Friday, October 28, 2011
3-3-2: Home, Horrible, Home
The top highlight of Thursday night's home opener was that it wasn't in Europe. I didn't fly thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to watch an utter disgrace. To watch that pathetic display of puck at all was excruciating, but to see it in the home opener was heartbreaking. If the team can't get it together to give it all in their first game in front of their fans, when can they? After one well-played period the Rangers completely fell apart and were embarrassed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, eventually losing 4-2.
Time to start ranting in my Late Hits:
*How do you bury the obit for Boogaard, the lives lost in the Lokomotiv crash and other summer casualties in a bad montage during a tv timeout? People are talking, getting up, walking around ... And then, on the big screen, to wipe away from the cheesy 'we will never forget' frame to a bunch of people waiting to cheer for their Chase-sponsored free tee shirt? Disgusts me. The team smartly skipped the pregame talent - no Blue Man Group, no Ace Frehley - and wonderfully had FDNY and NYPD hockey players as an honour guard during the player introductions but all of the goodwill earned from that was wasted away by the obit. They could have included #94 when individually naming the players and have a moment of silence then. But instead it was shoehorned in while MSG ran some commercials for crap you won't buy. Original Six teams are supposed to be classy.
*Didn't get up to the party decks (which I heard were wonderful) but what I saw of the renovated Garden was not welcoming. Many portions of the concourses closed, lines out of control, no more straight staircases from the ice to the 300s, a lower drop ceiling over the corner seats in the 300s, spray painted construction numbers on exposed concrete floors, an extension chord literally sticking out of a concrete block on my wall. The Rangers aren't playing in a renovated building, they are playing in a building being renovated. It is very far from finished and to have to pay top dollar to watch games in a construction area is ridiculous.
*And the people who paid largely weren't the usual Garden Faithful. It was perhaps the quietest season opener since before the lockout, and that was even before the team fell apart.
*When Jonas Gustavsson made it to the NHL, he listed Henrik Lundqvist as someone he wanted to be like. Well, after Gustavsson allowed an utterly atrocious goal on a wide open shot to open the scoring, it was Lundqvist who emulated the Monster, allowing two. You knew Hank was in trouble when he kept on sliding out of the crease but for him to give up shots from the circles is entirely uncharacteristic. And short side? Geez.
*When Hank plays this poorly he needs his teammates to bail him out and they simply didn't. Still too afraid to make mistakes, they reverted back to the same old dump, chase and change Rangers and were outworked and outhustled by the better-coached Leafs.
*Welcome back Mike Sauer! Sauer saved Hank's bacon by making a diving stop on an empty net after the King vacated his throne.
*Too bad there is only one of him, because Eminger and Del Zaster have to go and Erixon could use some time with JJ Daigneault in Connecticut.
*Speaking of Connecticut, the "We Want Avery!" and "Ave-ry!" clap-clap chants were spectacular. The Ranger forecheck was pathetic, after the Callahan goals were waved off no one went to the crease and the team folded like a cheap suit - all things the Grate One could have helped. Used properly by a competent coach Sean can be a big help. Unfortunately the Ranger bench boss is not willing or capable of doing so, lest he lose his alpha male image.
*How do you have goals disallowed on goaltender interference twice without having a single goaltending interference penalty?
*Michael Del Zaster makes me miss Michal Rozsival.
*How pathetic is it that the kid actually pots a goal to bring the Blueshirts within two with over four minutes left and everyone knew that there was no chance of a complete comeback? And when Torts finally pulls Hank he puts Erik Christensen out there. C'mon man, at least try to win the game.
*They handed out tee shirts as you walked in, which was a nice surprise. Walking out I was told "you got a free shirt, you wanted a win too?"
*Also overheard, "this team makes 1994 feel like 1940."
*Kris Newbury. Seriously. What the hell? Haven't seen an ass kicking like that on the Garden ice in a long time. That had to be up there with Dave Schultz beating up Dale Rolfe back in the 70s, just without all of the blood.
*Wojtek Wolski will score a lot of goals in the Swiss league sometime soon. Putting him with Prust and Boyle just drags them down.
*Marian Gaborik and Brad Richard$ need to realize that they aren't playing in a video game. Fancy-pants moves don't work in real life if your name isn't Datsyuk. They are too easily smothered by the opposing checkers and too prone to bad turnovers.
*Is it time to start wondering what Brandon Dubinsky's trade value is? Steven Ovadia might be right, we certainly may have already seen his best. That being said, the unsportsmanlike penalty he got whistled for was ridiculous.
*What did Felix Potvin ever to do the Rangers? (/sarcasm)
*PHW Three Stars
3-Dan Girardi - one goal.
2-Carl Gunnarsson - one assist.
1-Joffrey Lupul - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Girardi - Dan wasn't on for any of the goals against and he did the one thing that the forwards wouldn't - he just shot the puck.
2-Dion Phaneuf - Sloppy Seconds stood tall on both sides of the ice playing a ton of minutes.
1-Mike Brown - Brown would have made this purely for the beating he laid on Newbury but he also snuck a puck past Hank.