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Jets Offseason Show: 2015 Schedule Review

Join Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they breakdown the NFL Schedule on the 2015 New York Jets. They will pick a part and disect every single week from begining to end against the AFC East Division, AFC South Division, NFC East Division and the AFC North's Cleveland Browns as well as the AFC West's Oakland

Check Out Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with FansFavorite*com Jets Podcast on BlogTalkRadio

Carl Hagelin’s OT winner puts the Rangers into the second round

You knew that the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to attempt to pull off what the Rangers did to them in the second round of last year’s playoffs. You knew they were going to try to enter Madison Square Garden being down three games to one and march forward winning the final three games of this series. But all those hopes were erased deep into the first period of overtime as both teams tied at one a piece had to settle it into the extra period once again.

At 10:52 it was the Rangers cycling in the Penguins end that got them their big chance to close this first round series against the Penguins as Dominic Moore found a way to hold the puck and left it for Carl Hagelin who skated from behind the net, took a big spin and wristed it short side on Marc-Andre Fleury and beat him short side to give the New York Rangers another 2-1 win and taking the series four games to one.

After snapping home that puck you saw Madison Square Garden go absolutely nuts as the Garden Faithful all jumped out of their seats in unison and the party began as you saw the hand shake line begin and now awaiting their second round opponent that will be either the New York Islanders or the Washington Capitals who lead this series by three games to two.

But once again it was the Rangers who got on the board first and converted their first Power Play chance of the evening in the first period. Derek Stepan scored his second goal of the playoffs at 4:23 as he saw the rebound from the rip at the point by Dan Boyle as he kicked the puck towards his stick and stuffed it home.

As it looked like the Rangers had a strangle hold in this game, the truth is that the Penguins were starting to come around and play a lot better. While their Power Play wasn’t converting, the momentum from their last one in the second period put the Penguins into a great position to level the game at one as Nick Spaling found a way to bat the puck into the net either intentionally or unintentionally past Lundqvist and after a lengthy review the NHL deemed that the goal was good and at 17:23 the game was tied throughout regulation. 
But once again the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves eliminated after Hagelin converted the series winner into the first overtime session.

While the questions will come back towards the Penguins as Sidney Crosby didn’t do enough after his game 2 performance and Evgeni Malkin who was recovering from an injury did absolutely nothing in this series, the truth is that the only thing keeping this team alive was their goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. When one out of your three top stars is your goaltender and he gets no reward for keeping your team alive four of the five games, there are serious questions that need to be asked about the chemistry of this team.

There’s only so much you can do riding on the history of this team from Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Kevin Stevens, Paul Coffey, Tom Barrasso & the last Stanley Cup this team won can only go so far that with new coach Mike Johnston at the helm being involved in his first NHL Playoffs. But on the other side of the rink the Rangers have one of the best goaltenders in the league, along with four balanced lines and solid defensive pairings the Rangers showed why they were able to win the President’s Trophy this season.

But while it’s a great series ender and celebration in New York, there is a bit of concern for Mats Zuccarello who accidentally took a puck off the back of his head from teammate Ryan McDonagh when the Rangers were in the Penguins end in the first period. Hopefully he will return once the Capitals/Islanders series is over, but once again the Rangers for the second consecutive year eliminates a Penguins team that showed character and heart, but just couldn’t find that extra effort to get past the Rangers.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Will Galaxy Vs. Red Bulls have the same punch without the big stars?

This match up on the MLS Schedule is always a big talking point when these two sides get together. No matter how early, late or somewhere in the middle this game gets played, Galaxy Vs. Red Bulls is always going to be a talking point for the league.

But this time around the shine might be dulled with the number one issue that is going to plague this match up. That is the superstars that are not available. The retirements of Thierry Henry & Landon Donovan along with Tim Cahill ending his contract for a move to the Chinese first division and now we are getting word that Robbie Keane will not play this Sunday as he suffered a setback healing a groin injury.

So at the moment the number one focus will be on the head coaches as Bruce Arena for LA will match wits against Jesse Marsch as the heavyweight battle in this game on National Television. “I know Bruce very well. I played for him, he has been incredibly successful. He’s a guy whom I looked up to & seeks advice from over the years. He was my neighbor in LA and I know what his teams are about and they will be ready for this match.”

As we already discussed about the big names no longer around or out due to injury, both sides still have talent and are dangerous on the field. Marsch assessed the situation “They still have a lot of talent there, but losing Landon (Donovan) he has been their identity for years. But they still have plenty of talent over there and I know that they will be ready for this game.”

