Tuesday, April 21, 2009

R1 G3: Renney's Rangers Return

As a woman in Penn Station said to me, it was just like this Rangers/Caps game was in mid-February. She went so far as to say that her section in the blue seats chanted "Fire Renney" at one point. And they were right, it was a return of no heart, no hurry Tom Renney hockey, and at the worsT possible time. The Rangers had a chance to make a statement and essentially put this series in the bag and instead have their own diehard fans talking about a six game series loss. It was embarrassing, it was sloppy and it was a slap in the fans who paid good money to watch the game.

The Blueshirts never got into any kind of rhythm, never challenged a rookie goaltender and hung their netminder out to dry. It was a lackluster mid-winter doldrum effort, not a pivotal playoff game before a hungry home crowd. The only redeeming factor is that you have to imagine the current coach not standing for the garbage, where the former bench boss seemed willing to roll over and die.

Some notes:

*It is a sad state of affairs when you can seriously say that the goaltender that gave up four goals played significantly better than the one who posted a shutout but that was the case. The Rangers failed their King.

*That idiot goon Brashear dressed to make a physical statement and he did his job. With the score 1-0, he crashed the net, took a few facewashes and skated off unscathed. He and Colton Orr got matching roughings but there never was any retribution. Brash skated out of the penalty box and went to the bench, Orr finished off a shift and neither was heard from again. The Rangers could have announced that they wouldn't stand for being abused on their home ice, could have announced that touching Hank was strictly a no-no but instead they rolled over and Washington scored a few minutes later to ice the game.

*If the fans weren't insulted enough by the lack of effort by the Blueshirts, the Rangers had to add insult to injury by allowing Tom Poti to score. Terrible, just terrible.

*I previously ripped on the bandwagon Washington fans but the part-time Ranger fans returned the Garden and were annoying as all hell. These people actually were surprised and upset when the power play didn't score time after time! Can you believe that? They believed that the special team was actually special and yelled and booed when it failed miserably. Helloooooo welcome to New York Ranger hockey. Just be happy they were able to kill those two minute minors off.

*On the subject of penalties, Sean Avery. The referees won't give him the benefit of the doubt and they won't protect him. Seconds after he was cross checked away from the play into the Caps net, he took a very, very dubious high sticking call. That is almost as bad as the two minutes for roughing he took when he was cross checked from behind and hit in the nuts with the goaltender's stick in the final minutes of the game. If the ref called either of the early calls, or the linesman actually did his job and broke them up, then Avery wouldn't have been able to throw a light jab at Varlamov.

*But many of the penalties on both teams were weak so what can you do? Gary Bettman doesn't want hard-nosed playoff hockey, he wants the same boring antiseptic garbage that he force feeds us in the regular season. Ryan Callahan's high stick? Please.

*I just turned on Ranger Rewind and see that New York Life bought in to that creepy virtual advertising on the glass. I went to say something bad about New York Life but can't, they employ Snoopy. Subway, on the other hand, had ads pop up on the ice at least once (I saw them with 13 minutes left in the third). That's not cool.

*In an attempt to find something positive to speak about, Michal Rozsival deserves accolades for taking a high stick to the face (for which there was no penalty) and returning the ice - I think he missed one shift? Not too shabby.

*Ovechkin didn't score but he did make a brilliant play to knock the puck away from Korpikoski on a shorthanded breakaway. How there is any doubt that he is the best player in the world is shocking to me and it is a disgrace that Bettman made that pathetic crybaby Crosby to be the face of the league when he couldn't hold Captain Caveman's jock.

*Nik Zherdev spent his first few shifts in the game finding new ways to fall on the ice and lose the puck and then disappeared. He has pretty much ensured that he will make a nice salary next season back in Russia because he has proven he doesn't have the heart for real hockey.

*Markus Naslund worked hard to replicate his better efforts in the first two games but he certainly tried too hard. Nothing worked right and he spent a lot of time in the penalty box and a lot of time on the bench as a result.

*Aside from showing off his ridiculous mohawk while skating helmetless in the warmups, did Mike Green actually participate in this game? And this guy is a Norris candidate?

*Those Thundersticks may have been the worse giveaway in Garden history. And the silly blue lights in them? Did anyone get chills or anything for the 10 seconds the Garden kept the lights down prior to the game? LAME. And the announcement at the end of the game saying how fans should not throw anything on the ice after the so-called souvenirs began raining down was almost as bad. If the Rangers had given something good like a shirt, a hat or even the usual towels, the odds are damned good that people wouldn't throw them on the ice, no matter how disgusted they were. (Hats thrown on the ice at the Garden? That almost never happens.)

*PHW Three Stars
3-Nick Backstrom - three assists.
2-Alex Semin - two goals and one assist.
1-Simeon Varlamov - 33 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-John Erskine - The top Washington defenseman, Erskine was always there to help the Rangers abort their attack and he drew several penalties as well. Simple, smart hockey.
2-Backstrom - He has some incredible hands and he showed them off, taking advantage of the massive holes in the Ranger defense.
1-Bruce Boudreau - Boudreau had his time ready and prepared to fight for their lives. Some pundits said that Torts had been 'outcoaching' Boudreau - which was laughable - but there was no doubt in this game that even the fiery Tortorella couldn't ignite the Rangers while Boudreau's bunch came to play.


