Monday, January 3, 2011
22-15-3: No Claws Vs. Panthers
The Rangers officially wilted in the Florida sunshine as the team was only able to collect one out of a possible four points in their back-to-back set against the Bolts and Panthers. A lucky last second strike by Gaborik grabbed that one point in Tampa while there was no one on a white horse to save the boys from the big bad Puddy Tats.
The Blueshirts put together one of their weakest efforts of the season this afternoon and were shut out by Florida 3-0. The Panthers entered the game having lost three of their last four and were languishing in last in the Southeast. And they shut the Rangers out. This one was painful to watch and is even more tough to talk about so let's just chalk it - and the previous game against Tampa - up to an 'exuberant' New Years and move on.
But before we do, a few notes:
*Tortorella wasted a lot of his blowhard breath on how the team would live with the ups and downs of the youngsters on the roster. Shockingly his follow through has been curious. He decided Del Zotto was ready to return so he yanked out Gilroy. Not Rozy or Eminger, two veterans who have zero upside and whose contributions have been far from consistent this season. Dale Weise gets called for a penalty - deserving or not - and Tortorella banishes him to the bench for the rest of the game. Way to live with the ups and downs coach. How can someone learn and grow when there is no room for mistakes? Or there is room, just not for the players not in your favour ... Stepan can't win an important faceoff and yet is out there constantly - not to knock the kid, just to make an observation.
*Speaking about terrible faceoffs, Arty Anisimov. All points made after last game still hold true. He is an opportunist who can't create his own opportunities and he can't win a draw if his passport depended on it.
*Sean Avery saw about nine minutes of ice time. Marian Gaborik had nearly 22. Both had one shot on goal.
*You have to love how the chorus starts crying for dramatic action when things get tough. Instead of trading Lundqvist, they have turned to Gaborik. Ok, all at once, Gaborik is not being traded. An injury-prone, overpaid, enigmatic sniper is not going to turn into the building blocks of a Stanley Cup winner. His talent can not be understated but other teams have scouts too, they are seeing the same struggles. So relax.
*Back to Rozy for a second. He was his usual horrible self until the third period, when he had his best defensive shift ever in a Ranger jersey. The Czech broke up a three-on-one and, seconds later, made a fantastic shot block. It was awesome to see but sadly is surely sealed his spot in the lineup for the remainder of his contract (just one more year thank goodness).
*Given the Potvin Sucks chants, the jerseys visible in the stands and the audible cheering when Florida had a goal waved off, perhaps BankAtlantic should be MSG South? West is the Rock, East is the Mausoleum ...
*Friend of the blog Rose was in attendance and she had this report: "The Rangers were awful, they never shoot the frigging puck, they never pass the puck when they should. There was 2 minutes in the 2nd period when it actually felt like a playoff game. After that... it was the same ol Ranger [expletive deleted] hockey !!!!"
*As a another friend texted me, someone should remind Chris Drury that he returned from injury seven games ago.
*We have to be thankful that there has yet to be a Trent McCleary incident, given the Rangers track record with blocking shots. Ruslan Fedotenko was the latest victim, suffering what is said to be quite the bruise - but not a break. Like Cally earlier this season and Marty Straka way back when, Feds stayed out on the ice and tried to block more shots to complete the play. How can you not love a guy who does that?
*If Fedotenko is going to miss some time, perhaps it is time for the organization to give Brodie Dupont his chance at the NHL. Feds has been starring in a grinding role and that is right up the Moose's alley. Actually it would be perfect for Dane Byers, but he was traded away after the team turned to Grachev earlier this year. No point in rewarding the Russian for what has been a disappointing AHL season to date; they should give the shot to a guy who has worked for it for years. Kris Newbury might also be capable while Williams and Kolarik are more one-way skill guys.
*PHW Three Stars
3-David Booth - one goal.
2-Tomas Vokoun - 32 saves.
1-Chris Higgins - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Marty Biron - The ex-Islander was under siege for much of the evening and yet he gave the Blueshirts a chance to win - the one thing you ask for from your backup goaltender. You can hardly hang this loss on his shoulders.
2-Tomas Vokoun - Despite ranting during the game that there is no O in RANGERS, credit must be given - Vokoun is a helluva goaltender. He puts up solid numbers despite the expansion team in front of him. Amazing that 17 years after joining the NHL Florida remains a cobbled together bunch of garbage with above-average goaltending.
1-Higgins - Oh Smithtown, how sad. Dude couldn't hit the net for the Rangers and he scores against them. Sonofagun. But for all of the pain inflicted by his tally tonight, think of all of the evenings when Brandon Prust has contributed and sleep well.