Random Thoughts on a Rainy Rangers Tuesday
Tuesday April 21st 2009, 7:35 am

Those who know me even just a little know I’m a sucker for talented Russian hockey players. And none fit that description as well as Alexander Ovechkin. I love his skill, but above all I love the passion with which he plays the game and the unfettered joy he exhibits when his team scores. But when you skate to center ice after both teams have left the ice at the end of the game and do a chest bump over the Rangers logo with your faithful sidekick Nicklas Backstrom, you lose a lot of my respect. That’s not celebrating. That’s not playing up to your fans. That’s not trying to get under Don Cherry’s skin — the cameras were already off. That’s sticking a giant middle finger up to the opposing team’s fans just for fun.  Here’s hoping karma really is a bitch, Mr. Ovechkin.

***

Sometimes it’s difficult to be a fan of this organization. Margret Hurley, a dedicated denizen of Section 409, reports that Garden brass has threatened to end what has become a playoff tradition over the past three seasons. Each April since the lockout the fine folks in 409 have unleashed a deluge of balloons over the railing of the upper deck, flooding the seats below with playoff cheer. As a season ticket holder in the section below, there’s nothing that’s come to represent playoff hockey to me more than seeing that cascade of blue, white and red fall on our heads during the national anthem.  But according to Hurley, last night a Garden Suit turned up prior to puck drop to warn people that, in unleashing the latex, they were breaking Garden policy and that, should a single complaint be received, the tradition will be promptly halted. Merry Christmas Mr. Grinch!  Read Mrs. Hurley’s account of the events on her blog, My Blueshirt Heaven.

***

Overheard at the Garden: “Avery gets a penalty for being harassed by the other team’s goalie. That’s bull****!” in regards to The Grate One’s late-game roughing minor and ten minute misconduct. Dear Sir: Do your delusions also include belief in the Easter Bunny and faith in the campaign promises of politicians? Kindly review the tape. It was Avery who turned back to get in the face of rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov well after play had turned up ice. And it was Avery who received the well-deserved penalty when he reached out and punched the young netminder in the face as he was being ushered away by an official.  And it was Avery who proved that, Yes Virginia, he can, on occasion, cross the line and become a detriment to his team.

***

Speaking of my fellow fans at the Garden: Here’s a big Bronx Cheer to you. Booing your team in the first period of game three, in a series in which they’re up two games to none? Leaving halfway through the third period of a playoff game? Throwing your trash on the ice as a sign of your displeasure after your team fails to show up for the game? Boooooooo!

***

Back to Varlamov. Rangers fans licked their chops upon learning Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau was turning to a 20-year old rookie over Jose Theodore in game two of the series. “A sure sign of desperation,” they said.  I, on the other hand, felt immediate dread. One year ago I watched the Russian goaltender backstop his team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, all the way to the Russian Super League finals. The then 19-year old put up five shutouts in sixteen games along the way, while posting a 1.62 goals-against average. His arrival on the scene this spring could turn out to be the worst thing that happens to the Rangers. The good news? He choked in the final game last year, costing his team a championship. The bad news? We’re nowhere near the final game of the playoffs.

But here’s a tip for Rangers head coach John Tortorella: Instruct your minions to dump the puck in behind his net early and often. The kid’s greatest weakness is playing the puck, as was obvious on at least two occasions last night when he coughed it up behind the cage. Eventually, one of those will end up in the back of his net. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

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Filed under: New York Rangers

7 Comments so far
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    I agree with you, Laurie, about the behavior of the “fans” in msg last night, from the booing which was extremely distasteful, to throwing those plastic sticks and/or the lights not only on the ice but hitting people in their seats as some didn’t make it to the ice. Maybe they should just stick with towels!

    Comment by Alan 04.21.09 @ 12:29 pm

    Well said on all counts. It amazes me that Avery is seen as a hero by most when he consistently does things that put the team at a disadvantage.

    And as a goalie, it pains me immensely to say this, but I hope someone brings your advice re Varlamov to Tortorella’s attention. (Ouch. The Goalie Gods will smite me for that I’m sure).

    Comment by Goalie 04.21.09 @ 1:00 pm

    When reeled in, Avery can be an asset. Four penalties in one game when no one had discipline is not what the Blueshirts needed. He’s a great skater, good stickhandler, and for the love of Messier actually shoots the puck (a rarity on the Rangers) – but Torts has to control Avery at his worst – when Avery’s doing his best to change the story of a game.

    Nice post, Laurie.

    Comment by #14 04.21.09 @ 4:23 pm

    Thanks for the shout out there Laurie.

    When are we going to see Anisimov? :)

    Comment by mhurley 04.21.09 @ 7:53 pm

    Not soon enough! ;)

    Comment by laurie 04.21.09 @ 9:39 pm

    Not So Fast: Washington Caps Trounce New York Rangers 4:0
    …..Bla bla bla bloob bluh bloobla…

    Comment by Why...Oh why...Why,why 04.22.09 @ 1:06 am

    Not So Fast: Washington Caps Trounce New York Rangers 4:0.
    Check out that Ovechkin goal on You Tube!!!!!!!!!!
    I guess Karma really is a bitch!!!

    Comment by Why...Oh why...Why,why 04.25.09 @ 12:45 pm



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