• It was Revenge Of The Ex-Devils in Newark Wednesday as New Jersey suffered at the hands of alumni members Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan in a 4-1 loss to the cross-town rival New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Shanahan had the opening goal against New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur, while Gomez had three assists against his former team. However, if either Ranger is expecting the spotlight Thursday morning, they’ll be sorely surprised; the No. 1 talking point, without a doubt, will be Brodeur’s episode of cranial flatulence that led to the Blueshirts’ shorthanded, go-ahead goal, and the subsequently (and uncharacteristically) quick collapse of the Devils.
There is no getting around it – Brodeur just plain froze when the puck dribbled in front of him midway through the third period, perhaps not realizing New York’s Ryan Callahan was swooping around from behind the net before the right winger scored at a bad angle.
Naturally, the question will be asked a little louder now – is this the second straight post-season the 35-year-old, heavily-worked Brodeur runs out of gas? The guy I think will go down in history as the game’s greatest-ever netminder has six more games to prove it isn’t.
• Admit it – if Devils GM Lou Lamoriello announced tomorrow he’d fired coach Brent Sutter and was stepping behind the bench for the rest of New Jersey’s playoff run, you wouldn’t be that surprised, would you? Me neither.
• Meanwhile, the heavily favored San Jose Sharks got a sobering wakeup call in their 3-2 loss to Calgary Wednesday.
No doubt, the usual suspects will emerge from the woodwork to start last rites for the Sharks, who looked absolutely shell-shocked for the opening part of the first period. But after that stretch, San Jose outshot the Flames 38-16, and it was only because of Miikka Kiprusoff’s strong performance that the game didn’t go into overtime.
Considering Kiprusoff’s inconsistent showings late in the regular season, the Flames have to be hoping he can put up a string of similar stymie jobs, because the Sharks don’t look ready to lie down and die just yet.
• One of the week’s more heavily linked-to sports journalism stories is a fantastic article in the New York Magazine on the NBA’s sadder-than-sadsack New York Knicks. But a great sidebar story – and one that should be of interest to NHL fans – is this New York Daily News piece by Frank Isola on the media-relations policies at Madison Square Garden for both the Knicks and New York Rangers.
For me, the most intriguing – and troubling – part of Isola’s story is this:
“(T)here is a ‘company response’ for unfavorable stories that the heads of each media-relations department are instructed to follow:
– A call to the reporter by the public relations representative explaining the objections the company had with the way in which the story was written.
– Limiting a media person’s follow-up access to the division representative about the incident in question.
– Limiting the media person’s follow-up access to the division about all subjects.
– Limiting the media person’s follow-up access to the company about all company projects.”
What can you say about such a backwards, cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face policy? It looks like the NHL should be having more showdowns with the Rangers’ ownership, and not just about who controls advertisements for their website.
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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