Monday, January 17, 2011

26-18-3: Phailure

Just four days ago the Rangers took on the best team in the Western Conference and beat them in a thrilling game at the Garden. Tonight the Rangers took on the best team in the Eastern Conference and lost in a 3-2 game that was not nearly as close as the score indicated. It was a result that nearly mirrored that of the loss on Saturday night in Montreal: slow legs led to dumb penalties led to big deficit early, before a late press made it look respectable.

It was not respectable.

It was a failure by coach to get the team ready to play at puck drop. It was a failure by the captain to lead his teammates. It was a failure by the star scorer to do much of anything. Worst of all, it was a failure of the team to live by the Code. Losing to the best team in the conference is unfortunate but acceptable. Failing to live by the Code of the sport during that second period fracas is not.

The video is here, and you can see not one but two infractions. First Kris Newbury had the nerve to jump Matt Walker from behind, then Sean Avery doing his pathetic, unfortunate extra punches on a prone opponent. Newbury should never be allowed to wear a Blueshirt again, while Avery's routine is sure to come back to him - perhaps soon as Sloppy Seconds comes to town on Wednesday. It is easy to be an apologist for Avery as he adds so much to the team but at some point enough is enough and seeing him punching softie Matt Carle as he is pulling his best Claude Lemieux impression by turtling on the ice is enough. If it was Darcy Tucker that would be one thing, pacifist Matt Carle is another.


*As with the Fedotenko/Boyle/Prust line, Tortorella's overuse of Staal and Girardi could very well cost the team in the long run. Torts is leaning hard on these guys and the extra ice time is clearly wearing them down. There is no reason for Staal to play 28 minutes in a regular season game that is not that important. Ryan McDonagh, who Torts didn't trust enough to take some of that time, managed to be +2 in the loss.

*Three of the six goals that were scored against the Rangers in the last two games were directly Chris Drury's fault. As he did twice in Montreal, Dru was unable to cover his man and his man set up a goal. Dru dropped down low to slash a Flyer from behind, leaving Carle open at the point to take a shot that Jeff Carter tipped. Drury took just seven faceoffs - winning four of them - and missed two of the three shots he attempted. He isn't playing defensive hockey well, he isn't playing offensive hockey well, he isn't leading the team on the ice or the bench ... Someone should tell him that there is no shame in giving up the Captaincy for the good of the team - hell, a good captain should know that. Rod Brind'Amour did it in Carolina, Drury should do it here. And then it would be classy of him to pull a Naslund and simply go away (retire) but he is just 34 years old so the odds of that are slim.

*Sure Derek Stepan was the one stripped of the puck but Marty Biron should shoulder full responsibility for the game-winning goal. The entire building knew that Giroux was going to pass on the two-on-one and yet Biron somehow wasn't able to get across his crease to stop Mike Richards' shot.

*Gaborik, well, he was benched for a portion of the game, something that has been a long time coming. As said here several times, Gabby never really returned from injury so perhaps the upcoming All-Star break will give him the time to re-find his form. By my count, the Ranger power play is 2-28 this year (nine games) and that largely the Slovak's fault.

*It was nice to see the Rangers show up for the third period for the second straight night but, let's face it, both the Habs and the Flyers took their feet off the gas. It is hard to be heartened at the Ranger effort when the opponent is not bothering to play their best.

*When the Flyers were playing their best they really looked like a team that will contend for the Cup. Ugh.

*How stupid were those part-time, weekend Ranger fans? The Garden had several "Flyers Suck!" chants in the third period ... while the Flyers were winning. If they suck, what do the Rangers do?

*And I'm pretty sure it was a hockey game, so why the hell would the Garden staff feel the need to announce how a football team is doing? And a New Jersey team to boot. Listen, if people really cared about that, they should have gone to the damned game. We can't get decent replays of what happens on the ice but we can get highlights of some bullshit football game. Ridiculous.

*The Rangers took three hooking penalties over the course of the evening, showing that the team simply couldn't skate with the Flyers. If they could, or if they were smart enough to be positioned well enough not to have to, they wouldn't be forced to lay the lumber like that.

*The Rangers had trouble holding the offensive zone blue line and easily gave away the defensive zone blue line. We are rebuilding with youth so we have to forgive their mistakes but Hobey Gilroy being unable to keep the puck in the Flyer end three times was just ridiculous. And the Blueshirts never made Philly earn their way into the Ranger end. The Flyers cruised through the neutral zone and over the blueline with ease, which is not good. Not good at all.

*I'm still not sure how Meszaros' mugging of Arty Anisimov was just a hook and not a penalty shot.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Matt Carle - two assists.
2-Derek Stepan - one goal and one assist.
1-Ville Leino - one goal and one assist.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Brian Boucher - Sure Boucher pulled a Leighton and allowed a horrid low short-side shot to beat him but Boosh made 34 saves on the night and was all that kept the Rangers from equalizing as the skaters in front of him slowed in the final period.
2-Mike Richards - Imagine that, the captain of the team contributing in a big way.
1-Kimmo Timonen - Amazing how quietly he goes about his business - kinda like Teppo Numminen did so maybe it is a Finnish thing. Timo played 25:24, five minutes of PP, four of PK. He blocked five shots, had two takeaways, three hits and took three shots (one that went on net).


Anonymous said...

Newbury should never wear a Rangers jersey again? Gimme a break! There's only one thing worse than losing and that's losing while getting your asses handed to you. I love the guys fighting back and standing up for themselves and if that means being a little dirty, especially against a team whose always played dirty against NY, I'll take it.