Of course we all know about Gyasi Zardes and how dynamic he is when he has the ball up top and how athletic he is trying to get into position to get a shot on goal and he is going to be one of the key match ups for young Matt Miazga who has looked fantastic since filling in for the injured Ronald Zubar along with his possible trip to New Zealand for the US U-20’s in the World Cup end of May. “I feel very comfortable in what goes on and I feel very good out there, we’re getting the results so it’s all good. Also playing with the U-20’s in Jamaica really helped my game.”

You wonder if playing with fellow center back Damien Perrinelle has helped him perform better and become a strong tandem. “Damien has been great and he is an experienced player, so having him next to me or even Ronald (Zubar) both of them are very experienced players and they give me pointers during training and stuff to work on. The communication has been very good.”

So while both sides are getting ready for this Sunday’s encounter and hopefully a nationwide audience will be ready on MLS Soccer Sunday at 5 PM on ESPN 2, these two sides losing superstars at the start of the season will be ready with their stars and future stars of the league performing at a high level for three points.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Kevin Hayes OT Winner puts the Rangers in the driver’s seat against the Penguins

This first round series has been everything you wanted to see so far as these two teams have been battling hard for every inch of ice and so far the President Trophy winners are the ones that have come out on top.

After three periods of regulation hockey in Game 4 it would be the great season rookie sensation Kevin Hayes that earned the game winner at 3:14 of the 1st overtime period to put the Rangers ahead and lead the series 3 to 1. It was a mad scramble at Marc-Andre Fleury’s crease as both Martin St. Louis & Carl Hagelin would try to put the puck into the net, but were unsuccessful until Hayes finds the loose puck and buries it for the game winner.

But this game got started with a very poor first period by the Rangers as they got out worked and out shot with a Patric Hornqvist goal at 2:22 of the first period as he deflected a shot from the point and screened Henrik Lundqvist. It looked like the Penguins were going to take advantage of the Rangers, but not so as Lundqvist played solid in net and you could see the Rangers slowly but surely getting their game back.

The Rangers would tie the game up late in the 2nd Period by a man who has been a on a tear since the start of the playoffs. Derick Brassard converted on his third of the playoffs on a dirty goal that he tried to stuff past Fleury three times and that was the charm to get this game all tied up at 17:15 of the second period.

To force overtime you need some luck on your side of the rink and that’s what happened to Lundqvist in the middle of the period as he made a quick decision to play the puck on a shot by Evgeni Malkin that went off his right pad and left a juicy rebound for Sidney Crosby to get to, but thank goodness for Dan Girardi as he was at the right place at the right time to control the rebound and clear it away from the Penguins Captain and just cleared the puck over the stick of Crosby to continue to keep the score tied at one a piece.

If you look at this series so far within the four games the only blemish the Rangers really had was during game 2 when they lost their composure and their game allowing the Penguins to score three times in the second period and allowing Crosby to tally twice. In the three games they scored two goals and allowed the Penguins one, both Crosby and Malkin combined were non-factors and that’s how you have to play against these types of players. Continue to play solid defense on them and force shots to be wide of the net or block the shots till the final horn sounds.

The Rangers now have a strangle hold on this series leading by three games to one, but while they won’t say it and continue to say take it one game at a time, last year’s second round series saw the Penguins lead 3 to 1 and the Rangers came back to take it four to three. That will be on the minds of the Penguins and it’s up to the Rangers on Friday night to end that attempt as fast as possible.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Rangers get back to their game on the road and lead series 2-1

We all saw what happens when the Rangers don’t play their type of hockey; they get blitzed by Sidney Crosby and company losing the game and have a tied series. But this time around the series shifted to Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Arena and the Rangers repeated their Game 1 performance with another 2-1 win against the Penguins and took the series 2-1.

The Rangers started off strong again in the opening period and both sides were jostling for position on the ice. Once again these sides were battling hard for the puck and for the third time in this series the Rangers scored first on a beautiful pass from Keith Yandle to a wide open Carl Hagelin who just came off the bench speeding towards the net and a hard slap shot beats Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:43 of the 1st period.

That play was started by a solid defensive effort by Yandle as he marked Crosby beautifully coming into the Rangers zone and after a shoving match regained the puck and found the lane to give Hagelin that chance to get the shot on net. In the second period the Rangers continued to play solid defense and when the chances came to get something on net, they were able to make them count.

