Sunday, January 24, 2010
24-21-7: Habs And Hab Nots
The Ranger offense disappeared for the fourth time in seven games as they were blown out by Montreal 6-0 on Saturday night. The result was never in doubt after Sean Avery was given a tongue lashing by the officials early in the first period. You knew that the refs would not give the Blueshirts any favours in the Bell Centre on Hockey Night in Canada and it instantly put them behind the eight ball.
With the Canadiens - an already fast team - flying on the emotion of over 20,000 screaming fans, it was only a matter of time before they blew through the weak Ranger blueline. If Dan Girardi didn't guarantee his exit from New York by watching Gaborik get beaten on Thursday, he certainly ensured he wouldn't be re-upped when he was beaten by Max Lapierre to an icing and played ballerina watching the Habs move the puck back and forth around him. Not to mention the other three goals that he just happened to be victimized on. He is a restricted free agent and is a prime target to get dealt at the deadline. It is a shame because he is a capable kid and the maybe even the steadiest of the current corps. But is that really saying much when you consider Redden, Rozsival and two rookies? On a defensively aware team Girardi is a solid third or fourth defenseman. On John Tortorella's team defense, what team defense? squad, he is not capable of being the top shutdown defenseman.
No time to expound further so onto some notes:
*Sorry for the pun up top, Habs and Hab nots but it is quite appropriate. Montreal had team speed and used it, the Rangers did not. Montreal had motivation and they used it, the Rangers did not. Montreal had scoring, the Rangers did not.
*'Chris Drury's scoring woes can be overlooked because he does the other things, like win faceoffs and kill penalties.' Heard that four or five times this season, right? Well he lost a defensive zone faceoff that initiated Montreal's first goal of the night (by the damned MexiCan't) and he was on the ice on the penalty kill for Montreal's sixth. Great work Cap.
*CBC dubbed the Boyle-Voros-Avery unit the "Crash Line" and it did crash the Canadien side of the ice. But there has to be a better name for them, should they stay together long enough. Regardless, they were the most consistent unit of the game and didn't see the ice nearly enough. The same goes for Enver Lisin - the only Ranger with the speed to keep up with the Habs' Lollipop Guild.
*Voros had a helluva fight with Ryan O'Byrne but, seriously, it would have meant a lot more had it happened amid the second period onslaught.
*Watching HNIC on CBC was an utter delight. Kevin Weekes did colour and he was delightful to listen to. Insightful, intelligent commentary throughout the game ... it was wonderful. Damn shame he was calling such a bad game. And Don Cherry, by the way, is still awesome. Say what you want about his commentary - "you just don't fight Europeans!" Really? - that he takes time out to remember fallen soldiers is pure class.
*Several friends wrote and tweeted that Micheletti kept talking about the Montreal Massacre when they came back from 5-0, blah blah blah. Did he really think that these Rangers are mentally strong enough to do something like that?
*Do you think that Wade Redden was trying to give the puck to Montreal? And he makes almost a million bucks more than Andrei Markov - a real defenseman.
*Jed Ortmeyer scored two goals tonight for San Jose. No, it has nothing to do with this Ranger game but yes, it makes me happy. Go Jed!
*Also not Ranger-related, Florida's Kenndal McArdle did an interview on CBC after scoring his first NHL goal tonight. It would not be worth speaking of had McArdle not have an obvious speech impediment. McArdle battled through and did a great job. You know that his family and friends had to be so proud and it really was nice to see so congrats to him!
*Both Hank and Matt Zaba made big saves for the Blueshirts and, honestly, could hardly be faulted for any of the goals against as they were hung out to dry. You would like to have Hank stop Camamalalalalleri's first goal but few goaltenders could have grabbed it. Same with Plekanec's remarkable backhand in the third period - that was one helluva shot.
*Right now the Montreal trade of Guillaume Latendresse for Minnesota's Benoit Pouliot looks like the most even trade in NHL history. It is early but both guys are starring for their new teams. Makes you kind of wonder which Ranger could use a change of scenery ...
*Did Vinny Prospal play? Christy was more visible than Vaclav and he played nine less minutes.
*My buddy Pete asked a question I initially shrugged off but it is worth posing - do you think the 'fight' with Carcillo had any effect on Gabby's hands? He had two clear misses in the first period that he usually would bury.
*After such wonderful performances last week, how could Cally and Dubi be so invisible on a such a grand stage? Wait, don't answer that ...
*I am sure there is more but time is short. As I tweeted, the Rangers decided not to practice on Sunday, because after you were shutout for the fourth time in seven games there really isn't much for you to practice, right?
*PHW Three Stars
3-Jaro Spacek - two assists.
2-Jaro Halak - 32 saves.
1-Michael Cammalleri - two goals and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Zabadaba - Baptism by fire and the kid came out alright. Sure he gave up two goals but he could hardly be faulted for either. As for Halak, Gabby's future teammate barely had to make a save; the iron stopped two of the best Blueshirt chances.
2-Plekanec - He was everything Vinny Prospal wasn't in this game.
1-Camamalalalalleri - The former Flame sliced and diced his way though the Ranger zone all night long.