Saturday, December 4, 2010
16-11-1: No Style Points For This One
The Rangers finished off a home and home sweep against the Islanders with a 2-0 victory on Friday night. It was perhaps the worst hockey game in terms of skill and quality of play since I covered the BC Icemen of the UHL. Both teams were atrocious, the officiating was inexplicable and the crowd was dead. On evenings like this you just have to pray that it wasn't someone's first hockey game because they will never come back. Horrible.
But the Rangers were on the good side of the scoreline. Woo hoo and yippee! Let's take the points and - after this post - never speak of this game again.
MSG-Plus re-aired the Knicks game this early morning instead of this so this is based on my observations in the building itself ... which is probably better because I would fall asleep witnessing this affair for a second time:
*The only thing that would make one believe that the Rangers are capable of making the playoffs are the two points. The Rangers beat a team they were supposed to. That is it. The team from Mystery, Alaska had more talent than the Islanders - and I mean the actors, not the characters they were portraying. For the Blueshirts to have such a tough time against a bunch of players barely fit for the ECHL is horrifying.
*Not a single Ranger had a good game. Not one. Hank pitched a shutout but was barely challenged - hell, he didn't face a single shot over the first 15 minutes of the match and three the entire first period. As for everyone else, they were disjointed and sloppy yet again. Passes were off, shots were off, they didn't play like a unit. Just atrocious.
*The lone real goal was a bomb by Marc Staal that Dwyane Roloson never saw. Just as I was raging how Alex Frolov skated behind the Islander net, he came around and slid right in front of Rolo - setting a perfect screen. He still sucks, but at least he contributed something. It was a power play goal that looks good in the number column and betrays the fact that the special team isn't special in the least. They have trouble gaining the zone, their passes are telegraphed, they have trouble holding the blueline and no one is willing to take any kind of punishment in the slot. Frolov slid in there untouched as the Isles didn't bother to concern themselves with him - can you blame them?
*Even with catching NHL on the Fly, I still have yet to see the Ryan Callahan "elbow" on Frans Nielsen. It was included in the highlight but certainly did not look like an elbow to me and the replay was unclear. The NHL Network did not include the Avery roughing and ensuing misconduct, both of which seemed completely unfounded. If the league doesn't want this guy to play, just ban him for life. Letting him play and then sending him to the box on trumped up charges just helps folks shape their tin foil conspiracy hats.
*What do you think the conversation was like when Torts sent Mr. Softie the Backstabber into the box to serve Avery's rough?
*Jesse Joensuu going after Cally for the aforementioned elbow was unnecessary and the ensuing fight was woeful for the Islander but great for the Ranger. Cally smartly tied up the Finn and didn't waste his hands beating on a clown in a visor.
*It boggles my mind how the stripes will call a diving penalty and yet still penalize the alleged infraction that caused it. And they always seem to do it; I don't recall a single unsportsmanlike conduct diving that wasn't attached to another penalty. Ever.
*How Madison Square Garden Music Director Ray Castoldi still has a job is beyond me. The music was especially awful on this evening as it centered around Ray jamming on his keyboard with a below-par guitarist, a drummer and a mop-haired DJ chick who just seemed to hit play and gyrate. My ears objected.
*Back-to-back games and no Main Event between heavyweights Boogaard and Konopka. If there ever was a dull game that could have used the excitement of a big bout - even one that was pre-arranged - this was it. What a tedious affair.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dwayne Roloson - 19 saves.
2-Marc Staal - one goal.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 17 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
Not a single player deserves to be honoured after this one; maybe give Dolan some props because he was able to take back a big league gate receipt for a minor league match.