Tuesday, December 4, 2007
15-10-2: That Really Sucked
I tried to think of a more articulate way to sum up the Rangers 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, but at the moment, I just can't. That game, the way the Rangers played (or didn't), really sucked. When both Marek Malik and Jaromir Jagr turned the puck over on the opening shift of the game, I should have known that it would be a rough night. Instead I hung in there, and kept hoping for something better ... but it never came. As a friend explained in the second period, the team must have stayed in Ottawa. This sloppy, lack of effort was due to the fact the Rangers weren't ready to play. Now while I think that is the coaches fault - they should have sobered up the team a bit after the delirious win over the Sens - another friend said that it was all on the players to get up for the game. I will leave that for you to speculate. While you do, some of my observations:
*Everything that the beat writers said about the Rangers missing that spark with Sean Avery out seemed to pass. They played without heart, passion of urgency for most of the game. Meanwhile Sean was hanging out with the fans in the blue seats again. The guy is the motor the drives the ship and the cruise director who makes the ride worthwhile. If the Rangers don't resign him in the offseason it will be criminal.
*I heard them announce Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose as the two players to assist on the first goal of the game but it should have been Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky, It was horrifying watching the Chinese fire drill that was them stickhandling in their own zone.
*I've said it before, and I will will say it until he is no longer a Ranger (the end of the season), but Jagr has no place being captain. His laziness and moodiness make a mockery of everything that the C stands for on the beautiful Blueshirts. Yes he has his moments - he was great against Ottawa, but we don't need the occasional solar flare, we need a star.
*That C, for the moment, should go to Shanny but in the not-so-distant future it may adorn the chest of Marc Staal. The kid played a fantastic game and was, by far, the best Ranger on the ice. I think he even outplayed his older brother. He showed poise beyond his years and some flashes of offensive skill that should become the norm once his confidence and NHL experience grows.
*The only other Ranger that I will give any kind of credit to was Colton Orr. I can't believe I said that but he had two of the best Ranger chances to score and may develop into a Chris Simon-type player without the accompanying insanity.
*Now for a little bit of insanity, I almost shocked another season ticket holder to death when I gave Malik an attaboy in the third period. Malik was his normal useless, soft, pathetic, incompetent self the first period, period and a half. But then all of a sudden he actually played like a NHL defenseman and in the third period made a textbook play to stop a Carolina scoring chance. It was awe-inspiring - both the play and the fact that I yelled "Yeah Malik!!!' It was stupefying but I give credit where its due and he made a solid play.
*Here is an interesting thought that crossed my mind: Rod Brind'Amour, Hall of Famer? He led a team to a Cup, he won a Selke, he put up 1,100 points over 18 seasons (so far) and Eric Lindros banged his wife. I mean, c'mon, if those aren't Hall of Fame credentials, I don't know what are.
*Worse game to date for both Rozy and Toots. They made some ridiculous turnovers and played screen--door defense, swinging open to let wingers blow right by them ... that is if they moved at all Rozy just stood and watched when Stillman scored the final goal.
*I would love to rave about the play of Ryan Whitney, a long-time favourite of mine, but he really didn't do all that much, Cullen played great in his return to the Garden but I don't think that is much of a surprise. He loved his time with the Canes and would call in to their game broadcasts if the Rangers weren't playing on the same night,.
*The Rangers were counted as having 28 shots but almost none of them were on second or third chances so I guess that is a credit to Cam Ward (or the piss-poor accuracy of Rangers shots and utter lack of drive to the Canes crease). The kid collected the shutout so I guess I will have to give it to him. But it is quite close ...
*I didn't spot a single Hartford Whalers jersey in the crowd and I have to say I was/am very disappointed. I think that I will calm myself down with the sweet sound of the Brass Bonanza.
*On that note, the PHW Three Stars
And the Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Marc Staal - a bright light in a very dark night.
2-Matt Cullen - maybe his best all-around game in the Garden ever.
1-Jaromir Jagr - his half-hearted play throughout the game set an example for the Rangers and won the game for Carolina.
At least the Islanders lost tonight 3-1 to the B's ...