Wednesday, November 16, 2005

New NHL - Same Old Refs

So what happens when an irresistible force (Toronto's power play, ranked second in the NHL) meets an immovable object (Ranger penalty kill, ranked second in the NHL)? In this case the force, Toronto, aided and abetted by some questionable calls from referee Massenhoven wins. Bryan McCabe scored a power play goal, his second of the game, early in the third period on an interference call by Jed Ortmeyer on goalie Ed Belfour. Belfour was way out of the crease when he and Ortmeyer hit each other and from these tired old eyes the call could have gone against Belfour for overacting. There could be an opening for him in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.

The only Ranger goal was an even strength goal from Jagr which was surprising to me because Toronto's defense has given up the fifth worst goals against in the NHL. Martin Straka hit the post on a breakaway after faking Belfour out of his skates and Marcel Hossa had a goal waved off on another questionable call, this one a high stick of a flying puck.

But that was yesterday and the Rangers now move on to Carolina where they face their toughest test of this young season. Hey Pundit, didn't you say that prior to the Toronto game? Yes I did. But that is the kind of season this is evolving into. Every game is a must for the Rangers. There is no looking ahead or no looking back. We all knew this was a rebuilding year. Just don't tell that to Jaromir Jagr. But it is also a year of growing and learning. Who would have thought that after twenty games the Rangers would be first in their division, two points ahead of the Flyers. Yes I know the Flyers have four games in hand but we will deal with that and hands have been known to disappear (see Godfather movies).

It is now time to return the Prince back to the nets. So far this twofer is working well where each goalie plays two and then sits two. This puts the Prince back to back, home and home against Carolina. Carolina is tops in their division, second in the conference with 27 points. The Rangers are fifth and the other pundits (notice I use a small p for them) must be scratching their heads wondering what happened here to a team that was supposed to finish thirtieth. So far its great coaching by Tom Renney. By the way, where is Glen Sather? Does anyone care? Great coaching, great goal tending, the energetic Kamikaze kids and the wonderful great Jaromir Jagr. Eat your heart out Don Cherry.

ICINGS: For those of you who are new to Ranger Pundit, goalie Henrik Lundqvist is referred to as "The Prince" and the collective bunch of young scrappers, Hollweg, Betts, Moore, Ortmeyer, etc. are known as the "Kamikaze Kids."

Update - Ranger Land agrees about the refs.

Dubi at the Bullshirt Bulletin:

I always believed that referees should be fined for blatantly bad or missed calls that affect the outcome of games. The referees in this game, by that standard, should be relieved of their duties...

Alan at The Rangers Game Log:
...once again I’m forced to point to two questionable (and in one of those cases, ‘questionable’ doesn’t even begin to apply) penalty calls as big turning points in the game.

Shari Forst at Blueshirts on Broadway:
The officiating so far this season has been more one sided against the Rangers than I can remember. The Rangers always seemed to be penalized more than other teams, now I don’t know if thats just my jaded judgment, or the refs hate NY or both, but I can tell you in this game the Maple Leafs capitalized on a very bad call to get their second goal.

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