Friday, April 5, 2013

18-15-3: No Coaching Is Good Coaching

In a day and age when teams are scouted and video is poured over relentlessly in preparation for the next opponents, Wednesday night was a nice reminder that sometimes it is just best to go out and play.

Three new players were integrated into the Rangers lineup and the team exhibited some of their best hockey of the season. There was no ridiculous worries about gap control, shot blocking and 15 passes for every shot. The Blueshirts just played. And, man, did it work out. They destroyed the NHL's favourite sons to the tune of a 6-1 curb stomping.

The Penguins on Wednesday were much like the Flyers last week - a team reeling from important injuries with a sieve for a goaltender. And the Rangers were able to take full advantage and grab two points from a division rival. Adding the new guys - and Tortorella's shocking willingness to use them - meant that just one player saw less than 10 minutes of ice time (Asham) and that all four lines were able to play their best, shift in and shift out. Amazing how things work out when that happens.

Torts has shown that he can't adapt his style to the style of the team so Sather dealt Gabby and some draft picks for an insta-fix, a buncha grinders to play the roles the coach can cope with. The new guys accounted themselves quite well, we just have to wonder how they will do once they get whipped into submission like the rest of the Ranger horses.

Late Hits:

*Ryane Clowe now has as many goals as he has extra "E"s in his name. The goals themselves were wonderful to watch but it was his willingness to hit and battle in the slot that were really delightful - very necessary qualities that were missing thusfar this season.

*Brian Boyle. Shocked he wasn't traded, figured it was his faceoff ability that saved him ... and then he spent the game on the right wing. Bizarre, but it worked out. He was still pillow-soft but his feed to Moore was outstanding.

*Moore's play throughout the night was wonderful to eyes tired of seeing the mistake factories that have been Hamrlik, Stralman and Eminger.

*Brassard looked like a miracle worker - he had a goal and two assists on the power play. The Ranger power play. He displayed smooth skating, an ease with the puck and skill at the dot ... everything we've wanted to see from Richard$.

*So my Tw-enemy Asham was pulled away from Matt Cooke by a linesman so he decided to fight Tanner Glass, using the excuse of a shot after a whistle. So it is ok to fight for a minor 'code' infraction but not when McDonagh nearly gets killed by MaxPac or when Hank is hammered? Keep in mind Asham fought Glass earlier this season to draw and was looking to win Round 2. Can't wait for Dorsett to heal and render Asham even more useless.

*Too tired to look it up but just nine shot blocks by the Blueshirts - a season low? So maybe staying on their feet and in position is something that is helpful? Just a thought.

*Two poor first period penalties by McD and DZ. Two too many.

*Kreider and Miller are thankfully back in the bus league so they can get some icetime and improve. Haveta wonder if Hagelin needs to go to Hartford too. Something has to happen, he has to get some chemistry with capable linemates or just find some confidence because one goal in his last 17 games is not good enough.

*No complaints but Malkin and Iginla were quiet. Figured Geno would at least try to injure someone, as he often does. As a good friend observed, Pittsburgh REALLY misses Kris Letang. Sure Sid's absence hurts, but Letang is the real lynchpin for Bylsma's system.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Brad Richards - one goal and two assists.
2-Derek Brassard - one goal and three assists.
1-Ryane Clowe - two goals and one assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Moore - No Hamrlik! Capable puck movement! A goal from a Blueshirt blueliner!
2-Brassard - Strange to see No. 16 out there again, but if Brassard keeps playing like this he may end up as loved as the last guy who wore it. (I doubt it.)
1-Clowe - Sure he won't be scoring every night but he has a big body and he isn't afraid to use it. Tremendous. Maybe Boyle will learn and emulate? Please? 

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