After their second power play expired the momentum led to converting their second goal of the game. At 11:07 of the second the Rangers were able to move the puck around and as it came back towards the blue line Dan Girardi makes a quick cross ice pass to Marc Staal who purposely sent the puck towards the backboards as a pass and Chris Kreider was wide open who quickly converted from a tight angle.

Patric Hornqvist pulled one back at the 13:12 mark of the third period, but once again it was Lundqvist time as he continued to make a ton of saves with help from his friends and when there was 13.6 left on the clock with the final faceoff inside the Rangers zone to Lundqvist’s right, the Penguins couldn’t do anything except start a brawl after the final horn was sounded and the home town Penguins fans started to boo their home town team.

The Rangers power play went 0 for 2 with a total of 2 for 14 in this series. But while this game showed they couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone, their total team defense made up for the lack of finishing on special teams. Once again Fleury did make some good saves, but once again shutting down Crosby & Malkin was the big issue for the Rangers and did so flawlessly.

The only way to prevent the Penguins any chance to tie this series or allow them to take a lead is the Rangers mental game to give them a big let down and that can’t happen at all. That’s why this team while limping into the playoffs are still a dangerous side if you take a mental break on the ice. So for the Rangers to truly end this series they need to continue their concentration and play their game.

Phantom tripping penalty gives Penguins momentum and ties series

There is no way that this series was ever going to be a sweep for the Rangers. We all know that while the Penguins are still a team limping to the rink, they still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to keep their team in the game.

After Derek Stepan converted a shot off the far post and in late in the first period, you wondered if the Penguins were going to try and make a charge into the second period to tie or take the lead.

 It happened at 8:12 of the second as it looked like Carl Hagelin tripped up Taylor Chorney from behind, but replays showed that Chorney fell down all by himself as he lost his balance and Hagelin’s stick never touched him. A phantom call changed the momentum against the Rangers and all of a sudden the Penguins got life.

Brandon Sutter converted to tie the game at 10:01 with a power play goal and then all of a sudden Crosby exploded by scoring two goals in consecutive shifts. One goal in nineteen playoff games all of a sudden became two goals within a 4:39 span. Patric Hornqvist forced a pad save by Lundqvist that became a rebound chance & then a Bobby Orr imitation by Crosby that gave the Pens a two goal lead.

Chris Kunitz converted another power play goal late in the third period and the game was officially out of reach. But once again the Penguins were guilty of undisciplined penalties and gave the Rangers seven chances to either add on to their early lead or tried to go tit for tat on the scoreboard.

Derek Brassard scored his second of the playoffs on the power play at the 3:16 mark of the third, but sadly that was the only tally on special teams for the game. The Rangers power play once again has been lacking goals, but the truth is that they have been getting looks and are putting shots at the net. Give Fleury a lot of credit for making big saves during the Rangers man advantage, also these average defensemen for the Penguins are blocking shots to help their goaltender. So as of right now the Rangers need to try to take advantage of Fleury giving up rebounds and stuffing them in the net.

As the game has gone on sadly you have to say that Dan Boyle doesn’t look like the quick defenseman that he use to be as he has skated slow and looked like he’s being taken advantage of by the speedy Penguins forwards. He can still get on the power play and rip shots from the point, but right now you hope to see Kevin Klein make a return to the lineup and maybe sit Boyle down for a game so he can get a break. I don’t know if Vigneault will ever do that, but right now he needs some answers.

But at the end of the day the series is tied at one and now moves to Western Pennsylvania at Pittsburgh, some are saying the Rangers have lost all momentum but I don’t think that’s the case. The Penguins are still undisciplined and creating un-necessary penalties and when the Rangers finally take advantage of that, it will be their series and let’s also not forget that the Rangers were a great road team during the season.

Just take a deep breath and relax Rangers fans, still plenty of hockey to go and all is not lost after just a loss when two games have already been played.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Red Bulls defeat the Quakes, remain undefeated in five

So a new team is coming to the league and playing all their home games at the big ballpark in the Bronx, many pundits felt that with the retirements of Thierry Henry and maybe close by will be Peguy Luyindula and Tim Cahill transferring to China’s first division the Red Bulls were going to poor and not appetizing.
You can throw all of that out the window right now or maybe throw it all into the Hudson River as the New York Red Bulls have continued their ways by putting pressure on their opponents and taking home points. Facing the new Dominic Kinnear San Jose Earthquakes that rely on their speed and guile and after the full 90 minutes the Red Bulls got a 2-0 win on Friday night.

