Monday, March 10, 2008

37-24-9: Three In A Row

Just a heads up first, I will be working a three day rip of shifts starting tomorrow that begin at the unholy hour of 7:30 am. As someone who usually works evenings/nights, I will likely be a zombie so don't expect too much for a few days here. But back to tonight, the Rangers played a pretty solid road game to secure their third win in a row. This surge is securing us the playoffs, and it comes despite mediocre work in our own end. The defense made mistakes, Hank gave up a shootout goal from a mile away but we won so all complaints are silenced ... well, not really, because if that was the case I wouldn't have much of a blog, would I? Let's pat the boys on the back, grab our two points and get the hell out of dodge. But before you get outta here, take a look at some of my ranting (pictures to be added tomorrow):

*I hope no one missed the beginning of the game. A mental slip by Marc Staal gave Buffalo a goal 16 seconds in, and a minute later Tyutin leveled the game on an easy shot that Ryan Miller should have stopped. Good thing Eliot Spitzer liked him some prostitutes and the local stations were in special coverage, otherwise I would have been watching Jeopardy!

*Pominville Population: Toronto fans who can't afford Leafs tickets.

*The two goals were almost immediately followed by a fight - Colton Orr took on Andrew Peters in another pointless Neanderthal match. Not only were the thugs stupid for going at it for no other reason than to justify their paycheck, neither tried to fight smart and, say, try to take the other guy's helmet off before throwing huge punches at their head. Wow, I bet those helmets were reaaaaally hurt, I bet they were taught a lesson or two ...

*Meanwhile, their tussle at the end of regulation was infuriating. How Buffalo didn't end up shorthanded is beyond me. A player from the bench hits a player on the ice ... and they give matching penalties? Are you kidding me? It should be shocking, but the officiating in the game, as per usual, was inconsistent and uneven.

*Its a tough call which would be worse - the game on Versus or having to listen to Buffalo's MSG broadcast with the obnoxious Rick Jeannerete. Or our MSG coverage with Joe Michelleti. I now completely understand why more people don't watch hockey. The sport has always been one best taken in live but the product on television is difficult to follow and the atrocious people they have trying to translate it for Joe Viewer make it unbearable.

*I have to add more on Versus, because this is killing me ... how is this a professional operation?? These guys were atrocious. The director or TD were having troubles putting graphics in and out, the audio guy was playing with the levels, and the on-air talent, along with the bimbo blonde, were horrid. Ed Olczyk, while an extremely nice guy, is as good a colour guy as he was a head coach - which is to say not very good at all. Joe Beninati spent more time scene setting and bullsh-tting with Olczyk than he did actually calling play. Then again, I looked him up: his impressive credentials includes covering the Caps, lacrosse and women's basketball ... three things no one watch so he has had no impetus to get any better. What an abomination. There were dozens of times where things happened on the ice and neither he nor Eddie addressed them and there were multiple occasions where what they said made no sense at all. And who was that obnoxious woman at ice level? If they aren't going to have someone who knows the game talking hockey down there, just don't bother. To just have a pretty face parroting a producer's question to a player/coach during a tv timeout is annoying and unnecessary. It is purely a cop out by the network to give you 'more' because the quantity of gimmicks is more important than quality nowadays. As for the studio guys, I think Bill Patrick said it all when he said "Caps, well, Caps rhymes with collapse."

*The Rangers continued their bad trend from late in the Boston game of messing around with the puck before actually crossing the blue line, resulting in more offsides. That's a chemistry issue - everyone has to be on the same page. They improved as the game went on but I think it is still an issue that should be addressed going forward.

*Great, great goal by Jaromir Jagr in the second period. Perfect placement, perfect chemistry by his line - Avery hit, Dubinsky puck movement, Jagr goal. That kind of thing should happen a lot more often. Versus, of course, botched the call and the coverage, concentrating on the off-balance Nathan Paetch getting hammered.

*On our fair captain, for all of you that have hounded me lately, I am giving credit, where credit was due - he played one of his best games of the year. He didn't hesitate to shoot, he created plays, he scored, he skated on both sides of the ice - even backchecking - I was impressed. He took advantage of the space given when he doesn't have to face a shutdown defenseman, which he hadn't done against Boston, no matter what you guys say.

*As much as it sucked to see Vanek score the Sabres second goal of the game, it was really neat to see the waterbottle jump. Thanks to Hank for not using that holder sleeve on the back of the piping. The league should bring back the loose nets so you can see the puck's impact, it makes the goals look that much more impressive.

