Wednesday, March 19, 2008
38-26-9: Rangers Club Penguins
Hey, at the end of the day the scoreboard said 5-2. It didn't mention that Cindy Crosby didn't play. It didn't mention that the Rangers gave up two awful goals to lose a 2-0 lead. It didn't mention how disjointed Pittsburgh played. It didn't show how Gina Malkin wasn't the same player who dominated Philly on Sunday. It said the Rangers won, and that's good enough for me at this point. The Rangers took advantage of the scrambling Pens to solve the Conk-blocker for five goals to come out with two points. Some notes from the game:
*“Re-sign Avery! Re-sign Avery!” Need I say more than that chant that resounded through the Garden after his second goal?
*You know, Tom Renney's loyalty/stubbornness really could end up hurting this team. The only change in the lineup was to put Malik back in, resulting in Strudwick and his mustache being scratched. But where is Ryan Hollweg and Petr Prucha? These guys need to get a game or two in soon just in case something happens during the playoff run. Everyone remembers '94s Black Aces fondly because they were able to step in when needed because they had gotten plenty of action during the regular season. Just like I saw no reason that either Hollweg or Prucha shouldn't have played over the weekend, there was no reason they couldn't play tonight.
*On the same topic - why did Colton Orr play? Georges Laraque didn't. Orr didn't intimidate, he didn't stand up for his teammates with Hal Gill, Tyler Kennedy and Jarkko Ruutu deserving of a beating. Gill stood a few guys up at the blue line, Kennedy crashed Hank and Ruutu is just a filthy player.
*From what I've heard, Ruutu deserves to get a suspension. From my side of the ice I didn't see it as it happened, but apparently that rat held Sean Avery's stick from the bench. Just as Andrew Peters was suspended from hitting Orr from the bench, Ruutu should get a game or two. Unsportsmanlike conduct like that is unacceptable.
*The power play went 0-2. Christian Backman got a look on one of the points and didn't look that bad. At least, he didn't look as bad as he was at regular strength. And he was BAD. This guy couldn't earn a starting job on the St. Louis Blues, who are one of the poorest teams in the league. He has become a staple for us and played 21 minutes, second only to Rozy. There is something really wrong there ...
*And there is something wrong with the fact that Malik skated away from the game with a +3. He played an adequate game with his usual flaws, but somehow ended up with the best plus/minus - further proof that that stat is not a fair judge of talent. I am not saying he was especially horrid, but he certainly wasn't solid.
*Is it me or has Brandon Dubinsky turned into the player that Hugh Jessiman was supposed to be?
*Hank won the 100th game of his NHL career. As I said, I think the two goals against were on the softer side but he rebounded and made a few big saves. The time out that Renney called after the second one seemed to do our netminder the most help of anyone on the ice.
*I can't wait to see what the guys at The Pensblog have to say about this one. As I mentioned at the top, Conklin was touched for five goals, at least three of which were absolutely his fault. And I bet they sure are glad that the Pens traded a portion of their future for Hossa (the better brother - ours is still useless for Phoenix). He had an assist but was virtually nonexistent in this one.
*So was the line of Dawes, Shanny and Gomez. They should have been able to feast on the Pens but were barely there all night. Gomez had a couple of really good chances but just couldn't capitalize.
*In between the second and third period they had a peddle car race on the ice between three former Rangers - Rod Gilbert, Ron Duguay and Nick Fotiu. They gave Gilbert a chance to start ahead of the other two since he is a Hockey Hall of Famer. As a friend said, "He is a Hall of Famer, he shouldn't have to do this kind of sh--." The race was ridiculous fun, but my friend was right - Gilbert should act the role of elder statesman at this point; let the silly 70s guys go at it.
*I left him out of my three stars, but Chris Drury yet again played a really good game. Dru has been great as a penalty killer and is working the paint on the power play. Now, he is one player I don't want getting battered down low with that long term contract of his but his willingness to do anything to win is why we brought him here and why he should be the captain when Jagr goes.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Drury - two assists.
2-Marty Straka - goal and an assist.
1-Avery - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Fredrik Sjostrom - he yet again saw less than 10 minutes of ice time and yet again played hard every second he was out there. He was rewarded with a good goal and should get the opportunity to play more. I wouldn't mind him getting some power play time with his willingness to do the dirty work.
2-Avery - he was his usual pest self and didn't let his early empty net miss to get to him. He rebounded with two good goals and raised his contract demands a few hundred thousand dollars.
1-Cally - the kid was the most involved player on the ice. He pressured the Pens, buzzed their net, hit, made room for his linemates, shot the puck and got himself a goal.