Sunday, November 1, 2009

9-5-1: *Whew*

The Rangers prevailed in a close one this afternoon to the Boston Bruins, holding on to a 1-0 lead to actually win a goddamned game break a two game losing streak.

Marian Gaborik returned from injury and scored the lone goal, of course.

Don't let the scoreline fool you: after a first period where the teams skated off their Saturday night hangover, the action picked up and carried all the way to the buzzer. And, while at times it looked Renney-ish with the Rangers sitting back, overall the team played with a spark rarely seen during that former coach's era.

The win was huge, sending the boys off to western Canada with some confidence.

*It must be said that Gabby is a genius when it comes to the art of scoring. The Rangers broke in on a three-on-two with two more Bruins trailing, instead of plowing right to the net, Gabby pulled up to get room for a one-timer from the slot that blew past Timmy T. I loathe that cliche 'it was a goal-scorers goal' but it certainly came because of his high IQ in the other team's end.

*Boston was clearly missing Savvy's savvy. Marc Savard's injury was huge as their offense had trouble creating chances. They attacked hard, skated hard, hit hard, but didn't create good chances. All the better for us.

*Aaron Voros and Donald Brashear were not missed. In fact, the fourth line of Dane Byers, Brian Boyle and Enver Lisin had one of the best shifts of the game. After the Blueshirts were pummeled in their own end for the first 10 minutes of the third - including two penalty kills - the fourth line hit the ice with about seven minutes left and got the puck deep and worked it there, battling to keep it in the Boston end and give everyone else a rest. It was exactly what the team needed, exactly what the fourth line should be capable of doing every game and, as my buddy Joe said, it was "beautiful, just beautiful" to watch.

*As was the penalty killing. I love a good kill and the Rangers produced several big ones. They controlled play during the two second period penalties, and Hank bailed them out when they got pinned deep during the two third period ones.

*Back to Byers for a second, he played just six minutes and - aside from that third period shift - was invisible. While I think he complimented the other guys well and deserves to stay up, you know that Torts will go back to Brash sooner rather than later.

*Hobey Gilroy was outstanding. Gilroy played his best game of the season with smart positional play, hustle and sheer guile. MDZ was much more physical than he has been of late - taking exception to a hit at one point - and Staalsie bounced back from two bad performances by eating up a ton of time, but Hobey made several big stops that were just plain impressive.

*Michal Rozsival ... notsomuch. Ilkka Heikkinen and Bobby Sanguinetti seem to be racking up the points down on the farm, perhaps it is time to use that accountability thing and bench Rozy. Both of the kids seem capable of contributing and we've seen Hobey and MDZ do quite well with added responsibility (even if there have been bumps along the way).

*I dogged Ales Kotalik quite a bit early on this season - and still feel that he has no idea inside his own blueline - but he is playing close to the best I have ever seen of him and he is creating scoring chances quite well and quite often. He just needs to finish a few more of them.

*The old Sean Avery returned and was quite effective annoying the hell out of the Bruins. But the downsides of that was the ghost of a penalty on him. Hopefully he learned that no matter how tough you are, when you are at the height of Zdeno Chara's elbow, you don't try to check him. The mountain will win.

*Shout-out to the international tourist fans who came to the game. I happened upon a pair of Slovaks wearing their national team jersey with Gabby on the back and a good number of Swedes rooting for Hank - including one with a massive Swedish flag with LUNDQVIST written across the yellow stripe. Very cool.

*Even cooler were the masks worn by Hank and Valley in warmups. Hank's had the TD striping with Jacques Plante's ears, while Valley had Richter redux. Beautiful works of art, just a shame that Hank didn't wear it in the game.

*Richter, Gilles Villemure and Andy Bathgate were all in the house and all properly acknowledged. Great touch by the Garden to have Villemure don his sad-eyed mask.

*Chris Higgins still has to be sad as he remains without a goal. Of course, you can't score if you don't shoot and I don't remember even seeing him in a position to shoot. But he fared well on the pk so something more than nothing.

*Chris Drury ... perhaps, like Jagr before him, the C is weighing him down. When he blocked that shot and went off, my buddy Eric sent me a txt saying that Dru 'went to the locker room, not like he'll be missed.' Sadly, he was right. Drury has done some good things away from the puck but a turnover or blocked shot is almost certain when he gets the puck in the offensive zone. That's not good at all, especially from teh man with the C.

*Derek Morris, how we don't miss you. At all. Loved watching him let the puck get past him at the blue line to allow the Rangers some respite. Glad he is make the same mistakes for someone else now.