And hey, if guys wanna complain about getting punched by Avery, don't go looking for a fight.

Gobie said...

Scotty you are dead on about Drury, the guy is a waste of space, an absolute waste of space. I'd rather see Todd White out there instead of him, and Todd White was never noticeable on the ice. He should hang up the skates right now. He should also be stripped of the C, because he does not deserve it. He shows no effort, and his post-game whine to reporters about he isn't on the pp so dont ask him questions about it is absolute baby-shit. He may've worn the sweater for 4 years but he was never a Ranger in my book.

Unknown said...

First of all , you were not on the ice during the fight. I always get a kick out of writers who talk about hockey like they played the sport at a competitive level. Saying newberry should not wear the sweater again? He grabbed one of the biggest guys on the ice and neutralized him. Newberry did his job. As far as the code, how about danny brierre punching brandon prust in the head from the bench. I don't remember dave shultz worrying about the code when he played the rangers.

Jesse said...

I had no problem with what avery did, Scotty. Who cares if Carle is a pacifist? Gaborik is a pacifist and that piece of s*** Carcillo went after him last season. Remember Carcillo said he was "licking his chops" to get at Gaborik? I like a little revenge, even if it's not on Carcillo. The Flyers are a bunch of thugs and I didn't mind giving them a little taste of their own medicine.

Craig said...

the refs calling very soft stick infractions but letting the flyers get away with a lot down the stretch when the rangers were close to tying it. I think the ice tilted in those non calls. Recurring theme, I know. That was a very weak call in the 1st period on dubi that led to the goal seconds after the PP expired.

Interesting to see Scotty's take on Avery since he is usually a good supporter of him. The punches should stop on the ground, but give the flyers no break....they go after our stars, right back at 'em. who cares if we try to get even against another thug, fire with fire.

Scotty Hockey said...

Brian - Can't say anything about Briere hitting Prust, I didn't see that from my seats. As for bringing up how dirty the Flyers were in the 70s, hockey is not the same as it was in the 70s.

Joe said...

Scotty, Man you are passionate, but you do make rash statements. Your blog, your call. But the Newbury Jersey thing is an insane comment and I'm so tired of the talk of the code. Its a buzz word and is pussifying the sport(I know its not a word ,but it conveys the meaning). That 2nd period fiasco was entertaining and I think the flyers deserve it. The code is supposed to be unspoken and now every person with a keyboard uses it. The Code should be unless you have fought in an NHL game, you cant bring it up and as such I wont anymore, please do the same

NYR34 said...

I think some of the comments above are a sort of clarification of what I was texting about last night, Scotty.

I am not a fan of brawling/mugging as a way of sparking the team in today's NHL. However, it was better than the alternative of letting a division rival outhustle and outmuscle us on our home ice with what was then a somewhat commanding 3-0 deficit. I find it hard to fault it, even if it isn't the best way to win post 1975. Newbury was playing off of emotions, which was more than anyone else had done up to that point.

Yes, I know the team was working for the 4th time in 6 nights and the fatigue surely showed through the early stages. I was equally annoyed when the team just suddenly decided to "wake up" and finally play some spirited hockey towards the end of the game, when it was too little too late.

However, you and I have agreed numerous times during the course of this season that the lack of "defend our house" spirit these guys bring to Broadway, so I cannot and will not totally get on the team for it. I do also agree that it's not an effective way to get going in the NHL, especially against the Flyers. My dad used to tell me when I was little was that was what made the Rangers such a force in the late 70s - they were one of the first teams to STOP going down to the level of the Bullies in order to take the division. Let's face it - the modern day orange and black have had a "party like it's 1975" mentality for a couple years now, and will likely continue to as long as Snyder owns the team. We had no business going down to their thug level though - we don't have the grit to do it. If we had said grit, we likely wouldn't have been down 3-0 at that point to start.

Unknown said...

Scotty, you are 100% right. Its not like the 70's anymore. It's worse. And as far as the " code " . That died when the instagator rule came into effect in the early 90's. Now your cooks , ruutu , kaleta's , can do as they want because there is no more honnor or fear of having to answer to a " enforcer ". As far as the avery's fight. I'm sure " dan carcillo " would not be to concerned if any ranger was down on his knee during a fight. Like marion gaborik last year who carcillo showed no mercy to. I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I enjoy talking ranger hockey. Just got a little ticked about the newberry and code stuff. Keep up the blog.

Anonymous said...

The code is real, its why Prust didn't fight Powell. Prust could have destroyed him and didn't because the other guy was not a fighter and probably didn't want to fight. Prust respected that and just stuck to wrestling. Pretty much the whole team could learn a lot from Prust work ethic, play, and respect for the game. In my mind he's the best value (player for the money) the Rangers have

Anonymous said...

Ranger fans should be talking about how the PP is awful or about how the team has a captain with no effort, not about if Avery or Newbury was wrong. Newbury jumped in because it was 2 on 1 against Prust, and I didn't see any Flyers fans crying about what Carcillo did to Gaborik last year. Like Gaborik, Carle dropped the gloves and that is what happens when a player drops the gloves. Also how is Avery supposed to know the guy doesn't fight? Carle is a big guy and as I stated earlier he dropped his gloves.

JJ said...

news flash: Prust didn't fight bc his shoulder is still jacked up, not cause of "the code"