken the abuse it seems that Gomez has taken.
JF: Because he's now in Detroit. Do they even play NJ this year?
SL: Is it more that he went to Detroit, or that Lou probably could've signed him. No, NJ does not play Detroit this season
PG: Well, as I previously said, Detroit will be kicking themselves about three years into THAT contract
JB: I think it's because he went to be closer to home. Whereas NYC is only about 6mile sfurther from home for Mr Gomez.
JF: Well, then, I can only hope the Devils do meet Detroit this coming season then. It doesn't even have to be Detroit, come to think of it. Any Western Conf. team will do.
PG: Raffi doesn't have too many years left in the tank
JF: I don't know, Rafalski doesn't have to be the #1 guy in Detroit. He'll get less minutes than he did in NJ
JB:That might work for him though.
PG: Yeah, but he ALREADY got hurt in preseason
JF: He'll be in the top 4, something he's more than capable of doing. For what it's worth, I think he's better than Mathieu Schnieder. So Detroit upgraded there.
SL: Well, Raffy will have the benefit of not being counted on as the #1 guy
PG: And he never should have been a #1 guy...which made me hate him in New Jersey
SL: He’s not even the best offensive deffenseman on the team.
JF: Where as the Rangers didn't really need both Gomez AND Drury. But I can't really find much hate for a guy taking a lot of money late in his career to a team not even in our conference.
SL: He was never quite the same after Stevens couldnt play anymore
JF: Gomez on the other hand, well, it's the opposite. And Rafalski doesn't have to be the #1 two-way defenseman, Detroit still has the commanding defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
JB: Maybe in other years Raffi would have gotten at least some grieg for signing elsewhere.
SL: Alright, lets talk about the rest of the replacements we found during the offseason.
PG: I didn't really want Rafalski retained, to be honest. I was sad to see him go, but I don't think he was all that needed here. The Atlantic has a weak defense as a whole, we could get by with what we have.
SL: So, Karel Rachunek.
PG: Rachunek has impressed me so far.
JF: If I could see more the preseason games, I could say more about Karel. I hear good things, though
SL: Absolutely. I’ve heard hes more of a body presence than originally intended.
JB: I hope what we've seen so far can hold up. Because the assists he's gathering and teh plays he's making look real good right now.
PG: I think Rachunek was in a bad situation in New York. He wasn't that bad of a defender, he got a bad wrap (like so many players do in Manhattan), and they feed into it. He'll be a helluva lot better here.
JF: I do worry that his unluckiness/positioning will hurt NJ like he did in NY (to the Devils' benefit at times).
SL: Alright, lets talk Vitaly Vishnevski.
JF: Well, if you like BIG BODY PRESENCE (tm Pierre McGuire), you already like Vishnevski.
PG: Definitely, John.
JB: I really want to see VV succeed. I think he's exactly what this team should have had last year.
JF: To be honest, he's a third-pairing defenseman who I really think is there to add size to the blueline and to push Oduya/Greene a little bit.
PG: He's a bruiser, fo' sho'. He's not going to be some great diamond in the rough though
JF: I don't understand why the Devils went out for more size considering how craptacularly bad the offensive production was last season. But I guess the market dictated that option moot quickly enough.
PG: I think he is what he is, and that's just fine.
PG: We need size, end of story. He's size...end of story.
SL: My only worry about him is...will we have Janssen colored glasses for him, ignoring his actual play despite his awesome hitting power.
JB: that story ended twice.
PG: Yeah, SO? It'll end as many times as it damn will, Josh!
SL: Fine, end of story then. [Laughs]
PG: END OF STORY.
JB: Don’t hurt me.
JF: Just because Anaheim won the Cup doesn't mean size is the way to go. And I would love to see one of our burgoning young RWs take Janssen's spot.
PG: Yeah, but Ottawa pushed us around John
JF: They also outscored us, Patricia.
SL: That's the main reason they won that series.
JF: Yeah, goals kind of determine wins. Not hits.
PG: The scoring will come. Size can't miraculously appear
SL: Yes, but physical play led to goals in that series
JF: No it didn't. The Devils failing to be aggressive for the puck meant Ottawa had all day to do whatever they wanted in whatever space they wanted. There's a difference between size and aggressiveness. Just look at, say, Viktor Kozlov.
SL: Well, that transitions us well into the man who plans to fix all that
JB: But when you've got a stature like brian gionta, your agression can only be so effective
PG: Look at the guys we've brought in though -- they bring size AND aggression to the table. You need to find a parallel
SL; moving on...who here doesn’t like Brent Sutter.
JF: I love Brent Sutter as the head coach because he's instilling that aggressiveness without sacrificing the talent necessary to get goals. The size helps him do this, yes, but aggressiveness is also seen in the gameplan - which we didn't much of with Claude Julien.
PG: I don't want to give Sutter all the accolades in the world just yet, I mean, dude does have to prove he can win games with this team first.
JB: I do like what I see from Mr. Sutter. I'm not going to proclaim him king savior of Devilland, but the spirit the team is showing so far is a nice change. Yeah, what she said.
JF: But I am serious. Getting big alone doesn't address the problem, the mindset in terms of forechecking and puck possession is also a key in being aggressive. And Sutter has been doing that with the team so far this preseason.
JF: So, for what I know of what he's doing, I think he's been solid. Now to see him do it in games that count.
SL: I think sutter's the right guy at the right time, with the relatively young team we have right now.
JF: Are the Devils really that relatively young?
PG: Not really, but they ARE younger.
SL: Elias is what, 30?
JB: Keeping in mind the his first game coaching in the NHL will be October 4th, I'm cautiously optimistic as to the prospects of Sutter as an effective, winning coach.
PG: 31, actually
SL: Gionta, Zajac, Parise, likely the 4th line, Martin, Whitey, Greene, Oduya
JF: Gionta isn't too far behind from 30. Martin has entered the prime of his career. Yes, the Devils do have some youth - but it's not a young team.
JF: It's a mix. And isn't White also 30?
PG: Right, but they are younger than the past few seasons, John. Not a young team though.
PG: I think White is 28
JF: If only there was a resource where people could access data at their fingertips really fast. On computers. Hmmm...
SL: But everyone agree, right now he looks like the guy for the job? knowing that it's without having played a game
JB: Well he's played a game.
JF: Preseason games.
PG: I don't think we can proclaim him the "right" or "wrong" guy for the job until we see how he fares behind the bench. Give it 15-20 games. Then ask me
JF: But for now, he's the guy. It makes no sense to call for his head now.
PG: Am I?
