Tuesday, December 1, 2009

13-13-1: Losing In Front Of Legends

Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Wayne Gretzky were all in the Garden Monday night as the Ranger limbo continued - how looooooow can we go?!? They witnessed yet another disgraceful performance by the Blueshirts, who lost 5-2 to Crosby and company.

Mike Rupp, Mike f--king Rupp scored a hat trick. A hat trick! Mike Rupp. Can you get more humiliating? Outside of David Clarkson or any Islander, I can't imagine a hat trick by anyone else to make me more ashamed of being a Ranger fan.

But getting back to Gretz, No. 99 received a nice ovation when he was spotted along with his wife in the first period. The discussion in my section - and as I am sure it was elsewhere in the building - what kind of odds do you think Janet got on the game? She had to be betting on over/under because there was no chance the Rangers were going to win. And they didn't.

It's not that the Rangers lost that has me outraged but the manner in which they did it and how they acted and reacted as they were losing. Marian Gaborik, the one man on the roster worth what he is getting paid, got knocked around not once, not twice but three times in the third period and no one did anything. Check that, I caught P.A. Parenteau shove Cindy behind a play. Oooo, that sends a message. And even though Hank was horrible, no one did a thing to defend him for yet another game when he was bumped in his crease.

John Tortorella was willing to throw away the Washington series last spring to send a message - that players need to know that it is team first. It is a message that clearly has fallen upon deaf ears. It is one that very easily could have been reinforced with a little eye-for-an-eye retribution tonight but there was none of that. What was the worse that could have happened? Sending Boyle/Voros/Brashear out to chase down and attack some of the stellar Penguin talents could have gotten them suspended. Oooo. That would hurt not to have one of them for an extended amount of time. But there is no such thing as old time hockey anymore and the game is all the worse for it.

Some other observations and things that are grinding my gears:

*This loss is easy to hang on Hank's shoulders. How/why he falls to his knees before pucks are even shot on goal is beyond me and it leaves the upper corners open. And hey, look, the Pens saw that and were talented enough to exploit it. Even Mike Rupp. Mike f--king Rupp.

*Maybe there is some kind of Messier curse on the captaincy on the Rangers. He left for Vancouver and Brian Leetch took the mantle. It turned Leetch into a terrible player so he gave it right back when Mess returned. Jagr took the C after a good season and he dropped from 123 points to 96 to 71. His alternates, Marty Straka and Markus Naslund also saw similar declines. Chris Drury was given the C and went from a mediocre player to a poor one. And ever since Cally and Prospal put A's on, their games have suffered. So it is all Messier's fault. Damn you Messiiiiiieeeeeerrrr!!!!!!!

*Now, I must say, ladies love Cindy Crosby; there were an elevated number of attractive young women in attendance.

*There was also an elevated number of Penguin fans in general. They cheered loudly and their triumphant "Let's Go Pens" chants at the end of the game added insult to injury but most of the Ranger fans had already bounced by then, having seen enough disappointment for one night.

*Mike Rupp.

*Brian Boyle had one hit in the first period and really wasn't seen again. His teammates even left him behind walking out of the Garden as he graciously signed some autographs. How someone so huge can be so invisible is beyond me. Then again, Torts hardly used the fourth line - I saw Voros tripping over himself in the corner in the third period and didn't notice Kotalik at all.

*The over-sized Arty Anisimov was clearly visible, granted it was when he was losing big faceoffs but at least he was there. Then again, I would gladly give up the kid's bulk for Corey Locke's under-sized scoring acumen. Then again, I would gladly get rid of everyone on this roster outside of Gaborik right about now. But Arty is fourth (after Redden, Brashear and Rozy) because he has been nothing but a liability. Put him back in Hartford to let him help Geno Grachev grow and bring in Locke, who helped P.A. score 10 goals and 10 assists in 13 games with the Pack this season.

*Did I mention that Mike Rupp had a hat trick? Because he did. I'm not kidding. Mike Rupp. Really. Two goals by Crosby, no surprise. Three by Mike Rupp. Shocking. Disgusting.

*Donald Brashear took a bad penalty, didn't fight to defend his teammates, didn't fight to spark his team ... and yet he was one of the best forwards in blue after Avery and Gabby. That is how far we have sunk. For shame. Let me point out that Brash yet again could have fought Eric Godard but didn't, seeing as Godard would kick the crap out of him.

*Talking about crap, Rupp.

*I am thinking we will be able to get a fifth or sixth rounder for Higgins at the trade deadline. What do you think? We will be well out of the playoff hunt by then and he certainly isn't going to be re-signed so a fifth rounder would be fair, right?

*Chris Bourque had one great shift in the second period where he burned in on the left wing with some amazing speed, forced a turnover and got a great shot off. We can expect the same from his brother Ryan in two years, he will be a nice addition to the team.

*Mike Rupp.

*For the second game Torts jumbled the defensive pairings. It was long past due but what he changed them to is just not good. Staal and Rozy are the top pairing, leading to way too much ice time for Rozy. MDZ and Girardi don't seem to be comfortable with each other and Hobey Gilroy and Bobby Sanguinetti are too much of the same thing. Especially since Bobby hasn't gotten his NHL legs under him yet.

