The city of Pittsburgh was celebrating St. Patty's on Saturday and, man, did I wish I was drunk.
The lack of lager in my system made the Rangers lifeless, gutless, embarrassing 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh quite the painful endeavor. I showed up to the Consol Energy Center, they did not.
As has often been the case this season, they spotted their opponent a lead and had to battle to get it back. Unlike in Winnipeg on Tuesday, they proved unable to do it this time around. Sure they put in a better effort in the second period but anything would have been better than the first. Fleury's biggest concern was covering the one shot that ricocheted off his own teammate's head; the majority of the night he barely had to break a sweat.
There is virtually no physicality on the roster of this year's Ranger roster and their skills are not paying the bills. In fact, a lot of their abilities appear to have been repossessed. Mediocrity would be a step up for Gabby and Richard$ and many of their teammates at this point. The many flaws of this franchise need to be addressed and this current streak of ineptitude will hopefully force Glen Sather to do something about them.
Just ranting my way through the Late Hits without watching a replay of the game. Can't bear to relive it:
*Remember when everyone said that scoring was the problem last season and not the defense, so adding Rick Nash would solve everything? Yeah, no.
*Over two minutes on the power play gave Richard$ a team-high total of 89 minutes and 21 seconds of man advantage time this season. He has no power play goals and just two power play assists.
*Things are so bad for the offense that they are trying Alex Frolov wrap-arounds with some regularity. Because that move worked so well for him.
*The DoubleTrees line of Pyatt, Boyle and Miller couldn't be more disappointing. Two big guys too scared to use their size and a rookie making plays (and occasional mistakes) in a vacuum.
*I remember last week when everyone said Boyle - like Gaborik - was back when he scored that one goal on that one lucky shot. So foolish. One goal in 37 games for Boyle (stretching back to last season's playoffs), one in 14 for Gaborik.
*The Rangers simply can not go forward starting three No. 7 defensemen. Roman Hamrlik has no place in the NHL, and he is a huge reason for this loss. Hamrlik's incompetence allowed the puck to get to Bennett for the first goal and forced Stralman to take the bad penalty that set up the second and his indecisiveness allowed the easy two-on-one tally that capped off the scoring (either cover the man or the pass, dammit). He is long past his expiration date.
*Of course, the Pens' power play goal came after Del Zaster had a perfectly good chance to clear the puck and didn't. Really, really miss Marc Staal.
*Speaking of the PK, Ryan Callahan without a stick is better than everyone else is with one. Jeff Halpern without a stick? Scary.
*To their credit, the majority of the folks inside Consol Center weren't hammered and weren't overly obnoxious - the benefit of an early afternoon start. They did whine quite a bit, and were yelling for Girardi to be ejected for the game for touching their precious Crosby in the first period.
*That was awesome Dan-O, shoulda hit him again.
*The arena, by the way, is quite nice - it shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Rock.
*Two clear dives to draw penalties in this one: Crosby and Del Zaster. What a pair of players ...
*Beau Bennett? Really? Hank was outstanding aside from letting Bennett's shot sail past him far side for the first goal. That was ... ugh. The rest of the afternoon the King was outstanding, even Pens fans gave him accolades.
*Consol is a beautiful new building, quite reminiscent of the Prudential Center in Jersey. Kudos also to their game night staff, who really put together a nice presentation. They have a terrific scoreboard and know how to use it. Great stuff.
*In case you were wondering, I don't drink at most away games (outside of the Rock). No problem being the obnoxious Ranger fan, don't want to be the drunk and obnoxious Ranger fan. Also, I am not spending an extra penny inside NHL arenas (aside from tickets) this season as a protest of the lockout.
*And, finally, a huge thank you to Gretchen, my season subscriber rep for setting up the tix in Pittsburgh. Beautiful view for face price was nice. Too bad the team didn't come through.
*PHW Three Stars:
2-Tyler Kennedy - one goal and one assist.
1-Marc-Andre Fleury - 23 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Hank - With any other goaltender in the New York net this one was 7, 8-0 ...
2-Jeffrey - Took full advantage of Hamrlik's awfulness to set up two goals.
1-Hamrlik - Had the Rangers had a capable blueliner in his roster spot, the Pens might have had a tougher time winning.