"Shooting From Angles Not Covered By Any Other Blogs"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sea of Blue Sees Rangers Go on to Round 2 as Devils Again Get Their Due with Brodeur All But Through—Ha Ha Ha New Jersey, the Last Laugh is on You!!!

You might want to call this the humorist’s posthumous post. But I simply couldn’t resist. Besides, there might be one or two of you left (like the Dark Ranger and the Hockey Rabbi) to read it.

In front of a riled up, raunchy Rangers crowd (in New Jersey), the Blueshirts slew the Devils and all their apostles (the referees) on Friday night—completing an historic mercy killing of their Hudson Bay rivals.

The Devils, who have become the butt of their own joke franchise, proved once again that their Stanley Cup days are trapped back in the days of the Trap. The current Devils team is pathetic. Except for when pucks took fluke bounces off of Rangers sticks, body parts and goalposts, or when New Jersey was the beneficiary of atrocious officiating, the Devils couldn’t score a goal to save their playoff lives.

Of course, their Swiss cheese defense corps, who coughs up the puck as much as six sick Marek Maliks, didn’t help exactly help New Jersey’s chances. But when combining this with a once again less than hardy Marty, the Devils simply had no chance of winning this series.

However, unlike many teams who bow out in the playoffs, the Devils are not in a position to say “wait ‘till next year”. With Martin Brodeur’s second consecutive year of horrendous playoff goaltending and a minor league cupboard which would optimistically be called “bare”, the Devils are quickly going to “hell in a glove-hand basket”. In fact, it seems as if their entire organization is going along for the ride.

Clearly, Lou Lamoriello (New Jersey’s old fossil leader from the Mesozoic Era) learned absolutely nothing from last year’s regular season over-usage of Brodeur, as he did it again this year with the same lackluster playoff results. He also hasn’t learned that continuing to play regular season games in the most boring style allowed by NHL rules is not going to fill their new building any better than it failed to fill their old one.

This was especially hilarious tonight because there were so many Ranger fans in attendance; I first thought that John Madden had scored on his (bullshit) penalty shot, after a huge roar from the crowd erupted at the end of the play. In fact, so abundant and vocal were the Ranger fans, it literally shattered the Devils announcers into pieces.

This game was historic for two reasons. First, it was the only time I have ever watched a Ranger/Devil game and been happy that I was watching the Devils broadcast. Listening all night long to that twerp Mike Emrick and that annoying putz Chico Resch, while they grasped at the straws of the aforementioned hand basket—trying to convince themselves and all three Devil fans who were watching that the Devils still had a chance to win the series—was priceless.

But when Resch (practically crying) became completely unglued and unprofessional as the Rangers crowd dominated the arena and TV airwaves with their boisterous celebration, it was glorious to watch his agony and frustration. Although not as destroyed as Resch, both Emrick and Ken Daneyko also expressed their bitter disappointment in the lack of Devil fans and barrage of Ranger fans in attendance.

Daneyko even said in between the second and third periods that the Devil fans will have to due something about that next year. He doesn’t seem to get it. There aren’t enough Devil fans in existence to do anything about it. You would’ve thought that Daneyko might have figured this out years ago, when all the Devils could muster up for their Stanley Cup celebrations was a spattering of black and red inside of what amounted to a parking lot garage sale turnout.

By the way, the second reason that this game was historic is that it marks the first time in Devils history that they lost all three home games in a playoff series. This is further evidence of the Devils impending downfall. Make no mistake about it—in spite of a surprisingly effective regular season, the playoff series against the Rangers revealed the fatally flawed nature of this dying Devils team.

But perhaps the clearest indication that the Devils are in the midst of a franchise freefall came when super-putz Resch stated (after the game) how proud he was of the Devils and their coach. Talk about a lowering of standards and expectations!

What was Chico more proud of—the fact that the Devils had lost in the first round of the playoffs in five games, or the fact that despite receiving the majority of botched referee calls and fluke bounces, New Jersey still was no match for the clearly superior Rangers?

As far as being proud of Devils coach Brent Sutter, Resch must have lost his mind along with what little professionalism he had left. Sutter made Rangers coach Tom Renney look like a combination of Albert Einstein and General George Patton.

