Bernie: Let’s Play a Game of ‘Homer’ or ‘Hater,’ the Blues Edition

I can be a “homer.”

I can be a “hater.”

Even better: I can be BOTH.

Let’s go:

HOMER: Good grief, someone please send along some Pampers to diaper-baby NY Rangers coach David Quinn, who reacted to his team’s 3-1 loss to the Blues by caterwauling about the officiating.

Evidently referring to the Blues’ rugged style of play, Quinn said this: “Listen, when that team is allowed to do some of the things they do…” (The Blues) compete their asses off, so I’m not taking anything away from them. And I loved how we kept playing through it and fought through it.”

What? The Rangers had a 1-0 lead, scored via power play, At even strength the Rangers outshot the visitors from St. Louis 22-17, had a large 24-13 advantage in scoring chances, and outnumbered the Blues in high-danger scoring opportunities by a count of 11-6. And since we’re counting the stats here, it probably makes sense to mention that the Rangers had three power-play opportunities in this conflict. The Blues had one PP.

If Coach Quinn’s team can’t score an even strength goal despite controlling the shots, and the scoring chances, and the the high-danger setups … if Coach Quinn’s boys can’t put the puck by Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington … well, shaddup about it. You lost the game. The Blues won the game. And the officials are frequently incompetent, so every damn team in the NHL has a reason to growl about the refs. The Rangers aren’t special. If you want to yelp about officiating to shift the blame from your team — get in line.

HOMER: Not me … not in this case. … Instead, we go to a gentleman who cranked out some wonderful homerrific sportswriting. That would be New York Post hockey columnist Larry Brooks, who was sour after observing Coach Quinn’s post-game whine festival.

Here are my favorite passages:

1-According to Brooks, “the brand of laissez-faire officiating on display at the Garden … allowed the Blues to commit up to a half-dozen flagrant violations without bothering to blow the whistle.”

2-The esteemed hockey author wasn’t impressed by the Blues: “This one produced perhaps a dozen legit scoring chances for both squads in a choppy game that generated as much entertainment as a night spent watching laborers paint a picket fence. But these are the Blues, who won the Cup this way and seem to be in prime position for a repeat. They have won eight straight games and kind of think this brand of hockey is thrilling.”

That’s OK, Larry. I’ve been a fan of your work for many years. Seriously. And your writing is thrilling. I don’t care what ‘Torts’ says about you.

Watching the Blues win the Stanley Cup with old-world Craig Berube hockey was also thrilling, and there have been plenty of thrilling moments packed into the Blues’ 40-17-10 record this season.

HATER: The Blues had 34 hits in Tuesday’s game. The Rangers had 24. The Rangers won 36 percent of the faceoffs. Would it be rude to suggest that the Rangers should add some brawn to the roster to better equip themselves for the heavy hockey that’s preferred by the barbarians in the Blues’ uniforms. Or maybe win a faceoff?

HOMER: Binnington sort of went on the fritz for a while, but he seems to be back to his ornery and stingy self. During the Note’s eight-game winning streak, Binnington has an even-strength save percentage of .963 in his six starts — and an outstanding .893 save percentage on high-danger chances. In the win over the Rangers, Binnington stopped all seven chances from high-danger range.

HATER: I don’t really “hate” former Blues winger Robby Fabbri. But when the Blues traded him to Detroit earlier this season, the reaction by some fans seemed to be along the lines of “DAMMIT , that Doug Armstrong doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing and he’s just GIVING talented players away and I DON’T CARE that the Blues won the Stanley Cup in June because you can’t keep living on past accomplishments and Army is making terrible roster decisions that will damage this team FOREVER and he hired a coach, Berube, who can’t stand skilled players and wants them all to be tough guys and he won’t play them if they have talent and this is just OUTRAGEOUS AND UNACCEPTABLE and Army should be FIRED and it’s time to get Berube OUT OF HERE out of here too.”

(Or something like that. I may have exaggerated. Sorry.)

Anyway: last 33 games for Detroit, Fabbri has 4 goals and is a minus 15.

HOMER: Unless the Blues collapse down the stretch, Craig Berube has got to win the Jack Adams award as Coach of the Year, right? Among his many qualities, Berube has shaped a team that doesn’t panic, at all, when staring at an unfavorable scoreboard. When the Blues trail by a goal this season — at any point in the game — they’ve responded by outscoring opponents 33-23 at even strength. And it’s even better at 5-on-5, with the Blues outscoring opponents 33-17.

HOMER: Mountainous Blues defenseman Colton Parayko has been a towering presence during the team’s eight-game winning streak. The evidence: Parayko has three goals and five assists, and when he’s been on the ice during even-strength play the Blues have controlled 65 percent of the shots, 61.4% of the scoring chances, and have outscored opponents 10-3.

HATER: As the Blues were committing all of these on-ice atrocities in full view of everyone at Madison Square Garden, I was shocked and appalled by the failure of Rangers’ management to put an end to this brutality. James Dolan owns the Rangers and the NBA Knicks and is known for having unhappy, disrespectful Knicks fans ejected from the arena for mouthing off at him in protest of his sad-sack basketball team. Where the hell were Dolan’s security goons when the Rangers needed them? The Blues should have been apprehended, taken into custody, put on a bus, and driven to Rikers Island. Let me tell you something: if Rudy Guliani was still Mayor, the Blues would be scrambling to post bail today.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie