Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rock Bottom?

They say that sometime you need to hit rock bottom before you rebound your way to the top. Let's hope that for the Rangers sake rock bottom was last night in snowy Buffalo. It's hard to keep writing this but last night was the worst performance of the season. But I said that about the last game and then I said it about the previous game. You know what? I was right on all three games. But we have to hope that last night truly was it because the Devils come in tomorrow night and they and Martin Brodeur are playing quite well. Master magician Lou Lamierello has wiggled out of the salary cap problem and all systems are go in Devil land.

The Rangers are picking up where they left off at the end last year after a promising start. While their offense is clicking, 21 goals, their defense is crumbling allowing 23 goals. The 21 goals are tied for the third highest in the NHL. The 23 goals given up are tied with Phoenix for the worst in the NHL. Both numbers will be under attack against the disciplined Devils. But back to last night, it was a disaster.

The Rangers never allowed more than six goals all of last year. Last night it seemed that the Sabres scoring would never stop. And it wasn't just the scoring, it was the whole game. It was complete domination by the Sabres. The hits were 16-9 Sabres but it looked like 61-9. Jagr was hit often and dumped a few times and no one retaliated. Colton Orr tried to stir things up by fighting Andrew Peters but it was too little too late.

Ranger defensemen were often out of position usually getting caught high chasing a Sabre leaving the goal area unprotected. Kevin Weekes maybe could have cleared a few pucks sooner but for the most part he was left alone and at the mercy of the Sabres. Pock and Rachunek were both minus 3 but no defenseman distinguished himself. Look for Renney to use Pock's minus numbers as an excuse to put Kaspy back in there and Pock to sit. Still think Brian Leetch is too old to play for this team?

The Rangers are among the leaders in the early scoring races. Jagr is tied for first in the scoring race with 10 points, and leads in assists with 8. Shanahan is tied for first in goals with 6, and tied for 5th in scoring with 8. Nylander is tied for third in scoring with 9, and is second in assists with 7. All this means nothing as the Ranger slide looks ominously like last years season ending collapse. Can Renney stop this? He'd better or there will be more turmoil at the Garden than there was last year with the Knicks. Let's hope we hit the bottom last night.

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