It is true that the Devils out-hit and out-hustled the Rangers for most of the series, but who cares. New Jersey wasn’t big enough for their hits to have any adverse affects on the Rangers, and the Devils hustle was hardly enough to make up for such an overwhelming Rangers advantage in scoring depth and ability, defensive ability, goaltending, and the ability to perform in the clutch.

All that the Devils players, fans and announcers have left is their memory of the franchise’s “glory days”. The days when New Jersey lulled the NHL to sleep with their defensive trap (nearly killing the league), while the Devils won the three most insignificant and unwatched Stanley Cups in NHL history.

Now the Devils, who love to talk about themselves (while disregarding and disrespecting their superior opponents), and who love to whine about the Rangers taking runs at their aging and declining “franchise” goaltender (despite having initiated most of the contact that caused the run-ins), will have all summer to talk and whine to each other.

In the meantime, they can relax and watch the Rangers continue to pursue the same Stanley Cup that the Devils no longer have any chance of winning—either this year or in the foreseeable future.

It’s not as though I didn’t see this coming a long time ago. In last summer’s magnificent manifesto: NHL Fans vs NJ Devils—Case Closed: THEY ARE A BORE!, besides ripping the Devils ten times more than I do in this article, I stated that with the Devils refusing to change their old (Lamoriello) ways, the rest of the league would pass them by.

Obviously, I was right. But there is still one item that I would like to amend from the end of that rather lengthy but consummate condemnation of the entire Devils franchise. The Rangers now hold an all-time 4 to 1 advantage over the Devils in head to head playoff series.

It’s been said that “he who laughs last, laughs loudest”. And my laugh is so loud that the Devils can hear it from Newark to Hell … and back. However, having the misfortune of visiting Newark once in my life, I’m not even sure that the Devil himself could tell the difference between the two locations.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Out-of-Sync Gadget Transformed Into Defensive Machine

After the Rangers collective contraption blew a gasket against the Ottawa Senators on October 13, when they gave up 3 goals in 52 seconds, I described them as being “like a rich kid’s rendition of an out-of-sync gadget thrown together for a science class project”. Link to October 13 article.

This description* actually made a Philadelphia Flyers fan (JD FLYGUY) write: “You have no idea how much that made my day. I think I have a new favorite quote. That's pure genius”. Link to JD FLYGUY’s quote (in comments section).

The irony is that after shutting out the Flyers 2-0 tonight, the Rangers seemingly out-of-control science project is beginning to resemble a defensive Frankenstein, which was masterminded by a mad hockey genius.

Having given up only 2 goals in their last 4 games, 8 goals in their last 8 games, and a league low 23 goals in 14 games, the Rangers find themselves as the league’s top defensive team with a GAA of 1.64.

The Rangers, who’ve amazingly also scored a league low 1.78 goals per game, have obviously found the answer to their season-long offensively offensive woes—the best offense is a good defense, combined with a royal goalie (King Henrik Lundquist).

Humorist’s Hindsight: In the NOT DEAD YET category, Brendan Shanahan is trying to bury the October 17 pronouncement by myself and former Rangers statistician, Nomar Goles, that his goal scoring ability is “dead”. Shanahan has scored 3 goals in his last 4 games, including resurrecting his patented one-timer against the Flyers tonight.

In figuratively trying to stay off the “corpses’ cart” that was immortalized in the classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Shanahan has not only proclaimed his goal scoring as being “not dead yet” with his recent surge, but he was also overheard after tonight’s game saying, “I feel happy. I feel happy”.

*The original quote that JD FLYGUY responded to was “like a rich kid’s rendition of a gadget thrown together for a science class project”. I later added “out-of-sync”.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No More Nomar—With Nomar Goles to Tally, Slats' Stats Man Goes Out ... Then Sather Says "Let Seymour Goles Go In"

NEW YORK—New York Rangers general manager, Glen Sather, announced today that team statistician, Nomar Goles, resigned shortly after the Blueshirts 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The search for his replacement, however, didn’t last very long.

Apparently Goles had been under a lot stress since the Rangers opening night’s 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Since that game, Goles was deeply concerned because the Rangers simply weren’t scoring many.

Having been shutout in two consecutive games, scoring only 8 goals in the last 7 games, and posting a league low 13 goals for the season, the only name the supposedly high-powered Rangers have been living up to is Nomar’s.

