A Word From Our Sponsors


Thomas Pock's Great Revenge

I doubt Thomas Pöck is really the vengeful sort. But maybe he remembers those years he logged at UMass, posting impressive numbers while being for the most part ignored by the hometown Bruins.

The Rangers signed Pöck as an undrafted free agent in 2004, and he skated with the big club rather quickly due to the fire sale of defensemen Greg de Vries, Vladimir Malakhov, and Brian Leetch. The past couple years the offensively gifted defenseman has been the odd man out, shuttling along that lonely stretch of highway from Hartford to Manhattan.

On some level, his failure to succeed in the NHL is due to his crippling inability to realize that he is, in fact, a defenseman, not a winger, and that he needs to hit more people and get caught up ice less. He's a bit like current Ranger D Paul Mara, who has a propensity to jump into every play, even plays where he's not at all wanted.

Speaking of Mara, did any of you notice that the player he was traded for, Aaron Ward, skating for the Bruins today, had three hits today, all of which were against Jaromir Jagr? I'm surprised that #68 denies that he had anything to do with the disappointing Ward being run out of town at the deadline. The two quarreled, I would imagine, because Jaromir Jagr is going to the Hall of Fame and Aaron Ward sucks. Just a thought.

Today, he showed the Bruins what they missed right under their noses. The Rangers seemed throughout the game to lack the offensive cohesiveness that has been omnipotent during their recent hot streak. Henrik Lundqvist, consistently under heavy fire in net, made the mistake of allowing a long rebound to reach the stick of Marc Savard in the second period, good for the Bruins' only goal.

I was scared, maybe unjustifiably so, that the Rangers wouldn't score again. Ryan Hollweg had taken a rather stupid five-minute major penalty for boarding, which prompted the Boston Bruin announcers to defend Chris Simon's vicious hit. I knew the announcer, Dale Arnold, was going to take a cheap shot at Hollweg when he began a sentence with "Not to defend Chris Simon's actions, but. . . ." I hope you won't blame me for ceasing to pay attention there.

Maybe in all of the commotion and the Rangers' failure to score it was easy to forget that we were playing the Bruins. With a minute and change remaining in the third period, Pock roofed one over the enemy's backup goalie, Joey MacIntyre MacDonald and the Rangers were more or less home free. MacDonald actually played a very good game, surprising considering his Mike DeJean-esque relief effort during the 7-0 St. Patrick's Day Massacre last week.

Okay, they took a penalty in overtime, which usually spells impending doom for the Rangers (I would implore you to recall the most recent game in Atlanta), but when it got to the shootout, the Rangers did win, thanks to usual heroes Michael Nylander and Henrik Lundqvist, and the reluctant shootouter Jagr, who scored the deciding goal.

The Rangers go into tomorrow's clash against the rival Islanders poised to seize the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. This is fortunate, as a seventh seed would require the Rangers to play the second-seeded New Jersey Satanists (read: Martin Brodeur and 19 guys who should be pumping gas in Ontario), whereas the sixth seed allows the Rangers to play the very beatable Atlanta Thrashers in the first round.

Expect the normal team to be in uniform tomorrow (thankfully Chris Simon won't be for the Islanders), and perhaps the tensions will boil over. Get 'em, Colton Orr.

Not a good day for the Mets. Either squad. Thankfully, Major League Baseball doesn't believe in the wisdom of playing regular season split-squad games.

Not a good day for Chan Ho Pork (not a typo; it's an incredibly clever play on words), as he pitched three shutout innings only to find that the fifth starter job was no longer open to him.

Not a good day for John Maine, who has locked up the third starter spot, but apparently feels guilty enough about doing so that he gave up 12 hits and four runs in five and two-thirds against most of the actual Marlins. Aaron Boone, going into today's game hitting an epic .138, mashed Maine for three hits.

Not a good day for Jose Reyes, who fouled a ball hard off his foot (left) en route to a hitless game.

Not a good day for the projected starting outfield of Moises Alou, Carlos Beltran, and Shawn Green, who went 0-for-6 with a walk.

Call me a pessimist, but there's a week to make this team look good. It's uglier than Steve Buscemi right now.

I'll be back tomorrow with my projected roster for this season. And you can trust me as a prognosticator. I have online proof that I picked Duke and Notre Dame to be upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Crosstown Rivals is sponsored by JustGreatTickets.com, your home for Chicago White Sox Tickets.

No comments: