Sunday, January 24, 2010

24-21-7: Habs And Hab Nots

The Ranger offense disappeared for the fourth time in seven games as they were blown out by Montreal 6-0 on Saturday night. The result was never in doubt after Sean Avery was given a tongue lashing by the officials early in the first period. You knew that the refs would not give the Blueshirts any favours in the Bell Centre on Hockey Night in Canada and it instantly put them behind the eight ball.

With the Canadiens - an already fast team - flying on the emotion of over 20,000 screaming fans, it was only a matter of time before they blew through the weak Ranger blueline. If Dan Girardi didn't guarantee his exit from New York by watching Gaborik get beaten on Thursday, he certainly ensured he wouldn't be re-upped when he was beaten by Max Lapierre to an icing and played ballerina watching the Habs move the puck back and forth around him. Not to mention the other three goals that he just happened to be victimized on. He is a restricted free agent and is a prime target to get dealt at the deadline. It is a shame because he is a capable kid and the maybe even the steadiest of the current corps. But is that really saying much when you consider Redden, Rozsival and two rookies? On a defensively aware team Girardi is a solid third or fourth defenseman. On John Tortorella's team defense, what team defense? squad, he is not capable of being the top shutdown defenseman.

No time to expound further so onto some notes:

*Sorry for the pun up top, Habs and Hab nots but it is quite appropriate. Montreal had team speed and used it, the Rangers did not. Montreal had motivation and they used it, the Rangers did not. Montreal had scoring, the Rangers did not.

*'Chris Drury's scoring woes can be overlooked because he does the other things, like win faceoffs and kill penalties.' Heard that four or five times this season, right? Well he lost a defensive zone faceoff that initiated Montreal's first goal of the night (by the damned MexiCan't) and he was on the ice on the penalty kill for Montreal's sixth. Great work Cap.

*CBC dubbed the Boyle-Voros-Avery unit the "Crash Line" and it did crash the Canadien side of the ice. But there has to be a better name for them, should they stay together long enough. Regardless, they were the most consistent unit of the game and didn't see the ice nearly enough. The same goes for Enver Lisin - the only Ranger with the speed to keep up with the Habs' Lollipop Guild.

*Voros had a helluva fight with Ryan O'Byrne but, seriously, it would have meant a lot more had it happened amid the second period onslaught.

*Watching HNIC on CBC was an utter delight. Kevin Weekes did colour and he was delightful to listen to. Insightful, intelligent commentary throughout the game ... it was wonderful. Damn shame he was calling such a bad game. And Don Cherry, by the way, is still awesome. Say what you want about his commentary - "you just don't fight Europeans!" Really? - that he takes time out to remember fallen soldiers is pure class.

*Several friends wrote and tweeted that Micheletti kept talking about the Montreal Massacre when they came back from 5-0, blah blah blah. Did he really think that these Rangers are mentally strong enough to do something like that?

*Do you think that Wade Redden was trying to give the puck to Montreal? And he makes almost a million bucks more than Andrei Markov - a real defenseman.

*Jed Ortmeyer scored two goals tonight for San Jose. No, it has nothing to do with this Ranger game but yes, it makes me happy. Go Jed!

*Also not Ranger-related, Florida's Kenndal McArdle did an interview on CBC after scoring his first NHL goal tonight. It would not be worth speaking of had McArdle not have an obvious speech impediment. McArdle battled through and did a great job. You know that his family and friends had to be so proud and it really was nice to see so congrats to him!

*Both Hank and Matt Zaba made big saves for the Blueshirts and, honestly, could hardly be faulted for any of the goals against as they were hung out to dry. You would like to have Hank stop Camamalalalalleri's first goal but few goaltenders could have grabbed it. Same with Plekanec's remarkable backhand in the third period - that was one helluva shot.

*Right now the Montreal trade of Guillaume Latendresse for Minnesota's Benoit Pouliot looks like the most even trade in NHL history. It is early but both guys are starring for their new teams. Makes you kind of wonder which Ranger could use a change of scenery ...

*Did Vinny Prospal play? Christy was more visible than Vaclav and he played nine less minutes.

