Saturday, April 4, 2009

40-30-9: No Heart In The Hub

There was golf on the television next to the one I watched the Ranger/Bruin game on and I can honestly say I'm not sure which was more boring. The Boston 1-0 victory kept the Ranger matinee curse alive and earned the Bruins the Eastern Conference title. Good for the B's. For the Rangers, it was just another pathetic, unacceptable loss at the worst possible time.

They had two big power plays in the third period and pissed both away. At regular strength they were outmuscled and outhustled. And if the Rangers lose on Tuesday at home against Montreal, the season will be over. No reason to waste their time getting beating up by Philly.

*The lone goal was pathetic. Rangers totally lost all semblance of control and chased the puck around before getting crossed up and trapped in one corner. Blake Wheeler sits wide open at the point and blows a knuckle puck past Hank. It was savable but there were a whole lotta bodies in his vicinity so it is hard to call soft ... just weak.

*There is a minute left, down 1-0 and your goaltender is on the bench - why would you put Chris Drury and Markus Naslund on the ice?

*Was there any clearer evidence that Naslund's heyday is long behind him than when Milan Lucic knocked him down with one hand early in the third period? Naslund used to power his way to the net against bigger, tougher players who weren't penalized for every hook and hit and now he got tossed like a child.

*Something that can perhaps be attested to Tom Renney's shortcomings is the fact that none of the lines have any chemistry - still. Renney never let any line aside from the fourth get settled and now Torts has tossed them around a bit as well. Passes rarely find players in stride and often leave the recipient in a bad position to make the play.

*Something that is indeed Tort's fault is his reluctance to use his fourth line. All Colton Orr did was hit people in the first period and Lauri Korpikoski hit a post in the third - the closest the team came to scoring all game.

*The Avery/Thomas incident was priceless. The refs clearly didn't see the incident and only reacted when Thomas came out of his crease to attack Avery. Since it was Avery, they had to calls something on him and they saw what on the video replay. Thomas didn't get anything for chopping at Avery, just two minutes for punching Freddie Sjostrom in the face - and with a blocker, that could be seen as intent to injure. I don't know if you have ever been nailed with a waffle to the face but I have, it hurts almost bad as a cross check to the face. Good work by Sean, it should have worked to throw Thomas off his game when you add in some offensive pressure but the Rangers couldn't muster any.

*On the officiating, how come Marc Savard got two minutes for cross checking and not five minutes for boarding? He intentionally hit Gomez in the numbers as Gomez was going towards the boards. A foot further and he could have turned into Travis Roy.

*To help save myself from some measure of misery, I watched the game on NESN. I would rather Homer McFanboy Jack Edwards to the annoying idiocy of Joe Micheletti. Feel free to point out some of his more egregious errors in the comments.

*The colour guy for NESN, who I won't even bother to get his name, clearly didn't bother to watch any Ranger games to prepare for this one. Edwards asked him questions about how the Rangers kill worked and what were some of the flaws and he had no answers. Amateur!

*As for Jack, well a teenage Ranger fan got a puck that was knocked into the crowd and Edwards said that the kid would be "a dead Ranger fan in a couple of minutes." How PC.

*And it was funny listening to Jack Edwards raving about Shane Hnidy's toughness while the defenseman went second man in on Chara/Mara at the end of the second period. I guess it is easy to be a big man when you can hide behind your captain and the visor on your helmet.

*Everyone else cringe when Morris nailed Wideman in the nuts with a slapshot?

*Everyone can attack Don Cherry all they want but more often than not, the man is right. When he is called xenophobic for picking on the softer, unmotivated foreigners folks rail on him. Sadly, when it comes to the pair of Niks, he is right. Borat was amazingly invisible despite being the size of a small house and Zherdev got off a few half-assed shots but that was it. That they can't get up and involved for games of this magnitude is an embarrassment.

*Rene whatever-his-name-is may be one of the worse anthem singers to do a hockey game. He was horrible, and the Boston fans seemed to be happy with his rendition. All the more reason for us to be thankful we have John Amirante.

*On the bright side, Wade Redden had one of his best games as a Ranger so far. Not only did he fill the crease and block a shot with Hank out of position in the second period, he also made a few decent stops and took a shot or two.

*How sad is it that the only positive thing I could find in the debacle was Wade Redden's performance? I want to puke.

