Minutes: 24/7, Episode III

Even in his heyday, Kim Jong Il wouldn't have built a "Rocky" statue. He simply would have told his people he shot a 38 UNDER par on a regulation, PGA-style, 18-hole golf course to boost national morale. Oh, wait. He did tell them that.

While last night’s Rangers game certainly lacked emotion and effort, the Blueshirts did their best to make us proud in 24/7, once again showing why they are the more entertaining team. Although, like on the ice, Brian Boyle proved he is absolutely useless and a detriment to everything he touches.

Again, all times are approximate…

10:03- Peter Laviolette tries to inspire his team in between periods of a game in Colorado, but ultimately fails, as not a single player responds with any emotions or words because they are all mentally and verbally bankrupt. The Flyers lose in a shootout.

10:07- If you’ve ever wondered why NHL and NFL teams now have roughly 46 doctors examine a player after even the slightest blow to the head, you learned why during a telling conversation between Laviolette and star Flyers forward Claude Giroux.

After a brief contact drill with his teammates, the recently concussed Giroux is summoned by Laviolette to see how he’s feeling. Here’s how the conversation goes…

***

Coach: How ya feeling?

Player: Not bad.

Coach: Good? You look really good.

Player: I don’t know how I’m going to feel during a game. I don’t wanna go out there and like hurt the team. I don’t know how I’m…

Coach: You’re kidding me, right? You look great out there.

Player: It’s practice, though.

Coach: Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. If you feel good, you’ll be fine. You look like a million bucks out here.

***

Hmm, let’s translate that, shall we?

***

Coach: How ya feeling?

Player: Well, I was able to tie my laces today so that’s good.

Coach: So you’re going to play, right? Yeah, you’re going to play.

Player: I’m not ready to play in a game. I can barely see straight. I’m violently nauseous and dizzy right now. Please hold me up…

Coach: Nah, you’re totally fine. I can tell. You’re fine.

Player: I don’t even know my name. Where am I?

Coach: None of that matters. What matters is I just dropped $50,000 on my kids’ Christmas presents and bought my wife a new car. If you play we can make the playoffs, and then I get a bonus. So yeah, you’re going to play. Thanks.

***

10:09- The Rangers have pretty girlfriends.

10:10- DAN GIRARDI HAS THE CUTEST SON EVER.

10:12- I understand they had to tone it down because the cameras were there, but the Rangers’ Ugly Christmas Sweater party seemed downright boring. And to top it off Del Zaster (Scotty Hockey—Goldmember reference voice), had three reindeer engaging in an anal orgy on his sweater. Don’t you get the feeling he’s just a huge douche? Of all the guys on the Rangers I’d want to party with, he might be the lowest on the list. Except Ruslan Fedotenko. He just creeps me out.

10:14- Mike Rupp gets into a fight with Cam Janssen during the Devils game, but the problem is Janssen loves full boxing round fights, a marathon-type bout Rupp admits he can’t endure, “I haven’t done anything in two months.” Well that makes me feel a little better. I just thought he was normally this slow and out-of-shape. Good to know he didn’t work out once during his knee rehab.

10:15- The Devils strike first and you hear, but don’t see, Tortorella yell, “Are you fuckin’ kidding me?” I really enjoyed that. HBO probably has a playlist of Torts dropping F-bombs and just picked a random one to use for that moment.

10:16- Laviolette channels his inner Vince Lombardi during his pre-game speech in Dallas. Staring at his note pad, he reads dispassionately, “We’re being great tonight.” I’m Ron Burgundy?

10:19- Sean Couturier STILL can’t hear out of his left ear. He doesn’t seem overly concerned, though. “It’ll come back eventually.” Yeah, no biggie. It’s just an ear, right? It’s like your kidneys, you just need one.

10:23- Can we all agree that whole Gaborik buying a Christmas tree scene never happened? He’s so Slovakian.

10:26- While the Flyers coaching staff acts like a normal group of dudes and goes to a pub to eat and drink and scout the Rangers as they play the Islanders, the Flyers players sit in their hotel rooms with no TVs on, staring at each other, not saying a word…I made that up. They did not show that. But can we all agree they never left the hotel? What a boring ass team.

