Saturday, October 8, 2011

0-0-2: Take It And Run

If you told me that the Rangers travelled to southern California, faced the up-and-coming L.A. Kings and the Anaheim Ducks with the top line in hockey and they came away with two points, I would be delighted. And so I am trying not to be disappointed to see them steal the same pair of points against those teams in Stockholm, Sweden. Would it have been delightful to see a win? Of course. Was it possible for the team to come away with not two points but three or four? Of course. But the Rangers are still the Rangers so, of course, we saw a mediocre squad play lackluster hockey. But they still escaped Stockholm without a regulation loss so we have that going for us.

This summer the franchise was given a new coat of paint and a new, expensive, shiny hood ornament but the car remains the same. Driven by a fool and ridden by too many passengers, the ride that is the New York Rangers has not changed - they pass up good shots, they miss the ones they get, they have little discipline, they are utterly incompetent with the man advantage, they wake up just in time to make a game of it after long periods of middling play ...

Nothing would have delighted me more than to travel to Europe to see a gritty, tough team battle hard against some of the NHL's elite and come away with some wins or even some good losses. But instead it was the usual, accepted mediocrity we've seen under John Tortorella's reign - the setting changed but the story remained the same.

Late Hits:

*Henrik Lundqvist for Vezina.

*That being said, serious credit should be given to Sauer, Girardi and McDonagh for their dutiful work on defense. Delightful to see them shut down the Ducks top guns. Sauer lost his helmet in a scrum, stayed on the ice and then went to ground to try to block a shot. That takes some brass ones boys and girls, brass ones.

*The Rangers attempted 45 shots, the Ducks 60. Fifteen went on net for the Blueshirts, 28 for Anaheim. I'm no math wizard but that is roughly 1/3rd vs. 1/2, right? New York needs to get more shots though.

*Really nice job by the in-arena production crew for both games at the Globen. They had montages from all the teams, the unique goal songs of all the franchises and more fun arena stuff (stars in the crowd, kiss cam, trivia, etc.). The highlight, for me, probably was pregame tonight during the Swedish national anthem as they dissolved in and out from the Swedish flag to tight shots of Hank and Tim Erixon. Little things like that enhance the experience (unlike the asinine sponsored tee-shirt shooters during the intermission).

*The game was decided in the skills competition where Hank was only fooled by a whiff by New Jersey-born Bobby Ryan. Christy, the Rangers shootout specialist who so fortunately was inserted into the lineup for a game that went to a shootout, missed the entire four foot by six foot net. Brad Richards nearly lost the puck at center ice before blowing his chance while Zuke's trademark move was easily stopped. Arty was the Ranger's final shooter and he was easily stopped by the Swiss keeper Hiller.

*Sadly it appears that Ryan Callahan is going to be injured sooner rather than later. This 110% stuff is fantastic but he is the only Ranger aside from Hank playing that hard and it will cost him.

*Not sure how Dubi and Perry got matching roughings when they both threw down their gloves and squared to fight. Did the refs feel bad that Perry dove to the ice to avoid getting his ass kicked?

*Speaking of such, as I tweeted, if we wanted a bum to get beat up we woulda kept Voros. Mike F-ing Rupp should go back to Pittsburgh. He could hardly skate, he fumbled the puck the one time it touched his stick and he got abused by the educated mustache of George Parros. He laid a hit on Devante Smith-Pelly (who has a big future ahead of him) and bounced off while, a second later, Mats Zuccarello knocked down the Duck. The big man has to be better.

*Zuke had his moments but, as I wrote last game, he needs an improved Stepan and a better winger across from him to achieve. My buddy Joakim, a big Modo fan, said MZA was a different player the season he dominated the Elitserien. Now he doesn't have the same energy and he doesn't have the same confidence. Torts needs to learn how to get the kid back into that kind of form.

*Erixon is slowly finding his feet, as they skate through the fire of NHL competition. He looks like he is wearing his dad's jersey that is three times too big and the opposition targeted him with contant hits but the kid did not look entirely out of place. The building blocks are there and hopefully his growth won't be stunted after being saddled with the experienced awfulness that is Steve Eminger. Eminger was so solid when filling in for the injured Rozsival midseason last year, what the hell happened?

