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Friday, May 22, 2015

Rick Nash's double helps the Rangers tie the series at 2


That is what you waited to see from your President's Trophy winners. That's what you needed to see from the Rangers as they bounced back from a tough Overtime loss in Game 3 to a big four goal victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning and tie this series at two a piece. The type of defense and finally breaking out with another five goal performance as the Rangers head back to Madison Square Garden on Sunday night and try to take a three games to two lead in this series.

But the big awakening of Rick Nash was something many have wanted to see and as he opened the scoring in the first period, he ended the scoring in the third period to earn his first multi-goal playoff game in his career. At 17:18 of the first period Carl Hagelin kicked the puck out of the zone and to Kevin Hayes to generate a quick two on one, but Hayes quickly gave the puck to Nash who skated hard to the net and as he went back hand up close, the shot hit the far post and pinballed off of Ben Bishop's left leg and into the back of the net. That ended the first period giving the Rangers a lead late in the opening period.

His second of the game ended the night in the third as Nash was able to take Hayes deflected shot from Keith Yandle that was saved by Bishop and stuffs the rebound thru the pads and that would end the night for the Lightning. But let's not forget that any chance the Lightning get are sometimes out of the blue and Steven Stamkos found a way to tie up the score at 11:30 of the 2nd period as he made a quick snapping shot out of nowhere to beat Lundqvist blocker side.

But the Rangers knew they couldn't allow a big emotional let down again and this time they found a way to regain the lead and keep it as the game continued on Kevin Klein who has been a big asset in the regular season found a way to get a shot on net, but a juicy rebound found Chris Kreider who converted the rebound to make it two to one Rangers, then Keith Yandle finally gets his first of the playoffs as he ripped a shot that deflected off a Hedman and the Rangers took a two goal lead into the third.

Then a Power Play Goal was finally converted by Marty St. Louis as he was able to cash in his first of the 2015 playoffs and the New York Rangers can breath as they finally get a win at the Amalie Arena in the playoffs. But the one player that can really take a deep breath and finally enjoy this victory is starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist as he was able to celebrate. Let's be honest with ourselves and say that Henrik had to really refocus and reset his mind to face this Lightning team that has had his number in the regular season.

We can easily say that game three was his worst in his playoff career as he whiffed on that OT winner by Kucherov and got shot up looking like Swiss cheese, but while Lundqvist made spectacular saves again to keep his team in the game, but the truth is that his defense was there to help him as the Lightning once again was cherry picking from the Rangers blue line to sneak in and convert their chances.

But as of right now the Rangers look like they have found their game again and have sent this series back to the Garden all tied at two and hopefully with a big crowd back in the big apple can get loud for the Rangers and hope to take the series lead when they had it after game one.
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Red Bulls ready for slumping Philadelphia Union



The start of the 2015 season for the New York Red Bulls has been very surprising with their results as they have been unbeaten in nine of their first ten games. So far all the credit has to go to Head Coach Jesse Marsch who has done a wonderful job finding ways to get this side to be competitive and not resting on their laurels, but now they have a tough opponent coming over in the Philadelphia Union.

Their fourth matchup in the I-95 Corridor this season as the Red Bulls host the Union on MLS Super Soccer Sunday for this tussle and even if the Union have had a bad start to this season, you can throw it all the window as these two clubs absolutely hate each other and the Union have only recorded one point in the five plus years facing the Red Bulls. “We will not overlook them this has always been a tough game.” Said Lloyd Sam, “I’ve seen a lot of their highlights, they seem to be a bit unlucky with their results, and they gave a penalty to Salt Lake on Maurice Edu.”

Sacha Kljestan is familiar with this area and the northeast with all the chatter that goes around as he attended Seton Hall for their soccer program, so he is aware how big these games are. But he’s not too concerned about using that knowledge to face the Union.

