Monday, February 20, 2012
Stepanwolf Hunts Down Extra Point in Overtime, Rangers Hold On To Victory
Star of Anise takes flight after a tie-breaker tally when the Rangers failed to convert on a long 5 on 3 PP
MSG Network is back on television so the Brigade can continue--Thank You Jeremy Lin. Do you think this letter affected the stalemate at all? Haha I was at the game against Columbus last night (to scout Nash) and let me tell you, the best player on the ice...was Michael Del Zotto. I love where this kid's game is heading right now, though I've been a supporter for the last 3 seasons. He's tougher this year, more disciplined, and is showing signs of another impressive Rangers' offensive defenseman, cup-winner Sergei Zubov. Aside from dominating the Overtime sesh, MdZ was a beast all game and also dominated the last shift of the 2nd period where he broke up 2 plays in the defensive zone then sprinted into the rush as the 3rd man high with Step and Cally and "scored" on Mason, even though it "didn't count". Apparently the MSG network clock and the MSG arena clock were not synced so even though everyone saw the puck in the net with .1 of a second remaining, the official clock was at 0.0. No goal.
Rick Nash--True story, before we signed Richards, Nash was the big signing/trade I hoped the Rangers would make. He's big, a sniper, low-maintenance (ego-wise, not contract wise) and has fantastic numbers against Henrik Lundqvist, which is my measuring stick of how good a player is in the NHL. If you remember Nick Antropov I would say Nash is similar in that they are 2 big players with sniper hands. Nash is definitely much better, but there was something recognizable about Antropov's ease when sniping on the powerplay that is undeniable. Some players have it, others never will. Antropov has it. Nash has bundles more of it. Who would turn him down? The answer is probably no one, but the more important question is what do I have to give up to get him? With the way the Rangers are playing for each other this year, it's hard to say you'd give up anyone. Dubinsky is obviously a name that is being thrown around. He held out to sign a bigger contract and has only put up 6 goals this year. If you could trade one for one with Columbus, sure it would be crazy not to pull the trigger. The thing is, Columbus would be crazy to settle for Dubinsky, even if they like him. Watching the game last night it was clear that Columbus has no one. Jeff Carter is practically invisible, Prospal and Vermette are non-factors. Nash is the franchise. So to take Dubinsky (with his 6 goals and most likely bitter attitude) is a horrible move for the Jackets. To unload Nash they need to get a huge package in return because they'll have to rebuild. And if you're Columbus, you'd like to rebuild with some of the prize Ranger possessions like Del Zotto, McDonagh, Step, Hagelin, or some of their 1st round picks like Kreider or JT Miller.
I wasn't wildly impressed with Nash last night, despite the PP goal to tie the game--which I admit, was clutch. I've been way more impressed with him in past tilts against the Rangers (his hat trick against Lundqvist last year comes to mind, his breakaway dominance in particular.) To be fair, I wasn't impressed with Dubinsky either. I thought he would've met the rumors head-on by going out there and nailing Nash on his first shift (but it was actually Captain Cally who did that)--making a statement that he deserves to be here for this postseason. But instead he looked nervous, timid, and probably affected by all the trade talks. Also he missed a wide open chance in front in the 3rd period and kind of blew the coverage on Nash on the game tying goal. Still, I like Dubi--he's not the most talented player, but he has heart and he works hard. But I think his days as a new york ranger are unfortunately numbered. And that probably wouldn't be the case if he had 20 goals right now, but he has 6. Open season, my dude. Sorry.
One thing that concerns me about jumping for big fish at the deadline is in the last 10 or 15 years can you remember one blockbuster deal at the deadline that led to a Stanley Cup? No. It's all role players. The expectation that comes with a blockbuster deal can backfire big time, but on the other hand, the Rangers have a set identity, so in a way, Nash is like a role player. If we can make the deal with minimal damage to our roster (current or future) it's a smart move, but it sucked to hear "We Don't Want Him" chants last night from the Garden Faithful when a main reason for our success this year has been our improved home record. Still, that would change if Nash puts up numbers.