Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11-9-1: My Kingdom For Some Shots

You kind of expected the Washington Capitals to defeat the New York Rangers tonight, what with Ovechkin coming back and the Rangers being so bad, but as they are apt to do, the Blueshirts tempted and teased before ultimately falling apart. Washington won 4-2 as Ovie made a triumphant return to the ice.

As good as he is - and he clearly didn't lose a step during his absence - the Rangers still could have won before a (surprise, surprise) Wade Redden defensive lapse allowed Matt Bradley to score what would be the game-winner. You can talk about scoring woes and reluctance to shoot as much as you want (and I will, don't worry) but sloppy defense lost the game.

And Wade had made a great defensive stop in the second period too ... what a shame. For eight million bucks this season, you would think we could at least get Tom Poti-esque level of play or even something on the degree of Igor Ulanov ineptitude but not Marek Malik-ish embarrassment. What a scale of suckitude we can build from our blueline this century. It's shameful. Everyone knows the cliche, defense wins championships and this franchise isn't winning anything with Redden - or Rozsival for that matter - wearing the colours.

Just got into the house and read the AP wire report over at Yahoo where John Tortorella had the nerve to blame the Bradley goal on Matt Gilroy not being able to catch up to Bradley from behind? Are you kidding me? What does Redden have to do to get a lashing? Sleep with Sather's wife? Keep blaming the kids Torts, they will still be here when you get rightfully fired at the end of the year.

*Discussing the match with Mr. X from the Blue Seats after the game, we agreed that the Rangers played a good 20 minutes - the first 10 and the last 10 before the Bradley goal. They skated hard, worked the puck to the net and battled for position in the offensive zone. It was just the over 40 minutes where they looked lost, bored and all-around awful.

*The Blueshirts were stuck on 11 shots for what seemed like an hour, even though there was a post hit inside that span of time. They let the Caps fill the middle of the ice and remained out on the perimeter, looking an awful lot like the Renney Rangers.

*Speaking of them, another friend of the blog (Eric) made the good call that Perry Pearn must have been back in charge of the power play. They made one pass too many too many times, allowing the Caps to close all of the lanes. Semyon Varlamov rarely had to make a good save while Hank was under siege much of the evening.

*You can talk about the penalty troubles - and Ovechkin's return on a national tv night certainly helps lend to a conspiracy theory - but the simple fact was that the Rangers didn't play smart hockey. Rozsival shouldn't be chasing a player around the defensive zone, because he can't keep up and will do something dumb.

*At the same time, an allowance should be made for the Sean Avery Rules as Aves was called for a soft penalty and spent half of his night getting knocked around. He still drew a penalty but if the Rangers pulled half of what the Caps did to, say, Ovie then there would have been several more penalties called.

*Avery played his most spirited match since the playoff benching but it still didn't get him anywhere. He would draw the defense, of course, but linemates never got the puck to the net and Avery never got through the coverage to slide into the slot and get one of his inyourface! goals. At least we saw Cally step up and defend Avery in a scrum in the first period; it is about time these guys stood up for each other.

*Lord knows Donald Brashear won't be the one to do it. The Neanderthal was useless as always and Jon Tortorella inexplicably put him out on the ice right after Washington scored to tie the game. Brash seems to get on the ice, circle a few times while watching the play before remembering where the bench is and taking his rightful seat upon it. It was comical to see him watching Voros fight Bradley, then go over to the penalty box when Voros sat down. What was the conversation like? 'Hey Aaron, you fight good.' 'Yeah Donald, I didn't stop too many punches with my face this time!' 'Me like fights.' 'I don't, but at least I can say I did something tonight - change things up a little.' 'You make him bleed. Blood gooooood. Fire baaaaaad.'

*Following a Frankenstein reference, where was Arty Anisimov? The kid has the amazing capacity to be invisible despite being over six feet tall. It is remarkable. You remember when he scored those two goals? Me too, too bad they were in preseason.

*To take a break from the badmouthing, Marian Gaborik is good. Very, very good. Unfortunately, as in Minnesota, he can score but he can't carry a team singlehandedly to victory. Damn shame right there, because we need him to.

*Let's get back to the bashing because it is so easy and so appropriate after yet another home loss. Ales Kotalik? Thanks for nothing tonight. Cally and Chris Higgins couldn't score either but at least they battled hard out on the ice. And, honestly, I think the Higgins-at-center experiment is working well as he has stepped up his game and playing smarter hockey. Let Drury stay away as long as he has to ... longer even so we can get his salary off the cap and get someone who can score onto the team.