“From what I’ve heard no one likes Philly in the locker room, it’s a big rivalry but this rivalry is fairly new. They made the playoffs once in their history, but it’s always a tough matchup. We feel we are a good team, but we are also a confident team when we get out on the field.”

Head Coach Jesse Marsch knows what he needs to do when he faces a challenge from the opposition in Union Striker Conor Casey who has found ways to beat this Red Bulls team no matter which side he’s been on. Every time Casey finds a way to get close to the Red Bulls net, he’s able to beat Luis Robles or whoever has been the keeper for this club as Casey scores with ease. “He did well against us in preseason as he found gaps underneath our defenders, holds up balls for others so he can advance himself into the attack. Conor is good coming from a wide position so when he does go wide we have to identify where he is so we can stop his attacks. We also have to battle so we can win loose balls.”

The big cog in the midfield for the Union is Maurice Edu and he will be unavailable as he is serving a one match suspension on yellow card accumulation, but in this game both Kljestan & Damien Perrinelle is one caution away from getting a one game suspension on accumulation. So the Red Bulls must be aware of that and hope to get the three points.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nikita Kucherov's OT winner Helps Tampa win crazy Game 3


It was one of the craziest Game three's in the 2015 Eastern Conference final as both teams managed to score ten goals combined (five for both sides) in regulation time that it had to go into overtime to get a winner. And the winner was one Nikita Kucherov at 3:33 as he snapped a quick shot between both Rangers defenders and went top shelf inside the near post that somehow Henrik Lundqvist whiffed and skated off in disgust.

But the Rangers wanted to make up for that poor and sloppy performance at Madison Square Garden in Game 2 and got off to a great start on the Power Play as Derick Brassard continues his hot playoff performance by ripping a hard shot thru a screen in front of Ben Bishop at 1:02 of the first, the a streaking Jesper fast got his first NHL playoff goal at 9:55 from a brilliant feed by Chris Kreider. Fast got to Bishop and as soon as he was ready to shoot forehand, faked it and went backhand.

But they allowed Steven Stamkos to convert a rebound chance and that ended the opening period with the Rangers ahead by a goal. The second period was a different story as the Lightning was able to slice and dice thru the Rangers defense and converted three more times within a six plus minutes streak as they got a Ondrej Palat power play goal, Tyler Johnson is continuing his goal parade in the playoff and then an Alex Killorn shot got by Lundqvist.

But being down by two goals the Rangers found a way to keep themselves alive as Fast got his second of the game and converted on a rebound chance going top shelf. Tampa leading by a goal after the end of the second period and there was life for the Rangers after another sloppy period. Then the third began and once again the Captain of the Rangers Ryan McDonagh found a way to tie this game up from a blast at the point on the power play at 2:28 of the final regulation period. But once again the Lightning sliced and diced the Rangers defense to retake the lead by Palat as he glided in and slammed home the poetical game winner by Lundqvist.

It looked like the Rangers were going to lose game 3 and all hope was about to get lost till a miracle goal came out of nowhere from Dan Boyle who was in the right place at the right time and slammed home the puck from a great feed by J.T. Miller and after sixty minutes of play the Rangers and the Lightning went into overtime.

This was a tough pill to swallow for the Rangers as they had a great first period, fell apart in the second only to try and piece it back together and forced overtime in the third. Right now the Rangers grinding defensive play has been missing since Game 2, the Lightning are taking advantage and finding holes in the ice to exploit and getting their goals past Lundqvist. When your defense is not executing, your going to see the scoreboard not in your favor and they can't play the run and gun game Tampa is.

The truth is that both Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis who are good people and have played in the NHL for a long time are sadly hurting the Rangers because they are getting outworked and outmuscled off the puck and when you see the other side taking advantage of that, more times than not the puck will be inside your net. But let's hope that Alain Vigneault will get the troops ready for this Friday night and try to even the series again.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Watching, Reading & Listening of the Deflate Gate story on Tom Brady


When you were watching the AFC Championship game earlier this past January you saw Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shred thru the Indianapolis Colts like a hot knife through butter as the team in the dark blue jerseys and silver helmets ran up the scoreboard because they were the better and more talented team on that night.

