Rangers Defeat Flyers in Great Winter Classic

The fifth edition of the NHL’s Winter Classic may have been its best yet as the Philadelphia Flyers took on the New York Rangers in the league’s annual outdoor game at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. While the game time had to be pushed back two hours because of the weather, the players were ready to go as soon as the puck dropped.

Both teams came out of the gate flying with back and forth action throughout the entire first period that ended scoreless, despite good chances from each team. The period was very physical, with both teams looking to leave their mark on each other.  Throughout HBO’s “24/7: Flyers/Rangers” documentary, an inside look at both teams, the anticipation for this game was building. Players made it clear on the show that there was no love lost between the two of them and it didn’t disappoint.

Just over half way through the second period, the Flyers got on the board with Brayden Schenn recording his first career goal off a bad rebound from Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Less than two minutes later, Claude Giroux doubled the lead with his 18th goal of the year and Philadelphia seemed to be in control. But just 30 seconds later, Mike Rupp cut the lead to one again and celebrated with a Jaromir-Jagr esque salute that drew the ire of many Flyer players.

Unfortunately for Philly, Rupp wasn’t done celebrating as just over two minutes into the third period, he snuck a shot past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky that he should have handled easily. Just a few minutes later, the Rangers big offseason signing Brad Richards broke the tie with his 14th goal of the year. A horrendous penalty call on the Rangers in final minutes of the game gave the Flyers an undeserved chance to tie up the game, but they couldn’t capitalize on it. Continue reading “Rangers Defeat Flyers in Great Winter Classic”


Shanahan Fumbles Explanation of Lucic’s Suspension

Milan Lucic was forced to sit out Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens because of a boarding penalty and game misconduct he received in the Bruins previous game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Lucic hit Flyers center Zac Rinaldo from behind in the game and was immediately ejected from the game.

On Monday morning, Lucic had a conference call with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to discuss the incident and Shanahan decided to suspend Lucic for a game. I have no problem with that. Lucic’s hit was bad and he has a history of walking a tight line between playing hard and dirty. What I have an issue with is Shanahan’s explanation for the suspension:

While this hit is not particularly egregious, it is illegal. However, the overriding factor in elevating this hit from behind from a penalty on the ice to a suspension is his history of similar infractions, warnings and a fine. We’ve taken into account that Rinaldo suffered no apparent injury as a result of this hit.

 Emphasis is mine.

Why does Rinaldo’s injury, or lack there of, matter? It doesn’t change Lucic’s hit. It doesn’t change Lucic’s intentions. Whether or not Rinaldo is hurt should not have any affect on Shanahan’s decision. Yet, he says the exact opposite. Continue reading “Shanahan Fumbles Explanation of Lucic’s Suspension”

Let the Off Season Begin

As the NHL off-season begins, teams have been quick to jump on marquee free agents, especially the New York Rangers. On the first day of free agency, Glen Sather (GM of the Rangers) signed Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to a seven-year, $51.5 million deal and a five-year, $35.25 million deal respectively. Both are tremendous players with Stanley Cup experience and will make a huge impact immediately. These two terrific acquisitions make the Rangers a favorite for the Stanley Cup next year. Yet, the amount of money and the length of these contracts are astounding. Gomez had 60 points last year, and is entering his prime, but the Rangers are going to be paying for a long time. For over seven million a year, Gomez better have a phenomenal season. The same can be said for Drury who is also making over seven million dollars a year for the next few years. Whether the money is worth it or not, both Gomez and Drury will make huge contributions to the Rangers next year. Though their defense may have its holes, the offense does not as New York now has two of the game’s premiere centers to accompany stars Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan (if they re-sign him). That has to be considered the best offense in the NHL. With Hendrik Lundqvist in between the posts, this team looks like the top of the league going into the 2007-2008 season. Continue reading “Let the Off Season Begin”