Monday, March 10, 2008
37-24-9: Three In A Row
Just a heads up first, I will be working a three day rip of shifts starting tomorrow that begin at the unholy hour of 7:30 am. As someone who usually works evenings/nights, I will likely be a zombie so don't expect too much for a few days here. But back to tonight, the Rangers played a pretty solid road game to secure their third win in a row. This surge is securing us the playoffs, and it comes despite mediocre work in our own end. The defense made mistakes, Hank gave up a shootout goal from a mile away but we won so all complaints are silenced ... well, not really, because if that was the case I wouldn't have much of a blog, would I? Let's pat the boys on the back, grab our two points and get the hell out of dodge. But before you get outta here, take a look at some of my ranting (pictures to be added tomorrow):
*I hope no one missed the beginning of the game. A mental slip by Marc Staal gave Buffalo a goal 16 seconds in, and a minute later Tyutin leveled the game on an easy shot that Ryan Miller should have stopped. Good thing Eliot Spitzer liked him some prostitutes and the local stations were in special coverage, otherwise I would have been watching Jeopardy!
*Pominville Population: Toronto fans who can't afford Leafs tickets.
*The two goals were almost immediately followed by a fight - Colton Orr took on Andrew Peters in another pointless Neanderthal match. Not only were the thugs stupid for going at it for no other reason than to justify their paycheck, neither tried to fight smart and, say, try to take the other guy's helmet off before throwing huge punches at their head. Wow, I bet those helmets were reaaaaally hurt, I bet they were taught a lesson or two ...
*Meanwhile, their tussle at the end of regulation was infuriating. How Buffalo didn't end up shorthanded is beyond me. A player from the bench hits a player on the ice ... and they give matching penalties? Are you kidding me? It should be shocking, but the officiating in the game, as per usual, was inconsistent and uneven.
*Its a tough call which would be worse - the game on Versus or having to listen to Buffalo's MSG broadcast with the obnoxious Rick Jeannerete. Or our MSG coverage with Joe Michelleti. I now completely understand why more people don't watch hockey. The sport has always been one best taken in live but the product on television is difficult to follow and the atrocious people they have trying to translate it for Joe Viewer make it unbearable.
*I have to add more on Versus, because this is killing me ... how is this a professional operation?? These guys were atrocious. The director or TD were having troubles putting graphics in and out, the audio guy was playing with the levels, and the on-air talent, along with the bimbo blonde, were horrid. Ed Olczyk, while an extremely nice guy, is as good a colour guy as he was a head coach - which is to say not very good at all. Joe Beninati spent more time scene setting and bullsh-tting with Olczyk than he did actually calling play. Then again, I looked him up: his impressive credentials includes covering the Caps, lacrosse and women's basketball ... three things no one watch so he has had no impetus to get any better. What an abomination. There were dozens of times where things happened on the ice and neither he nor Eddie addressed them and there were multiple occasions where what they said made no sense at all. And who was that obnoxious woman at ice level? If they aren't going to have someone who knows the game talking hockey down there, just don't bother. To just have a pretty face parroting a producer's question to a player/coach during a tv timeout is annoying and unnecessary. It is purely a cop out by the network to give you 'more' because the quantity of gimmicks is more important than quality nowadays. As for the studio guys, I think Bill Patrick said it all when he said "Caps, well, Caps rhymes with collapse."
*The Rangers continued their bad trend from late in the Boston game of messing around with the puck before actually crossing the blue line, resulting in more offsides. That's a chemistry issue - everyone has to be on the same page. They improved as the game went on but I think it is still an issue that should be addressed going forward.
*Great, great goal by Jaromir Jagr in the second period. Perfect placement, perfect chemistry by his line - Avery hit, Dubinsky puck movement, Jagr goal. That kind of thing should happen a lot more often. Versus, of course, botched the call and the coverage, concentrating on the off-balance Nathan Paetch getting hammered.
*On our fair captain, for all of you that have hounded me lately, I am giving credit, where credit was due - he played one of his best games of the year. He didn't hesitate to shoot, he created plays, he scored, he skated on both sides of the ice - even backchecking - I was impressed. He took advantage of the space given when he doesn't have to face a shutdown defenseman, which he hadn't done against Boston, no matter what you guys say.
*As much as it sucked to see Vanek score the Sabres second goal of the game, it was really neat to see the waterbottle jump. Thanks to Hank for not using that holder sleeve on the back of the piping. The league should bring back the loose nets so you can see the puck's impact, it makes the goals look that much more impressive.
*Tom Renney clearly wasn't trying to win the game in overtime. He had both Blair Betts and Jason Strudwick on the ice. I can't say I blame him considering how the Rangers are better than the Sabres in the shootout, but from an entertainment point of view ... eesh.
*It was nice to see Jason Strudwick's mustache back. Once Malik gets healthy, he should take Wally Backman's roster spot. I can't believe I just wrote that I want Malik back. Wow, it really has gotten that bad. But Malik's shortcomings have already all been made apparent, Wally just keeps coming up with one disappointment after another. We can't wait many more games for him to get comfortable and start making smart plays.
*But Hank played a pretty damn solid game so no matter how bad the defense was at times, he stood strong - although I thought he could have stopped both of Pominville's goals (regulation and shootout). If Miller keeps playing like he did in this game, you might as well just erase his name from Team USA in 2010; he was a sieve.
*I understand why the Sabres keep Peters, but why in the world does Adam Mair have an NHL job? The guy played 3:20 and took a penalty. He is almost as useless as Ryan Callahan's razor.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Paul Gaustad - one assist. If that wasn't a homer pick I don't know what is.
2-Brandon Dubinsky - one assist. He played well but he wasn't the best Ranger ...
1-Jason Pominville - shootout goal, regulation goal and an assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Tyutin - his early goal gave him some confidence so he actually started putting the puck on net, something he has desperately needed to do.
2-Pominville - ugh, I don't like Sabre fans.
1-Sean Avery - he did what he does best: keep the opponents off of their games. RE-SIGN HIM BEFORE THE COST GETS TOO HIGH!! If he wants $4 mill, stop offering 2.6 and give him 3, 3.5. There are plenty of teams out there that will be willing to pay the bucks for someone who cares that much, even if he is a loose cannon.