Thursday, October 16, 2008

5-1-0: Rangers Finally Fall

As you can imagine, I have seen a lot of hockey games in my life. A lot. I have a problem; I fully admit it. Tonight's 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres ranks among the worse that I have seen. It was boring, it was passionless and it had no flow. I would gladly give Buffalo some credit if they outplayed the Rangers and broke the undefeated streak with a hard-fought win, but they didn't. The Sabres played well enough not to lose, and they didn't. Last season, when the Ranger blew that 5-0 lead to lose to Montreal, you just had to respect the Habs for the amazing comeback. I don't have any respect for the Sabres for this one. What drek. While I don't want to dwell on the abomination, here are a few things I saw:

*Everything that looked bad for the Rangers in the first five games all showed up in this one. Their passing, which was terrible in Prague, was terrible here. Their puckhandling, which was bad against Chicago, was bad here. They sat back with the lead against the Flyers and they sat back with the lead here. The first line was invisible against the Devils and it was invisible here. And the Rangers have had trouble clearing the crease in every game and couldn't do it here.

*That comes down to the coaching and Tom Renney is a teacher, not a motivator. His idea of putting a jump into the team is breaking down the lines and pulling names out of a hat to try new ones. It just doesn't work. And his decision to throw random people out on the four minute power play in the third sealed the loss. There was no reason to give Korpikoski, Orr and Prucha power play time when the team's fate was pretty much on the line - even with the first line having trouble.

*The final shot total had the Rangers outshooting the Sabres 20-18 but the Blueshirts number was vastly inflated. They had at least four of those shots come in the third period when someone crossed the blueline and just threw the puck towards Miller, who caught it and stopped play. Did they think that Miller was going to pull a Brodeur and screw up on a long range try? He isn't that bad of a goaltender ...

*A lot of the blame for this Ranger loss is going to Paul Mara, who started throwing punches at Pat Kaleta after Kaleta went after Mara's head. The horrendous officiating awarded a five minute major for fighting and a game misconduct while allowing Kaleta to skate off scot-free. It was utterly unconscionable that Mara got tossed for something that deserved a double minor to him and a major to Kaleta. But since Mara isn't a posterboy for the NHL, people are allowed to take shots at him. Imagine if that was Sidney Crosby? Ha! Kaleta would have gotten tossed and would likely be suspended.

*With Mara out, the rest of the defense was overworked and overtired. Malik Kalinin had yet another bad game (bad penalty, turnovers, poor first passes, terrible positioning), Redden couldn't get out of his own way, Girardi is playing lost without Tyutin next to him, Rozy still can't keep a puck in the offensive zone or out of the defensive zone and I honestly don't really remember seeing Marc Staal doing anything.

*Prucha played his first game since Prague and it looks like it should be his last. He was pretty useless. They wanted offense out of that spot and Prucha missed three chances on the doorstep in front of Miller. The team will be better served having Dan Fritsche's energy, even if they would have to play him out of position.

*The Rangers did nothing for Alexei Cherepanov, who was buried today. No video tribute, stickers on the helmets, patches on the jerseys, logos on the ice, nothing. For shame.

*Colton Orr fought Andrew Peters early in the game, but really, who cares? It was yet another pointless bout to justify the heavyweights' paychecks. You would think that Orr would have put himself above that thing once he learned to skate over the summer but he proved that he is nothing more than another stupid goon.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Ales Kotalik - one goal.
2-Ryan Miller - 19 saves.
1-Thomas Vanek - two goals.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Vanek - Two easy tallies by taking advantage of the Rangers' stupidity.
2-Clarke MacArthur - Really solid game by the kid. He played a lot of minutes of sound hockey and has a good future ahead of him.
1-Kaleta - If can get away with a cheap shot like his and get a five minute power play for it, you deserve a star. As my buddy Pockets said, I loved it when Esa Tikkanen used to do it, how can I hate now?


raventalon40 said...

Not sure why TSN is blaming Paul Mara for that loss, but I felt he just did what he felt he needed to do.

(see Cole fighting Orpik)

Anonymous said...

Buffalo deserves credit because they employed a strategy that the Rangers had no answer for in any zone: a relentless forcheck. They generated no flow and couldn't produce crisp passes.

No energy from the crowd, the team, and someone should call NYPD because the first line has been kidnapped. They should have to give money back.

I'm pretty sure Naslund is on this team, but I couldn't prove it.


Anonymous said...

And another thing. I can't stand Tom tinkering with the lines in the last few minutes as if he is suddenly going to discover the cure for cancer.

Mara, while his penalty was selfish (I'm sure he could've lined Kaletta up for a crushing hit) but I have also never had my face broken.


danae said...

Just to add to the list of Ranger missteps in the loss: Anyone notice Chris Drury's tendency to stop moving his feet on the back check? Replay both of Vanek's goals and you'll see Drury coasting and going for the stick check instead of trying to catch the man shoulder to shoulder.

