Monday, December 7, 2009

14-14-1: Too Much Motown

Despite missing half of their team, the Detroit Red Wings still had enough talent to make the Blueshirts look ridiculous on Sunday night at the Garden. Amazingly, and all too typical of the recent Rangers, it took just one mistake to doom them to destruction. Henrik Lundqvist gave up his one trademark soft goal and that was it as his teammates couldn't solve a rookie goaltender.

Everyone in the Garden was outraged with Rozy for taking that late penalty to end any thought of late heroics but the game was lost long before that.

During my wrap of the Sabre game, I said that Donald Brashear was out with Wizard of Oz Syndrome - no heart, no courage and no brain - and it seems to be spreading.

Credit goes to Howard for stopping Higgins on a breakaway and Cally on a penalty shot but it wasn't like the Rangers didn't get other, better chances. Ales Kotalik missed a mostly empty net just moments before Todd Bertuzzi took a penalty and Sean Avery missed a gimme of a power play goal. The power play, in fact, went 0-4 and I would have sworn that I heard Perry Pearn laughing over the groans of the Garden crowd.

Few Rangers should be able to look in the mirror after this one and say they gave it their all. Of course, they don't need to with the pay cheques that they are still receiving but as a fan I have to imagine that somewhere, deep down, these guys care. I have to. Let me cling to my dream.

Some observations:

*All of that Torts talk about 'if the guys aren't scoring, they had better be doing the other things' and yet Drury and Cally (and Arty and Kotalik and even Gabby) were caught flatfooted again and again. Chris Higgins can't finish a cookie right about now but he made a great feed to Boyle for the big man's goal and he had one helluva penalty kill.

*The ice looked awful with the Knicks having played earlier in the day but the Rangers can't use that as an excuse for all of their terrible passes. The Red Wings skated on the same sheet and they moved the puck just fine.

*Arty needs to skate with his head up. Watching him get creamed by Brad Stuart was pathetic and entirely Arty's own fault.

*MDZ skated for 24:45, more than any other Ranger. A teenager paced a team with multiple multimillionaires. It must be said that he acquitted himself well but this is just not the way to foster the growth of a youngster.

*Especially that while he was on the ice he hardly could have watched Nick Lidstrom. The Detroit captain put on a masters clinic on how to play defense yet again. He does everything so smoothly and often so subtly ... just remarkable.

*He helped Detroit limit Marian Gaborik to zero shots. ZERO. Zilch. Nothing. Nada. I mean, the Red Wings kept P.A. Parenteau without a shot as well but let's face it, he isn't Marian Gaborik. But when two of your offensive specialists don't put the puck on the net there is something seriously wrong.

*Henrik Zetterberg, meanwhile, got plenty of room to shoot time and time again as the Ranger defense worried themselves with getting Tomas Holmstrom away from Hank. Dan Girardi did a great job in that capacity but that left Staal to deal with Z and Pavel Datsyuk.

*I mean, seriously, look at that top unit - Z, Datsyuk, Holmstrom in front, Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski in back. That is just unfair. They can fit those five offensive superstars under the salary cap with a great supporting cast (when healthy) and the Rangers have Gabby. That's it. Just Gabby. Thanks Glen.

*Darren Helm is fast. Like really fast. Like Enver Lisin and Rico Fata fast with some actual skill.

*Patrick Eaves was playing with a full cage and, frankly, I think it helped him. Eaves looked fearless going to the boards or putting himself in front of shots. Definitely something to be said about that.

*Prior to the game they aired a short feature on Gordie Howe. As my buddy Jeremy asked, why? Why would you want to pump up an alumni of the team you are about to face? What next, a nice piece on Potvin before a Islander game? And Gordie may be Mr. Hockey but we do have reason to hate him too - if not for Howe getting homesickness, old Gordie would have broken into the NHL with the Rangers. Instead, he left Ranger camp and ran home to mommy before growing a sack and going to Detroit. Wuss.

*It was great to see Shanny again and we gave him a warm ovation. Hopefully he can help everyone avoid the next labour stoppage.

*Jets coach Rex Ryan certainly did not get the same greeting. But who cares, the Jets play football. Real men play hockey.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Dan Cleary - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 28 saves.
1-Jimmy Howard - 28 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Howard - I said some credit was due to the kid so here it is.
2-Datsyuk - No wonder this guy keeps racking up Selkes, he is so smooth on both sides of the ice.
1-Lidstrom - An artist at work. No shots for Gaborik. None. Damn.


