The New York Rangers kick-started the week off by squeaking past the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. An asbestos scare cancelled the New York Knicks-Orlando Magic game on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the New York Mets announced they would be lowering ticket prices for next season, the New Jersey Nets blew a winnable game, the New Jersey Devils won a winnable game and the New York Islanders were blown out in a losable game. Thursday saw the Knicks run past the Bulls, the Rangers fall to the Flyers and the Isles lose to Ottawa. The Knicks returned to the World's Most Debris-Filled Arena on Friday and smacked the Wizards, while the Nets were crunched by Orlando and the Rangers cruised by the Devils. On Saturday, the Islanders suffered their seventh consecutive loss, and the Nets couldn't hold off the Heat. The NYC marathon was run on Sunday (I get winded driving 26 miles, let alone trying to run that distance), the Knicks hosted Philadelphia in a matinee and came up short, the Jets won in dramatic fashion, the Giants completely dominated Seattle and the Rangers closed out the week with a whimper, losing to St. Louis 2-0. But who's the Player of the Week you ask? Well, here you go:
Eli Manning: Well, the Giants didn't have to worry about any of the noise from the boisterous Seattle crowd. Eli Manning didn't need earplugs. He didn't need headphones. He didn't need a bag of cotton balls to stuff in his ears. You could hear crickets chirping after Big Blue jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead. Manning was in an other-worldly zone all afternoon. He picked apart the Seahawks' defense with precision and with ease. This must not have been one of those "overrated" games for him. His day was done after three quarters, finishing 21 for 32, throwing for 290 yards, three touchdown passes (17 for the year), zero picks and a 125.8 QB rating. Three different players caught touchdown passes, and Manning distributed the ball to six different receivers. Things came so easy for him in the first half, it looked like he was playing an easygoing game of catch with his teammates. Hakeem Nicks continued his breakout season, with six catches and a TD. Ahmad Bradshaw (two touchdowns), Brandon Jacobs and Danny Ware all gained over 50 yards. Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas each came up with an interception. Jonathan Goff recovered a fumble. And Michael Strahan made a long guest appearance on the broadcast. When he was done, I thought FOX was going to show an episode of The Simpsons on a split screen to keep the audience entertained.
Runners Up & Other Notables
Brandon Dubinsky: What's better than rooting for a homegrown kid? Dubinsky meets all the criteria of a fan favorite: He came up through the Ranger organization, he's young, he works hard, he's humble, he's nice and he comes from the exotic land of Alaska. The knock on him in his short career has been his trouble bringing intensity to the rink every single game, and he disappears for weeks at a time when it comes to putting the puck in the net. Well, so far in the early stages of this season, he's seemed to have conquered those shortcomings, though there's still a long way to go. In the four games this week, the young left wing scored five goals, tying him for second in the NHL with 10 for the season. And his line as a whole has been the biggest bright spot of the year, as Artem Anisimov chimed in with four assists, and Ryan Callahan had two. And Henrik Lundqvist surprised no one when he shut out the Devils on Friday night, which was his fifth career whitewash of New Jersey.
Toney Douglas: Amar'e Stoudemire was brought in to be the superstar, and all eyes were on Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler to see if they would take a big step up this year to complement the former Phoenix forward (or up their trade value). But this week it was Douglas who starred for the team. In the Knicks' win over the Bulls on Thursday, the backup guard poured in a career-high 30 points coming off the bench, and added four steals. But that was just a warm-up for his performance the following night, when the Knicks defeated the Wizards. Douglas had a truly Walt Frazier-like game, with 19 points, 10 rebounds (another career high), thee assists, five steals and his usual tenacious D. He teamed up with Raymond Felton (13 points, 10 assists; 20 points, 10 assists the previous night) to school rookie John Wall and the returning Gilbert Arenas. And yesterday, in the tough loss to the Sixers, Douglas had another good game, with 17 points and three more steals. Gallinari finally came out of his shell this week, going all crazy on the Bulls, with 24 points (21 in the first half), and four for four from three-point land. And with Douglas, Wilson Chandler and Ronny Turiaf, the Knicks have one of the most productive benches in the NBA.
Nick Folk: Jet Nation let out a collective sigh of relief when Braylon Edwards hauled in that bomb from Mark Sanchez and strolled into the end zone for a 74-yard touchdown. Jet fans hadn't seen the team score a TD in so long, it seems like Wesley Walker was the last Jet to cross the goal line. But for much of the game the Jets offense was back to its ineffective self, with penalties, fumbles and an interception, until the final two drives. But they were the ones that counted. Folk had earlier hit a 31-yard field goal, and with the final seconds ticking off the clock, and ice water running through his veins, he booted a game-tying 36-yarder to send things to overtime. After being set up by a Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes 52-yard connection, Folk sent everyone home happy, when he kicked a 30-yard field goal, making the Jets 6-2 on the year. Folk is now 16 for 19 in field goal attempts in 2010, though he had a Donovan McNabb moment when he didn't realize his OT field goal ended the game. Sanchez passed for a career-high 323 yards, spread the ball around to all his receivers and scored a TD himself. And the old Darrelle Revis is back, as he held Calvin Johnson to one measly catch.
Anthony Morrow: The Nets lost all three games they played this week, but two were played against Miami and Orlando, and the young team isn't just up to that level of competition yet. The former Golden State Warrior pumped in 25 points on Saturday against Miami, on 10 for 17 shooting, and also grabbed seven rebounds. Travis Outlaw scored 17 vs. the Magic on Friday. And Terrence Williams had the hit of the week, when he checked LeBron James into the boards (ok, the stands) on Saturday (Williams also had seven points, nine assists and seven rebounds). James could have been sent to the penalty box for a diving penalty, though.
Matt Moulson: The Islanders played a little better the last two games, but they still can't seem to get back on the winning track. They only mustered up four goals in their three games this week, and two of them were scored by Moulson, who put a power-play wrister into the net on Saturday for his sixth goal of the year, tying him for the team lead with John Tavares.
Jamie Langenbrunner: The Devils' freefall continues, but they did manage to win a game this week, when they defeated Chicago, 5-3. Unfortunately, that win was sandwiched by two shutout losses. New Jersey's captain scored a goal and assisted on two others vs. the Blackhawks, so that makes him the team's representative on this list. Like every other week since hockey season began, though, there's not much that's positive to say about the Devils.
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