10:28- I LOVED how after Anton Stralman laid out Matt Read with a beautiful hip check, Laviolette asks his player if he’s OK, and then says, “That was awesome.”

10:32- The deranged Tom Sestito talks shit to the Rangers bench, but as soon as the buzzer sounds to end the period, he immediately stops talking and skates away. It was like a dog trained to sit by a squeaky noise. I found it fascinating. (Also loved Richards saying, “One day in the NHL for you. Fantasy camp for you.” Probably not original but still funny.)

10:34- From the school of The Pot Calling The Kettle Black, we hear Rupp, who Torts is openly in love with, tell Jody Shelley, “You’re fucking irrelevant out here!” To which Shelley responds with great disdain (in reference to Sestito), “You’re going after the 22-year old?”

I enjoyed that response for two reasons: 1) I’ve always wondered if it’s awkward or frowned upon for old goons to go after young goons who could possibly be their sons, and 2) Rupp is clearly hurt by the question, so much so that he feels he must defend himself by saying, “He’s acting like a fucking idiot.”

10:38- Great job by HBO of having a camera at the NHL War Room in Toronto to show how the Fedetenko goal review goes down. How does one get a job working in that room? Who must I send my resume to?

10:46- The people of Philadelphia again show why they’re the biggest losers in the world, imitating Rocky, A FICTIONAL CHARACTER, running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Did you know there is a Rocky STATUE in Philadelphia? That really seems like something the North Koreans would do. Invent a successful athlete in a movie and then build an edifice of him to boost civic pride because your real teams suck so much. But no, even those commie animals have never done that. So yeah, North Korea > Philadelphia.

10:48- Confirming he is the biggest loser in the world (but does have a really sweet apartment), it is revealed Scott Hartnell has multiple arcade games in his apartment. I used to love the game where you’d shoot the birds. It was definitely not called Big Buck Hunter back in the day though, right? I digress.

10:51- The Bryzgalov family Christmas had tremendous potential, but Bryz’s wife clearly told the cameras to fuck off when the family sat down to eat (that’s a total assumption on my part). I did enjoy Bryz’s son telling his sister that he’s much more “Englisher” and she’s much more “Russianer.”

10:53- A dog climbing the dinner table and eating everyone’s leftovers. That’s funny.

10:55- Boyle tries to introduce his eternally horny parents to the HBO cameras, but they quickly run off camera to go conceive their 14th child. They have officially covered the 13.5 point spread against infertility. Congrats, Boyles!

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New Faces Stepping Up on D

The Rangers have certainly heeded the call from John Tortorella about defense. Entering tonight’s game, the Blueshirts have allowed the second fewest goals in the league at 72, behind only Boston. While King Henrik deserves the most praise for the success because of his work in the crease, it should be noted that the Rangers have achieved consistency defensively with many different players in the lineup. Surprisingly, the current lineup boasts ONLY TWO defensemen from the end of last year’s squad in Girardi and McDonagh.

Here is a list of the Rangers depth chart on Defense at the end of last season and each player’s status now:

1. Marc Staal (Injured Reserve- Concussion)

2. Dan Girardi (Active- NYR)

3. Michael Sauer (Injured Reserve- Concussion)

4. Ryan McDonagh (Active- NYR)

5. Matt Gilroy (Signed with Tampa Bay as Free Agent)

6. Bryan McCabe (Free Agent- Unsigned)

7. Steve Eminger (Injured Reserve- Separated Shoulder)

Despite the injuries and offseason turnover, the Rangers have found a way to continue to get it done with a different group of guys. Here is a list of the current depth chart of the Rangers for now and the foreseeable future until Staal, Sauer and Eminger return to full health:

1. Dan Girardi- Girardi has been the anchor this year with Staal out of the lineup. Logging almost 30 minutes a night, Girardi is blocking shots, killing penalties and even seeing time on the power play. The undrafted defensive stalwart has been a revelation with the Rangers and the most valuable player on defense this season.

