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RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

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Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

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  BIRTHDAYS

Albert LeDuc - 1902
Bert Marshall - 1943

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  RANDOM RANGER

DEAN PRENTICE
(1952-1963)
  Born: Oct 5 - 1932  
  Pos: Left Wing  
  GP: 666  
  G: 186  
  A: 236  
  Pts: 422  
  PIMs: 263  
 

Iocaine Powder...I'd Know That Smell Anywhere
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - April 8, 2008

During the regular season the Rangers held a 7-0-1 record over the Devils, unless of course you're a Devils fan, in which case it would be 1-4-3. It's one of the drawbacks of course with the way standings are represented in the NHL. You could of course write something like 4-3-0-1, (with the "3" representing OT and shootout wins), but it's complicated enough already right?

All that aside, it is somewhat universally accepted that the Rangers held the advantage in the regular season...or did they? The one game they didn't win was of course the shootout loss in the season finale. The game was a dead rubber once it went to overtime, but the Devils gain anything in terms of momentum by winning? After all, the shootout isn't something that is used in playoffs. Mind you, if you discount that loss, then you also have to discount two of the Rangers' wins that also came in shootouts. Still looks positive for the Rangers, but perhaps not quite as much.

When you factor in the relative worth of the regular season for projecting the outcome of the post season (the Devils went 0-6 against the Rangers in 1993-94 but got out to a 3-2 series lead in the playoff before losing the final two, including game seven in double overtime), then you can pretty much just ignore it.

How about we use post season records between the two teams. The Rangers hold a 3-1 advantage in playoff series between the teams, with wins in 1992, 1994 and 1997. Of course the one loss the Rangers did suffer was in the 2006 playoffs, their first appearance in the post season in ten years. Then again the Rangers limped into the post season, and had key injuries to Henrik Lundqvist and Jaromir Jagr (who injured himself in game one trying to check current Ranger Scott Gomez).

They ended up getting blown out 4-0 by the red hot Devils, who finished the regular season with twelve straight wins, a far cry from the 6-5-1 record they have in the last twelve games this year.

Okay how about netminder...surely Martin Brodeur has the advantage here. Brodeur after all he has 94 playoff wins, 22 shutouts and three Stanley Cups to his name. By contrast Henrik Lundqvist has just six post season wins, 1 shutout and the closest he's come to the Stanley Cup was last season's Eastern Conference Semi-finals. But since that 2006 debacle in the post-season, Henrik Lundqvist has gone 10-1-3 against the Devils...so maybe the advantage isn't quite as large as one might expect.

The Rangers surely own the advantage over the Rangers' much maligned blueline too right? Not exactly. The Devils gave up 197 goals to the Rangers 199, and if you factor in shootout losses (a goal is added to the "goals against" for the team in a SO loss) then the Rangers actually gave up fewer goals, 190 to the Devils' 193. All in all you could call it a statistical dead heat.

At the other end of the ice, the Rangers offensively look the better of the two teams...at least on paper. When you look at the results though, the Rangers managed just 7 more goals than the Devils (they had the same number of shootout wins, so that isn't a factor). So no real advantage there.

Perhaps special teams could actually be an advantage for the Rangers. The power plays for both teams are ranked in the bottom third of the league (NYR 16.5% - 22nd, NJD 15.6% - 25th), but factor in the penalty kill, and the Rangers again have a slight advantage (NYR 84.6% - 6th, NJD 82.8% - 13th). Of course the relative effectiveness of the power play can vary greatly from game to game, and there perhaps enough of a signicant statistical difference over the season to suggest that one team can dominate the other.

Both teams are relatively healthy, and neither coach has Scotty Bowman like credentials, so perhaps these two teams really are a close match. Travel shouldn't be a challenge for either team, and the Rangers certainly can get a lot of supporters into the Devils' own building. Neither team is overly physical, though they can hit and forecheck when their mind is set on it.

Even the statistic that Sam Rosen touted during the season finale broadcast that something like 65% of 4th seeds win their battles with the 5th seed can be explained away. When you consider the way that the NHL seeds the conferences, a 4th seed could have the second best record in the conference and end up in the 4th spot.

