Thursday, January 3, 2008
20-17-4: Canuckleheads Top Aenimic Rangers
I had really wanted to go out to Vancouver for tonight's game against the Canucks but extraordinary prices for airfare kept me watching the game on my couch. And its good, because I would have been really disappointed by the 3-0 result if I had spent over a grand to fly out there. Some of the things I saw from my living room:
*Ok, so Ryan Hollweg took on Mike Brown right off of the opening faceoff. It was a good lightweight bout without a clear winner and without any real explanation. If there was some kind of bad blood between the two, it isn't from their history because as near as I can tell, Hollweg never played against Brown before. My guess is that Brown had read something about Hollweg coming back to town and playing in front of his family and he made a bad Yo Momma joke (although I couldn't find anything in the Vancouver papers). Hollweg said during the intermission that he wanted "to get things going." I don't remember a time in recent memory when Renney gave his guys the green light ... bizarre.
*Another game, another disaster by Marek Malik. As regular readers can tell you, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, and even complimented him when he played well. But I also am one of the first to boo him because he is so soft. Against Vancouver he was his all-too-often terrible self: he let the puck bounce past him at the point on the Rangers first real pressure of the game, then took a dumb holding penalty a few minutes later. Oh yeah, and he took another dumb penalty immediately after the Rangers fell behind 2-0, which gave Vancouver the power play to score their third goal. Glen Sather definitely has to pull the trigger on a deal sooner rather than later, if only to keep the big idiot from being lynched on 34th Street.
*I loved the retro Canucks jersey and logo but using the retro colours throughout the new RBK uniform system was a mistake. On my old tv the Vancouver players looked like blue blobs. Why can't they go back to the Flying V??
*Geez, what is it with bad angle goals and the Rangers? First Huselius on Hank in Calgary, then Ryan Kesler on Vally tonight. Weak!
*You know I truly love Bettsy (as a player; get your mind out of the gutter). But seriously, dude, duuuude, he is just horrible within 10 feet of the opposing team's goal. The scary thing is that he had a better chance to score than anyone of the guys on the second line got all game.
*Speaking of lack of scoring chances, they were there for the rest of the offense. The Rangers outshot Vancouver 28-17 and couldn't get a single goal in. Roberto Luongo is good, but not that good. The chances were there but they did not take advantage of them (damn you Marcel Hossa).
*So Pam Anderson was in a private box (there is a joke in there somewhere); I wonder if she was getting ready to add her name to the list of blondes that Sean Avery defiled. No wonder he is the most hated player in the NHL.
*Will wonders never cease!! Jagr ran to Prucha's defense midway through the second period when Mr. Fantastic (from the Fantastic Four - made of rubber - get it?!) was being mauled along the boards by several Canucks. I never, ever, ever would have thought that Jagr had it in him. Colour me impressed/shocked.
*I am one of the old school guys who think that guys with visors are predominantly sissies but you have to consider them wise when you see stupid high sticks like when Ryan Kesler clipped Dan Girardi. One inch higher and Girardi would have been turned into Bryan Berard. But Girardi got himself sticked up and was back for the third period. Have I mentioned lately that he is my favourite Ranger? He is.
*Totally random but I just read my way through a fantastic wrap of the Winter Classic by those pompous Pens fans over at The Pens Blog. I highly recommend reading it.
*Another nice link to look at is here. It's a piece from the Toronto Globe & Mail on how good Marc Staal has been. Its nice for people outside of New York to finally appreciate the youngster's poise and contributions.
*Trevor Linden was interviewed during the second intermission and showed the class that has made him one of the true elder statesmen in the NHL. I am a big fan of his, even if he made an unfortunate visit to Long Island for a season and a half.
*You know, this subject has been broached before and will again, but the NHL needs to do something with the way points are given out. There is no reason for some games to be worth three games in the standings and others two. Either make regulation wins worth three points or do away with the charity point for overtime/shootout losses. This is ridiculous and unfair; the Islanders get a point for losing to the Panthers in overtime tonight. The Panthers!!
*Seeing Renney giving the HBO line more ice time really makes me smile. For once hard work is rewarded, rather than hard cash (as in big contracts, not bribes, lol).
*The makeup of the Canucks is really intriguing. They essentially have one scoring line and three checking lines and yet it works. Their stars are dangerous every time they are on the ice and their foot soldiers bust their behinds every shift and create offensive opportunities with a great forecheck. Kesler, Cooke, Pyatt, Burrows ... nobodies who are somebodies to the Vancouver franchise and have helped them to become one of the top teams in the West.
*Maybe its me, but I am pretty sure I heard a "Rangers Suck" chant with four minutes left in the game. As someone who has been known to harass opposing teams, even I have to say that the chant was entirely unwarranted in a clean, back-and-forth 1-0 game (at the time).
*I made Willie Mitchell one of my Scotty Hockey First Quarter All Stars and he really showed why in this game. A defensive defenseman, he made a lot of really good defensive plays while making that all-important first pass out time and time again during his 25 minutes of ice time. And I typed that before he took the shot that was deflected for the Canucks' third goal.
*And speaking of stars ...
PHW Three Stars:
3-Mitchell - one assist.
2-Kesler - one goal.
1-Luongo - 28 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Rangers penalty killers - they killed off six power plays before a deflection tally on the seventh made it 3-0.
2-Luongo - he wasn't all that flashy but he got the shutout.
1-Kesler - he was all over the ice all night long pestering, grinding, checking, scoring; a really good effort.