NHL

Whoopfuckneeee

Last week, after the triple overtime Iliad-like quality to the Rangers-Capitals game, someone on Twitter said (before the winning goal was scored), this was the type of game that whoever wins has the most momentum and takes the series.

I believe it was a Caps fans.  I disagreed with it then, and I was mostly shown right when the Caps really didn’t care and won game four, forcing this to at the very least a six game series.

Last night, that game…

Was a changer.

I’m a Mets fan.  And baseball and hockey are different in so many ways, but there’s one thing in sports that’s a constant is momentum.  When the Mets looked like they were about to lose game six in 1986 World Series against the Red Sox, and subsequently the series, they mounted an amazing comeback that is still considered one of the greatest in sports history, let alone baseball.

Leading me to last night’s victory.  Leave it to Brad Richards for his last seconds goal scoring dramatics.  For those who discount the goals because the Capitals took a “stupid penalty,” you must not have watched how atrocious the Rangers’ power play has been all season.  For them to score not one but TWO power play goals in a succession of seconds, is nothing short of miraculous, in my opinion.

Leave it to Marc Staal to put any reservations we had about his post-concussion syndrome to rest by scoring the winning goal, which was a beauty.

Game Six of 1986, the Red Sox walked onto the field in the 10th inning as confident as roosters roaming the range.  They walked off, heads low and looking like they wanted to crawl into bed.  Forget they had a three run lead in game seven.  As one fan said in the documentary Simply Amazin‘, “I don’t care who you are, the ’27 Yankees aren’t coming back from that one!”

Is it bold for me to say that?  Yes, but I truly believe in this team.  They’re not blinders; it’s honesty and realness.  Last night, the Caps were overly confident, and they may have taken a stupid penalty that doomed them but know what?  Lots of stupid penalties worked AGAINST the Rangers too, and does that discount this?

Hell to the no.

Sometimes, it takes a momentum shift to change the dynamic of a series.  The 3OT thriller?  Not a devastating loss for the Caps.  Last night?  A devastating mind-blowing win, that as people were reporting led to some dancing in the street by the Garden.

I’m still in shock from what I watched last night and let me tell you…I’ve been watching this for a long time.

It was epic.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m too lazy to write anything about the Rangers today.  I’m drained, and it’s only the first round of playoffs.  It’s not even officially done yet, and I can’t even imagine how the players must feel.

So I’ll post some links to video, including yours truly, who had a Holy Sheepshit and Balls moment last night after the game.

Enjoy…by the way, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First round, and we’re making comparisons to 1994? Let’s get through this round first…then we can talk.

 

 

 

 

RANGER PLAYOFF PREVIEW TONIGHT!!

Yes, I know there are other teams in the hockey playoffs…but it’s round one, we just finished the regular season, and I need some New York Ranger fix pronto!  If you don’t like it…join the chat room to heckle me and my guests.

I’ll be joined by Nick Montemagno from Ranger Tribune and Kevin DeLury from the NYR Blogs, two of the best Ranger blogs out there.

We’ll be going live at 7 pm ET tonight, join me at the Gal For All Seasons podcast on NDB Media at BlogTalkRadio!!

Topics include: regular season finish, John Tortorella, rivalries, predictions for Rangers and first round.

The Shores of Tripoli

I guess in John’s world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can’t do the same here…He’s either got short-term memory loss or he’s a hypocrite.” – Pete DeBoer, New Jersey Devils Coach (March 18, 2012)

“I figured he was just blowing up. I’m sure he’ll apologize today about it and everything will be forgotten.” – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, in response to John Tortorella’s blowup post-game last night. (April 5, 2012)

What did I hear?

WAH WAH WAH WAH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Gimme a break, you crybabies.  This is NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, not Big Boy Pants Day Camp.

Again, gimme a fucking break.

The first quote was in response to Tortorella starting a line of tough guys at the get go in the game last month against the Devils.  Now, this is pot meeting kettle over here.  DeBoer knew exactly what he was getting into, and when Torts played fire with fire, he got mad about it.  Especially when it worked in Torts’ favor.

