Sunday, October 18, 2009
7-1-0: Beating The Beatable
How sad is your franchise when you have to celebrate a mid-90s team that never won anything and bring in Bill Berg, Mark Osbourne and Felix Potvin to represent them?
The answer - as we saw - was very, very sad. The Rangers easily beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Saturday night, their second win over the cellar-dwellers in a week. How lucky are the Blueshirts to face these guys twice before Phil Kessel shows up and they get their acts together?
*Doooooooob. Brandon Dubinsky opened the scoring with a snipe of a shot. Skating four on four the Rangers had a three-on-one break and the defenseman cut off the pass. Dubi kept his head up and when the defenseman fell, shot it over him and past Joey MacDonald, who was off his angle. Perfect shot on a perfect play. Of course, he had a great chance to score on a 2-on-1 in the third and he shot it over the net but small steps, small steps. One of these days he will be a first line center.
*It was fantastic (and about time) that the Rangers were defending the crease in the first period. My dad floated the idea that Hank should go all Billy Smith on opposition forwards and while I laughed at him when he said it, the man is right - a sentiment echoed on the broadcast by Dave Maloney.
*At the same time, it was not fantastic seeing Rozy shove Lee Stempiak directly into Hank on a rush in the first period. Granted, Hank still made the save on that rodent Jason Blake but Hank is taking some hard hits waaaaaay to early in the season. And for Rozy to come in like that so late on the play is very high on the not good scale.
*How can you not love Sean Avery? He was all over the ice causing chaos. He 'falls' on Joey Mac stick-first and gets jumped on by two Leafs, then skates to the bench and sits down smiling. And after Sean was roughed up by Ian White in the first period, karma saw his deflected shot in the second come up and strike White in the face. Don't mess with the Zohan!
*Talk about bringing the smiles, Marc Staal scored on an old-school wrap-around! For one, Staalsie actually scored! For two, that move actually worked! Greatness.
*MDZ got one great screen from two Toronto players to score a power play goal to make it 3-0. Always a fairytale when guys can score at home, and it was one MSG reminded viewers of multiple times.
*And why did they MSG feel the need to show that silly clip of Toronto playing dodgeball in practice so many times? Who cares? They stink at hockey, so they are trying out another sport, good for them (har, har).
*Now I can't even give Toronto credit for their lone goal. It was quite disgraceful. Enver Lisin turns the puck over, Marc Staal slides right through the play, Dan Girardi has the puck go through his legs and Hank was already down on the ice and couldn't make the save as Ian White scores. Embarrassing ...
* ... just like Donald Brashear. Brash lumbered around looking to start trouble at all of the wrong times. When the Leafs came looking for him, he didn't want any part of them. He jostled with Whitehill, he jostled with Orr, he jostled with Komisarek. And nothing came out of any of it. It was just comical to watch him lose the puck in his own skates in the last minute as he broke into the Toronto zone. USELESS.
*Poor Chris Higgins. Higs was the favourite in the poll to score first but Marc Staal and Enver Lisin were both able to get on the board while he remains goal-less. One of these days, one of these days.
*Was there really any reason why Valley couldn't start this game, what with the Sharks and Devils coming up? Was Torts afraid of the Rangers losing two easy points? Was he talked into it by Hank, who just wanted to play? Was he afraid of too much rest for the king? Sure Hank made a few big saves but it was the Leafs, c'mon!
*Another query - who is worse at defense, Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden or Jeff Finger? Sorry Leafs fans, I think you win this one. Who would have thought that there were worse NHL defenseman than the overpaid Ranger pair?
*I'm sure there is more but after 11 hours of work tonight, I have no idea what it may be so feel free to fill in the blanks in the comments.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ian White - one goal.
2-Marc Staal - one goal.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 34 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Sean Avery - There is nothing quite like Avery playing in his element. Surrounded by fans who hate him and against players who want to kill him, Avery steps up his game. No points except those in the standings and that is alright with me.
2-Michael Del Zotto - Let's get all Motley Crue and reminisce about Home, Sweet Home. MDZ spent a ton of money on tickets to play in front of friends and family and put on a show for them. He scored a power play goal and played his most physical game yet.
1-Marc Staal - Staalsie took a big step towards becoming the superstar defenseman we all hope he will be. He manhandled Toronto and helped shut them down with six and a half minutes of ice time shorthanded. He had four hits, two blocked shots, a take-away and - oh yeah - a goal.