Friday, February 5, 2010

25-26-7: Well, That Was Something

As we get ourselves wrapped up into the day to day grind of the hockey season, we sometimes forget that hockey is supposed to be entertainment. As a Ranger fan, the 6-5 loss to the Capitals on Thursday night was utterly infuriating ... but it must be said that it was insanely entertaining. What a wild game. Heroes, villains and action all night. Taking away the massive disappointment, it was awesome.

That massive disappointment came from the Rangers being the Rangers - playing up the the level of the best team in the league before folding like a cheap suit. They blew leads three times and gave up three straight goals to lose. Who is at fault? The usual suspects - Glen Sather for building a pathetically soft defense. John Tortorella for being the worst coach in the NHL. Chris Drury for being the worst Ranger captain of all time. All time. When the leadership doesn't lead, the rank and file can only go so far.

Quick notes:

*Before I get into the game, I want to address the Kovalchuk trade to New Jersey as it had Ranger fans getting upset all night long. To all of those freaked out fans, relax. There was no way the Rangers were going to catch New Jersey in the standings. All this will do is take points away from the teams we will be battling for a playoff spot with. Kovy will be huge for the Devils this season - and that is where it ends. They won't re-sign him, not for the money he wants. Jersey added him to make a big push to get Mmmaaaarrrtttyyy one more Cup and Kovy will help in that effort. They get a young defenseman with him and surrender talented youngster Nik Bergfors, capable defenseman Johnny Oduya, overrated elbow-throwing Patrick Cormier and a first rounder, which will likely be quite late in the opening round of the next draft. That package is nothing compared to what Atlanta tried to get from the Rangers ...

*One of the things that was most impressive about the Ranger effort on this night was that they actually carried the puck. They didn't do their normal dump, let the other team get the puck and backtrack back into their own zone. They hauled it over the blueline and made things happen using their talent - which is much more appropriate with their skill set.

*As my buddy Miserable Eric pointed out, when the team gets a 5-3 lead at the end of the second period, how does the coach put the fourth line with Redden and Rozsival out on the ice to counter the Caps top unit to finish off the frame? They oh-so-unsurprisingly choke up a goal with nine seconds left and gave Washington back some life.

*The Rangers helped it along by taking penalty after penalty after penalty. But discipline comes from the aforementioned leadership and the lack thereof will doom this team to mediocrity for a long time coming.

*Tortorella talks about accountability and yet Redden was the only one to feel the whip. When does Michal Rozsival take his proper place in the press box? The guy made one great defensive play on a three-on-one but was directly involved in giving up three goals against.

*Olli Jokinen had himself a power play goal but took himself a hat trick of penalties - two of which resulted in Washington goals. Then he was called upon to take an offensive zone faceoff in the final minute with the team down one and he lost it cleanly. Cleanly! The Caps cleared and that was pretty much that.

*Is it bad when Chris Drury blocks a shot and everyone prays that it is a long term injury? While he played up the impact of the Ovechkin shot to get some kind of sympathy, the Caps scored a goal. Mysteriously he went from being doubled over in "pain" to being right back on the ice the next shift. And later the captain takes a borderline penalty to negate a Ranger power play. Usually when a player is hurt we are happy to see the ugy bounce back and play and yet an audible groan was heard when he jumped right back on the ice, good as new. Drury was on the fourth line and yet he played nearly 20 minutes. Why? The Rangers scored five goals and he had no part in any of them on his way to a -2. That number is a lie as he was on the ice for five of the six goals against. That's $7 million a year for what? The Blueshirts finally scored on the power play - three times in fact - and he wasn't on the ice for two and had nothing to do with the third; coincidence? I think not.

*Tom F-ing Poti scored. Poti. Sure he was woeful in his own end and essentially gave the Rangers at least two if not three of their goals, but the goal he scored just made me want to puke and I am hoarse right now from yelling at him all night. What a bum. Still, would rather habe him than Rozsival or Redden - cheaper incompetence.

*Dan Girardi and Hobey Gilroy needs to play less with Redden because the veteran is clearly rubbing off all of his bad qualities upon the two of them.

*Is there a more useless player on the Ranger roster than Arty Anisimov? He doesn't necessarily hurt the team but he certainly doesn't help it. Chalk that two-goal game from a few weeks back up to a fluke and he still belongs back on the farm.

*After tearing apart the team I feel I should say something nice. Vinny Prospal wasn't bad. After he skated away from a loose puck in the Washington end in the first period so he could take a rest, he became the focus of some hate but he came back and put up four points on the board by cashing in on all of that play with the man advantage. Let's hope that this was the game that finally gets him back on track after that injury.

*Erik Christensen was also quite good. Christy is a capable puck mover who certainly has chemistry with Vinny and Gabby.

*Wouldn't have been nice to have Marian Gaborik score?

*Gotta love Ryan Callahan and his heart but seriously, why can't he score on a breakaway?

*Brandon Prust and Jason Chimera came together after a whistle early in the first but didn't throw down and frankly, a fight was all this game was missing.

*There was a good number of Caps fans in the building, and the vast majority was clearly bandwagoners wearing jerseys and t-shirts that still likely had the tags on them. Two particular clowns in my section had brand new, red Mike Green and Semyon Varlamov sweaters over their monogrammed dress shirts. Lame! The only Washington fan that garnered any credibility was the dude wearing the black Steve Konowalchuk jersey.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Vinny Prospal - two goals and two assists.
2-Nicklas Backstrom - one goal and four assists.
1-Alexander Ovechkin - two goals and one assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Prospal - Nice to see him wake up.
2-Backstrom - His hands are great, his timing is great and his skating is phenomenal. This kid is the real deal and doesn;t get enough credit playing in OV's shadow.
1-Ovechkin - Yeah, it's a big shadow cast by this guy because he's good. Very, very good.


NYR34 said...

Don't count me in the upset column... As mentioned on PD, I'd have been more upset in relation to Kovy if he had bolted the Rangers for the KHL (because NO ONE can pay him what he wants come July) while we had to watch Callahan/Dubinsky, Stepan, or Kreider light the lamp in Atlanta.

To all the fans out there upset, it would not have been a good move for this team at all. What would we, maybe advance another round? For what? Mortgaging even more of our future?

chris said...

Dude, get on the ice and take even a men's league slapper to the side of the knee. It'll hurt like hell for a few minutes, but you'll bounce back. It's like having an extreme dead arm. Dru actually had a decent game, and gave a good example to the boys on defense (which has always been his strength. A big contract doesn't make a 2 way forward in Gretzky). He got nailed by OV early and came back for more, no flinching, nothing. Also, hell must've frozen over because Rosi didn't suck either. And did Redden hit someone? Wtf?

Chris said...

you're right LEADERSHIP is the elusive answer to why we lost 6-5. I was watching the game last night and kept saying to myself "wow they could use more leadership out there right now" omg and drury is such a bad leader that he fakes injuries so people feel bad!

Give me a break. you're starting to sound like the 14 year olds on HFboards.

Anonymous said...

Ummm that Drury penalty wasnt even borderline, It was a flop by Semin. I think you are letting your hatred of Drury skew your perspective.

I Rock the Red said...

Y'know, I hope whatever Rangers fan was out there with a green laser pointer pointing it at Theodore's eyes gets what's coming to him. That was a seriously classless move.

The Rangers put up a good effort, by all counts. Against any other team, I'd say I was sorry you lost that one; against the Caps? Not so much. :-)

Anonymous said...

You've obviously never been hit by a slapshot. Your leg just goes numb and hurts like a son of a ...

It goes away relatively quick so coming out for the next shift is still possible without a fan thinking that he is faking something.

Andrea said...