According to Goles, he felt personally responsible in some way. “It’s as though my name has put a curse on the whole team. I told Glen (Sather) on Sunday that the team might be better off not having me around. With my brother (who was an unemployed statistician) available and just as technically qualified as me, it seemed like a good idea to make a change,” said Goles.

On Tuesday night, apparently Sather agreed. Having watched Nomar Goles for the past two games, Sather said, “let Seymour Goles go in and hope that we start winning”. And with that, Nomar resigned and his brother, Seymour, immediately was in as the Rangers new statistician.

“It’s all for the best. I felt like the Maytag repairman for much of the season. Not having any work to perform is sometimes harder than having too much. I also took a lot of flack from what happened last week,” Nomar said.

Nomar was referring to having pronounced Brendan Shanahan’s goal scoring ability “dead” last Wednesday. The obituary entitled: R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons was published by the Hockey Humorist on October 17.

As to whether the new team statistician, Seymour Goles, might be willing to alter his brother’s findings on Shanny’s scoring ability, Seymour is uncommitted. “I’ll have my eye on Shanahan’s goal scoring, but I’ll have to see more,” said Seymour.

Meanwhile, Sather remains optimistic that this move will help the Rangers turn their disappointing season around. “Seymour Goles is a name that the whole team can rally around. It will be our new battle cry. Besides, at this point I’ll try just about anything,” said Sather.

Humorist’s Hindsight: Let’s hope that this same-day double play works out better than the last one Sather pulled. After signing both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury within hours of each other on July 1, the yearly $14+ Million dollar duo has combined to average barely over a half a point per game each (9 points in 16 combined games), while showing very little chemistry with their linemates.

I also find it quite interesting that both Nomar Goles and the Hockey Humorist received quite a bit of criticism over what was said in
R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons.

Today, Larry Brooks of the New York Post and Dubi Silverstein of the Blueshirt Bulletin both expressed their concerns over whether Shanahan’s age is a factor in Shanny’s scoring decline. Here are the links:
Post and Blueshirt Bulletin.

Brooks even quotes some of the same statistics that I used in several of my articles, such as the fact that Shanahan had only “scored six goals in 29 games before his Feb. 17 concussion” last year. Too many Ranger fans either seem to be unaware of these facts or are just ignoring them.

Although Shanahan’s scoring may have stopped, my pursuit of this subject matter will not.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bruins & Bad Boston Ice Bounce by Blueshirts as Slap Shots Strike Down Straka

BOSTON—Despite a much improved team effort, strong defensive play and another stellar performance by goaltender, Henrik Lundquist, the Rangers never got the bounce they needed (and deserved) while losing 1-0 in a shootout to the Boston Bruins.

Ordinarily the story of 1-0 shootout would be that neither goalie, Lundquist or Manny Fernandez, allowed a goal during regulation or overtime. Or perhaps it would be about the game-winning shootout goal scored by Bruins forward, Phil Kessel. However, this was no ordinary game—thanks to the maintenance crew at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Either the Garden maintenance crew never found out about the time change for today’s hockey game (from 7 pm to 4 pm) or they donated their services all day to the Boston Red Sox in preparation for night’s playoff game at Fenway Park.

Regardless of the reason, when the referee and players were ready for the drop of the puck at 4 pm, the Garden ice certainly was not. All game long (for both teams) the puck hopped, skipped, rolled and bounced over sticks, skates and everything else. In fact, during the waning seconds of regulation time, one bizarre ricochet off the boards went right through the Boston goal-mouth and nearly deflected off Fernandez into the net.

Icy gravel would have provided a better playing surface than that cold, chippy concoction of crap on which the Rangers and Bruins were forced to skate. The puck, which wouldn’t sit down or cooperate for anyone, acted like a stubborn, untrained dog who needed a good smack on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

To put this issue in its proper perspective, today’s ice in Boston was equal or worse than the most horrid ice conditions I’ve ever witnessed at Madison Square Garden. Given that I’ve been a Rangers fan since the early 1970’s, this is an indication of how outrageous and insulting it was to watch today’s game.

Adding injury to insult, Rangers forward, Martin Straka, received an unfortunate break after bravely blocking two blasts off the big stick of Bruins defenseman, Zdeno Chara. According to the Rangers team-owned (or NHL owned—depending on who wins the lawsuit) website, Straka broke a finger on his right hand.

This is especially bad news for a struggling Rangers team that is already playing without injured forwards, Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa, and who have scored a league low 13 goals.