Last night was the biggie.  Look, if this was a game that truly meant anything at all, playoff ranking implications, whatever, well, teams need to do what teams need to do to survive.  Reality was, the Rangers are locked in #1 seed in East, whereas Penguins are also in playoffs.  OOOOH do I suspect a little bit of **SHOCK HORROR** JEALOUSY from those igloo dwelling babies?

Look, I didn’t see the game last night as I was (shameless plug) on a baseball podcast and needed to prepare some notes for it.  Plus, I had posted (another shameless plug) on the Rangers getting top seed on YouTube two nights before.  I was riding high on a Mets win in Flushing, then I had to hear about this bullshit.  And it pissed me off.

But you know what made me happy?  Things aren’t that bad.  I mean, of course I hope that D-Step isn’t hurt from that dirty play by Brooks Orpik (look, no matter what side of the fence you are on, you see that move, and it was DICK MOVE no question).  But when I heard what Tortorella said after the game…made me love him even more.

He called them out on the Penguins double standard bullshit basically, calling them the most “arrogant team in the league,” and “whiners.”  You know what?  Every team, no matter what sport, has their crybabies.  I might root for a few of them in my lifetime.  But only look at what Sidney Crosby has to say in response (calling out Ryan Callahan, saying Tortorella spoke in the heat of the moment, dismissing what the real issue is here), let alone the “WAAAAAAAHHHH” mentality of their owner Mario Lemieux.

See, Lemieux makes some very good points, as illustrated last season, the Islanders got fined a shitload of money for disciplinary action against the Penguins.

But you know, he comes across as that kid who grew up across the street with you.  You remember him, right?  He was kind of a douche but he has a pool (inground!), a mom who bakes cookies and lot of cool toys.

Then comes the day when you realize that he uses this against you.  Like, if things aren’t going his way, he threatens to take all his toys with him back to his house or makes you go home because you aren’t letting him win.

Except substitute “one of the legends of hockey” for that bratty fucking kid down the street, and there’s Mario.  (And you’re talking to a chick who was ALL ABOUT Mario Lemieux back in the day).  You know the league isn’t going to do anything to DARE cross Prince Mario’s path.  Noooooooo.  Especially with this two fucking arrogant bastard players, Malkin and Crosby…the poster boys for double-standard practices in NHL.  I get it — they’re good.  And I always had a philosophy that if you dislike a player, it’s really because you secretly want them on your team because they are good.

Well enough is enough.  Even though those two weren’t involved in the hit (and I do think that Orpik should get disciplined, but that’s just me talkin’), they perpetuate the idea that they are above the law in the NHL and that somehow, the rules don’t apply to them.  Well, fuck that noise.

As for Torts, should he apologize?  Is RYAN CALLAHAN somehow as bad with the dirty plays (as Crosby alluded to) that the Penguins do, and then complain about in the next breath when it’s one of their players?  NO TO BOTH.

I’ll tell you why.  John Tortorella is the MAN.  I can’t say I was his biggest fan, I liked him enough, just was like – whatever – when it came to him.  Now, call me in the corner of Tortorella’s camp.

We’re about to go into battle with this guy calling the shots.  He’d take a bullet for his players, and they would do the same in return.  You gotta love that in a coach.  You really do.

Oh and for the record, fuck Sidney Crosby with a rusty nail.

March Madness

Most of you probably think of college hoops when you think of the term “March Madness.”  The reality is, I don’t have a horse in that race.  My husband is a St. John’s fan, but if it’s any indication I went to an all-women’s school for my undergrad.  Nuff said.  Although truth be told, I used to really be into hoops in general.  I followed John Stockton and Karl Malone on those great Utah Jazz teams (and ironically, married a Jazz fan, as he actively follows them to this day), but since they retired, I haven’t had much use for the sport professionally. My dad used to live down the street from Monmouth University and those basketball games were always fun.

I guess it was the survival of the fittest, in my life anyway.  Being a gal for all seasons, I don’t have a “break” per se in my sports world.  If you were to look at things from a calendar perspective, I’m booked pretty much from Jan 1 to Dec 31.  I may not have games every day for my team but I may have vested interests in other games to follow.  Basketball kind of fell by the wayside because since that season overlaps with hockey, a sport I like a great deal more than hoops, and ends well into baseball, my number one love, hoops took a hike.

