When Caps-Pens clash, clear the way 

January, 22, 2010

Damn that Dustin Brown! And, for that matter, damn that Jon Quick, too. If those two Los Angeles Kings don't conspire to beat the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout, I'm a pretty sharp 9-4 for my Thursday night picks. Instead, I have to settle for an 8-5 mark. Not so bad, I guess. As you loyal readers know, it could've been worse ... a lot worse.

As for the action on the ice, it's good to know that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Last night in Philly, the New York Rangers followed the franchise's long-standing tradition of not defending their star players. In a bizarre sequence, Broadway sniper Marian Gaborik got mixed up with Broad Street bully Dan Carcillo.

To his credit, Gaborik didn't shy away the orange-and-black pest. The Rangers on the ice, particularly D Dan Girardi, stood by and watched idly as their club's playoff hopes past before their eyes. I mean, if Gaborik gets hurt in that fight, the Rangers are toast. And really, what kind of team lets a guy like Gaborik fight a guy like Carcillo? Answer: The Rangers!

Afterward, Girardi told New York Post hockey scribe Larry Brooks (who had his own verbal scrap with Rangers head coach John Tortrrella) that he regretted not coming to Gaborik's defense. Well, at least, he realized the error of his ways. Don't let it happen again, Dan.

Here's my Five for Friday.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.