NEW YORK, NY – The NHL Trade Deadline came and went and the NY Rangers made a splash. It wasn’t a huge, apocalyptic, Yandle-for-Duclair-and-a-First-Round-Pick kind of splash, but a splash nonetheless. GM Gorton finally picked up another defenseman; Brendan Smith was acquired from the Detroit (pronounced DEE-troit) Red Wings in exchange for a second round draft pick this year and a third rounder next season.
Smith is a solid stay-at-home defenseman who should add some much-needed depth to a Blueshirts blue line that has been wonky at best. Fans will be happy that the Rangers didn’t give up any of their prized forwards at the deadline. They’ll be short in the draft, however, which won’t matter if they make a deep run. Smith played last night and I can already tell he’s my kind of defenseman. He offers very little going forward but he’s solid and dependable defending. I’m tired of people selling me these offensive, “power play quarterback” defensemen. The Rangers don’t need that with the forwards at their disposal. They need defencemen (Canadian spelling) that can defend. And they just added one.
With a bit more stability in front of him, last night’s Birthday Boy, Henrik Lundqvist, should be able to relax a little and play his game. He played a tremendous game in beating Cheesy Bruin’s Boston Bruins on his birthday, making a number of great saves early on to keep things scoreless. The Rangers scored a pair of third period goals from Pavel Buchnevich and Oskar Lindberg. Cheesy’s Bruins pulled one back and surged late on but couldn’t find the equalizer, thanks to Lundqvist’s stellar play in goal.
The Broadway Blues are now in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. After last night’s win they’re even on points with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins. A playoff berth is safe as they are sixteen points above the Fishsticks, who are on the outside looking in, but only a point behind the Maple Leafs in the second Wild Card slot. If the playoffs started now, the Blueshirts would face Les Canadiens in the first round. We’ll get a preview of that series tomorrow night when the Rangers host the Les Habitants. Montreal has given the Rangers fits in the regular season for years now. But the playoffs are a different story. New York had the Habs’ number in 2014, beating Les Habs in six games on their way to their Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Los Kings.
For the Red Wings this is the end of an era. Just one year after the passing of Detroit legend Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe, this will be the first season since 1989-90 that they haven’t made the playoffs. It’s a shame that the streak is ending the last season they’re playing at Joe Louis Arena, but the Wings will have a new home to start a new streak next season. [Sniff, sniff]
That’s all for me today. There’s plenty happening in baseball and college hoops. But I’ll leave it to my colleagues/cellmates here at MTM to go over those things. Come back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber or Grinding Ax Walter Hynes – whichever is on call/internment.