SL: Give it 79 games, or as i call it "The Lou lamoriello Barometer"
PG: I'm just saying, don't call it either way until we see how he does
JF: No one is calling for anyone's head. Well, except maybe me wanting more out of the marketing people, but that's another rant.
JB: except sean avery's...dammit stop being witty faster than me people.
JF: Fun fact: White turns 30 in December.
SL: anyway...simple, 2-part question
PG: That's not that fun.
SL: Yes it is, it means Whitey's one year closer to retirement :-)
JB: the hell was that...?
PG: Yeah but there's still too many years left on his nine-million year contract.
JF: Yeah, but it's $3 mil/year, Pat. For a #2 d-man, that's a bargin. Also it's a bargain.
PG: Yeah, but he shouldn't be a #2 (=
SL: he takes too many penalties to be a #2
PG: I dub thee Mr. Anger Management!
SL: Here's a 2-part question, as we move on from hate for whitey
JB: $3 million a year will by good psychotherapy.
JF: He took 69 PIM last year! Janssen had more minutes!
PG: Yes, but how many of those were DUMB penalties? Quite a few, my black and red lovin' friend.
JF: I don't know, but he's been improving by lowering his penalty minutes every season he's been in the league.
SL: Janssen has those things that go for 5 minutes
JF: Stupid fights, I know. As he gets older, White gets better with calls - I got no problem with that.
JB: To be fair, I think White's due for a good year. Then again, I thought that last year.
SL: That hit on Avery in La - however, worth at least half that salary
JB: But on with the two-parter, Mister Lepore...?
PG: Yeah, but as you already mentioned, he's almost 30. There's only so much time he can continue to improve. He still takes a lot of dumb penalties. Cut the dumb penalties, he's capable, but not solid. Just my opinion.
JF: That too. For a while, White has been the sole non-goon hit machine.
PG: So, uh, 2-parter?
SL: How many games do you want Martin Brodeur to play this year, and how many will he play? 70 & 75 here
PG: Out of the 82 games, he will play 94.
JF: He will play....let's say 68.
PG: He should play 65-70 games.
JB: Want: 65ish. Will play: 72
JF: I do think that Brodeur has earned the right to play 70+ games if he wants to, though. I didn't think fatigue was his problem last playoffs as it was bad luck and a defense that got ripped to shreads by opposing offenses.
JB: I think his playing time is directly related to how tight the division/playoff races in February and March are, though.
SL: Whats everyone think about marty's playing time?
JF: I agree with Josh. If the Devils are in a big fight for the division, Marty will get more games.
PG: I just don't want to see Marty get hurt. His knee worries me, he's dealt with a few MCL sprains the past few seasons. I don't mind him playing as much as he wants to play. If he can do it, more power to the man. He's our God.
JB: I was okay with his playing time last year honestly. Part of the reason I want to see him play 65 games this year is because I'm really liking Kevin Weekes and would like to see him get some shots.
JF: Marty played well over 80 total games last season, I think he'll be fine with respect to legs. Weekes is a big upgrade over Clemmensen/Doyle, so the Devils can rest Marty without a big dropoff in net.
SL: Patricia loved Clemmer more than any human being alive, will you admit its an upgrade?
JB: I'm sure his mother loves him...
PG: John, he's had a couple knee injuries in the past. His MCL isn't as strong as it should be. With age as well, it's always a concern.
SL: Not as much as patricia
PG: Not a big concern, sure, but a concern.
JF: None of those injuries has stopped Brodeur from playing, I don't think it's anything to worry about.
PG: Not true.
PG: Even though he played through them, he played mediocre at best. He struggled through them
JF: Oh, right, Brodeur was injured for that one game last year...or was it two? Mediocre? Last season?
PG: Over the past two seasons, he has injured his knee twice
JB: End of last season. Philly game, late March, specifically.
JF: Could have fooled me given how amazing he's been in those last two years.
PG: John, it's something to watch out for. He's not getting any younger. You just need to make sure you're number one is feeling his best. John, he had stretches of mediocrity. When he was healthy, he played stellar. Trust me.
SL: Okay...lets talk some Around the League issues
JF: Controversial Point: I don't hate Gary Bettman. Controversial Point #2: I don't think Canada - or any place - deserves a hockey team.
JB: I agree with one of those controversial points.
PG: Controversial Point #3: Mayonaise is overrated.
SL: As i run out of the way, whats everyone thinking as we head into Year 3 of The NHL on Versus and The NHL On NBC
JB: 2 out of 3 now.
JF: I'm glad it's not ESPN.
PG: Hey, as long as we have hockey broadcast somewhere, I'm content.
JF: That's my opinion. No ESPN, hockey's on TV somewhere, I'm good.
JB: I'm glad to see NBC trying to do something to grow the game, even if it is out of needing something to show on new year's day
PG: With that said, though, I wish Versus would upgrade the quality of its broadcast. The camera angles are still awful.
JF: I also want Brian Engbloom to see a hairdresser.
PG: Like I said in that SFM interview, I'd like to watch the play as it happens, not three seconds after.
PG: Sidebar: If I see one more Levitra spam ad, I'm going to personally go to the makers of Levitra and murder them all.
PG: Josh will get it.
JF: Cialis would love your murder spree.
SL: factoid: Bill Patrick's cell-phone ringtone is "Brass Bonanza"
JB: i added the aol email address to my list, he hasnt been on yet.
SL: I like him over Clement already
JB: good for bill patrick I guess. mine is Stronger by Kanye West. aw yeah.
JF: Anyone who doesn't grunt as a part of his commentating style is an improvement over Bill Clement.
PG: Mine is Freak Out by 311. I win.
JB: you really don't.
PG: I really do. TIMES INFINITY. Now I do win.
JF: You can't win with cell phone ringers.
JB: n-n-now that that dont kill me, can only make me stronger...
JF: Like you can't win hockey games without goals.
JB: we really ought to move on.
SL: Thank goodness
SL: What’s everyone think of this outdoor game?
JF: I think it's a great idea. A big hockey game which will sell out thousands more than 2 arenas combined on a day where there isn't much sports-wise. Great call.
PG: I get it in the sense that NHL's golden boy is playing and that Buffalo is the logical destination for nice, cold outdoor hockey...but I still don't like the choice of teams.
JB: Like I said before, glad to see NBC trying to grow the game, even if it's only for their ratings.
PG: But the idea is brilliant, even if copied
JB: Casual American sports fans won't understand the significanc ebut might get drawn to the gimmick if they're flipping by.
JB: It's great for hockey fans though, and that's what's important.
