NEW YORK, NY – In his final year of eligibility, Tim “Rock” Raines was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. It’s been a long time coming for Raines, who batted .294 and stole over 800 bases in his 23 season MLB career. Raines had been getting closer and closer in recent years; missing by a few votes last year in his penultimate year on the ballot. But The Rock (before Dwayne Johnson) finally got over the hump on his last try. I’ve always liked Raines and rooted for him to get in. He was a good role player for the start of the Yankee dynasty of the late 90’s. He’s finally in along with Jeff “Bagpipes” Bagwell and Pudge Rodriguez. Congratulations to all of them.
The Rangers have stumbled, fallen, and twisted their collective ankles coming out of the blocks after their “bye week.” They lost three straight in disastrous fashion. It started with a home loss against the Maple Leafs. The next night in Montreal, Antti Raanta went out injured and Henrik Lundquist came into the game. With the Blueshirts up 3-2 in the at a raucous Centre Bell (French Canadian spelling), Hank gave up three goals in just over a minute and the Rangers were toast. I was at the game in Montreal and it was ugly, to say the least. It was an intense atmosphere but it was fun. I didn’t fear for my life too many times.
On Tuesday, Lundqvist became a matador and the Rangers gave up seven goals. They stormed back and pulled to within one goal, but the damage was don early and the Rangers lost an ugly one. Last night the Rangers went to Toronto looking to right the ship. They poured it on early and kept up the pressure on the Leafs throughout the first tw0 periods. The King put in a royal performance.Hopefully he’s coming out of the awful funk he’s been in the last week.
The Broadway Blues are finally getting healthy and they need their Monarch going forward. Rick Nash, Pavel Buchnevich, and Mika Zibanejad are back with the squad after all three missed a chunk of the season through injury. The forwards are now set to score at will. They’ll need some help from the back-end to win games, as the defensemen have been poor. They look old and slow right now. Still, the Blueshirts can score five or six every game. And it looks like they’ll need every one of those goals to win.
Right now, NY is the first Wild Card slot in the Eastern Conference. Considering the strength of the Metropolitan Division at the moment, that may not be the worst thing. The Washington Capitals are red-hot, the Blue Jackets are still playing well, and the Penguins are still the Penguins. Right now the Rangers would play the Habs in the first round, which would be no picnic, but it might be better for them to not face the Caps or Pens in the first two rounds. But there’s a long way to go until the playoffs. We’ll have to wait until mid-April to see how the brackets shake out. Until then, lets hope the Rangers can sort out their defensive issues and Henrik Lundqvist can get back to form.