29th minute and the Red Bulls were looking to convert their first goal of the night and it was Sacha Kljestan who finally got on the score sheet with a tally. Felipe gets the ball and runs towards the outside of the area and a quick pass to Bradley Wright-Phillips who looked like he wanted to shoot, but it became a pass towards Kljestan and an easy tap in inside the near post for his first Red Bulls goal and his first goal back in MLS.

The club wanted more and they kept on attacking and attacking till Mike Grella got his chance six minutes later. Lloyd Sam gets the ball from Chris Duvall and brings it up along the far side. He cuts back a bit and beats Clarence Goodson with a solid cross towards the near post as Grella rips it across the face of goal and inside the far post for the two goal lead.

Chris Wondolowski subbed into the game in the 56th minute after his time with the US National Team down in San Antonio, but he didn’t have any solid chances as the Red Bulls played a convincing game, even though they felt that it still wasn’t enough and while they were happy with the result it was the performance they felt was still lacking. “I think a lot of us weren’t happy today with our performance.” Said Sacha Kljestan, “Besides the result we got to improve on a lot of things and me personally it wasn’t my best despite scoring that goal.”

But for Jesse Marsch he thinks the team is on the right path as the club has a great start being undefeated in their first five games. “I think it’s been a good start and we’ve concentrated on staying focused and not being satisfied. Tonight we came out and from the start we created chances, got the 2-0 lead and made sure we weren’t going to give it away.”

As of right now the Red Bulls have leapt over DC United with a one point lead with a game in hand on DC as they will play against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. But while it looks like the team is off to a great start, they know from within themselves it’s still a work in progress and they have plenty of time to fix their issues and continue this good start to the 2015 season.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Rangers get the jump on Penguins win game 1

Whenever the playoffs get underway in New York City you always know that the crowd at Madison Square Garden is buzzing, especially when the Pittsburgh Penguins are the first round opponents who just squeaked into the final spot.

The Rangers knew that no matter how bad the Penguins just barely got into the playoffs, they have two dangerous players in Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin who can score at anytime. But this time the Rangers came out at the opening faceoff and told the Penguins that they were coming out hard and fast.

It took 28 seconds into the opening period for the Rangers to make a statement and they did so flawlessly. Dan Girardi skates out of his end and finds Rick Nash along the near boards on a hard pass, Nash took a shot at the net which was a save by Marc-Andre Fleury but left a juicy rebound for Derick Brassard who put it home.

The power play is always a concern for any team when they want to take advantage of their opposition and at 15:16 of the opening period Captain Ryan McDonagh took a Keith Yandle pass and ripped it hard past Fleury for a two goal lead. Even though the Penguins pulled one back in the second period by Blake Comeau, they couldn’t get another puck past Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers found a way to hold on and play some solid defense to take game one of this opening round. But while this was a great game for the Rangers to keep their shape and their confidence on the ice it looked like for the Penguins they lost their composure.

I have never seen a Penguins team either having Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr or now with Crosby & Malkin that started so undisciplined and getting tagged with four consecutive penalties against the Rangers with slashes, hooks, holdings and anything else you can get the refs to call were called which was very strange.

It looks like the Penguins tried to intimidate the Rangers and sadly for the team in black, white & Gold the Rangers were not buying it and they made sure not to get involved with the Penguins mind games. Some of the Penguins tried to get under the Rangers skins by taunting the Rangers players from Quebec province in French or in English on the rest of the team.

While the Rangers got off to a good start and many are touting them to get back to the finals, they need to go one game at a time and one round at a time. The Penguins may have had a bad game, but they are good enough to rebound and give the Rangers a tough series.

But for now it was a successful win for the Rangers and they know game 2 on Saturday will have a different feel and possibly a different game plan against him, but as long as Alain Vigneault keeps his guys on his plan they can be successful advancing out of Round 1.

Author: Dan Feuerstein

Lloyd Sam’s late equalizer saves point at DC United

For the second time within a month Hate DC Week came back and this time it switched places from Red Bull Arena to our Nation’s Capital at RFK against DC United. You knew that DC United wanted some form of revenge after their horrible 1st game at the Red Bulls and played physical for the first 45 minutes.

All over the field there were reckless challenges, two handed shoves and you can tell that the team in black wanted to show the boys in Red & White that they weren’t taking them lightly like the last time. Perry Kitchen who was the only player who showed heart and passion for DC made sure he proved it again towards the Red Bulls as he scored two goals for the lead.