Yet, March is a bit maddening, as a hockey fan and a baseball fan.  I’m looking at the Rangers schedule for the next few weeks and it is JAM PACKED.  We’re in the home stretch of the playoff push, and it’s pretty certain they will get a high ranking in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I’ve often told my dad that hockey season ends when the Rangers are out of the playoffs and baseball season starts that same day.  In the fall, hockey season starts when the Mets are no longer playing (but I have to admit, I’ve watched most of the baseball playoffs in the last few years, just to torture myself I suppose since the Mets are almost certainly never a factor).  Somewhere, football comes in, but as you know, it’s not that much of a commitment.  So for me, the biggies are hockey and baseball due to the time commitments of being a fan.

So herein lies the problem.  It’s March.  My hockey team is doing extraordinarily well.  It seems like they’re playing every other damn day in the month of March.  Yet, my husband, whose baseball love trumps everything else, accepts my love of hockey, but there may be some games conflicting.  Hey, it’s baseball.  Baseball makes everything right.

Except when the Rangers are doing so well.  They had a great game against the Boston Bruins over the weekend, and it seems like this is the start of a new rivalry judging by how the game ended.  In speaking to my Ranger blogosphere buddies Nick Montemagno and Kevin DeLury on last week’s podcast, the general consensus is that the hot team gets hot at the right time and ultimately, rest is for the non-weary in hockey. Unlike baseball when you try to rest your regulars, the playoff push expects more of them.  And more of the fans who support them.

This leaves me with not a lot of free time going into the spring.

I never miss baseball Opening Day.  It’s like my High Holiday.  After that, it’s fair game till the Rangers are done.  But March will be a true test for me, given that the spring training broadcasts are so few and far between and that I have Ranger games many nights.  Should lead to an interesting household to say the least here.

Nash Bridges

Is Rick Nash the bridge to get the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup? (See what I did there?)

I’ll come right out and say it….NO.

Do I think he’ll be a Ranger?  Yeah, probably.

Here’s what I think.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this Ranger team is very special.  I think they have a pretty good shot of going very far in the playoffs without him.  I also think they have a pretty good shot of going very far in the playoffs with him.

The Rangers are not one guy away from being world beaters.  THEY ALREADY FUCKING ARE!  Take a look: number one in the Eastern Conference by a lot.  Dominating rivals like the Flyers and winning critical games they should be winning against the Bruins.  There are games like the other night where they just looked severely overmatched, against the Penguins.  Take a look though: they’re the Penguins, not a bad team, with one of the league’s top scorers in Evgeni Malkin scoring a goal against Henke.  SHIT HAPPENS.

My point is this: the Rangers have been beating the teams they’re supposed to beat this whole season, there have been some shitty games they should have won but did not, but that’s cool.  That happens to teams who do well.  The team has formed some chemistry and seem to really enjoy playing together and feeding off each others energy.

I can’t say that Nash will change the dynamic either way.  They’ll stay pretty much the same.  My philosophy is that if the Rangers don’t have to give up much to get him, I say, why not?  The deal though is more of a “let’s keep him away from Philadelphia” than “we need him to win the Cup.”

We’re doing just fine with Gabby, Henke, Cally and the rest of the gang.  Nash will just be ornamental.  But either way, it will be fine.

How Swede It Is

How did the Rangers get so many delicious Swedes on their team?

Besides our King Henrik, one of the unsung heroes of this year’s team has been the young Carl Hagelin from Sveeden, ya?  Hagelin has been getting his due, being named to the NHL All-Star Rookie Roster, and narrowly edging out Colin Greening on the Ottawa Senators (in his hometown for the All-Star Game!) in the fastest skater competition last night. He won’t let this go to his head, these titles are more for the bragging rights of fans anyway (which is why I’m writing about it).

Described as a “precocious rookie” by the Daily News, Hagelin joins his countryman Lundqvist along with Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi in Ottawa to represent the Rangers in the All-Star Game.  In the short-time I’ve seen him though, I’ve walked away very impressed with Hagelin’s skills on his skates and how he can surprise the competition by coming out of nowhere.

