It's All About the D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday night the New York Rangers will be in Buffalo to take on the Sabres, in what really turns out to be the biggest game for both teams this year. The Rangers are currently tied with the Montreal Canadiens at 87 points. Buffalo has 85 points, followed by Carolina who has 80 points. Both of those teams have have one game in hand on the Rangers and Canadiens.

The question most Ranger diehards have is how did the Rangers get to this point? With a 8-1-1 run in their last ten games (Timing was perfect for this run) and 41-30-5 overall record it’s the one thing that may have gone unnoticed and that my friends is the overall team defense that the Rangers have played this year. Starting, obviously, in the nets with the “King” Henrik Lundqvist- who has quietly maneuvered himself up the ladder in the numbers department of the top goalies in the league. The King leads the league with 11 shutouts and with a goals against of 2.24 that’s good for 5th best in the NHL. Lundqvist should get some serious attention when it comes to the Vezina Trophy voting.

The other part of the overall defense of the Rangers are the defensemen themselves. Mark Staal, Dan Giradi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Steve Eminger, Brian McCabe, and Matt Gilroy have contributed greatly in the Rangers fortunes. These names on the D may not frighten many opponents when it comes down to the nasty, physical department (Someday?) but they have done the job blocking shots and playing smart hockey. I mean, really, check these numbers: the Rangers have scored 218 goals, 181 goals against (2nd in the East and 3rd overall in the NHL) with a goal differential of +37. The +37 ranks in the top 4 in the entire NHL! That folks is absolutely incredible! The numbers don’t lie in a league where scoring is almost extinct. You have to rely on solid team defense and the Rangers are getting that from goaltender on out. Impressive? I’d say so.

Okay now for some of Kotsy’s thoughts on a few topics that need to addressed… First off how about the comments coming out Detroit from Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom concerning the cheap shots and hits the NHL has a problem with today. Both player’s have hinted that maybe the NHL should get rid of the instigator rule… Really? I’m all for that, but I also hold Redwings mostly responsible for why the game is what it is today. So to hear this from them, I’m not really sure it passes the laugh test.

“The Hammer”, Dave Schultz has surfaced and came out with some strong opinions about the state of the game when it comes to the respect- or lack there of. It’s a good read check it out at the link below.

Finally, I wonder if most hockey fans realize that the NHL might possibly be without a 50 goal scorer this season. Corey Perry currently leads with 44 goals and Steven Stamkos has been stuck on 43 for a while now. I thought the NHL improved it’s game with all the rules changes over the last few years to open up the game? At least, that’s what we were told… wasn’t it? Over and out!


Rangers Rolling, Cooke Strikes Again

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rangers fans you have to like what you see with Boys in Blue lately. After a lousy effort on the road against the Anaheim Ducks (A horrendous 5-2 loss) the Rangers have been on quite a roll winning 4 games in a row. Starting with the 3-2 shoot out win in San Jose over a strong Sharks team, 6-3 over the Islanders, 6-3 over the Canadiens (both at home) and finishing up with a tough hard-earned win in Pittsburgh, 5-2. Yes, you could say the Rangers are rolling and the timing couldn’t be better as the playoff race is winding down. Great goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist, solid play by all 3 defense pairings, and just super all around effort by the forwards has led to this nice run by the Rangers. With 2 home games coming up against Florida and Ottawa the Rangers can further distance themselves from the teams that are chasing them and solidify there spot in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Couple of thoughts by the big man (That would be me LOL.) I was present for the Rangers win over the Montreal Canadiens, a team the has given the Rangers all sorts of problems over the past few seasons. The fight to start the game involving Brandon Prust (How good has he been for the Rangers) and Travis Moen was a perfect way to get the team and the fans going at MSG. I mean come on, one second into the game? Just perfect, in my opinion, and the Rangers used that to dominate the Habs to a tune of 5-1 at the end of the 1st period. When was the last time the Rangers had a lead like that over anyone in the 1st period?

One other thing from the that game was the constant hammering of Henrik Lundqvist. Intentional or not- this has to stop. For some reason the NHL seems to do a poor job when it involves the Rangers, sorry that’s just how I see it. That being said the Ranger players must come to his aid and make it quite clear you touch our goalie- you pay the price. Every now and then it’s okay to take a message sending penalty in order to protect your biggest asset which is the King himself. I’m okay with that and I’m pretty sure coach Torts would be too.

Now let’s talk about the Matt Cooke blatant elbow on Ryan McDonagh. To me this one was so obvious as Cooke cocked his elbow straight out a good 5 feet before the contact with McDonagh’s jaw. When Matt Cooke hit Marc Savard a few years back he followed through with the elbow and we all know the end result in the damage to Savard’s health and his career. This might sound like I’m a homer, but to me this one was much clearer on the replay than the Savard hit. Ryan McDonaugh was and is fortunate the damage was very limited. As for Cooke what his penalty will be… who knows? I will go on record and repeat what I’ve saying for years when will the NHL realize that all it’s rules and suspensions have done nothing to deter players from incidents like this. The more they tinker with these type of plays the worse it has gotten Anyone who thinks that the NHL can remedy this alone is sorely misguided.

