Thursday, January 05, 2006

Renney Fails The Test

Tom Renney said before the matchup that the Rangers must bring their A Plus game against the Flyers tonight. Let me ask a stupid question. When you want an A Plus game why don't you put your A Plus team on the ice? And that includes the A Plus goalie. This is the second big statement type of game that Renney has blown by his choice of goalies. This was a huge game for the Rangers. They needed their best players to perform. And they did for most of the game. Jagr was superb with two of the most beautiful passes you will every see. Straka came up big with two goals, and Prucha got his 19th goal of the season. Even Ryan Hollweg was outstanding leading the team with four hits and mixing it up with Flyer defenseman Ben Eager and sending a message to the Flyers that these Rangers are different from Ranger past teams.

So what went wrong? Why did the Rangers lose tonight to the Flyers? Why? Because Tom Renney again left The Prince out against the Flyers. Renney left Lundqvist out against the Senators until it was to late. Tonight there was no recovery. The Prince sat the whole night.

Make no mistake, Tom Renney lost this game tonight. After the game Renney made some inane comment about maybe we are not quite there yet. How does he know? His best team was not on the ice tonight. Given Lundqvist's record, 2.19 GAA, it is conceivable to believe that the Rangers would have won this game 3-1. Kim Johnsson's Bobby Orr type rush up the ice to score the tying goal probably was unstoppable. The rest stoppable, especially the OT game winner. In fairness to Weekes, Michal Rozsival, as the defenseman, was invisible as Simon Gagne skated right through him to score the game winner. But the shot should have been stopped. Weekes made 19 saves on 23 shots, a performance that is not likely to improve his .892 save percentage. Lundqvist's save percentage is .925.

Tonight, Tom Renney let the fans down and more importantly his own players. He didn't like Weekes getting booed. He doesn't like Poti getting booed. Look at their performances Tom, should we cheer them? Tom Poti put in another mediocre game. The duo of Marek Malik and Michal Rozsival are lethal, to our goaltenders. I love Malik. His shootout goal will live forever in my mind. He is slow and along with Rozsival they turn over the puck too many times. I could live with Malik but I cannot continue to live with the combo of Malik and Rozsival. What are Tom Renney and his coaching staff looking at? We brought up Thomas Pock and he has sat for two games. He moves the puck, he is excellent on the power play and he is a solid defenseman. Out side of Tyutin what other defenseman can you say that about? You don't like the booing Tom? Stay tuned. If you keep making the wrong calls on the goalies I can assure you that you will be next to be booed.

Driving home from the railroad I listened to WFAN and ESPN radio. The hosts, along with some callers were concerned that the Ranger penalty killers gave up 3 goals in five chances. They wanted to know what happened? The last time I checked, the penalty kill unit is made up of five people, four skaters and a goalie. A goalie folks! The goalie is an important part of the penalty kill.

Tonight, The Goalie was sitting on the bench. This was about the time back in the 90's when the Captain went up to the coach and made certain suggestions and they were heeded. I even remember one time when the Captain went to the GM and got rid of the coach. We haven't reached that point here but we are nearing the point where the players are going to realize who is the main man in goal.

Tom, the Rangers have a chance to be something special this year. We have a shot at the playoffs and we have a shot to do a lot of damage to some of the top tier teams. Don't blow it Tom. Give us that chance. Get The Prince back in the nets and make sure he plays in all the 'statement' type games. The fans want him, the players need him and his record justifies his playing.

ICINGS: Donald Brashear after every whistle when he was on the ice made sure he bumped into a Ranger, sticked him, glared at him and all the old Broad Street Bully stuff. This 'hockey player' has played in 37 games this year with one goal 2 assists and 47 minutes in penalties. Stupid me, I thought this had gone away in the new NHL. And JD tells us how now he is a complete hockey player. C'mon JD there is no chance that he will stick you. Needless to say the refs missed all that but somehow concocted a tripping penalty on Fedor Tyutin for hitting the puck on Gagne's stick, which led to Flyer goal number three. Anyone else for going back to one referee?

update: No surprise here - Ranger Land is universally PO'd with Renney for playing Weekes instead of Lundqvist.

The Blueshirt Bulletin:

for the second time in the past couple of weeks, Renney chose to go with Weekes, clearly the lesser netminder, when facing the top two teams in the league. And he paid the price with a pair of losses.

The timing in this game was particularly unfortunate because Lundqvist was coming off three good games in a row, was without question the hot goalie. It was unfortunate as well because the rest of the team played well in front of Weekes until his bad goals deflated them in the latter half of the second period.

The Hockey Rodent:
This was not the first time that head coach Tom Renney has played Kevin Weekes after the Swede turned in a stellar performance the game before. Nor did Weekes deliver that time, either....And just 48 hours after the coach told the world he would ride the hot hand, he does exactly the opposite - perhaps to fool Ken Hitchcock in some act of gamesmanship. Now who's the fool?

Blueshirts on Broadway:
For the life of me I cannot understand the Rangers organization. Henrik Lundqvist should be their #1 goal tender, and that is who should be in the net in huge games like this one. Tonight could have made the difference for the Rangers and in such an important game I can’t believe they would make this move.

Alright. I'm not going to kill you-know-who for doing you-know-what in last night's important Rangers-Flyers game. Allow me to take the moral high-ground here.

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