Anonymous said...

kaleta should get a penalty for throwing a check and taking some punches in the face? that makes no sense. dont get me wrong, as a huge sabres fan, i cant stand kaleta, but that is one occasion where i felt kaleta did no wrong. your just mad the rangers lost. both teams played strong D, the sabres just had 3 really good chances/bounces and capitalized on them

Corey Lloyd said...

Sabres fan here, really really disappointed that the Rangers did NOTHING for Alexei last night. A future superstar pases ans they don't acknowledge him, very very sad. As for the game, there wasn't much flow but it was very physical and have fun with Kalinin, he's terrible. Love Zherdev though, you landed a star with him good luck this season.

Drew Peacock said...

Just when I thought we were FINALLY playing with some passion....that game completely smacked of last season's Rangers. I was very disappointed...where the Hell is Staal? I completely agree that G is lost without Toots...

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that it was a litte TOO convenient that it just happened to be Lindy's 400th career win...Oh and having Frazer on the ice didn't help matters. I hope someone made the "get off yer knees..." joke.

We ARE only 6 games in though...they had to lose sometime...I'd rather lose to Buf than any of our "rivals". However, I would much rather lose as a result of just not being the better team as opposed to playing like shit.

Lastly, Perry Pern should be fired...'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Man, you'd think they started the season 0-5. The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Lighten up dude.

Anonymous said...

Quit being a stereotypical whiney Rangers bitch. The Sabres out played the Rangers. Plain and simple. Sounds like someone needs to watch hockey less and maybe try and get laid once in a while to chill the f*** out. QQ

P.S. It's funny how the rangers can spend a quadrazillion dollars on thier players and yet still come up with crap.

nyrmike21 said...

What really confused me was that the referee had his arm up on the Mara play after Kaleta hit him. I couldn't understand how they could give him a five and give Kaleta nothing. Just another horrible officiated game.
On a second note, I really liked Orr's fight. I don't understand why you don't like when they fight. It's a part of the game and it can get a team fired up, no matter what position they're in. Whether it's for this game or down the road.

Anonymous said...

Two things, first on the Mara/Kaleta incident, The reason the ref's arm went up was because Mara immediately threw punches, it was not up on the Kaleta hit. Also, what would all of you whiners give Kaleta a penalty for? 2 or 4 minutes for missing? Even if he had connected well, what would the penalty be, for hitting too hard? As neither a Rangers fan or a Sabres fan I can honestly say the officiating was spot on on that play.

Scotty Hockey said...

Coupla quick things:

*Kaleta should have been called for charging.

*Yes it is only the sixth game but with the skill in the East, every point will eventually be super important and let's face it - sorry Sabre fans, but they aren't likely going to make the postseason. Or even worse, we will be challenging them for a spot and playing a half-assed game against them will come back to bite us.

*Danae - Great point. Half-assed play from Drury is simply not acceptable and pretty surprising. Let's just hope this game was an aberration.

Anonymous said...

so scotty hockey is obviously dillusional. it's okay. the rangers have a good chance to make into the playoffs but they'll choke like they've been doing for a while.

$20 says the sabres make the playoffs. last year was a fluke. too many distractions. this season they're showing their depth again but there is actually a defense. no kalinin screwing things up.don't know about that? you will soon...

and saying that the rangers were flatfooted is a total garbage. sabres beat them at their own game and ended there stretch of great penalty killing. rangers are a good team, don't get me wrong, but the sabres just seem to have gotten their youth and defense under control.

Anonymous said...

Scotty Hockey,

Were we watching the same game? The Sabres fully deserve all the credit, as they schooled the Rangers for 2 1/2 periods. Solid passing, great forechecking, great defense and a power play usually racks up 2 points and a win. I'll agree that NY played a bad game, but the Sabres were playing smart hockey and spanked them with Vanek's prowess. The Sabres are just a better team on the ice, than the Rangers are on paper or ice. As for Mara, he should be thankful that Kaleta didn't drop the gloves and pound him down. The 5 minute major was a good call. Withg all trhis whining, you must be a sorry Rangers fan

nyrmike21 said...

Okay. So apparently Scotty and I were at a different game than many people. Did anyone else notice the Sabres go into a defensive trap? I sure as hell did. Saying the Sabres beat the Rangers at their own game is complete b.s. But I'm sure the stupid anonymous people are going to come back with something dumb.

raventalon40 said...

Obviously his hand didn't go up before the initial action that caused the penalty, silly. I never said anything about Kaleta? I just said Mara did what he had to do.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the game, especially the Mara/Kaleta incident.

Mara and many of you Rangers' fans are just making up what supposedly happened.

Mara simply lost his temper when Kaleta tried to check him. What a dumbthing to do, especially with so much time to go.

So stupid Scotty and the rest of you, get a clue. You can't win games that way.

Anonymous said...

Ha. How about you look at the replay on Youtube and see that he clearly went after his head. He checked him clean, and than followed through into his head. Kaleta is just a little wuss, just like the rest of the Sabres. You have no tough guy so the players just go around taking liberties.