Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Six And Sputtering



Rangers sputtering and breaking downYou remember way back on March 5th I wrote, "A Shot Across The Bow," a reminder that after a 2-1 loss to the Devils that it was going to be playoff type hockey and the Rangers better get their act together. I may have misspoke, the shot may have actually hit an engine because the Rangers have been sputtering ever since.

Last nights performance was an attempt by the Rangers to wipe out all the good things that had been accomplished prior to the Olympics. The loss was a season high six. There was no crispness, no attention to detail, no forechecking, no checking and no coaching. The fact that it was so close only underscores what might have been with a little effort.

It was a game of failures for the Rangers. In the second period with the score tied 1-1, Blair Betts, about ten feet from the blue line in the defensive zone, failed to get the puck over the blue line with a cutesy pass which led to a goal by Doug Weight which fittingly bounced off of Blair before it went in. Marion Hossa had a shorthanded breakaway in the second period and failed to get a shot off. In the same period Martin Straka, hooked on a breakaway, was given a penalty shot and failed to get a shot off.

With the Rangers down by one, with about a minute to play, and pressing with six skaters Petr Sykora failed to get the puck in deep and then Sandis Ozolinsh failed to hold on to the puck giving Cory Stillman an empty net shot which he buried. And Tom Renney failed to sit an injured Martin Rucinsky before the game and the Rangers paid for it as he only played 5:14 before leaving injured again. Renney for some reason failed to play Ryan Hollweg again and the Rangers accumulated all of ten hits in the game.

Ten hits for 60 minutes of ice time. You would think that by accident players would hit each other. Nine Rangers had no hits. Tyutin, Poti and Kasparaitis had no hits. Is Kaspy wearing down? The only Ranger with more than one hit was Rozsival. The Hurricanes had fifteen hits and these were quality hits with the Ranger defensemen being punished. The way the Rangers are structured there isn't much hitting expected from the first two lines. Steve Rucchin is built to be more aggressive but he plays a very soft game. His game does pick up once he is in the locker room.

Tom Renney is beginning to look like all the ghosts of coaches past. What went through his mind to put Martin Rucinsky in the starting lineup. He said it was optional. He left it up to Rucinsky to tell him if he was ready. Ridiculous. Most hockey players will play with any kind of injuries. These are not baseball players who take a week off for a head cold. Hockey players want to play and will despite any injuries. You are the coach man. You make the call. He could have gotten seriously injured. Then see what happens coach?

What is the story about sitting Hollweg? The HMO line without Hollweg dished out a total of three hits. Yes, Hossa generated offense, six shots, but came up blank on the scoresheet.

Where to go from here? How to stop the bleeding? Jaromir Jagr, who played a great game hurt, summed it about the four game homestand coming up. "It might be our season. That's the way I look at it." Jagr has lost his scoring lead to Joe Thornton who has 95 points to Jagr's 94. Look for the Rangers to go with Lundqvist for the four game stand. The Prince leads the league with a 2.07 GAA with Hasek second at 2.09. The Prince is in a three way tie in save percentages with Huet of Montreal and Tim Thomas of Buffalo. All have a .927%.

ICINGS: Think about this. With seventeen games to go the Rangers are still two points ahead of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference and are seventh overall in the NHL. Post Olympics record now stands at 1-4-1-1.

Rangerland is dumbfounded by Renney not playing Hollweg.

Blueshirt Bulletin:


the Rangers were being pounded not by big bruisers, but by guys like Weight and Mark Recchi -- with no fear of payback with Ryan Hollweg in street clothes. The Rangers are doomed if they insist on keeping their best sparkplug, their best hitter, off the ice, doing their opponents a favor every time they scratch him.

Blueshirts on Broadway:
Ryan Hollweg rode the bench tonight-for the life of me I can’t understand why, this kid gives the team good strong clean hits and makes things happen and he is rewarded with a trip to the bench.

Larry Brooks at the NY Post:
Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why junkyard dog Ryan Hollweg was scratched from last night's lineup and why Renney has seemingly lost faith in the energy unit of Hollweg, Dominic Moore and Jed Ortmeyer that was so effective and important throughout so much of the pre-Olympics portion of the season.

The HockeyRodent:
Where was Ryan Hollweg? Wouldn't he have made more of a difference out there than Hossa? I'm telling you this experiment with the Slovak has got to stop. It's wasting precious ice time. So what that Hossa's got talent? He has no clue how to use it. The team needs an injection of something. Maybe it's got to come from Hartford.


Acid Queen enjoyed Canes smacking Rangers, except for the drunken peasantsThe Acid Queen enjoyed watching her Canes "smacking of the Rangers." But it doesn't sound like her royal majesty was sitting in the Royal Box. Those damn drunken peasants and their "jackassery" - off with their heads:
the durnken asshats sitting behind me in 332 Row D, who were still being served beer even though they were clearly intoxicated, and who should (in my opinion) have been tossed by the RBC securebots (who were posted at each end of the section) when all of us in Row A plus all the people sitting around them complained to the ushers AND to security about them...two morons, who roont a lot of the night for me and everyone else with their drunken jackassery

Stan Fischler:
By now it should be clear that Sid (Der Bingle) Crosby will not win The Calder. It’s not even close. Henrik (I’m Not Henny Youngman) Lundqvist and Alex (I’m All-Inclusive) Ovechkin are neck-and-neck for the prize. If The Big O totals 50 goals, that should clinch it for the rapid Russian.



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