The Caps are preparing to return to Madison Square Garden tomorrow night to face the New York Rangers for what's shaping up to be another hostile meeting between these two clubs. New York will most certainly have Gabby's recent comments dissing its landmark rat-poo infested arena (along with its accompanying Rangers fans) posted as bulletin board fodder. Washington's bench boss, in what seems to be an attempt to diffuse the focus from his players, also accused the thugnasty Rags of deliberately targeting Mike Green's recently healed melon and wanted the league to review Staal's late hit on Green. Never one to keep mum, Ranger's coach John Tortorella stuck to the "we just have to stay focused" party line when asked about Boudreau's comments.
HM expects New York to continue the thuggery we witnessed on Sunday and the Caps will have to remain focused on keeping their cool. That and I'd have John Erskine, Matt Bradley and Matt Hendricks ready to smack down Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Vogue intern/runway model wannabe Sean Avery from the first face off. Though not nearly as offensively talented as the Capitals, the Rangers enter Game Four with a 198-214-8 record all-time in 420 playoff contests, including a 110-82-2 mark at home. New York has posted a 39-28 record all-time in Game Fours of playoff series, including a 5-0 mark in Game Four since 2007.
Of course this is the playoffs folks and with teams fighting for the coveted chance to battle for Lord Stanley's chalice, things are bound to get ugly. The NHL handed down two suspensions today to Tampa Bay's poster boy for bad behavior, Steve Downie, and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz. HM was watching the Vancouver/Chicago game and can attest that the Torres hit on Brent Seabrook was absolutely brutal - the debate on that one will continue for some time and Seabrook did not take the ice in tonight's Game Four in Chicago.
Finally, all you members of the Mike Milbury Fan Club (okay, all one of yuz) can rejoice! The NHL announced a new broadcast deal with NBC/VERSUS for the next 10 years - meaning that Mad Mike and Pierre McGuire will be gracing our airwaves for at least the next decade. The good news is that we hopefully get to see more of the funny and overemotional Jeremy Roenick - along with the ongoing evolution of Brian Engblom's fabulous mullet.