Taylor Kemp earned a corner in the 26th minute for DC United and when he took it from the near side, Kitchen got an open lane and wasn’t marked as he ran into the ball and headed it past Luis Robles for the early lead. There was some delay on the celebration as Kitchen’s header nails the near post and then the ball completely crossed the line.

The second goal for Kitchen came in the 2nd half and it was a beauty of a strike as once again no one was able to catch Kitchen on the field and he had the time and space to tee it up in the 67th minute and blasted it inside the near post. Chris Rolfe who is a Red Bulls killer himself was allowed to bring the ball up the field and saw an open Kitchen and made a nice pass to get that two goal lead.

For the Red Bulls it looked like this was going to lead towards their first loss of the season. It looked like their start at being undefeated was going to end inside RFK Stadium, but this is a Jesse Marsch team that at the moment has shown that they won’t quit and will fight very hard to get back into the match and they did so in the 68th minute as the Red Bulls score a goal off the corner from the far side. Felipe who was poor all match long at delivering corners finally got a hold of a good one and French Central Defender Damien Perrinelle got into space and headed the ball inside the near post where Bill Hamid stood still and thought it was going wide.

But once again it was Lloyd Sam who has started to become a DC United Killer. Once again Sam was in the moment to put the Red Bulls into position to steal a point away and did so on a rebound chance as the Red Bulls earned a free kick. Sacha Kljestan’s free kick was a laser at Hamid who bobbled the ball and the Red Bulls down two goals came back to take a two all draw and stayed undefeated.

If you are concerned about this Atlantic Cup trophy and honestly I’m not, but those who do care the Red Bulls have the advantage on both points with 4-1 & goal difference 4-2, but at the moment the important stat early on this season is that the Red Bulls in their first four games have no losses and they come back home to take on the San Jose Earthquakes for a Friday Night Tilt.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein

Déjà vu as Red Bulls face DC after bye Part II

It looks like we’ve been here before. It really isn’t that far away as about a month ago it was after the bye week in the middle of March that the Red Bulls played against DC United in the home opener and converted twice for their first win of the season.

Now we have the same scenario with this game against DC but this time the Red Bulls are playing it in our Nation’s Capital at RFK Stadium and the Red Bulls know that the team in Black is looking for revenge at home.

“It’s always the same with DC United, it’s never easy,” said Dax McCarty, “We always go down to DC with a mentality that it’s going to be a tough game and this is no different. We know what to expect and they are very confident at home. They haven’t lost at home in the last 12 to 13 games. They will be tough and ready for us.”

Since the loss at Red Bull Arena DC United have won their last two games by a goal as both game winning goals came within the final minutes of regulation or inside second half stoppage time, that’s because Ben Olsen has cracked the whip and got the players to play a bit tighter.

Since coming back to MLS from Anderlecht in Belgium Sacha Kljestan has been playing at a high level & that at times has benefitted or hurt how he plays with his new teammates at the Red Bulls. He admits that he plays a bit faster when he has the ball and creates a lot of room for his teammates when he makes a pass as he is the creative midfielder.

 “Yeah I think the idea is to being a playmaker, but I still do a lot of little things on the field to help out the team and the rest of the midfield," Klejstan said. "Overall it’s still an adjustment I think I’m still adjusting to being a little bit higher up on the field and every day in training the relationship with the guys are getting better.”

Even though Klejstan hasn’t earned any goals or assists yet, his play and the understanding of what Jesse Marsch wants from his play with the team so far has looked good as the team has started undefeated in 2015. But Marsch knows what he’s in for when they play at RFK this Saturday as DC is looking for revenge.

“We have to go out there and get ready for this team as they will have revenge on their minds," noted Marsch. "We really need to battle when the opening whistle blows. I would guess they will bring a lot of emotion to this game, they came to Red Bull Arena and didn’t put out a good performance. They had a very good start to this season and it’s going to be an early heavyweight fight in the East, so we’re excited and ready. We expect them to do the same as they will bring the passion and the fight as we are expecting them to make some adjustments.”

So as we get ready for another round of Hate DC Week and the action switches to RFK Stadium, I think we will see a better performance from the team in Black, but the Red Bulls will continue to execute that same pressure in the first three games that has earned themselves seven points out of nine in their first three games of the 2015 season.

Author: Dan Feuerstein

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