*Tom Renney clearly wasn't trying to win the game in overtime. He had both Blair Betts and Jason Strudwick on the ice. I can't say I blame him considering how the Rangers are better than the Sabres in the shootout, but from an entertainment point of view ... eesh.

*It was nice to see Jason Strudwick's mustache back. Once Malik gets healthy, he should take Wally Backman's roster spot. I can't believe I just wrote that I want Malik back. Wow, it really has gotten that bad. But Malik's shortcomings have already all been made apparent, Wally just keeps coming up with one disappointment after another. We can't wait many more games for him to get comfortable and start making smart plays.

*But Hank played a pretty damn solid game so no matter how bad the defense was at times, he stood strong - although I thought he could have stopped both of Pominville's goals (regulation and shootout). If Miller keeps playing like he did in this game, you might as well just erase his name from Team USA in 2010; he was a sieve.

*I understand why the Sabres keep Peters, but why in the world does Adam Mair have an NHL job? The guy played 3:20 and took a penalty. He is almost as useless as Ryan Callahan's razor.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Paul Gaustad - one assist. If that wasn't a homer pick I don't know what is.
2-Brandon Dubinsky - one assist. He played well but he wasn't the best Ranger ...
1-Jason Pominville - shootout goal, regulation goal and an assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Tyutin - his early goal gave him some confidence so he actually started putting the puck on net, something he has desperately needed to do.
2-Pominville - ugh, I don't like Sabre fans.
1-Sean Avery - he did what he does best: keep the opponents off of their games. RE-SIGN HIM BEFORE THE COST GETS TOO HIGH!! If he wants $4 mill, stop offering 2.6 and give him 3, 3.5. There are plenty of teams out there that will be willing to pay the bucks for someone who cares that much, even if he is a loose cannon.


Anonymous said...

scotty - anonymous 1 here from the post on the boston game. i'm gonna change my very positive tone and say that i thought the rangers played a rather mediocre game tonight that would have been lost had it not been for dawes, avery, and the penalty killers. the usual suspects played decently enough (with jagr only slightly less dominant than he's been recently) and the less said about mccreary the better... but i think the defense played a pretty solid game with the exception of those first 16 seconds.

anyhoo, the brunt of my post is this. sure the buffalo powerplay was discombobulated but hot DAMN our penalty killers bailed us out tonight. the full 5-3 kill... was just textbook. full marks to shanny, drury, betts, and the d-men who guarded the slot. they earn a pass from me for that sequence alone.

given the circumstances i think we were lucky to wind up with the 2 points tonight, but 23 out of the last 26 possible points... i can't help but smile. sign avery, give jagr a +35 extension, andlet's keep rolling!

Anonymous said...

It's true...I feel like we have lots some of our fire lately, but amazingly we've still managed to end up with the 2 or 1 point/s every night.

But seriously, how exciting is this?? The last time the Rangers were on such a great roll (game point streak) was in 1993/ that enough of a sign for you?

Brother P said...

I said it way back in January this team is making the playoffs. Now the question remaining is can the Rangers get home ice for at least a round....perhaps maybe more...Scotty Hater or Hockey depending on if the blueshirts win or lose doesn't seem to think so. I will hold out hope that the Rangers can and will. Either way this team isn't going to be an easy out come playoff time. The only worry I have is when will the power play get it together. Our PK is top 10 in the league and top 2 in the east. If the power play could find a few goals sky's the limit!

Anonymous said...

the obnoxious Rick Jeanneret???

That guy is classic! I'm betting he goes through a fifth of scotch each game. Reminds me of the good ol drunkin Pat Summerall days.

I mean listen to number 3...

Tis the season, Fa La La La, La LaFontaine!

And no eh, I've never screamed that one out in a bar. Must've been my brother Doug eh.

Also, I appreciate the Strudwick 'stache watch. The move to a porn career is pretty much inevitable now. Just a matter of time.

As always....

Scotty Hockey said...

Agguirre - appreciate the handle, and completely agree about McCreary, I came close to going on a rant but it really is useless. The old guard refs like him and Fraser are especially hard on the Rangers and the newer guys are inconsistent - we just can't win ... and you are right, the PK was huge on that 5-on-3 but they really have been pretty great all season long so I can't say I was surprised.

Anonymous - the Rangers went on a pretty impressive roll last season too. Its certainly been a good run and let's hope it continues!

brother P - I am insulted that you think that I change my opinions and outlook based on how we are playing. I am just as harsh while we are in this run as we were when we were losing. I call 'em as I see em and never ride the bandwagon ...

bob mac - you the man, but Jeanneret can only be enjoyed if you are as hammered as he is - and I don't drink nearly that much ...