7 December 2009

Red Wings - Rangers: Disappointment Pending

Yes, another in-game blog for no good reason

This week’s subject: Detroit Red Wings @ New York Rangers in the latest instalment of this highly-competitive (the Rangers roughly 1-for-the-last-145) Original Six match-up.


Thanks to unresolved televisual hardware issues chez LW, tonight’s clash is to be watched via (legit) online stream…As is customary, it turns out I’m getting the non-Rangers broadcast (grr), so I’m faced with FSN Detroit’s Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond

A handful of 3rd/4th liners are highlighted in the preview…As if the Rangers would ever let a few no-name grinders dominate the game…The Wings are apparently 10-1 against the Rangers since 1999, so much better than I thought…Damned if I can remember anything about that “1” though

1st Period

Goaltending match-up: Jimmy Howard vs Henrik Lundqvist…Howard’s idol growing up was apparently Mike Richter – a fine choice…Coincidentally, Lundqvist’s bedroom as a child was covered with posters of Tim Cheveldae…Due to the Titanic NBA clash between the Nets (1-18) and Knicks (5-15) at MSG earlier in the day, bad ice is expected at MSG for possibly the first time in history

Quiet start…Abdelkader takes a roughing penalty six minutes in…A caption shows that we will be watching the best home PP against the worst road PK (the Wings somehow running at less than 70% away from home)…Of course, the penalty is killed off easily, the 2008/09 Rangers PP again appears to be gracing the ice tonight

A huge scramble in Lundqvist’s crease somehow ends up with the puck squirting right across the goal-line, avoiding several waiting sticks and skates…Few decent shots are reaching either goalie though…The Datsyuk/Zetterberg line keeps the puck in the Rangers’ end for what seems like a shift of around 8-9 minutes at even strength…The shift ends with a hooking call against popular ex-Wing, Sean Avery

Redmond wonders if any Swedish is being spoken between Tomas Holmström and Lundqvist as they are inches away from each other during the PP…Hmm, possibly…

  • “Hej, Henke. Tycker du om Basshunter?”
  • “Nej, Homer. Jag hatar honom. Men Roxette är jättebra. Jag kan inte se pucken!”
Lundqvist stands firm against several chances, despite now playing so deep in his goal, he is positioned behind the net-cam…The penalty is killed off

GOAL 1-0 Rangers (15:56)…Behemoth Brian Boyle tips in a centering pass from Chris Higgins…Against type, a strong drive to the net from Boyle gets rewarded as Abdelkader can’t get position on him

1st Intermission

Studio analyst Larry Murphy blames Ericsson for poor coverage and a lack of communication for the goal…Try a different network before blaming your phone, Larry…More references to the bad ice, just in case the 19 minutes of game-time spent by Daniels and Redmond in the first period weren’t quite enough to get the point across…Some brief NBA highlights reveal that the Pistons have a Swedish player!…Is there some sort of special tax break for Swedes in Detroit?

2nd Period

As we come back, a clip of an ovation for the watching Brendan Shanahan is shown…Possibly the only NHL executive to ever get that kind of treatment at MSG…At an early face-off, Avery bumps fellow fan-favourite Todd Bertuzzi a couple of times, saying little but flashing his familiar black gumshield grin…Maybe Sean should pick on somebody who is far more likely to take an undisciplined penalty than the notoriously placid Bertuzzi

Ericsson hooks a streaking Ryan Callahan from behind on a clean breakaway – penalty shot given…Callahan makes a pretty good move on the penalty shot, but Howard extends his left pad just far enough to save at the post…In a rare shift, Enver Lisin gets three shots off, but this merely shows his usual lack of finish…Apparently it is soon the 60th birthday of the Zamboni…of course, rinks were resurfaced in the 1940s by Chris Chelios dragging a metal bar behind him during pre-game warmups

FSN Detroit remind their viewers of the Rangers’ glorious recent history by showing a flashback to the 1994 Cup win…Still no doubt lagging behind the 20 times this will have been shown already tonight on the home MSG coverage (“The MSG Network: Where it’s 1994 every year!”)…Lundqvist makes a big stop on Zetterberg, but still a very quiet game overall, with a lot of offsides…Marc Staal takes a roughing penalty on Holmström (no prizes for guessing the location of the offence)

