Tuesday, April 28, 2009

R1, G7: It's Over Folks

Sean Avery turned in one of the best individual performances of the entire season and it wasn't nearly enough as the Rangers fell to the Washington Capitals 2-1 to complete a self-destruction of epic proportions. John Tortorella doomed them to failure two games in a row and had no answers to fix what was wrong in the ultimate game. Granted, he was working with a squad that was flawed from the start but the chips had fallen into place for victory and the incompetence of the man in charge handed it back to their opponent.

It is truly difficult to type this recap. The Rangers artificially raised everyone's hopes - mine included, no matter how many cracks I pointed out over the course of the season - and then they knocked them down. Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, Nik Zherdev, Wade @#$!%! Redden ... thanks for nothing. That my season ticket money (and all of the other cash I spent) helped go to pay their salaries pisses me right off. Then again, it really is quite remarkable that the team made it to the playoffs, much less to seven games against Alexander Ovechkin but when the inevitable downfall came it was still crushing. There will be more analysis of this season and report cards and all that fun to come here but I don't have much more for tonight, it's over. It's just over. Just some quick notes:

*Hank didn't win the game for the Rangers but he didn't lose it for them either. He made several amazing saves against a fierce team that was all pressure all the time in the third period.

*Avery, Dubinsky and Callahan ... you just can't say enough about these guys. How the veterans couldn't bother to dig deep and put up half the effort that that trio did is beyond me. I would have included Staal and Girardi in that but they just fell apart in the final minutes and didn't give their team a chance to mount a counterattack.

*The fans wearing ponchos behind the Rangers net? Brilliant.

*Credit to Rozy for toughing things out. His partner actually played decently before screening the goaltender on the game-winner.

*Both goals against come seconds after the Rangers rush down a wing and miss the net. It would be shocking if it didn't happen to the team at least a half dozen times over the course of the season. You would think they would work on that - either on hitting the net while skating at high speeds, spreading out the attack or how to recover in time. But they didn't, and they lost.

*When did Milan Jurcina learn how to play?

*It always sucks when the last game is on the road so the team can't get a proper sendoff.

*Seeing Fedorov score the game-winner made me miss Brendan Shanahan that much more. Cagey veterans who have been there, done that don't get flustered this time of year. They put their noses to the grindstone and do their jobs. And Shanny never shied away from shooting the damned puck and that woulda been nice. He certainly would have contributed more than Voros...

*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 22 saves.
2-Sergei Fedorov - one goal.
1-Simeon Varlamov - 14 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Callahan - Even though he had the bad luck of the first goal going off of him, Cally was remarkable considering he was out there alone. His linemates did nothing and I kept waiting for him to get Borat's spot with Avery and Dubi and it never came, even when Borat ran out of energy in the third period. Pathetic.
2-Varlamov - For the first time in the series, I will give the kid credit. He helped his team weather the attack in the first two periods with solid positional play and never got flustered. Even though he faced 14 shots. Just 14 shots. That is criminal. Goddamn Rangers.
1-Avery - He took a beating and he kept playing. He kept working, he kept battling, he kept taking the game to the Caps. For all of you non-Ranger fans out there, this is why we worship him. All heart and all effort.


Anonymous said...

Scotty, I'm a member over at Japers, thanks for stopping by and contributing.

You're right to be tough on your veterans but your team played a hell of a game tonight. Avery was the best skater on the ice. Don't know if Torts is the solution long term for your team but he did a great job to turn the season around. Hope you're backing the Caps against those frickin' Penguins.

jetblue jimmy said...

Don't have much to say anymore. Have a good off-season. My first year here, enjoyed the blog, thanks.

Anonymous said...

cant wait for the inevitable signing of Ales Kotalik/Maxim Afinogenov to a 7 year 48 million dollar contract.

Daniel said...

well that was a season. As much as every ranger fan wanted to believe that the rangers would go far, both you and I know that in the back of our heads, the truth remained, that it was never going to happen. And its not torts fault, the players fault or sathers fault. Washington was simply the better team and thats just it. They played a full series and the caps landed on top, thats it. As much as i would like to think differently.... I cant ignore that. Allwe can do is sulk with the flyers/ habs/ devils. Which by the way was the only thing that keeping me from not killing every "leader" on the rangers was watching the devils completely collapse at home. was that two goals in 1 minute? Hahaha, the only thing that kept me happy today, sigh, maybe next year

Keith said...