2. Ryan McDonagh- To think that just two years ago this guy was playing college hockey is incredible. Playing in his first full season he has shown offensive flair and defensive awareness while logging major minutes on the top pairing. What were the Canadiens thinking trading this 2007 first round pick away? Even Scott Gomez had to know it wasn’t a good trade for Montreal.

3. Michael Del Zotto– After suffering through a sophomore slump, Del Zotto has been a pleasant surprise in his third season and much less of a “Del Zaster”. Showing increased maturity and the same swagger he had as a rookie, MDZ has seen time on both power play units, while earning back Torts’ trust. His defense still needs some work still but it sure is nice to see him back on the right track.

4. Anton Stralman– I have never really been a fan of European defensemen because most tend to play a less physical game, but Stralman has certainly filled in nicely on the second pair while picking up 5 points in 11 games. He played in Columbus for the last two years so naturally nobody really knew who the hell he was before he came here. Signed in early November as defensive depth, the Devils reportedly offered him a contract but he chose us over them. Good choice Anton, good choice.

5. Stu Bickel a.k.a. “The Accidental Assist Machine”– Stu has bounced around the minor leagues for the last four seasons, first in the Anaheim Ducks organization and now with the Rangers, he is making the most of his opportunity. His willingness to drop the gloves and his two nearly identical assists on fluttering shots against the Flyers will surely help him stick around for at least a little while. He has provided grit on the back end that the Rangers have missed since the Sauer injury.

6. Jeff Woywitka– The journeyman defenseman had spent time with the Flyers, Oilers, Blues and Stars organizations before ending up in New York as a waiver pickup. Aside from having a last name that is fun to pronounce, he has filled in admirably despite a few defensive lapses. His giveaway in the game vs. the Stars that led to the only goal in a 1-0 shutout was costly. I do feel bad for his children though. After paying for the Rangers meal that night at The Buffalo Chophouse, they likely won’t be able to go to college.

7. Tim Erixon– Son of former Rangers forward Jan Erixon, Tim is still finding his game at the NHL level. In his second stint with the big club this year, Erixon is playing well in minimal minutes on the third pair. The former first round pick is only 20 years old and still needs some seasoning in the AHL like McDonagh had last season. Nice job by Sather acquiring him from the Flames this past summer; he was the number one prospect in their organization at the time according to Hockey’s Future.

Depth signings, waiver pickups and trades have come in handy, as they have helped the Rangers overcome injuries to the defense for the time being. Torts’ defensive system, the help from the forwards and Marty Biron’s stellar play as the backup all should be attributed to the success thus far as well. The contributions from these guys have certainly been impressive. What will happen to some of these guys once Staal, Sauer and Eminger come back from their respective injuries? Time will tell. But one thing is certain: Depth is a good thing.

Sean Avery: Last Hurrah?

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While we here at “The Garden Faithful” consider ourselves “Torts Guys” and agree with the direction of this team, there is one situation that is difficult to ignore: the treatment of fan favorite and left-winger Sean Avery. I may be biased in this argument; let’s not forget that my man crush for Avery began in high school, lasted through college and still exists to this day. But after six years of watching him play, I know what kind of player he is and I know where he stacks up against some of his fellow Blueshirts.

The truth is that many people around the league who think he shouldn’t be in the NHL either just hate him because of his reputation or they haven’t seen him play enough. From watching Avery the last six years I can tell you this much: he’s a skilled player who is a physical presence, a distraction for opposing teams and a reason to watch the Rangers religiously. The Rangers record with him in the lineup and without him the last 6 years alone shows his effectiveness. He brings a swagger to the ice that few can.

However, in his final year of a four-year contract signed in 2008, it appears that the player with the worst reputation in the league is running out of options. When the Rangers sent him down to the Whale at the beginning of the season, and called him back up again weeks later, all 29 other teams had a shot at claiming Avery off waivers for a quarter of his original salary (just 1 million). The fact that no team even showed interest in the 31-year old pest, shows just how disliked he is and how his talent and work ethic have been overlooked by the rest of the league.

