I re-wrote half of this thing and the damned computer crashed, forcing me to do it again. I am not sure I could be much madder at the Rangers right about now.
In what you would believe would be the one game where the Rangers would step up their play, they floundered and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1.
This team is quite good at blowing any goodwill they gain as quickly as possible and as horribly as possible. They ditch Gomez but sign Brashear. They beat Phoenix but lose to the Islanders. They put up two great efforts in a pair of wins but lose in this disgraceful, embarrassing fashion. Neither John Tortorella nor Vinny Prospal found any measure of revenge against their former team as their current squad looked like they would rather be out on the beach than in the rink.
Below you will find a whole of of complaining about the awful officiating and some other randomness:
*Whatever happened to goaltenders being fair game outside of their crease? Ales Kotalik ran into Mike Smith and gets called for charging. These guys are coddled as much as quarterbacks in the NFL and it is just stupid, especially as they wear more protection than anyone else. Not to mention that Hank gets run over actually inside the paint and there are no calls made. But Smith can hang out behind his own net to draw a penalty. Hypocrisy.
*To be fair, how in the world does the referee miss the high stick by P.A. Parenteau on Paul "Can I buy a vowel" Szczechura??? The guy was standing two feet away facing them. But at the same time, Victor Hedman holds onto Arty Anisimov's stick and Tampa ends up with a power play. So I guess at the end of the day, these stripes were utter and complete idiots both ways.
*Kurtis Foster converted on the Kotalik power play with a Kotalik-esque one-timer.
*Steve Downie's power play goal was perfect as well as he tapped home a pass from Midget Marty with Rozy out of position in the slot. Big surprise there.
*Hank proved why he is regarded as one of the best goaltenders in the business with his back-and-forth saves midway through the first period. He went post to post and back to make three huge saves and keep the Rangers in the game. As I said prior to the game, he shouldn't have started and I can't blame him on three of the four goals he allowed.
*How can someone as big as Brian Boyle be completely unable to fight? How embarrassing, not once but twice.
*You have to love that Donald Brashear finally picked a fight in the final minutes. Sadly it was at the 5:45 mark so his instigator (which was somehow called as a rough and a 10 minute misconduct) will not get an automatic suspension - something I am sure was not a coincidence. He also attempted to pick a fight after Boyle went in the box for his first tussle but it was about two goals too late to do anything but let's face it, Brash hasn't positively contributed once this entire season so why start now?
*It is no small miracle that the referees didn't call Sean Avery for an instigator when he came to the aid of MDZ early in the first period. Perhaps they realized they couldn't call it as they broke up what would have been an interesting fight between Sean and Vinny Lecavalier (my money would be on the bigger Bolt, sorry Sean). But it was a perfect opportunity for the Avery Rules to be invoked but they weren't.
*But, of course, Tampa scored right after the incident. How you match Brian Boyle and Enver Lisin against the Stamkos/St. Louis line is beyond me. The Lightning had last change but why would you put your third line out for a defensive zone faceoff like that in the first place? Especially with someone who can't win faceoffs?!?
*Considering most stations normally pre-tape the open to game broadcasts, how/why did they let Sam stutter through the John Tortorella pregame quote that was transcribed on the screen?
*Chris Drury loses a defensive zone faceoff clearly and Foster scores another one-timer goal, making it a 5-0 game. Welcome back Cap, didn't recognize you last game but I see you now!
*Ryan Callahan broke through for one pretty goal, too bad it was too little, too late for this one. Perhaps it will be the start of something great with two games against Cindy and the Penguins on the slate.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Matt Walker - one assist.
2-Kurtis Foster - two goals.
1-Marty St. Louis - three assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Steven Stamkos - Let's face it, the kid has some serious skills.
2-Andrej Meszaros - He played a ton of time but it was his big blast that did the trick. Meszaros' slap shot that broke the glass behind Hank in the opening minutes must have intimidated the hell out of the Rangers because they played scared.
1-St. Louis - Sure he is too short to ride the roller coasters but he sure can play hockey, huh?