FLIN FLON, MANITOBA – It’s been a slow news week. Not much to talk about other than Tuesday night’s shocking result. It remains to be seen what ramifications this result will have for North America and the world going forward.I’m talking, of course, about the Rangers’ 5-3 home loss to the struggling Vancouver Canucks at The Garden.
The Rangers had been surging, scoring 5 or more in the five games leading into Tuesday’s contest. The Canucks were going through a rough patch and had played the Islanders the night before. It was all going so well. With the game knotted at 2 goals apiece in the third period, Rangers backup Antti Raanta was run over by Marcus Granlund. He was given the all-clear by Rangers trainers to continue. Then the league’s concussion spotters, watching on televison, had Raanta pulled to go through the concussion protocol.
Enter Henrik Lundqvist, who had been enjoying a rare night off, and had taken the opportunity to have the porterhouse for two and an extra glass of Chianti for dinner. Hank gave up a goal almost as soon as he’d gotten on the ice and surrendered another soon after. The Rangers never got back into the game and Raanta is fine.
The Rangers played terribly. I think they probably would have lost anyway. But having the league intervene in a tie game, undermining the Rangers’ veteran trainers, to pull a healthy goalie from a game for no reason is pretty ridiculous. I understand everyone in world of sports has to be careful about concussions (the new c-word), but if i have to hear the phrase “abundance of caution” again I’m going to lose it. Trust the team’s trainers. This isn’t the NFL.
The Blueshirts now head north and west for their yearly Western Canada trip. Alain Vigneault has been tough on this Rangers team so I’m sure he gave them the hairdryer treatment Tuesday night. Look for the Rangers to get back to winning ways out west. After a fast start to the season Chris Kreider has been in AV’s doghouse of late. He barely played in the third period Tuesday night. He’ll learn. And the Rangers will be better for it. Vigneault is looking to win his firs Stanley Cup after coming so close with Vancouver in 2011 and the Blueshirts in 2014.
If the Rangers are to make a cup run this season they will need some help on the back end. Dan Girardi has been marginalized (and rightly so) to the healthy scratch list. There have been rumours (Canadian spelling) of JT Miller being shipped out west to Anaheim for some defensive cover. We’ll see what happens. They have to make a move. Hopefully it works out more like the 1994 moves than the 2013-2015 moves.
Tall Matt’s Islanders have had a rough start to this season. Last night they got their arses handed to them by Tampa Bay. I’ll never get tired of Fishsticks suffering. Let ’em burn! We’ll see if they can turn their season around. But they dismantled the best 4th line in hockey so I doubt they’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. At least one thing has gone right this week.
A Belated Happy Birthday to Junoir Blaber, who should be hard at work on tomorrow’s column.