Wednesday, January 2, 2008
20-16-4: Rangers Burned By Flames
And now back to your regular programming ... the Rangers started their western swing with a game against Mike Keenan's Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
*In Mike Keenan's first game back to the Garden after he left the Rangers for St. Louis, I yelled at him "Keenan You Suck!" and he turned around and gave me a nasty look. That has little to do with the game tonight, I just wanted to share.
*Marek Malik is a disaster. The Rangers need to make a move and get him off of the roster asap. Listed at 6'6 235, Malik was bumped off the puck by Craig Conroy (6'2, 193) to set up Calgary's first goal. Four inches, 42 pounds; that's just pathetic. Watching the Flames skate around him at will is embarrassing.
*Speaking of the 'superstar' defenseman, for some reason Tom Renney decided to evenly rotate the defensive lines through the first two periods. That is just ridiculous when you consider how utterly inferior Malik and Paul Mara are in footspeed, strength and defensive acumen, particularly when facing a fast, strong, physical team.
*I don't remember any individual incidents that Sean Avery had against Calgary as a member of the Kings, but I gotta say it made me laugh to hear how the Flames fans booed and jeered him every chance they got.
*Hank officially got six shots against in the first period but virtually every one was a good scoring chance. If not for the King, the Rangers would have hobbled off for the intermission down 3-0 instead of 1-0. Of course, the fourth goal against was an utter embarrassment so for all of the good he did, Hank was just as guilty for the loss as anyone else.
*Well, of no surprise to me, when the Rangers put both Malik and Marcel Hossa out on the ice to kill a penalty and face Jarome Iginla - one of the top five players in the NHL - the Rangers got scored against.
*Hossa worked himself into several scoring positions but the magical touch that he had for six games last season is clearly gone, he can't do anything anymore. As some friends say every time he steps on the ice "TRADE BAIT!!" (although I can't imagine any NHL team wanting him).
*I loved the graphic they posted on how Rozy has matched his goal total from last year with his tally that made it 2-1. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of his defensive responsibilities. He has been better on offense, but much worse on defense - which should be his first priority. Seeing him skid across the ice without a stick during Calgary's third goal made my stomach turn. Calgary made a great play, but watching him made me want to yak. He is supposed to be the Rangers top defenseman and yet there he was, ineptly diving to get himself back into position.
*Are you kidding me? With a minute and a half left in the second period Marty Straka had a clear lane to the net on a break and he instead swung a pass to Jagr on the far side?!?!? That is just retarded. So instead of having a good scoring chance for the Rangers, the Flames get a boost from an easy save. I thought getting rid of Nylander would curtail the insane desire to put the puck on Jagr's stick every moment of every one of his shifts.
*The NHL is making a huge mistake not promoting Iginla more. He did a intermission interview with Sam and Joe and was charming and well spoken. He smiled, he answered the questions asked ... despite his unfortunate address (Calgary), he should be a major part of every PR scheme/ad campaign the league has. I've loved watching him play over the years but never knew he was such a good interview. I'm impressed.
*According to the box score, Brendan Shanahan played more then 15 minutes of the game. I don't know about you, but I barely noticed him out there. I know he is getting old but the Rangers need him to make his presence known if they are to have any success. A garbage goal with time winding down isn't enough.
*From the old guard to the new, watching the second Rangers goal seemed to be a glimpse into the future of the Rangers: Avery skating alongside Callahan and Dubinsky with Girardi and Tyutin on defense. I have to say, I liked what I saw. I liked it even more when Dubi scored - a reward for his hard work all game long.
*I know that the Rangers were working from behind, but putting the HBO line on the shelf wasn't the best idea. Aside from being solid checking, Betts and Hollweg are two of the Rangers fastest skaters and they could have ran with the speedy Flames.
*The stellar speed and puck movement of Kristian Huselius propelled the Flames to victory. At the same time, where the hell was Scott Gomez throughout the night? Yes he put two assists on the board but he was almost as invisible as Shanny. He needs to be a dynamic puck carrier. Especially when you consider how Jagr played his halfhearted game once the Rangers started losing. You can't take anything away from Straka, outside of his illogical obsession with taking himself out of scoring situations to give the puck to his buddy Jagr.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dubi- one goal.
2-Iginla- two goals.
1-Huselius- goal and three assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dubi- I have to agree with Sam and Joe, he was the best Ranger on the ice all night.
2-Conroy- he did the dirty work to get room for, and the puck to Iginla and Huselius.
1-Huselius- a truly impressive performance.