Kings of the Road

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roger Miller once had a hit single crooning out “king of the road”. Well folks, the New York Rangers at this moment are truly the kings of the road in the NHL. With last night’s (sometimes ugly and mistake prone) game, the boys in blue hung on and took a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. This win guaranteed that the Rangers now have the most wins on the road sporting a very impressive 11-4-0 record. You have got to like the resilience with this team. Last night when Ottawa would score the Rangers would answer back almost immediately. The game winner would come from rookie d-man Michael Sauer (Who’s coming along nicely, I might add) for his first ever NHL goal. The goal was set up by Chris Neil’s dumb penalty he took for running Ryan Callahan. Sean Avery and Brandon Prust did all the hard work as Sauer blasted a slap shot through the 5-hole on Brian Elliot to give the Rangers the late 4-3 lead. Brandon Dubinsky finished off the game with an empty netter. All in all, the Rangers will take the crucial 2 points as they head to Columbus for a match up on Saturday.

Was this one pretty? Of course not. Ugly at times? For sure. Plenty of mistakes were made and it was nice to see Sauer set up and make up for his major blunder on Ottawa’s first goal. It’s a good sign when a player who’s trying to find his way can shrug off any adversity and play his game. My hat’s off to Sauer and getting that first goal is always something you dream about as a player- it’s something you will never forget!

A couple of things that I took from this game. First, what on earth were the officials thinking when Matt Carkner punched Derek Boogaard first in the back of the head as he chased Boogaard down after a clean hit on an Ottawa player? Not only that, but Carkner then swung again as soon as Boogaard turned around. Is that not instigating? If it isn’t, then I don’t know what is. Carkner should have got 2 for roughing, 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, 10 min misconduct and a gross misconduct. The gross misconduct for flicking blood at the Ranger bench. A totally classless act. We’ll have to see if the “Grinch” Colin Campbell will look into this or will he let it slide by like nothing happened.

Now, on to Chris Neil. First off, I know he’s a tough guy and all of that… but I watched him for a few years now when he plays the Rangers. How is it that he never caused crap when Colton Orr or Derek Boogaard were sitting on the bench? Then, all of the sudden, when they are conveniently not available through a fight or a healthy scratch- he plays tougher than he really is? Last night, once Boogaard was gone he ran everything in sight and when he ran Callahan he essentially lost the game for the Senators as the Rangers made him pay for it on the ensuing power play. Sorry, Chris. Bonehead move by you and the Ranger fans thank you and are very grateful.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats beat Harvard by a score of 3-1 on the road. A big win for the Bobcats after struggling at home last weekend. Next up for them is Providence at Schneider Arena in Rhode Island.

As for me, I will be in Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday signing autographs before the Whale/Manchester Monarchs play from 6:00 to 7:00 PM at the XL Center Atrium. Should be a fun time. Also, I will be in the city on Sunday to catch the Rangers and Capitals game at MSG. I will be at Café 31 and the Parlour restaurants before the game. That’s it for now, over and out!


B.J. McSitteer said...

Hey Kotsy, one thing I've noticed is Avery really steps up big time when it comes to road games. It's no secret he thrives on getting under the home team's(and fan's) skin. Aside from that and the obvious answer of keeping it simple, why do you think the Rangers are having so much success on the road? They've played a tone of games early which should work against them and (as in the last victory) it's not always a typical road steal where they would score early and sit back on a hot goalie and walk away with a 2-1 victory.

Kotsy's Korner said...

B.J McSitteer, I feel that the Rangers don't try to put on a show on the road. Less pressure to do so than at home. Frankly it looks ugly at times, But ugly wins more than pretty in the NHL.

You got to tip your hat to Avery. He gets bounced around from line to line and is still effective most nights. On the road I believe he thrives from being labeled as the villain.

I've said before, Avery can play on my team any day any time.

Leatherneck said...

So Chris, Happy holidays first, and now "SAUER" did I or did I not nail it with him? eh...Prust, Boyle and Sauer can now officially be added to my core of who the Rangers are. I still think Sauer should pair up with Staal. So Chris what do you think of your old number on the current bunch? He is doing a marvelous job of honoring Fi, do or die brother

Wrath of Sanity said...

I can't quite put my finger on this Rangers team. While I love the effort, I'm just not so sure if this team can keep it up over the course of the year. There is still a glaring need for a centerman (and Drury is NOT the answer... not sure Prospal is either at this point).