This series turned out to be a microcosm of the entire season. We start with the hot start to a 2-0 lead, level out in the middle in games 3 and 4, look dreadful in 5 and 6 before Torts came in which he did in game 7, then started strong before fading to our fatal flaws of no offense.

Thanks for being my first place to read after Ranger games Scotty and look forward to reading you in the offseason

Duniyadnd said...

Thanks Scotty for making the 08-09 entertaining while the games weren't on. It gave me one additional place to go to on a daily basis.

Too bad the Rangers couldn't get beyond the first round, but they gave us a heck of a final game.

Author said...

Once again Avery got no calls his way because he is Avery. Yet, AO got a call because he effin' asked for it. The Caps were the better team & the calls had nothing to do w/ the result. But the refs are so quick to give Avery minors but he could be raped at center ice w/ a hockey stick and they'd turn the opposite way

Schram said...

Once again Scotty, thank you so much for an enjoyable Ranger year. This was my first year being introduced to this blog, and my second year watching the team all year long (I'm only 17,btw. Thanks for such a great year and I can't wait to read your report card.
Kalinin and Redden=Q
Can't wait til next year, and hopefully I'll be a season ticket holder one day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your great coverage of the Rangers. How many games did we get a 1-0 lead and lose 2-1 b/c of a lack of O. You do a great job and service to Rangers fans, even if you are too harsh on Scott Gomez.

Anonymous said...

I also miss Brendan Shanahan. He is a gritty veteran who doesn't get rattled. He had 2 assists in the game last night. Maybe he will return next year.
We can only look forward to next year. As we have done for many years. Thanks for all your insight this year. Keep up the great work, talk to you over the summer as I am sure you will have your ear to the ground for news on our team .
I know how you feel right now and it never gets easy ... :(

fat_daddyo said...

Good series by the Rangers. They played a helluva game yesterday. Stunned to see the shot totals so low; they were camped in the Caps end for about 40 minutes straight.

Come bandwagon at Japers against the Pens.

Bernard said...

thanks scotty, you kept me entertained this entire season even if the rangers were disappointing, maybe one day i can be a season ticket holder... sigh... one day anyway thanks, its always fun reading this blog, i will look forward to next season

Graying Mantis said...

I'll chime in with my compliments as well. Thanks for the amount of time, love and energy you put into your work.

I knew this would be a tough season with the transition from the older players. I just didn't think the team would be saddled with lower quality older players as replacements.

I'll be watching most of the other series (no pens/caps for me) and hope for an interesting final.

jb said...

Agree completely with your take and 3 stars. Thanks for the great reportage all season Scotty.

ccmas said...

Scotty, good job all season. I must admit, the first time I read this blog I completely disagreed with everything you said. Then I came back, wondered why I came back, and then came back again. Right or wrong, you're doing a helluva job! Thanks for a great season, and I look forward to disagreeing with you next year!

Noah's Art said...

i look forward to your offseason coverage!

Michael Bérubé said...

Thanks for all the blogging, Scotty -- all in all, you had a much better year than the Rangers did. I do disagree w/you about Torts: after all, we stole game 4 and maybe game 2 as well. Those were gifts, direct from the King to us, from back when the Caps were outshooting us 494-12. I'm not sorry we finished the year by outplaying a better team for 40 minutes, a game they tied up only by getting Ye Olde Flukey Goal Off Ye Dubinsky's Head. I'm just sorry we ran out of gas and couldn't mount a decent challenge in the last 90 seconds.

Oh, and Avery's passing was terrific all night long -- not just on the goal, which was great, but on every breakout, he made the critical second pass from the boards to center ice crisply, tape to tape. Here's hoping we get some actual players on the other end of those passes next year.

Scotty Hockey said...

I can't thank you guys enough for all of the kind words. But don't think the end of the season means the end of the blogging. As you can see in the archive, I keep the fire burning through the summer so keep coming back!

You guys rock. Seriously. Thank you.