JF: The league NEEDS casual fans though, to grow. Hopefully the game will turn a couple of them into hardcores.
PG: Sad though, I don't think it will. I think it will bring more casual fans, if anything. And we need all we can get, so that's good.
JF: Well, it's still people. If the NFL still reaches out to the casual audience, pretty much every league has to.
SL: BoNY friend Jodie Lemaster of Battle of PA and the SIdney Crosby Show will be there in person
JB: it's a gimmick based in history. in theory, it should be great for hockey fans and casual/non-fans alike. hopefully it draws some of those fans who stop on it because they see an outdoor hockey game into the game. into the game of hockey in general rather, beyond just the one game.
JF: Exactly. Nothing wrong with a spectacle. the NY Red Bulls drew a lot of people to Giants Stadium to see one player and even if only a hundred stay as fans, it's a benefit.
SL: Lets face it, 1PM has a bunch of meaningless bowl games
JF: Oh, there are bowl games that day? Like...the Meinike Car Care Bowl? Yeah, minor bowls aren't a thing (unless Rutgers is in one, then, well, you know...go RU but...)
SL: Alright, real quick...how far can NJD go this year?
PG: They can go as far as their little hearts desire!
SL: Be honest, is this a team that can go further than round 2?
PG: This is not a team equipped to win the Cup.
JF: All the way. They can go all the way. But they'll likely end up losing in the Eastern Finals.
PG: But, what Cup winning Devils team HAS been equipped to win the Cup?
JF: Good point, Patricia. 2003 was quite unlikely considering the flaws on that team
PG: Well, we didn't win the Cup in 2001, Steve.
SL: 2001 was more equipped to win a cup than 2003
JB: I think that this team CAN win the Cup. Whether they will depends on all those variables falling into place. Which seems highly unlikely.
JF: Definitely, but they ran out of gas. I do think they can advance beyond the second round.
SL: Alright, lets talk atlantic division
JF: I just don't see them dodging teams that have their number for 3 straight rounds. I also don't see another division title...the Devils will narrowly miss their third, I think.
PG: It feels comforting knowing that if the boys really need a boost at the deadline, it's possible to go out and grab something because there's cap room
SL: rank 'em 1-5
JF: Pittsburgh will capture it now that they dumped some of their trash players for better ones. Penguins, Devils, Rangers, Flyers, Islanders in that order.
SL: Pens, Rags, Devs, Failures, Isles
JB: 1, 2, 3, 4, are all interchangable between Philly, NYC, Pittsburg, and NJ. The only definate in this division is the Islanders finish dead last.
JF: You're not making many friends with that Rangers over Devils prediction, Steve.
PG: Agreed with Josh
JF: The Flyers can finish last. Trust me.
PG: I think the Flyers will do considerably better.
JF: It'll be a tough division.
SL: I do to, I have them pegged at 7th
JB: I don't think they can John, because I don't think the Isles can finish 4th.
PG: Biron is a better goalie than people think.
JF: We all could be wrong. And don't doubt the failing possibilities of a team.
PG: I wouldn't mind seeing DiPo keep the crap outta a Rangers goalie again though.
JF: The islanders weren't "supposed" to make the playoffs last year either.
Incudude530 (9:25:56 PM):
I’ll be killed if i reveal my top 8.
JF: I have a hard time gauging each team year to year, admittedly.
SL: Because...i dont think the sabres will make the playoffs
PG: I don't really like making predictions [laughs]
SL: I think there are 8 teams in this conference better than the sabres
JB: I haven't tried to come up with a top 8. there's too many teams that are too evenly matched to come up with a definitive prediction.
SL: alrite, lets do some quick hits before we go
JF: Very quick.
SL: Simple question, simple answer
JB: I can't even tell you if the Devilswill finish first or fourth in the division let alone the rest of the conference
SL: Eastern Conference Champ.
JF: Not the Rangers.
JF: Probably the Senators. Again.
JB: Devils, of course? (non-homer answer: Senators)
SL: Western Champ? Ducks here.
JF: No. Let's say...Crap, who do I want to say...
SL: C’mon, even without Nieds an Teemu, they still are tops in the west
JB: I'll say Detroit, mostly because I don't want to say Anahiem.
JF: San Jose. A sleeper pick if there ever was one.
SL: Stanley Cup Champ? Based on your two conf. winners...i say Ducks
JF: San Jose because I want to continually laugh when Ottawa gives up another own goal in a SCF game.
JB: I'll go Detroit again.
SL: MVP of the league
SL: Sid the Gentleman
SL: MVP of the Devs
JF: Poor Ovechkin. Brodeur.
JB: Brodeur. Taking him out, Gionta.
SL: Devs Top Scorer...Patty here.
JB: goals or points?
JF: Elias. Again.
SL: Top Rookie
JB: Greene still qualifies as a rookie, so...Andy Greene
JF: I'll guess Pelley.
SL: Marty's ballpark # of wins
JF: 40. To keep that streak going and to make Roy sweat.
SL: 39-44. Finally...Number of times Jay Pandolfo makes Gomez & Jagr cry this season
JF: Can't answer, Gomez won't cry. But...twice. If you must have one.
JB: I'll tell you that one when the season's over.
SL: alright boys
SL: Thank you so much, this hasnt been a total failure, and at the end of the day, i think thats all we can ask for
JF: Thank you. This was a lot better than typing all by myself.
SL: say goodnight felas
JB: goodnight felas. sorry, couldn't resist.
SL: damn you, beat me to it
PG: Alright, have a good night boys, had fun.
HDNet for those who have it in America
CBC in Canada.
Center Ice for all.
Oh, and enjoy Battle of Califonia's liveblog done by the superbly named Rudy Kelly.
Back with a cap after the game.
Moving on from that, tonight's game will most likely not have quite so much explosiveness as Monday's game. Chris Simon and Rick DiPietro will not dress tonight for the Islanders, and Avery will not dress, and Montoya is reserved for backup duties for the Rangers. Don't expect nothing to happen, however, as it is still Rangers v. Islanders and players like Sutton, Witt, Brennen, Orr, Hollweg and Strudwick are all expected in the lineup. Personally, I think someone owes Sutton a big, crushing hit (legal of course) for his elbow to Callahan, but that's just me.
For the Rangers faithful out there, Jaromir Jagr is nursing a hip flexor, and will not skate tonight, but is probable for tomorrow's preseason finale against Philly. Sean Avery is also less than 100% with a minor groin injury. Steve Valiquette's chances at making the team are also dwindling as he is still recovering from a cut on his hand suffered when he was altering his goalie pads. Thanks to Sam Weinman, we know that Mara and Pock will not be skating tonight on defense, and that the third pairing will be Staal and Strudwick. Artem Anisimov will not skate, but Dubinski will. Lundqvist is penciled in to play the entire game.
