Devils take joy in frustrating the Rangers

769624.jpg

Devils take joy in frustrating the Rangers

From Comcast SportsNet
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- If you have any doubt the New Jersey Devils are frustrating the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference finals, just look at Game 4. Forget that Zach Parise scored two goals and set up another in the Devils' 4-1 win that evened the series at 2-all. Look at the extracurricular stuff in the game Monday night. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur got sucker-punched by former teammate Mike Rupp, who might now be facing a suspension. New Jersey teammates Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique and Steve Bernier were the victims of cheap shots, and the Rangers spent most of the final 20 minutes killing off penalties and acting foolish. In 48 hours, the tide has turned again in this series between longtime rivals. Henrik Lundqvist is no longer in the Devils' heads, and the Rangers seemingly are the ones fighting demons heading into Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. "It's a good sign, I guess, when they take liberties on players," Brodeur said after making 28 saves en route to his 10th postseason win. "That means they're getting off their game a little bit. We've been working really hard, putting our head down, taking a lot of shots throughout the playoffs. "It's no different in this series," the 40-year-old three-time Stanley Cup winner said. "And as we go, we're going to keep doing the same. And it's paying off for us to be disciplined about these things." The Rangers were undisciplined. They took six penalties and one led to Parise's first goal early in the third period that pushed the lead to 3-0. The tally gave New Jersey a comfortable lead, but the game was far from over, especially when Rupp punched Brodeur with a jab that appeared to connect in the neck area and slide up his mask. The punch seemingly came out of nowhere and almost set off a battle on the ice. It did spark a shouting match between coaches Peter DeBoer of the Devils and John Tortorella of the Rangers on the benches. "You don't like to see that," DeBoer said of the hit on his goaltender. "He's a key guy for us. Two teams battling it out. He's a big boy. He can take care of himself." Brodeur was more surprised by the incident than anything. "I didn't expect anything," he said. "I never got punched like that in my career. First time. It kind of surprised me more than anything, but now I know I can take a punch." Tortorella refused to say anything about his shouting match with DeBoer, with whom he has argued several times this season, including Sunday when he complained about the Devils using illegal picks and embellishing penalties. "This isn't about John and I," DeBoer said. "This is about the guys on the ice. So, I don't have anything to say about that." This game -- and its result -- was almost anticlimactic after the shenanigans. Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac beat Henrik Lundqvist less than four minutes apart in the first to give the Devils their first two-goal lead in the series, which is developing an intensity and emotion comparable to the classic 1994 Eastern Conference Finals between these two rivals. In that series, there were suspensions on both sides, three double-overtime games, a Game 6 "Guarantee" by New York captain Mark Messier, and unparalleled drama. Well, this one is getting there. On Monday, Brodeur, the only remaining player on either side from that series, even notched an assist in the third, on Parise's empty netter, capping a game in which the Devils maintained their composure and bounced back from a 3-0 shutout in Game 3, while the Rangers took several uncharacteristic penalties and seemed rattled from the start. And the chippiness increased with each period. New York's Marc Staal whacked Elias in the back of the knee with his stick in the second. Ryan Callahan, the Rangers captain, and New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk tussled and then jawed at each other from the respective penalty boxes. "There are going to be situations out there where we get into each other's faces," Callahan said. "That's playoff hockey." But the Rupp incident might have been a little over the top, even for the Stanley Cup playoffs. A former Devil who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for New Jersey in 2003 against Anaheim, Rupp jabbed Brodeur while the goalie was in his crease in the third after a stoppage in play. That almost set off a free-for-all among the players on the ice, especially after Brodeur reacted like he had been hit by a roundhouse left. As Brodeur walked through the locker room, he was asked if Rupp was his friend. "That's what I thought," he said before heading to the podium for a postgame news conference. Rupp was not available for comment. Ruslan Fedotenko ruined Brodeur's bid for his 25th career playoff shutout with just over five minutes to play. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist, who had shut out the Devils in Games 1 and 3, with less than three minutes to play, and Brodeur made two outstanding saves to keep it a two-goal game. Parise -- two days after he did not speak to reporters after a disappointing effort in Game 3 -- finally iced it with his second of the game and sixth of the playoffs. It was a clearing pass that found its way into the net. Brodeur's assist was his fourth point of the playoffs, an NHL record for a goaltender in one postseason. But this game -- which did not include New York's Brendan Prust, who was suspended for elbowing Anton Volchenkov in Game 3 -- was decided early because the Devils finally found ways to beat Lundqvist. Salvador's wrist shot from the point found its way through a half-dozen players and sneaked by the Rangers' netminder for New Jersey's first goal since the third period of Game 2. Zajac's goal gave the Devils a 2-0 edge at 11:59, and the rejuvenated Parise had a big hand in it. New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus sent the puck along the boards and New York's Michael Del Zotto made two mistakes. He didn't flag down the puck and then he allowed Parise to skate past him, setting up a 2-on-1 break. Parise lifted a pass over the stick of a prone Dan Girardi, and Zajac one-timed the pass into the upper portion of the net before Lundqvist could react. Parise extended the lead to 3-0 early in the third, just 4 seconds after New York's Derek Stepan was sent off for high-sticking. Kovalchuk took a shot from the point that Lundqvist could not control and Parise whacked the rebound into the net. NOTES: Veteran Petr Sykora, who had played in every game for the Devils this season and won the 2000 Stanley Cup with New Jersey, sat, as Jacob Josefson returned to the lineup. ... With Prust forced to miss the game, the Rangers dressed seven defenseman, including Stu Bickel, who returned to the lineup after sitting for Game 3. ... Rangers rookie forward Chris Kreider had his three-game goal scoring streak snapped. ... The Devils' win was played on the 18th anniversary of New Jersey's 3-1 victory over the Rangers in the aforementioned 1994 series. That was also a Game 4, and that also tied that series, 2-2. New York went on to win in seven games. ... Monday night's game marked the first time the Rangers allowed more than three goals in a contest during these playoffs. New York tied an NHL record by holding its opponents to three goals or less in 17 consecutive games to begin the postseason.

