Wednesday, March 23, 2011
40-30-4: Two Letters
Tonight's 1-0 victory over Florida is best summed up with two letters - Z and W. Z as in Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz because it was a godawful, dull affair and W as in Win. Thankfully style doesn't count in the standings, because this one was atrocious. The Blueshirts played down to the level of their atrocious opponents and yet somehow escaped with two points in the standings.
And, at this time of the year, that is all that we can hope for. But let's hope that those points are the only things that the Rangers take away from tonight. They were woefully bad in all areas but the clawless Panthers weren't good enough to take advantage so it is all for the better.
*Hank's best saves came on shots that were going wide, and he was falling all over the place. Why Chad Johnson did not get the call for this one is beyond me, especially after Buffalo lost in OT to Nashville on Sunday. But hey, if Torts wants to ride Hank the rest of the way with a bad neck, that is up to him. In past summers we have heard about mystery injuries suffered by Hank - headaches, hips, whatever - so at least we know what is ailing him now and what could very well cost this team their season.
*Perhaps some credit should be given for the Rangers discipline as they did not take a single penalty. Perhaps credit should not be given because it wasn't like they were trying all that hard. Penalties happen when you are giving it all and you take it over the line. Both teams stayed well below the line in this borefest, and thus there was just one two minute minor. The Ranger power play was pathetic - as it often is in the Garden - but that is alright as they managed to score five-on-five.
*The one goal that beat the Florida keeper came courtesy of Brandon Dubinsky. Dubi tried to set up Arty for a one-timer that the Russian couldn't handle (because there was a Panther actually standing near him, making him nervous or something) and the puck slid out to the right wing. Cally came over to take control and swing it back to the slot. Dubi, who was completely left alone by Florida, skated right through the slot unmolested to chip home Cally's feed and that was that. Sweet stuff. The BAR Boys (Brandon, Arty & Ryan) have recaptured most of the magic they had earlier this season before Cally was injured.
*The Panthers dominated in the faceoff circle and yet they often turned the puck right over to the Rangers. The Rangers used that to their advantage to outshoot their opponent but, for as good of a goaltender as Tomas Vokoun is, they hardly tested him. Pete DeBoer's team had little trouble clearing out what few rebounds there were and Vokoun simply pulled the puck out of the logo on his chest the rest of the time. That man has stood on his head in the Garden several times in his career - this night was not one of them, he just got the job done.
*The Garden renovations are continuing and are continuing to inconvenience the paying audience. Bathrooms are closed, food stands are closed and now several rows behind the goals and two wheelchair sections have been blocked off. This is just like my time in college - they renovated a perfectly good campus, forcing everyone to live in a construction area. Future students would enjoy the fruits of that labour while my class was the sacrificial lambs to so-called progress. And now the university wonders why we don't donate as much as other generations. Sadly Dolan won't see his revenues go down by much as he is already pricing this group of sacrificial lambs out of the building and there are plenty of tourists and companies around to pick up the paychecks. Sad.
*The fans made a few half-hearted efforts to get into the action but all of the chants fell as flat as the Ranger play. The building exploded when Dubi scored but it was the lone moment of real excitement in the audience aside from the anthem. The Garden of Dreams girl who sang it did a nice job.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Tomas Vokoun - 32 saves.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 22 saves.
1-Brandon Dubinsky - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ranger Fans - Didn't see a single person sleeping - quite the accomplishment.
2-Vokoun - The netminder swallowed up easy shot after easy shot. He is going to make some team quite happy come July 1st.
1-Dubi - He scored a goal so we didn't have to see a shootout between these teams. First star material right there.