In playoff hockey, the team that leaves it all on the ice is the one who prevails. Simply said, the Rangers have yet to do it. They didn't even seem to break a sweat until late in the third period, when the urgency factor kicked in. And that is just not good enough. They limp home down 2-0 after losing Game 2 2-0. They tried to adapt their style of play to the way the Pens play and it didn't work.
A quick note before I get into the other ranting: the Rangers should be able to face the Penguins without Hal Gill for Game 3 after he threw his gloves down to go after Sean Avery at the end of the game.
NHL Rule 56: FisticuffsIt's that simple, in black and white. The league has to call it. Ok, onto the other stuff:
An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.
(NEW for 2005-06) A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension.
*NBC set a bad standard from the start. First, they open the coverage with the game call from Game 1 - which incorrectly attributed the game-winning goal to Cindy - and then, minutes later, Eddie O (the former Pittsburgh coach) says outright that Cindy is not a diver. Ok, so the table is tilted towards the crybaby at the top. At least the other former Pittsburgh employee, Pierre McGuire picked his spots throughout the game. So much for objective journalism.
*Just as you had to know NBC would fellate Crosby and the Pens, the officials were going to weigh in and help out. A ridiculously quick whistle by Dan O'Halloran with the puck sliding into the net late in the third period cost the Blueshirts the equalizer. At least Gary Bettman can go to sleep tonight knowing his money-maker is in prime position to advance to the next round.
*The Rangers actually tested Marc-Andre Fleury once in the first two periods (when Callahan found Drury in the first). That just isn't enough; the Pens netminder is young and not very good - why the Rangers don't go hard at him the way they went at Marty Brodeur is beyond me. He got himself a shutout by making maybe two good stops, and that is all that he needed to do.
*Ain't that something? Marc Staal makes a terrible play on the penalty kill, losing the puck in the corner, and his younger brother capitalizes to give Pittsburgh the first goal of the game. Now I don't have any siblings, but I would think that will hurt for a long, long, long time.
*It took 14 minutes for Cindy to fall to the ice convincingly. I won't say she dived, but he leaned back and put all of his body weight on Toots so when the Ranger defenseman tried to turn away, Cindy hit the deck and earned a penalty. Eddie O can call it 'gamesmanship' all he wants but its still not right. A few minutes later Jagr was unceremoniously dumped to the ice by Hal Gill and Frankenstein wasn't shown the box. How soon until the NHL turns into the Italian Serie A soccer league with every player going down like he was molested the second contact is made? Personally, I give it another season or two but it certainly won't be long with the officiating being how it is.
*What a nice dig by Mike Richter during the second intermission. Talking to Pierre McGuirre and Mike Milbury, Richter was asked about '94 and he turned to Milbury and said 'you know what its like, its a marathon.' Well, Milbury does but he never won a ring! Slimey Bahston bastard.
*Someone put together a search team and find Brendan Shanahan.
*Why does Tom Renney call his time out after the Penguins put the game out of reach?
*Also on Renney, hopefully this Petr Prucha experiment was a one-game thing. The fourth line was pretty much useless in the game. Prucha was his usual punching bag self and couldn't get anything going offensively. Ryan Hollweg played well in the first round, its time to get him back in the lineup.
*The Rangers need to work on their shot selection. They had 22 shots blocked which only reinforced my earlier comment that they weren't getting themselves into good scoring positions.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 30 saves.
2-Jordan Staal - game-winning goal.
1-Marc-Andre Fleury - 26 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - The Blueshirts blueline was porous yet again and he stood tall to keep his team in the game.
2-Jaromir Jagr - Regular readers know that Jagr doesn't make this list often for good reason. In this game he played like he cared, like he wanted the puck, like he was the captain of the team.
1-Jordan Staal - He was solid killing penalties and scored the game-winner.