Wednesday, March 17, 2010

31-30-9: That Was Desperation?

For all of the pregame talk about desperation, there was very little of it in MSG on Tuesday night as the Rangers lost to the Canadiens 3-1 in a dull, lifeless affair. It was pretty much par for the course for these Rangers, who have often followed up good wins with lackluster efforts. You just kinda hoped that with the playoff carrot hanging so close, they would lunge to get it.

They didn't.

The Rangers were the Rangers were the Rangers. The power play was 0-5 and if they managed two shots over that time, that was a lot. The one time they put a body in front of the net and got the puck there, they scored. Well, the one time they put a body in front of the Montreal net they scored. They piled the bodies in front of Hank and it resulted in both real Canadien goals (the third was an empty netter).

The highlight of my night was Brendan Shanahan saying "hey guys" to my buddy and I as we walked past him heading out. Now I am a big fan of Shanny's and all, but when the highlight of a night at Madison Square Garden is someone saying hello to you in passing, that's one pretty awful evening.

Just a few notes, because I can't palate much more:

*The Blueshirts wasted an incredible performance from Henrik Lundqvist, much like they have been wasting his performances for the last three seasons. To quote Slap Shot, "trade me right fucking now!"

*Did the first line play tonight? Wasn't sure. Didn't notice Gabby much, saw Vinny Prospal serving a pair of penalties and Olli Jokinen hit a short-side post but that was about it.

*According to CapGeek, Arty Anisimov is indeed on a two-way contract. Perhaps Glen Sather doesn't realize that, keeping the kid in the lineup. His continued presence would be fine if this team was rebuilding and not attempting to make the playoffs. But this team isn't and Arty has rarely been an asset this season. He has 21 points and has had a few moments but the only time he looked like he truly belonged was in preseason with those two highlight-reel goals. He can't win faceoffs, he gets pushed off the puck easily, he skates around cluelessly at least half the time and he has no chemistry with anyone on the team outside of the oft-scratched Enver Lisin. On this evening he stumbled around and had a goal go in off of him and took a bad penalty. The goal was embarrassing; the replay just now on NHL On The Fly seemed to show Arty shoving MDZ out of the way just to kick the puck past Hank. Unreal.

*Knowing they needed the points, Boston fired 37 shots on net in their 5-2 win over Carolina. The Rangers took 20 on Jaro Halak. Jody Shelley had two, Marian Gaborik had one and Ryan Callahan had none. What is wrong with that picture?

*After scoring on Sunday, Michal Rozsival went right back to being terrible. He missed an open shot wide and completely blew a centering pass to him while in the slot. And he sucks at defense too.

*Did anyone get a good view of what happened with Sean Avery at the end of the game to warrant 17 minutes in penalties? I have yet to see any Youtubes and On The Fly didn't include it in their highlight. I saw Avery and Gomez come together, then Hal Gill launch himself at Avery before everyone else rushed in and grabbed a partner to slow dance with. Avery got two for cross checking, five for slashing (?!?) and a gamer. Did he hit Gomez in the head with his stick McSorley-on-Brashear style? Gomez got a rough while Gill got off unpenalized. I don't get it.

*There were a lot of Montreal fans in the building, but few that were actually French Canadian. Weird and annoying.

*And that is it for me on this one. At least we get to see John Davidson return to the Garden on Thursday ...

*PHW Three Stars
3-Sergei Kostitsyn - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 32 saves.
1-Glen Metropolit - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Avery - The only Ranger who looked the least bit interested in winning.
2-Hank - Hard to say if Hank was concentrating on winning or just surviving as he was under siege as usual.
1-MexiCan't - Yep, Scott Gomez. Gomez controlled the pace and style of play all night and no one did anything about it. Yes, this was one miserable match.


Anonymous said...

and Michelletti on VS. Ugh.

-Sather Die in a Fire

Chris said...

I always read your gripes with Anisimov, but honestly never paid much attention to him. On this night, I did... and all of your gripes were spot-on. He botched numerous offensive chances and is putrid defensively. Effectively boxing out DZ and nearly blocking Hank from even attempting ot get back in position, and then letting the puck go in off his skate.

