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.