In the end there doesn't seem to be a clear way to tell who has the advantage. If anything, these two teams are about as even matched as any team can be.

This all kind of reminds me of the scene from the movie Princess Bride in which the Dread Pirate Roberts battles wits with Vizzini. Here for your benefit is a recap:

HUMPERDINCK and his men scurry off while THE MAN IN BLACK finds and confronts VIZZINI, who is preparing to eat. When he sees THE MAN IN BLACK, he hold's a blade to BUTTERCUP's throat.

VIZZINI: So, it is down to you, and it is down to me ... if you wish her dead, by all means keep moving forward.

THE MAN IN BLACK: Let me explain ...

VIZZINI: There's nothing to explain. You're trying to kidnap what I have rightfully stolen.

THE MAN IN BLACK: Perhaps an arrangement can be reached?

VIZZINI: There will be no arrangements ... and you're killing her.

THE MAN IN BLACK: But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.

VIZZINI: I'm afraid so. I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains.

THE MAN IN BLACK: You're that smart?

VIZZINI: Let me put it this way: have you ever heard or Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?

THE MAN IN BLACK: Yes.

VIZZINI: Morons!

THE MAN IN BLACK: Really! In that case, I challenge you to a battle of wits.

VIZZINI: For the princess? To the death? I accept!

THE MAN IN BLACK: Good, then pour the wine. [He watches as VIZZINI pours the wine.] Inhale this, but do not touch.

VIZZINI: [Taking the vial from the man in black.] I smell nothing.

THE MAN IN BLACK: What you do not smell is Iocaine powder. It is odorless, tasteless, and dissolves instantly in liquid and is among the more deadly poisons known to man.

VIZZINI: [Shrugs with laughter.] Hmmmmmn.

THE MAN IN BLACK: [Turning his back, and adding the poison to one of the goblets.] All right, where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink - and find out who is right, and who is dead.

VIZZINI: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine it from what I know of you. Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemies? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you ... But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

THE MAN IN BLACK: You've made your decision then?

VIZZINI: [Happily] Not remotely! Because Iocaine comes from Australia. As everyone knows, Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So, I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

THE MAN IN BLACK: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

VIZZINI: Wait 'til I get going!! ... Where was I?

THE MAN IN BLACK: Australia.

VIZZINI: Yes! Australia! And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

THE MAN IN BLACK: You're just stalling now.

VIZZINI: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you! You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong ... so you could have put the poison in your own goblet trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied ... and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!

THE MAN IN BLACK: You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.

VIZZINI: It has worked! You've given everything away! I know where the poison is!

THE MAN IN BLACK: Then make your choice.

VIZZINI: I will, and I choose ... [pointing behind THE MAN IN BLACK] What in the world can that be?

THE MAN IN BLACK: [Turning around while VIZZINI switches goblets.] What?! Where?! I don't see anything.

VIZZINI: Oh, well, I ... I could have sworn I saw something. No matter.

Vizzini laughs.

THE MAN IN BLACK: What's so funny?

VIZZINI: I ... I'll tell you in a minute. First, let's drink, me from my glass and you from yours.

They both drink.

THE MAN IN BLACK: You guessed wrong.

VIZZINI: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! YOU FOOL! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is: Never get involved in a land war in Asia!, and only slightly less well known is this: Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

VIZZINI continues to laugh hysterically. Suddenly, he stops and falls right over. THE MAN IN BLACK removes the blindfold from the princess

BUTTERCUP: Who are you?

THE MAN IN BLACK: I'm no one to be trifled with. That is all you'll ever need know.

BUTTERCUP: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

THE MAN IN BLACK: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up immunity to iocaine powder.


In the end this series is likely to come down to preparation, and perhaps a lot of luck. There's not much between the two teams, and no matter how you feel about the series before you go into it, any predictions are likely made on gut feel. By next week we may or may not know where this series is going, but it looks like we'll at least have some fun along the way.


Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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