*You know what the great thing is about the Rangers not playing until Saturday? They can't lose any more games until then.

*Drafted by the Islanders and the Devils, helped the Devils to a Cup, played with the Danbury Trashers of the UHL during the lockout because he is garbage himself: Mike Rupp.

*How the hell was Girardi's bump on Rupp a boarding? Or, more precisely, how soon until body contact is eliminated from the NHL?

*Well, at least Gena Malkin didn't do anything.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Sidney Crosby - two goals and one assist.
2-Marian Gaborik - two goals.
1-Mike Rupp - hat trick.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Gaborik - The Lone Ranger.
2-Crosby - Cindy can score, that's for sure.
1-Rupp - A hat trick. There is no god.


5-hole.com said...

You didn't see Kotalik because he only played 3:14.

First he makes Lisin sit on the bench for an entire game and scratches him in the next game, then he holds Kotalik to just over 3 minutes of ice time?

Kotalik is the only person who will shoot from the point through traffic. Our Power Play is better with him at the point.

5-hole.com said...

The second "he" is supposed to be Tortorella.

mike said...

The call on Girardi was the worst of the season...and I know I sound like a Flyer fan here, but Rupp clearly saw Girardi coming at him and turned his back as Danny came in for the hit. Total BS penalty.

And Henrik Lundqvist is not playing that well this year. How many goals does he give up inside of the last ten minutes of the game? This game was there for the taking despite the fact that the Rangers suck. Everybody forgets to mention how crappy Lundqvist is playing when listing the other horrors of this team.

Is the defense actually worse without Redden? Is it coincidence that this avalanche of goals-against is occurring without him on the ice? I can't believe I'm saying this....someone please tell me it's a coincidence.

Ilikebeinganonymous said...

Funny how all the comments about Brodeur being overrated and Lundqvist being better suddenly disappear....

Anonymous said...

Koto sucks horribly at even strength play. I liked him better on the fourth and PP situations, like we had him earlier.

Prospal has been kicking ass all seasn. Dunno what you're talking about there.

Rozi is still horrible.

Hank had a crappy game, but also got hung out to dry a few times, most notably the second Rupp goal. Three defenders in the crease and a fourth coming, but no one taking the shooter. Stuppppiiiiid. (It was Rozi's coverage btw).


Anonymous said...

Henrik Lundqvist...WELCOME ...WELCOME to the "DRURY,ROSIVAL,REDDEN" gang of overrated,overpaid,salary cap bandits!!!!The RANGERS will never be a serious playoff contender with this goaltender..........He has NO glove hand,is "piss poor" on angles,NEVER comes out to challenge a shooter,and is the absolute WORST stickhandler at the goaltender position the N.Y. Rangers have EVER had,PERIOD!!!!!The great news is he is "locked up" FOR SEVERAL MORE YEARS!!!Scotty,you have seen him now give up an average of 2 SOFT goals a game,NOT 1 per game!!Outrageous!!!EVEN JOE MICHELETTI called him out on tv last night..when reviewing Rupp's 2ND goal of the night to make it 3-2...Joe M.says,and I quote...that's a goal you EXPECT your goaltender to STOP!!!! Even JOE M. is seeing this to call him out on it!!!THAT'S WHEN YOU KNOW REALITY HAS SET IN...and the reality is this...HENRIK LUNDQVIST now joins that special group,the SALARY CAP BANDITS,who are 'LEGENDS IN THEIR OWN MINDS'...whose play will continue to decline..and worst of all are heavily compensated for it!!Once again,"THANK YOU" Glen Sather..AMEN!!

Anonymous said...

When will any coach here do something smart? It's been since COLIN effing CAMPBELL that we've had anything to cheer about really. For once I'd like to see the Rangers dump all this high priced garbage in Hartford (sorry Pack fans) and get the kids up here. It can't be any worse than what we see now, and at least they'll be getting experience for next year. Maybe we'll even suck so bad we get a good draft pick. Oh, and Sather needs to die in a fire.

Kingrich45 said...

As a goalie myself I will try to treat the Lundqvist review with more rational and less yelling (although its tempting). I really think whats happened is the scouting reports have gotten around and every player who plays against him knows whenever they get the chance just to roof it. Lundqvist has a few things going against him in that category, he's not overly tall like vally so he can't cover the tops of the net when he's down, he is the extreme example of a butterfly goaltender that goes down for pretty much everything and he plays so deep in the net he doesn't make his angles work for him.

In general people are right that a lot of those over the shoulder goals are one's you would not get on a goalie that is more aggressive with his angles (for example Flury). I think when going against an unknown goal tender, as Lundqvist was during his ousting of keven weeks, players in the NHL look to make the cross ice pass if they can rather then shoot because they know NHL goaltenders in general will stop those off angle and/or far off shots and moving the puck quick for a one timer or tap in is a good way to beat them. Well Lundqvist had a huge advantage with those types of play because he played so far back in the net and he does have such a wide stance. Those are also by the way the saves that look most impressive and tend to gain brownie points with fans and be on the highlight reel.