That's it for now. I'll be back tonight with some updates on the game. For those in the New York area, the game is on MSG at 7pm. Hopefully tonight's discussions of the game are a lot more civil than the last few days'.
I know I am a little late coming to the aid of my fellow Islander fan Rob on the fracas between the Islanders and Rangers the other night but I will try to give some of my own "insight" if you will. First and foremost, why was Chris Simon playing? Granted I am an Islanders fan but I don't see how a suspended player, especially one who was suspended for swinging their stick like Simon did, is allowed to play pre-season games let alone a game with a heated rival.
The issue here is between Chris Simon and Ryan Hollweg, not Colton Orr, and certainly not Jason Strudwick. From the video it looks as if Hollweg and Simon were paired off and Simon had a slight advantage in the 1 round bout. Why Jason Strudwick felt the need to get involved is beyond me. Hollweg is a big boy who played Major Junior so I am sure he knows about fisticuffs, Strudwick should've let the two fine gentlemen have at it.
And please Jeremy Colliton, take off your skirt next time everyone pairs up on the ice, you embarrassed Islander fans during the melee. The least Colliton could've done to prevent Strudwick from getting involved was drop his gloves and try to hold back his man. Ricky D. was doing the right thing to help out his guy when Strudwick was trying to play "Peace Maker" and hold back Simon's arms so Hollweg could get a few shots in, now that was not a "punk" move at all.
Also, lets not forget a little trip down memory lane where Dan Cloutier "disrespected" Tommy Salo while punching him when he was defenseless on the ice, I am sure Ranger fans weren't rooting for an injury there Mr. Kovy274Hart. Montoya got what was coming to him, he was not baited into anything. Not to mention the fact, the Referees could've easily stepped in when the 2 netminders were squaring up.
I've looked at the tape and I believe I've looked at it objectively as well. Like I said in the beginning Simon had no right playing in this game and this could have been avoided or at least prevented until Simon's suspension is over. Strudwick was wrong for trying to get to Simon, Ricky D. was right in standing up for his teammate, and Jeremy Colliton is a little girl. So put on the foil and think Eddie shore, because I doubt we've seen the last of this bad blood.
Kovy states "Not from behind as you claimed countless times as if to justify the ridiculous retaliation if you can actually call it that."
I have never tried to justify Simon's infraction against Hollweg and thought the action was abominable, and have said so. But if you objectively look at Hollweg's boarding against Simon and all of Hollweg's continuous cheap shots from behind, it is easy to see who the dirtier player is.
And your claim that Simon shouldn't have played is ridiculous. He is getting ready for the season and as he has to sit out 5 more regular season games, of course he needs pre-season playing time. Hollweg played, right? If you watched the game, you'll see that the Rangers actually incited the riot. But, I understand your lack of objectivity and desire to stick up for your goons just because of the color jersey he wears.
Well, I guess this will go on and on as the Rags bloggers continue to attempt to re-write history and paint Hollweg as a character guy. Whatever.
The fourth line energizer plays the game hard and is out there throwing his body around to inject energy. Not much different from most fourth liners with little skill. There have been instances where I've taken him to task for some undisciplined penalties. Because when you play that kind of aggressive physical game, you have to play it smart and not wind up in the box for boarding costing your team.
I feel where we differ on the whole Hollweg-Chris Simon saga is that the Ranger side feels the winger caught Simon from the side with a shoulder. Not from behind as you claimed countless times as if to justify the ridiculous retaliation if you can actually call it that.
Nobody here is calling the former Ranger evil. But his actions were uncalled for then. And for him to get back in the Islander lineup in a meaningless preseason game and continue to take cheapshots igniting a brawl, it makes us lose respect for the guy.
As it is, I feel Simon is a solid player and can add a good element to any team. He's got some ability to score a few goals too unlike most fourth liners. We got a chance to see that here where he fared well and won plenty of respect on Broadway.
When a character player resorts to cheapshots on another team no matter who it is or the situation, it changes the perception.
If he did that on our team, I'd be equally as appalled and want him off my team. There's no place in this game for that shenanigans.
So, if you want to stick up for him because of what color jersey he wears, you're more than welcome to. Just don't expect myself or my co-blogger who's brought a lot to the table to agree with you.
I'm way past the point of this being about what's an entertaining and great bitter rivalry which is good for the game. This is about a player who screwed up. Plain and simple. Much like Donald Brashear and Marty McSorley and much like Todd Bertuzzi.
I am all for hard fought ultracompetitive games between our clubs and hopefully it won't become as disgraceful tonight or in the meaningful eight this season as it was this past Monday at Nassau Coliseum.
If the situation is reversed and a Ranger does it, I'll have no problem taking them to task.
Hope we are clear here.
Best of luck this season.
As for my one random thought, this is for Lepore:
If the Sabres miss the playoffs, I'll walk from my home to the Verrazano Bridge.
Any chance Doc and Eddie have been talking too much to my crazed Buffalo friend Brian?
There's no way that team misses. And that's a guarantee!
P.S. Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi are higher on the depth chart than Paul Mara and highly anticipated Marc Staal.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Hockey, I missed you.
After a Summer filled with Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, Barry Bonds, Milton Bradley, Terrell Owens (I'm sure he did something), Donovan McNabb, Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, David Beckham and a whole other load of crap that I'm sure I haven't mentioned, I'm ready to love you again hockey.
So now, I present to you, 26 (in honor of Patrik Elias...sure that works out) reasons I'm excited about the NHL season.
1. We'll start with rookies. Once Chicago leaves it's current surrealist "I can't believe I'm not running through the streets with bottles of tequila" state after the death of owner Bill Wirtz, they can get excited for Patrick Kane (hopefully) and Jonathan Toews (Who will manage 80 points this year, that's my first garantee). However, of all the "super-rookies" each NHL blogger told me about during my series of SFM Previews (Keep reading), I think I'm excited more about Jack "MF" Johnson than any other.
2. Gretzky keeps aging. Have you ever looked at a photo of George W. Bush in the year 2000, and then compared it to a photo of him now? Check a pic of The Great One in 2005, and one of him in April 2008, after a 3rd season of the black hole of hopelessness that is Phoenix.
3. NHL Previews. Including mine, Greg Wyshynski, John Buccigross and others are able to entertain as well as inform. John's for his ability to fill up my iPod. Greg's for the fact that he listed Dainius Zubrus as "The Worst Excuse For a Player on the Washington Capitals" in 2005. There's one I'll never forget, Greg.