Unfortunately, one hater of Avery’s game is his coach, John Tortorella. The two obviously don’t get along and don’t like each other. Tortorella said it himself when he sent Avery to the minors at the beginning of the season. “We have better players than Sean Avery.”

When Avery was recalled weeks later after injuries and a bumpy start, the Rangers were reignited. Avery’s presence obviously isn’t solely responsible for the Rangers upswing to first place but players on the team including Lundqvist said the team missed him while he was gone. But in the 15 games Avery suited up with the Rangers he wasn’t given a chance by Tortorella. Avery could never really establish himself, playing on the fourth line averaging five to ten minutes a night. He managed to score three goals until ultimately being a healthy scratch. He has remained out of the lineup ever since.

Despite the criticism, Avery has seemed to have no trouble finding chemistry with top line forwards throughout his career, not only with Gaborik last year but Jaromir Jagr as well. The well-respected future Hall of Famer and former Ranger had this to say about him  from their time playing together: “He is a good hockey player. Believe me: speed, flair, he goes to the net — he’s got all that in him. In a lot of matches Avery was the best player on the (Rangers). If the club trusts him, he’ll always play well.”

Avery has not changed since then. He’s not washed up; he simply hasn’t been given the same opportunity. I’m not lobbying for Avery to play on the top two lines but we all know he is better and more valuable than Boyle, Fedotenko, Rupp and Christensen are. He should be in the lineup every night and playing more minutes than them.

Despite Torts’ stubbornness to play him, Avery hasn’t helped resolve the issue either. Avery told the NY Post recently that he is frustrated with his role, doesn’t know when he will play again and also said that he doesn’t speak to the coach. Talking to the media is clearly not the way to go.

Yes, the Rangers are in first place and are having success without him in the lineup. But if the Rangers plan to make a run deep into the playoffs they are going to need him. Like Jagr said, the coach must learn to trust Avery.  If he shows that trust then Avery will respect Tortorella. In his final year of his contract and with no other teams interested, Avery must understand that he needs the Rangers, too.

A First Place Christmas

If entering the Christmas break in first place wasn’t a gift enough, the Rangers woke up this morning to even more presents, largely funded by their own paychecks, of course. Still, a gift is a gift, and naturally, with The Garden Faithful taking the internet by storm, the Rangers players asked us to share what they received (or wish they had received). They’re just a friendly bunch of guys! What can we say?!?

Artem Anisimov: I get gun from my mail-order whore. I kill bear last night. Cops chase me but I reload my weapon…again, heheh (winks)…and take them out, too. That’s allowed here, yes? Oh. Ohhhh…. Ohhhhhh!!!!

Marty Biron: A hot meal. Did you know I’m 6-foot-3 but weigh ONLY 180 pounds. Can someone f*cking feed me?

Derek Stepan: I need my mom to stop coming to games. Torts is always telling me the things he’d do to her with that deformed thumb of his. It’s really upsetting. I’d say something but then Sully would just take out his belt and whip me to a bloody pulp. I don’t know what to do.

Sully: (Staring at computer screen; not speaking or smiling)

Torts: I got Sully a new belt with metal spikes on it, like what those goth freaks wear to those pathetic emo concerts. I think that should teach the boys a lesson.

Carl Hagelin: A message from Zukes saying I can keep his haircut. I love that guy.

Brandon Prust: Hey guysssss, what’s uppppp? Ohhh, you want to know what I got for Christmasssss? Yeaaaaah, Christmasss is totally the best, isn’t it? Me and Boyler are going to this killlller rave tonight. Is that what you wanted to know? No? Woooahhh, chill mannnn. I’m going to put on moisturizing lotion. Lattterrrr.

Stu Bickel: Steroids. I started my regimen last week. This shit’s incredible! I’m going to make millions in this league!

Brad Richards: Braces.

Jeff Woywitka: Has anyone noticed I look exactly like Terry from True Blood? No? Anyway, I need some friggin’ money man. They rig those credit card roulette games. I’m friggin’ broke and I’m going to be back on The Whale next week. F*ck my life.

