Friday, October 28, 2005

Prince Henrik and The Kamikaze Kids

They gave out the three star awards last night and while all three were indeed stars the biggest stars were the Ranger penalty killers. Jed Ortmeyer led the charge but he was ably abetted by Blair Betts, who scored the empty netter to put the game away, Dominic Moore, Jason Moore and two normally offensive players, Martin Rucinsky and Steve Rucchin. Additionaly on defense Tyutin, Kasparitis and Strudwick gave their bodies in blocking shots and protecting the Prince from the enemy intruders. It was quite a night and the Blue Shirts are 4-0-1-1 at home capturing 10 out of a possible 12 points. The Rangers must now channel their energies on the road where they have not fared as well.

The Rangers play nine of their next fourteen games on the road and if this years road record (1-3-1-0) is any early indication of their ability to play on the road they are in deep trouble. Unfortunately the Rangers will not have their home crowd which in six home games has absolutely fallen in love with this team and their goalie, Prince Henrik. Fortunately they will have The Prince and his Kamikaze Kids. What else to call them? Did you find it interesting that in the closing minutes of a one goal game, Betts, Ortmeyer and Ward were on the ice. Think back to the last time there was hockey. Did we dare send anyone but Mark Messier out to take a defensive zone faceoff?

Tom Renney has coached this team beautifully to date. Fedor Fedorov who loooked lost the first two periods was given ice time in the third period. Tom Poti took a stupid penalty that looked fatal at the time but Renney brought him right back and Poti did play well. And Jagr got less than five minutes in the third period. However, this could be due to the four penalties the Rangers took in the third period The Ranger penalties added up to almost twenty minutes of minus a man but except for the goal by Chris Campoli The Prince and The Kids held the fort. In what has become a disturbing trend the Islanders forced the play the entire third period with thirteen shots on goal. It could be a fatigue factor, though watching Ortmeyer and the rest of the group it was hard to believe.

Renney now faces a difficult decision. Nine out of fourteen on the road is tough with the first one in Montreal Saturday. Montreal over the years has been a house of horrors for the Rangers. Stay with The Prince or go with Weekes? Weekes has to get in and play sooner or later. Put him in against Le Habs and bring The Prince back then on Monday at the Garden. Or play the hot hand, play The Prince and try to steal a road game. Stay tuned, an exciting start. Can we keep it going? We have other problems on defense and center but that's for another day.

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