*I like P.A. Parenteau and think he put in a good effort but, correct me if I'm wrong, he didn't take a single shot all night. For an AHL scoring ace, you would think he would understand that you have to shoot to score.

*Can you imagine what the final result would have been if Mike Knuble and/or Alex Semin had played? I was so thankful to see Semin scratched and figured that would be a big boost for the Blueshirts. I was wrong.

*But on that same note, when will Brooks Laich get some recognition outside of Washington? This nobody is racking up the points this year and making the big Caps injuries not hurt nearly as much as they should. Watching him just enhances the hurt that tis he Rangers secondary scoring or lack thereof.

*The Garden brass made the massive mistake of going to Dancing Grandma during the regular Dancing Larry television timeout. Not only did she get booed and have the fans chant for Larry, but the Caps came out of the break and scored. The next stoppage Larry was allowed to do his thing but by then it was too late. Redden's disgrace had taken the air out of the building and nothing outside of Gabby completing his hat trick could have put it back.

*Redden and Rozy may be doing their best to disappoint night after night but I still hate you Poti!!!

*PHW Three Stars
3-Matt Bradley - one goal.
2-Marian Gaborik - two goals.
1-Alex Ovechkin - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - Gabby's two goals were big but Hank held his ground as the Rangers let the Caps come at the crease in waves. Sure he gave up three goals but he gave the team a chance to win the game, something they certainly didn't deserve. Eleven shots in a period and a half against a team with Tom Poti on defense. Pathetic.
2-Ovie - Is there anything he can't do? I love that he is finally getting booed every time he touches the puck, shows his level of stardom.
1-Matt Bradley - As depressing as it was for us Ranger fans, it was just impressive that this guy skated off the ice bleeding after getting his ass kicked in the first period and came back to score the game-winning goal.


Graying Mantis said...

What can you say. To refer to the Rangers as Renney's Rangers was exactly what I said during the game.

Redden, except for a defensive stop and a couple of good shots on goal, was horrid. How about his 2 consecutive whiffs on the puck in the defensive zone that set up a Capital scoring opportunity. My friend at the game tried to calm me down but I was incredulous.

Higgins again stunk in the offensive zone. He and Kotalik were terrible with the puck, missing the net and were generally abysmal.

So Avery, Callahan, Higgins were goal-less yet again. These guys do not compare favorably with the Brooks Laiches of the world. The Rangers rightfully will find themselves in last place in their division. Torts has to go, the sooner the better.

I am trying to understand when did the Caps found defense and decided to block so many shots -- they have given up bushels of goals to the Flyers, Pens and Isles during the season.

I don't want to hear about Avery being a dirty player -- Ovechkin was mugging and cheap shotting players all night long. Only Callahan has the cohones to stand up for himself.

Anyone missing Sjostrom, Betts & Orr? It would have been nice to have them on the penalty kill and give the other team fits instead of Brashear, Voros and Boyle. How much extra playing time are Prospal and Gaborik getting b/c no one else can kill a penalty? Great upgrade here to the 4th line. Everyone complained last year about the lack of offense from the 4th line but unlike the current losers, they actually scored goals.

I'm done. Thanks for listening. said...

I blame this loss on Dancing Grandma. Every time they play that damned Jennifer Lopez song and she twitches around in the aisle they lose.


I don't get why they keep using her either. Everyone boos when she starts dancing. It's clearly audible and it's always followed by a "We want Larry!" chant.

They won't be happy until she drops dead of a heart attack while dancing on GardenVision. said...

Also I was wondering if you noticed what Henrik did after returning to the net after the empty net goal.

He basically stood there leaning against the cross bar with his hands stretched out and then leaned on his stick for the last 5 seconds of the game. Then as soon as the buzzer sounded he slammed his stick against the ice. (you can see the broken stick in the picture above)

I don't think I've ever seen him get so angry on the ice.

Faraway Fan said...

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord Gaborik's health to keep....otherwise boys and girls, I believe we're SCREWED.

Anonymous said...

Redden is a disgrace and Tortorella sucks even more for blaming Gilroy on that play, thanx for pointing that out Scotty.

He blames a rookie for not making a superhuman play to get back, when Redden, the veteran, makes a fundamentally shit play allowing Bradley to get free.

The puck is flipped high. Take the body Fade. just once. no, he swats at the puck, obviously misses, and Bradley blows by him.

Im suprised Bradley wasnt laughing so hard that he missed the net.

Brother P said...

Would of been nice to see the "King" stop the break away by Bradley. time and time again Henrik gets beat glove side high. Redden is a fucking disgrace and so is Torts for having the nerve to blame Gilroy.

