The Rangers produced a typical character win at home yesterday to essentially save the series. The Capitals didn’t play badly, but they certainly didn’t do enough to win. There’s the obvious fact that the Rangers scored more goals. But they also outhit the Capitals by a 41-29 margin, had half as many takeaways as the Rangers did, took 9 less shots than the Rangers, and only won 43.8& of the face-offs against one of the worst face-off teams in the NHL. Or the fact that Michal Neuvirth stayed in his crease on every single dump-in, allowing the Rangers forecheck to abuse the Capitals. But none of that seemed to concern Bruce Boudreau. No, he seemed to complain about everything but the way his own team played in Game Three. From the officiating down to Madison Square Garden.
Let’s talk about the officiating first. No doubt, one or two of the penalties called on the Capitals were soft, but give me a break, Bruce. You have no right to complain about officiating. The same officiating that refused to blow the whistle while the puck was under Lundqvist for a good two seconds. The same officiating that called penalties on Fedotenko and Mcdonagh in game two for post-whistle pushes, something that rarely warrants a penalty in the regular season, let alone the playoffs. Not to mention, Ovechkin did the same exact thing in Game Three, and wasn’t punished for it, cross checking Fedotenko to the ice after the whistle for essentially no reason. Both teams have been the recipient of questionable referee decisions. Get over it.
And then there’s the complaints about Madison Square Garden. The world’s most famous arena. The arena in the biggest city in the world. Bruce Boudreau apparently isn’t impressed. He claims that MSG “isn’t loud.” What’s hilarious about that statement is Dan Steinberg, the author of the article, who works for the WASHINGTON POST, disputes that statement. So the Verizon Center is loud, Bruce? That’s nice. I wonder how loud it was during the 2003-2004 season, where the Capitals didn’t have Ovechkin, and they ranked 25th in the NHL in attendance. That same year, one of the worst seasons in Rangers history, the Rangers still had a top ten attendance in the NHL. Even post-lockout, the Capitals attendance numbers are nothing to be proud of up until the past few years, when the Capitals conveniently have been at the top of the East. Rangers fans have stuck with this team through the worst of times. I wonder how loud the Verizon Center will be when your team isn’t so good, Bruce.
And finally, Bruce complained about the locker room and benches, claiming that there is “no room for anything.” On this we can agree. Whoever designed MSG didn’t do very much planning ahead. Didn’t they know how much room Boudreau’s stomach and Ovechkin’s ego would take up?
It’s stuff like this that makes me appreciate Tortorella more. He comes off as an abrasive person, but it’s really just him trying to focus on the issues that matter. He couldn’t care less what the crowd is doing, or what the media thinks, or anything else. His focus is on absolutely nothing but getting this team to win, and when they don’t, his only concern is figuring out what needs to be done better.