Last night I got to see the Rangers take down the Flyers from a luxury suite at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden. We were living large, just like the 1% of the population Dolan rebuilt the Garden to attract.
Right on the center red line, the view from these seats was incomparable. Our suite was bigger than most studio apartments in Manhattan. There is a waitperson to cater to your needs. The food and beverages are ordered by the person/organization hosting the suite. Best of all, the suite has it’s own bathroom.
I was convinced my attendance at this game in a luxury suite was a guaranteed loss for the Rangers. Murphy’s Law and all. But Henrik Lundqvist stood tall and once again secondary scoring saved the day. Contrary to what the NBC talking heads would have you believe, the Rangers were dominant for most of this game.
I was surprised that the Rangers gave as good as they got in the hits department. If anything, the Flyers seemed a little flat. The stats show that the two teams were pretty much even in shots, hits, blocked shot and faceoffs. The Rangers executed Vigneault’s game plan, puck possession. That, and most times when the Flyers entered the Rangers zone, there was a Ranger marking the trailing Flyer.
There were Flyer fans in the suite next to us. One of the men looked like he would have been rather unpleasant if the score had been reversed and the Flyers winning. He started spouting off half way through the third period that the Flyers needed a spark, that Simmonds to start a fight. Typical Flyer fan mentality from a Philly suit.
Overall, it was a clean game and for once the Stripes gave the Rangers the benefit of the doubt on some calls. I guess both teams had been warned about taking stupid penalties when the most important two points of the season were on the line. There were no cheap shots by the Flyers until the very end of the game. Simmonds got away with a couple vicious slashes to Ryan McDonagh’s hands.
Some players (other then the obvious guys) stood out for me tonight. I am liking Diaz on defense. This guy has a howitzer of a shot and made some nice defensive plays. Like Klein, another good pick up by Sather. If Stralman wants to stay in NYC, these two boys will keeps his salary demands down.
Every game I say it and last night was no exception. Richards must be bought out at the end of the season. The Rangers powerplay has gone AWOL again and it’s because AV has Richards out on the first unit.
I am beginning to worry a bit about Marty St Louis. He’s about ten games in now and still looks lost out there. I know he has to get used to a new system and different team mates. But if he doesn’t start potting a few pucks, the fans are going to be riding him on the blogs and in the building.
Finally, you may ask how this humble denizen of the old Blue Seats wound up sitting down with the suits. I was invited because I’m good at my job. But I will never consider myself a suit.
Regardless of how good the view, it’s the atmosphere, the characters in the stands, the Garden Faithful that make the in game experience fun. We never needed a “Blue Crew” or Human Puck Races to have a good time.
I will always miss sitting with all the nut jobs (myself included), our old friends in Section 409 and remember those times up “in the Blues” as the best of times.