Are The Rangers Bad for Hockey?

Ken Campbell at The Hockey News feels that the Rangers are bad for hockey and he will be rooting against them in the Eastern Conference Finals because of their shot blocking strategy…

“…I’ve grown to hate blocked shots. It didn’t used to be that way. There was a time when the blocked shot was an art, almost a thing of beauty, executed only by those players who could summon the courage to sacrifice their bodies to keep a puck from getting to the net. These days, though, there is no gallantry involved in blocking shots, otherwise everyone wouldn’t be able to do it. Protected by the best equipment the game has ever seen, players are no longer the least bit hesitant to put themselves between a slapshot and the net because they know there’s almost no chance they’ll get hurt. That’s why now when a guy winds up from the point, the defending team collapses in front of the net like a building being imploded. You call that exciting? I call it bloody maddening. But that’s the kind of play that has been earning rave reviews throughout the playoffs.

And nobody does it with the frequency the Rangers do…”

Campbell also can’t stand that the Rangers don’t even pretend to forecheck when they get ahead by a single goal.

…how can The Hockey News consider themselves a legitimate source of hockey news when this guy is on staff? Another Rangers hit piece by a disgruntled member of the Canadian media who’s sick of watching his teams lose. Assuming if the Maple Leafs were employing this strategy on the way to their first Stanley Cup since 1967 he’d be screaming their praise from the rooftops.

…why not take out a part of the game which exemplifies courage and sacrifice more than any other play in hockey? I’d much rather watch my team not do everything they can to win because it might be boring. Isn’t the main premise of defense in the game of hockey to keep your opponent from scoring? When I watch the Rangers put their body on the line every night to help secure a victory it makes me proud to be a fan of the Blueshirts.

…and how is there no gallantry in blocking shots these days? Sure the equipment is better, but players are also shooting harder than ever, so guys like Callahan are routinely throwing themselves in front of 100+ mile per hour shots. Sounds pretty heroic to me. And Campbell may want to talk to Callahan, Boyle, Girardi, McDonagh and others on the Rangers about his statement that there’s almost no chance of getting hurt blocking shots. I think they might disagree.

…also nice to see that Campbell just started watching the Rangers in the playoffs, because while their forecheck has been virtually non-existent during the postseason, it was the key to their offense all season long.

Meanwhile, fellow The Hockey News columnist Rory Boylen completely disagrees with Campbell.

Blocked shots was also all the talk at yesterday’s optional practice for the Rangers.

Finally, Martin Brodeur gives his own suggestion for getting around the Rangers shot blocking prowess (via New York Post)…

“We might be able to hurt a few guys [by] hitting one-timers in the foot and their head or something.”

…Marty may want to worry more about trying to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard than helping his offense out. God I’d love if Avery was still on the team just to watch Brodeur squirm all series long.

…and Marty ain’t to smart either. By saying this, he pretty much just put his team on notice with the NHL, almost guaranteeing a fine or suspension if they do start targeting Rangers players because of premeditation similar to when Phillies pitcher Hamels said he purposely threw at Nationals phenom Harper and was suspended accordingly.

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Kevin

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