Anonymous said...

Well..Well...Well...After seeing the Detroit go-ahead goal scored from an impossible "angle" one must really ask,HOW MUCH LONGER BEFORE THE RANGERS WILL PULL THE TRIGGER??That is TRADE this OVERRATED 5th year "LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND" GOALKEEPER!!!The team is can see the level of frustration continue to build daily..and just like Saturday vs. Buffalo...HENRIK LUNDQVIST strikes again and again and again and again...NO TYPO ...JUST THE FACTUAL TRUTH!!!!If this team is destined to fail this year and it sure seems that way,lets GET REAL and start with the task of improving ourselves by CLEANING house and getting the most in return!! As the "KING" of our SALARY CAP BANDITS continues to "CHOKE" at the most crucial time in hockey games,how about this:LET HIM TAKE HIS 6-7 MILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR CONTRACT(LONG TERM)...RIP IT UP....AND DRIVE A "MISTER SOFTEE" ICE CREAM TRUCK AROUND N.Y.....Yeah,that's right,HE IS "MISTER SOFTEE"....NOT A "KING"!!!

Tender said...

So what would be your solution Anonymous? Whose going to be the goalie who "wins" it for us? I remember a time when everyone would criticize a guy like Marc-Andre Fleury because he too gave up soft he's not getting too much complaints seeing how he played well in the playoffs last season.

Seriously what "good" goalie are you going to bring on this team?? If you want my opinion, I think we should have gotten an actual backup goalie, like Ty Conklin, a guy that could possibly, sort of challenge Henrik to keep him on his toes. Not some minor leaguer like Vally who has no shot of playing 25 games.

You want to talk about factual truth how about a piss poor Defense that relies on 2 rookie defensemen to carry all of the defensive aspects of the game. Lundqvist goals were a hair pulling experience but he did make some good saves. And he is a good goalie despite what you might think.

but seriously what goalie would you want? Ryan Miller isnt going anywhere in Buffalo. Luongo has given up soft goals like Lundqvist. Craig Anderson is in my opinion is a good goalie but could be a huge fluke. Nabokov in my opinion is the best of goalies. Cam Ward is having a horrible season...again (only shows up in the playoffs) Tomas Vokoun maybe? Or how about we just get Weekes back? Just tell me because "pulling the trigger" on Henrik doesnt solve jacksh!t from the real problem.

Torts and our D are the real problem in my opinion. Torts heavily relies on an all attack, but thats only good if you have a solid defense. a defense who has speed (what happened in that empty net goal last night?) and a defense that actually plays defense and takes the body. too much room they gave up and too much time. Zetterberg should have been avoiding going into our zone, or at least be given no time in the zone. he practically lounged around looking for plays.

Graying Mantis said...

I am in the middle -- I think Henrik is adequate but he is not world-class and won't be raising a Stanley Cup in a Rangers uniform. I am still waiting for him to show that he is a top-flight goalie by stealing a playoff series. He has had his chances.

The talk about Tortorella style is bogus -- the team has reverted to a 2-1 team (Renney's pet name last year). Their last 2 wins have been 2-1 games, one by shootout. Other than Columbus, it is newsworthy when they score 3 goals; typically, they score 2. That's not going to do it.

Avery, Higgins, Callahan -- their offensive play has picked up but can they please score more than once a month? This is killing the team more than anything else. During the weekend -- where Gaborik was goal-less -- the other Rangers needed to score especially when empty nets are gaping. The Wings were ready to be had. Instead, they escape with 3 points from their visit to NJ and NY. What a gift to them.

Anonymous said...

Hey TENDER....the idea is to 'strip down' this team and the Rangers have a strong YOUTH base.There will be growing pains along the way.The Rangers need help at 'center' position desperately and obviously need another goal scorer,too!!With defense we have STAAL,GIRARDI,GILROY,and DEL ZOTTO all under 25 years of age....The problem lies with REDDEN and ROSIVAL still on this team taking salary cap hit of 11 million total for both!!Add LUNDQVIST's 6 million cap hit=17 MILLION salary cap hit for 3 players who are hurting this team!!Their combined 18 Million hit is 1/3 of entire teams salary!!Notice I did not mention DRURY'S 7 MILLION per to that equation...but now that I did ...that is 4 players totaling 24 MILLION A SEASON or 45% of teams TOTAL salary!!Here is the point: Since REDDEN,ROSIVAL,DRURY are NOT tradeable....and since this is not a serious contender for the Cup or even to make the playoffs.....the Rangers should deal LUNDQVIST TO FILL THE AREAS OF NEED....OBVIOUSLY,they will get another goalie and given their salary cap situation thus begins the tough road to rebuilding this team...I know this is hard to face but in the long run it will help us to improve faster!!Otherwise, we can watch the Rangers approach: try to put a band-aid on a 100- stitch cut which is what we are lacking in defense and goaltending!!

