Could yesterday’s Winter Classic be a precursor to a long spring for the Rangers?
Three of the four previous road teams in the Winter Classic (Pittsburgh in 2008, Detroit in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010) reached the Stanley Cup Final. All three lost — the Penguins and Flyers in six games and the Red Wings lost in seven.
“No, no,” John Tortorella said in his post-practice press conference Sunday when asked if the Winter Classic experience would be something his team could revert to should the Rangers qualify for the playoffs. “Has nothing to do with the playoffs.”
The only road team not to qualify for the Stanley Cup Final was Washington last year. The Caps were swept in the second round by Tampa Bay after beating the Rangers in five games in the first round.
Not happy with refs
Tortorella was displeased by referees Ian Walsh’s and Dennis LaRue’s job performance Monday afternoon. The Rangers were called for three penalties in the final six minutes, including a covering the puck in the crease call on Ryan McDonagh that awarded the Flyers a penalty shot with 20 seconds left in the game.
“They called a penalty shot which I still don’t understand,” Tortorella said. “I’m not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game.
“I thought the game was reffed horrible,” he added. “I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting.”
The NHL announced Saturday afternoon that Michael Del Zotto and Florida Panthers right wing Tomas Kopecky were each fined $2,500 for their parts in a skirmish in the final moments of the Rangers’ 4-1 in Sunrise, Fla., Friday night.
With eight seconds left in the game, Del Zotto high-sticked Kopecky in the face. Kopecky, who was acquired from Chicago for a pick prior to the last June’s draft, punched Del Zotto in the back of the head which sparked a melee.
The teams meet for the final time in the regular season Thursday night at the Garden.
Avery goes Whaling
Professional sports is the ultimate what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? industry.
Sean Avery can attest to that.
The Rangers announced Saturday that Avery had cleared waivers and was shipped down to the American Hockey League’s Connecticut Whale. Avery, who started the season with the Whale, totaled three goals in 15 games and 21 penalty minutes with the Rangers, but had been scratched in the Rangers’ last 10 games.
HBO finale airing Thursday
The final episode of HBO’s highly acclaimed 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic will air Thursday night, the cable network and league said in a joint statement Sunday. Two HBO sources told Metro that the reason for the shift is that producers needed a full day to edit footage including yesterday’s game.