Despite Straka’s injury, the Rangers outplayed Boston for most of the game. After holding the Bruins at bay through three first period Boston power plays, the Blueshirts outshot the Bruins 22 to 10 the rest of the way.

This game was certainly close enough that under normal ice conditions, it is very possible the Rangers might have lost anyway. On the other hand, the Rangers might have prevailed and picked up both very-needed points. It’s a shame that a fair outcome hit a bad patch of Boston ice and hopped out of everyone’s collective reach.

With the talent-laden Pittsburgh Penguins up next for the Rangers, it will take bounces and breaks of another kind to prevent the Blueshirts from falling three games under NHL .500 this early in the season.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Scoop Needed to Clean-Up Blueshirts' Bullshit After Blueland Blowout

ATLANTA—Bottom-feeding Atlanta was the latest team to “kick the crap” out of the Rangers … and boy did it stink!

Bolstered by boisterous Blueland* boosters, the Thrashers thoroughly throttled the Rangers throughout tonight’s tilt. The game’s final score of 5-3 was no indication of how one-sided it was for 50 minutes.

Although one could say that Rangers goaltender, Henrik Lundquist, was good enough to keep the Rangers in the game early, it is a moot point because the Rangers didn’t bother to show up for the game at all.

Before the Rangers finally exerted themselves midway through the third period, Atlanta had already built an insurmountable 4-0 lead on goals by Pascal Dupruis, Slava Koslov, Todd White and Bryan Little. Marian Hossa later added the fifth Thrasher goal.

Third period goals by Dan Girardi, Brendan Shanahan** and Scott Gomez would have given the Rangers a respectable result, if they hadn’t just lost to an Atlanta team who came into the game with a record of 0-6-0 and a league worst 4.50 goals against average.

In reality the Rangers play dropped another level, going from the gutter to the sewer.

In trying to direct blame at specific Ranger players, the human body unfortunately doesn’t have enough fingers (or toes) to accomplish the task. But one player who simply cannot escape my finger’s poke is Rangers defenseman, Thomas Pock.

Pock, perpetually posing as a practice pylon, proved to be the perfect replacement for much-maligned, Marek Malik. Although Pock had his share of giveaways (with at least one egregious offender), he probably didn’t quite match Malik’s nightly quota. This, however, was only because Pock was too busy watching Thrashers skate around him all night, while letting other Thrashers plant themselves in front of the net as goals were being scored.

Overall, Pock had a minus 2 rating for the evening and was on the ice for 3 of Atlanta’s 5 goals.

Even the three late Ranger power play goals weren’t much consolation for the Blueshirts special teams, because the Rangers managed to give up 2 power play goals and a short-handed goal themselves.

This chemistry experiment is quickly turning into a dismal failure, while mad professors, Tom Renney and Glen Sather, desperately continue their search for the missing combination of ingredients. Should they fail to find the winning formula, the Rangers laboratory will soon be boarded-up and declared a disaster area by New York governor, Eliot Spitzer.

*Blueland is the nickname for Atlanta’s home rink, Philips Arena.

Humorist’s Hindsight: **That was no misprint—Brendan Shanahan actually scored a goal. This just goes to show you that even an old, broken clock is right twice a day. Now should Shanny net another 25 or 30 goals this season, I will be happy to issue a public apology over my last post entitled: R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons

NEW YORK—Brendan Shanahan’s goal scoring ability has died after more than 19 highly successful seasons in the NHL.

The attending statistician, Nomar Goles, pronounced Shanahan’s scoring “dead” after a final but futile effort to resuscitate it during the waning moments of the Rangers 3-1 defeat to Ottawa last Saturday.

“Mr. Shanahan’s goal scoring ability had been in a steady state of decline for nearly a year now,” said Goles.

In his final 38 regular season games of 2006-2007, Shanahan scored only 7 goals on 154 shots—a shooting percentage of 4.5%. In this season’s first 5 games, Shanahan has scored 0 goals on 32 shots, including a goalless 13 shot performance against Ottawa on his “goal scoring deathbed” last Saturday.

“At the end, his vital statistics showed no signs of life,” said Goles.

Goles was also quick to point out that Shanahan’s concussion from last year was not a contributing factor to his scoring demise. According to Goles, in the 29 games preceding the concussion Shanahan had only scored 6 goals on 116 shots—a shooting percentage of 5.2%.