Now the gig is up and every player going against Lundqvist instead of making the tough pass that likely to be blocked, tipped or missed on the other end they take the easy shot up high and you know what, often enough that works. With a D like the Rangers current they will get that shot plenty of times during a game and now they just take it. The pendulum has swung back the other way and these are the goals that look the most like the goalies fault (because they are) and fans are least able to forgive and thus you get the aforementioned ranting after years of calling him the king.

Lundqvist is a talented goal tender, he has good reactions and is very athletic in moving around the crease and has a very wide stance that is great for breakaways and lateral movement. The league however has figured him out and he needs to evolve to stay competitive, mainly come out of the net more and use his angels to his advantage and also be a little more patient when going down. He has a great goaltending coach its just far from an ideal situation to have to do this mid season with the kind of D in front of him, lets hope he can pull it off otherwise I think his reign as the king is over when Mike Rupp scores two goals in a game on you by just shooting for the upper glove corner something any scrub in the NHL can do (as proved last night)

Graying Mantis said...

I have been saying since the 2006 season that the Rangers will not win with Lundqvist -- has this guy ever stolen a playoff series for the Rangers? He is terrible with the stick, he is on his knees in a heartbeat, he has an awful glove hand, he has long slumps every season. It's time to reconstruct this team from management to coaches to players to puck polisher.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Hank wasn't stellar last night. But for anyone to say that he isn't a great goaltender is simply insanity. There wouldn't have been a 2008 playoffs if not for Lundqvist, and that's a fact. Does he deserve a share in the blame for why this team, as a team, is playing poorly? Sure. Is he going down too early? Yes. Is he not playing the right angles? Yes. But, without any type of defensive corps (or core) in front of him, I think I can understand where the lack of focus is coming from. It's hard to do your job at the end of the assembly line when no one at the front is doing theirs. There isn't one defensive pairing that Hank can count on to do the right thing time in and out. There isn't one defensive pairing that isn't subject to change from night to night, or shift to shift. Then you get guys blocking shots with their sticks or feet, throwing angles off completely. Not to mention guys camping out in your crease, I mean, they are toasting marshmellows out there. People on your own team running you down. And to still make 28 saves...

When the rest of the team actually puts up goals and plays solid defense, then I'll accept calling out Lundqvist for his mistakes, but, I'm pretty certain that we'll see less of them if the team actually starts to play above the high school level.

Tender said...

Wow talk about a backlash against Lundqvist? How about the fact when you play an all out offense game (or attempt to) what do you think happens when a guy like Redden or Rosival loses the puck. Rangers are giving away too many great opportunities up for the opposition. Torts system can work well if you have a solid D, something in which the Rangers dont have at all! We dont have a hard hitting Dman like Brooks Orpik (who really does protect Fleury) while night after night Lundqvist is charged into his net.

granted Lundqvist has let up some soft goals but I'm still wondering if Torts system is really settling with everyone in the lockeroom. I can't see why everyone is surprised that the rangers are giving up so many goals. We have 2 overrated Dmen (Rozi and Redden) 2 rookies (Del Zotto, Gilroy) and 2 average D (Girardi and Staal) you really think we wouldnt let up that many goals with a style that Torts plays? Gaborik could do only so much, and its painfully obvious that we need a #1 center and Hard Hitting Dman.

Lundqvist is a butterfly goalie, and its traditional for goalies to go down alot. Every goalie has a weakness, yes including Brodeur.(High Blocker though he likes to tempt shooters into his glove)

Lets also remember people that Rangers would have been out of the playoffs for the past few seasons without Lundqvist. You're very quick to go against him especially since he's done some good things. Granted he's gave up some bad goals but in all honesty he's made some good ones. Even P.Roy and Brodeur have had some bad stretches.

Sully said...

Let's face it, this team's just not that good. We knew it before the season even began that when your top 4 defense include the Albatross Twins you can't consistently win. I agree with Scotty that right now aside from Gabby, Hank, DZ, Gilroy there isn't much positive to point to. Hank had a bad night but Rozy and Redden sure make his job twice as hard. Rozy caused two goals last night by my count.

What I wonder is whether Sather and Dolan even care. Are they as upset about this team as we are or since tickets keep selling it doesn't matter? Is there anything at all that can be done to salvage this season? Do they think this squad will improve? Is there any way they will send Rozy and Redden down? Would that even clear cap space or are we stuck with those shitty contracts for 3 more years? Every year it's the same thing and I pray Messier or anyone else takes over GM next year because Sather is incapable of building a winner.

Andrea said...

I worry about Messier learning under Sather. He's been close to Sather for a loooong time and has great respect for him. How do we think Mess will bring any other than a Sather philosophy? Plus, what if he tanks? Will the diehards boo him?

But yeah, the front office could use a change. No easy answers to this debacle.

Anonymous said...

i think you forgot to mention mike rupp

Faraway Fan said...

OK, this has nothing to do with anything, but where did Tortorella get that ugly-ass shirt? Is Avery dressing him? Maybe the coach and Hank should give up their GQ subscriptions and get to work. Rangers suck - hooray.