Henrik Lundqvist: An extra large mirror. Whenever I have a bad game, (long pause; staring into my eyes; I pass out; never found out what he got)…

Michael Del Zotto: A restraining order on Scotty Hockey. I’ve seen the guy sitting in a car outside my house, drinking a handle of whiskey, smoking a cigarette, mumbling, “Del Zaster. Del Zaster. I’m gonna get you.” He needs to be stopped!

Check back later today for more updates!

Under/Over Performers

Here are few players that have simply not played well enough to deserve my praise so far this season:

Brandon Dubinsky: I get it. I know his whole game revolves around hustle and grit, but where has Duby gone? He’s still skating hard, but he looks lost. He falls to the ice much too often, he mishandles the puck on crisp passes, and he’s out of place on the ice. One goal so far this season will not cut it, and he needs to get his act together. I recently proposed trading him now for a solid defenseman before other teams find out he’s not as good as we all thought.

Brian Boyle: This one is disappointing. This guy was so vital to the team last season, scoring goals at all the right times. He’s such a big body, he should be screening the goalie on power plays and putting home the rebounds. His skating hasn’t been as good this year as it was last season, either (call Barb Underhill now!)

Mike Rupp: I know he’s missed time because of his knee, but I really hate Rupp. He’s such a Torts guy because he’s a gritty veteran who’s physical and knows the game. But flat out, he cannot play up to this team’s speed. He looks sluggish and is lagging ass. The only thing he’s good for is saving Prust from fighting every game.

 

Now here’s a list of players who have exceeded my expectation this season:

Brad Richards: I think it’s safe to say that no one was completely ecstatic about this offseason signing. Not that I wasn’t happy; I loved that we were going to have someone to run the point on the power play and some veteran presence. But wow, this guy is shining. He’s such a threat on offense, and as expected, helps us on the power play by carrying the puck into the opposing zone as opposed to dumping it aimlessly like we did all last season. Most importantly, though, he’s mentoring the young guys, like Stepan and Del Zotto, guys who can easily get in a slump and lost confidence. Richie is officially a Ranger and I love it.

Derek Stepan: I would never have thought Step would look this good. I’ve always been critical because of his lack of speed and his slump after that  hat trick debut last season. I think it’s safe to say now that he is easily one of the best passers in the NHL. Plus, he’s stepped up his intensity and has amazing vision of the rink. He is one of our most consistent players and he does great things when he gets the puck.

Artem Anisimov: Aside from having great aim with a hockey-stick-shotgun, Anisimov has elevated his game to a whole new level. He is now an every game scoring threat, and has great awareness; he always seems to be in the perfect place to drive home a juicy rebound. Five goals in eight games since December 3rd, Artie is really exciting right now.

Marion Gaborik: Oh boy, do I have a man crush on this guy right now. Gaborik is easily playing the best hockey of his career as a Ranger. He’s quick, crafty and has been a sniper with the wrister. Currently second in the league in goals, everytime Gabby gets the puck, I know something good is about to happen.

 

This is not to take away from anyone. Of course Cally, Hank, Del Zotto, Girardi, etc., are playing amazing. These guys all just stood out. Comments? Additions? Criticisms? Let’s Go Rangers.

 

-Jamie Lundmark

Minutes: 24/7, Episode II

Lundqvist? Draper? What's the difference?!?

I’d be lying if I said last week’s 24/7 was a significant impetus behind the forum’s birth earlier this afternoon. It’s a typically brilliant HBO Sports production, that truly helps you understand the lives of NHL players.

Accordingly, here is a(n) (approximate) minute-by-minute breakdown of the show.

10:02- Sweet baby Jesus.

When Henrik came on screen I felt the emotion little girls must have felt in 1965 when The Beatles came to America. I just wanted to start screaming and grasping for the TV, and subsequently almost passed out.