But that one moment you were wondering about when one of the on field officials picked up a ball before the Patriots snapped it and changed it from the sidelines, you were wondering about what was going on. Well when the news came out at the start of the second half that the New England Patriots eleven game balls were deflated by two pounds, you wondered if we were going to have another moment of improprieties and after the Patriots won the AFC, news came out that two men who worked for the team and got orders from Tom Brady to intentionally deflate the game balls.

After the Patriots won the Super Bowl and a total of three and a half months went by of Ted Wells independent investigation on this matter was over, the NFL decided to fine the New England Patriots one Million Dollars, take away their 1st Round pick in the 2016 Draft & a fourth round pick in the 2017 Draft. Tom Brady who supposedly did not intentionally do the deed, but informed these two men on how he wanted to handle the game balls was given a four game suspension that doesn’t count towards their Week 4 Bye.

And now we have a verbal war going around from all parties involved from the Patriots to the League, to the former Patriots players that played with Brady who analyze the NFL on ESPN & NFL Network to the fans in & outside of Boston. First let’s go to the Patriots vs. the NFL as we have seen a lot of shenanigans going on from within the league. While it looks like the NFL finally got this one correct, they are not innocent in this matter as we all know how they handled the Ray Rice mess and the first infraction of Spy Gate as the Patriots were caught cheating. Filming their opponent’s signals during practices and sending it back to Bill Belechick. Roger Goodell has failed the fans and 31 out of 32 of his bosses as the shield has been damaged for a good long time.

The arrogance of the Patriots have soured on the other owners and the majority of the NFL’s fan bases outside the Boston & New England area, as they are seen as a team not so much trying to push the boundaries of the rule book; but to break it at any time. The majority will never trust the Patriots because no matter what happens on the field even if it looks like a legitimate game was played, those will always find fault no matter what.

Former players who played with Brady like Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinest & Heath Evans that are analysts for ESPN & NFL Network respectively have come out and defended Brady saying “Not once have I seen him break the rules.” Using their platform to support Brady in his time of need, let’s also not forget that every fan of Brady and all of Boston is informing every single fan outside of their region that everyone is jealous of the team’s success and the NFL is on a witch hunt for no reason.

After digesting all the information online, dvr’ing shows on both networks to get to the answers I needed to seek, the conclusion I have come up with is very simple. If the New England Patriots were the better team in the AFC Championship game and they were definitely better than the Colts, why does Tom Brady need help from two idiots to deflate the game balls and compromise the integrity of the game?

Why does this team from New England continue to show their arrogance every single game and continue to bend the rules and hoping not to or not caring if they did break the rules to win a game or to get to the Super Bowl? Bill Belichick is a smart coach and Tom Brady is a very talented Quarterback that doesn’t need to go this far to prove what they are, but for some silly reason they want to prove a point and while that point is disgusting they are showing what they really have become. Taking a phrase from former WWF/WWE wrestler & commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura in the 80’s “Win if you can, Lose if you must, But always Cheat” because right now there is no integrity from this team.

You have never seen great QB’s in the past pull out illegal plays just to get to a Super Bowl. Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Eli & Peyton Manning, John Elway, Joe Montana, Joe Flacco, Phil Simms, Drew Brees and many other Quarterbacks from the past to the present have always showed the honor and playing the right way to get to and winning a Super Bowl Championship. As most of you know I am a New York Jets fan and in Baseball I’m a Yankees fan, the one moment I can relate to this type of illegal move or illegal play is from the early 90’s as Tim Leary was pitching for the Yankees and on the road down in Baltimore.

