Friday, January 13, 2012
27-10-4: Nothing Good At The Garden
It is not that the Rangers lost to the Senators 3-0 on Thursday night, it is the manner in which they did it.
Losses are going to happen - these are not the '76-77 Canadiens. But there are ways to lose and walk away with head held high. This was not one of those ways.
The Blueshirts played largely without a pulse for much of the 60 minutes and made a mediocre goaltender look great. They have done it often over the last few years with a litany of goaltenders - Al Montoya, Joey MacDonald, Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson, Scott Clemmensen, and Craig Anderson (more than once). They shot at the logo on Anderson's chest and let his defense do the rest. They also made stupid mistakes and sloppy plays and they had a DOA power play - all things that have to be fixed for this team to go anywhere.
*It is games like these that give fodder to Sean Avery supporters like myself. There were no shift disturbers, there was no spark, there was little life in blue out there. Most rushes were one (-shot) and done, no one got in Anderson's grill, Spezza had time and space and no distractions.
*What is stupefying is how the Rangers didn't respond to Brandon Prust. Prust fights a guy he shouldn't have, lands a few punches, rips his hand open and returns to the game. The guy literally bled for the team tonight and what did the rest of the guys do? Not a whole helluvalot, that's what.
*His old buddy Brian Boyle is the worst Ranger right now. That includes Rupp. That includes Del Zaster. Boyle is not just a waste of space, but on this night he was a detriment to the team. All evidence of those much publicized skating lessons is gone. He can't score, he can't shoot, he can't hit, he can't win faceoffs. Somehow the Garden scorekeeper credited him with eight hits, which I'm guessing included his accidentally running into guys while not paying attention or running into guys to stop. He lost 11 of 19 faceoffs, he turned the puck over, he tries to stickhandle like he is Datsyuk or something ... Boyle is back to being the frustrating big bod that Los Angeles smartly gave up on.
*Marc Staal was more involved in this one than in any other previous games since his return. Staal had one of the Blueshirts' best chances on a rebound five and a half minutes into the first period. But his interest in the attack also cost the Rangers as he pinched while shorthanded in the third. Carl Hagelin's pass to him was intercepted and Spezza came back to score the nail-in-the-coffin third Senator goal. Staal is slowly returning to his former stature but it is a process.
*Wolski made his triumphant return to the Garden and looked like he didn't miss a moment - he was just as useless after his injury as he was before it.
*Still haven't seen the Del Zaster save as he slid through the crease. Did he do it intentionally? If so, gotta give credit where due - the fall worked there. It didn't on the two-on-one that made it a 3-0 game. Everyone gets lucky now and then. Everyone defends his defensive shortcomings with his ability on the other side of the ice but DZ played six minutes on the power play and did nothing. Erik Karlsson is awful in his own end but he is an All Star because his passing, instincts and speed are outstanding. Del Zaster doesn't come close.
*DZ didn't get a single shot off despite 20 minutes of ice time. Gabby didn't get a shot on goal either. He didn't have a single shot that was blocked. He didn't have a shot that missed the net. The Slovakian Slacker is supposed to be a sniper. I'm pretty sure snipers are supposed to be able to be invisible and to shoot with pinpoint accuracy. Gabby was just invisible.
*Brad Richards was hardly there as well, but he got dumped by Olivia Munn so we have to let him off the hook for this one. I'm sure there are other hot yet incredibly unfunny women out there for him.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Milan Michalek - one goal.
2-Jason Spezza - two goals.
1-Craig Anderson - 34 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Kyle Turris - Michalek may be an All Star and he did have that nice goal but Turris was more of a consistent threat. It appears that the deal for Rundblad and a second wasn't as lopsided as it seemed.
2-Karlsson - Talked to some of the Senators' staff yesterday and they said silky Swede has simplified his game. While biased, they were right - he doesn't do anything fancy in his own end and still has that ice sight on attack.
1-Spezza - Spezza was the game-breaking talent Brad Richards was supposed to be, but he came in with heart intact and he came to play.