*Torts used his timeout well. After not pulling it out of his pocket when he should have in the last two debacles, he used the break to give the boys a rest after a long shift and icing call. Smart coaching.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Tim Thomas - 22 saves.
2-Marian Gaborik - one goal.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 29 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hobey - Sure I could give it to Gabby, but the sun should show on the youngster for stopping several odd-man rushes. They were veteran plays and hopefully signs of more to come.
2-Hank - The King was called upon and took on all comers, stopping them cold. I look forward to the day when he breaks Mmmmaaaarrrtttyyy's soon-to-be-ill-earned shutout record.
1-Jacques Plante - Even if Clint Benedict beat him to it, his mask and subsequent 17 game win streak made it ok for goaltenders to protect their faces. Perhaps Hank can go on a tear like that too after this good start ...


Pete said...

While happy to see the win, I can't say that I was pleased with having to watch the NESN feed. In addition to the normal Avery bashing that you hear in just about every non-Rangers broadcast (to illustrate, the color man said around Avery's first shift that his "actions too often distract his team" and when the two man crush that lead to his wrongful penalty happened, the guy yelled into the TV "That was ovious, AND LOOK WHO'S INVOLVED"), I was privy to some good old-fashioned New York bashing as well. The guy thought it was oh so clever to point out all the weirdos he saw on the street the night before, and then remembered, as if an afterthought, that yes, it was Halloween. HE referred to it as "The Bowels of Penn Station." In addition, he made sure everyone watching at home new the difference in lighting between their home rink and the Garden, saying how dim the Garden is lit, one of the dimmest in the league apparently. Oh, and finally, just about every shift throughout the whole entire game he had to point out that the ice sucks in the garden, and THAT'S why the pucks were jumping over Bruins' sticks. Every shift. I shit you not. All night.

He even joked about not being very "PC" this evening.

Is there no professionalism left in this world? Could you imagine if Sam and Joe went into Philly or The Rock and spouted on about how they saw a bunch of dirtbags outside those arenas? Just another example of NYers having more class than anyone gives them credit for.

Brian said...

Good comment Pete. I go to school in Boston and I'd have to say the Bs are my second team (way behind the Blueshirts) and I get to hear their announcers every week. The guy you are referring to is Jack Edwards. He is a clown and everyone knows it, including B's fans. He makes ridiculous, nonsensical and sometimes flat out incorrect calls every game without fail. But they still love him for the hilarity from his colorful, outspoken demeanor. On the bright side, the Color guy for the B's is Andy Brickley and hes pretty good. Plus one time he scored when a puck bounced off his face. So thats sweet.

Chris said...

Agreed Pete, Jack Edwards is a clown... like Brian, I get to listen to him on a regular basis thanks to living a little ways north of Boston and watch the Bruins fairly regularly.

Dennis said...

Come on, I know you were all thinking it when you saw Drury and Rozy head to the locker room.....please someone hurt Redden too and make it a perfect hatrick.

By the way, it's not just that Michelleti is a bad color guy, it's that he repeats himself night in and night out. For example, you see Gaborik score a goal and guaranteed he says something like "Boy are his hand good. He's got such a quick release" blah blah blah. For Del Zotto it's always "Boy he just gets better every game" and "he's the real deal". And the way he cheerleads for Rozival and Redden it's like he thinks he can change opinions by talking positively about them when they do 1 thing in 10 correct.

NYR34 said...

Thanks for the stick-tap, Scotty.

Think my exact words were "Drury left the bench for the locker room, let's see if anyone I know at the arena actually notices".

(Due to the log jammed sports day on TV I stayed home)

@Pete, etc.
I usually try to avoid Bruins feeds on Center Ice when possible. When an announcer is a clown, it's harder to like them when they're not "your" clown. Then again I'm a lifelong Yankee fan who loathes John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman's telecasts every game.

The homerism from NESN is incredibly grating for a non New Englander. Which I guess needs to just go on, since they get outstanding ratings in their market. They absolutely LOVE playing on the Boston/New York rivalry every chance they get - I'm sure it helps with said ratings on their end. I also get Extra Innings during the summer and their Red Sox games are similar. It sucks, but then again they're not exactly catering to a NY audience.

My favorite little poke at NESN, though, has to be how with both Bruins and Red Sox games, they have to have a color guy who hails from the area (Remy and Brickley), Bah-ston accent and all.

Pete said...

Jack Edwards. Thank you. It's nice to have a name to direct my ire at.

I should start making Jack Edwards/Joe Buck voodoo dolls. I bet I'd make a MINT!