Anonymous said...

The caps played the same as game 1 and 2, but Ovie was more effective using his teammates.The Rangers came out horrible defensively. Callahans post and Avery parading himself to the penalty box didnt help either. With that said I would like to add this.
Coach Tortorella will make sure (I am sure) this was a one time Renney display of how Playoff Hockey should not be played. Hopefully they get back to being disciplined and hard on the puck on wednesday. game 4 is always the most important game. We were not going to sweep thats for sure. "WELCOME TO NEW YORK RANGERS PLAYOFF HOCKEY AT ITS FINEST"...

Michael Bérubé said...

Just two thoughts. One, be thankful you weren't watching the game on Versus, where they basically demanded that Avery be put in the stocks, tarred and feathered, and assessed a career misconduct each time he was sent to the box. Two, did Gomez win a single faceoff on the power play? It's not like our power play is so potent that we can afford to give back the first 15-20 seconds as the Caps win the draw and fire the puck down the ice.

Chris said...

Agree with Michael Berube... the guys on VS... holy crap they laid into Avery. I mean, the extra jab to Varlamov was unacceptable... but if I were in Sean's shoes i'd probably have lost it long long ago. He takes a beating (and cheapshots that dont get called) and rarely reacts, he slightly loses his cool 1 night and should be tossed out of the league.

Steve N. said...

If Callahan's post had gone in, that would have changed history. It was a "net 2" goal moment.. instead of 2-0 it would have been 1-1. The other thing that stuck in my mind was right after, in the same shift, when (I think it was) Semin stiff armed Cally to the ground and then assisted on a goal a moment later- I knew we were in trouble. Did you see Cally's face when he skated back to the bench after the goal? He looked like he'd seen a ghost. Thank God he is tough enough to bounce back...

And yes, WTF is wrong with Zherdev? Is he intimidated by all the Russian talent on Washington? He's got zero fire in him. Bring Ansimov up and scratch Z.

Kudos to Roszival for toughing it out. I liked that a lot.

Unknown said...

How many times does Naslund need to try the behind the back no look pass before he realizes that he just keeps throwing it to the caps D...The Rangers were hard to watch last night. I was honestly bored by the game nothing was happening and ended up watching most of the B's and Montreal...How did we win game 1 and 2?

Natty Bumpo said...


Ben said...

On Avery - the first and last penalties he got were warranted, not much you can argue about (i fail to see where he got a stick in the nuts, but i guess that's those blue glasses getting in your way because that didn't happen). the two middle penalties on Avery though, were terrible calls. Avery gets the shaft and everybody knows it...don't you think he would try to be a little more subtle at times with his antics?

on poti - all i have to say is HAHAHAHA. my dad and my two uncles are huge Rangers fans and can't stand this guy. what a great way to end that game for Poti.

on the crowd - i was hoping you would bring up the MSG faithful. you and other bloggers all around have ripped the Caps and their fans when the building was empty and now when the building is full, but if that crowd wasn't a bunch of frontrunners last night, i don't know who is. they were silent from the time Semin scored his 2nd goal.

on the OV high stick - it's amazing how many rangers fans have been screaming how that should have been a penalty! if you hit somebody with a high stick on a follow through of a shot, it's not a penalty. it's that simple.

on Green - word in DC is he's been going through some personal stuff and the cops were at his house at like 6 am the other morning...something about an crazy ex-gf...who really knows though? he hasn't been very good in this series yet. and yes, he is a norris candidate and you would love him on your team in a second.

thundersticks = terrible

thundersticks with lights in them = god awful

i enjoy your post game breakdowns as you get really in-depth and are a really smart, engaged fan. you don't cut anybody any slack and i like that. keep up the good work.


Scotty Hockey said...

Thanks for the compliments ben but c'mon, look up what frontrunners means before accusing us of being them. We're a dedicated fanbase that has stuck with the team for over 80 years. Caps fans showed up in the last two seasons because it was hip. As I mentioned previously, I went to a Caps/Pens game in 2006 (to root for OV against Crosby) and it was half empty and most of the fans there were from Pittsburgh. Frontrunning is joining fanbase just because they are good, which is what most of Washington has done.

Depending on how you look at it Ranger fans are fickle or over-involved, not frontrunning. We don't need to be prompted to cheer like those that fill the Phone Booth, we applaud hard work, dedication and results. But without them, why give 'approval' for a loser?

Ben said...

hey man, i'm just defending my fanbase. we have gotten nothing but shit because the building was empty for a few years. would you be paying money to see an AHL team every night? i sure as hell didn't want too...but i still did. the rangers at least make things interesting and have some big name players in their lineup at all times. we were playing with guys like doig, muir, mathieu biron, and dainus zubrus was our top center. times were tough, but now the fans are back just as the were in the 80s and through the 90s. the caps have always had a good crowd and the fanbase gets crapped on for a few down years.

i definitely don't believe you all are frontrunners. to spend the money on tickets that you have to in NY, that would just be stupid! if i said it that way (which i may have) then i apologize.

looks like we got a series on our hands now.