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Thanks to Rex Ryan, we're used to hearing premature championship talk in this neck of the woods.
But we're not used to hearing anything at all from James Dolan. The reclusive and reviled owner of the Knicks and Rangers stopped talking to the press a long, long time ago so it was very odd that he sprang to the podium at what is usually John Tortorella's news conference after the Rangers shut out the Predators 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Dolan was there to puff his chest, particularly about his decision to keep Glen Sather on the job through years of losing that offered no sign that there was a plan to restore any luster to the franchise.
He was so pleased with his steadfast support of Sather that Knicks fans should probably be organizing search parties to make sure that Isiah Thomas isn't hiding in some corner of the city with plans to trade Tyson Chandler for Jerome James.
"I'm very proud of the organization," said Dolan. "I'm particularly proud of Mr. Sather because all the way back to 2004, when things weren't going so well, and we had a lot of free agents in here and we basically decided to re-do the strategy. I made a pact, I actually gave him something -- which I'm not going to reveal today -- to seal the pact and said, 'You can't give it back to me until we win the Stanley Cup.' I think we're pretty close to getting that thing back."
Dolan then saw his shadow and retreated for six more years of silence.
Tortorella took over and immediately went to work walking back everything Dolan had to say.
"We just have to go about our business. I have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup. That's a bunch of B.S. We need to take one day at a time."
That's exactly what the Rangers did on Tuesday. They put the disaster in Montreal on Sunday night behind them and didn't allow themselves to look ahead to games against the Penguins and Bruins in the coming days.
Instead they hunkered down and did what was needed to beat the Predators. It wasn't particularly attractive and it wasn't a perfect effort, but they bounced back from a bad loss with a shutout for a second straight game and that's not too bad.
The Rangers got a fluky goal from Dan Girardi early, extended the lead in the second and then pretty much ran out the clock the rest of the way by possessing the puck and putting the Predators to sleep.
Henrik Lundqvist made some strong saves in the first period and his teammates pretty much ensured he wouldn't have to work too hard the rest of the way.
Dolan's unexpected appearance in front of a microphone wound up being the thing that stuck out the most from the evening, but that's mostly because we're used to seeing the Rangers come up with these kinds of slump busters whenever it looks like they might reach a panic point in their season.