Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The Rangers simply can not do anything easy. They just can't. Perhaps there is some deal between the Pepto people and Dolan - I don't know - but year after year the Rangers make things so very difficult on themselves and us.
Down 1-0 the Rangers suddenly had an adrenaline boost and scored four straight goals, then they did the worst possible thing by allowing a late goal and then another early the next period. Then the stomach acids churned all the way until the buzzer - the star sniper couldn't even end our misery by scoring into an empty net. But the Blueshirts were able to hold on until the clock ran out to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.
It was awful. It was wonderful. It was the Rangers.
Mr. X from the Blue Seats - no stranger to my cynicism - helped put things in perspective after the game. He said, 'no matter their problems Scotty, the fact is that they have now beaten the Canucks, the Sharks, the Caps, the Flyers and the Penguins - that's pretty good.'
*Does Carl Hagelin remind anyone else of a young Callahan? Well, Cally is just 25 so young-er? Hustle, hands and a helping of grit. The Swede is a touch faster too. To think that his roster spot was previously held by that neanderthal Rupp and Slow Deveaux. Remarkable. But with former Leaf John Mitchell the two have provided the boost that Brian Boyle needed to get his game back and have given the Rangers a solid third line.
*Of course, that leaves Prust, Avery and Dubi on the fourth line - Dubi, who was the first line left wing at one point, is now the fourth line center. Let that sink in for a second. But despite playing less than 11 minutes he still took 16 faceoffs - as many as first liner Brad Richard$ - and won 11 of them. Not too shabby.
*Richard$' goal was sweet. Feds beats two Pens to the puck, spins and finds Richard$ breaking into the zone. Richard$ then used the defenseman as a screen to power the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury. Sexy snipe. It wasn't as pretty of a play as the tic-tac-toe of Richard$ to Cally to Gabby back to Cally power play goal to open the Rangers scoring but it was still a heckuva shot.
*To steal a term from the Pensblog guys, the Rangers were completely jobbed by the refs in the first period. Eventually, surprisingly, karma came back around and the Pens took four straight penalties in the last eight minutes. Unfortunately, of course, the Blueshirts completely and utterly blew the power plays.
*Considering that the team scored a pair of goals with the man advantage earlier in the evening you would think it would be hard to rail on the power play unit but no - blowing nearly two full minutes of 5-on-3 time is inexcusable. Really not sure what the problem is when the solution is so obvious: the players have to drive towards the net. The first ppg came on a rush down the ice after an idiotic icing (icing, during a power play, ugh!) and the second came as four of the five Rangers were pushing towards the Penguins goal.
*I asked Benoit Allaire what he thought about the Vitale vs. Lundqvist incident and the ensuing roughing penalty. The goaltending coach said that it was something Hank had to do so he was fine with it. I mentioned that it seemed like it took Eminger too long to jump in and he disagreed, pointing out that there was still a play going on and that Hank can take care of himself. Eminger finally stepping up was the most useful has has been all season long so better late than never I guess.
*Pittsburgh's defense - aside from Deryk Engelland (of all people) - looked absolutely terrible without Kris Letang, who was out with a broken nose thanks to Max Pacioretty. Seeing that should make us that much more thankful for everything that McDonagh, Girardi and Sauer have done without Staal. And I know some of you are going to mention another guy, which leads me to ...
*Del Zastrous performance. And yet Torts rewarded him with more and more minutes ... stupefying. He was beaten wide twice, he had two outright turnovers and made several poor passes which ended up on Penguins' sticks. Just Del Zastrous. It is worth pointing out that I called his power play assist literally seconds before he set up Gabby for the fourth Ranger goal. As the folks in 330 and 329 can attest (I am a bit loud), hand on heart truth. I knew he would do something to give his advocates ammunition. He was awful the rest of the evening.
*The other whipping boy of this blog, Arty Anisimov, has not been as big of a liability. In fact, he is doing a lot right and getting into good spots - his play just seems to be missing something. Perhaps he is overthinking things at those crucial last seconds? Hard to say but once he gets it together the GAS line will get back to it's GAG ways.
*Sidney Crosby took seven shots and just one made it on net. That is good work by Girardi and McD right there. Of course, it is hard to keep the Kid down so he still came away with two assists but it could have been worse. Not Islanders worse but still worse.
*Jody Shelley can call Dubi a weasel all he likes but he just needs to watch Tyler Kennedy to see what a real weasel looks like. Nice to see Sean put him down after getting jumped off of the opening faceoff. Now if only someone would nail Arron Asham ...
*As I was wrapping this up I turned on MSG to watch the replay of the game and heard Sam Rosen open with 7-0 Prust stat. Without giving credit! Bastard!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Evgeni Malkin - one goal.
2-Brad Richards - one goal and two assists.
1-Marian Gaborik - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Crosby - Whining diving crying little #$%^&. Helluva hockey player though.
2-Cally - Callahan has gotten his game together and the Rangers have followed. Leader.
1-Gabby - See what happens when the Slovakian Slacker starts working? He has found some chemistry and confidence to vault back to the level of elite scorer in the NHL.