Thursday, January 8, 2009
I attended the game last night hoping for a win for the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, the game didn't work out the way I had planned it to. The Blueshirts took it on the chin by a final margin of 6-3.
Henrik Lundqvist came up with a clunker of a game as 2 of his gaffs led directly to easy Montreal goals. The Rangers played catch-up hockey from there on until the game ended - never taking the lead. Montreal's first goal was an empty netter by Alex Kovalev off of a terrible pass by the King (Even I could have scored on that one). The Captain, Chris Drury, banked a shot off a Hab player to tie it at 1. However, a rotten line change lead to a huge rebound off of a Lundqvist save (not a good rebound). The rebound let to a Latendresse goal for the Habs, giving them a 2-1 lead. In the 2nd period Ryan Callahan, probably the MVP of the forwards this season, tied the game at 2. It was nice checker board type passing that lead to the goal.
Early in the 3rd period, Andrei Markov ripped one of the best wristshots I have ever seen past a stunned Lundqvist - as a result, the crowd was stunned as well (it was a beauty)! Later on in the period, the old pro Robert Lang (who ended up with a hat-trick) undressed Marc Staal on a one-on-one and roofed the puck over the King's shoulder (Staal's gotta keep his eyes on the body and not the puck). A little bit earlier, Rozsival got the rangers close, but Lang finished the scoring by adding the final 2 goals of the game to make it a 6-3 final and a win for the Habs.
My observations of the game are that Callahan, Dawes, and Prucha stood out with their hustle and play throughout the game (Especially Prucha). Is it a good thing? I'm not sure. On a night where Georges Laraque is not in the line-up, I thought the Rangers might take it physical to Montreal - but that never happened. You've got to take advantage of chinks in the other teams' armor and that was one the Rangers could have used but didn't! Don't ask me why. I don't know.
I also want to vent about the Gary Bettman rules of hockey. Hey, Gary... obviously some of your rules haven't worked. Fans get disgusted at some of the lame calls made in the NHL and there were some last night. Voros' hook? Rozsival's? And obviously there were some very valid calls (Gomez, what were you thinking?). Please don't insult me and the fans with the "I'm gonna make the game better" spiel, let the players play damn it!
However, the best part of the night for my wife and I was seeing some old teammates and friends, as usual. Starting with Nicky Fotiu, Vic Hadfield, Rod Gilbert, Glenn Anderson, Rangers scout Ray Clearwater (He coached me in New Haven), Ron Duguay, and last but not least - Ron Greschner (His jersey should be retired... the numbers don't lie) and his lovely wife Lori (I was beginning to think that she didn't exist). In the end, it was a great night socially, but not so great for our beloved Blueshirts. Over and out!