4. Zach Parise. I'm more excited than Ja Rule at a Focus on the Family meeting to see how 'THE ZACH' progresses in his third season in red and black.
5. New Uniforms. You know, the ones that will come in 08-09 after all the complaints about these ones.
6. Figuring out who has the best Top 4 defenseman in the Atlantic Division. It's so hard to choose between Malik-Rozsival-Staal-Mara, Martin-White-Matvichuk-Vishnevski, Hatcher-Timmonen-Smith-Coburn, Gonchar-Sydor-Orpik-Whitney, or Witt-Bergeron-Sutton-Campoli. Man, good help is hard to find.
7. On a complete opposite note, Brodeur-Lundqvist-DiPietro-Fleury-Biron is more exciting than any other goalie fivesome in the league.
8. Guys like the super-human Greg Wyshynski, the entertaining Derek Felix, the incredible Paul Kukla, the hilarious Daryl Reaugh, the [thesaurus broken] Eric McErlain and all the guys at all the Battle sites and Fanhouse will be talking hockey again on a daily basis.
9. Versus continues it's transition from "What's that network?" to "That channel we tried to V-Chip".
10. The Islander blog box. I'm jonesin' for a Larry Brooks-Eklund showdown.
11. I'll admit it...Sid the Young Gentleman and Alexander the Still Great are still reasons 1-25 to love hockey.
12. The Dallas Stars. Because you all know they're one playoff-less season away from Willa Ford changing addresses.
13. Hockey-bashing newspaper columnists. They angry up the blood. Whenever I go to a game, I read about 6 or 7 columns from America's greatest hockey-bashers (Kornheiser, Mariotti, Norman Chad, etc.) and watch Tim Cowlishaw get punished for talking hockey on Around the Horn, and frack I'm in the mood to yell and scream at The Rock that night.
14. More and more hockey references in pop culture. The Daily Show, CW's "Reaper" and The Simpsons all featured some form of hockey reference on episodes this week. From Raffi Torres' hilarious interview with Dan Bakkedahl on TDS, to the awesome Zamboni scene in Reaper (Watch it Thursday at 9, it's legitimately shocking), to Homer's Red Wings jersey (albeit in a parody of Feris Beuller), hockey's becoming more acceptable - so much so that Mike Myers' next movie is based in the world of pucks. Where apparently Justin Timberlake plays hockey, and Jessica Alba owns a team coached by Mini-me. But any press is good press, right?
15. The Northwest, Southeast, and Atlantic Divisions, where all five teams have some form of hope for a post-season bid.
16. The Sabres not making the playoffs. Both "Doc" Emrick and Kevin Greenstein have said this week that there is a very good shot it could happen, and I kinda believe them. Not really that exciting, just wanted to mention that somewhere.
17. The Florida Panthers. Could Tomas Vokoun do what Roberto Luongo couldn't, making this team a playoff one for the first time since being trounced by NJD in 2000? True story...I had tickets to game 5 of that series. I was a heart-broken 11-year old, it was birthday gift to see playoff hockey. Of course, I did end up with tickets to a game in the Toronto series that year. But still...damn you Panthers!
18. Liveblogs. Oh, we're going to do a bunch this year, trust me. And it won't be just the 6 of us humble servants here.
19. The return to an All-Star Weekend. All-Stars on Tuesday and Wednesday just doesn't seem right. Hopefully Atlanta does the game justice. L'il Jon performing the national anthem? I don't think it can not happen.
20. My job at the Meadowlands paying for Devils tickets at The Rock. Mmmm...sleeping with the enemy.
21. My top 8 in the East and West
EAST: PIT, OTT, CAR, NYR, BUF, TB, NJ, PHI
WEST: ANA, VAN, DET, SJ, COL, MIN, LA, STL
Yeah, I have Calgary and Dallas (and Nashville) and Atlanta out. That's the exciting part.
22. My Conference Champions: The Anaheim Ducks and The Pittsburgh Penguins
23. My Stanley Cup Champion: The Anaheim Ducks, in 7 Games
24. My Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Sidney Crosby (Oh, you know it would totally happen).
25. My League MVP: Okay, so Crosby probably get it again. Who cares.
26. Beginning anew, hockey-wise, here in New Jersey. Let's create something big, eh' Devils fans? Don't Stop Believin'.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Richard Park scored the lone Isles goal.
The teams meet again on Saturday in Bridgeport.
Here were the line combos tonight:
34 Wade Dubielewicz
35 Joey MacDonald
4 Bryan Berard - 8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli - 24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer - 2 Aaron Johnson
16 Jon Sim - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini - 29 Ben Walter - 57 Blake Comeau
20 Sean Bergenheim - 51 Frans Nielsen - 28 Tim Jackman
54 Gordie Dwyer - 10 Richard Park - 27 Darryl Bootland
30 Martin Brodeur
1 Frank Doyle
6 Andy Greene – 28 Karel Rachunek
2 Vitaly Vishnevski – 32 Mike Mottau
29 Johnny Oduya – 42 Matthew Corrente
52 Nicklas Bergfors – 16 Dainius Zubrus – 14 Brian Gionta
9 Zach Parise – 19 Travis Zajac – 48 David Clarkson
11 John Madden – 49 Rod Pelley – 22 Arron Asham
17 Mike Rupp – 18 Sergei Brylin – 47 Barry Tallackson
So far, myself, Patricia and Josh from 2 Man Advantage and John from In Lou We Trust will be discussing all the key issues surrounding the Devils, the Atlantic Division and the NHL on Thursday at 8pm. I'm not sure you'll be able to watch it live, but a transcript will be posted on all 3 sites.
SO, I ask that you head to the comment section and submit some Q's that we can give some A's to.
Check out John Buccigross' debut column of the year:
Devils won 3-1 on Monday. Nik Bergfors potted 2, Rod Pelley added the other goal and Brodeur played for the 1st time.
Devs take on the Islanders tonight in Lowell
Also, just to clarify a few things. I am a die-hard Rangers fan. Along with that, I despise the Islanders, Devils, Penguins and Flyers. It's a rule. While many of my views and opinions will be pro-Rangers, I have no problem pointing out when a Ranger does something wrong. It was in my opinion that what Simon did to start the brawl on Monday was completely unnecessary and uncalled for. I had all the respect in the world for Simon before his baseball bat swing to Hollweg last year. I respect any guy that is willing to drop his gloves and protect his teammates. But not when it is from behind, with a stick, or in an unnecessary situation.
