Friday, December 23, 2011

20-8-4: Beating The Isles Is Always Awesome

You know, defeating the Islanders never gets old. The latest edition of the rivalry saw the Blueshirts beat the Fishermen 4-2 at the Garden Thursday night.

It was not a convincing victory but it was a victory nonetheless. The Rangers beat a rival, they earned two points and they didn't lose anyone to injury. There wasn't the usual battle that the Islanders bring, leaving the team in good shape to play the bumper game of the back-to-back tonight against Philly.

If they are to win that one, they will have to be better. After going up 3-1 against a clearly inferior team Thursday the Blueshirts took their feet off the gas and allowed the Isles to dictate play and get back within a goal. Had Jack Capuano been a good coach and had his team possessed more than one line of offense, the result likely would have been different.

Late Hits:

*Seriously, what was Capuano doing pulling Nabby that early, with the puck not even close to the Blueshirts blueline?

*Ranger-killer Blake Comeau scored for Calgary against Detroit Thursday night. Haha.

*Always give credit where it is due and Del Zaster deserves some. He had a nice save behind Biron and several energetic shifts. DZ still has no idea to hit for puck possession but his positioning was better and he actually battled instead of floating around looking for hits. His goal was - like Dubinsky's - immensely savable by a capable goaltender but Nabby is just not capable anymore. Still, it is always nice to see the Rangers score.

*The Ranger power play went 0-3. They had six full minutes of man advantage time, Del Zaster was on for 5:24 of it and the unit managed three shots on goal. Three. The kid can jump into the attack all he wants during regular strength but he simply has no idea how to QB a power play.

*For all of the hype around the Brad Richard$ signing, could anyone have imagined that he would not be on the Rangers top line? He has been a nice addition to be sure but, man, has the Step-Arty-Gabby unit been good. It will be interesting to see if they can keep the chemistry going.

*Anton Stralman has been surprisingly solid, and the credit should go to Tortorella who has sheltered the Swede from tough assignments. For all of the mistakes Torts makes - and there are many - he has used Girardi's durability as a tool to help his patchwork defense survive so far.

*Stu Bickel appears to be standing at a crossroads. He could work on his skating and become a Beukeboom-type sturdy defenseman or continue to defy the Code and end up like Dale Purinton. His 'double-rough' against that minor league nobody Tim Wallace showed it quite clearly: Wallace came in from behind to jump Dubinsky, who was going at it with Hamonic in a scrum. Bickel pulled Wallace free from Dubi but then when Wallace went to fight honourably and take his visor and helmet off, Bickel just started throwing. I think he has the ability to take and hold Dylan McIlrath's spot until the kid gets here but it is up to him.

*His partner, Tim Erixon, did not look comfortable. There is definitely skill there but he is clearly not yet ready for prime time. I think another 10, 15 pounds of muscle would do him well.

*Tim's dad Jan was in attendance and it was incredibly disappointing how little of a reception he got when shown on the big board. He was such a favourite and such a hard worker for so long that the lukewarm reception only served to highlight how few diehards there were in the building. I know some folks that sold their tickets for this time of year to help pay for the rest of the campaign but Dolan has certainly priced many of the True Blue out of the building.

*There were surprisingly few Islander fans at MSG. I mean, there are few Islander fans in general but those bottom-feeders usually come out in better numbers. I heard that there was one fan fight over near 103 but that is it.

*Ruslan Fedotenko's hard work is appreciated but in the last few weeks, has he really added much? No points in his last nine games and he got just nine shifts for 5:32. Perhaps it would be best to give the soldier a few nights off to rest and recuperate.

*Feds' linemates Mike Rupp and Brandon Prust also saw Sean Avery-level ice time but let's hope that was just to keep them fresh for tonight.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Artem Anisimov - one assist.
2-Marty Biron - 24 saves.
1-Michael Del Zotto - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gabby - The Slovak was an offensive threat throughout the game and his willingness to go to the net paid off in a goal. By the way - Arty took just four faceoffs in the game and lost two of them, but one of the wins was in the offensive zone. He pushed it forward, allowing him to get the puck across to Gabby in the slot.
2-Dubi - Thought Brandon played his best game of the season against the Devils and he followed it up with another strong effort all over. Always held the belief that he could be an Arnott-esque force but to do that he has to be physically involved, which he did these last two games.
1-Biron - Marty made several big stops while continuing his domination of the Islanders. Love it. have to admit he has been far better than expected - especially after Zug.


Joe said...

Scotty- I usually agree 100% with you, however I dont regarding Bickel and the double roughing/ code defying part. The Fish Stick was taunting, and we dont know what he said, but he clearly wanted to go. If you are facing someone talking shit, it's go time. Fish Stick stepped back and went to drop his gloves. I think he wanted to draw the extra penalty and I feel that he deserved to get punched. I feel that its only a sucker punch if 1) Back is turned 2) Involved with someone else 3) not looking you square in the eye. I think it was a fair, albeit brief tossing by Bickel. Dale Puritan was a big time cheap shot artist. I dont think Bickel is like that .I think this one is like Avery hitting that Mary from the Oilers last year.Just my opinion

Anonymous said...

I ve beenwatching the rangers for over 50 years .
And reading and listening to anaylsts and writers for that long thats why when I read your articles I wonder what game and what team you are watching.
Starting reading your blog this season andYou are easily the most clueless of them all.
You started on Stepan early this season and continue to show your lack with DelZotto.
All sports are dependent on errors without them every game is zero -zero.
DelZotto and Stepan are stars already for this team watch the game alittle more carefully a nd check their stats.
Your writing is garbage

Scotty Hockey said...

Anonymous - if that is your real name - I didn't get on Step earlier this season, I said he looked tired and maybe needed more time. He has certainly rounded into form and has thus been feted in this space. DZ is not a star by any means. He is a young player still learning how to do his job and I am all over him because he hasn't learned some of the fundamentals, making the same mistakes has he did as a rookie.

And if my writing is garbage and I am clueless, why read it? Just so you can get so angry that you forget how to type?

Jake said...

I still think this whole Scotty Hockey/Del Zotto thing is pretty weird. Del Zotto is looking more and more like a star every game that goes by. The kid is a borderline All-Star right now. Playing absolutely incredible. He is ranked #1, yes, NUMBER 1 in the NHL right now for Plus/Minus for Defensemen, #3 overall.

That pretty much says it all right there. The Rangers are +22 when Del Zotto is on the ice.

Del Zotto's only deficiency right now is on the Power Play. I'll readily admit he needs a lot of work. I'd rather see McDonough get half of DZ's Power Play time on the point. But otherwise, DZ is playing his pants off. Looking like a bonafide superstar.

NYR34 said...

That was a fitting epitaph for Shadow when shown on the board watching his son play D. Always the unsung player, doing the quiet effective play in the corners, solid D in his own zone. Right up there with Beezer, Patrick, Turcotte, and Gartner as sad 1993 departures who deserved that Cup.