It was Sunday Night Baseball and of course more cameras than normal would be around Oriole Park. Play was stopped by the Umpires as they went to the mound to check the Yankees starting pitcher's glove. They examined Leary’s glove and found nothing so play resumed, but one camera on a close up  shot saw Leary cover his face with his glove, but had enough room to see him stuff a piece of sandpaper in his mouth to doctor a baseball and avoid an ejection as well as a possible suspension. I was disappointed and turned off the t.v. as I didn’t care about the win or the loss anymore.

A player on the team I cheer for did the wrong thing & I’ll be honest I have decided to stop cheering for Alex Rodriguez because not only have I forgave him once for admitting he took steroids before the 2009 season got started, but when he got caught the second time and suspended for the entire 2014 season, I swore that I will never cheer for him again in the uniform of my favorite team.

As I have read many facebook posts discussing the Tom Brady situation and many saying that Jets fans are jealous of this so called success, the truth is that I’m not jealous at all. I am not ashamed of being a Jets fan and at the same time why would I be jealous of teams that has won championships the legal and right way? I respect the Steelers, 49ers, NY Football Giants, Ravens, Colts and other NFL teams that won either one or multiple titles. If all four Super Bowl Championships were won the same way as these other teams have done, I would applaud the Patriots and maybe I wouldn’t like it but I have to respect it. But sadly that respect has been thrown out the window as this team with a Great Owner, a fantastic Head Coach and a talented Quarterback has proven they need to break the rules to earn a couple of false titles.
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Rangers help Tampa tie the series with poor play



The Rangers knew that after a poor performance by the Lightning in game one, the Bolts were ready to show why they were able to get to the Eastern Conference Final by taking out both the Red Wings & Canadiens. Well after a solid start to the game and getting a rare two man advantage on the Power Play, it all started to go wrong.

A sort of a lazy pass to Martin St. Louis led to a strange situation as his skate stepped on the puck and fell down that allowed a rare 2 on 0 short handed chance for the Lightning that was converted by Tyler Johnson as the puck trickled past Lundqvist and in for the first shorthanded goal against the Rangers at 5:38 of the 1st Period. After a Chris Kreider Power Play goal to tie it up at 8:50 another Special Teams goal was converted by the Lightning at 11:15 as Tyler Johnson again converts on a 4 on 3 Power Play up close.

Johnson would get his hat trick in the 2nd period as he just trickles it again past Lundqvist and at 8:17 of the second made it a two goal advantage. Even though Derek Stepan pulled another goal back and it was a smart move to bank the puck off a Lightning player and into the net from behind the cage, the Lightning took advantage of poor play from the Rangers and two big goals from Alex Killorn who scored two and Steven Stamkos sealed the deal.

But a key play by Ben Bishop stopped the Rangers from tying the game as both Rick Nash and Jesper Fast attacked on Shorthand chances as Nash shot was stopped and Fast tried to convert the rebound, but couldn’t as Bishop lifted his left pad and then the Lightning converted. This was the poor performance that Alain Vigneault was dreading against a Lightning team that didn’t have anything in Game 1, but came back and showed it tonight.

This is the first game that the Rangers haven’t won or lost a playoff game by a goal as the Lightning won it by four, but the truth is that any loss by a small or large margin still stings and now they will fly down to Tampa, Florida to get ready for Game 3.

But you hope the Rangers like they did to the Penguins in the first round will shake off this game two loss and try to split these next two or try to take both road games down in Central West Florida as the Rangers will try to retake the lead in this series.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jets Podcast Off-Season Report: Deflate Gate Suspension Rumors

<iframe width="400" height="370" src="http://player.cinchcast.com/?platformId=1&assetType=single&assetId=7602629" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><div style="font-size: 10px;text-align: center;width:400px;">Check Out Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with <a href="http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jets-fansfavorite" rel="nofollow">FansFavorite*com Jets Podcast</a> on BlogTalkRadio</div>

Listen to the latest Jets Podcast with Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they discuss the possible Suspension of Tom Brady & the Deflate gate shenanigans.
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Dominic Moore, Right Shin shot gives the Rangers a one game lead in East Final


It was a tense third period for the Rangers as they lost their one goal lead on the Power Play by Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat as he ripped a fantastic shot that just beat Henrik Lundqvist at the near post. As the game progressed and both sides were exchanging chances, Dominic Moore was called for Tripping at 15:05 and the Rangers killed that penalty which led to the chance that gave the Rangers another 2-1 victory.