Rick DiPietro's antics also came off as unnecessary. Sure he was caught up in the whole moment like the other 10 players on the ice, but it was even strength. There were five Rangers on the ice and five Islanders on the ice. When Strudwick and Orr jumped on Simon, which they probably shouldn't have done, it is the job of the other skaters to separate that. Ricky D. jumping in made the sides uneven, forcing Montoya to come down. Montoya didn't want to fight, and DiPietro baited him in, then saluted the crowd when it was over.
Ryan Hollweg plays hard. Does he play safe? Not all the time. Does he go out with the intent to injure? Not at all. He knows that he is a replaceable player in the NHL, and he needs to keep his energy up and keep the crowd going. He doesn't do that with goals, and he's not even all that good at fighting, but man, he can throw a big hit. Players who play as hard as he does will occasionally do something dangerous. When that time comes, it will be addressed. But Hollweg has never swung sticks at people, which I feel is a whole lot worse than what Hollweg is known for.
Again these are my views on things. I welcome a good debate, and will admit when I am wrong. But I would like to keep it as civil as possible when it comes to Rangers v. Islanders (which sometimes does include a brawl or two).
Reading these Rangers blogs is kind of like watching the Fox News channel. Fun for a couple of chuckles, but with biases that run that deep, all objectivity is out the window. When Hollweg is defended regularly, you know that the looking glass is a bit foggy. Hollweg will hurt someone the same way McAmmond got hurt, and then we'll revisit this discussion. Funny that Hollweg averaged 1.7 pims per game last season vs Simon's 1.1 pims per game. How can that happen? Hollweg is a future Lady Bing candidate. And Simon is Charles Manson.
Anyway, it has been funny being tag-teamed by the Rag Bloggers the way Simon was double-teamed by Strudwick and Hollweg. Maybe one day Hollweg will fight his own battle without needing help from a teammate. Hollweg = Gutless Puke.
Let the games begin.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Islanders had every intention of starting that brawl and of course it would come courtesy of a cheapshot from the biggest punk of them all who shouldn't have even been playing. A "one-time incident" for a stick swing which could've inflicted a lot more damage? Biased much?
Let's be honest. Simon should have been kicked out of the league for that and would've if Hollweg had his career ended. Instead, he got a reprieve.
There are no excuses. And what does this idiot who's been in the league over a decade do? Punches Hollweg in the head from behind. Typical crap from a bush league team which is what the Islanders are. And their best player sure leads in that category with his disrespect for Montoya hitting him while he was defenseless on the ice.
The Isles have been known for stuff like this. Now, they got a blatant cheapshot artist in Sutton added to the mix of trash which includes Witt.
The fact you would cheer for injuries to opponents speaks volumes. There's nothing funny when that stuff happens. You sure didn't see me applauding Avery's antics when he shoved Oduya into Weekes last Friday. That was inexcusable. At least I realize what Avery's action was. Classless.
That btw is the difference between a Ranger fan and an Islander fan. We don't root for injuries.
This entry might've been a little animated but when my fellow Islander blogger can't be objective and takes this rivalry too far, then he deserves this.
I honestly don't care anymore. Your dirty team will get theirs. Keep celebrating your "big" preseason comeback win because that's all you're going to have to get excited about.
Kind of tells you all you need to know really about the Islanders.
Ted Nolan. His job is to get his players ready for the season. Maybe Renney should have sat Hollweg last night in order to avoid "half the fisticuffs" as our Broadway leaning blogger has stated.
Rick DiPietro. The only concern I had was for his previously concussed head. According to Lenny, DiPietro should have let Strudwick and Hollweg continue their double teaming of Simon. Yeah, okay. And to berate DP because he baited Montoya into a fight? If Big Al is going to skate all the way down ice to join the fray because DP is involved, then Big Al has to be ready to take the DP beating. And he did!!
Let's give it up to the Isles for their comeback win against the Broadway punks. Way to wipe that silly grin off of Renney's mug. Get ready for more Hollweg. Keep hitting from behind and see where it gets you. At least the new Isles got the chance to see how dirty he plays and can be ready for him when the season starts. I predict that Hollweg hurts someone badly this year. I also predict that someone beats the #%& out of him this season as well. I for one won't be sad when that happens as hollweg is one of the dirtiest players in the league by far.
Dean McAmmond was taken out on a stretcher in the second period after being on the receiving end of a dangerous high hit to the head from Flyers rookie forward Steve Downie during the Ottawa-Philadelphia preseason game tonight.
The underrated Senator had just released the puck behind the Philly goal when he was leveled by Downie, a former 2005 first round pick who is trying to make the Flyers.
It was determined that the 34 year-old McAmmond suffered a concussion but was moving his extremities thankfully.
If Downie made the Flyers, he'd be subject to a suspension pending a league review. The 20 year-old forward has never played a game for the club.
This latest incident comes on the heels of an ugly brawl during last night's Rangers-Islanders exhibition at the Nassau Coliseum. On one hand, diehards like myself love the occasional scrap. But much like what one of our other bloggers Lenny noted, when it gets that out of hand, it's embarrassing and a detriment to the NHL.
Downie's dangerous hit came at a bad time. With more and more of these types of situations happening in meaningless games this Fall, it might be time for the league to consider cutting down on the number of preseason contests. Especially when it puts key players at risk before what's a grinding 82-game schedule.
I've been on record as being in favor of seeing that schedule cut down a few games. But the odds are slim to none that the league would go from 82 to say 74 or 76. Especially with them reconsidering the unbalanced schedule and looking to insure that fans see every team in the opposite conference at least once.
They should also be paying more attention to these exhibitions which get out of hand. It's time to slice the schedule down to four or five max.
The growing question is can these types of incidents we're seeing an increase in be prevented? Yes. By making coaches accountable. Have them submit lineups that don't guarantee a melee like last night. What did Ted Nolan expect to happen when he dressed suspended forward Chris Simon who still has time left to serve on his suspension for his baseball swing on Ryan Hollweg?
There's just no reason for this stuff. It's one thing if it's a heated regular season game but quite another in a pointless exhibition where you're supposed to have players competing for roster spots.
It's time for the league to step in.
Chris Simon. We'll start with the worst I guess. Because of loopholes in the NHL rulebook, Simon was able to play preseason games, even though he still has an outstanding suspension to serve. One has to think, if Simon is not in the lineup last night, half of the fisticuffs that occurred would have been avoided. Give it up for Orr, who stuck up for Hollweg by scrapping with Simon early in the first and then again on Simon's unnecessary, dirty hit from behind on Hollweg setting off the brawl. The league should be reviewing tape right now, and tacking on 10 more games to Simon's suspension.
