Friday, January 15, 2010

22-18-7: Oh So Typical

On Tuesday night the New York Rangers played up to their opponents and Thursday night they played down to them. The players and the coaching staff harped upon "consistency" earlier this season, and the Rangers were consistent - for every big-time, heart-warming effort, they come right back and crush your soul with a disgusting disappointment. I guess we have to be thankful that Thursday's tilt was a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators as it was the kind of letdown that happens against the Islanders on a seemingly regular basis - a younger, hungrier team outworked the more talented, complacent, overpaid clowns wearing Blueshirts.

Ottawa was desperate to break a five game losing streak and was filled with AHLers filling on for their injured top-end talent. New York was drunk on their recent success and staggered out onto the ice to be out-hustled buzzer to buzzer. The score was 2-0 and the shots were 33-32 but the game wasn't nearly as close. If the Senators had any skill, they would have gotten out of the first period ahead 4-0 with two posts and two blown empty nets. Instead, it took until the 18:46 mark of the third period for them to break onto the scoreboard and bust the hearts and hopes of the Garden crowd.

The coach clearly has no answers. The general manager/president doesn't care. The players are happy to collect their money and be coddled by one of the nicest over-spending organizations in our sport. So what do you expect? On some nights they will get by on talent alone, on others they will get by on the back of Henrik Lundqvist and on the rest they will fail ever so painfully. Like tonight.


*Hank was furious when he was finally scored on and smashed his stick to pieces. Major kudos to one of the Garden ice guys who retrieved the stick and passed it through a photographer window after the game to a little kid. That is one awesome souvenir.

*Chris Campoli? Really? Of all of the Senators, why did it have to be a former Islander that scored the game-winner?

*And why was Arty Anisimov out on the ice for it? The great Russian void spent most of the game ensuring all of Sean Avery's efforts were for naught and got clocked in the third period. And yet Tortorella puts him over the boards with a point in the standings on the line. You hope that giving kids big minutes in big situations pays off, but you do that when you are hopelessly out of the playoffs. Even with Vinny Prospal a winded shell of the player he was pre-injury, there still was no reason for Arty to be out there with the game on the line. This kid needs to be sent back to Hartford to gain 20 pounds of muscle and an understanding that he can't sit back and watch the plays around him.

*Avery, by the way, was the only Ranger actively going after the puck and pressing the action. The rest of his teammates showed the most emotion and effort pushing and shoving in after-whistle scrums.

*Donald Brashear apologists - did you folks enjoy his performance? Two fights for fighting's sake and two losses. The first tussle with Matt Carkner Brashear auditioned for the role of Huggy Bear in the Broadway version of Starsky & Hutch before being pulled to the ice. In the sequel, Brash landed a few punches before Carkner clocked him. Ruutu and Neil were running around, starting many of the aforementioned post-whistle scrums and Brash fights in two staged bouts and loses both. Neanderthal.

*Now I know that the current Sens logo is ugly, but why did most Rangers feel they had to shoot the puck right at it? Mmmmiiiiikkkkkeeeee Brodeur made two, maybe three tough saves in the entire game as the Blueshirts kept throwing the puck at his chest from the middle of the circles.

*It is painful to say it but Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were both terrible, to the point where they were worse than Rozy. Ugh, I feel dirty for just typing that but it's true.

*Hobey Gilroy was barely there but he showed that he is capable of carrying the puck 200 feet with one impressive rush in the third period. It was just a shame that he couldn't finish it. As a friend mentioned the other day, if Hobey was the 19 year old and MDZ the 25 year old, things would make much more sense this season.

*Both Chris Drury and Marian Gaborik blew breakaways with barely a move. That is the captain who is supposed to be clutch and the superstar scorer who hasn't scored in four games. Sure both were slightly covered and Drury drew a power play but both should be able to score on those opportunities. Because lord knows the PP won't put the puck in.

*The power play was 0-2 and awful as usual but at least they didn't give up any shorthanded goals. I consider any Ranger man advantage a success when they don't allow any shorties. It's the little things in life, you know?

*During a break, the Garden had a thing about Haiti and Red Cross donations - which I find hilarious. The Rangers play above Penn Station where dozens of homeless and mentally ill sleep for a few hours every single night, but they aren't as sexy a cause as earthquake relief in a third world country.

*I couldn't bring my sign and risk my season tickets but I still held out some hope that the Sens would take Wade Redden back. They didn't. Dammit.

*Just threw on Ranger Rewind and am watching Dan Blackburn be interviewed by John Giannone. I always liked Blackburn and cringed when Giannone asked him how he wasn't bitter about being forced to retire at 25. That is just a horrible question. Still, the kid handled it with class so that was nice to see.

