Monday, April 16, 2007

NHL Playoffs: It's Not Over For The Thrashers...

First off, yes my cold/cough etc. are much, much better. Usually, I get sick in the winter for two days, this time I was knocked out for a solid two weeks!

Yes, I'm not as down with this green tea with mint by Bigelow as I was with chocolate mint from Harney. But oh well, Harney said they aren't making that flavor anymore. What's up with the whole mint theme you might be asking? If your nose is stuffed up it helps you to breathe, try it you might like it. Hey, it may even become a form of recreation for you...

Yes, I'm pumped about the playoffs! Isn't everyone as fired up as Ryan Hollweg was before Game 1?

Now that you are finished doing the "Hollweg dance," let's move on...

Yes, the Rangers go home with a 2-0 lead over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Yes, they have played with great discipline and poise.

Yes, so far Head Coach Tom Renney has outdone his Atlanta counterpart Bob Hartley with the old "less is more" philosophy.

No, this does not guarantee a sweep.

Tomorrow night is a huge game for the Rangers. Every athlete loves to play in the Big Apple and Madison Square Garden. How many NHL guys have made careers out of their exploits inside MSG?

Remember Montreal's hulking forward Vinny Damphouse or Washington's John Druce?

I hear they are reinforcing The Garden's roof so it isn't blown off by the crowd noise. Expect the Thrashers to come fast and furious. Expect Keith Tkachuk, Bobby Holik, Brad Larsen, and Garnet Exelby to hit and hit and then hit some more. That's why it's so important for Henrik Lundqvist to prove why he is the reigning King of MSG, by slamming the door on the dormant Atlanta offense.

Atlanta is a frustrated team right now. But they have plenty of vets and a Stanley Cup winning coach who have been through playoff adversity before. Still, there are some questions for the Thrashers. Who starts in goal? Which line goes up against the Jagr trio? Is Sean Avery going to drive Atlanta absolutely bonkers? All I knew of Avery before he got traded to the Rangers was negative. In fact, this video really ticked me off...

Avery doing pushups is one thing, but Sean Avery has been everything the Rangers have lacked the last 10 years and he has eliminated a lot of that type of garbage from his game since becoming a Blueshirt. The Rangers gave up a prospect named Marc-Andre Cliche for Avery and many fans were not happy. But so far I like what I see from Aves.

Meanwhile, I'm a believer that if you win in the playoffs you don't change the lineups. But perhaps the Rangers go with Ryan Hollweg in place of Colton Orr. Hollweg is a more complete player and is a ferocious forechecker. The flip side is that Orr is a better fighter and with the nastiness that took place in Game 2, Orr's muscles may be needed.

The other lineup decision is if Karel Rachunek is ready, does he take the place of young d-man Thomas Pock? I say no way. Rachunek was better from January on, but I let Pock battle through the jitters. I think his upside is greater than Rachunek's.

By the way, Marc Staal's junior team, the Sudbury Wolves trail the Barrie Colts 1-0, in the second round of the OHL's playoffs. Staal, 20, is expected to join the Rangers whenever his team is eliminated from the playoffs. I wonder if he gets a look this spring with the Blueshirts.

So far Ryan Callahan has played pretty well with a limited amount of ice time playing on the third line with Petr Prucha and Matt Cullen. I'd like to see the Rangers apply more pressure to the Thrashers baffled blueline, Callahan-Cullen-Prucha could be a key to doing just that tomorrow night.

Elsewhere, I don't buy that the Devs are in trouble. I take Marty Brodeur over Johan Holmqvist any day of the week and I never look back. Can the Isles continue to play like they are the number one seed? That kind of bravado is what the NYI got from Rick DiPietro's inspiring return Saturday night? Are the kids alright in Pittsburgh? Down 2-1 to Ottawa and not looking very good? Ooffaaa! Detroit looks phenomenal right now, up 2-0 over an indifferent Calgary team. Vancouver holds a 2-1 edge over Dallas, and boy do these two teams mirror one another. Nashville and San Jose are even at 1, and the fireworks are even going off between the coaches, Barry Trotz and Ron Wilson. Meanwhile, Anaheim is up 3-0 in three one-goal games.

Coming out of left field, did you know that Talia Shire plays the shrink in the Geico commercials?

In closing, I just want to say I pity the fool who doesn't...

Stay Onsides!


ChrisV82 said...

I was coming over here from the LoHud Rangers' blog to tell you how to do YouTube, but looks like you figured it out.

Anyway, that Hollweg dance is amazing. I hope it catches on in all the dance clubs.

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Thanks for coming by and I hope you keep on stopping in. That Hollweg dance was great! The Blueshirts finally have some real character and characters on their team!