On top of his remarkable, almost creepy beauty, is his fashion sense. Don’t you get the feeling the man goes to sleep in a tuxedo? A really nice one, too. And to top it off he knows how to play a guitar. So let’s tally this up here: He’s beautiful, 29-years old, knows how to play the guitar, is well-dressed and well-spoken, is a multi-millionaire, and plays goalie for the New York Rangers. I’m sure his wife is a super cool girl, but I could NEVER imagine a professional athlete getting married with that kind of resume. Just get them a limo, sign a hockey stick and puck and they’ll be on their way, right? Isn’t that what people do now?

And if all of that wasn’t enough, he’s rehearsing the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” with John McEnroe! Seriously. No one person should be so lucky. I know the whole “You Don’t Know What He’s Like Behind Close Doors!” argument. Nah, I have a pretty good idea, and I’m pretty sure I’d love to be him.

(NOTE: I’m a heterosexual male. I swear.)

10:07- Did anyone have any idea Dan Girardi is married with a son? I was blindsided by this. But yeah, his son is super cute. Good for Dan.

10:12 (and throughout the episode)- Even after downing John Branch’s sensational, best-sportswriting-I’ve-ever-read concussion series (Google it) about Derek Boogaard, I don’t think I fully understood how dangerous and damaging concussions can be. That is, until now. Watching the Flyers on 24/7 has made me realize the traumatic effects concussions have on the human brain.

The whole team is a bunch of mutes. Can any of them string together sentences of more than six words? Other than Bryzgalov who may be my favorite player on any team in any sport, they all are lobotomized (well, not yet at least) trolls. I know he’s going to torment Rangers fans for years to come, but Claude Giroux may be the least articulate person I’ve ever heard “speak,” that is when he actually makes his voice audible. Wayne Simmonds is downright garrulous compared to his teammates. I know they have a bunch of awkward teenagers on the team but seriously, boys, speak up!

10:15- Ew. Did anyone else Tortorella’s deformed right thumbnail? Yes, I notice these things. Fungus!

10:16- Torts cites Del Zotto (does Scotty Hockey have a copyright on Del Zaster? I want it) as the team’s best defenseman in the Dallas game. The camera pans to a stoic Del Zotto who is clearly in cardiac shock from the compliment. There’s a chance he was clinically dead in that shot.

10:18- Did you ever wonder what role a captain plays in an NHL locker room? Well, we found out tonight!

Torts is unsure of what time the team bus should leave, so he asks Callahan, who promptly responds, “4.”

Attaboy, Cally! Gotta make sure the boys have time to shower! A true leader!

10:18- I take it all back. I think it’s better none of the Flyers speak.

Zac Rinaldo, the Flyers 21-year old enforcer who is certifiably insane on the ice and leads the NHL with 108 penalty minutes, speaks like an adolescent girl. This is a verbatim account of his thoughts on being a young player in, like, the NHL.

“When you have a good game, and you have like 3 or 4 consecutive like really good games, you kinda like, your confidence builds up, and you’re like, ‘OK, I’ll think, I’ll be sticking here for a while,’ but then when you have a bad game, it’s like, ‘Oh, I might get sent down.’ So it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions. And then like I look at my teammates and I see how cute they all are, and I like think, ‘Oh. No. I like left my camera in my bag at home.’ And like I’m wearing my cutest shirt so like no one is going to know I was like making a fashion statement. And just, ugh, (eyes tear up), ITJUSTMAKESMESOFRIGGINMAD! …Get the cameras away!”

OK. Everything after “rollercoaster of emotions” was made up but you get the point. There’s little difference in the speech patterns of the NHL’s biggest goon and a 14-year old girl.

10:20- Bryzgalov compares his husky dog to a hot blonde girl with blue eyes. See, I don’t know why my girlfriend gets upset when I tell her she looks like a dog! Bryzgalov TOTALLY gets it!

10:22- Boyle and Prust wake up from their midday naps and the former confesses to being bare-ass naked and then complains that he doesn’t know what to wear. If this was a Flyers forum I could see Boyle being chided a bit.

10:25- Torts RIPS into the team after a lackluster first period in St. Louis. One player is so scared he covers his face with a towel.

