Monday, December 7, 2009
14-14-1: Too Much Motown
Despite missing half of their team, the Detroit Red Wings still had enough talent to make the Blueshirts look ridiculous on Sunday night at the Garden. Amazingly, and all too typical of the recent Rangers, it took just one mistake to doom them to destruction. Henrik Lundqvist gave up his one trademark soft goal and that was it as his teammates couldn't solve a rookie goaltender.
Everyone in the Garden was outraged with Rozy for taking that late penalty to end any thought of late heroics but the game was lost long before that.
During my wrap of the Sabre game, I said that Donald Brashear was out with Wizard of Oz Syndrome - no heart, no courage and no brain - and it seems to be spreading.
Credit goes to Howard for stopping Higgins on a breakaway and Cally on a penalty shot but it wasn't like the Rangers didn't get other, better chances. Ales Kotalik missed a mostly empty net just moments before Todd Bertuzzi took a penalty and Sean Avery missed a gimme of a power play goal. The power play, in fact, went 0-4 and I would have sworn that I heard Perry Pearn laughing over the groans of the Garden crowd.
Few Rangers should be able to look in the mirror after this one and say they gave it their all. Of course, they don't need to with the pay cheques that they are still receiving but as a fan I have to imagine that somewhere, deep down, these guys care. I have to. Let me cling to my dream.
*All of that Torts talk about 'if the guys aren't scoring, they had better be doing the other things' and yet Drury and Cally (and Arty and Kotalik and even Gabby) were caught flatfooted again and again. Chris Higgins can't finish a cookie right about now but he made a great feed to Boyle for the big man's goal and he had one helluva penalty kill.
*The ice looked awful with the Knicks having played earlier in the day but the Rangers can't use that as an excuse for all of their terrible passes. The Red Wings skated on the same sheet and they moved the puck just fine.
*Arty needs to skate with his head up. Watching him get creamed by Brad Stuart was pathetic and entirely Arty's own fault.
*MDZ skated for 24:45, more than any other Ranger. A teenager paced a team with multiple multimillionaires. It must be said that he acquitted himself well but this is just not the way to foster the growth of a youngster.
*Especially that while he was on the ice he hardly could have watched Nick Lidstrom. The Detroit captain put on a masters clinic on how to play defense yet again. He does everything so smoothly and often so subtly ... just remarkable.
*He helped Detroit limit Marian Gaborik to zero shots. ZERO. Zilch. Nothing. Nada. I mean, the Red Wings kept P.A. Parenteau without a shot as well but let's face it, he isn't Marian Gaborik. But when two of your offensive specialists don't put the puck on the net there is something seriously wrong.
*Henrik Zetterberg, meanwhile, got plenty of room to shoot time and time again as the Ranger defense worried themselves with getting Tomas Holmstrom away from Hank. Dan Girardi did a great job in that capacity but that left Staal to deal with Z and Pavel Datsyuk.
*I mean, seriously, look at that top unit - Z, Datsyuk, Holmstrom in front, Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski in back. That is just unfair. They can fit those five offensive superstars under the salary cap with a great supporting cast (when healthy) and the Rangers have Gabby. That's it. Just Gabby. Thanks Glen.
*Darren Helm is fast. Like really fast. Like Enver Lisin and Rico Fata fast with some actual skill.
*Patrick Eaves was playing with a full cage and, frankly, I think it helped him. Eaves looked fearless going to the boards or putting himself in front of shots. Definitely something to be said about that.
*Prior to the game they aired a short feature on Gordie Howe. As my buddy Jeremy asked, why? Why would you want to pump up an alumni of the team you are about to face? What next, a nice piece on Potvin before a Islander game? And Gordie may be Mr. Hockey but we do have reason to hate him too - if not for Howe getting homesickness, old Gordie would have broken into the NHL with the Rangers. Instead, he left Ranger camp and ran home to mommy before growing a sack and going to Detroit. Wuss.
*It was great to see Shanny again and we gave him a warm ovation. Hopefully he can help everyone avoid the next labour stoppage.
*Jets coach Rex Ryan certainly did not get the same greeting. But who cares, the Jets play football. Real men play hockey.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dan Cleary - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 28 saves.
1-Jimmy Howard - 28 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Howard - I said some credit was due to the kid so here it is.
2-Datsyuk - No wonder this guy keeps racking up Selkes, he is so smooth on both sides of the ice.
1-Lidstrom - An artist at work. No shots for Gaborik. None. Damn.