*If not for his game-tying goal, I was going to rant that the Rangers got a nice faceoff specialist in Brad Richards, a lesser version of Manny Malhotra for three times the cost. Aside from the split second when he scored, Richards was woeful and he definitely is not working out on the power play point yet (neither is Michael Del Zotto but we were already well aware of his incompetence). The supposed chemistry with the Slovakian Slacker Marian Gaborik has yet to form.

*Pretty sure most folks want to see a hockey game and not a gong show with a zebra at center stage. Endless special teams are boring.

*MSG president Scott O'Neil was in attendance and gave me a smile and a 'let's go Rangers' during warmups. I still can't believe I was on my good behavior and didn't rip into him for the way he is raping us Ranger fans. I'm sorry folks, I don't know what came over me.

*Brian Boyle needs to decide if he is a fancy scorer or a big, grinding battler because right now he is somewhere in the middle and it is certainly not working out.

*Why didn't exIslander Jason Blake get called for not having his fight strap tied down when he ended up skating half a shift with his sweater over his arms?

*Sat next to a hockey fan from Germany who decided to root for Anaheim years ago because he saw the Mighty Ducks movie when he was a kid. That is Disney magic people.

*I'm sure there is more worth mentioning but it is after 5am and I head to England in a few hours for a week of work. A final Eurotrip post with some pictures will be up once I get back home mid-month. Hopefully a Islander recap will make it up next Saturday, as long as I can either find an open pub in London at that hour or a good internet feed to watch it.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundvist - 27 saves in regulation, three of four in the shootout.
2-Bobby Ryan - shootout goal.
1-Jonas Hiller - 14 saves, four of four in the shootout.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cam Fowler - The poise of this sophomore was admirable. And, to think, had the Rangers not wasted draft picks on Bobby Sanguinetti and Michael Del Zotto, they might have drafted him ...
2-Ryan McDonagh - No sophomore slump here either.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - No Hank, no points at all in either game. The King retained his crown in his home country despite little assistance from his serfs.


svessien said...

Everytime I see an interview with Tortorella, it strikes me that I never would have been able to do my best with such a person over me. He comes across as a rude one trick pony with no class. He is constantly confirming to the press who he is happy with and not, directly or indirectly, and that is stuff that should stay in the locker room. I bet he is at his "best" when he can create an atmosphere of fear around him, that enables him to rule. Fear, however, is the enemy of creativity. I don´t think I´ve ever watched a less creative team than the Rangers in their two games this weekend.
Tortorellas response is to continue to use the tool that didn´t work last season; breaking up the lines. So the players are not allowed to develop chemistry, they are not given any predictabiity, any frame wherein they can find a foothold for taking a step forward, and meanwhile they have to live with a sociopath selling them out to the press to avoid taking the due responsibility for the lack of team performance. Take Zuke as an example; he gets thrown around lines all the time. Yesterday he played with Rupp and Christy (say no more), getting 7 minutes on the ice. How can anyone expect him to put up a max performance under those circumstances anyway?
Take a look at a real manager, like Alex Ferguson of Man United for example. He succeeds by mostly doing the opposite of what Tortorella does.

Anonymous said...

Turderella really is a disgrace.

This "team" looks worse than last year, its as if, there was no training camp at all.

and yes, every interview with this clueless coach just hammers home how little he brings to this Ranger situation.

Besides not winning either game, this Ranger situation was painful to watch.

The got a great lucky goal from callahan at the end of the first period of the first game, on their FIRST shot on goal on a goalie that was sleeping the entire period.

Same thing yesterday, no shots on goal for the entire 3d period and then richards catches a sleeping goalie with a great little move in close.

That was the extent of the offense.



worst of all?


it will be a loooooooooooooooooooong year.

Dennis said...

I totally agree with Svessien and Anon. These two games and the style the Rangers are playing is boring and dangerous. This team lacks cohesiveness. They don't have any flow to their game. Just more dump and chase bullshit.

