Tuesday, November 24, 2009
12-10-1: Pinch Me
Monday was Garden of Dreams Awareness Night in New York and, as my buddy Chris said, it truly was a Garden of dreams: the Rangers scored seven goals.
They scored seven goals.
They being the Rangers.
The Rangers. Scored seven goals.
I am not drunk or otherwise chemically affected.
I am not dreaming, otherwise there would be more females and less clothing.
The Rangers scored seven goals. In one game.
I'm just as shocked as I am giddy.
The Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4. Seeeeeeven. Seven. Sure they scored that many against Toronto but that was during the 7-0 run at the beginning of the season, which feels like years ago at this point.
While I am basking in the glow that is seven goals in the Garden - by the Rangers - let me rack my mind for some details:
*The Garden wasn't close to being sold out, yet again. And, just as sadly, very few fans were still in the building at the final buzzer to give the Rangers the thunderous ovation they deserved for finally scoring some goals. (Seven!!!!!!)
*Amazing that combining grit with talent could be a recipe for success but Chris Higgins worked well with Gabby and Prospal. Higgins did the dirty work, freeing Gabby to find the open spaces where he could get good shots off and make things happen.
*How wonderful was it that Hobey Gilroy scores a magnificent breakaway goal and the in-house camera folks catch Brian Leetch or all people smiling ice-side? What a great moment and hopefully the kid will continue to grow and improve to be able to accept that torch.
*And I just turned on Ranger Rewind to see that MSG found Leetch smirking after the MDZ goal! That is pretty awesome. But at the same time, it seemed pretty shocking that his shot made it past Mason. It seemed to just float past Mason's outstretched glove - not that I'm complaining ...
*Credit to Wade Redden, yes Wade Redden, for a decent effort. He actually got a good shot off towards Arty Anisimov for the youngster to redirect past Steve Mason. And, later in the game, he stood up for Hank when Hank was on the receiving end of a late jab and a snow shower. Granted, that's what he is supposed to do but we have to be happy with what we get nowadays.
*I'm happy that Sean Avery was able to find his manhood again. Avery worried less about being called for a penalty and more about going to the net and it paid off in a pair of goals. He was the catalyst that the Rangers need him to be and let's pray he can keep it up.
*Also have to pray that the Rangers keep P.A. Parenteau up because his offensive intelligence is really quite apparent most shifts. Tonight he had two assists, including the brilliant backhand across the red line to find Gilroy cutting for that Leetchian goal. He also was physical and held his ground in post-whistle scrums.
*The Rangers were quite disciplined. They took just one minor penalty and, thus, minimized the impact of Rick Nash.
*Gotta love Hank's penchant for heading pucks away - not for his tendency to leave the crease - but for using his mask to stop shots. You know things are going well for him when he does it. At the same time, poor Mathieu Garon took a shot to the mask and looked a bit out of it.
Now that some of the sheer joy that seven goals brings is fading, it must be said that all was not awesome in this one:
*After going up 7-2, the Rangers hit a few posts in the next few minutes but then proceeded to take their skates off of the Blue Jackets throats. Instead of finishing them off and blowing them out of the water, the Rangers played half-assed for 25 or so minutes and Columbus was able to capitalize for two goals to make the scoreline more respectable. If they were a better team, it would not have been too difficult to make up the rest of their deficit.
*Cally was one of the guys who found the iron, the poor SOB can't buy a goal right now but he is working hard so hopefully it will come (and soon).
*Ales Kotalik couldn't get out of his own way.
*How sad is it that this is the second time this season that John Tortorella has had to use a time out to remind his team that they were actually playing a hockey game? He called the break after Columbus' fourth line scored their second goal of the first 10 minutes to make it a 2-0 game. What does it say about the psyche of the team that they need to be whipped by the jockey to remember that they are in the race.
*Torts wanted more offense out of his fourth line and got rid of Bettsy, Sjostrom and Orr. Well, the line he has now certainly is offensive. That I help pay for Voros, Brashear and Boyle to "play" professional hockey offends me. Boyle couldn't get out of his own way. Voros had a good fight with Jared Boll (that finished in a draw at best) but did little else. Brashear wrestled with Boll himself - a fight Boll didn't seem to want to be in. Brash did draw a first period penalty and later almost had a breakaway (that he would have blown) but Voros was busy throwing big punches at Boll behind the play. Ha ha.
*Rick Nash looked terrible and Ken Hitchcock somehow didn't see that Torts' time out worked so well and so he held onto his. Two intelligent hockey people who were clearly off their game, to our gain. What a nice change that is from the norm.
*The Garden needs to start showing more replays. It has been an issue for a long time but Avery's goal tonight was a good display of why. There is no reason we should all have to stand around wondering what in the hell is happening for so long without being able to see replays. And they need to start announcing the scoring quicker as well - they take forever and they still get it wrong and need to announce corrections. What's the delay?
*Potvin sucks. I know. You know. He knows. His family knows. But neither he nor his family were in the building so why the hell are we chanting that every 30 seconds? This was one of those games were it was incessant and infuriating.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Artem Anisimov - one goal and two assists.
2-Sean Avery - two goals.
1-Marian Gaborik - two goals and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Boll - Sorry Arty but Boll was better. The BJ fourth liner didn't see a lot of ice time but put up a goal and an assist and had two fights.
2-Avery - So thaaaat's the Sean were remember and love to watch. I was wondering where he had gone.
1-Gabby - Having Higgins take some of the physical heat off of him certainly helped as he flashed that stellar talent of his. We certainly knew he was good when he was signed, but did anyone know or even imagine him scoring 32 points in 21 games?