My favorite part of this scene is assistant head coach Mike Sullivan, an imposing, terrifying figure in his own right, standing in the corner, not blinking an eye. Can’t you see Torts leaving the locker room, nodding his head to Sullivan on the way out, Sullivan obediently nodding his head back, taking off his belt and just starting to whip each player who had a minus in his statline during the period. No yelling or cursing. Just relentless whipping.

I demand HBO release deleted scenes!

10:30- After the Flyers get jobbed by the pro-French Canada refs in Montreal, head coach Peter Laviolette walks into the video room with the most dramatic, frightening music you will ever hear playing in the background. Go back and take a listen. With the camera trailing his big, imposing figure, coupled with the darkness of the shot, and the two unsuspecting henchmen sitting, watching TV, I was ready for Lavvy to stab them both and then lick the blood off the knife, and whisper, “I love Frog blood.”

Needless to say that did not happen.

10:35- The heartwearming relationship between Torts and a 10-year old Ranger fanatic who suffers from cerebral palsy is revealed. It’s shocking to see Torts actually has a soul. Ten bucks says Liam is on the ice the night they award the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. He deserves it.

10:39- OK. I don’t know which Flyer makes the awkward “Flavor of the Month…It’s what everybody wants for Christmas this year I guess…I hope I don’t get one from Santa Claus” comment to Giroux (who is predictably texting because he’s a mute), but he should be put away. His voice is terrifying. Even the emotionless Giroux is alarmed by his initial comment.

10:43- Danny Briere’s kids look exactly like him. Poor kids.

(NOTE: I did enjoy that he had one of the mute rookies living in his home with him. That’s a great hockey tradition. Like Crosby living in Lemieux’s home his rookie season. In no other sport does that happen. I love it…Please no Penn State jokes! I’m not ready yet!)

10:48- HBO does a great job of building up the tension in the Coyotes game, showing the nasty injuries the Rangers suffer and how they came back, but to play Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” as the refs announce Richards’ buzzer-beater was a serious buzzkill. Less is more sometimes, ya know? I wanted to hear the players’ reactions. Not some dumbass pop song.

10:50- I love The Broadway Hat. Every great team needs something like that. It fits perfectly. If the Rangers go far in the playoffs I propose all fans receive a Broadway Hat instead of a towel. Plus, if everyone wears them it’ll look like a 1950’s NHL game with all the fans in top hats. Someone make this happen!

10:52- Great to see the players smiling at the chanting Rangers fans who made the trip/live in Phoenix. THEY REALLY DO LIKE US!

10:54- Hah! Bruins 6, Flyers 0. Fantastic.

10:57- An absolutely killer end to the episode, with the Rangers boarding the plane, Liev Schreiber waxing poetic, and M83’s “Midnight City” playing in the background (hat tip to TGF writer Jamie Lundmark).

Three Final Observations: 1) I wanted more Avery, got none, 2) No mention of Richards being benched in St. Louis, lame, and 3) If you time it out, the Rangers are on the screen significantly more than the Flyers. I’d say nearly 60-40 Rangers. Not because they’re SO interesting. It’s just that they can actually speak.

Pock. Out.

This is not a blog.

This is a public forum. I am Thomas Pock. I am part of the Garden Faithful and so are you.

How do I know you are? Because if you’re reading this forum you clearly give a crap about the Rangers, and if you give a crap about the Rangers you clearly love hockey. There’s no grey area here. That’s what makes being a hockey fan in America so damn fun but so damn frustrating. Your obsession with your team is unique to a select group of people, which is cool, but what sucks is that your city’s media gives your team no respect. As a result, you have to work to follow your team. You can’t just turn on the TV or open a newspaper and satisfy your appetite for hockey news. You must seek it and earn it. And that’s what this forum will help you do.

It will be a confluence of opinions, news, comedy, anger, joy, frustration, vile cursing, man-crush admissions, parodies, and of course, discussion. So tell your friends, family and the smelly guy next to you in section 308. You are all The Garden Faithful.

(But if you dare invite a Penguins, Flyers, Devils or Islanders fan to join, you will be banned. We openly discriminate.)