Saturday, April 19, 2008
The New York Rangers capped off their dominance over the New Jersey Devils with a 5-3 victory last night that puts the Rangers into the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the Rangers had a few scary moments in the 3rd period while trying to protect their 4-3 lead - case in point John Madden's penalty shot. Madden's penalty shot was the first time in NHL playoff history that the shot was in the 3rd period for the tie or the go ahead goal. Fortunately for the Rangers, King Henrik denied Madden's shot and the Rangers held on for the win. In the end the Rangers owned, and I mean owned the Devils this season - winning 11 of 13 games against them (including playoffs).
Also, it's time to get something off of my chest! Sean Avery. What he is, is the best and most talented agitator this league has seen in a long time (remember Claude Lemieux?). The Devils were consumed by his antics whether they want to admit it or not. Marty Brodeur is one of the greatest goal tenders to ever play - however, his Stanley Cups, Vezina Trophies, and shoo-in Hall of Fame career does not give him any special treatment in a live game.
Whether you like Sean Avery or not, you're kidding yourself if you say, "I don't want him on my team". Avery is not the only one in this league that plays the way he does. Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Neil, Scott Hartnell, Steve Ott, I could go on and find more similar players on every team in the NHL. The difference is that Sean Avery plays that role better than anyone else in the NHL. He is more talented and intelligent - knowing exactly what he's doing by playing "on the edge". Look, he's got the opponents, the media, and even me talking - so there's something going right for him!
One last thing, do not, and I repeat do not blame Sean Avery for his shielding antics on Marty Brodeur. Blame the NHL powers that be. They changed the rules and they got caught by a smart player who knows that there is little fear of standing in front of the net now a days. In the pre-lockout rules days, someone would have taken Avery out - but not today. Today there is too much fear of penalties for touching someone who's screening your goaltender. It's ridiculous, but it's a fact.