Ted Nolan. The Rangers had their lineup posted 3 days in advance. Each team plays about 6 preseason games. Simon could have played in any of the other five and not this one. He knew there would be fireworks if Simon was in the lineup. It surprises me that with the players that he did dress, that Brendon Witt wasn't also in the lineup.
Rick DiPietro. Was there any reason for him to jump in? And why did he have to bait Montoya into the fight. It was apparent the Monty didn't want to fight, he has a spot to win. I give him all the credit in the world for sticking up for his team.
Tom Renney. Anyone read his post game comments? Sure the elbow to the head of Callahan was dirty. And sure it was probably a contributing factor to the rest of the night's activities. But to dismiss blame on Simon just makes no sense to me. He did it with the stick incident last year and then again last night. He should be saying how much Simon should be suspended, and how proud he is of his players for sticking up for each other. Here's to hoping Orr, Hollweg, Strudwick and Avery are all in the lineup come the first regular season game between these two.
Just my opinion on the game. Give it up to players like Dubinski, Pock, Hossa, Strudwick and Orr. I enjoy the occasional scrap. Especially when it comes from sticking up for your teammates. Without them, there would be no way to police the sport, ridding the league of incidents like Marty McScorley, Todd Bertuzzi or Chris Simon. I don't even hold anything against the rest of the Islanders, minus Simon and Sutton. Anyone else feel like sharing some thoughts?
Monday, September 24, 2007
Brendan Shanahan lost his cool as he was baited in by Freddy Meyer, who also got a minor penalty with Shanny getting the extra two.
Chris Drury had the Rangers' best chances late in regulation and in OT before Fedotenko won it. He was very active and played well. Also looking good were Marc Staal and Nigel Dawes as they bid to make the club.
As for who didn't impress, defenseman Andrew Hutchinson struggled and was undressed by Vasicek in the third for the Isles' tying goal.
The Isles had to be pleased with the play of their top unit of Fedotenko-Comrie-Guerin as they scored four of the five goals and had good chemistry. Also playing well was Vasicek who netted the tying goal and got a couple of more chances.
The New York rivals will meet once more this preseason on Friday night. The game will be aired by MSG if you want to check it out.
It didn't take long for things to turn nasty as new Islander defenseman Andy Sutton cheapshotted Ryan Callahan with an elbow resulting in Ranger enforcer Colton Orr getting retribution by pounding the ex-Thrasher in a scrap.
It escalated from there as Chris Simon and Ryan Hollweg fought as did goalies Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya later in a second period marred by fights, penalties and seven combined power play goals with the Rangers leading 4-3.
Here's what the penalty festlooks like thus far:
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||3:08, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||fighting - 5 min||3:08, A. Sutton served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Islanders||fighting - 5 min||3:11, K. Brennan served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||3:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||roughing - 2 min||3:41, D. Byers served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||roughing - 2 min||3:41, C. Simon served by L. Aquino|
|NY Rangers||roughing - 2 min||5:18, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||high sticking - 2 min||2:21, S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||2:21, C. Orr served by R. Hollweg|
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||3:58, T. Pock served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||fighting - 5 min||4:20, A. Sutton served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||4:20, B. Dubinsky served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||interference - 2 min||4:40, T. Hunter served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Islanders||- 2 min||5:04, A. Johnson served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||goalie leaving crease - 2 min||8:11, A. Montoya served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||game misconduct - 10 min||8:11, J. Strudwick served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||fighting - 5 min||8:11, K. Brennan served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||fighting - 5 min||8:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||game misconduct - 10 min||8:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||goalie leaving crease - 2 min||8:11, R. DiPietro served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Islanders||game misconduct - 10 min||8:11, C. Simon served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||game misconduct - 10 min||8:11, A. Montoya served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||roughing - 2 min||8:11, J. Strudwick served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||charging - 2 min||8:11, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||high sticking - 2 min||8:44, B. Guerin served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||charging - 2 min||8:44, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||holding - 2 min||12:20, F. Meyer served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||hooking - 2 min||13:42, A. Hutchinson served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||hooking - 2 min||16:28, S. Bergenheim served by S. Ogordonikov|
|NY Rangers||interference - 2 min||17:19, T. Pock served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||cross check - 2 min||18:08, A. Hutchinson served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Rangers||holding - 2 min||19:36, M. Malik served by A. Anisimov|
|NY Islanders||tripping - 2 min||2:33, A. Hilbert served by S. Ogordonikov|
Orr also got the better of Simon in a scrap continuing to look very impressive. It should be noted that in an easy win over Jesse Boulerice this past Saturday against the Flyers, he busted the former Canes' nose.
The Ranger enforcer is quickly building a reputation as one of the league's toughest guys since he KO'd ex-Flyer Todd Fedoruk concussing him.
We caught the always entertaining goalie scrap courtesy of Islanders TV as Montoya came across the ice and eventually obliged DiPietro by taking his mask off and engaging in battle which the Islander netminder won not surprisingly. But while he did win, he also lost some respect by getting in a couple of cheapshots while Montoya was on the ice breaking the code. It was a bush league move.
As for the game itself, Hollweg has one of the Ranger goals which probably ticked Simon off because he then punched him which started the chaos.
Even Thomas Pock and Andy Hilbert dropped 'em.
The game is currently still going on at Nassau Coliseum in the third with the Rangers still ahead by one.
Goals so far:
Rangers- Drury, Hollweg, Pock, Callahan
Islanders- Fedotenko, Comrie, Guerin
Bryan Berard who is trying to make a comeback with his first team where he won the Calder a decade prior setup the first goal with a brilliant rush behind the net before passing it to a vacated spot in front for Fedotenko to find.
Out for the Rangers are Jaromir Jagr, Marty Straka, Scott Gomez, Petr Prucha and Sean Avery.
Josef Vasicek has tallied for the Isles to tie the game.
With the demotion of Baranka the other day, this leaves Malik, Roszival, Tyutin, Girardi, Mara, Pock, Strudwick, Hutchinson and Staal as the remaining defensemen. You have to imagine that five of those spots are filled by the first five names, and the latter four will be battling it out for the last starting spot and the 7th defenseman spot.
Rangers vs. Islanders is not on tv tonight, but I have heard that it might be shown on the Fishstick's website. I'll check out the box score and look around the web to see how they fared later on and comment on it then.
