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Bear Essentials On the Road: New York

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Good morning True Believers. How about that win yesterday? I'll tell you, the Garden was shaking as the club left the ice to "Dirty Water" and the locker room was as happy as I have seen in a couple of weeks. The club hopped a plane right after the game and arrived in NYC early Satruday evening. There is no pregame skate on Sunday morning. JB

Bear Essentials on the Road: NEW YORK CITY (Madison Square Garden)

Where are we going?
A view from my hotel room. JB
Officially named The City of New York, NYC “is the most populous city in the United States, with its metropolitan area ranking among the largest urban areas in the world,” says Wikipedia.  “New York City is rated as an alpha world city for its global influences in media, politics, education, entertainment, arts and fashion.”

As of 2005, 36% of the city’s population had been born outside the U.S., and around 170 languages were spoken.

There’s Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, Broadway, and tons of museums and attractions to keep anyone awake in “The City That Never Sleeps.”

What more can really be said?
Where are we playing?
MSG's many incarnations. (photo
The Madison Square Garden of today is the fourth arena with that name.

Madison Square Garden I and II were built on a corner of Madison Square – where the arena gets its name from, while MSG III was at 50th Street and 8th Avenue.

The present Garden sits atop Pennsylvania Station.

The first Garden was in operation from 1879-1890.  Wikipedia reports that it was built for the sport of track cycling and went under a couple names: “Barnum’s Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome” under the ownership of P.T. Barnum, and “Gilmore’s Garden,” honoring Patrick Gilmore, a Civil War-era composer.

MSG II was the second-tallest building in New York City, and its main hall was the largest in the world, says Wikipedia. This version of the arena was torn down after hosting the 1924 Democratic National Convention, making room for the New York Life Insurance building.

In 1925, Madison Square Garden III opened, after being built in 249 days.  The New York Rangers were founded in 1926 and began playing at the Garden, but the New York Americans had already been playing there since 1925.  Both teams continued to play at the arena, but the Rangers had far more success and the Americans were disbanded in 1942.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus opened at MSG III in 1919, and, along with boxing, was a major event at the arena.  This incarnation of the Garden was home to the NBA All-Star Games in 1954 and 1955.

The fourth incarnation, today’s Madison Square Garden, opened on February 11, 1968.

“The new structure was one of the first of its kind to be built above an active railroad system,” says Wikipedia.  It is one of the few old-style arenas left in operation, and its ceiling is a major claim to fame.

Who are we playing?
New York Rangers Mark Messier celebrates his second period goal against the Vancouver Canucks in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals at New York's Madison Square Garden, June 14, 1994. The Rangers went on to win, 3-2, to take the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm)
After the success of the New York Rangers, MSG owner Tex Rickard lobbied for a franchise, and the New York Rangers joined the NHL in 1925.  They are considered one of the "Original Six."

The Rangers were originally going to be named the New York Giants, but “the New York press soon nicknamed his team ‘Tex's Rangers,’ and the new name stuck,” says Wikipedia. 

“The new team turned out to be a winner,” Wikipedia adds.  “The Rangers won the American Division title their first year but lost to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.  To this day, these Rangers were one of the most successful teams in the history of the NHL.”

The team won the Stanley Cup in only their second season, then twice more in the 1932-1933 and 1939-1940 seasons.

The team failed to win another Cup for some, prompting some to declare that there was a curse on the team.  The chant "1940" was popular with opposing fans and signified the Rangers last Cup win.

But in 1994, when the team was facing elimination in the Eastern Conference finals, then-captain Mark Messier boldly declared the team would win. They Rangers made a spectacular comeback, beat the New Jersey Devils in seven games, and then defeated the Vancouver Canucks, again in seven games.

Last season, the Rangers lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Buffalo Sabres.  During free agency, the team then signed the Buffalo Sabres – and former Boston University star – Chris Drury and New Jersey Devil forward Scott Gomez.

Add those two forwards to a group including Jaromir Jagr and you have a formidable lineup.

When are we playing?
3:00 p.m. ET

Who's playing for us?
Well. The Bruins called up defenseman Matt Lashoff on an emergency basis. But there is no morning skate, so we will not know until very close to game time.

Is the game on?
Yes, NESN and WBZ are broadcasting the game.

