“If you don’t play this game with a big heart and a big bag o’ knuckles in front of the net, you don’t got dinky do.” Donnie Shulzhoffer (aka Mike Myers) in Mystery, Alaska
Some things just seem out of place or don’t go together, like the time Chris Drury hosted Soul Train for a year, and the Rangers playing a full 60 minutes, battling in front of the net and doing all the little things to win seems out of character for this year’s edition of the Rangers. But their rivalry with New Jersey seems to bring out the best in this team, so maybe if the Rangers played the Devils every game they would have a lot more “dinky do.” Or maybe they should just pretend every other team is the Devils.
Sure, it was near the end of the game on Saturday night, but at one point almost every player on the ice was piled up in a big heap in front of the Rangers’ net – including the Rangers! The Blueshirts’ defensemen usually don’t spend a lot of time in that area of the ice, and when they do, they mostly stick-check and politely ask how the wife and kids are doing. But against the Devils, they knock players over, cross-check them and clear the crease. Why can’t they do that every game? What’s so hard about that? If they pretend they’re playing the Devils every night, maybe that would change.
Henrik Lundqvist saves his best for the Devils. We’ve known that for a few years now, as he’s dominated the series rivalry. So if he’s on top of his game, as he was on Saturday, that’s a big boost and advantage for the team right there. And the offense has been throwing the puck to the net a lot more lately, and they’ve also been hitting and fighting more. In only three games with the Rangers, Brandon Prust (29 penalty minutes) has already made Donald Brashear irrelevant. He may be little, but he has a lot of heart. The two most fun things in hockey are shooting the puck and hitting the other guy. Why have those things seemed so hard for the Rangers this year? Again, if they pretend they’re playing the Devils every night, maybe that would change.
The Martin Brodeur/Sean Avery love-fest now has a new, added component: Ilya Kovalchuk. Apparently, Kovalchuk was defending his goalie’s honor when he speared and attacked Avery. Can’t they mike Avery for a game? How fun would that be? I wouldn’t let my five-year-old daughter within 500 feet of a TV, but still. Avery must have said something along the lines of Reg Dunlop calling Hanrahan’s wife a lesbian. Of course, the big winner in that brouhaha was the Rangers, as the Devils’ new left winger was sitting in the penalty box for the final flurry of the game. Avery’s gotten under Koavalchuk’s skin before, in the playoffs a few years ago, so now he has two people on the Devils that he can infuriate and get off their game.
So, come on Rangers, just pretend you’re playing the Devils every game, and you may finally find you have some “dinky do” after all.