Friday, May 24, 2013

A few hockey thoughts

To the Boston Bruins, you can't afford to give games away, even when you're up three games to none.  I give the Rangers credit, they came out and played hard in game 4 but that game was essentially over when the Bruins had a 2-0 lead.  Then comes a "fluke" goal and a brain freeze, and voila, it's tied.  And even though the Bs got the lead back again, the Rangers were fully engaged at that point and proceeded to score two more goals to win in OT, both of the latter goals were hard-working, smart goals. 
Back to the two goals the Bruins gave the Rangers:  I can only guess that Tuukka was coming out of his net to coral a wayward shot to give it to his defense but at the precise moment he starts to do that, the puck is deflected and Tuukka all but ties himself in knots trying to get back to the net.  Yes, you're a better puck handler than Tim Thomas was but that's no great accomplishment.  Play it when it comes to you and that's it.  On the second one Chara has a brain cramp and doesn't realize there's a Ranger on his tail behind the net, his D partner didn't warn him or he couldn't hear it; and the puck is stolen from him and just as quickly put in the net.  Some blame goes to Rask here too as he also was not aware.  You don't need to be aware, just have the goal covered when the puck is near it.  Then if it's stolen, you're not surprised.
All in all the Bruins are the better team and should win one of the next three games but why tempt fate?  You've already seen first hand that a team can come back on you down three games to none (witness the playoff series against Philly three years ago); the Leafs came back on you after being done three games to one and should've beat you; and your AHL team just got beat after being ahead three games to none.

The best team doesn't always win.  Witness the roll the Bruins got on two years ago (de facto becoming the best team at that moment) but they weren't the best time as we commonly think of that term.  Just last season an 8th seed beats a 7 seed in the Cup Final to win it all.  Some experts poo poo momentum but I won't.  Momentum is a factor but also getting your team and its game together (peaking) at the right time is everything.  So while in my humble opinion the four best teams in the league are still alive (Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, LA), one of them, Chicago, is on it's last leg because (part B of this paragraph) you can't undervalue experiencing playoff success at the highest levels.   Exhibit A?  The Detroit Red Wings, left for dead three weeks ago and now on the verge of eliminating the best team from the regular season.  Exhibit B to a lesser extent are the Boston Bruins, who in the first three games of this series with the Rangers looked like the team that won the Cup two years ago.

John Tortorella is a bore and the NY Rangers are not the NY Yankees.  You can insert your own examples as to why Torts is a bore...I just wanted to say it publicly.  The Rangers have tried mightily before their one recent Cup and since to buy a championship with horrible results.  Mark Messiers don't grow on trees for one thing and even as the Yankees have learned more often than not the hard way, bringing in an all star team does not a great team make.  You're free to offer your own examples of the wasteland that is the high-priced failures of Rangers past and present, Brad Richards being just the very latest.  Even Rick Nash qualifies here because great players don't always success under the bright lights of NY, they're sometimes already over the hill or in the case of people like Nash, they're the wrong player for the style your coach wants to play.

Trivia question:  Without cheating, which means looking it up in any way, name as many NHL goalies as you can who played at the University of Maine.  Hint:  There's two currently in the league, one very much alive in these playoffs.  Another is the current GM of a team that made this year's playoffs.

PS  My new favorite player is Torey Krug, who's being compared here in New England to my all-time favorite player, Don Sweeney.  Too bad he doesn't wear number 43, my favorite number, which is being worn by another of the three young Bruin defensemen that have risen to the occasion in these playoffs, young Mr. Bartkowski.


R.J. said...

I'm guessing Garth Snow is one goalie. Don't know who the other one is.

Unknown said...

Garth Snow is the Islanders GM. Jimmy Howard is playing for Detroit. The other plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ben Bishop.

Bonus - a goalie Maine used to face from time to time at BC plays for the Canucks. That would be noted ginger Cory Schneider.