Friday, March 02, 2007

Renney, Rangers Go Into The Tank

When the obituary is written at the end of this season it could be said, they couldn't handle the dreaded two goal lead. Last night was the third game on this homestand that the Rangers blew a two goal lead. Instead of six points they get two, which I'm sure pleased Tom Renney no end.

Tom Renney decided that his team should shoot first in the ill conceived shootout. The home team should always shoot last and get hyped when their goalie stops the other teams first shooter. However, no matter. Nylander, Jagr and Prucha did nothing. Jagr is now 0-4, Prucha is 0-5 and Nylander is 3-8. Jagr decided to shoot and while he didn't score he did put a good move but may have been rusty. With all the noise about him ducking the shootout, he had to make an attempt. Maybe if all the top players refuse to shoot in the shootout, they will do away with it. Fat chance. I will say it again, one day a Stanley Cup will be decided by a shootout and those of us who like hockey and hate gimmicks will wonder aloud, "How did this happen?"

The third period was the downfall for the Rangers, again. Lundqvist seemed to lose his focus after Jordan Staal's shorthanded goal, his second against the Rangers and his sixth of the year. He toasted the pair of Rozsival and Cullen. Lundqvist was then caught out of position on Armstrong's shorthanded goal as he first chased the puck and then retreated back into the goal too late to stop the shot. The Rangers who had only given up two shorthanded goals prior to the Columbus game have now given up four shorthanded goals in the last three games.

Sergei Gonchar scored the tying goal on a power play after the Ranger power play was negated by a terrible call by referee Craig Spada, who whistled off Betts for charging Pens goalie Fleury who was a good fifteen feet out of the net. I know it sounds partisan but the refs continue to job the Rangers game after game, especially on home ice. What was exasperating was that Spada was at the blue line and Rob Schick was closest behind the net and called nothing.

So the Rangers picked up a point on Montreal, Carolina and Toronto but gave up one of those games in hand that are useless unless you pick up two points. Let's face it we are a sub par .500 team. We have won thirty games and have lost, including shootouts, thirty-four. Tell me, when does Tom Renney start to take full blame for this mess? Nothing has changed on the ice. Sure Ward is gone, but Rachunek still plays while Pock sits. Isbister is brought up from Hartford while Callahan sits in Hartford. Cullen is back as a second line center, a role he has proved that he can't handle. The power play continues with the same line continuing to keep passsing the puck around and staying on too long, hence the shorthanded goals. The PP is 4-16 in the last three games and has given up four shorthanded goals in the last three games. Maybe we should decline the next time we get a power play opportunity.

The Rangers have not beaten the Pens once in regulation in the five games played against each other. So now we prepare for another bottom feeder, St. Louis. I don't know about you, but I can't wait until this homestand is over so that we can hit the road and win some games. For those of you who care, you can send the flowers and mass cards to MSG in care of James Dolan, master destroyer.

ICINGS: Fedor Tyutin was injured early in the second period with a sprained knee. It is not known how long he will be out.

March 2, 2007
Mara Arrives After Wacky Tuesday
Giveaway Night At The Garden
Daily News
Blueshirts Point Downhill
NY Post
Jagr No Help In Shootout
5 Questions For Joe Micheletti
Journal News
Rangers Let Another One Get Away

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