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.
*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.