Red Barber, the old Brooklyn Dodger and New York Yankee Hall of Fame Baseball announcer, used to say there were two types of errors, one of omission and one of commission. Tom Renney committed both last night. The act of omission was in not sitting Sandis Ozolinsh and the act of commission was in playing Kevin Weekes. Neither one did anything to help the Rangers last night and most certainly did very little to express confidence that they were helping in the long run.
When does Sandis Ozolinsh permanently get benched? This is now beyond ineptness. It is a two goal handicap every time this guy is in the lineup. Tell me where is this offensive prowess that he was bringing to the team? There is little hope that we will see no more of him. This is a Glen Sather project and we know what happens with Glen Sather projects.
Tom Poti is a Glen Sather project and yes, he is playing better now, but have you all forgotten his giveaways and softness? And yes where is his offensive game? So he is playing better? In comparision to what? To Sandis? Sandis pinched on a power play opportunity which led to the Devils first goal. He then came up to help Weekes who had already stopped the puck. All Sandis had to do was put his body on Madden but he put his body on Weekes. Goal! Game!
The playing of Weekes was an act of panic and desperation by Renney. Yes, he got plenty of support by the drive by sports media. They all lined up to support this move. Stan, the Maven, Fischler, Chico Resch, JD and the lot. What was their reasoning? Weekes played well against the Devils in the 2002 playoffs and beat them twice. Wow! The 2002 playoffs and two wins. Why not bring back Mike Richter? He beat them in the playoffs three times.
On a key play after a miserable Ranger performance on a five on three PP Weekes had a chance to come out and beat Madden to the puck. He didn't try, he played it safe. Safe is for losers and that is what we are today. That was the key sequence in the game, our failure to score on a 5-3, and them getting a SH goal. The party line was that Lundqvist was rusty from the long layoff. So tell me, is he going to be less rusty taking another night off? He should have played last night to take out the kinks, if there were any.
But don't worry, Renney says we are coming. So is Christmas. The Rangers did play better but only got 26 shots on goal. They actually took 64 shots but only 26 reached Brodeur. The Devils blocked 18 shots so twenty shots went wide and a Sykora shot clanged off the post during the five on three. The Rangers stopped shooting from the point after that shot and tried to beat Brodeur low on the five on three. That wasn't happening. The Rangers have to get at least thirty shots on the net against Brodeur. How many times have I said that? We must drive to the net for the rebounds and they were there, we couldn't cash them in.
The team as a whole played a gritty game but just couldn't score. Not good - two goals in two games. If we don't pick up our offense, great goaltender might not matter. Ryan Hollweg played a great game. he was moved up to the third line with Ortmeyer and Betts and that line accounted for the only goal. In 10:31 of ice time he was a plus one, got an assist on the goal and dished out seven hits. The Rangers outhit the Devils 27-21 with Hossa and Prucha getting four hits each. In a surprisingly tough game Petr Sykora playing on the first line gave out three hits got two shots on goal plus the big goal post hit. All in all the team played well except for the two big breakdowns by Ozolinsh.
Expect the Prince back in the nets tomorrow night. Jagr and Kasparaitis are still question marks. It's difficult to see how the Rangers can win without Jagr, though last nights game was winnable without the two big mistakes. We need a big game from the Prince and some rock and sock 'em from the rest of the team. The crowd, the faithful, will show up, will the Rangers?
ICINGS: The Rangers were 0-7 on the PP, the Devils 1-6. Must the Devils always looked pained and shocked every time a penalty is called? At least the refs are on to it. Grant Marshall was giving an unsportsmanlike conduct after elbowing Ortmeyer and deservingly so. Here is a guy who constantly goes in with his elbows up and screams when he is caught.
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