Sunday, April 27, 2008

R2, G2: Rangers No-Show

In playoff hockey, the team that leaves it all on the ice is the one who prevails. Simply said, the Rangers have yet to do it. They didn't even seem to break a sweat until late in the third period, when the urgency factor kicked in. And that is just not good enough. They limp home down 2-0 after losing Game 2 2-0. They tried to adapt their style of play to the way the Pens play and it didn't work.

A quick note before I get into the other ranting: the Rangers should be able to face the Penguins without Hal Gill for Game 3 after he threw his gloves down to go after Sean Avery at the end of the game.
NHL Rule 56: Fisticuffs

An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.

(NEW for 2005-06) A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension.
It's that simple, in black and white. The league has to call it. Ok, onto the other stuff:

*NBC set a bad standard from the start. First, they open the coverage with the game call from Game 1 - which incorrectly attributed the game-winning goal to Cindy - and then, minutes later, Eddie O (the former Pittsburgh coach) says outright that Cindy is not a diver. Ok, so the table is tilted towards the crybaby at the top. At least the other former Pittsburgh employee, Pierre McGuire picked his spots throughout the game. So much for objective journalism.

*Just as you had to know NBC would fellate Crosby and the Pens, the officials were going to weigh in and help out. A ridiculously quick whistle by Dan O'Halloran with the puck sliding into the net late in the third period cost the Blueshirts the equalizer. At least Gary Bettman can go to sleep tonight knowing his money-maker is in prime position to advance to the next round.

*The Rangers actually tested Marc-Andre Fleury once in the first two periods (when Callahan found Drury in the first). That just isn't enough; the Pens netminder is young and not very good - why the Rangers don't go hard at him the way they went at Marty Brodeur is beyond me. He got himself a shutout by making maybe two good stops, and that is all that he needed to do.

*Ain't that something? Marc Staal makes a terrible play on the penalty kill, losing the puck in the corner, and his younger brother capitalizes to give Pittsburgh the first goal of the game. Now I don't have any siblings, but I would think that will hurt for a long, long, long time.

*It took 14 minutes for Cindy to fall to the ice convincingly. I won't say she dived, but he leaned back and put all of his body weight on Toots so when the Ranger defenseman tried to turn away, Cindy hit the deck and earned a penalty. Eddie O can call it 'gamesmanship' all he wants but its still not right. A few minutes later Jagr was unceremoniously dumped to the ice by Hal Gill and Frankenstein wasn't shown the box. How soon until the NHL turns into the Italian Serie A soccer league with every player going down like he was molested the second contact is made? Personally, I give it another season or two but it certainly won't be long with the officiating being how it is.

*What a nice dig by Mike Richter during the second intermission. Talking to Pierre McGuirre and Mike Milbury, Richter was asked about '94 and he turned to Milbury and said 'you know what its like, its a marathon.' Well, Milbury does but he never won a ring! Slimey Bahston bastard.

*Someone put together a search team and find Brendan Shanahan.

*Why does Tom Renney call his time out after the Penguins put the game out of reach?

*Also on Renney, hopefully this Petr Prucha experiment was a one-game thing. The fourth line was pretty much useless in the game. Prucha was his usual punching bag self and couldn't get anything going offensively. Ryan Hollweg played well in the first round, its time to get him back in the lineup.

*The Rangers need to work on their shot selection. They had 22 shots blocked which only reinforced my earlier comment that they weren't getting themselves into good scoring positions.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 30 saves.
2-Jordan Staal - game-winning goal.
1-Marc-Andre Fleury - 26 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - The Blueshirts blueline was porous yet again and he stood tall to keep his team in the game.
2-Jaromir Jagr - Regular readers know that Jagr doesn't make this list often for good reason. In this game he played like he cared, like he wanted the puck, like he was the captain of the team.
1-Jordan Staal - He was solid killing penalties and scored the game-winner.


Pete said...

You know, a team that can't get the puck on net when they are playing 6 on 4, doesn't deserve to win the series. Things better change on Tuesday, because the Rangers will never win this thing if they go down 3-0.

Anonymous said...

No instigator (or penalty of any kind) assessed to

a) Avery
b) Fleury
c) Gill, or
d) Laraque

So, rule 56 doesn't apply.

official boxscore.

Scotty Hockey said...

Unfortunately I saw that too Anonymous but that doesn't necessarily mean that can't issue one after the fact, the way they gave Andrew Peters a one game suspension earlier this year after he hit Colton Orr from the bench ...

Anonymous said...

so that wasn't a slash/spear on Fleury at the end?

Scotty Hockey said...

Kev - so that wasn't a slash/spear BY Fleury at the end?

My point is that Gill threw down his gloves to start a fight, reached past a linesman who was trying to keep the peace and punched Avery, who wasn't about to fight. That is instigating. And the main point is that the league won't do anything about it because Bettman has so much invested in Crosby that he won't let Soupy hurt the golden boy's chances at the silver chalice. I would go so far as to say that Laraque could pull a Chris Simon and he would get a slap on the wrists.

Anonymous said...

Change the penalty after the fact to issue a suspension? Not happening. If Tom "Nonstopoulous" wasn't suspended for his blatant, gutless sucker-punch, that tells me the playoff threshold for suspendable actions is far beyond anything done by Gill, Avery, Laraque etc.

Anonymous said...

a slash by Fleury? he put his stick between Avery's hoo-ha

The Big K said...

The no call on the instigator was proper.
It was a very complex situation.
If you say Gill started it,
what about Sean Avery who was messing with Fleury.

Then, what about the 7 other guys who came flying in?

It would not be possible to suspend any one player without suspending guys from the other team, plus, EVERYBODY involved, except Avery, was just sticking up for their teammates.

Good job by the league.

And is 'Cindy' the best you all can come up with?

Scotty Hockey said...

The best I can come up with? GIve me a break, I've been calling her Cindy since her first game at the Garden in November 05. Little bitch scored a goal and cried to the refs all game, even with Mario holding her reins. Classless little whiner.

Hmm, other names I've used (just not here):
Golden Child
Penguin Pansy
Mario's Mistake
Cole Harbour Queen
Sidney Louganis

All good ones, but I prefer Cindy as hockey players project an image of masculinity and Crosby complains like a kindergardener.

Brother P said...

Anyone who doesn't think that Crosby complains alot just doesn't watch the games. He is constantly yapping to the refs. The moment he feels contact and DOESN'T have a play he goes down. If he can make something happen he normally will try but when nothing is open DOWN GOES CROSBY! REFS HAND UP!