Sunday, October 25, 2009
7-3-1: Madness In Montreal
Nights like tonight are going to happen a lot this season. We knew it coming in, so it should be no surprise. Still, it sucks. Quite a bit in fact.
The Rangers blew a two goal lead to fall 5-4 in overtime against the Original Six rival Montreal Canadiens. They were sloppy, they were lazy and they were undisciplined. For all of the tough talk from Torts, the coach seemed incapable of reining his players in. But how could he be all that mad? They played his all-attack, jump-in-the-rush system and they were burned for it by a faster, smarter team.
Just a warning, there is plenty of bitterness below:
*Since day one, this team struggled inside the blueline. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are quite good - as three and four defensemen. They have been thrust into the top pairing and have yet to get their play to a consistent level where either one deserve it. They have their moments - loved the jump save by Danny to keep the puck in on the Kotalik goal - but neither is mature enough to be top pairing guys.
*Matt Gilroy scored a power play goal. Yay. Matt Gilroy waved at Mike Cammalleri as Cams cut into the slot to score the game-winner in overtime. Boo. Ah, the ups and downs of youth. That kind of stuff has to be expected from a rookie. But what is he doing out on the ice in overtime to begin with?
*Not only did Chris Higgins not score, he was out of position plenty, took a bad penalty and was benched for the third period. Welcome home Higs! Way to shove it in the Montreal fans' faces for being in their doghouse so often by jumping into ours.
*On the other side of the coin, the MexiCan't played a motivated game and collected a pair of assists. I gotta say, I loved that dive he took, he almost sold it too. Almost. Maybe shouldn't have grabbed the Ranger stick before falling ...
*Brandon Dubinsky saw the bench a bunch late. In the second period Dubi turned the puck over in the neutral zone, which led to the Habs second goal of the night. Tortorella seemingly believed that goal was what lost the game for the team, as he threw Dubi under the bus during the postgame for the gaffe. One turnover does not a loss like this make.
*In the end Dubi saw just 8:51 in ice time. Vinny Prospal played 24:51. And yet it was Prospal's stupid, careless penalty that jump started the Canadiens comeback. Ah, hypocritical accountability - the Tortorella way. And then Cams skated right past Prospal on his way to score the game-winner. But not a poor word was said from waht I heard ...
*Soon after that D'Agostini goal Marian Gaborik scored a tremendous one of his own to put the Rangers up by two. We knew Gabby was good, but damn is he blowing the locks off. That tap-the-puck-behind-the-back-to-himself to set up the breakaway was amazing. Shows of skill like that are just going to make it that much more painful when he inevitably gets injured.
*When Dubi and Max Lapierre went crashing into Hank it certainly appeared that our season was over. Hank writhing in pain = bad, very, very bad. It is the third time by my recollection that Hank got nailed this season by one of his own players who was rushing to backcheck. But the Rangers are playing that open-ice, all-attack system so that is what you are gonna get.
*Picking at an old scab, when you take stupid penalty after stupid penalty, your penalty kill had better be great. It wasn't, but don't worry, the muscle of Voros and Boyle was much more important than, say, Blair Betts' selflessness would have been. Hope everyone enjoyed the beating Boyle laid on Matt D'Agostini.
*But Chris Drury was out there to kill penalties. The captain, like Torts' pal Prospal, hasn't heard a bad word from the coach yet and continues his poor play. Dru took a penalty, had one shot and went 9-9 in the circle. Certainly not the kind of effort expected from the captain of the New York Rangers.
*Sean Avery did not get credited with a single hit. How is that possible?
*Before I get to the stars and call it a (miserable) night, I just want to say RIP to the Big Whistle. My dad had fond memories of the man who, I must admit, I thought had already passed. I've mentioned it before but my first memory was when I was three and my dad was yelling "Shoot the puck Barry" at the tv - the line Bill Chadwick is best known for from his day as an announcer.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marian Gaborik - one goal and one assist.
2-Brian Gionta - two assists.
1-Mike Cammalleri - three goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Paul Mara - Mara had the quiet, workman-like effort that he so often had as a Ranger and we so desperately miss now. That is not to say that Rozy and Redden were bad (they actually weren't) but there is no calm personality that can settle things down anymore.
2-Gionta - That feed to Cams from his belly was awesome.
1-Cama-lama-ding-dong - Tip of the hat to the hat trick. Cams has a helluva lotta speed and is making the transition to the East look easy.