And how many teams in the NHL besides the Rangers go down to block slap shots as often as these dopes. They are not doing it because it's effective. They are doing it because they are not fast enough to get out to the point. But I guarantee we'll see one or two broken bones because of it.

And it's high time Rangers defense goes back to Pee Wee school and re-learns that sliding on your belly to stop a rush is NOT an effective way to play defense. Add up how many times a Ranger goes down to block a shot or down to stop a rush and I bet they spend more time on their asses than on their skates.

Dave W said...

I can't really add anything else beyond what was said. My tolerance of Torts is wearing thin.

I will hold out naive hope that the team is just wrecked from such a ridiculous preseason and opening schedule. Hopefully the Pens or Flyers get run through the ringer next year, not us.

Ranger Pundit said...

Scotty, great work in keeping us posted on the status of our heroes.The lame street media is the same BS.

I thouhrt last year was boring, this one is worse. Its like making a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein.

You should have ripped into O'Neil. Trust me one of my most satisfying days as a Ranger fan was my shoutout with The Stealth GM up in the luxury boxes.

But you have to be careful with your reporting. You don't want to come across as an anti fan and get the enablers and the house boys riled up.

Enjoy your stay in England. There is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than a good English Pub. But you know that already.Tip one for me.

Joakim said...


This kid got to bring back his Marty St. Louis / Theo Fleury winner mentality which he displayed back in MoDo two seasons ago. Back then he wanted to jump over the boards back into the game every second shift. Doesn’t matter that he’s a tiny kid when he got the wheels and he’s hard-nosed enough to stick in the NHL. That Chara hit was not a once in a lifetime situation for him – he can improve at all levels in his game.

His biggest enemy is probably Torts. If the Rangers hasn’t scored within 5 minutes in the first period he starts to juggle the lines like a mad man. Didn’t everyone just play with everyone for at least 30 seconds in the game vs the Ducks (apart from Christy-Rupp-MZA) ?

And btw what happened between the Slovakian Slacker and Getzlaf which had Getz going all-in into Hanson Brothers land?

Pete said...

It's kind of funny, because I remember thinking at least once in each game that the Rangers were crashing the net and picking up the garbage in front and I was excited to see that type of energy. Then I realized that, supposedly this team is more talented than last year, so, maybe we should be seeing more finesse play than gritty hockey. And then I saw neither for the majority of the games, and remembered that I'm a Rangers fan. I really must lower my expectations.

Craig said...

gameday after 1 week of layoff - where is the PEEPIN FOES???

Anonymous said...

In response to Scotty's bagging the isles on PB:

Scotty hockey, “potvin sucks” is rooted in reality? I thought it was just an opinion of ranger fans…if I recall correctly dennis potvin had a distinguished career…he does have 4 rings after all. As for “the rangers suck” chant, that’s opinion as well, but probably more realistic- how many cups have the rags won?

Oh and Scotty Hockey – one more thing, loved watching the rangers get bounced out of the playoffs by the caps last year- awesome ranger pain. your boy Lundqvist was stellar in that one.

Scotty Hockey said...

Craig, I'm in London, had no time. Should get back to more regular programming once I get home.

Anonymous - if that is your real name (you pathetic coward) - yes Potvin sucks is reality. He was a dirty player for an overrated team. I'm glad you enjoyed watching the Rangers get bounced from the playoffs as that meant you kept watching after your atrocious group of has beens and never weres didn't make the postseason for the, what? Fourth straight season? Keep up the quality in that joke of a dump arena until the team moves to Quebec you loser.

Anonymous said...

Ahah! Well, to call a team that won 4 straight cups overrated is just nonsense. I tipped my cap to the 94' rags and was happy to see my ranger friends enjoy success. What would hockey be without the ranger/isles rivalry? I think we all want the team to stay- how awesome would another isles ranger playoffs be? Quite possible in the near future. Marion gaybrick had a nice breakaway goal tonite and one of the top 5 goaltenders in the world coughed up a hairball.

And oh, don't be such a crybaby. we are all new Yorkers

in the end.

JJ ;)

Hans said...

An overrated team that won four Stanley Cups? That has to be the most asanine thing anybody has ever said.