Monday, April 30, 2012

Party Like It's 1999

On May 21st, 1999 I woke up sore in a hotel after posting a 6-2 win the night before. Both goals against were my fault as I had misplayed the puck on both plays. I still get kidded about that. I was sore as hell but had a big day in front of me. After a long shower I dressed but only after putting on both knee braces, brand new. No, I wasn't getting ready for another was my wedding night.

Why do I bring this up you ask? Well, I made a deal with my wife that night.....that if the NY Rangers were to have a playoff game on May 21st or any May 21st in the future, I'd have the right to reschedule our anniversary celebration. A very sweet deal for a guy like me. Unfortunately, the Rangers haven't been in the playoffs on May 21st since. I call it, "The Wedding Curse".

Heck, until '05 we wouldn't even make the playoffs and hadn't since the no look Lindros back hander over Richter's shoulder in '97 in the conference finals. It's been a cruel curse. I'm sure some of you suffer from a similar curse if not mine.

This year is different.

I won't bother to explain why the Rangers needed seven frikkin games because you know why. We're Ranger fans and NOTHING comes easy to us. Hat's off to the Sens who came close to duplicating what the Kings did, pull off the 8-1 seed win. Torts and his boys prevented that from happening with an assist to the MSG faithful.

Now that we're in the second round, how do we move forward so that my May 21st clause can finally be enforced? Well for one, we'll need to score one more goal than the Caps each game. OK, that's a little simplistic even for me.

This team only wins when it plays as a team, for each other and with all guns blazing. The unselfish shot blocking and total team game is what got us the one seed in the east and nothing less will keep us going. Jack Adams nominee Torts spent all of 19 seconds saying just that this morning after the morning skate. Easy to say, he doesn't get paid by the column inch like our furry buddy, the Rodent who is a bit more verbose.

Look folks, we got a few bounces and had a few calls and non calls go our way in game one. I don't expect that to happen in each game during this or any future series. So we'll need to once again rely on Veznia and Hart nominee Henke, hope that Gabby and Richards can find a way to score......and that somehow, the Kid has yet to go out in NYC as a member of the Rangers. Keep him out of the clubs, away from the female fans and help him focus on games. After a real shaky first period in his debut, the Kid has really opened some eyes. His speed is downright scary and he does seem to know where to go and when to go there. He's big and seems to know the game. Remember, 6 games is not enough to get into the Hall of Fame. He'll need to keep this up for around 15 years or so. And it's very possible that he'll get better and better, right Joe?

We will need Dubi and Boyle to heal. Our depth only goes so far. Heck, I still pine for Michael Sauer. Additional injuries could be fatal if the opponents don't suffer the same. We really don't have much of a cushion here and I'm guessing like any other team, we have a few guys nursing boo boos.

It's true, I did get a little cocky after game one in the opening round. I'm now moving forward with a much quieter confidence. I think we can beat the Caps. We're a better all around team this year. Better on D, Better in net and our forwards play a better 200 ft. game. That doesn't mean we win this thing. It means we have a chance.

Game two tonight will show us if Torts can get the guys to keep grinding it out. They'll need to avoid any let downs. The Caps you see, are very opportunistic and will pounce if we give them the chance. Their kid has be nothing short of brilliant in his first NHL playoff. Dispatching the Cup Champs from Beantown was no fluke nor was it an easy task. Holtby was fantastic. However, the Rodent has pointed out a weakness that must be exploited. Rebounds.

This indicates to me that the kid is playing on adrenaline and athleticism as he has no NHL experience to lean on. Yes, he won in the AHL....but this is the NHL.....much faster, much more hotly contested and at this level the talent is through the roof. He needs to be exploited. The Rangers shouldn't make contact....just be there for the garbage. We don't need to rough him up (that would have a reverse effect as it will increase the adrenaline he's relying on) we need only to take advantage of his greenness.

Same with Ovie. It's not necessary to hit Ovie, quite the opposite. Leave him alone.....let him try that crap. Don't let him get his juices flowing....let him look on dejectedly as we score after he gives the puck away. Let sleeping dogs lie.

OK, time to hit Rodents message board and then a pregame nap. Since I don't play any more I won't have any treatment (except meds) but there will be a beer or two. Let's hope I can do a post game wrap and end it with BEER ME!


No comments: