Larry Brooks wrote an extremely complimentary column today in the New York Post that argued the all-for-one-and-one-for-all Rangers could “own” the city in the spring. (Presumably Brooksie doesn’t like the Knicks’ chances.)
Look, this is not a powerhouse team. This is not a group glittering with stars like the one featuring Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter and Adam Graves that put an end to the 54-year Stanley Cup drought by looking history in the eye until it blinked.
But it is a team that is greater than the sum of its parts operating in a sport that rewards fabric more than any other. There are talents who do get their name above the title on the marquee, specifically Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, and that is required of teams that go all the way, but more than the commitment to grind on every shift, to block every shot and to finish and play through every check, there is the commitment to one another.
Brooks also quoted Rangers forward Mike Rupp about the players’ dedication to each other.
“There’s an across-the-board level of sacrifice needed for success in this game,” said Rupp. “I’ve been on teams where you have 15 guys who sacrifice every night but there are also five guys floating looking for their cookies, and that doesn’t work.”
Added captain Ryan Callahan: “It’s one guy taking a hit for the next guy to the point where it’s pretty hard not to do it and then feel good about yourself.”
Question for the comments section: If the Rangers finish first overall, would you vote for John Tortorella as coach of the year? It’s pretty clear he’s got his players to buy in, and that’s a big part of coaching. At the moment I’d give the nod to Barry Trotz in Nashville since he’s got less to work with on paper, but Torts is right up there.
As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.
Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.
Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.
Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:
Things could get ugly in Game 3:
One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:
Also, lateness of the check:
The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.
The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.
Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:
That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)
Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.
Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:
Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.
Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.
PHT will make note if there are any swerves.
Ever since the NHL kept obstruction in check and thus placed a greater emphasis on speed and skill, we’ve seen some fascinating Calder Trophy debates. This 2015-16 season may present the toughest call in recent memory.
The league named the three finalists on Monday, and even that couldn’t have been easy. They are Edmonton Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid, breakout Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin.
(The NHL made it official here.)
All three make for fantastic debates.
Do you go with McDavid, easily the youngest of the bunch, who produced gaudy per-game numbers but missed almost half of the season?
Perhaps you lean toward Gostisbehere, who also scored at an impressive clip per-game for a defenseman while playing a huge role in the Flyers’ surprising run to a playoff spot?
Or, do you go with Panarin, the guy who easily leads rookies in total points (77, 21 more than Jack Eichel‘s second-place finish) and was so effective that his bonuses will really put the Blackhawks in a bad way? Or do you penalize Panarin for being a little older and for the undeniable benefits he received from riding shotgun with Patrick Kane?
Then again, plenty will merely spend their time griping about “snubs,” as the likes of Jack Eichel and John Gibson were not in the final three despite outstanding work.
Yep, this should be fun … just be nice during your debates.
There’s only one game on the docket tonight, but it’s a marquee matchup.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals split their games in DC and now switch to Pittsburgh for Game 3. We’ve seen great work from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom and maybe especially Braden Holtby so far … not to mention a considerable cast of supporting characters.
Which team will take a 2-1 lead in this captivating series?
We’ll find out on NBCSN. You can stream the game live via the link below as well:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE