Sunday, November 8, 2009

10-7-1: Rough Ride In The Saddledome

The Rangers lost to the Flames in Calgary on Saturday night 3-1. They had no right being in the game at all against a bigger, strong team and with their backup goaltender in net yet still was an Ales Kotalik miss away from forcing overtime.

That's pretty impressive.

Well, it is either that or a clear indication that Calgary is suffering heavily from the off-season loss of Mike Cammalleri. While I hope for the former, I believe it was the latter.

*Everyone wants to talk about the Chris Drury hit and seems to be calling for blood. Not me. How would suspending Glencross help the Rangers? Sure the hit was a few seconds after the puck was floated away down the ice but Dru had his head down and stick out like he was going to receive a pass. He wasn't paying attention and he paid the price. And, let's face it, it isn't a huge loss to the team. Should he go on long term IR, his $7 mil salary could be better spent than on a 50 point player who kills penalties. We watched a real captain out there on the ice leading the other team and he was far from meek.

*And while there is so much outrage focused on Glencross, it should be double towards the Rangers because no one bothered to get any vengeance. No crying for Brashear because anyone/everyone should have done something. Girardi jawed at him or something on the next shift but that was it. Pathetic. Of course, it doesn't help when Dane Byers is playing scared after being suspended, Sean Avery is in his happy zen place and big Brian Boyle is too dumb to know that he should do something.

*The other big injury of the game was to Brandon Dubinsky. Replays showed that he blocked a shot with his hand, so if it is busted or cracked, then the team should sue Bauer because gloves are supposed to protect players from something like that.

*Does everyone else think that Kipper was Calgary's saving grace? Because I certainly don't. Most of his big stops came from the puck hitting him - he left plenty of space but the Rangers couldn't get their shots to go there.

*Credit for that does to the Flames defense because, wait for it, they play the body! What a concept! Defensemen closing spaces and playing the body! Had Hobey Gilroy played the body on little Nigel Dawes, Dawsie couldn't have found an open Iginla to score the second Calgary goal. Sure Wade Redden takes some blame for hanging out in the crease watching the play but Hobey is better than that. Wade isn't.

*It is easy to jump on Valley because he is the backup but he really can only be faulted for one of the three goals - the first was a deflection, the second a one-timer but the third just blew right past him. It did come on a bad play by the Blueshirts but he saw the shooter, he should have made the stop.

*Back to Boyle for a second, he went 0-10 in the faceoff circle. 0-10. Anyone else miss Blair Betts?

*Enver Lisin played like he was still hurt; that jump in his step clearly wasn't there. And I wasn't sure if Arty Anisimov was there at all. The box score says he played but I don't remember him doing a single damn thing.

*What happened to Olli Jokinen? Once a regular threat when we played him on the Panthers, he was woeful on this occasion. And I hear that that is the norm for him this season; I wonder what went wrong as he couldn't have forgotten to play over the summer ...

*PHW Three Stars
3-Dan Girardi - one goal.
2-Nigel Dawes - three assists.
1-Miikka Kiprusoff - 32 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dawesie - Gotta give credit to him for getting revenge.
2-Girardi - Best Ranger on the ice. Sure Higgins and Cally skated hard, Gabby got some good shots off and Dubi finished his shift before going to the bench injured but Dan-O was all over the place. His goal was lucky - multiple deflections - but he stopped several goals with good shot blocks (and I'm pretty sure the last goal against didn't came off his stick but I didn't catch the replay).
1-Jay Bouwmeester/Robyn Regehr/Dion Phaneuf - JayBo killed off all three Ranger power plays seemingly by himself. Regehr made stop after stop, was hurt and missed some time, but still played almost 24 minutes. Sloppy Seconds had big hits, big shots and big stops - probably the best game I've seen him play in quite a while.


Dennis said...

Even though the Rangers only scored one goal their offense, especially in the 3rd period, was very good. They had tons of opportunities to score goals. Sorry Scotty, but I have to disagree with you, this was indeed a game of defense and goaltending and Rangers had inferior aspects of both. I think if Hank played this game we could have gotten some points. By far one of the worst Redden games yet, and Valley was shakey at times, again, and should have had that third goal. There was no deflection like Mitch the Bitch just slipped under his arm. Unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

dennis i agree

Pete said...

I think I'm going to side with Torts on this one, when he says that this was one of the better team efforts of the season. I don't necessarily think Kipper was the difference. I think Kipper AND the Flames' insane ability to anticipate, interfere with, and just plain block shots was the deciding factor in this game.

Things I'd like to see for the next game:

1) More ice time for Sean Avery, preferably without the handcuffs and gag order.

2) Ales Kotalik hitting the net more than 50% of the time.

3) Hank in net so that,
4) The defense (by which I mean Del Zotto) can play high and score, especially on the power play, that remembered how to cycle last night, if only briefly.

5) Not related to game play, I would like announcers to stop calling him Michael Delgato. Guys, the name is printed on his goddamn jersey. Really.

Funny observation: Torts came out for post game interviews looking as pissed off as I've seen him all season, practically bit off Giannone's head, as well as some other schmuck in the press corps, spouted a ton of bellicose bile, yet still said he believed the team played a very good game, and that Kipper was the factor. So...uh...why was he so pissed? Because every question was about the two obvious injuries? I wonder if Torts is getting frustrated with the jekyl and hyde play. I wonder if he's just pissed that he finally has to replace his captain with someone who will play an adequate role on the ice. I wonder if it means anything at all.

The reaction of the team come Thursday's game will be interesting. The coach's reaction come Thursday's game will possibly be even MORE interesting.

Finally, I know it makes me a bad person, but I hope Dru doesn't come back. It is widely propagated that Dru hasn't been "himself" since his first 3 concussions. I can't imagine he will be any better after the 4th. And he's been playing 3rd line hockey all season. If there's a chance that this misfortune can end with the Rangers being able to clear his salary from their cap space...I'm happy about it. It's just a shame it had to happen this way.

Scotty Hockey said...

The Rangers had at least three shots to tie the game at two but blew it. I didn't see Kipper make a single amazing save. Several good ones, but no amazing ones.

JohnM said...

Hockey is a game of scoring more goals than your opponent to win.. Therefor, the more scoring chances the better... The Rangers had more scoring chances than the Flames. Kipper stopped the puck from going in 31 times...Valle stopped it 16 times... 'Nuff said. Goalies win hockey games.

mike said...

This blog and its commentators can be negative to the point of absurdity sometimes. Nobody liked Tom Renney hockey, now after two quarter-season stretches nobody likes John Tortorella either. Both coaches were handicapped by crappy rosters first and foremost. Arguably both coaches have done the best that they could given the flawed teams they have been provided with by Glen Sather.

The Rangers have a truly great goalie in Lundqvist, a great goal scorer in Gaborik, and then fair-to-poor talent scattered throughout the rest of the lineup. And that's the real problem here. Blair Betts doesn't make this team beat Calgary, though Brian Boyle is a worse player--but does the constant highlighting of the deficiencies between the games of the two men really prove anything? A great penalty-killer and faceoff man might be worth four extra points in the standings at best. The guy is gone. He's a fourth-liner. Get over it.

Dubinsky and Callahan are just as culpable in this team's struggles as Captain Chris Drury, but because they are popular homegrown lads they are blameless. Drury has started slowly throughout his career, and he's obviously been playing hurt even without the brainscrambling from Glencross. While I think his and Redden's contracts are ridiculous and injurious to the Rangers' longterm plans, the fact remains that you cannot blame a player for accepting a contract that overvalues his ability. Rather blame the idiots who drafted the contract. And definitely don't blame Drury for not being Jarome Iginla. That's just lazy journalism as well as lazy fandom.

Pete said...

Mike, I have to disagree with you. I don't think anyone here blames Drury for not being Jerome Iginla. Personally, I blame Drury for not being Drury.

And as far as not blaming the players for accepting their salaries, again, no one blames them for being paid what they are paid. They blame them for not living up to that salary. Dru and Redden can play much better hockey. Redden plays a better game this year than he did last year, though that's not saying much. And as the "captain," Dru really should be out there doing SOMETHING for the team.

As far as blaming the idiot who hired Dru and Redden, I wonder how much you actually read this blog. Sather has been ripped apart more savagely than anyone else in the organization.

And for the record, I like Torts and what he brings to the table. But for a guy that talks a big talk, I'm not seeing any "accountability," etc. Though, I suspect that these "injuries" that guys get for a day or so are really just benchings that the coach is calling an injury, so as the fans don't get any extra fire behind them (especially as applies to Brashear).

mike said...

Pete--I do read this blog regularly, and it seems to me that this season Scotty bashes the following people the most:

1. Donald Brashear
2. John Tortorella
3. Aaron Voros
4. Wade Redden
5. Chris Drury

Redden deserves to be booed, but I do not think he is capable of playing any better. Same goes for Drury. There was a persuasive piece on Blueshirt Banter this weekend about how Drury is pretty much on par for career averages in his two-plus seasons in NY. Your reasoning that "as the captain he should be doing SOMETHING out there" is pretty weak....he was a poor choice as captain, another one in a string of shitty captains inaugurated by Brian Leetch and personified by Mark Messier (the ancient, aging version in his second stint with the Rangers). Comparing him to Iginla is absurd. Why not say he falls short of Ovechkin too, and that therefore Ovechkin as an alternate captain is a better leader than Drury is as a captain? One player fulfills high expectations, and the other is a moderate disappointment because he's being judged against a career best statistical season.

As far as Torts' vaunted accountability is concerned, remember that he is employed by James Dolan. Anyone who allowed Isiah Thomas to ruin the Knicks to the degree that he did does not understand the nature of the term. So here's my theory--Torts wants to bench guys but it is not allowed by the confused and distant leadership of Sather and Dolan....Dolan in particular does not like his highest-paid players to be benched. Ask Larry Brown about this one.

Lastly, the harping on the loss of Blair Betts issue is annoying. The guy is not on the team anymore. What's next, whining about Rick Middleton, Matty Norstrom, and Sergei Zubov?

JohnM said...

Rick Middleton, Matty Norstrom, and Sergei Zubov?


Scotty Hockey said...

Well look at all I missed working today.
Coupla quick things:
-I loved Matty Norstrom.
-I miss Bettsy and mention him often because he worked hard and made things happen. As Pete pointed out, Drury works hard, but doesn't make things happen.
-Bashing Sather is pointless; it is acknowledged that he is a senile fool who has been living off of his reputation for almost 20 years.
-I compared Dru to Iggy because we played against him. Had we played against another team with a strong, skilled captain who leads his team then I would have compared that guy. That C means something and does set a basis for comparison. Do I think that Dru has a 10th of the skill Iggy has? No. Do I think Dru could/should be better? Absolutely.

s2404 said...

I was at the game here in Calgary. Wade Redden really does blow. wow...

Brother P said...

Scotty - pull out of Betts are already. You talk about him as if this guy scored 20 goals a year. "He made things happen" really? like what? He was great on the PK, won a few faceoffs. What else? NOTHING. He is and has been easily replaced as evidence by the PK still be #1 in the league.