*My buddy Pete asked a question I initially shrugged off but it is worth posing - do you think the 'fight' with Carcillo had any effect on Gabby's hands? He had two clear misses in the first period that he usually would bury.

*After such wonderful performances last week, how could Cally and Dubi be so invisible on a such a grand stage? Wait, don't answer that ...

*I am sure there is more but time is short. As I tweeted, the Rangers decided not to practice on Sunday, because after you were shutout for the fourth time in seven games there really isn't much for you to practice, right?

*PHW Three Stars
3-Jaro Spacek - two assists.
2-Jaro Halak - 32 saves.
1-Michael Cammalleri - two goals and two assists.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Zabadaba - Baptism by fire and the kid came out alright. Sure he gave up two goals but he could hardly be faulted for either. As for Halak, Gabby's future teammate barely had to make a save; the iron stopped two of the best Blueshirt chances.
2-Plekanec - He was everything Vinny Prospal wasn't in this game.
1-Camamalalalalleri - The former Flame sliced and diced his way though the Ranger zone all night long.


dennis said...

How could the fight have hurt Gabby's hand? I don't think he even threw any punches, and he certainly didn't land any. Gabs is a one dimensional player. He doesn't fight, doesn't hit, doesn't do shoot outs well. He has a ligtning wrist shot and is a good passer. But he is easy to shut down. And when he is shut down like he was again last night the rest of the team is like a light switch flicked to the off position.....night night Lame'gers.

Author said...

Gaborik has been missing those shots recently, that earlier in the season he was burying.

He has just 1 goal in his past 9 games. His misses last night had nothing to do with the fight and everything to do with being in a slump.

Faraway Fan said...

God, I really miss Scotty Gomez. That line is terrific. He looked like he was having a BLAST last night. Wish we could trade him back for the useless dumper Higgins.

NYR34 said...

Are you kidding me???

Gomez proves exactly what is wrong with the atmosphere of this franchise. If still here, Scotty would be the useless dumper... as in dumper of lots and lots of money. Of course, off he goes to Montreal and looks like his old self. Then again I had always decried the signing in the first place because I know his real skill is feeding off a good linemate (as opposed to being the team-carrying offensive force his salary would indicate).

Goals aside, I'd take the effort Higgs gives night in and out over what Gomez offered the last 2 seasons any day. It just makes the frustration of watching him all the heavier for me, where I thought Scotty's production is exactly what he deserved based on his efforts.

But anyway, the point is, it doesn't matter who comes to this team, or what they did elsewhere. Just about all our pickups lately have always degenerated into a care-free paycheck collector that never earns their money. Since the lockout, who have the exceptions been? Avery? Shanny?

I already fear that since Higgins is such an appealing trade chip at the deadliine (since he's an expiring contract) that he'll go elsewhere as a rental and probably light the lamp like crazy with some team during a deep playoff run, knowing our team's luck.

Brother P said...

anyone that says they really miss Scott Gomez is a fool. The guy is so overrated. He has something like 7 goals. Trading him is one of the only good moves Sather has made. The goal off the faceoff was almost all Rosival's fault. He basically stood around and watched the entire play

Faraway Fan said...

I'm sorry, doesn't Gaborik (as good as he is) feed off good line mates? All I'm saying - as foolish as it sounds - is that there is a lack of enthusiasm in this team that I didn't see last year. I believe Gomez was more of a playmaker than just about everyone on the team now - with the exception of Cally and Vinny P. I don't think we're gonna make the playoffs due to the lack of consistency of the team. We can't keep counting on Lundqvist to save the year. But I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Are the Rangers trying to break some NHL record for most shutout losses in a single season? This has to be one of the worst Rangers lineups in team history. How many shutout losses must we endure before this arrogant loudmouth know-nothing dickhead Tortorella finally gets fired?

Anonymous said...

Again, no peepin foes, horribly shut out...maybe make the effort next time.

Anonymous said...

Can I put a preliminary vote against calling Zaba "Zabadaba" not everyone on the team need a cutesie nickname, I don't think any of them do personally, and certainly not the 3 / 4th string backup