GOAL 1-1 (11:59)…A pretty routine kill, but four seconds after the penalty expires, Datsyuk squeezes a rebound through Lundqvist

Mike Del Zotto springs Higgins on another clean break, but Howard comes up with a big save…Still few great chances at either end as the period winds down…Marián Gáborík, in particular, has not been able to show much so far

2nd Intermission

Murphy suggests that Ericsson is lacking in confidence at the moment…Certainly, nobody would be stopping him in the street to ask for an autograph on the evidence of the first two periods…We are treated to a brief Shanahan interview…He says he starts his new job in the morning – no word on how long he has to fetch coffee for Gary Bettman and Bill Daly before progressing onto bigger things

3rd Period

Back-to-back stops early in the period by Lundqvist on Zetterberg and Datsyuk…Brad Stuart crushes Artem Anisimov with a clean hit at the blue line…As much as I think the blame on head shots that typically goes to the victim is way overblown, Anisimov really has to keep his head up in those situations…Zetterberg sticks his knee out a bit and catches Avery…sold a little bit by Avery, but clearly a penalty (it must be if the refs call something in Avery’s favour), despite the odd claims from Daniels and Redmond that it was a hip-check

During the PP, Aleš Kotalík misses a wide open goal on a broken play…Again, no success on the PP, but soon after, Bertuzzi comes through with the expected undisciplined penalty, clipping MDZ in the face with his stick…Another PP, another missed open goal – this time, Avery failing to finish by the crease following a rare passing play by the weak second unit

After a whole 28 seconds at even strength, the Wings go short again, Kris Draper called for tripping…by now, Redmond is railing against the inconsistency of the calls…On the bright side, the WIngs’ road PK is now running above the 70% mark…It increases further after another 2008 PP retrospective from the Rangers

Redmond remarks that the players “are playing like they have brooms in their hands”…I think it’s another reference to the effects of the bad ice, but he won’t know that the Rangers forwards always look like that…Avery drives hard to the net from the left-wing, leading to some confusion over where the puck ended up, as Avery claims a goal…A good time to go to commercials then…As we come back, the replay shows that the puck just bounced into the side netting from the outside

GOAL 2-1 Red Wings (17:57)…A pretty sickening blow as Cleary flings one into Lundqvist’s pads from a horrid angle, the puck somehow pinballing between his feet into the goal…We’ve seen far too many of these from Lundqvist this year – so this is what it’s like to be let down by your goalie…The play was started in the Wings’ end by a typically smooth defensive play and breakout pass by Nick Lidström

The Rangers soon empty the net, but Michal Rozsival is quickly forced into taking an interference penalty to prevent a breakaway and likely ENG for the Wings…Chances over?

GOAL 3-1 Red Wings (19:53)…Draper pots an empty netter on the PP, an assist going to the linesman blocking a Ranger pass up the boards for Draper to pounce on


A dull game in all…not a whole lot going on for long stretches

Another reasonable effort from the Rangers, much improved from the mess of the games a week or two ago, but they remain a team without an identity…They needed to tighten up and have (and now look much more like Tom Renney’s outfit than Team Torts), but pretty much nobody is scoring and they are getting killed by soft goals

The Wings finally win a game that I watch at the fourth attempt this year…Still not hugely impressive, aside from the defensive job they did on Gáborík and the performance of Howard, who is looking like an NHL goalie now (or at least filling the Ty Conklin role until Chris Osgood gets past this season’s regular season troubles)…Too many turnovers and a game that would have been lost to any number of teams with some better scorers


  1. I was there and thought it was a pretty entertaining game. Certainly there was a lot of tension during the third period, when it seemed sure the Rangers would score.

  2. Swedes play basketball? And what was that about Basshunter? Making plans to hit the clubs over the summer, are they?
    What's up with Murphy picking on Ericsson all the time? Is he trying to come out of retirement Claude Lemieux-style?

  3. Ah, Mr D. I'm experienced enough now to know that the sensation of it seeming sure the Rangers would score is nothing but a mirage. Especially having exploded for two goals against the Sabres the night before.

    Murphy? As if the Wings would employ a geriatric defenseman...

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