Anonymous said...

Funny that he lets in one soft goal and it's his fault the Rangers lose. Not the FACT that the team in front of him only scored one friggin' goal.

Derek said...

When your team skates with the Red Wings and not much separating ya and the so-called ELITE goalie gives up a softy, he deserves the blame. You just can't allow that with so little time left. Lundqvist in his mind is a legend. If he's so great, why does he have a tendency for mental lapses? Has he improved? No. The same holes exist and opponents know it.

Henrik is a good goalie but he's the only one worth a damn. So, if you put him on the block next February to say Chicago who's on the cusp, you can get a great return. This team isn't good enough right now. So, what's the harm in playing Johnson?

Anonymous said...

Espn power ranking currently has us at 25. The writer said it best, "Nice win in Buffalo, but King Henrik can't stand on his head all season long."

Anonymous said...

For those idiots calling for hank to get traded, why don't you add in your names, so we all know who we're laughing at. You don't know hockey at all if you don't think he's a top 5 goalie and if you think that loss completely falls on his back after the team can't fucking score AGAIN

mike said...

Hank's in his fifth year as a player, and all of his flaws are quite publicly known by the rest of the NHL. He has a terrible glove hand. If Benoit Allaire was such a great goaltending coach, why has he left Hank's most glaring weakness unaddressed?

The whole league knows by now that Lundqvist is the best in the world on low shots. There is no better netminder in a scramble down low. But his weak glove hand has become a massive problem. Washington exploited this weakness repeatedly, and since nobody on the Rangers' defense ever stands an onrushing opponent up at the line, teams all around the league get enough space to get off accurate shots at the hole in Lundqvist's armor.

Lastly, the Rangers should not trade him. He's under contract for a couple of more years and will have tremendous value if the Rangers continue to suck. Despite his flaws he is one of the best goalies in the world, and will show it again in the Olympics this year when he gets the chance to play behind a quality group of defensemen. Great players sometimes have bad years, and Hank's track record is that he does go into slumps such as these during every season. Maybe it's come early for him this year.

bk said...

If the Rangers don't pick it up soon, even Toronto and Carolina will pass them because those 2 teams are starting to win games. Since they won't trade Lundqvist and can't really trade for another elite goal-scorer, I think Tortorella's days here are coming to an end soon.

Duniyadnd said...

I don't understand the teams I support anymore. First the Knicks start winning, and now the Rangers start losing because of soft goals and no goals scored by our "offensive minded" team. Don't get me wrong, I feel Lundqvist is a high calibur player, he's just having a really bad season, and all players go through it.

As for him stealing the playoffs, he had the chance last year against Washington, but it seemed that Torts wanted to prove a point that getting past the first round isn't all that important.

As for his glove hand, he'd probably be better if he had two heads instead of the glove hand and use the second head to block those shots, probably do a better job. Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Freaking RIDICULOUS but still a great game none the less, people need to fired, players need to be traded and someone needs to spark some fire under this teams ass to make them realize the start of the season is over

I was at the game they gave up to many opportunities. It broke me in two I"m going to give up hockey for a while now because of all the faith Torts and Sather have done to the team

JohnM said...

Torts and our D are the real problem in my opinion. Torts heavily relies on an all attack, but thats only good if you have a solid defense. //////////

I do not agree. We have a very young defense. It is the best that our defense has looked in 10 years. There are 3 issues I see that need attending to. 1. It is impossible to hide Roszival and for the the most part, Girardi all game. Those 2, are bringing down there partners. Both of them are horrible puck movers.2. LundSwiss must be challenged by another goalie that will fight him for game minutes. 3. Our offense MUST come off the rush. Not from a dump and chase style. There is no element of creativity from a team that constantly dumps and chases. If the offense comes from the rush , the opponents cannot set up their defense. When you dump and chase, the other team just sets up and blocks shots or sits and waits for you to try to reach the puck on the boards. Way too easy to defend.