Wednesday, February 27, 2013

8-8-2: 24 Is The Loneliest Number

When the Rangers decided to pick a new captain after Chris Drury's dismissal the only real choice was Ryan Callahan. Everything about his game and his dedication to the team made him the perfect candidate. But, back then, there was some cause for concern: the Rangers didn't appear to respond to him.

They still don't.

On Tuesday night the Blueshirts, who had two days to brood after the mockery in Montreal, were outplayed and outhustled by a Winnipeg team playing the fifth game of a road trip. The Jets came out on top 4-3 in a game that belied its scoreline.

Cally put together a stellar defensive shift in the second period, a stickless, selfless shot blocking extravaganza that drew a standing ovation. It was one of the best moments at MSG in recent memory. And then his teammates followed it up by allowing two inexcusable goals.

The captain came right back and countered with a goal to get the boys back into it ... and they then allowed another to nullify it. It is hard to comprehend that Callahan goes out there willing to risk life and limb to make plays and his teammates simply don't.

Late Hits:

*Amazes me how John Tortorella is willing to risk two points to send a message to his team, but he won't risk two points to send a message to the opposition. Bet Kreider learned a lot from the bench during this one.

*Darrell Powe played nearly three times as much as Kreider did. Boring, uncreative, lowest denominator coaching. As usual.

*The bench boss puts together awful, unbalanced lines with players who's styles don't match and have not played together before and then gets upset when they end up scrambling around their own end. There is something called chemistry, he should learn what it is. Miller, Mashinter and Halpern? What the hell?

*And everything looks that much worse when King Henrik is playing like a peasant. A friend who has three young children of his own called it 'crying baby syndrome.' Hard to be your best when there's an infant demanding attention at all hours.

*This team is getting to frustrating to watch that Ranger fans are fighting amongst themselves. From the top of 210 I saw four scuffles, none featuring fans of our foes. Did notice one jerk wearing a Devils jersey getting tossed out to a typical Garden serenade, but did not see if he provoked violence as well.

*At least a dozen Potvin Sucks whistles throughout the game. None when Ulf Nilsson was introduced to the crowd. Utter and complete New York Ranger fan fail.

*Olli Jokinen's face is still terrifying.

*Just three minutes after Stralman scored to bring the Blueshirts back within one Winnipeg took a penalty. For some teams that would be a golden opportunity to tie the game. Not for the Rangers ... no one kills Ranger power plays like the Rangers. Perry Pearn was on the Winnipeg bench as an assistant coach, wonder if Mike Sullivan leaned over to ask some advice ...

*Carl Hagelin got chances to score last season. Carl Hagelin is getting chances this season. But it is only when Rick Nash was around that he was finishing his chances. Have to wonder if it is an Anisimov-esque confidence issue.

*Rave about Cally but credit due to Dan Girardi as well. Dude a warrior. Not a No. 1 defenseman, but a warrior. After needing to be helped off the Bell Centre ice Dan-O was back and skated for nearly half the game (27:58). And, despite all that time, he was only on for one of the four goals against - the softie Hank let up to Kane.

*Aside from Cally, Hagelin and Dan-O there was little physicality left in the Ranger lineup last night. Brian Boyle is six-foot-seven. Just sayin'.

*Steve Eminger was surprisingly solid. If he keeps playing like he did, he will deserve to stay in the lineup once McD or Del Zaster return. Hopefully, whenever that is, it will signal the end of Matt Gilroy's New York Ranger career. Hobey Redux has been even more disappointing than the original.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Olli Jokinen - two goals.
2-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
1-Evander Kane - two goals and one assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Jokinen - Actually agreeing with all three of the PHW for once. Olli's one-timer to make the score 3-1 was pure lightning. Exactly the kind of goal Marian Gaborik should be scoring.
2-Callahan - Simply outstanding. Just wish his leadership-by-example worked.
1-Kane - During the lockout Evander was ran out of Minsk for being out of shape and because he "could not adapt" to KHL hockey. Well, he has this NHL thing down pretty pat. 

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