The Rangers went to Edmonton for the penultimate game of their massive season-starting road trip and showed that they had absolutely nothing left in the tanks to take them to victory. Or even to make them competitive. But the travelling is not to blame, the players and their leadership are.
The players made bad decision after bad decision. Their shot selection was atrocious, when they deigned to shoot at all. They were outworked so they took penalties. They looked lifeless while going through the motions, like a horse that has been whipped just a few too many times. And that is likely the root of their failure - their head coach all fire and brimstone so where else is there to go? The guys are burned out on the same old message that wasn't working to begin with. We can hope and pray that they will get a boost out of playing in front of us for the first time this week but how long will that last?
One thing is for certain: all of Tortorella's jackass-ery isn't helping. He was an umprofessional dick to the media after the game so he didn't have to be held accountable for his many mistakes. He grimaces, groans and yells on the bench but all of his petulant pouting isn't getting the team anywhere.
Tom Renney didn't work in this town because he was too nice to a lackadaisical superstar and his cronies. But at the same time helped shape the young players that have become the cornerstones of this franchise. They listened to him and they respected him. How can anyone respect John Tortorella? The awe of his one ring only goes so far, especially when the accepted story is that the Tampa team won to spite him. This group of Rangers is simply not talented enough to do that. If things fall into place they can certainly win some games but they can not compete with the top tier of the NHL. Those teams are better built, with bench bosses who know that a season is a drawn-out war, not a nightly nuclear attack.
*I'll just get this out of the way right away, to satisfy the haters who know that is coming - Sean Avery would have been a big help in this game. The Rangers were lifeless, the Rangers appeared afraid to go to the net and they couldn't keep up with the quick young Oilers. Avery could have helped all three calamities.
*Did Brandon Dubinsky even play? How about Artem Anisimov?
*Ryan McDonagh's success may have gone to his head - he is trying to do too much. Hopefully Sauer's impending return will help him simplify things again.
*A neanderthal like Mike F-ing Rupp shouldn't be skating against a team without a goon. He couldn't keep up and took a bad penalty that resulted in the nail-in-the-coffin power play goal by Corey Potter. If Prust feels that he has to defend himself against that headhunting idiot Andy Sutton, then there really is no reason for Rupp to play.
*Sutton is an expert of the high elbow to the head and shouldn't be allowed to play in the NHL. It is a matter of time until he faces Shanahan's wrath.
*I'll be honest, I was happy for Potter. The kid never was given a good chance by the Rangers despite all of his efforts and he came back to shove it in their faces. Good for him.
*Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are scary good. When they get more experience under their belt, the Oilers will be one wonderful team to watch. Eberle, by the way, was drafted two spots after Del Zaster in '08.
*Hard to tell who was worse, Del Zaster or Bell. Both should be in the AHL. Del Zaster got more than six minutes of man advantage time and the best scoring chance during that span was for the Oilers. Bell's bad pinch handed Edmonton their opening goal.
*No use ranting more with a game in Winnipeg a day away. Let's all just pray that Torts comes to his senses and starts Biron this time so we won't see Hank limping off again any time soon.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Taylor Hall - one assist.
2-Nikolai Khabibulin - 19 saves.
1-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Eberle - No wonder there is no panic over the fact that he hasn't scored yet, he does everything else so well.
2-Potter - Calm, capable defense and a power play goal. The Rangers could have used all of that on this night.
1-RNH - Amazing skill well worthy of his draft position. But Edmonton does face a real question: can the slight kid keep it up for a full season or will he be better off dominating the WHL while adding muscle?