Monday, January 16, 2012
28-11-4: Bleu, Blanc et Blechhh
Just what is it about Montreal? Is it an overindulgence in the various pleasures of the city? The haunting of 101 years of ghosts? The intimidation of 20,000 french fanatics? Or is it just an basic inability for the Rangers to match up?
On Sunday the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge beat the Blueshirts 4-1 in a game that simply wasn't that close. The Rangers' hearts were never in this one and the biggest laughingstock in the NHL skated away with a laugher of a victory.
The Frenchmen are not flying anymore, they have become the butt end of many a joke. How can one not at least snicker when you consider the recent rioting, the trading for Scott Gomez, the firing of Perry Pearn and the controversy over the lingua franca? Teams like Columbus induce sympathy. Teams like Montreal bring out the hilarity. The most accomplished franchise in the NHL has gloriously ruined their reputation.
And yet the Rangers still can't figure out a way to show up and play a competitive hockey game against them. Stupefying.
*Peter Budaj is a terrible goaltender, a terrible goaltender with a fantastic mask. Perhaps it was a fear of Ned Flanders that kept the Rangers from testing the Habs backup? The keeper who collected calamitous numbers in Colorado faced 29 shots, few of which made him even move.
*If the Rangers thought that just because he stinks they would score, well that would be Torts' folly for not properly preparing them. Not the first time, won't be the last.
*Five of the so-called top-six forwards didn't come to play. The sixth being John Mitchell. Har har, I'm kidding. Derek Stepan keeps giving it his all and was probably the best of the Ranger bunch. Mitchell got a goal but seeing him out there with Step and Gabby was just disturbing. Torts was just grasping at straws. Rather than place faith in his players to play out of a funk, using the things the coach supposedly has taught the team, Torts just juggles lines at the first sign of distress. Hagelin worked great with Mitchell when they first came up so, of course, they haven't played together in weeks.
*Stu Bickel got screamed at on the bench after being on the ice for two goals. The kid was caught watching the play both times and it cost the team. It was moments like that where you remember Bickel was in the ECHL two seasons ago. Other players have gotten some slack but it wouldn't be far fetched to see Jeff Woywitka make a return to the lineup on Tuesday.
*Speaking about guys who have gotten a lot of slack: Arty was awful yet again and his coverage mistake gave the Canadiens their fourth goal. Eleven games, no points and few signs of hope.
*With Bickel getting the Avery treatment, McD and Girardi both played close to 30 minutes. Against the Canadiens, a soft team without a single 'star' on offense. When Boston comes to town with their four hard nosed lines of ability McD and Girardi may be ground into dust.
*A night after getting an Abuse of Officials game misconduct with the Whale Kris Newbury was up with the Rangers. So much for accountability. He appreciated the promotion so much that he played his worse hockey with the team to date and was on the ice for three of the four Habs goals. Hope he enjoys his ride back to Hartford.
*Can't complain about Typical Montreal reffing. Devorski and Hasenfrantz were the least of the Rangers' problems.
*Man do I still hate the MexiCan't. Gomez got an assist but at least the Rangers weren't the team to give up his first goal of the season.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Erik Cole - three assists.
2-David Desharnais - one goal and two assists.
1-Max Pacioretty - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Blunden - The kid grinded all game and ended up with goal from Gomez.
2-Cole - The former Cane usually steps up his game against the Rangers and the Blueshirt blueliners struggled to cope with him.
1-Pacioretty - Carl Hagelin's former teammate at Michigan is maturing into a real player.