Ryan Gropp - who the Rangers selected 41st overall in the 2015 draft - really came through for his junior team last night. He assisted on the Seattle Thunderbirds' game winning goal in double OT to complete the sweep over the Kelowna Rockets and head to the Western Hockey League final.
Gropp scored 70 points in 66 regular season games with Seattle; in the playoffs, he now has five points - three goals and two assists - through six games.
Thanks to CSN, we can actually watch Dan Boyle's demand that Larry Brooks leave before doing his end-of-season scrum with the rest of the reporters.
And wow, he really is not happy. Right from the beginning, he's swearing at Brooks, saying nobody - including Boyle himself - has any respect for him, and that he wants him to, well, get out. And that's putting it lightly.
When Brooks doesn't comply, Boyle continues. For the entire duration of the video.
It's one thing to read it - it's another thing to watch and listen to Boyle as he goes in.
He wouldn't be wrong. After going deep into the playoffs two seasons in a row, the Rangers stumbled out of the gate and never recovered, winning just one playoff game.
... After buying Eric Staal at the deadline and giving up even more draft picks (and a prospect). And with an average age of 28.227 years, they're the oldest team in the NHL. With one of the highest cap hits, and eight big money contracts for at least the next three seasons.
The way the Rangers are structured right now, it appears they may be headed for quite the decline, so a change to the core - both to free up some cap space and hopefully bring back some good, young players - might just be necessary.
In that case, hopefull it'll be a busy summer.
Thank u all for the support during the year & I promise u that it will be our mission to prove any doubters we can come back better next yr— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
NHL is so competitive that success can never be taken for granted. With a vision/hard work I believe we can get there, I hope u do 2! #NYR— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
Henrik Lundqvist is far from being even included on the list of the Rangers' worst problems, but fact is, he did just have the worst playoffs of his career, and he isn't getting any younger.
Still. He's a leader on this team, and while tough times are ahead, it's generally nice to see optimism from one of your team's best players, no matter what.
With a healthy dose of humility. As Lundqvist points out, the Rangers were extremely lucky to go deep into the playoffs two years in a row, as unfortunate as it was that they couldn't win the ultimate prize.
Really, Lundqvist's words sum up the beginning of the off-season well: and it's all any of us can do but hope his sentiments are reflected in reality.
"A lot of people said, ‘He’s a good player, but he’s not going to make it because he’s too short, he’s too small. Back home in Norway, from juniors to when I played on an elite team, people said I wasn’t going to make it. Got a chance to go play in Sweden: not gonna make it. From Sweden to here, the NHL? The same thing. All my life it’s been that way. Ever since I was little."
After a beat, those last words sink in. "Well, I’m still little," he says, smirking. "Ever since I was young."Mats Zuccarello, via Ben Reiter and Sports Illustrated, on his size - before getting into the consequences of the slapshot he took to the head a year ago.
The rest of the piece is an emotional journey through the aftermath of that time. It's one thing to say that Zuccarello lost his speech; it's another entirely to be standing in the shoes of someone witnessing that firsthand, with no idea if he would be able to recover or not.
But he did. So if there's anyone who knows anything about improbable comebacks, it's definitely Mats Zuccarello.
This is the best part about technology: all the wild and crazy stuff we get a chance to see thanks to it. Cameras with this much resolution are insane - and the images they provide us with are so, so cool.
Is there any place better to watch hockey than at Madison Square Garden? Seriously, just take a look around - it's absolutely majestic.
I wish I could have been as cool as this kid when I was in fourth grade.
Scott Podstupka, you better have gotten an A+ for your work. Not only does he follow the rules of a haiku perfectly, but he also captures the emotion of watching the Rangers play playoff hockey as well.
With lines like, "We yell at the TV set," "Henrik Lundqvist rules," and "Please God score a goal," you know this kid is going places.
There we have it: Henrik Lundqvist is officially back in the net for the Rangers.
This was the likely outcome - by all accounts, Lundqvist seemed okay the day following Marc Staal's stick getting a little too close to comfort - but to have official confirmation is that much more reassuring.
Thank goodness, because the eye injury he suffered late in the first period of Game 1 against the Penguins was rather scary, as eye injuries can often be.
As Jim Cerney notes, this will be Lundqvist's "112th consecutive post-season start for the Rangers", further emphasizing his importance to the club. Where would they be without him? Let's not think about that.
He played this morning in a Wolf Pack win. The Rangers already have 13 forwards on the roster.
Outside of Scott Stevens, Hank is the fiercest competitor I’ve ever played with. He’s so dialled in. I mean, there are a lot of goalies in the league who you just don’t talk to on game day. But when I got to New York, it was a different level. I remember them telling me, "Don’t even look at Hank on game day. Literally, don’t. He’s locked in. Leave him be."Mike Rupp, via The Players' Tribune, on Henrik Lundqvist
When Rupp joined the Rangers, he got to see the inner-workings of one of the best goalies in the world up close. And Lundqvist is a whole other level of intense.
He calls him the "x-factor" for this playoff series, and considering how Rupp played on both the Rangers and Penguins, he probably knows. If anyone can will a team to anything, it's probably Lundqvist.