MDZ really needs to pick his game up. We are counting on him to be our #1 offensive defenseman and things just aren't working out so far this year. Sophomore slump? Who knows. But it's up to him to step his game up and put up points... and of course, be better in his own zone. But that's d-101... hopefully his healthy scratch helped him focus.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, Good to hear from you and happy holidays to you as well. Yes, Sauer is coming along nicely. I hope he doesn't forget that he has size to go with his play making. It would be a shame if he did.

Callahan should be the next "Captain" of the Rangers plain and simple.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Wrath, You have hit on some good points. If the team stays healthy I believe they can maintain this pace. Of course a center, proven scorer and a solid d-man would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers. Finding them won't be easy.

As for Drury who knows what will happen? Prospal same thing. Now about MDZ, He needs learn how to play better the defensive end. He's having trouble in that department. I do believe he's going through the "Sophomore Slump" it's quite obvious. Remember though he's only 20 years old.

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

They absolutely have to improve on home ice. As encouraging as the Rangers play on the road has been, its going to become markedly more difficult to win on the road come playoff time. MSG has to be a place where opposing teams are uncomfortable otherwise it will be an uphill battle all season and into the playoffs (if they make it).

Kotsy's Korner said...

Canyon, I totally agree with your comments. The goal is to use home ice as an advantage by making it miserable for teams to venture into your "Barn".

Unfortunately the Rangers have had a problem with "Home Ice" for a couple of years now. It has to change period!

Jason said...

Chris, Happy Holidays. Don't you love watching the Rangers grind it out? You sure are correct that it ain't pretty, but it has been more effective than not so far. With this style of play, I find it quite a bit easier to swallow some losses, as long as the effort is there on display. I may have said this before, but this team is more cohesive and much nastier to play against than any Ranger team over the last few decades (if not more). They are simply easy to cheer for!

Of course, there are still growing pains on the team with such a young defense. They will have brain farts from time to time, but should improve as they get more experienced. Henrik seems to be better overall than earlier in the season (okay, that goal in Columbus was horrid, as some of what he has been giving up the last two months). Due to lack of top level skill, this team is a middle of the road squad that has potential to do damage in tough and tighter playoff situations. If Henrik gets hot, this team may yet turn some heads (albeit not very likely). That was not even a possibility the last few years.

Let's hope that the next contest with the Penguins is going to be called at least in a mildly fair fashion (hey whom am I kidding here).

Leatherneck said...

So Chris, who is better off with Sauer? Sauer / Del Zotto? or Staal / Sauer? Are you willing to put him in the top 4 with Girardi, Staal, MDZ and Sauer? I really like how he plays. So what do you think they will do with Drury and who will have to sit? I think Avery should play with Stepan and Gabby..might be a very good line

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jason, Long time...Happy Holidays to you and yours. The Rangers are fun to watch this year. You go through all the emotions watching this team. I think they have something good going on finally.

The way the NHL is set up now, You never know what to expect in the playoffs. The Rangers need to continue to grow with their core players and you're right Lundqvist will be the key as to how this season ends up.

Jason, When they play the Penguins it's the one time I can truly say that I wish Crosby and his mates very bad things. Fairness you say? We know better don't we LOL.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck, I'm not sure about Sauer. I think he's adaptable with anyone. As for Drury, I would hope they don't force the issue and take away precious ice time from the players who a growing as NHL players.

Would love to see Avery settle with one line. Probably won't happen though. Torts has moved him around all season and most times it's worked out.

Scoop said...

the home ice troubles theory. Kotsy when you were with Tor, Hartford, when you came to play at MSG did you get a sense that you and your teammates were just a little more amped up to play at MSG? I mean, it's the media capital of the world, most famous arena, people come from all over the world just to enter the place and experience it. almost everyone watches Rangers home games. It's like playing at Center court at Wimbledon or Ashe Stadium at US Open, the most prestigious arenas usually inspires the best out of pro athletes to perform even better. And automatically they do. For the Rangers, maybe they don't get as pumped up to play at their home ice as the visiting teams who are probably thrilled to be in NYC rather than say Columbus or Carolina or St. Louis. Maybe to pump up the Rangers they should install a heavy bag and the team should all hit that heavy bag ten times each when they leave the dressing room for the first period, to pump em up a little bit extra. lol. Just a theory. There has to be a solution. It's in the mind.

Leatherneck said...

Merry Christmas my dear friend

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