Friday, February 27, 2009

31-24-8: More Of The Same

Ugh, do I really have to go over this one? Blah, blah, blah, more of the crappy same play, blah, blah. Some glimpses of John Tortorella's influence were shown during the Ranger 2-1 loss but they were just as ineffective as the Ranger offense was. The defense jumped up when they could, the fourth line barely played and the Rangers ventured into the tough scoring zones more often. But they missed the net wide on open shots from the wing, missed mostly-empty nets and were 0-3 on the power play, including a disgraceful 5-on-3 opportunity.

If the Rangers score on that at the start of the third period, then they probably win the game. If Ryan Callahan puts the puck in on his wide open second period breakaway, then they probably win the game. If Brandon Dubinsky's goal in the first minute counted, then they probably win the game. But none of the above happened, so they definitely lost. Again.

Frankly, it is not a big deal to have Florida pass the Rangers in the standings, the Panthers pretty much assured themselves of a playoff spot when they let Olli Jokinen go last summer. The big deal is that the Rangers couldn't score and didn't even earn a point in a game they led for 44 minutes and 16 seconds. The big deal is that the Sabres and Hurricanes went to a shootout so each of them earned points to draw within one (and Buffalo has a game in hand). And now that Cindy Crosby has a shooter alongside him in Chris Kunitz, the Pens are sure to make a run so New York's playoff position is becoming quite perilous.

Well, some randomness from the Garden:

*It took until late in the third period for people to finally start chanting - "FIRE SATHER!" with me. Is that how long it took for them to realize that the current state of the team wasn't Renney's fault?

*Craig Anderson looked terrible flopping around the Florida crease and the Rangers made him look like Dominik Hasek.

*By my rough count, Markus Naslund's goal was his fifth this season where the puck happened to hit off of him and go into the net. I mean, it is nice for someone in a Ranger jersey to actually score, but it would be nice to see a skill goal for once. And two sloppy, stupid penalties? What is wrong with this guy?

*What ever happened to Chris Drury's skills? Dru looked lost out there and yet he continues to get prime ice time on the special teams.

*As I said during the game, will Aaron Voros please put himself out of my misery? What a waste of a jersey.

*How do the Rangers dominate in the faceoff circle 37-18 and yet still seemed to be on their heels half the game?

*Wade Redden had a good game. There, I said it.

*Michal Rozsival did not. Rozy can't keep the puck in the damned zone and never plays the body. Sounds a lot like what we used to say about his former partner Marek Malik ...

*A Bronx Tale was a helluva movie and the best line from it was "the saddest thing in life is wasted talent." The writers could have been watching Nik Zherdev.

*I don't envy Henrik Lundqvist. Hank played a solid game, gave up one good goal and one bad goal and yet his team still loss. It can't be good for his psyche to know that his best still isn't good enough to get a win.

*I really, really hope the Rangers don't trade Blair Betts next week but I won't be shocked if they do. Betts is rock solid and dirt cheap and a unrestricted free agent after this season. I will probably expand on this more in a trade deadline primer next week but it ran through my mind this evening. It would be sad to see him go.

*It is great to finally see Dan Girardi alongside Marc Staal but it is an absolute shame that it comes with the two playing some of the worse hockey of their young careers. If Staal plays the body instead of stick checking, Florida doesn't score the game-winner.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Markus Naslund - one goal.
2-Nathan Horton - one goal.
1-Craig Anderson - 40 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Brandon Dubinsky - Dubi played his best game in months. Of course, he didn't score (at least one that counted) but he was one of the few Rangers who pressed the action.
2-Horton - He is finally turning into that top line center that Florida has hoped he would be since he was drafted third overall in that ridiculously wonderful 2003 draft - one ahead of Nik Zherdev and nine before Hugh Jessiman.
1-Jay Bouwmeester - Bouwmeester played half the game, literally - 29:58. He is a big kid who never seems to panic under duress and makes smart, quick passes to jump start the Panther rush. He's good.

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