*Blair Betts was -4 in Philly's 4-0 blanking by Toronto. That has nothing to do with the Ranger game, just something else to depress me tonight.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Campoli - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 32 saves.
1-Mike Brodeur - 32 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Chris Phillips/Anton Volchenkov - Why couldn't we get Phillips instead of Redden? Phillips is quiet but consistently solid and skates alongside Volchenkov as one outstanding shutdown pairing. Of course the Rangers didn't test them too often but I won't take anything away from them.
2-Hank - The Rangers don't support him offensively. The Rangers don't support him defensively. And yet he still gives them a chance to win. Long live the King.
1-Cory Clouston - Clouston had his team ready to play. John Tortorella did not. Clouston's team skated off the ice with two points. Tortorella's didn't. That simple.


Anonymous said...

GOD FUCKing damn it this team is a real joke when it comes to trying to show some energy against a very shitty crappy Canadian team that is decimated by injuries. WHY is it I watched the Bruins beat San Jose in a shoot out and the Bruins have 5 of their top players injured.

I hope any New York Ranger player reads this and what I have to say to them is look in the F@%#% mirror and stop thinking about yourselves and start thinking about how to play

Anonymous said...

I think its at the point where Hank has to be thinking, "My kingdom for a goal!"

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the Blackburn interview. He coulda been something special...


Damon LaScot said...

Torts is a fucking moron. To have Anisimov - who is already a defensive liability - on the ice in the last 2 minutes AFTER HE WAS VIRTUALLY TKO'd by Neil behind his own net - to the point he that he was COMPLETELY UNPHASED by the smelling salts waved under his nose - shows literal retardation on Torts' part.

Once again, the guys behind the bench and in the office prove to be the biggest liabilities on the ice.

And, I still think putting Avery on the 2nd line EVERY NIGHT and dropping Drury to center the 3rd w/Higgins WHERE THEY BOTH BELONG will possibly bring this team some more goals. Avery is a difference maker, can score and can inspire the whole team when he can get into the game. Drury is exclusively a defensive asset at best. He inspires NO ONE. GET AVERY INTO THE FUCKING GAME. Having him skate w/the likes of Higgins and Anisimov is a waste. Dubi centering Avery & Cally is something I'd like to see on a regular basis. Then we'd at least have 2 respectable NHL lines.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't tell if it was just a 'why the fuck is he out there' comment or blame for the goal, but that was Gabby's guy to follow down low. And while AA didn't play good, he got destroyed on a hit that should have been 2, puck was no where near him.

I feel so bad for Hank. 127 mins of no goals, and he's 0-2. 16 of the last 19 games he's let in two or less.... This team blows. I can't believe people bought into that good record over the last month vs cupcake teams.

Anonymous said...

gahhh, that was me above...


Pete said...

I was a little disturbed by Torts' post game interview. He doesn't know what's in their heads? Isn't that his job? I mean, sure, he isn't a mind reader, but isn't he supposed to know what the feeling is in the locker room, and more to the point, control that feeling?

I was all for Torts being hired as coach because I thought his fire and policy of accountability would be a good wake-up call for the post-Renney primadonnas. But in his interview yesterday, he did three things that you never want any coach to do:
1) He admitted that he has no control over this team
2) In the same sentence he metaphorically threw up his hands and said it's up to them to play their own way out of their issues
3) He kept pointing to the fact that they've been playing well, and that this is just one game.

The first two are unacceptable. The last is understandable, and true, but he said it in the same way that one might answer the question "Why shouldn't I fire you right now?" It's almost as if Torts doesn't want to be held accountable for the way HIS team is playing. For all Renney's faults, at least it always seemed that he had a plan, and he was sticking to the plan, and he thought the wins would come, if only the team would follow his plan. In one interview, Torts made me feel like this ship has been set adrift, with no one at the helm, and the captain is sitting in the dinghy, just waiting for the brewing storm to come.

Chris said...

The Rangers most certainly didnt deserve to win this game, but I found it rather disturbing that numerous blatant penalties went uncalled.

MDZ tripped on his rush up, ice. Along with at least 3 VERY late hits by Neil, including the one on AA.

Tender said...

You think Atlanta wants Drury, Redden, Rozi, and Brash for Kovalchuk? lol

In all seriousness now, this team would be really lucky to make the playoffs.

I would also like to ask, What happened to the "Trade Lundqvist" people? I love it how everyone tried putting the blame on him, as if he was the main problem. The only reason why I see the Rangers possibly or luckily getting into the playoffs is because of guys like Lundqvist and Gaborik.

Anonymous said...

Not Tort's fault

Chris said...

@ Tender - I feel the same way about those who were crying to trade LQ. IMO, hes only been solely responsible for 1 loss this season, and that was to the RedWings. The insanely soft goal by Dan Cleary cost them that game.