Hey, don't forget to check out Shawn Thornton's Vlog filmed after Saturday's win. He'll Return to your browser on Monday after/before practice. JB

9:01 a.m.

Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
Slept like a baby last night after a bumpy flight made this white knuckle flyer a little nervous.

Obviously, there's never anything to worry about, but "Hey!" I am new to this flying thing.

That certainly didn't keep my "friends" from poking a little fun my way, though. I guess they forget that I have internet access, a recorder, audio editing software, a camera and Photoshop. And because I am not a huge fan of flying, I don't sleep on the plane. Heh, heh.

As I said up above, there is no morning skate today. The B's did have several players leave the bench and return yesterday, and Matt Lashoff was called up on an emergency basis. So I will be sure to give an update as soon as I hear good or bad news.

Standings wise, the B's remain tied with the Rangers at 79 points and are in 6th place. Philadelphia is just one point behind and Buffalo is in ninth with 74.

I expect an even more palpable playoff-type game this afternoon, so keep it here!

11:17 a.m.
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Just finished packing for Ottawa. The club is playing at 3 p.m. and we will be on a bus to the airport within minutes of the game's end. Mercifully, the weather here is gorgeous and Ottawa is supposedly going to be calm by the time we get there this evening -- cold, but calm.

Sweet relief!

I am always amazed at just how big New York is compared to other places I have been. I thought I remembered once that all of downtown Boston could fit in the space occupied by Central Park. Not sure if that is correct, but for those of you have not been to New York, the city extends in every direction as far as the eye can see.

By contrast, if you are say, in a skyscraper in Boston, you can see the "end" of the city, where Newton and Wellesley, the North Shore and the South Shore begin. I have not been up that far here (I am on the 20th floor) but all I can see is buildings and unless you are in the Empire State Building, I'll bet that the City looks as if it goes on forever.

I must say that NYC is somewhat intimidating. Scale is one thing, but trying to get a grasp of where you are is, for me, somewhat difficult without a serious map.

Again, in contrast if you are in Montreal, the landmarks are easy to find and follow -- there is no need to ask where the Olympic Stadium is, because you can see it. Some for the various buildings, the mountain and even the Bell Centre.

Not here.

Because there are so many buildings, to my eyes, everything starts to look the same.

From the air -- from what I have seen previous to yesterday, when I had my eyes closed -- New York City is simply gorgeous. To see all of the sights that you have seen numerous times on TV and movies and to grasp the number of people who live and work here, is simply amazing.

12:10 p.m.
Off to the bus. It's an unwritten rule that non-players and coaches better not hold up the bus, so I try to make sure I am first on the bus. 1.) To make sure I am not in a space normally reserved for someone else. 2.) To ensure that I am not ever late.

1:12 p.m.

Well, what you have read in The Boston Globe is true -- Big Zee, Zdeno Chara is not here. Here's hoping this is not a recurring trend, and we have not been briefed on that.

I was under a bit of a delusion that maybe the big guy would walk through the door this morning. No.

Waiting on Coach at 1:45. So hang on for the latest...

BTW: Having never been to MSG, I must admit a little bit of a feeling of "Wow, I am in Madison Square Garden." Very cool.

2:27 p.m.
A Bish eye view. (photo John Bishop)
So, here is the news. No Chara. No Ward. Alex Auld in goal. Bobby Allen and Matt Lashoff on defense. No word on Nokelainen or Sobotka or Reich. Boys on the ice as we speak.

Oh, and I have a story:
Apparently when David Krejci got a stick to the mouth yesterday, one of his teeth cracked and stuck in his lip. We all saw David go to the bench to get work. What we didn't know is this. When the B's went on the 5-on-3 Krejci's lip was sewn up with the tooth inside so he could go back and help on the PP.

I don't know much, but I do know that makes Mr. Krejci one tough son of a gun.

To finish the story, they took the three stitches out after the game in order to extract the piece of tooth and sewed it up completely.


BTW: I think the lineup looks like this:
Stuart-Wideman (sg) Auld
Hnidy-Ference (bg) Thomas
Allen- LashoffGo Bruins!

3:00 p.m.
Before the game Coach said, "I think it's going to be defense by committee."

And by any stretch of the imagination, this is going to be a very tough game for Boston.

Lots of opportunities for someone to step up, just like Shane Hnidy, Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton did yesterday.

