Friday, February 1, 2013

3-4-0: Time For Soul Searching

It is easy to blame the lack of heart shown by the Blueshirts last night during their 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh on the absence of Ryan Callahan. But the Rangers have played just as disinterested, just as hapless, just as piss-poorly with the captain in the lineup this season as they did without.

They went through the motions, preferring to cry to the officials over paying the price to make plays. It was a pathetic display by a team seemingly resigned to play second fiddle to the Sidney Crosby show. And it was hardly an aberration. This team needs to wake up and start dictating the play, imposing their will and attacking.

The only will that appears to be imposed is the crazed coach terrifying his own team. Torts is keeping his troops tightly wound and afraid of making mistakes, which is not the way to play in today's NHL. He demands discipline and, of course, the bad penalty parade continues. He has absolutely no idea what to do when the team hits even minor adversity, thinking the solution is to juggle lines. He over-works his top players, wearing them down and making their play more predictable.

And that is what it has come to, last night's result was all too predictable. Facing a superior opponent the Blueshirts fell into the same old ruts and couldn't rock their way out of them.

This franchise needs to stop and do some soul searching, some deep thinking about their many mistakes and find a way to turn things around. Sadly, there simply isn't a whole lot of time to do that. The tight schedule dictates that they play again tomorrow, when we have to hope that the hot sun of Tampa sears some sense into the boys before they play the Bolts.

Late Hits:

*What is the point of keeping an energy line around when they don't provide any energy? Arron Asham seemingly refuses to fight any of his old friends, rending himself even more useless than he already was (as if that was possible). Mike Rupp is ... Mike Rupp. And Jeff Halpern isn't an energy guy, just a solid soldier. So where is the heart, where is the grit?

*The one player who has consistently played with that edge is Carl Hagelin, and yet Torts has continually called him out in the media. Public ridicule of the one player who is going to the wall for the team ... sheer idiocy. Has the kid been reckless? Absolutely. Is it the coach's job to mold him into a better player? Absolutely. Is chirping him to the press the way to do it? Absolutely not. Petty, pathetic antics by the egomaniac.

*Something that needs to be accepted: Crosby and Malkin can and do get away with doing whatever they want. They have for years, so stop crying about it. Everyone knows they play dirty. So why doesn't any coach try to play dirty back? Run them. Especially when down 3-0, you have nothing to lose. Go at them hard, make them hurt. Make them pay for playing like the weasels they are.

*Derek Stepan had one of his most involved games of the season. Sure, nothing came of it but at least he is getting into the action more. Perhaps he will turn a corner soon. Hopefully ...

*Del Zaster laid a terrific hit on Crosby, a truly beautiful bump of the crybaby. Major bonus points. Then he proceeded to take a stupid penalty with the team on a power play. Major bonus points revoked. Anton Stralman showed a willingness to shoot and wasn't atrocious on the power play point last night, hopefully he will steal some of DZ's ice time.

*Matt Gilroy allegedly played. Didn't really notice.

*Brian Boyle = the forward version of Willie Huber, without the slap shot.

*There is surely more but I can't be bothered. These guys have shown flashes of greatness over the last few years, which makes moments like these far more infuriating.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Simon Despres - one goal and one assist.
2-Evgeni Malkin - one goal and one assist.
1-Tomas Vokoun - 28 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Malkin - Clearly drove Staal nuts and put the Rangers on their heals with the early goal.
2-Despres - Saw that Malkin was alone and fed him the puck, then made Hank look like a chump with his breakaway goal. Not an easy task at all.
1-Crosby - The kid cried, whined, bitched, moaned, cheap shotted and made that perfect shot for Neal to redirect. All in all, a typical Sidney performance. 


THeckler said...

I have never really agreed with your insight into the Rangers but for the first time I have to say your post was spot on! We have no identity anymore. I loved last years team even though we probably would never have won a Stanley Cup. I would rather see that cast come back and enjoy watching Rangers hockey again.

jb said...

Right on Scotty, the sons of the egomaniac ain't right in the head, love the Willie Huber reference.