Terrible... just, terrible

henrik lundqvist blog said...

That game made my cry. I feel so frustrated and I can't imagine how Hank feels.

Kingrich45 said...

I'm a life long Ranger fan living in Carolina, and since theres an NHL team down the street where I can show up 5 minutes before the game and always find a cheap ticket, I go. The thing I noticed is while the Rangers are a good bit ahead of Carolina in the standings the Rangers are just not fun to watch a lot of times, whereas Carolina and my broad sampling of live and center ice NHL games most of the rest of the league is.

What I mean specifically, if the Rangers are down there almost certainly not coming back, as opposed to last week I watched Carolina with there third string goalie (justin peters, who?) come back and tie the Stanley cup champs and beat them in overtime. When I watching Carolina I feel like anything can happen at any time and anything is possible, I don't get that with the Rangers.

For the Rangers the mistakes and goals against are just painful sometimes. The defense lacks fundamentals that need to be second nature at this level. Aside from Avery there is not much sprak and not much of a backbone, fights are rarely stratigic or game changing. As a goalie I do enjoy watching Hank but to see these goals go by where he doesn't have a chance due to terrible D is just frustrating (I can't even imagine how he feels)...
Basically everything scotty is saying and seriously at this point I would swap out the whole Ranger lineup for some teams currently below them in the standings (even Carolina) because a lot of those teams are on the rise where the Rangers, especially with the contracts of Rosy, Redden and Drury weighing them down are likely to stay just slightly below average for awhile.

Tony V said...

Regarding Carolina, they have played inspired hockey all season and if there were an extra 10 games, they would make the playoffs. I have been impressed by them, last night's loss notwithstanding.

As for the Rangers, really are any of us surprised? Some have called us out for being negative but after nearly 70 games, the team is what it is -- mediocre, goal-challenged, talent-challenged and lucky to have a superstar goalie in net.

Faraway Fan said...

And those other Versus commentators saying to be sure to watch Gaborik during the third period because that's when he's at his best (17 goals!). Yeah, whatever. Engblom needs his yearly haircut.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why people get on Gabs, of course he's going to get shut down from time to time, since teams don't even bother game planning for anyone else. If a team can lock up their best defensive forwards against your top line without reprecussion, that's what happens


Scotty Hockey said...

Ah but j0e, that shouldn't happen - not when you are at home with last change. Torts never was able to get a good matchup and Gabby disappeared. The power play should make room for him but every team knows that the puck is going to go through Gabby because the rest of the unit is incompetent. Sad sad sad sad sad.

Anonymous said...

Scot-ty Gomez!!

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Avery - The only Ranger who looked the least bit interested in winning.

Ha ha, this the Scotty we know and love...

Kovy said...

Few French Canadiens?? Weird and annoying? I get the annoying part. It would be terrible if another team's fans took over the Bell Centre.
But weird? That there are so few French Canadien Habs' fans? Montreal alone, there are about 750,000 english-speaking people. Throw in the anglo-Montreal diaspora, and you're talking in the millions...

Scotty Hockey said...

Kovy - I meant in the Garden. There were plenty of people wearing bleu blanc et rouge but few were actual French Canadiens. My buddy tried yelling at some fans in french and he got blank looks back.

Dennis said...

With 1 1/2 minutes left in the game, Rangers down 2 to 1, they pull their goalie, the excitement is peaking as the Rangers try to get the equalizer and stay in the Playoff hunt, and the Garden breaks into a super loud Potvin Sucks Chant????????? Are you freaking kidding me???????

I hate this team!!!!!!!!!!!

Benson said...

This never would have happened if the Rangers just kept Zherdev.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of them even making the playoffs? To get swept 4games and end their season humiliated? They just don't have "it" and even if they change 15 guys over the summer again, they still won't be any better. First they need to fire Torts and get a real coach like Dave Tippett in Phoenix, who turned them around in 1 training camp. They need a good coach to teach them a system and how to finally play the right way with discipline and consistency!