Saturday, April 4, 2009
40-30-9: No Heart In The Hub
There was golf on the television next to the one I watched the Ranger/Bruin game on and I can honestly say I'm not sure which was more boring. The Boston 1-0 victory kept the Ranger matinee curse alive and earned the Bruins the Eastern Conference title. Good for the B's. For the Rangers, it was just another pathetic, unacceptable loss at the worst possible time.
They had two big power plays in the third period and pissed both away. At regular strength they were outmuscled and outhustled. And if the Rangers lose on Tuesday at home against Montreal, the season will be over. No reason to waste their time getting beating up by Philly.
*The lone goal was pathetic. Rangers totally lost all semblance of control and chased the puck around before getting crossed up and trapped in one corner. Blake Wheeler sits wide open at the point and blows a knuckle puck past Hank. It was savable but there were a whole lotta bodies in his vicinity so it is hard to call soft ... just weak.
*There is a minute left, down 1-0 and your goaltender is on the bench - why would you put Chris Drury and Markus Naslund on the ice?
*Was there any clearer evidence that Naslund's heyday is long behind him than when Milan Lucic knocked him down with one hand early in the third period? Naslund used to power his way to the net against bigger, tougher players who weren't penalized for every hook and hit and now he got tossed like a child.
*Something that can perhaps be attested to Tom Renney's shortcomings is the fact that none of the lines have any chemistry - still. Renney never let any line aside from the fourth get settled and now Torts has tossed them around a bit as well. Passes rarely find players in stride and often leave the recipient in a bad position to make the play.
*Something that is indeed Tort's fault is his reluctance to use his fourth line. All Colton Orr did was hit people in the first period and Lauri Korpikoski hit a post in the third - the closest the team came to scoring all game.
*The Avery/Thomas incident was priceless. The refs clearly didn't see the incident and only reacted when Thomas came out of his crease to attack Avery. Since it was Avery, they had to calls something on him and they saw what on the video replay. Thomas didn't get anything for chopping at Avery, just two minutes for punching Freddie Sjostrom in the face - and with a blocker, that could be seen as intent to injure. I don't know if you have ever been nailed with a waffle to the face but I have, it hurts almost bad as a cross check to the face. Good work by Sean, it should have worked to throw Thomas off his game when you add in some offensive pressure but the Rangers couldn't muster any.
*On the officiating, how come Marc Savard got two minutes for cross checking and not five minutes for boarding? He intentionally hit Gomez in the numbers as Gomez was going towards the boards. A foot further and he could have turned into Travis Roy.
*To help save myself from some measure of misery, I watched the game on NESN. I would rather Homer McFanboy Jack Edwards to the annoying idiocy of Joe Micheletti. Feel free to point out some of his more egregious errors in the comments.
*The colour guy for NESN, who I won't even bother to get his name, clearly didn't bother to watch any Ranger games to prepare for this one. Edwards asked him questions about how the Rangers kill worked and what were some of the flaws and he had no answers. Amateur!
*As for Jack, well a teenage Ranger fan got a puck that was knocked into the crowd and Edwards said that the kid would be "a dead Ranger fan in a couple of minutes." How PC.
*And it was funny listening to Jack Edwards raving about Shane Hnidy's toughness while the defenseman went second man in on Chara/Mara at the end of the second period. I guess it is easy to be a big man when you can hide behind your captain and the visor on your helmet.
*Everyone else cringe when Morris nailed Wideman in the nuts with a slapshot?
*Everyone can attack Don Cherry all they want but more often than not, the man is right. When he is called xenophobic for picking on the softer, unmotivated foreigners folks rail on him. Sadly, when it comes to the pair of Niks, he is right. Borat was amazingly invisible despite being the size of a small house and Zherdev got off a few half-assed shots but that was it. That they can't get up and involved for games of this magnitude is an embarrassment.
*Rene whatever-his-name-is may be one of the worse anthem singers to do a hockey game. He was horrible, and the Boston fans seemed to be happy with his rendition. All the more reason for us to be thankful we have John Amirante.
*On the bright side, Wade Redden had one of his best games as a Ranger so far. Not only did he fill the crease and block a shot with Hank out of position in the second period, he also made a few decent stops and took a shot or two.
*How sad is it that the only positive thing I could find in the debacle was Wade Redden's performance? I want to puke.
*PHW Three Stars
3-PJ Axelsson - one assist.
2-Blake Wheeler - one goal.
1-Tim Thomas - 31 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - Cally was the lone player aside from Hank to play from puck drop to buzzer. Sadly it was just too easy for the Bruins to key on him and keep him away from the net. He is too small to be a big threat against a team like the Bs.
2-Hank - With the Rangers stumbling around their zone for two periods Hank kept them in the game. He made a half dozen big saves and gave the Blueshirts a chance to win.
1-Chara - The Boston captain was every bit as responsible for shutting out the Rangers as Thomas was. He made big stop after big stop, swift passes and huge shots.