Hagelin seemed to click right away with the Rangers’ senior offensive players, like Gaborik (who, in all fairness, has been clicking with everyone this year).  The New York Times provided some good insight into how Hagelin has come into his own in the NHL, given his background and gritty work ethic from his days at University of Michigan.  I’d say 16 points in 29 games, that’s pretty impressive for a young dude.   The law of averages will give us a better idea of what he can do later on.  You can look at it from both sides of the equation, though.  Does he have great support around him?  Yes, of course.  He also seems to be a victim of being young, but in a good way.  It seems like whenever I watch him, I don’t doubt he’s going to do something daring, and when he does it usually benefits the team.

I’m really liking this team right now that the New York Rangers got going on for them.  I love the tough “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit” attitude from John Tortorella.  I love the hard-work, blue-collar ethic that these guys show by example, like Captain Cally, Gabby, Henrik, Del Zotto and Girardi.  Just this nose-to-the-grindstone stuff that fans can really get behind.  Hagelin fits right into that ethic.  His teammates at Michigan and coaches all agree that he’s a tough player and went above and beyond.

I’m excited to see how Hagelin pans out.  I love watching rookies as they want to pay their dues, and do so by good old fashioned hard work.  Go Hagelin.  And Go Sweden.  Perhaps we can share in some Swedish meatballs and lingonberries some day soon.

Hitting Close To Home

I have friends who are Mets and Reds fans.  I know someone who is a Flyers AND Isles fan.  I have a good friend from the West Coast who is an Oakland A’s fan and a Mets fan (Hi Jess!).

I don’t get it.  I have enough trouble following my one baseball team around the country, and some people are following two, maybe three for each sport!  And it’s not like these people I know who root for these teams have had marginal success over the years.

Something in common for those teams though: They’re geographically insignificant to each fanbase.  Rooting for geographically close teams in the same sport, though, is beyond my method of comprehension.  Mets AND Yankees.  Jets AND Giants.  I feel like there is too much of a conflict of interest, even if, as the saying goes, these teams don’t impact one another directly.

I’ve been fortunate.  Two of my teams won championships in a very short amount of time in my fandom.  Whether they will again in my lifetime remains to be seen.  The Jets constantly tease me and it pisses me off.  Part of my 11-year old mind in 1987 told me to become a Giants fan.  I guess being naive and not understanding the futility of being both a Mets and Jets fan (and Rangers, who at the time, hadn’t won a championship since 1940), I thought they’d just win some other time.

By 2008, I had some choice words for my dad.  “It’s bad enough you’ve made me a Mets and a Rangers fan…but a JETS fan?  What were you thinking?”  Like most of 1969, I’m sure my dad rooted for them in a drug-induced haze and just stayed because he knew nothing else.  But the Giants on my watch have won three Super Bowls, and the Jets none.  But I don’t root for the Giants.  They’re not my team.

Throughout my football fandom, though, I never hated the Giants.  They had more success than us.  Hell, my friend Sully over at Sully Baseball says that New York gets this aura of “championship town,” but it’s hard when you’re a Mets, Jets or Rangers fan (though the Mets and Rangers did have ONE parade in my lifetime) because it’s mostly Yankees and Giants.  So naturally, like many Yankee “fans” I know (because I know fans without the quotes), it’s easy, in my opinion, to root for the Giants because they’ve won many championships.  Especially in my lifetime.  I get angry with my dad and I get upset with myself.  Because goddammit, I couldn’t even make a sport I’m the least invested in easy for myself.

People who root for the Mets and Yankees…okay.  TOTALLY don’t get it.  The rivalry doesn’t make as much sense as it did when it was clearly the NL town versus the AL town, but it’s deeply rooted in history.

Now, most Mets fans had the nine layers of hell series in 2009, when the hated Phillies faced the hated Yankees.  I didn’t watch.  Scenarios occurred that I was happy with, like Cole Hamels being exposed to be the bitch he was, Jimmy Rollins shutting the hell up and Chase Utley owning the Yankees (I’m one of the few Mets fans who actually likes Utley).  But there were some fans who felt the need to root for the one or the other.  Why?  WE HATE BOTH OF THOSE TEAMS.  WHY WOULD WE ROOT FOR ANY SIDE OF IT?  I was rooting for an epicenter to form at Yankee Stadium and suck both teams in and they never got to play.

