Quoth The Maven: Rangers Flash Depth, Isles Face Challenge, Devils Show Promise



“Quoth The Maven” is a weekly column where Stan Fischler touches on the three local teams plus other hot NHL items.

1. Something rare in Rangerville: The Blueshirts have scored a goalie hat trick. Not one; not two but three — count ’em, three — winning goalies on their roster.

2. All you have to do is repeat the names Cam (I’m The Prince) Talbot, Henrik Lundqvist and Mackenzie Skapski to see reasons why the Rangers are now favored to win the President’s Trophy.

3. The ironic aspect of Rick (Not The Auto) Nash‘s season is that his oft-overlooked defensive excellence matches his goal-scoring exploits.

4. Cory Schneider won’t win the Hart Trophy, but he’s the Heart of the Devils. His 2-zip win over Sidney Crosby’s sextet was Schneid’s best of the season

5. A walk-on during training camp, Jordin Tootoo is right up there among the Devils’ most valuable players. He scores, he fights and he’s always team-first.

6. Bruce (Conservative) Driver remembers in the Spring of 1995 that nobody gave New Jersey a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “We had one terrific practice before we started the first series in Boston and took off after that,” says Cousin Brucie. “That practice set the tone.”

7. Mats (I Need A Good Nickname) Zuccarello – now in his prime – looks very much like Marty St. Louis when MSL was in his prime. Funny thing is that St. Louis could very well be a playoff hero for the Seventh Avenue Skaters, despite going down with a knee injury in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Panthers.

8. When a respected superstar such as Jumbo Joe Thornton goes public and says that his general manager Doug Wilson should “stop lying,” you can bet that one of the pair will be out of San Jose by summertime.

9. If the Sharks miss the playoffs, my money is on Joltin’ Joe to remain a Californian with Wilson checking the GM employment listings.

10. Ditto coach Todd McLellan.

11. Jack Capuano faces his challenge of the campaign, putting the brakes on the Islanders skid. Since I’m not the coach, I do not have the answer. (See Butch).

12. If anything, the Isles current nosedive proves the value of Nick Leddy. By a ton. Plus, the value of building a playoff-making cushion in the first half of the season.

13. When Johnny (Oh Baby) Boychuk downplays his Isles mid-March slump, he’s right that this is as good a time as any to micro-manage the minuses. The trick is to get hot on playoffs-eve.

14. Speaking of coaches, credit Ted Nolan for being super-realistic when Toronto reporters asked him about his future behind the Sabres bench. “I’m expecting to be here tonight,” Nolan shot back. “That’s it. I only look one day [at a time]. The only thing you have is today. That’s always been my philosophy in life.”

15. As a hockey style, “Clutch and Grab” helped teams such as the 1947 Maple Leafs win Stanley Cups. Now the Canadiens are bragging about how their “Chip and Chase” modus operandi has them thinking title this year.

16. Underplayed Hero Department: 1) Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec has scored 20 goals or more for the seventh time in his career: 2) Rangers’ Dom Moore; any game, any situation, he’ll deliver; 3) Cory Schneider, Devils MVP and an almost NHL MVP.

17. Scott Gomez becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. This time you can bet that our Alaskan friend will remain where he belongs — in New Jersey.

18. Scott Stevens has turned Adam Larsson into a defenseman who could become the Devils answer to Nick Lidstrom. (Nice going, Scotty!)

19. Has anyone noticed that the Rangers now have depth on top of their depth. Exhibit A: James Sheppard moves up to the roster and scores a biggie against Florida. Exhibit B: Matt Hunwick shakes off the mothballs and scores his first goal as a Blueshirt.

20. General Managers may be pondering a three-on-three overtime. I go for Denis Potvin‘s idea; if the game ends in a tie, go straight to the shootout. Period!