Derick Brassard cycled behind the goal line and found Kevin Hayes who has been a revelation in the 2nd half of the season and during the playoffs, skated to the near corner and with a quick turnaround fired the puck towards goal that got thru the crease, but Moore was in perfect position to skate towards the back end of Ben Bishop and with no distinct kick motion deflected the puck inside the back of the net off his right shin to give the Rangers a one game lead in the Eastern Conference Final.

The Rangers got on the board first in the end of the 2nd Period as once again it was Derek Stepan who was in the right place at the right time to take a rebound and slam it past the goaltender. As Chris Kreider tried to deflect a shot from Ryan McDonagh from the point it left a juicy rebound for Stepan who converted at 19:47.

But once again the goaltending has been superb to start Game 1 as both Lundqvist & Bishop has been outstanding keeping both sides in the game, especially Bishop who is six foot, seven and has made several spectacular saves that kept his side into the contest. The one thing we have seen from him that has shown his weakness is over compensating in his crease by staying to much to the front side and exposing his back.

But the rest of the Lightning did not play well in game 1. Head Coach Jon Cooper admitted that his team while doing well in the first two rounds of the playoffs are still not comfortable being in the playoffs, because it has taken away their style of play with all the tight checking going on and the Rangers showed why they are able to play this game in the opening period of game 1.

That's why Ben Bishop was able to keep his team in the game with his goaltending, but when Game 2 begins on Monday, I would believe that Cooper will change things up and try to tie up this series before it heads back to Tampa, Florida. But right now the Rangers are feeling good and are prepared to play in these one goal games and the score being 2-1 on the winning side.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wright-Phillips Brace gives 10 Men Red Bulls rivalry advantage

 

Wright-Phillips Brace helps 10 Men Red Bulls defeat NYCFC

The atmosphere was electric at Red Bull Arena as the first ever rivalry game that was played within the tri-state area of NY, NJ & CT was nonstop from the fans arriving, to the tailgating, to the filling of the stadium, warm-ups and then the opening whistle. Over 1,500+ wearing NYCFC jerseys taking up a couple of sections of the upper deck in the North side of the stadium while over 25,000 Red Bull fans were giving it back verbally.

But the man of the match was definitely Bradley Wright-Phillips as he scored two goals and nearly a third to make this a bigger win than usual, but still walking away with a 2-1 win was a favorable result for the side in Red & White. First blood came in the 4th minute as Dax McCarty gave a quick ball to Sacha Kljestan and as he started the attacking run, Sacha finds Lloyd Sam who got to the end line. A quick and surprising cross from Sam finds Wright-Phillips who was all alone and converted the first goal of the game.

The second on came in the second half at the 52 minute and this time that trio of Sam, Kljestan and Wright-Phillips came together to get that important second goal of the game and did so splendidly. Sam brought the ball up the right side and crossed it to a wide open Kljestan who drew the defenders to him and when Wright-Phillips was all alone an easy pass to tap it in past Josh Saunders to make it two goals to nil. There was an attempt to make it 3-0 in the 66th minute and Wright-Phillips was aiming for the Hat Trick, with Damien Perrinelle along side. But the attempt was a leg save by Saunders and on replay it showed that if there was a pass attempt to Perrinelle he was in an offside position.

Even though substitute Patrick Mullins pulled one back in the 76th minute there was nothing NYCFC could do as the Red Bulls win the 1st of three games between these two sides and the return leg will be on Sunday, June 28th at 5PM on ESPN 2 at Yankee Stadium.