But there were still some fans who momentarily forgot that they should never ever say the “Lets Go Yankees” chant, because they feel the need to root for someone.  What’s worse, some of these folks became the dreaded “homers” that these fanbases consider their own.  I call those people “frontrunners.”  Just to have something to cheer for.  But it’s more than just cheering.  It’s being happy AND reveling in the victory like it’s your own.  Is it a water cooler topic?  Is it a bragging rights thing?  If these teams are hated so much, why bother cheering at all?  Either way, as fans of a rival, whether manufactured or not, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Now this gets me to the Super Bowl.  Once again, we are faced with a dilemma, if you will, as Jets fans.  The hated Patriots face the Giants.  Notice I didn’t say “hated” Giants.  Because I don’t hate them.  For whatever reason, Giants fans have taken a HUGE dislike to the Jets fan population, at least those who are vocal on Twitter.

So most recently, it’s Giants fans who have made a Jets/Giants rivalry a “real” one, when it never was one.  Or maybe it was bubbling underneath and needed to come up.  Why would I actively root for a team that dislikes my fan base so much?  There are exceptions to every rule, but you get my drift.  It’s a Super Bowl where I could care less really about the teams.

It goes to the whole rooting for two teams.  I don’t get it.  Especially teams so geographically close.  My husband is a Seattle Seahawks fan.  If they went to a Super Bowl, and they weren’t playing my team, I’d be thrilled and excited.  The Seahawks don’t matter to me.  The Giants do and it’s geography, not to mention the success they’ve had in playoffs that the Jets do not have.  It’s easy to root for them and don’t deny it.

I do not buy the “Jets/Giants rivalry isn’t anything like Mets/Yankees.”  If one is a Jets AND Giants fan, one is taking the easy way out because chances are, you will have a local team to support when the going gets going.

This is not a Miss Manners post on who to root for.  Just don’t be a homer.  I don’t like the Patriots, but I respect them.  I don’t dislike the Giants, but I respect them.  It’s an easy situation for me.  I’ll watch the game.  I’ll eat carbs.  And that’s it.

A fan is someone who sticks with their team through the good, bad and ugly, and doesn’t cherry pick a team to root for during the playoffs.   I would say that besides being a Mets/Yankees “fan,” a Jets/Giants “fan” is more of the same, since the Giants have had more success than the Jets ever had or look to have.  It’s an insurance policy, plain and simple.  If it was easy, we’d all be Yankees fans, and we’d all be Giants fans (in New York of course…and Boston fans need to stop complaining!).

And I still don’t get it.  I don’t know.  Must not be in my DNA.

STFU Dolan

About seven (and change) years ago, my dad sent my uncle and me an email.  The Mets were doing well (as can be expected, with Art Howe at the helm), and he wanted to get excited about something.  Meanwhile my beloved Uncle Gene made the cardinal sin of writing in blue and orange caps in a very large font “LET’S GO METS!”

A few days later, “Black Friday” occurred and the Mets went on a losing streak, and that season was never to be.  Of course, my dad spent a majority of the time blaming Uncle Gene about his email.  To which Gene-oh replied, “Well, if you had written, I’d have blamed you too.”

Something else about the superstitious nature of fans.  When the reality is, it doesn’t matter if we wear a certain shirt, or hat, or as my friend Rob during the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run, forbid his bartender to clean out the ashtray where he was putting out his butts.  But I guess if we’re rooting for a certain outcome, and we’re a part of something larger than ourselves, I guess we need to shoulder some of the blame, or at least feel like it anyway.

The Rangers lost last night to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  It wouldn’t so entirely bad if it wasn’t two games after losing to the Canadiens.  By the same score.  4-1.  And almost the same situation occurred: Rangers fall 1-0 early in the game, come back to tie, then the opposition scores three in the last period.  If they hadn’t won the game before, maybe it would be a downer.  But it’s funny because everyone is talking about the “slump” that the Rangers are supposedly in.  Yes, they’ve lost three out of the last five games.  But they’ve still had a successful month, somewhat.

