Thursday, April 27, 2006

One to Go

I missed my train last night by a couple of minutes. Standing on the platform to go to Penn Station, there were several people desperately clinging to envelopes with tickets in them.

By the time I got home, it was 8:00, and the game was effectively over. Patrik Elias to Jamie Langenbrunner, and then later Langenbrunner to Elias. Less than ten minutes into the game, 2-0 Devils.

It was certainly the longest New York Minute in history, but never let it be said the NYTimes would not emphasize the coincident:
The Devils scored their first goal 68 seconds into the game and every balloon burst. Jagr, a proud wearer of jersey No. 68, watched his digits take on a whole new connotation.

And the bitterness continues, reducing a matchup of two teams that finished the regular season one point apart to some grotesque David-and-Goliath parody:
As Jagr pondered the Rangers' run of futility, he said his team was lucky simply to have qualified for the playoffs.

He promised to play in Game 4, regardless of the risk, but he said the Rangers should drastically change their expectations. No longer should they think about winning the series.

They should just hope to score a goal.

This is the team with the Olympics-winning goalie, the prohibitive favorite for league MVP, a solid group of Czechs, and a decent farm system.

But the villain, once again, goes without saying:
Sandis Ozolinsh mishandled a pass. Patrik Elias took the puck. He skated down the ice, two-on-one, an arena holding its breath. Elias found Jamie Langenbrunner, and with one shot, the game and the series were basically over.

It wasn't as beautiful as Elias to Arnott in 2000, but it worked. And the chance of Ozolinsh being with the Rangers next year is virtually nil. For all of Jagr's whining, the team will need a scapegoat.


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