Marek Malik

Riding The Wave

by Eric Vecchione

What’s going on?  Could someone explain to me how the New York Rangers are 16-7-3? I have been thinking about it for a while…and I am having trouble dealing with this.  The Rangers don’t make me angry for once.

Just because they don’t make me angry (yet) doesn’t necessarily mean I’m about to think we have a chance at making the playoffs. That kind of attitude is so five years ago, and I got over it quick. (Come on, the Czechmates had it all!) Don’t get me wrong, if they make the playoffs I’ll go insane, probably breaking multiple things in my apartment that has less than multiple things in it. And while I would say that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, I don’t think the first one has dropped. (Unless you count Fedor Fedorov, but he’s more like a shoe that you threw away because it was so brutal to wear and it gave you ridiculous blisters. Aside from that, I don’t think it has.) No, for me to be comfortable the Rangers need to have a 20-30 point lead over the ninth place team after the Olympic Break. Even then…we’ll see. It’s just that I’m so confused now, you know? If you were beaten senseless year after year by someone you love, and then suddenly they stopped beating you and instead started giving you deep-tissue massages and wine and cheese, you’d totally enjoy it, but you’d definitely be leery that the next time you turned your head to reach for a grape you’d get smacked upside the head with a 10 lb. salami.

You wouldn’t know if from the Marek Malik circus goal against the Capitals the other night, but the Rangers don’t have many talented goal-scorers. Predominantly a defensive statue, Malik showed that while he may not be able to move his legs very much, he could put his hands to good use. The pose he struck afterwards was equal parts ridiculous and hilarious, reminiscent of Russell Crowe’s “Are you not entertained?!!” in Gladiator. (I know I was just hoping he didn’t fall down) The scene of Malik’s penalty shot was eerily similar to the climax of Ghostbusters II, when Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd get the Statue of Liberty to walk into Manhattan and save Sigourney Weaver’s baby from Vigo by blasting Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher.” That’s pretty much what it is was like, with Kolzig as Vigo, Malik the Statue, and Marcel Hossa the clueless Harold Ramis standing outside thinking he’s actually helping. Come to think of it, the Rangers were wearing their Statue of Liberty third jerseys…

All things considered, we should be satisfied and excited, but also prepared to be completely blindsided by brutal unrelenting failure. That’s pretty much the attitude a Ranger fan needs to have to stay sane. In net, Weekes and Lundqvist are doing very well, and I might go as far to change my assessment of Weekes as a #1 goalie from “brutal” to “ehh.” On defense, the Blueshirts really don’t have any offensive prowess but the guys get the job done, and at least they have Tom Poti (I read rumors that Boston was interested in Poti, they must not get MSG up there) On offense, getting (gulp) Martin Rucinsky back should be a boon, but we need more guys who can take some of the pressure off of Jaromir “The Only Living Boy in New York” Jagr. Someone like…. Petr Sykora? Sure. Sather seems to know what he’s doing, so long as it’s the sorta -mediocre Petr Sykora of the Anaheim variety and not the totally useless Petr Sykora of the Washington type. And true to form, Sather continues to accumulate famous last names, adding Colton Orr this week. This season just keeps getting better.

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