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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snap Shot: Making Up For Lost Time

Excuses are for the weak – I’ve just been slacking off. Half of me would love to sit back and rationalize the laziness. After all, isn’t my I-don’t-just-break-rules-I-make-them writing style and go-fuck-yourself approach to blogging what you love about ’94 Parade in the first place? Unfortunately, the other half of me spends his day reading hockey-related articles written by paid professionals who actually make their living in the sport we all love. It takes a real secure person to admit that they are driven by a sick mixture of topical passion, professional ambition and ever-evolving jealousy…

A lot has gone down since the last time I checked in here. The Rangers took their winning streak from four games to seven before squeezing out a stinker in Montoiletreal. Their minislide continued four days later in a typical South Florida snoozer, but things turned around on the flip side of Thanksgiving with two straight wins over Washington and Philly. 24/7 got started with a 12-minute preview, the Blueshirts also unveiled their cream-colored Winter Classic jerseys… and… what else… oh yeah, I got my shit ripped open all over the internet. You need thick skin to put yourself out there on the world wide web. I should have thought about that before hand…

Oh well. There are tons of more pertinent topics at hand besides my barbaric, frat hazing-like welcome into the tenured pantheon of established Stool writers. I will tackle them all in the following order: the miniskid and the flaws it exposed, the rebound ministreak and the strengths displayed, the crazy Winter Classic circus and its recent developments, and finally Carl Hagelin’s sexy-ass flow. Grab a hold of your seats, hockey fans, because here we go!

From Kings to Pwns: Exposed Flaws from the Rangers’ Miniskid
After winning seven straight, the Rangers snapped their own streak two Saturday night’s ago with an ugly loss to le Caladiens. After a second straight defeat, this time to the once-toothless Panthers, critics started circling ready to chew at the first sniff of blood. The obvious pouncing point was the blueshirts’ lack of physical play, especially early on. Unless the Rangers step up and intimidate their opponent in the first minutes of the game with a serious forecheck, they’re stuck in neutral, skating on their heels waiting for a tie-breaking goal to be scored. That first goal of the game also seems to be an important turning point for this team. If they get it, we’re good. If they don’t, we’ve got a 50/50 shot on coming back. Down by two, consider us done for (read: Florida game). Take that Montreal game for example; it was completely up for grabs until Biron gives up that blunder (starting said back up was another criticized coaching decision). Say the Rangers tie that game up at one off some odd deflection, despite how terrible they were playing. That whole game, history itself even, changes at that moment. They’re built to sustain tie games and jump on that one chance to take the lead while Henrik saves their ass every fifteen seconds. Instead, they give up a second and, having shown absolutely no offensive bite at all, gave up entirely, same as the Florida game. The Rangers are fueled by offensive confidence and it doesn’t take more than a favorable bounce to refuel their tank. The key, of course, is getting that first goal. Then we’re golden.

Winning Ways: One Team’s Journey from Turkeys to Carvers
Fortunately for us fans, the Rangers were back in the win column as soon as Thanksgiving was over. Friday’s coach-killing massacre of the Capitals was thoroughly enjoyable viewing material after a coma-inducing holiday feast. A scoreless first period gave way to a second frame outburst by the blueshirts. Four goals – one from Gabby, Anisimov, Fedotenko and Boyle – shot some confidence back into our secondary scoring unit. Those are key guys you’d like to see on the stats sheet more often, especially Boyle and Anisimov. After breakout seasons last year, both young guns are shouldering bigger expectations and haven’t lived up to the promise just yet. The Capitals win was another total team effort, starting in the defensive zone. Lots of blocked shots and great goaltending made the difference in the end. After dropping a game to Florida that we know they should have won, it was good to see the entire bench chip in to beat a struggling, yet undeniably explosive, Washington team. Saturday was more of the same as our Rangers came back home to battle the Classic-bound Flyers. Great goaltending (imagine if Hartnell’s first period breakaway goes in, for example), solid defensive zone coverage, and a physical forecheck all helped send a clear message to Philadelphia – you’ll need to beat us, because we’re not going to beat ourselves. Let’s hope the boys bring that same hustle and grit to the Garden tonight. We got Crosby coming to town…

Winter Classic Wonderland: Updates from the Best Circus on Ice
Due to our devout dedication and unrelenting reverence, we continue to receive post-Thanksgiving gifts from those generous hockey gods above. Black Friday brought us HBO’s 12-minute preview of “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic”. The appetizer glimpse was a little too general to orgasm over, lots of regurgitated sentiments and clips from last year’s show, but the preview did its job in full as a fluffer for the real thing. I’m hard as a rock and can’t wait for the 14th of December to roll around. Tons of trash talking already on display too – former blueshirt Jody Shelley’s likened Brandon Dubinsky to a weasel, which prompted a response by the Ranger forward on Monday afternoon. “First of all, if I was him, I’d keep my mouth shut, especially since I never see him on the ice. Jody Shelley – he’s a terrible hockey player.” Juicy stuff indeed, and that’s even before Sean Avery chimes in with sloppy seconds comments about Jeff Carter banging Scott Hartnell’s wife. But that wasn’t all we Ranger fans were treated to in the days following Thanksgiving! We also got a first look at the new Winter Classic jerseys. Opinions seem to be split on the new sweaters. On the one hand, they’re better than the crowded, unimaginative, cheap Chinese knock-offs I’ve seen around the Garden this season. The retro 1926-era logo shield looks a little weak to my modern eyes (I wish they had chosen a rainbow-shaped Rangers wordmark with numbers underneath) but it’s a respectable addition to our on-ice wardrobe. I’m also not a fan of that bottom red piping line on the shoulders, feels a bit crowded once you see the nameplates. Other than those initial observations, I’ll reserve judgment until I see them in person. Package it all together with a sexy sock and pant combo and we’ll all be drooling come New Years. Plus we’re still waiting to see Henrik’s one-game-only Classic mask, which he said will “look like it’s been in the closest for the past forty years”. Well whip out the sharpies and color me pumped!

Well that does it for this edition of ’94 Parade. Can’t wait for tonight’s test against the Penguins! LET’S GO RANGERS! And on that note, I’d like to close this post with yet another edition of Ranger Haikus. This one is titled, “Carl Hagelin Has One Sexy-Ass Flow”.

Goal, assist, and hat
Skating with hair in the wind
Ron Duguay 2K

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