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As the round two series begins to edge closer, the media s-storm that is New York has struck the first limp wristed blow of what will only bring certain columnists closer to the likes of the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan in terms of talent and general understanding of hockey.

Perhaps that was a bit wordy.

Basically - this J-off here thinks that the New York Rangers are already playing with the odds stacked against them.  His name is Arthur Staple, and he feels the Rangers are playing against two teams - the Penguins AND the refs.  

To gauge this tool's general hockey knowledge, please read this gem, taken from the full article here.

At even strength, the Penguins don't have the consistency top to bottom the Rangers have. Malkin is a force too, but when Crosby isn't taking the heat off him, Malkin has wilted at times. Back on March 18, with Crosby still out with a badly sprained ankle, the Rangers manhandled Malkin and Marian Hossa in a 5-2 win.  

Malkin has wilted at times huh?  Funny, considering he ended the season with 106 points, 35 points more than the Rangers' leading scorer and former Pen Jaromir Jagr at 71.  

Crosby, who missed 29 games with the ongoing ankle fiasco, scored 72 points.

Simple math.

Crosby scored one more point than Jagr in 29 less games.

So much for an injured captain and wilted sidekick.  More nonsensical articles like this and Arthur Staple may take the "Mouth Breather of the Month Award" away from Don Brennan.

The best quote by far is this one right here:

The Rangers were arguably the better team 16 years ago, but Graves' unintentionally dirty play broke Lemieux's hand and got the Penguins going.

Oh really?  The Penguins won the cup that year, swept Chicago in the finals and Lemieux won his second Conn Smythe.  But clearly New York was the better team.  No doubt.

Amazingly the New York fans already have their excuses lined up for them before the series starts.  That way when they lose, Rangers fans can turn around and say the officiating was awful and Crosby dove all over the ice, citing Arthur Staple as a viable reference.  Now that's comedy.

In unfortunate news for the Pens, Gary Roberts is probable for Game One.  Apparently his ongoing ankle/leg/groin problems may sit him out for the series opener.  Only time will tell for sure, as one can expect Ruutu is ready to step up in Roberts' place should the vet be forced to sit out.  Full article here.

And finally, a quick shout to Pensburgh's friend Jodie at the Sidney Crosby Show.  Jodie has brought an interesting piece of memorabilia to my attention.  Sid has drawn, signed and donated a plate for auction with the proceeds going towards a Parkinson's Disease society in Nova Scotia.  To read the full article and see Sid's masterpiece click here.

oh yeah - a pretty sweet find over at NHLLogos blog.  Don't think this is real, but definitely an awesome job regardless.

That's all for now.  I've contacted a Rangers blog editor in hopes of getting something rolling with love/hate letters soon.  I've heard no response as of 6 hours ago, and so I will wait until the night's end before finding another.  

Again, if you haven't read it already check out Tony Ferrante's preview of the series.  Really stellar work.  He's got everything down except maybe MAYBE that little spot on the boards, right by the zamboni doors in the Penguins' end of the ice.

Thanks to Stupor Dave for sending along info of the Rangers article.

Oh yes, and thank you Mr. Knight - Expert Picks.
(Rangers fans are particular with what links they send in...only the ones that look good for them.)