First Period
0:00 Lunqvist in goal for New York. Sturm, Savard and Kobasew with Hnidy and Ference in front of Auld. There really is a great atmosphere here and the famous ceiling is pretty cool.

0:09 Good sign for B's, pushing and shoving off the get go.

3:30 Despite being outgunned, Boston has held their own, thus far.

6:58 Excellent poke check by Auld on Jagr. The Bruins continue to play well, and have taken the crowd out of the game somewhat.

8:18 Big PK for Boston.

10:42 Outstanding penalty kill for Boston. Auld has been sharp.

12:40 Whoa. Boston lost sight of the puck (under Auld) and there was a little scamble...

15:00 Natives up here in what I think are called "the Blues" are getting restless. One fan keeps yelling "They played yesterday." I think that means that he wants the Rangers to press the Bruins more. Frankly, I think that the B's have played their best first period in a long time. A goal would clinch it.

18:15 Another big penalty kill for Boston. Auldie came up big.

19:49 Late power play for Boston. It will go into next period if the B's do not score in the last 11 seconds.

20:00 Two very late chances for the Bruins. All together a very good period for Boston.

Second Period
0:00 So far so good for Boston. No need to change anything besides the luck. A good bounce in the Black & Gold's direction could decide the game early.

0:35 The game will be 4-on-4 for a bit. And then the B's will be on the PK.

1:48 Two big saves by Auld on Jagr. Right now Auldie is the key to the game.

5:09 Another three big saves for Alex. The ice seems to be a problem for both teams as the puck is bouncing an awful lot. A quick shoutout to Spicy Chicken in Buffalo who just checked in by text message.

9:15 Auld just made another fine save. Very impressive, thus far.

10:22 The Rangers have taken control of the momentum and much of the last few minutes have been spent in the B's end.

12:54 Lundqvist just pitched in with some heroics of his own. Set the home crowd to chanting "Hen-rik! Hen-rik! Hen-rik!"

14:53 Nice open ice hit by Metro on Avery, who ended up on his rear.

16:27 At the last stoppage Avery got a penalty and the B's are on a very important power play.

19:00 Another big PP for Boston, as Jagr caught Marc Savard high.

20:00 Still no score, 0-0 after two.

Third Period
0:00 Boston starts with a PP.

2:00 Auld makes a save. He has been outstanding.

2:55 Nokelainen hits Malik. Drury challenges Nokelainen. Fight (strange). No PP for each team. I love Noke, but I will take that trade as both men get seven mintues.

4:00 Or so. Matt Lashoff just got hit in the neck with a puck. The TV announcers say that Malik has gone to the locker room.

5:00 Lunqvist is looming large as he just made two 10-bell saves.

6:31 I hope that the B's can rebound from those two saves, Henrik stoned Metro and Krecji. The score remains 0-0.

7:50 Metro and Kess come close again.

9:29 Avery hits the crossbar.

13:10 Wow. B's just dodged a bullet when a puck sauntered through Auld's crease. Right after that Auld made another big save.

I've moved down to the press room to be nearer to the locker room -- again, I have to make sure I am nearby when the club wants to leave -- so I can hear the crowd through the concrete.

The feed in here does not often give the game time, so this may be a little looser...

Auld just came up big -- AGAIN, by doing the snow angel. He also had a little angel by the name of Ference who made at least one save himself.

Auld then made a big save on Dawes, who had stolen the puck. Ugh. Nail biting time.

18:50 Wow. Has this been excting -- despite the lack of scoring -- my stomach hurts.

20:00 Gutsy performance by Boston, no matter what happens in OT. Think about it -- missing Chara, Ward, Alberts, Bergeron and facing Gomez, Drury, Jagr and Shanahan. Outstanding.

0:00 Lucic and Avery were tangled up at the end of regulation.

1:05 Lots of pressure by Boston.

4:33 Nervous.

Boy has Boston (and Alex Auld) worked hard. So has Henrik Lunqvist. Kind of fitting that it comes to this.

Dawes is the only scorer. Lunqvist stopped everyone.

Bummer. But a great game. A great effort. Nothing to be ashamed of here...

On the way out of MSG, I ran into old friend Paul Mara. Paul is recovering from a facial injury, but looks great and healthy. Feel better Paulie! BTW: A gorgeous flight to Ottawa, where everyone arrived in good spirits. But boy do they have a lot of snow! JB

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