The Islanders will use this game and the remaining 5 exhibition contests to decide who they will keep on Defence and what the regular season line combos will be. On Defence the Isles have a few difficult choices to make with Berard in camp on a tryout and only two players with 2-way contracts (Aaron Johnson and Bruno Gervais). Up front Nolan and co. will have to decide if youngsters Blake Comeau, Jeremy Colliton, and Sean Bergenheim are ready for top 2 line minutes or if they would be better served getting a ton of ice in Bridgeport.
Despite this game not counting for anything in the standings you will still have a lot of players battling for roster spots and some tough guys trying to prove their worth, both of which could make for some entertaining hockey.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Michael Roszival looked flat and out of position several times. He also coughed the puck up on several occasions.
There was little chemistry with the Rangers' top line of Gomez, Jagr and Dawes. A little more playing time could fix that, but it might be better to have Hossa or Avery playing with them to at least start the season.
Henrik Lundqvist was out of position towards the latter parts of the game. Maybe it was fatigue, but especially the couple of times he went to play the puck, he had to scramble to get back in position. No doubt he'll be fine to start the season.
Drury made some nice defensive plays, but was otherwise unnoticeable on the ice.
Some positives that were noticed last night:
Petr Prucha. One of the best players on the ice last night. Offensively and defensively he looks great. He looked faster if that's possible.
Blair Betts on the penalty kill was like Betts of last year. Faceoffs as well.
Colton Orr not only fought well, but looked better offensively on the ice. He parked himself in front of the net several times and almost had a great scoring chance as he cut through the middle of the ice in the 2nd period.
Paul Mara shooting. He was also a little shaky with positioning and giveaways, but he needs to shoot more during the season. He has a nice slap shot that was blocked several times last night, but he was trying, and if that gets through it's a nice asset to have.
Jessiman, Baranka and Liffiton were all sent to Hartford after the game. Look for more of a regular season lineup in on Monday against the Islanders.
While the Rangers made some big offseason news on the first day of free agency landing the center duo of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, the Flyers were making news of their own by revamping their team up front and on the blueline.
If tonight's 5-0 beatdown of the Rangers which featured their two key offensive additions is any indication, then the new look Flyers are going to be heard from this season.
New Flyers such as ex-Sabre Daniel Briere along with former Preds Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen looked sharp as Philadelphia succeeded in shutting down the Ranger offense with plenty of attention to detail.
Sometimes stats are misleading. Despite getting outshot 33-23, the Flyers were in control of this one from almost start to finish capitalizing on sloppy Blueshirt turnovers for most of their goals.
After Sami Kapanen failed on his shorthanded penalty shot against Henrik Lundqvist, he scooped up a Michal Rozsival turnover and roofed one past the Ranger netminder to get the Flyers on the board.
As Tom Renney later indicated in a postgame conference, it was that kind of night for his club which despite having Jaromir Jagr, Petr Prucha, Drury, Gomez, Lundqvist, Rozsival, Fedor Tyutin and Paul Mara struggled mightily with several mishandles leading to transition opportunities for the Flyers.
Blair Betts and enforcer Colton Orr also dressed. Orr had the lone Ranger highlight when he KO'd Jesse Boulerice with one punch using the same right hand which knocked out former Flyer Todd Fedoruk unconscious last season. Orr definitely won some more points from his teammates and Garden supporters who appreciate what he brings to the table.
The problem for the Rangers was that was about it as they couldn't solve Martin Biron who looked like a brick wall in his new jersey (see above). Was it me or did the ex-Sabre resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters in stopping all 19 Ranger shots the first two periods?
And you thought this epidemic was over with. Just look at him! I thought those "formfitting jerseys" were supposed to resolve this issue.
Not only do these new jerseys come apart during fights, they also fall apart literally. Just ask Gomez as his 'A' fell off and had to be sewn back on. You can't make this stuff up.
But hey. Bettman Inc. tested the jerseys. I can see it now. That cool NHL slogan:
New NHL. New Jerseys. Not only do they come apart but they're overpriced!
:as someone can be heard laughing in the background like Jack Nicholson's Joker character in the first Batman: "Care to dance with the Devil in the pale of the moonlight?"
So what else could be said about what was one of the most unwatchable games we've seen? And no. It's not because the Rangers lost. It really was that bad. From all the penalties to the choppy play and whistles, it was very slow and could've put fans to sleep.
Well, the Flyers were sharp. Ex-Ranger and current killer Mike Knuble scored twice. The Rangers were careless with the puck on a Mike Richards goal with a brutal coverage down low. Jagr also turned it over for Knuble's first goal which was one of his patented tip-ins of a Simon Gagne shot who btw was flying all night.
Even agitator Steve Downie got into the act. He beat Hugh Jessiman in a scrap and scored a goal. Not a bad night for the 20 year-old former Philly first round pick. Somewhere, Bobby Clarke was smiling with a bottle of scotch.
So what can concluded other than the Flyers were just superior all night playing their trademark physical brand of hockey down low and using their speed to generate goals?
Well, for starters, Drury's line stunk and was victimized three times at even strength. On Kapanen's goal, his backpass put Rozsival in a tough position and the top defenseman who had his own rough night coughed it up leading to the first goal.
Marcel Hossa was fairly quiet. Prucha on the other hand was more active despite the minus-three and created a few chances. He looked stronger on the puck.
Gomez was teamed with Jagr and Nigel Dawes, who did have a couple of early PP chances on a nice set play where Gomez threaded the needle in the slot and Dawes tried a misdirect tip and rebound but Biron stopped both.
Gomez looked alright. He made some good passes on a couple of power plays and generated some chances. He also missed wide on a chance from close in on a backhand before setting up another which just missed.
Rozsival and rookie Ivan Baranka had tough nights. Fedor Tyutin who also was minus-three looked alright compared to his D partner.
Positives came from Betts along with Hartford duo Hugh Jessiman and Lauri Korpikoski. The pair of former first rounders generated a cycle down low and worked very hard during their shifts. Korp also used his speed to create a break in but his backhand from in tight was kicked away.
Dane Byers had his second straight active game taking rhe body and playing north/south hockey.
Also not making many glaring mistakes on a mistake-prone night was the pair of Thomas Pock and David Liffiton who are fighting for spots.
But this was mostly a Flyers night as most of their regulars dressed and impressed to improve them to 2-1 on the preseason while the Rangers dropped to 1-1.
Things are looking up for Marc Staal and Michael Sauer.
One other random thought: Why the hell would you schedule meaningless exhibition games on a college football Saturday? Only the NHL. But hey. That Hockey Heritage game up in Buffalo will be competing with good college Bowl Games on New Year's Day. You gotta love it.