Big Ben Tuesday: Rangers Fall Short, Caitlin Clark Hate

Stamford, CT: Well, it’s Monday evening as I write. What I won’t be doing is watching the Rangers Game 7, after a brutal Game 6 loss in Florida. It was kind of loss that makes you wonder if the occasional championship is worth the pain of all the losing. I could try to cheer myself up by pivoting to the Yankees wagon that just rolled across the west coast and left small fleet of baseballs in the San Francisco Bay. But I can’t really focus on baseball until at least July. So let’s cry over what went wrong for the Rangers and maybe try to figure out why Caitlin Clark is getting so much hate. Looks like racism to me.

Have you seen these men?

Powerless Power Play

The Rangers didn’t get a lot of love from the oddsmakers, despite being the best team in the regular season. They were viewed as too dependent on Igor and the Power Play, and not strong enough in even strength. Welp, maybe they were on to something.

The Rangers vaunted power play kicked in one lousy goal for the whole series in 18 tries. Igor was fantastic but couldn’t fight off all of the golden chances given up by the Rangers on turnovers and poor coverage. They only scored a total of 12 goals (0, 2, 5, 2, 2, 1) in six games, with only 9 at even strength. Heck, they scored more goals shorthanded (2) than they did on the Power Play. Not good.  They only broke two goals once, in the five-goal outburst in Game 3. It’s a credit to Igor that the series even went six games.

The 1 for 18 on the PP was under 6%. This series could have gone differently if the Rangers could have hit just 4 of 18, which would be 22% and still well below their season average.

The PP let them down.

It was a disappointing end to a promising season. Rangers’ nation was apoplectic, blaming everyone and demanding massive changes. But the Rangers might be the second best team in the league, they just ran into a buzz saw. Theye were probably good enough to win the Cup in others years. But not this one.

Several Rangers disappointed in this series, none more than Jacob Trouba. Two more years of $8 million per seems like a big anchor at this point. The Captain piled up the penalties, turnovers, and always seem to be on the ice for the best Florida chances.

Off-season decisions need to be made on Kaapo Kakko, Ryan Lindgren, and Braden Schneider, all RFAs. Schneider should be an easy bridge deal. KK might be a trade candidate after another year of lackluster production. Lindgren is a tough one. The man is a warrior, but we’ve seen with Dan Girardi and others what happens when you overpay these type of players big money deep into their thirties. I don’t think the Rangers can give him a big contract, especially with Lafreniere and Igor coming up for big paydays.

On the bright side, Alexei Lafreniere erupted into a star. The man needs to be on the first until of the PP next season. I’m not sure who gets bumped, but someone has to. Maybe Mika.

Hatin’ on Caitlin

Caitlin Clark took a harsh shoulder check from Chicago’s Chennedy Carter while she just standing there waiting for an inbounds pass. Teammmate Angel Reese was fined for hugging Carter and celebrating the dirty play. What gives? This seems beyond the usual rough treatment of a star rookie.

ESPN analyst Jemele Hill recently said that “Caitlin Clark being white, straight, and from Iowa played a role in her popularity. Hill defended her comments after a flood of criticism by saying she said those things were “a factor, not THEE factor.” Yeah, and tariffs were a factor in the start of the civil war. But it’s not really worth mentioning. THEE main factor is that she’s really good and did something no one else – black, white, green, straight or gay has ever done. I don’t deny that her race is a factor for some people. But it seems like a lot of folks are going out of their way to diminish her skills and accomplishments. And since when does being from Iowa make someone popular? The weird hate of Clark, who has elevated the entire league, has been hard to understand.

Racism is racism, even if it’s towards whites. If we’re ever going to get to something close to a colorless society, the “content of your character” and all, everyone needs to follow the same rules. And racism needs to be called out when it’s there.

Let the kid play, see what she can do.

Swing by tomorrow for Angry Ward.

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About Ben Whitney 415 Articles
Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.