Talk may be cheap, but when it comes to the arrival of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in Los Angeles, the chatter actually is priceless.
The following are some verbal gems, not to be confused with filibusters. You get the voices of the chief protagonists. After that, The Maven comments.
And, as an added attraction, you'll hear from my Associate in Hockey Knowledge, Jake Becker, direct from New City, New York, which, actually, isn't that new anymore. (It is 216 years old, if you really want to know. And if you don't believe me, ask Sam Rosen.)
ALAIN VIGNEAULT: Our 'B' Game won't do it [Saturday night]. We're not going to beat [Los Angeles] if we do not bring our 'A' game.
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: One way to inspire the Rangers into their 'A' Game is to inform them -- as if they didn't know it already -- that everybody and his Uncle Dudley figures that the Cup is in the bag for L.A. But as Yogi Berra has indicated, "Nothing is in the bag until it's in the bag."
JAKE'S FILIBUSTER: Anyone evaluating the Rangers' opening stanza in Game 1 would no doubt give them the 'A' and throw in some gold stars. But to raise the silver chalice, AV's squad – led by Ryan McDonagh and the rallying Dan Girardi – has to be more careful with the puck in his own zone and be more brazen against Jonathan Quick.
CARL HAGELIN: Our team responds real well after losses. In the third [period] we had way too many turnovers, and we didn't get deep enough in their zone."
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: Turnovers are for bakeries and assorted other pastry shops, not for Rangers exiting their own zone. Exhibit A (as in Against logic) was the Derek Stepan clearing attempt that didn't clear the New York zone. And we all know what happened after that. FOCUS is the key word in such situations. FOCUS is the antidote to turnovers.
JAKE'S FILIBUSTER: The Blueshirts haven't lost two straight games in these playoffs since their foray with the Penguins, and that had a Disney ending. As Darryl Sutter pointed out, "You don't get any award for being resilient." His Kings were certainly quick to recover when down 2-0 on Wednesday, but the Rangers have the rebound-ability knack.
DAN GIRARDI: You've got to have a short-term memory. It [his fall on the Kings' winning goal] was a tough play. There's nothing I can do about it right now.
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: When it comes to plays such as Justin Williams' winning goal for Los Angeles, Dangerous Dan is right that it accomplishes nothing by sweating over it. Girardi can accomplish a lot by playing the playoff game of his life in the second contest of this intriguing series.
JAKE'S FILIBUSTER: Word is the Rangers had Girardi's back in the locker room following the opening loss, which is as it should be. You would expect nothing less from a team that has made it to the Final round.
ANZE KOPITAR: We've done it how many times? We came back and managed to win the game. But we can't put ourselves in a hole against a team like that where they keep coming and they have a lot of firepower that can hurt you pretty quick.
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: I like the Slovenian's scouting report.
JAKE'S FAN FILIBUSTER: Firepower the Rangers do have, but that had better be evident from the sticks of Marty St. Louis, Chris Kreider and, of course, Rick Nash.
DREW DOUGHTY: When I get angry, I kind of turn it on.
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: Pardon my edit, Drew, but I'm deleting two words -- kind of -- because, brother, when you do turn it on, LOOK OUT, MATILDA, THIS GUY IS TROUBLE. AND I DON'T MEAN MAYBE, EITHER.
JAKE'S FILIBUSTER: Doughty's Bruce Banner quickly metamorphosed into a spirited – though not green – Hulk. And what turned him on? An unpenalized thump from the butt-end of Kreider's stick. With a Nash goal here and a Kreider goal there, the Rangers can reduce Doughty's rage to frustration.
DUSTIN BROWN: [The Rangers'] best chances came off their speed. We need to find a way, much like we did against Chicago. Where we can limit them is through the neutral zone, forcing them to dump the puck in more.
MAVEN'S TWO CENTS WORTH: How can I argue with a kid from Ithaca, New York, where Commissioner Gary Bettman went to a school called Cornell. Dustin is right -- almost. But the Rangers' best chance will be if Henrik Lundqvist pitches a shutout.
JAKE'S FILIBUSTER: Minus the breakaways, the Rangers' chances in Game 1 were few and far between. Yes, their speed is their primary weapon, but without support from their brethren in blue, the Rangers won't be able to attack Quick on the rebounds.