Yeah, sorry about that green laser. Pathetic show by an obvious dick. If it had happened to Hank in another building, we'd be losing our shit. Hope it's the last time we see it. From SEC 334, I noticed it bouncing off the dasher boards behind him, but I thought I must be seeing things, like the flash of fluorescent markings on a stick going by.

Scotty Hockey said...

Chris number twe - yes, leadership was what was needed. Leadership would have instilled some kind of discipline. Leadership would have gotten the guys to play their best for 60 minutes, not 39.

As for a flop by Semin, it looked like a cheap, low shot by the captain from where I was sitting. Have not watched the replay that you guys saw so maybe he took a dive. Either way, Drury shouldn't have been in that situation.

I just heard about the laser pointer, that is some real classless nonsense.

And I have been hit with slapshots, playing defense for several years that will do it. I never fallen down like I was shot, limped around for a few minutes and then mysteriously was 100% two minutes later. Either I went down and was hurt (a puck to the cup) or I held my ground and did my job.

Ben said...

Enough with the "bandwagon" Caps fans.

First if they were all wearing OV jerseys they have to be band wagoners. Now they are wearing "brand new" (not sure how you could tell that) Varly and Green jerseys and they are band wagoners too?

Talk about a HATER! Standings look LOVELY!

drew said...

chris, how can you say roszival wasn't bad? he was beaten on three of the capitals goals. yes, there were some nasty moves on them...but he (as an nhl defenseman making 3.5 million) should have stopped at least 1/3, and probably 2/3, of the those goals.

Anonymous said...

The only Ranger fans begging for Kovy were idiots

At least two of those Olli penalties were because the guy had a break if he didn't hack him. I can't recall if it was his fault the guy got loose or not.

Drury looked terrible, but you're nitpicking with that slapshot he took. No doubt that hurt. But he's doing the things he supposedly does good horrible now. He is incredibly lazy on backchecking (the Knuble goal was a result of him not sticklifting and just coasting on his hip), whiffs on doorstep shots (put one in the chest and then missed on one that Prospal banged home) and really has been medicore defensively.

I don't see a big problem with the fourth being out there vs OV. Boyle's pretty good defensively and so is the rest of that line. It's not like we have some kind of great shutdown line besides them. Having R&R out there... eh. Staal and Girardi would probably be better, but they might have just come off. I don't recall. And Torts is far from the worst coach. Far.


Pete said...

I don't know if I agree with the concept that Drury was faking being hurt. On MSG, they replayed the shot just so you could hear the sound it made bouncing of Drury's knee. It was pretty wicked. And if we're talking about the penalty where Drury was on the ice in front of the net and the guy fell over him, that was a completely bullshit call. The guy stepped over Drury and took his Dru stood up, the guy took a swan dive.

None of that changes the fact that Drury sucks, though.

After the game, I was trying to remember if Sean Avery played. I did recall one almost scrum. Also, I remember hearing the name Prust once...and only once. According to the box score, Prust got 5:10 total ice time and Avery got a paltry 10:31. Maybe a little grinding while they were up 5-3 might have changed the outcome of this game. You know, throw the Caps off a little. We'll never know.

austin rivers said...

Alex continues to amaze me. His combination of power, speed, and skill reminds me of the promise Eric Lindros had in his early days. If he can stay healthy, he could challenge Gretzky's career goals record.

Anonymous said...

That was some brutal officiating. The refs made an over the top effort to first even the floor and then tilt it to counteract the automatic calls they had to make on the caps.

Chris said...

My only note is that you need to go watch the replay of the Drury penalty. Im not going to 'reem' you for it because form where you were sitting Im sure it looked legit... but when you watch the replay you might actually be sickened by how blatant of a dive it was.

Drury is on all 4s, and Semin sees him, is barely skating... then the second his knee makes contact with drury he JUMPS over drury and falls down. Hella lame.

Christopher said...

IT was a pretty good game to watch, it shows promise