Sunday, February 15, 2009
30-21-6: Another National Embarrassment
Not a single thing that went wrong on Sunday afternoon hasn't already happened so far this season. The thing was that they all came together at once and on national television. The 10-2 debacle in Dallas was nearly as bad but it was against the Stars, in Dallas, on a Friday and on MSG. This was against a division rival, in the Garden, on a Sunday afternoon and on NBC.
So, basically, now you guys are seeing everything I have been saying for most of the season.
This is not to gloat, not to say 'I told you so,' not to say I saw things no one else saw. It was right there for everyone to see, just too many of you didn't want to see it and frankly you didn't have to with the record that the Blueshirts put together in the early going.
Well, now that the cat is fully out of the bag and has soiled the rug, we can start trying to move onwards. The laundry list of problems is long and there are no easy answers. Sean Avery won't cure all. Tom Renney's dismissal won't cure all. Getting someone, anyone, to trade for some of the overpriced miscreants will certainly help but let's face it - no one will. We are stuck with Scott Gomez, stuck with Chris Drury and stuck with Wade Redden. So, in this salary cap world, the thing to do is hope for prospect development to fill the many gaps.
To get these kids to develop you have to put them in situations where they can learn, and where they can succeed. Having Staal, Korpikoski and Prucha sitting on the bench during power plays is not giving them the opportunity to succeed. And, let's face it, they can't do any worse than the personnel that has been called over the boards time and time again to date.
*I was lucky enough to have a copy of the game so I was able to go back and enjoy this one again. When Mike Milbury says that the Rangers have "some bad free agent acquisitions, no question about that" you know things are bad. As Milbury walked off the ice after the broadcast I yelled to him thanks for ruining the Islanders and got a nasty look for my efforts. The man knows how to screw up a hockey team and Glen Sather is no better.
*Frankly, it was nice to see Mike Richards score on the 3-on-5. Was it sad, horrifying, disgusting? Of course! But as a hockey fan, you don't get to see that happen very often. Not a single Ranger skated their hardest to try to get Richards and the Flyer easily scored past the hapless Hank, who shouldn't have started in the first place (considering Vally's record against Philly).
*Now my question - one I am sure Flyer fans would be asking if they didn't go on to score three more goals - is why wasn't a penalty shot called on the next play when Dan Girardi literally jumped on the back of Simon Gagne during his shorthanded breakaway? Gagne beat Redden up the ice and Girardi had to cover for his inept partner, as he has all season long (stunting his growth; Girardi needs to play alongside Marc Staal, that simple - for their sake and for the Rangers sake).
*While I am asking things, why did Colton Orr go nuts and try to get into a fight after the Rangers finally got on the scoreboard? Too little, too late. And where was Tom Renney's time out? We kept asking each other why he wasn't using it but the best answer I could come up with was that the coach simply didn't have any answers ...
*Please, someone tell me why PA Parenteau isn't getting a chance to play. He has to be better than Nigel Dawes. Dawes is not good defensively, can't play on the special teams and has been reluctant to play physically. Parenteau will at least shoot the damned puck - he has 180, more than any current Ranger has - and he has 23 goals, more than any current Ranger has.
*Ah, Brandon Dubinsky. Dubi was one of the few Rangers to skate hard in the second period and all it ended up in was him getting his ass kicked by the bigger, older, smarter Scotty Hartnell. Why Hartnell didn't get an extra penalty for instigating while wearing a visor is beyond me.
*On the fisticuffs note, why in the world would Paul Mara fight Arron Asham behind a play??? He took exception to a perfectly fair hit by the one-dimensional goon (former Islander and Devil) while and now the Rangers have lost their most consistent defenseman for who knows how long. If Mara wanted the score to be settled, he should have been able to turn to Colt or Eric Reitz. Yes, I know that runs contrary to man code and all that but there is pride and there is stupidity. You don't see Chris Drury or Markus Naslund fighting ... oh, wait ... never mind.
*Now I was as happy as anyone to see Petr Prucha get a chance to play, but why? Renney said again and again that he put Voros in the lineup to add size and power so he inserts the smaller Prucha against the tougher Flyers? Huh?
*Prucha did try, and he worked hard but given Renney's track record, it may be the last we will see of him for a while. Damn shame.
*Ryan Callahan was the best Ranger on the ice throughout the game yet again but since when did he start channelling Marty Straka? He made a few great breaks down the wing only to pull up and wait for a pass. So frustrating ... like everything else on this night.
*They dominated in the faceoff dot 37-15 yet didn't seem to carry play until late in the third period.
*Renney finally benched some of his "stars" down the stretch in the third period. It is hard to say if he was finally trying to enforce some accountability or he was just trying to keep them from wearing down before tomorrow's game in St. Louis.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Kimmo Timonen - no points.
2-Mike Richards - one goal.
1-Claude Giroux - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Marty Biron - The 35 save total was an inflated number, as the Rangers are apt to do with weak, outside shots but Biron does deserve credit for weathering the late Ranger press. It was too little, too late but Biron held his ground and made the needed saves to keep the Rangers at bay.
2-Mike Richards - A nice 3-on-5 goal, rock solid, energetic play and all of the calm, collected leadership that Chris Drury seems incapable of providing.
1-John Stevens - Stevens put forth a simple, yet efficient game plan that allowed the Rangers to make their mistakes and he put out the personnel to take advantage of them.