Friday, January 22, 2010
24-20-7: The Inevitable Fall Hurts
You just knew that the back-to-back Garden blowouts were too good to be true. The Rangers came back to earth with a mortifying bad performance against the Philadelphia Flyers (again). I showed up at the Wachovia Center but apparently most of the Blueshirts did not. It was a horrific performance where, in a span of a few minutes, the team's best skater got beat up and no one stepped in to help and the star goaltender was ran and still everyone stood by. After the second incident, I tore off my jersey and refused to wear it the rest of the game. If the Rangers aren't proud enough to stand up for themselves, I sure as hell won't stand up for them. I love this team but to say that I was furious would be an understatement.
Yes, Gaborik was standing up for himself and went at Carcillo. But, two weeks ago Alexander Ovechkin was standing up for himself and went at Steve Downie. In Ovie's case, Matt Bradley came flying in because you don't let your superstar player fight some idiot goon!!!!!! The Rangers? They watched. Dan Girardi, who I usually let off the hook for rare mistakes because of my fandom, was feet away and let it happen. Disgraceful. Completely and utterly disgraceful.
So not only did everyone watch as Carcillo kicked the crap out of Gaborik, Gaborik was in the penalty box when Sideshow Bob Hartnell took a four minute double minor for high sticking so he couldn't score what would have been the equalizer. As for the running of Hank, no one ever stands up the King. Why would they? We would only be in lottery position if not for him but he has been fair game since forever.
If that wasn't bad enough, Sean Avery later breaks up the best sustained pressure of the period by selfishly fighting Sideshow Bob. I love Avery, but that was sheer idiocy. From my understanding, the ringleader of this circus act, John Tortorella was screaming his head off on the bench but we know how little everyone listens to him anymore. Maybe not the ringleader so much as head clown ...
*The first period was piss poor on the Rangers part. The only line that was able to pressure the Flyers was the line that started the game - Avery-Boyle-Voros. So, of course, Tortorella broke them up by the middle of the second period and was grasping at straws throughout the third.
*Avery's second fight of the night was against Carcillo seemingly for some sort of vengeance but he didn't get it. Sure, he fared better than he did in the two-punch knockout by Sideshow Bob but it didn't do anything. In fact, Gabby took a dumb penalty that Philly was able to score on with 2.5 seconds left in the period - adding an exclamation point to the ass kicking they were handing the Rangers in the frame.
*Voros opened the third period with a fight against Arron Asham but it just seemed to be Voros trying to ensure he would keep his spot in the lineup over Brashear, who surely would have been sent out to do something earlier (but likely would not have, or would have lost).
*And, remarkably, despite the physical beating the Bullies were handing the Blueshirts, the Rangers were still in the game. As I am sure many have said, they used up all of their goals in the two previous wins and had nothing left for this one. Ray Emery didn't have to make a single difficult stop in a 24-save shutout. When you consider that Enver Lisin of all people had the best chances, you can guess at how bad it really was.
*Chris Drury spent half the game looking like newborn Bambie, slipping all over the ice. When he wasn't flat on the ice, he chased the play and made bad decisions when he got the puck. That's the captain and a member of Team USA ...
*Flyers fans are terrible. They weren't particularly tough or rude but the place wouldn't get a single good 'Let's Go Flyers' chant going at the same time. The only time they found a little synch was to holler "Avery Sucks!" which is hilarious when you consider the kinds of clowns their franchise employs. Hypocrisy, thy name is Philadelphia.
*They didn't have "God Bless America" before the game, which was a huge disappointment for me. I grew up listening to my dad tell stories of the Spectrum and Kate Smith singing that song and instead they had some annoying blonde woman do a poor version of the regular anthem. Weak.
*The friends I went to the game with had some issues and had to deal with the Wachovia Center security (nothing malevolent I assure you) and they found the staff incredibly kind and accommodating.
*On a semi-related note, the upper bowl seating at the Wachovia is quite steep. You really feel high above and far away when you sit up there, as I did.
*James van Riemsdyk scored what would be the game-winning goal on a two-on-one that was all thanks to my pal Michal Rozsival. And I have to wear his jersey on Monday? Ugh.
*The Mike Richards insurance goal came off Marc Staal's skate but, as my buddy Eric vehemently pointed out, the play shouldn't have happened as Chris Higgins could/should have cleared the puck prior to that. If Higgins was having issues before, he clearly is falling apart now that he is saddled with Lisin and Anisimov as his underwhelming linemates.
*Traffic to and from the Wachovia Center sucked and parking cost $15. That's insane. Even the Islanders are more reasonable.
*Was it me or did Philly go offsides a dozen or so times? It just got ridiculous after a while, which was surprising after the first 10 minutes of the game flew by.
*I was pleased that the Ranger goal was waved off after the final buzzer as that left a big fat 0 next to their name on the scoreboard - matching their heart and effort in this game. We can only hope that this loss, like the 6-0 game in December, proves to be a aberration in a run of solid results ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ray Emery - 24 saves.
2-James van Riemsdyk - one goal.
1-Mike Richards - one power play goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - As per usual, Lundqvist gave the Rangers a chance to win with big saves.
2-Sideshow Bob - Hartnell kept Avery off of his game - kicked his ass even - and pushed the Philadelphia attack forward. If he was a better player, he easily could have scored a pair of goals.
1-Carcillo - What can you say? He is a smart goon. He goaded the best player on the opposing team into a fight, taking him off the ice for five full minutes and pulling the lone weapon from the Ranger power play. Gabby was thrown off and took a bad penalty soonafter, setting up the JVR goal. Good for Carcillo; that's just good hockey right there.