On my way home from the Garden I was asked if tonight's 2-1 loss to the Islanders was the worst game I have ever witnessed. The sad thing? It took me quite a while to answer, given that the Blueshirts have been racking up some colossal failures over the last few years. Sure there were the heartbreakers - 7.7 seconds to the Sabres and the Montreal Massacre - but for outright bad hockey ... there are just so many. The 9-5 loss to the Devils last season? The DP 40+ save bonanza? The Atlanta game on Monday?
But don't misconstrue my hesitance, tonight's debacle was quite despicable in its own right. While I mentioned here that I thought Tortorella had lost the team several weeks back, NYR34 suggested that they played as bad as they did tonight in an outright effort to get him ousted. I have to believe, for my own sake, that a team never intentionally tanks like that (unless there is a future top draft pick hanging in the balance). But make no mistake, this team didn't play for their coaches tonight. They didn't play for each other. And they certainly didn't play for the fans.
Now I am going to mention a few more comments from friends - don't think that it isn't because I don't have something to say, but that those friends care enough about me that they wanted to make sure I didn't kill myself after this one and wanted to talk it out, I happened to agree with their points.
In the middle of the third period my buddy Jay made the keen observation that the Blueshirts were playing like they were being blown out 6-0 rather than down 1-0. My buddy Eric, he of the 'at least Higgins is trying' banter from the last game, said that the Rangers made it actually worse by scoring in the final minute - make the game look closer than it was and give false hope where none, zero, zippo, nada, nothing is due. Another Ranger fan, who chooses to remain anonymous, suggested that since Fire Tortorella doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, we should go for "Torts Must Go!" A solid suggestion, and one that I think we will be doing after losing all three of the next three away games.
*Tortorella is making Bryan Trottier and Ron Low look like Scotty Bowman and Toe Blake.
*Which scene do you think summed up the state of the Rangers best? Brian Boyle losing the puck in his own feet looking frantically around for it or Ales Kotalik flat on the ice propping his head up to watch an Islander (Frans Neilsen? Blake Comeau?) take the puck the other way on the breakaway?
*I never want to see the in-Garden montages or ads for Blueshirt United again. They played the Islanders tonight. The Islanders. Tradition, pride, passion ... meaningless to this bunch of overpaid mercenaries.
*Did Dwayne Roloson think he was Billy Smith or something when he started chopping at Avery? I have to say, it was awesome to see. Just a damn shame that it was the only show of emotion by the Rangers the entire night.
*The Blueshirts got a power play out of that which was simply horrific. How is it that year after year this team doesn't realize they have to put someone in the slot and keep him there with the man advantage? Put Brashear there? He gets beat up for a living (in theory) and it would be about time he did something positive for the team (or something at all at this point).
*By the end of the game I was calling my favourite defensemen Wade Rozsival. Yep, just one moniker for the decrepit duo. Of course, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal - especially Staal - are significantly playing worse with their skills degrading game after game in Torts' "system." Remember when Staal was showing signs of future Norris as he was the one defenseman in the entire NHL to be able to match up with and negate Alex Ovechkin? That seems so long ago ... oh wait, it was only before Tortorella came here.
*Several people I have spoken to keep harping on the Hobey Gilroy demotion but you know what? It is the best possible thing for him. Young players shouldn't be forced to play with teammates who don't care for them and coaches who can't teach them. Watching MDZ play like he has been brings memories of Dan Blackburn - too much, too soon - and now where is Blackburn? The kid was great out of the gate but was forced into bad situations night after night after night and thus was susceptible to the shoulder injury that eventually ended his career.
*Do you think Hank will grab Nick Lidstrom in a bear hug when he walks into the Team Sweden locker room and just start weeping 'thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you ...'??
*If the Garden had 14,000 fans on Monday, then there were 12,000 tonight. For an Islander game. And that number includes several thousand Islander fans as well. Makes me sick and quite angry. And the fans who did show clearly never got into the game, outside of yelling 'Potvin Sucks' a dozen times and to join in on the 'Fire Sather' chants.
*Last game I asked if Vinny Prospal played, tonight I wonder if he is even still on the team.
*Hey Chris Drury, go back to Little League. You suck here in the big leagues. Worst. Captain. EVER.
*Chris Higgins certainly seemed like he was trying, right?
*No Peepin' Foes for tomorrow and honestly, I can't guarantee a post-game write-up. This team has made me hate them so much, and hate myself for watching/paying/caring so much that I just may say screw it. Things were quite bad in the beginning of this decade but I don't ever remember the team being so bad and so infuriating night after night after night. Maybe it is just time for a break. I don't know. I'll have to see.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Jack Hillen - one assist.
2-Jon Sim - one goal.
1-Dwayne Roloson - 25 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hillen - Have to admit that Hillen and that MacDonald kid seemed solid. Of course, a traffic cone would have looked solid against these Rangers ...
3-Sim - That fat toad always plays his best against the Blueshirts. Jon Sim. Jesus.
1-Blake Comeau - Comeau had the best jump of any of the Islanders. Mr. X From The Blue Seats suggest Okposo but I think Comeau gets the edge (especially with the goal). I don't get how Rolo gets tops by the "professionals" when the goaltender didn't have to make a single good save.