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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Last Night Lookback - NYR (4) vs NJD (3)

Well winning sure is fun, even if it’s in the meaningless preseason. I’m still enjoying the return of the hockey night high and watching our Blueshirts bang in 4 goals on Sharty Bropuer sure helps extend that. It was the only Ranger game all weekend, but I enjoyed my hockey appetizer. It was good to get a game in before football starts getting shoved down my throat over the next 48 hours. Excuse me sir, are there any other specials on the menu besides football? Baseball, you say? No thank you, I'll still with the pigskin then, thank you very much.

Onto the game, I enjoyed the color commentary once again. Joe and Chico are like dumb and dumber in there. They’re like best friends slash bitter rivals, just calling each other out and poking fun at the other’s mistakes. I have to say it though, the new Devils play by play guy is pretty annoying. I know he used to do the radio for them, so maybe that’s why his voice makes me feel like I’m driving in the freezing rain of a pitch black winter night. On Wednesday, Chico said that the guy’s dream was to be just like Sam Rosen. That’s understandable, but unlikely. I hope Sam never retires. I don’t want to feel how Devils fans must be feeling right now about the state of their broadcast booth.

The game itself was much more entertaining than Wednesday’s contest. We gave up an early goal, but then the new offensive confidence took over and we had our first lead of the season before you could even start getting negative. Richards and Gabby look like they’ve got some real good chemistry out there. Richards has great vision and loves to carry the puck and Gaborik is quickly getting used to the idea that he needs to score, not beat five guys and then score. You need those offensive guys who just seem to always get lucky bounces, and as you could tell from Adam Larson’s first career goal, Richards is that kind of guy. Wolski was alright with them out there, MDZ had a better game, Stepan had a nasty goal and looked like a sophomore surge waiting to happen. Rupp is one tall man and one hell of fighter, but it was great to see him handle the puck like an actual hockey player too. All in all it was a positive performance from the team just one game away from their plane ride to Europe.

Not everyone is on their way to Europe, however. Today’s first round of cuts saw 28 players assigned to their respective minor leagues. Some of them are not surprises, but I still would like to see a little more of Christen Thomas and JT Miller. Pavel Valentenko is considered the biggest surprise name on the list of dismissed players. The article I read said, “Valentenko probably wouldn't be on this list if it weren't for his performance last night”. Did he have a bad game last night? I didn’t really even notice him out there. Oh wait; I just answered my own question. Erixon, McIlrath, Bourque and Hagelin survive, so much still remains to be seen about who will and who will not have a roster spot at the end of preseason. Translation for us fans – we’re rolling deep and rich in talent.

I can't wait to see the full team together and roaring in mid-season form. Just seeing Gabs out there with Richards and Cally debuting his captaincy was great after so many months of anticipation. Injuries to Staal and Prust are slightly affecting the morale of fortune-telling fans, but even concussion rumors regarding our prized defensive asset won't get me down. The more I see, the more I like. The more I like, the more inflated my expectations become. 82-0 seems reasonable, right?

So I guess that’s it for now. To close out this post, I leave you with a haiku entitled “If Looking Forward To A Preseason Game Because I Want To See Jagr Beaten By The Rangers As Fast As Possible Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right”. Now excuse me while I go take a weekend afternoon nap…

Not much left to say
And not often I say this
Can’t wait ‘til Monday.