'Fire Sather' rally falls flat

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Although fans aren’t always particularly “eloquent” about their distaste, most express their disapproval by doing nothing worse than booing (or maybe mockingly chanting a goalies name, preferably in two syllables).

Every once in a while, though, a fan base will start to turn on a team’s management. Often times these displays seem to echo political protest or acts of “civil disobedience” even though the stakes are pretty low compared to, say, the civil rights movement (sorry sports fans). One great example is the disastrous run of former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen. He incited rage in Lions fans with numerous ill-fated draft picks and free agent signings which eventually lead fans to start “Fire Millen” chants and bring insulting signs to games. Those fans were usually kicked out of Ford Field.

With a passionate (and often knowledgeable) group of fans like the New York Rangers have, it’s not too shocking that a “Fire (Glen) Sather” rally was organized. However, despite garnering plenty of attention and gaining more than a thousand “confirmed” guests on Facebook, The Hockey Independent wrote that the rally only drew a little bit more than 100 people.

And, that’s how the great Fire Sather Rally went down that fateful day. 100+ faithful stood closed together in barricaded pens outside the Fuse building as onlookers casually watched from across the street. Two very bored members of NY’s Finest held the peace and urged everyone to keep clear and stay within the barricade. Whoopity doo.

Sather has long been the target of derision among Rangers fans (not to mention hockey fans in general, myself included). He has given superstar contracts to solid but unspectacular players like Chris Drury and Bobby Holik, is responsible for draft blunders like Hugh Jessiman and just generally seems to have a knack for making the wrong move.

Unfortunately for anti-Sather advocates, Rangers ownership isn’t going to fire Sather unless fans hit them where it hurts: at the box office. The team still attracts plenty of fans and has been limping into the playoffs (therefore making even more money) lately. It took some of the worst moves in NBA history, several years of missing the playoffs and a sexual harassment suit for James Dolan to can Isaiah Thomas.

I wouldn’t expect “Fire Sather” to become anything more than a cute grassroots movement anytime soon.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.