The New York Rangers’ loss to the Calgary Flames last week was a frustrating one, and the benching of Kaapo Kakko was a point of contention for fans after the game — which, in a shocking revelation, included Larry David.
The comedy legend, and apparent New York Ranger fan, was in studio for an interview on The Michael Kay Show on Tuesday. He talked a lot about New York sports, and unprompted, he brought up the benching of Kakko in the third period.
As David mentioned, Kakko was having a strong night, as the Rangers rookie snapped a 14-game goal drought in addition to picking up an assist. But that seemed to go all out the window after Kakko took a holding penalty with 7:52 left in the game.
Overall Kakko’s total ice time in the third was light to begin with, and that is puzzling given the pace he had played with during the second period.
The brain is a funny thing. Kakko got one assist and suddenly he's carrying the puck with authority. And I swear I started typing this before that goal.— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) January 3, 2020
Statistically, Kakko was one of the better Rangers in terms of scoring chances and xG differential that night — he had a 57.23 xGF% and 75 HDCF%, respectively at 5-on-5 — so rightfully there was some confusion as to why he wasn’t on the ice in crunch time when the team needed the offensive creation that he could have provided to win.
Kakko scores to tie the game 3-3, Fox earns his third assist of the game. Really good shift from ~the kids~ Kakko, Chytil, Howden, Fox, and Lindgren leading up to the goal #NYR pic.twitter.com/XBhZuOWQ5j— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 3, 2020
The best part of this spot is that David brings something up about the notion of benching, and whether it’s an effective strategy when teaching a player. Don La Greca tried explaining that David Quinn is trying to hold players accountable, especially in a one-goal game, but that didn’t matter to Larry.
He said, “but you think putting him on the bench is going to make him …. You don’t think he knows he took a bad penalty. He knows. Benching him is not going to do anything … They need another goal.”
Overall his thoughts pretty much line up with what I tweeted after the game.
He’s a kid they are looking to light a spark in. He picks up an assist by being proactive taking a shot on the power play which leads to a rebound. He has a great shift which results in a goal scored. Fan the flame and let it breathe, don’t snuff it out.— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) January 3, 2020
Part of the problem is that expectations and goals for this team are kinda all over the place and not uniform. They wanna make the playoffs, very unlikely. They wanna develop. Trying to follow at times is like this... pic.twitter.com/8RxCbaaXBO— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) January 3, 2020
David’s commentary was refreshing and relatable, as most fans get frustrated over player usage — especially when that usage lands a player with the offensive upside of Kakko, for Greg McKegg. Sometimes, like Larry David did over the Rangers’ tilt against the Flames, you just have to question your team. And sometimes, benching a player like Kakko when the team’s in need of a win.. “C’mon that’s ridiculous!”
Here’s to hoping that Larry doesn’t curb his enthusiasm when it comes to sharing Rangers takes for the rest of the season... ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)