*PHW Three Stars
3-PJ Axelsson - one assist.
2-Blake Wheeler - one goal.
1-Tim Thomas - 31 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - Cally was the lone player aside from Hank to play from puck drop to buzzer. Sadly it was just too easy for the Bruins to key on him and keep him away from the net. He is too small to be a big threat against a team like the Bs.
2-Hank - With the Rangers stumbling around their zone for two periods Hank kept them in the game. He made a half dozen big saves and gave the Blueshirts a chance to win.
1-Chara - The Boston captain was every bit as responsible for shutting out the Rangers as Thomas was. He made big stop after big stop, swift passes and huge shots.


Jessie said...

It is just laughable how people still complain about coaches mixing up the lines. GET OVER IT ALREADY.

Typically coaches uses 2-somes and change out the third player. If they can't connect a pass or are out of sync because one of their linemates change up they don't deserve to be in the NHL.

The rangers played about as well as I have seen them play all year--they just aren't any good. Nobody will pay the price to score on that roster, and the fact that rangers fans want Zherdev as a cornerstone of their future is exactly what is wrong with that team. said...

Jessie, we don't all want Zherdev.

And Scotty, when Wideman got nailed in the nuts and went down clutching at them, Joe said, "It looks like he got hit in the stomach or ribs."

Pete said...


If you take a look at the history of the game, you will find that it is chock-full of great lines, built of hall of fame players who all attest to the fact that their individual play was directly related to the chemistry they had with their line mates. Then I dare you to go tell Rod Gilbert that he didn't deserve to be in the NHL when his quality of play diminished after the Vic Hadfield trade.

It sounds like you'd make a great GM...they can't seem to understand why, when they shell out tons of money on one key player to lead the team, that plan rarely bears any fruit.

If you've watched many Rangers games this season, you'd notice that Renney did much more juggling than just "2-somes and change out the third player" and you'd also know that this is no where near as well as the Rangers have played.

Regarding Redden, I saw at least twice where he left the puck to avoid getting hit. The Boston commentator pointed out an instance where Redden "gave up his body" to make a play behind the net, but I think the dope was out of position again and have to make a sprawling play to cover his mistake. I also postulate that, if Redden was in the net covering for Hank, then who was covering his man? I'm just sick of the $6 million man. Every time I see his jersey with the big ol' 6 on it, it's like a slap in the face. But then, very few of them earned their pay check this evening.

I wish Avery didn't pull that stunt. I mean, I thought it was hysterical, but, he's better than that. Now I'll have to listen to all these blow-hards vilify him for the rest of the season on the Center Ice package.

Anonymous said...

While I really dislike Sean Avery(always have and always will), he should not be the focus of people's wrath. People like Lucic and Pronger should be suspended for at leat 20 games for the stunts they have pulled this year with actions that can easily be called intent to injure, yet Colin and the NHL are slow to react. Why is that play Lucic did on Antropov not being looked at by the NHL? What Avery did was stupid and silly, but it was pretty clear he meant to annoy, and not injure Thomas yet he gets the focus. Same stupid NHL double-standard.

Jessie said...

Yes, there have been great lines in the history of hockey--why did they stay together??? BECAUSE THEY PRODUCED!!

When nothing is working, what sense does it make to keep lines together that aren't getting anything done? Why not mix it up?

I am sure if you really looked at who Renney switched up, you would see that he changed up a third guy and not all three.

Regardless, it is an idiot coach who stands behind the bench and keeps sending the same threesomes over the boards only to be overmatched and outdone by the opposition.

The fact that people still complain about it is just a joke. All coaches do it and will continue to do it. It is called coaching and actually attempting to find something in the midst of a game that will spark the team or will make the opposition wonder what is coming next.

Author said...

To the people claiming that Avery & Lucic should be suspended - stop it already!

If you want to watch unemotional, no-contact skating go watch Disney On ice.

What Avery did was a measly 'love tap' - hockey fans (mostly outside of NY) are acting like Avery 'McSorley'd' Thomas. Please - there was no intent to injure. Just an attempt to rattle the Bruins goalie.

Similarly, the Lucic play was clearly unintentional. Even Antropov said after the game that Lucic "could have killed me!" (referring to the fact that Lucic didn't hit him) Antropov was skating across the neutral zone with his head down, he's lucky that Lucic didn't demolish him! The knee to knee hit was CLEARLY an accident.

Anonymous said...

What Avery did was indeed a little tap to just annoy, so that is not really a big deal weather you like him or hate him. I did feel like the knee on knee hit is questionable and I see more and more of this going on. I love the hitting and fighting in hockey and I hope they never get rid of it, but it seems as though more players are taking opportunities on others that are quite dangerous and could end people's careers.