Unknown said...

man, last night sucked. redden is a waste of a uniform, not mention 6.5 million in cap space. roszival is just as worthless, but at least he only wastes 5 million. i didn't hear torts comment about blaming gilroy, but wtf!? does redden have video of torts and mike sullivan spooning?

the only thing better about this year than last year is that we have two players saving us from really sucking, gaborik and lundqvist. last year was just henrik.

also, i liked voros actually doing something in a fight, even after getting almost knocked on his ass, and avery's little helmet tap to varlamov which drew a penalty (to no avail). we need more of that avery.

but the highlight of the night was actually that i got out of work late and had to listen to the beginning of the game in my car on the way home...i got to hear maloney say about poti, "get out of there poti, you don't belong here". classic stuff.

speaking of poti, why the hell does he wear the A for the crapitals!?! makes absolutely no sense...

Pete said...

I can't complain about the Avery rules too much, considering he punched the goalie in the head and DREW a penalty on the play. But I do believe there is a set of regulations that applies to Avery alone.

It's insane that Torts didn't call our Redden on that play. Maybe he didn't see the replay? I also wish Hank wasn't so weak on the glove side. It's getting annoying. Everybody exploits it now.

Pete said...

Oh, and I'm not trying to be funny here, but until I read this article, I didn't even realize Brashear played last night. I WATCHED the game and I didn't notice. Even when they showed a guy standing at the door to the penalty box, talking to Voros, after the fight, you couldn't tell it was Brash. I remember because I thought it was an odd place and time for a lengthy conversation, and I wondered who it was. Hysterical.

Derek said...

Hank? Seriously??? What game did you watch? He should've easily had the Bradley shot and slammed his stick and took accountability. The Caps didn't even play that great yet our goalie fucked up.

Gilroy hustled back and forced Bradley to shoot quicker and our goalie is back in his net and down, making it easy picking for a two bit scrub.

Scotty Hockey said...

If you haven't accepted that Hank's glove hand is garbage by this point, then it is your mistake. His "puck handling" - if you can call it that - and his high glove are his weaknesses. Always have been, hopefully won't always be. He still made several huge saves as his team spent the second period trapped in their own zone.

Pete said...

Scotty, Hank's glove was never great but it was pretty good. It had to be for so many of those skills competition wins. Now, I don't know if shooters have just come to realize that they will never beat him down in the pads, and they are shooting high glove more, or his glove just got weaker, but we see more goals there than anyplace else. I just think shooters are starting to exploit the weakness, and that fact that it's there is beginning to annoy me. It's like the wide open Mexican border; I'm not sure what can be done about it, but something needs to be done.

Weak glove aside, Hank was still one of the best players out there, as he is on most nights. If not for Hank, this season, last season, hell, most of the last 4 seasons looks like shit. That's just a fact of life here in Ranger country.

Ben said...

@ Derek -

The Caps didn't play that well? I'd say holding an opposing team to ZERO shots on goal for almost an entire period's worth of hockey (19+ mins in the 1st and carried over to the 2nd) is playing some damn good hockey.

I had never seen the Caps block as many shots as they did last night, and hopefully it continues for them.

You all really need Higgins and Callahan to get going....they would be INVALUABLE to the Rangers if they could just score every now and then.

And Scotty, thanks for the Brooks Laich love. this dude is amazing. always making the right plays, and even with all the talent on the Caps, he's leading them in PP goals (5). and i'd be willing to be all of them are tips, rebounds, or shots in tight. he goes to those dirty areas...i think Knuble was rubbing off on him in a good way.

Derek B Felix said...

Ben, please. Your team was hooked up with 2 PPG due to shit calls which gave the Caps momentum. Avery and Gabby. Could care less if the PP were 4 apiece. Anyone who saw knows your team got away with tons. How we didn't wind up on a power play when Avery gets nailed late is a joke. Versus/NHL billed it as Ovie's return and obviously were in the refs hip pocket.

Speaking of which, AO even dove but of course wasn't called. Because there's a ridiculous double standard. Yet our superstar who had a better game gets nabbed for a phantom hook in our own building. Talk about no respect.

Scotty, Henrik is in his fifth year. Not his 2nd. He should be working on improving his weaknesses. What did he do this past summer? For a guy with as much athleticism and fire, it reflects poorly that he still hasn't adjusted. Sorry to say but Henrik's far too streaky to be considered one of the best. Want to blame the team in front of him, go ahead. But there's no excuse for that 3rd goal even if Tinman screwed the pooch.