Wednesday, November 16, 2011
10-3-3: Surviving The Cesspool
Maybe it is seeing Brad Richards' new girlfriend Olivia Munn as Princess Leia but the best analogy I can make for the Rangers right now is the Millennium Falcon: "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."
The Rangers definitely do not look like much - that is for sure - but where it counts is on the scoreboard and the Blueshirts have won seven straight. On Tuesday they just barely beat the Islanders 4-2 in a game that was far too close. The Isles had lost nine of 10 and played quite poorly. The Rangers weren't much better but they still found a way to win, something they have done game after game on this run. It is frankly stupefying but hell, it has been fun. Now, after surviving the decrepit dump the Isles call a hockey arena, the Rangers will really put their luck to test in the House of Horrors that is the Bell Centre on Saturday.
But first things first, Late Hits for this one:
*Hey Richard$, nice looking girlfriend and nice looking goal. Fate certainly is smiling on him right about now, eh?
*For all of the hand wringing over the lines Torts set before the game, they didn't even make it through the first period. So many words typed on so many blogs and message boards for no good reason.
*No matter who he is with, it seems like Ryan Callahan is skating alone out there. It is quite sad to see him go in one on three or four so often.
*Maybe the Rangers should rename the power play unit to the waste two minutes unit or the antagonize our fans unit or something. How do they not score five-on-three? Or even come close? Especially against a kill that is ranked 20th in the NHL ... If the Ranger power play came through on two man advantage - or the ensuing power play just seconds after that ended - then the Blueshirts wouldn't have been a post away from going to overtime against the last place team in the Eastern Conference.
*A part of the power play problem is Del Zaster. The kid is not capable of quarterbacking a NHL power play and yet he eats minutes away. He takes too long to make decisions, he doesn't shoot enough, he can't hold the blue line, his passes do not put his teammates in good positions ... he just has that one back-door move that other teams are clearly aware of now. MDZ completely losing track of a puck that was right behind him was just infuriating. Making things even more maddening is that the kid did have at least two good defensive plays in the game, but they are just outweighed by his many shortcomings.
*Oh Arty, following a two-on-one breakaway with an offensive zone penalty. This kid is just so frustrating.
*AVERY *clap, clap*, AVERY *clap, clap*, AVERY *clap, clap* ... on Long Island. That was awesome. The Hockey News had a poll a few weeks back where 85% of hockey fans said they wouldn't want Avery on their team. The other 15% must have been Ranger fans. Said it before, will say it again: all Avery does is play his ass off for the Blueshirts. And we love him for it. It is pathetic that that he is still getting reputation penalties called against him - the unsportsmanlike at the end of the first was a farce. But that didn't dissuade him from playing his game and earning more than 12 minutes of ice time. For him to come away with his second goal in as many games ... just wow. AVERY *clap, clap*, AVERY!!
*The Mausoleum staff played "Shipping Up To Boston" during the Avery/Mottau fight because, I guess, because Mottau is a Masshole from Quincy. So the Isles have theme songs like pro wrestlers now? How white trash of them. And then they later played the Dancing Larry song ... awful.
*Love that the Isles honoured a serviceman - the one time the entire building cheered together. (The nat'l anthem was fractured as several people *cough, cough, not just me, cough* yelled "Let's Go Rangers!" mid-song.)
*Also deserving of appreciation was the Islanders WAGs as they were selling Love For Lokomotiv bracelets. I already had one but bought another for a friend.
*Brandon Prust should smack Steve Eminger in the back of the head for having to fight his battle for him. Eminger took exception to getting hit, picked a fight and then let Prust step in for him. There was no need for Prust to lower himself to Martin's level and get suckered into a wrestling match with that minor leaguer. Of course, Eminger made up for his act of cowardice by scoring the goal to make it a 2-1 game but still, Prust needs to save his fights for the first two minutes of big games.
*There were at least three fights among the fans, with one being particularly gnarly. A guy got thrown down the stairs of the 300 section only to take a few more punches from security once he reached the bottom. Poor bastard.
*Oh Henry! It really is amazing watching Lundqvist play hockey. He had an utterly incredible sprawling save midway through the second period and made several other top notch stops over the course of the night. But then again, his various wanderings away from the crease were heart attack-inducing and that Frans Nielsen goal against was atrocious. We can't do anything easy, can we?
*Anton Stralman had better finish learning the Ranger system soon because Dan Girardi isn't going to last much longer. By the middle of the third period Dan-O could hardly move. He ended up with almost 28 minutes of ice time while Woywitka and Eminger both played less than 10. If Stralman doesn't figure the system out, get into game shape and earn Tortorella's trust, then Girardi might not even make it to the All Star Game that we are trying to write him into.
*How great is it that the Islanders suck? Seriously. Too bad the NHL will reward them with another top pick. But then again, maybe whoever they draft will end up like Kyle Okposo, who was a healthy scratch. Haha.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Evgeni Nabokov - 26 saves.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 31 saves.
1-Brad Richards - one goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Frans Nielsen - As bad as his goal was for Hank to give up, the Dane was a constant threat for the Isles.
2-Cally - The Captain put forth a complete effort yet again.
1-Hank - Had the King not come through during the second period siege the Rangers would have had their streak snapped by the last place Islanders. Last place Islanders - what a delight to write. Last place Islanders.