Friday, October 13, 2006

Getting Old And Cranky

I must be getting old and cranky. Last nights game was awful. The fans got cheated out of a hockey game. What they saw was a scrum between a young reckless team and an old careless team. While the Penguins played their youth the Rangers sat theirs. Tom Renney, philosopher extraordinarius, sat Nigel Dawes in favor of Colton Orr and preceded to give Orr all of 2:41 of ice time. Ryan Hollweg got all of 4:48 of ice time and you wonder why we are not tough and get belted around. I don't believe Sidney Crosby was touched once while Jagr was hit often, especially by his nemesis Jarkko Ruutu. Needless to say no Ranger retaliated. How could they, the hitters were sitting on the bench.

Half of the game was played by special teams. Nine of the eighteen penalties were hooking penalties, the lazy man's penalty. There were five tripping penalties, three interference calls and one high sticking, Ruutu on Jagr. We the fans who sat there in a half empty Garden, got screwed and deserve a refund. It wasn't hockey. The new NHL has turned into The European Federation of Politically Correct Skaters. The game ended on an appropriate note. A hooking penalty by Jagr behind the goal in the offensive end that resulted in Crosby's game winning goal.

We outhit the Penguins 20-18 but our hits were compiled by seven players. Our top defensive pair of Rozsival and Malik, Renney's answer to Abbott and Costello, had a combined total of no hits and three giveaways. And that was the good news. The 'veteran' heavy Ranger team gave the puck away 11 times, the 'rookie' loaded Penguins gave the puck away 4 times. What happened to the youth movement for the Rangers? Still think Brian Leetch is too old to play for this team?

During the off season the drain trust of Ranger management said that they were going to keep spots open for rookies to make the team, so they weren't going to overload on free agents. But let's think about that. Would not have Brendan Witt made a better choice than Aaron Ward? Would not have Jason Arnott been better than Matt Cullen? Maybe a little more expensive but the Rangers do have cap room? Hindsight you say? No way. I have been preaching this all through the free agency period. We have a short sighted management group and an unimaginative head coach. But Renney absolved himself. "We were encouraging the right things on the bench, naturally". Really? Like continuing to put Rozsival and Straka on the point.

One frightening thought is that Lundqvist looks human. I suggested yesterday that it was time to put Weekes in to give The Prince an early season rest. Now it looks like Weekes may go against Buffalo and that is also scary. Last year Renney was lucky. He rode the coattails of Jagr and Lundqvist until both got hurt and the team collapsed. Renney had no thought then how to fix the problem and he doesn't have one now. Nothing has changed. We need super seasons from Jagr and Lundqvist to be successful.

What is going on with Kasparaitis? Renney says he is not ready yet, he must pass some tests. Did Renney put Malik through the same tests? When Kaspy comes back it will be Pock who sits, not Malik. Then we will have a team that has no rookies on it and with minor exceptions, the same as last year. Yes, Shanahan is a great player, but he cannot carry a team. Jagr can. Lundqvist can. Right now they are both struggling and when these two struggle, the Rangers struggle, and there is nothing in Tom Renney's makeup or bag of tricks to save this season. Its getting late early.

ICINGS: A nice tribute to Corey Lidle before the National Anthem. It was very tasteful and sincere and the crowd was very respectful. Nice touch. Lets pray for Corey his wife, son and parents. God bless.

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  • Anonymous said...

    You might have to get ready to write the obligatory story about Lundqvist having a "sophomore slump" ?

  • mike said...

    anonymous-I think its a little early for that one. It's usually called the "sophomore jinx".