Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rangers Miss The Point!

This post is late due to the Orange Bowl last night. Watching two seventyish (great age group) coaches slug it out was a lot of fun. Unfortunately two inept place kickers kept the game going longer than expected, or needed. The Florida State kicker, Gary Cismesia, not only missed two field goal attempts but also blew an extra point. In hindsight, that was the game winner and the miss caused the OT's. Kevin Kelly, the Penn State kicker, also missed two field goal attempts, in OT, but in a twist of fate, was awarded the game ball by his team mates. He is a freshman and maybe they figure they will need him next year. Not if he continues to kick like he did last night. Penn State finished with a 11-1 record and is certainly a lock as the number three team in the country. Great comeback from last year's 4-7 and it was poetic justice to see Joe Paterno picked as coach of the year.

Now speaking of ineptness, how else to describe the Rangers offense last night. Yes, John Grahame, the Tampa Bay goalie made 36 saves, but the Rangers offense had very little flow to it and a couple of breakaways went amiss with weak shots or no shots at all. Jaromir Jagr looked out of sync. He also looked annoyed. Perhaps taking two early penalties threw him off. Maybe it was the beautiful pass he fed to Michael Nylander, who missed an open net shot when he failed to control the puck. Whatever it was Jagr didn't seem quite himself last night. Earlier in the evening it was announced that he was named NHL player of the month for December. But to quote the boys in the booth, "five on five remains a bugaboo for the Rangers." The power play was 0-6 continuing its slide into mediocrity. Are you sure that Jagr shouldn't be on the point on the power play?

The Prince, Lunqvist, played well for the Rangers making some excellent saves. He stopped nineteen shots. He was awarded the number two star of the game but didn't make an appearance on the ice to be acknowledged. He also looked annoyed skating off. Perhaps he wondered why Prucha or Strudwick didn't even attempt to put a finger on Vaclav Prospel as he tried not once, not twice but three times to jam the puck into the net.

Thomas Pock was brought up from Hartford, and as the Rangers often do, they scratched him. Pock is an excellent defenseman with strong offensive skills who would be excellent on the power play. But he sat while Poti and Rozsival continue to unimpress despite the cheering from the booth.

While we continue to talk about rebuilding isn't it time we brought up Jarkko Immonen from Hartford and sat Steve Rucchin? The second line which has Prucha and Rucinsky needs a lift and some young blood. Rucchin is playing hurt so why leave him in there? Dominic Moore took a couple of his shifts last night, so what's the point. Get Immonen up. In 33 games he has 10 goals and 13 assists.

Renney's announcement that he will go with the hot goalie is nothing more than an acknowledgement that The Prince has been the better goalie, especially in the Garden, and overall is 14-5-5. Renney passed up a chance to see how far the Rangers have advanced by not playing Lundqvist against Ottawa, but tomorrow night The Prince must be in the nets against the high flying Flyers.

ICINGS: The Rangers are 2-4-2 in their last ten. Not good. They are one of five teams in the Eastern Conference with 50 or more points. The Canadians and Thrashers are tied for the last playoff spot with 42 points, so it is getting tight. The Devils are in tenth place with 39 points. Its not easy channel surfing between the Rangers and the Orange Bowl, but it was fun.

Boltsmag's take on the game last night:

If Ranger fans want to say this game was stolen from them — they can and can easily provide evidence (especially on Nylander’s breakaway in OT).

If Lightning fans want to complain about Referee treatment because Bobby Taylor barked about the Refs during the telecast - save it. A call is a call, you still got to play it through.

If Lightning fans wan to say John Grahame played hist best game between the pipes all year tonight, I’ll have to back you up on that…

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