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NYR win over BOS, Panarin-Marchand, Hunt-Laf-Gauthier, Gorton, Lemieux

November 28, 2021, 1:12 AM ET [76 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers picked up a hard-earned 5-2 win over the Bruins on Friday. As it's more than a day past the game, I will focus on only a few components of the victory, In addition, today, the NHL announced the Islanders next two games, including Sunday against the Rangers, are postponed. Nothing like the league being right on top of things and canceling games when they should have been earlier in the week.

Condensed Game:

A few thoughts:
1) Clearly, much of the conversation post-game was on Artemi Panarin throwing his glove at Brad Marchand with 11.8 seconds remaining in the contest. Post-game, no one provided much insight, preferring to keep that information in house. Larry Brooks peeled back the curtain a little while Panarin added in additional details, which was covered by the beat writers, including Vince Mercogliano.

Marchand is an agitator, why he is known in many circles as the reincarnation of Ken Linseman, aka, the Rat. But he is someone who will ratchet up the heat but not fight, since he needs to be on the ice to do his damage. Maybe Marchand was trying to get a psychological advantage for the future, as in a 5-2 contest with 11.8 seconds remaining, getting Panarin off his game does little good. The comments are distasteful at best and xenophoboic at their worst, which clearly was what Marchand was aiming for.

Throwing his glove might not have been the best response, but let's see what happens when the two teams next meet. The problem is that won't happen until April 23 and 24. If New York is in a playoff battle, the response will be muted. But if not and Ryan Reaves is on the ice, you can figure out the rest.

“ Two sources confirmed Brad Marchand was yelling insults at Panarin from one bench to the other with 11.8 seconds remaining in the match between the Rangers and Bruins on Friday while invoking Vladimir Putin’s name and suggesting that no Russian likes the Blueshirts winger. Panarin responded by heaving his glove at the Boston winger. ”

“ It is believed the Rangers contacted the league over Marchand’s behavior, but it is unlikely that there is a case there.”

"I didn’t really understand what he said iin the moment because we had a little conversation with bad energy," Panarin said. "Then I hear something about Russia in that moment, and then with that energy, that can’t be something good about Russia. So, that's why I lose my mind and then I did what I did."

A person close to the situation told lohud.com, part of the USA TODAY Network, that Marchand touched a nerve with Panarin by evoking unfounded assault allegations made against him by former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov in February. He was accused of beating a young woman in 2011, but the accusations have been widely dispelled and were believed to be politically motivated.

The person said that Marchand brought up Russian president Vladimir Putin, whom Panarin has been openly critical of in the past, and taunted Panarin by saying, "Nobody in your country likes you."

Panarin reacted by throwing his glove at Marchand from the bench and motioning for him to come at him, which resulted in a $5,000 fine by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Marchand was not fined, which Panarin said was "not (an) honest" decision from the league.

"I just can’t control myself after those words," he said. "It’s important to think that I didn’t start it. I didn’t say good things about him, too, but I think when you touch country, it’s different. Probably all Russians would want to defend their country."

Panarin, who's tied with Adam Fox for the team lead with 21 points this season, admitted that he's guilty of talking smack to opponents on occasion. But he said he keeps the focus on individual play, expressing his belief that personal attacks cross the line and reflect poorly on the game.

"In the NHL, lots of people say bad words sometimes," he said. "(But) how do we want to be as humans? For kids and everybody, we have to be good examples. Because, as athletes, lots of kids watch us. In the last five, 10 years, trash talk is pretty popular. … But I think a balance is important."

While he had a serious message he wanted to get across, Panarin was mostly lighthearted while discussing the incident. He even joked about the insignificance of the fine given his annual salary.

"I lost 5K, but thanks to the old general manager (Jeff Gorton) for $11.6 (million)," he said with a smile. "I’m good."

2) Joe Haggerty added his classy take to the mix:

Can I also say, for the record, that New York Rangers fans might be the biggest crybabies in the league rooting for a team that hasn’t won jack in almost 30 years? I am impressed at the sheer amount of crybaby soup they spill over their hockey team. The cherry on top of the sundae? Panarin was fined $5,000 by the NHL Department of Player Safety just as I said he would much to the dismay of so many screaming, uninformed fans of the Blueshirts.

Please let me know where I can find crybaby soup, as I would like a quart of it to go. Most fans figured Panarin would be fined, we just think the comments made borderline the line of bad taste, at best. Plus, I must have missed him noting the blatant move by Charlie McAvoy, sticking out his leg on a trip late in Friday's contest or is calling that out being a cry baby?

3) Dryden Hunt, Julien Gautheir and Alexis Lafreniere: each of the three played a key role in the win. Hunt, escalated to the second line opposite Panarin and Ryan Strome, tied the game at two, putting in a rebound off Ryan Lindgren's slapshot. Gauthier used his speed to create a pair of chances, first with a cross, goal mouth feed, batted in by Panarin to give the Rangers the lead. Later, he used his speed to create a 2-on-1 chance with Laf, who blasted the puck over Jeremy Swayman's glove for a little breathing room.

4) Igor Shesterkin was brilliant again, keeping the Rangers in the game early before the offense woke up. The good news is that coach Gerard Gallant looks willing to roll with Igor, which is what most of us have wanted. With the game Sunday canceled, Shesterkin will surely start against the Flyers, but the Rangers will follow with back-to-backs against the Sharks and Blackhawks on Friday and Saturday. There's a good chance Alexandar Georgiev, who has been relegated to spot duty as best, will start one of those games. If Georgiev falters again, the Rangers may have to consider recalling Keith Kinkaid or Adam Huska from AHL Hartford, though Georgiev likely will be relegated to the press box rather than being demoted, since he would need to pass through waivers.

5) The Isles had six players in the protocol Friday after having seven out when they faced the Rangers on Wednesday, Josh Bailey came off the protocol Friday, though was not active. Saturday, Casey Cizikas entered protocol, when GM Lou Lamoriello said the forward and three others in the organization have tested positive for COVID-19. This was the tipping point for the cancelation. But now, the Rangers and Penguins who faced Cizikas will need to worry about contact with the player and given all the absences, shouldn't the NHL have operated from a position of caution and canceled those two games? That would have made too much sense....

In former Rangers' news

6) Prior GM Jeff Gorton could be in line for a significant role with the Habs. Assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigned and GM Marc Bergevin is on shaky ice to say the least, Gorton, who would land with his third Original Six team if he earned the job, would be a great fit as head of hockey operations for an organization in desperate need of leadership.

7) Brendan Lemiuex could be looking at a substantial suspension if the accusations by Brady Tkachuk are true. Tkachuk has claimed that Lemiuex bit him not once but twice during his fight with Lemiuex. Wonder what Joe Haggerty thinks about that?

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