Damon LaScot said...


I didn't think the hit was late on Anisimov. I saw it several times. 3:25 of the 3rd period the puck was pretty much AT HIS FEET. I don't know what you guys are looking at. The guy had his head up and SAW Neil - a guy in the top 10 hit tallies - coming at him. THIS IS HOCKEY. It's called finishing a check. Just over 2min later Anisimov was on the ice again at a critical defensive juncture looking like a sloth.

A centerman's responsibility is LARGELY defensive, particularly down low. It may've been Gabby's man, but I don't like having HIM on the ice EITHER w/1min to go. I just don't see how that's smart hockey. The bottom line is they failed to clear the zone and had CLEAR DEFENSIVE LIABILITIES on the ice at a critical defensive point in the game.

If there's one spot I wanna see the defensive minded/PK guys out there (Dru, Higgs, who was out there, etc) it's THAT situation.

BTW, Hank is great in many ways. But, am I the only guy getting tired of seeing EVERY rebound kicked directly out in front of the net??? I mean it's constant. I guess he likes making a lot of 2nd saves.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it a rush and not a defensive draw that resulted in that? THe play started in their end I think. And Gabby is actually quite good defensively. The dude did play in a defensive system for most of his career.

And yeah, centers are lower defensively, but if youre a winger and your point guy starts streaking in, it's your responsibility, or at the very least, go in close enough to pass him off to the centerman.


Anonymous said...

yanked from zipay:

Leading scorer Marian Gaborik, with one goal in his last six games, was also frustrated by his defensive lapse on Campoli's goal. "It was (Kovalev) my guy. I should have been closer to him. It was my mistake...It cost us the game."


Damon LaScot said...

I don't give a fat rat's ass. With 90 seconds to go I'm not putting out Gaborik and a guy who just got his CLOCK CLEANED 2min earlier and couldn't smell the fucking smelling salts. STUPID HOCKEY.

Maybe you think Torts is doing a better job than I do though Joehoe. You're entitled to that. I just disagree. I think HE needs the smelling salts!

Anonymous said...

I can see the argument against AA for sure, but why Gabby? I was correct that it wasn't a draw in our zone, right? Even if it was, he's far and away our #1 offensive guy and we were tied, and he's probably in the top five defensive forwards as well.

Torts... I'm not crazy about him, but he's not doing bad. I mean, honestly, look at the roster. Even with the most optimistic outlook, it was pretty evident that it was gonna be a bunch of players with flaws and Gabby up front. We were banking on major improvements and strong performances from a number of guys, and the only ones that even remotely panned out were Prospal, and there's some argument that Dubi has improved a bit, but the injury hurt. I still think he's more of a 2nd line center than a 1st, but he's the best we got now.

To me, accountability falls to the GM for putting together this disaster that doesn't really compliment Torts' coaching style (which wasn't a secret coming in). I also think a lot of his post game stuff is grandstanding and his own twisted way of motivating people.

Also, re Hank and the kickouts, I don't think it's really any more frequent than any other goalies. It could be because of how he goes down in his butterfly though. But I will say this: his glovehand has improved immensely over the last 20 games or so.

Anonymous said...

-j0ehoe... jesus i keep forgetting that and openid has been retarded for me.

Damon LaScot said...

All good points Joe. Sather for's a slim roster.

I'm not sure if it was a draw....I'd have to go back and look. But, I don't agree that Gabby should've been out there. He doesn't quite have the zeal for defensive zone hustle, blocking shots, etc., that Cally or Dru have. At least I haven't seen it.

Yes, Gabby's highly skilled. But, w/this team's penchant for blowing games I'm saving Gabby for the 4 on 4 and trying like hell to make sure I GET to the OT!

I wanted to like Torts. But, I can't say I do. I don't think he's doing so well. I think he's not connected to the players in ways he needs to be in order to get the most out of them. He's failing miserably w/Avery. But, I like that type of player so maybe I don't get it.

To me, Torts has emasculated the guy on the team w/the most heart. Avery has the ability to get the team sparked - heart - as well as put the damn puck in the net. Can the same be said of Drury? Higgins? Kotalik? Lisin? Yet, all these guys have consistently gotten starts ahead of him with the exception of a few games. Saddling him on the 3rd line w/Anisimov and Higgins et al has not allowed him to rock as we know he can, IMO.

I say move Avery up to the 2nd line, move Dubi back to center and keep Cally there. Move Dru to the 3rd w/HIggs and Kotalik/Lisin. Move Anisimov down the to 4th. What do I know.....I still play though and have had some good coaches in my time.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough point with Gabby over other guys. And with Torts, I'd definitely agree with your comments on Avery