NEWARK, NJ – The entertaining “Battle of the Hudson” is over and so is the New York Rangers hockey season. My pulling for the New York Rangers to beat the New Jersey Devils was not as desperate as it was against Dale Hunter, in the form of the Washington Capitals. The Devils’ dominance and recent playoff history against the Boston Bruins tipped my scales favoring the Rangers. While the television cameras panned the Jersey bench, the sight of playoff ghosts past – Larry Robinson – hit a sensitive nerve as well. I also wanted the better team to win the series—which I felt was the Rangers despite their ouster, as the Bruins had a great opportunity of repeating as Champs with the Rangers failure. Martin Brodeur and Lou Lamoriello, who resembles Giggles Flintstone, certainly don’t need any additional hardware to adorn the mantle either.
It seems as though some on MTM have misconstrued questions about the nickname ‘King” as a critique of the Henrik Lundqvist’s play in goal. For their NHL efforts, Brodeur shoots for Stanley Cup #4 while “King Henrik” looks to get his team to the Finals.
For the time being, Henny will have to settle for being the “King of Wishful Thinking” as the Devils Go West to play the Los Angeles Kings.
Look, Lundqvist is world-class – just as Martin Brodeur – and both are very similar to the point where Rangers fans need to refresh their memory in their critique of the Devils goalie. There was a time when the Devils’ neutral-zone trap didnt give the opponent many opportunities and kept shot totals down. Save percentage stats are skewed against netminders in these systems and styles. The Metro-NY area pundits credited Brodeur’s success to his environment rather than his individual talent but Lundqvist – in reverse order – is lauded for his efforts.
The bottom line is winning and in the playoffs, when battling back from two and three goal deficits, making one more stop until your team gets the lead… is what legends are made. The deflating nature of failure in these situations is hard to overcome late in a series when play is magnified. Game 5 took on the feel of a Game 7 when the Rangers tied the score at three, as I sent Grote2DMax a text saying that. “Winner takes all,”was his response,which was what I was implying, and it held true.
Should Rangers need a goat, look no further than Marian Gaborik who was dreadful in the pivotal Game 5 and 6. There were two missed offensive opportunities—one so awful he looked more like Marion Ross with a hockey stick calling Richie& Joanie Cunningham to the dinner table. #10 is solely responsible for whiffing on the attempted puck clear nano seconds before the series ending overtime goal. I’ll be rooting for more Kings in the Finals, I guess.
Pinch-hitting tomorrow for King West Coast Craig, will be upstart D.J. Eberle, the college football star.