“This was just a matter of age finally catching up to a great former goal scorer,” Goles said somberly.

Shanahan’s scoring is survived by 627 regular season NHL goals and 58 NHL playoff goals. No final arrangements for his hockey sticks have been announced.

Humorist’s Hindsight: I want to make it crystal clear that the obituary (above) was figuratively referring to the “goal scoring ability” of Brendan Shanahan. It was not in any way meant to be a literal obituary for the man, Shanahan, who is physically alive and healthy.

Furthermore, I admire Shanahan as a person and still in some ways as a player. He is not only a class act, but also a great leader in the locker room, a hard working player, and a formerly great goal scorer. I wish him a long, healthy and happy life after his playing days are over.

As a Rangers fan, however, I’m hoping that his playing days are over ASAP. As the statistics prove, his goal scoring ability (at least in the regular season) has virtually disappeared since December 9, 2006.

Also, since he has been on Broadway, Shanahan has showed no chemistry with Jagr, Prucha, Gomez, or Drury—thus ruining most lines on which he’s played. Because he also can’t score on the power play and nobody is scoring goals on defections or rebounds off his power play shot, he has no business being on either power play unit.

Shanahan’s outrageously inflated salary this season of $5.3 million is a cap crippling calamity, whose effects will be felt both this season and next. With a little luck, maybe Shanny has been talking with Chuck (Charles Schwab) about structuring a “Retirement Plan for Old Man Shanahan”. And if Shanahan is the team-first person that he claims to be, then he will implement that retirement plan before his bonus sets in, because that course of action is truly in the best interest of the team.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Combustible Chemistry Causes Rangers to Self-In-Sen-erate in 52 Seconds

NEW YORK — In one of the oddest reported occurrences of spontaneous human combustion, 19* men simultaneously blew up in front of over 18,000 horrified witnesses.

Although the entire explosive event took less than a minute, one scientist, who happened to be on hand, had a handle on how it happened.

“Whenever you combine very potent and efficient Canadian firepower with MSG ice, sloppy defensive play and too many new player combinations, there is always a small chance of having this kind of freakish result,” said Korean chemical engineer Yu B. Sik.

Fortunately, since the fireworks finished so fast, the fire department never had to be called. Although Ranger head coach, Tom Renney, was unavailable for comment, Brendan Shanahan took “a shot” at giving the players’ explanation for the Manhattan Meltdown. Unfortunately, like all of his other shots this year, Shanahan was off target with his comments—missing the microphone by a good two feet.

Amazingly, despite the horrific happenstance, all 19* players survived and are expected to be in the lineup Thursday against Atlanta.

*I gave backup goalie, Stephen Valiquette, an exemption because he didn’t play. However, this is only an honorary exemption, because had Valiquette been in net, things might have gotten worse yet.

Humorist’s Hindsight: Let’s face it. Even if the Rangers hadn’t self-imploded by giving up 3 goals in that minute of misery, they had no chance against the vastly superior Senators. Ottawa was so clearly the better team in every phase of the game. This includes being bigger, faster, more skilled, quicker to the puck, more physical, having a better transition game, etc.

At this point Ottawa is like a well-oiled, fine-tuned industrial machine, while the Rangers are like a rich kid’s rendition of an out-of-sync gadget thrown together for a science class project. It seems hard to believe that in the next 6 months the Rangers are going to be able to catch up with their Canadian counterparts.

It also doesn’t help that the Rangers have next to nothing left in the salary cap kitty with which to purchase any meaningful machine parts before the trade deadline.

At the moment, I can only think of 2 funny aspects to the Rangers slow start to the season:
  1. That anyone could have seriously believed the Rangers were Stanley Cup contenders, given that they will almost certainly have to get past Ottawa in the playoffs, and
  2. That Glen Sather shelled out over $5 million to Brendan Shanahan this season, believing that he was still a formidable goal scorer—despite all the contrary evidence over Shanahan’s last 38 regular season games of 2006-2007. Details of Shanahan's "sinking ship of a scoring shot" from last season are found in the middle of this August 3rd article.

With 5 more goalless games to start this season, Shanny’s Fanny is going to get an “old” fashioned, verbal butt kicking by the Hockey Humorist in posts that will appear sometime before Thursday’s game in Atlanta.