Friday, October 21, 2005

I May be Wrong But..........

The shootout is nothing more than an ill conceived gimmick. What does a shootout have to do with hockey? What's the reason for it? They say they don't want the games to go too long. The fans don't say that. Baseball games and basketball games can go on forever. Football has a fifteen minute sudden death OT (Pros). The shootout would be akin to baseball having a home run hitting contest if the game is tied after nine innings. Basketball having a free throw contest after a tie game. Why not at the minimum a ten minute four on four. Still tied. A five minute three on three. Still tied. Game over, each team gets a point. What's wrong with a tie. Many a team has made the playoffs by a point.

The refs are going overboard on minor (some are miniscule) penalties and ignoring some obvious and more flagrant penalties. Two of the more flagrant showed up at the Ranger game at the Island Thursday. Brad Lukowich slashed Martin Straka behind the knee and nothing was called and even worse, considering the attention given to goalies, Rick DiPietro roamed way out of the nets to catch a puck and stop play. It was so obvious that JD read the rule on goalie movement to prove the point that it was indeed a penalty. What are they going to do when a skater comes in on Dominick Hasek in a shootout and he backs up and knocks the net off the posts as the puck is going in the net? I said it before by the twentieth game or so the referees will be calling the pre-lockout type of game. Third periods will be back to "boys will be boys."

Why does the Garden insist on padding attendance figures? For the Monday night game against the Panthers they announced 16,000 plus. No way. There were sections of Green (300's) behind both nets that were completely empty. If 12,000 were there that night it was a stretch. On Wednesday against the Islanders just about every section had empty seats. Believe me I have been to games that were packed. This game was not. But yet the figure was announced at 18,200. At least the Islanders were honest enough to admit they had 15,847, about 400 short of capacity. Watching the Rangers against Washington on TV you could see many empty seats. It says here that as the season progress the teams that start to fall behind in the standings will see a dramatic decrease in attendance. Maybe its not like Sam Rosen and JD keep saying that the fans love this hockey. I think the Ranger fans love the fact they have a competitive team with a big star like Jagr and some promising rookies. Sam Rosen may like this no hit, no touch hockey but it may wear thin with the regular fans. We'll see.

ICINGS: Rangers traded Jamie Lundmark to Phoenix for somebody named Jeff Taffe a center. Unless I'm wrong this completes Glen Sather's purge of all Neil Smith's prospects and it's now Glen's team for whatever it's worth. Tom Renney greeted the arrival of Taffe (I'm sure the blue seats will have fun with this one) by stating, "We hoped to improve ourselves with a player who might be a bit more involved physically and has an ability to augment the attack with size and strength and skating". Guess what Tom? We had that guy and his name was Bobby Holik who led the team in scoring the last time we played hockey here. But we bought him out and retained Kasparitis, a marginal defenseman. Sather kept Kasparitis because 'he was good in the locker room.' What he meant was that Holik talked too much and pointed out the lack of direction the Rangers had under Sather. It's a long season. Do you think Jagr will keep quiet if this team goes south? Stay tuned.

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