I ask that question because I am not sure. The Ranger surely didn't show much pride, spark or fire in their 3-2 loss to Florida tonight. The Panthers, playing their third game in four days, vastly outplayed New York for 55 or so minutes - despite playing without their top two forwards and despite getting into town at 3 am after their 2-1 overtime with in Detroit Friday night.
All of that talk from John Tortorella about conditioning and his side was out-skated. It is one thing to lose to a more talented team, it is another to consistently lose in this fashion. These Blueshirts either care too much or not at all. Judging from what we have seen night after night in recent weeks, I sadly have to say it is the latter. These guys need to look in their wallets and realize where all of that money has come from and what it was supposed to have bought.
*The first way us fans can show our dislike for the state of the team is to stop showing up, and it certainly appears that the message is getting through. There were wide swaths of empty seats in the 100 and 200 level sections for this game, which is almost as pathetic as the team's "effort". This team is so terrible that they can't fill the Garden on a Saturday night in November. That says something. Sure the economy isn't great and people are likely saving their money for presents next month but sports thrive in economic turbulence - people need something to believe in, but there is little to believe in on Broadway.
*What does it say about a team that puts Donald Brashear and Aaron Voros in the lineup that a 19 year old rookie offensive-defenseman is the most physical player on the ice? MDZ's hit jump started the Garden and his teammates and they came right down to score their second goal of the night. Yes, the kid made kid mistakes at the end as he struggled to keep the puck in the Florida zone but he is a kid.
*His gaffes were nothing compared to the utter inability of the his teammates to win big faceoffs. Sure, you would hope/think/pray that Dru or Dubi will be able to help that when they return but neither one is particularly proficient. It comes down tot eh quandary we faced this offseason - we don't have a number one center.
*I certainly don't understand why they aren't giving Corey Locke a shot. Locke is a natural center, a guy who puts up points. He is undersized, but the over-sized Arty Anisimov is incapable of putting the puck in the net so why not try something different?
*On that note, why is Torts so bullish on changing up the defensive pairings? This a familiar rant of mine of late but that doesn't make it less true - the Ranger blueline blows. There is no chemistry, no physicality and no success. Gilroy, Girardi, Staal and MDZ are trying to do too much, while Redden and Rozy are doing far too little.
*They aren't helping Hank out at all and, watching him, he certainly needs help. It seems like he has gone from one bad goal every two or three games to at least one per night, if not two. Several people pointed out the FAN's take on possibly trading the King, thinking that it is farcical. From the way he has played of late, I can understand where WFAN is coming from. I disagree at the moment but I understand. Hopefully the Olympics will serve to strengthen Hank's confidence because playing behind this bunch of ... certainly isn't helping.
*Is P.A. Parenteau being set up to be a fall guy or what? Torts is throwing him out on the ice with the third and fourth line scrubs when he clearly needs to play with talent to score. Parenteau certainly fared better than Enver Lisin, who looked ridiculous losing the puck in his feet late in the game. That broken foot is clearly effecting his play and perhaps it is time he took some time off.
*Sean Avery played better, but still has a long way to go to be the player he was before Tortorella castrated him. Unfortunately the team doesn't have a ton of time for Aves to recover some of his manhood, they need goals now.
*After bitching about the boys for a while, let's go after the officiating. How in the world was Ryan Callahan given a boarding penalty early on? The Panther sees him, turns his back intentionally to face the glass and Cally bumps him - bumps, not hits. There were several hits just like that later in the game - several where the Rangers didn't see the guy coming - and there were no calls. And anyone else catch the linesman rubbing Kotalik into the boards in the final minutes? Like the Rangers weren't marginalizing themselves enough, the stripes had to help out.
*Hey Redden, you suck.
*Hey Steven Reinprecht, you don't. When healthy, he is among the most underrated players in the NHL. Kinda wish the Rangers had some underrated talent for once. Then again, I kinda wish they had some talent period. Outside of Gaborik.
*Dom Moore looked like a pee wee player out there, with his full cage and slight stature. And yet, Moore was solid for the Panthers. Forget aboot it.
*Imagine how much worse this loss would have been if Florida's top two forwards (Booth and Stillman) had been healthy enough to play ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Tomas Vokoun - 32 saves.
2-Vinny Prospal - one goal and one assist.
1-Nathan Horton - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gaborik - Sure, he may be a Hossa-esque star who can't carry an offense on his own, but his the only Ranger who is doing anything so he should get some accolades.
2-Kenndal McArdle - I have no idea who the hell he is but he seemed to hit everyone who came near him. He collected an assist on the fluke Leopold goal too.
1-Reinprecht - He has a good nose for the net and a willingness to follow it no matter how difficult a task it may be.