I’ll say it one more time 1st take the instigator rule out, make these players face the music immediately by letting the players police their own game. It will not eliminate all the cheap shots, but I will bet anything the numbers will decrease to a livable number. If the NHL feels it has to be the overseer then makes the fines substantial. A player like Cooke as well as others have made a small fortune and have plenty of money put away in the bank that 20 to 50 thousand (Can’t believe I’m saying this about these numbers, just crazy isn‘t it?) doesn’t hurt them like most would think. Make the fines 100 to 200 thousand and then watch if they will continue to play on the edge. I think not. Over and Out!

Remember to check out the “Instigators Hockey Show” as my co-host Pauly D and I will be discussing the Rangers and the Cooke hit and much, much more.

Instigators Link:


Rangers, Barry Beck, and More!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Rangers are in Anaheim tonight to take on the Ducks to begin an all important western road swing that will keep the Rangers above water in the race to the playoffs or drop below it. After 2 straight wins over Ottawa on the road and at home against the Flyers (What an ass kicking that was!) the Rangers must keep the momentum on their side. The time is now! Points are getting to be more precious for the Rangers than gold is on the open market. Players like Dubinsky, Callahan, Staal, and of course the “King” Henrik Lundqvist must lead the way. If Marian Gaborik is healthy (That’s still questionable?) and finds his scoring touch the better off the Rangers will be. All four lines need to do their jobs, The defense pairings must step their game up as well. Hard work and effort has been the key to the Rangers this season. Nothing less than that is acceptable. It’s playoff mode for the Rangers. They got a few gifts last night with Buffalo, New Jersey and Toronto losing. However, relying on others to do your job for you, is in my opinion, a certain way to miss the playoffs. It’s all in the players hands and there can be no excuses because excuses left the building a long time ago.

Tuesday night on the “Instigators Hockey Show” my co-host Pauly D and I had the great pleasure of having former Ranger Captain and Legend Barry Beck on as a special guest for a very informative chat. Barry was gracious enough to come on the show even though there was a 13 hour time difference (Bubba lives and works in Hong Kong) and stay on for over an hour to talk with us. If you are a Ranger fan you don’t want to miss out the chance at listening to what Barry’s up to these days and his time with the Rangers. We had plenty of laughs and great story telling. Trust Me! If you wish to listen to the show you can hit the link below.

As for me I will be in Ithaca NY Friday night for a best of 3 to do the color for the Quinnipiac Bobcats as they head on the road to take on the Cornell Big Red in the 2nd round of the ECAC playoffs in men’s Division 1 Hockey. This should be a great match up and after all it is the playoffs so one never knows, do they? If your interested in listening to play by play man Bill Schweizer and I hit the link. Tune in it’s great hockey!

Please feel free to make your comments known on the blog site and I will respond back to you. Don’t be afraid…Over and out!

Quinnipiac Bobcats Radio Link:

Instigators Link:


No Place Like Home?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Regardless of how tonight’s outcome with the New York Rangers/Minnesota Wild game ends up (Hopefully a win for the Rangers) . One thing is certain, the Rangers have treated MSG like it was a house of horrors this season. Home ice has not been to kind for the “Boys in Blue” over the last few seasons. Think back to last year’s one-game showdown with Philadelphia for the right to make the playoffs in the final game of the season. It shouldn’t have come down to that had the Rangers taken care of business at home. This year it’s much of the same with a record of 14-15-3 at the world’s most famous arena. I certainly don’t have the answers and it’s obvious no one else does either. One thing I do know is that playing in your own barn is supposed to be an advantage for the home team. Clearly this isn’t the case for the Rangers. Games are starting to have more meaning as teams chasing for a playoff spot are closing in. The New York Rangers must find a way to start winning their final games at home in order to secure a playoff spot. The time is now! and let’s all hope it starts tonight with a win over the Wild.

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone. I personally liked the fact that Glen Sather didn’t do anything drastic and ruin the good this organization has done in a short period of time. It wasn’t long ago that the Rangers were pushed to limit salary cap wise… which was a huge problem. Adding huge potential contracts (Brad Richards) through the trade deadline would have put them back to square 1 with no room to maneuver and that is something you don’t want. This team has gotten younger and the core players have yet to reach their full potential. I feel that if you want to make moves or add to the roster you do it in the off-season where no one has a gun to your head. That’s the way I feel and I’m sticking by it!

It’s obvious that with out a healthy Marion Gaborik the Rangers are going to be challenged to find the dynamic offensive player for the stretch run. That being said, it’s up to the players on the roster to find a way to score- plain and simple. “How”, you say? To me it means someone has to play the hero role each and every night. Not just one or two players, it has to be done by committee. If the Rangers can do this it should be more than enough win and proceed to the playoffs. It wouldn’t hurt to spot Henrik Lundqvist a few goals would it? (Especially now that Biron’s injured).

This Friday night I will be in Hamden CT for the 1st round of the ECAC playoffs where the Quinnipiac Bobcats and Brown Bears get under way in a best of 3 series. If you are in the area come by and check it out. If you want to listen to the game here’s the link below.

Quinnipiac Bobcats Radio Link:

Also this past Tuesday My co-host Pauly Dee and I had the pleasure of chatting with a former Ranger/Whaler and a teammate of mine in Toronto Jeff Brubaker. “Bru” was a tough, team first type player and was very insightful and really gave the listeners a realistic look into what it took for him to play in the NHL. Also we had Lou Lafrado, who runs one of the best hockey websites in “Pro Hockey News”, on to talk about his site and Hockey in general. If you missed the show you can go back and listen to it in archive just hit the link. That’s it over and out!

Instigators Link:


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