Yet, I go back to my dad’s “Black Friday” email, Rob’s cigarette refuse and our quirks that make us fans.  Some of us are dopes, that’s no doubt.  But the biggest dope of them all, our fearless owner James Dolan basically made sure that the Rangers wouldn’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals by referring to a pact that Glen Sather made with him a while back.  In this pact, there was an item exchange, and Dolan replied that Sather wouldn’t be able to return this item until the next time the Rangers won the Cup.

Bold statement, being at the time, the Rangers hadn’t made the playoffs in seven years.  But then he sweetens this piece of information by saying, “I think we’re pretty close to getting that thing back.”

I’d like to say that’s the first time an owner of one of my team’s has said something stupid.  After all, Fred Wilpon has had many of those moments, that keep getting repeated to this day.  Such as “skill sets” or “meaningful games in September.”  But, meh, whatever, Dolan made a bold statement, and possibly the media got out of hand by taking what he said out of context.  He didn’t say, “We’re a lock for the cup this year.”  He just said he expected to get that item back very soon.  “Very soon” could indeed be in the course of a few more seasons.  We don’t know.  This was a pact made years ago, and perhaps soon is just relative, right?

Oh, who am I kidding?  This is the type of drivel that Rangers fans are a) dying to pounce on and b) beat the crap out of Dolan for even THINKING it, not to mention saying it out loud.  Look, I’ve said that I love watching this team, because I feel like they can’t lose.  I go into every game as a fan thinking they have a shot to win.  This is a game, and we take the wins, we take the losses.  And it seems like Glen Sather finally took an opposite drink of whatever he was doing in previous years and actually built a good hard-working team that wants to win and wants to earn something.  I think that’s great.

Just don’t fuckin’ SAY it, Dolan.  Okay?  I mean, if they were on their way on the playoffs, I’d say it was fair game, even then ill-advised.  Since this is a guy who never opens his mouth except to put a bottle of alcohol in it.  Bold, yes.  Ill-advised, hell yes.  Just don’t say it.  They’ve lost two games by the same amount and everyone is freaking out.

We all do and say stupid shit as fans, that’s nothing new.  But when your owner says it, it’s easy to point and say, “It’s HIS fault this is happening!”  I would be lying to tell you I wasn’t thinking of the Cup this year, with the way this team has been playing.  Then there are games like the last few that make them seem like a real inconsistency.  Then again, you don’t win every game.  But next time, Jim, just shut your mouth.  No one wants to hear what you’re saying, especially a neurotic fan base.  Kthxbye.

A Time WARner

I have to admit, when in December I saw people standing around Time Warner Center (at Columbus Circle here in NYC) with signs protesting a future “break” of Time Warner with MSG, I didn’t think much of it.  Although I am a Time Warner customer, I thought for sure they wouldn’t or couldn’t be that stupid…that a midnight deal would be at hand certainly.

Of course, I was wrong.  On January 1, 2012, MSG went dark on Time Warner.  Not to fret, the channel wasn’t totally dead, but they introduced an NBA channel.  I guess that was a double-whammy for me: I don’t like basketball all that much, and they screwed me with my hockey.

I wasn’t totally hopeless.  For the most part, Time Warner did what it was supposed to do, and I figured they wouldn’t be gone long.  We’re more than half-way into the month, and still nada. I haven’t been able to find much headway into how the negotiations are, but at the end of the day, I haven’t felt more screwed as a customer.  I pay you, goddammit.  You should bring me what I need.  If you think about it, look at what these asses are arguing about: MONEY.  Like sports/entertainment/media channels or owners are hurting for that.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…and taking away her hockey games to boot.  I took matters into my own hands, and in a few hours, I will be a new RCN customer.  This has SNY, MSG and MLB and everything a gal for all seasons could possibly want.  With their three-year locked in prices, I wonder what took me so damn long to switch over.

Well, Time Warner, it was nice knowing ya.  You really didn’t give me though what I need or anything over the top that no one else can provide.  So take your little WAR with MSG and stick it.  You lost a customer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Now if only our owner would stop making claims about Stanley Cups.  After all, it’s something of a tease when a majority of your fanbase cannot watch the games on TV because you and other cable owners are too much of an asshole to get stuff done.