Friday, December 7, 2007
15-11-2: Rangers Flatter Than A Pancake
I nearly didn't go to the game, feeling sick as a dog but I dragged myself to the Garden. Unfortunately when I got there, the Rangers hadn't shown up. And even though a team took to the ice to face Toronto, the Rangers weren't them. Or at least I hope not. They struggled out of the gate for the second straight game and it cost them. They managed to claw back to even the game at two after the first period but then lost all momentum and let the Maple Leafs, who blow, beat them 6-2. Well, where to start ... :
*Henrik Lundqvist played his worse game as a New York Ranger. He had no place starting the game - bad call Tom - and didn't really start the game. He was horrid and gave up the soft goals in the Garden in a long time. Horrendous and sadly, having Tom pull him after the second likely means that he will start tomorrow in Atlanta.
*The most amazing thing about the game that I can think of is not that Nik Antropov scored a hat trick, but that Colton Orr was the best Ranger on the ice. He is the only one on the roster who can honestly say he gave his all and did his job. Orrsie battled every shift, fought the bigger Wade Belak to a draw and even got himself a scoring chance.
*Jagr played another lackluster game, as did the rest of the Czechs. Malik's stupid double minor got Toronto a goal they didn't deserve. Straka worked hard but didn't seem to be going in any particular direction and fought the puck each time it was on his stick. Rozy was out of position often and got himself hurt. And Hossa - I know he is Slovak but same damn thing - Hossa played another typically useless game missing passes and scoring chances and losing physical battles.
*Its really interesting that for all of the times that I have called for the C to be stripped from Jagr's jersey, I mistakenly said it should go to Brendan Shanahan, I was mistaken; the real person who deserves the captain's C is Sean Avery. Call him a miscreant, call him an idiot, but you have to admit that he is the spark that gets the engine running. The Rangers can't seem to win without Avery's abrasive style of playing and his blunt honesty. Yes, there was the win against Ottawa on Saturday, but the Senators were slumping (it was their sixth straight loss) and for one of maybe a half dozen times in two-and-a-half seasons Jaromir Jagr showed signs of being Jaromir Jagr and the rest of the Rangers played near their potential.
*As much as I have singled out Girardi, Toots and Staal this season for their good play, not a one stepped up when needed and played just as bad in their own zone as Rozy, Malik and Strudwick, Yes, Girardi and Toots scored, but it was as much luck as skill.
*Kudos to the kids for trying - Callahan, Dubi, Prucha - but they had no cohesiveness or direction or chemistry. It was nice to see Renney try them as a line late in the game but they just don't work together.
*Scott Gomez, Chris Drury ... the more I watch them, the more I think the Rangers flushed their money down the drains - for the next seven years. Gomez is not a game-breaker and Drury worked best with a speedy sniper like Danny Briere - the kind of player the Rangers don't have on their roster.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Mats Sundin - a goal and assist. I hope he likes Detroit come February.
2-Hal Gill - lumbering, slow Hal Gill of all people had two assists. For shame.
1-Borat, I mean Antropov - a hat trick will do that.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Paul Maurice - he had the Leafs ready to play. I just noticed that in many Ranger losses I named a opposing coach as a Star and maybe I shouldn't have but its just difficult to point out that we are outcoached so often.
2-Borat - he may be a waste of size and wear a tinted visor, thinking that he is some kind of Alex Ovechkin, but he still scored three goals in one game. Can't take that away from him.
1-Sean Avery - the ever-increasing negative impact of his absence will hopefully provide the impetus for change in the Rangers locker room to a team that actually cares to come to the rink every game and wears the red, white and blue with pride.