Quick Links

Let's remember all the Redskins' recent, painful losses on Monday Night Football

Let's remember all the Redskins' recent, painful losses on Monday Night Football

If you're reading this, chances are you're a Redskins fan. And if you're a Redskins fan, chances are you're quite excited for Washington's season opener this September, where the Burgundy and Gold will play host to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Now, if both of those above statements are true, here's a word of advice: Don't be too excited. In fact, on the excitement scale, where a 10 is how you felt after the 'Skins beat the Eagles in December 2015 to clinch the division title and a one is how you feel when you see a Dez Bryant highlight, take a seat around three or four.

That's because, since 2008, the team has played on Monday night 11 times. And of those 11 games, they've lost nine, with many of those defeats coming by double digits.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE GALLERY REVIEWING THE REDSKINS' RECENT RESULTS ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

To put it simply, the next time the league allows franchises to vote on rule changes, the 'Skins should propose eliminating Monday from the calendar altogether. Just float that idea out there, and see if there are any other takers. A six-day week may do 'em some good. 

So, in hopes of exorcising the Monday night curse, let's revisit those past 11 contests. Most of the memories in CSNmidatlantic.com's gallery will be bad ones, but you can't prepare for the future without learning from the past — or something like that. Check out the link to access the list, and remind yourself of another reason to hate Mondays.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE GALLERY REVIEWING THE REDSKINS' RECENT RESULTS ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tarik El-Bashir - Capitals Insider

el-bashir-talent-bio-image.png

Tarik El-Bashir - Capitals Insider

Tarik El-Bashir was named Capitals Insider in July 2016 after covering the Redskins for CSN for four seasons.
 
A longtime sports reporter, El-Bashir provides comprehensive Washington Capitals news, analysis and feature reporting for CSN’s online, mobile and social media platforms. He is also a regular contributor to CSN’s television coverage of the team, including live gameday shows and studio programming.
 
A Washington-area native, El-Bashir joined CSN in May 2012 from The Washington Post, where he spent 13 years in the sports department. During his last two years with the newspaper, he served as the beat writer for Georgetown University men’s basketball and contributed to its Washington Capitals coverage. Prior to that, El-Bashir was The Post’s beat writer for the Capitals from 2005 to 2010 and spent six years as the lead reporter covering high school sports.
 
A Howard University graduate, he joined The Post in 1999 from The New York Times, where he covered the New York Islanders for two years.

Quick Links

Former Wizard Jason Collins came out to Clintons before sports world

Former Wizard Jason Collins came out to Clintons before sports world

Jason Collins came out as gay at the end of the 2012-13 NBA season after spending that spring with the Wizards. In doing so, he became the first active male athlete in one of America's four major pro sports to publically identify as gay. 

But before he told the sports world, he told the Clintons. That's right, those Clintons, whose daughter Chelsea he befriended as a college freshman at Stanford. 

Collins revealed that he'd confided in the former first family during a speech at the Democratic National Convention Monday night. 

“Before I came out to the world on the cover of Sports llustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family," the 7-foot center declared to the audience at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. "I have known their family for almost 20 years. I knew that they would accept me for who I was; and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same.

"I am forever grateful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support. They know that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or HER ability to lead our nation.”

Collins was never a star in the NBA, but carved out a 13-year career for himself as a contributor before retiring with the Nets in 2014. 

“My dream was to play in the NBA and live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time,” Collins said. “I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life.”

“As both an African American and a member of the LGBT community, the choice for continued progress is clear: This November, we must elect Hillary Clinton as our next president. Thank you.”

You can watch video of the speech here.