Finally arrived at O’Hare, brutal traffic in the Windy City as usual….
(Highlight of trip: Between sets of blues vets Sonic Soul, who were killing it at Legends, briefly spoke with Buddy Guy at the bar. Always outspoken and still a tad crusty at 77, but he’s playing in his joint for most of this month. Congratulated him for being honored at the Kennedy Center annual festivities in Washington. Me: “Nice to be recognized by the White House, eh?” Buddy, with a smile: “You mean the black House? Actually, I was there when Bush was around, too…” Told him we would miss his weekend shows this month, and he suggested a video on his web site from last Saturday’s performance. Asked if he would sit in with Sonic Soul for the second set: “Not if I can avoid it…”. He stood up, fixed his grey fedora, and sauntered out the door onto Wabash a few minutes later.
Speaking of blues, here’s what made the westerly drive to O’Hare tolerable: “Avalanche”, Albert Collins; “Just Keep Livin”, Sista Monica Parker; “Successful Son”, Michael Powers’ “Mind Your Business”, Eric Lindell; “Cry for me, baby,” Robert Cray; “Take it like a man”, Earl Thomas, and “Statesboro Blues,” the Allmans….
As far as the 3-2 win, well, pretty unexpected, but had a feeling after the first period. The Blueshirts just looked…confident, yeah, an unusual feeling, and it ended with a rare regulation win at United Center. Yeah, Corey Crawford might’ve stopped Zuke’s wraparound, but the Wizard’s having quite the season. And remember: Lundqvist had 15 stops in the first when the Hawks could’ve snapped back in.
Could this be a building block with 12 of the next 13 in New York? Why not? They didn’t fold even when a point against the Hawks, who had at least a point in their last 10, would’ve been a boost.
Stats to note: Dan Girardi, six blocks. Marc Staal, two assists and a goal post in the third. And special teams, well, they got the highest grade in my mid-term report card in my Sunday Insider a couple weeks ago. Check the archives.
As Lundqvist said, the players are aware of the urgency and how intense the games are now, with points at a premium. More from Lundqvist and others that didn’t make the paper or web thanks to the time difference, will be posted when I arrive in New York.
Rangers have day off today, for, as Alain Vigneault said, "recoupment" or in my loose translation, recovery...and well deserved. They battled against the best. Next up: Dallas on Friday at MSG, the first of four straight at home for the Rangers, now two over .500 for 1st time this year, and in third place in the Metro...