But the Red Bulls were playing this game down to ten men as Matt Miazga unfortunately got two yellow cards and sent off in the 36th minute as he created a dangerous tackle in the 18th minute by nearly taking out Khiry Shelton with a studs up sliding challenge which he was lucky not to see a red card there, but sadly the second challenge against Shelton did take him off the field and Miazga who was selected by Tab Ramos for the US U-20 World Cup team at the end of this month, will miss the road game down to FC Dallas this Friday.

But overall this was the best regular season game when it comes to two local sides that are just a couple of minutes away from each other and you hope more will come with the next two this season as well as future of this hard nose rivalry between the older brother and the new born baby that is NYCFC.


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Friday, May 8, 2015

The First New York MLS Rivalry Game should be interesting



 
As we all know about this wonderful city and area that we live in, there is no shortage amount of chatter when you talk about your teams and when your favorite sides that play in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County on Long Island or even in Newark, NJ since Northern NJ & Southern Connecticut are attached to the most famous city in the world.
Plenty of smack talk has been bantering around every year as the Mets & the Yankees now have their interleague games, the Rangers & Islanders along with the Devils banter around their NHL seasons, the Knicks & Nets have a closer rivalry now that the Hudson River Vagabonds have settled into Brooklyn. This NFL season the Jets & the Giants will face each other in their once every four years match up at Met Life Stadium.
But something new has been added. For the first time since the LA Galaxy, Chivas-USA rivalry that has failed miserably and not become what it was suppose to be, it seems that the first season of NYCFC has started to take shape fan wise but the results haven’t been there to start the season. While the Red Bulls are having a surprising start to the season going unbeaten in their first seven then earning their first loss of the season at New England last week, you can throw out the record books when two New York sides are fighting against each other.
“This is a huge game for me, for the club and for the league” said Long Island Native Mike Grella, “It should raise the profile for the NY area. It’s such a big game and promoting soccer so it should be celebrated in New York. Being the native New Yorker, it’s pretty amazing how the direction of both clubs are going. My family are excited about this & it should grow to become a big rivalry.”
But if you talk to Bradley Wright-Phillips who comes from England, everyone knows what those types of rivalries games or darby games when you have both Manchester sides at each other, the different London teams that have the bragging rights from the fans and other historical rivals that have been around since the game was created.
“The one that stands out to me when I was younger at Manchester City I was playing in the Manchester darby, wasn’t with the side for long but that atmosphere was incredible and it was something special to be apart of.” But now what does it mean to be involved with a darby between New Yorkers? “If you look around the world where the leagues are respected and have massive darby’s this league should be no different with a city like New York, it’s a no brainer.” And now with social media involved does the chatter get greater between the rival fans? “It’s been crazy. All I’ve seen on twitter is the hashtag line #NYisRed, can’t say what was said, I’ll reserve it for the late night special. The fans are so excited and they can’t wait to get here.”
But as we all know the fun and games will be on the field and for Jesse Marsch it’s trying to contain David Villa who will be back in the starting lineup for Jason Kreis as the results have not been kind to the upstart side wearing Manchester City Blue. “When you talk about them and having (David) Villa, they are a much different team than without him. We need to be ready to face them with him, but he isn’t just the main focus because their results haven’t shown how improved they have been.”
And where will the main focus be in this battle against NYCFC? “The focus will be in the midfield as it looks like Mix Diskerud and Sacha Kljestan are the same type of player that can run the game plan and go a little bit harder, it’s not just the quality it’s also the mentality of the player as well.”
So as the city of New York experiences the first League rivalry game as we remember last season that the Cosmos & Red Bulls faced each other in the US Open Cup, this should be a heck of a start to this NY Hudson River Battle, but if NYCFC fails into the Chivas-USA 2 Category, then Don Garber has some serious explaining to do.
 
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