So after the festivities honouring Adam Graves, I mean Brian Leetch, there was an actual hockey game that was played, although it was hard to tell for most of it. While the Rangers would eventually win 2-1 in a shootout, it was as dreadful and as dreadfully boring as the loss to the Bruins on Sunday. Admittedly I don't have much, but there were some moments/items of notice (pics forthcoming, maybe):
*To avoid the crowds, I ran into the Team Store at a first period commercial break to waste some money on hugely overpriced mementos. They had a tv in there so I was forced to watch the debacle that was the Rangers 5-on-3 so-called power play. They were atrocious. Something will have to happen with these guys soon because they won't go anywhere with a power play like this. Whether that means trading for a power play specialist or firing Perry Pern (the assistant coach who is in charge of special teams), something has to happen, and soon.
*Colton Orr has to go. He tried to pick a fight at the end of the first period and just couldn't do it. What a joke of an enforcer. He did have one good check late in the game but otherwise was pretty useless.
*Speaking of useless, JAROMIR JAGR was garbage. I know some of you will leap to his defense, as you always do, but you clearly do not actually watch the games. Jagr was horrendous. He put himself out of position plenty, put himself offsides twice and seemed to work away from scoring zones. And what was with that half-hearted attempt in the shootout? Gross.
*J.D. was in the building and guested on MSG (thank goodness for Rangers in 60 so I got to see it). It would have been fantastic to have had him MC the night, but I guess the president of another franchise isn't allowed to. But listening to him back in the booth, you clearly hear how he is in a different league from Joe Micheletti. Micheletti is just atrocious, like the Blueshirts power play.
*It truly is amazing how the team plays how Sean Avery plays. Avery came out hard, they played hard. Avery got checked, came up shaking his wrist and was timid until late in the third period.
*I do think that Avery works better on the first line than the second, but that left Tom Renney with a line of Dawes, Dubinsky and Shanahan. Shanny slowed the line down and looked out of place. He did manage to get himself a few scoring chances and did score the game-winner in the shootout, but he needs to get back into a comfort zone. Maybe the All Star break will allow him to rest and get his knee back into shape so he can skate again.
*Now that I questioned Renney's line selection, I have to call him on his insane choices for the overtime. There is absolutely no reason for him to put his third defensive pair on the ice during a four-on-four sudden death period. And why in the world did he have Blair Betts on in the last minute of the OT? I love Bettsy but let's face it, he sucks offensively. It was the last game before the All Star break in a must-win game, so short-shift and roll your first two lines, that's it. Or was Jagr too tired from skating away from Bobby Holik all night?? Very curious.
*So for as much as I have thrown accolades at Tyutin and Girardi, they had a lousy game. At one point Toots was so far out of position that he weakly waved his stick back-and-forth at the Thrasher puck handler. He usually has body position and takes away space. Girardi couldn't keep the puck in the offensive zone and misplayed it a few times. So sad; my desire for his jersey is waning while Dubi's stock is rising.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Rozy - one goal.
2-Hank - 17 saves.
1-Shanny - shootout goal that proved the game-winner.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dubi - best Ranger all night. His teammates played for 50 or so minutes but the kid played for all 60. He was great.
2-Marian Hossa - if he actually had some decent linemates, he would have had a hat trick instead of just one goal. Even though he couldn't beat Hank to extend the shootout, he was the top skater in the game.
1-Brian Leetch - this night was his, No. 2 will have a place in the MSG rafters forever in honour of a great Ranger legend.