Friday, April 27, 2007

Three Bad Strikes Kill Lundqvist & Rangers

I'm pissed. I hate to write or say anything when I'm pissed, but I have to. It started with the lineup announcement. Is Ortmeyer hurt? Brad Isbister for Ortmeyer? I missed Ortmeyer right after Prucha took a stupid tripping penalty 29 seconds after Straka had given the Rangers a 1-0 lead. There was Marcel Hossa on the ice with Blair Betts and Hossa didn't have a clue of how to kill a penalty with the result that Brian Campbell skated in untouched and put one by Lundqvist who was totally screened, 21 seconds later. One gift goal for the Sabres who were scoreless on the next three power plays with Hossa sitting on the bench. Unless Ortmeyer is hurt, what was Renney thinking? Strike one!

Paul Mara had put the Rangers ahead 2-1 with 1:20 left in the second period and it looked good for the Blueshirts who had held Buffalo to nine shots in two periods. Then came the play of the game, maybe the series, at the 24 second mark of the third period, for the Rangers. Marek Malik sent a clearing pass from behind the Ranger goal on to the stick of Toni Lydman who fired a shot that was deflected by Chris Drury for the tying goal. Inexcusable. It completely wiped out two brilliant periods of hockey by the Rangers. Had Thomas Pock made that play he would sit for the rest of the playoffs. But this was Malik, the darling of the drive by sports media. This was Malik, the king of plus/minuses. This is the guy that Renney raves about with his great, first pass out of the zone. And you so called sports mavens wonder why we boo him so much every time he touches the puck. It could be a boo festival Sunday afternoon. Strike two!

But the Rangers had one more left in them. Halfway through the third period Rachunek and Hollweg chased Brian Campbell behind the Ranger net and not one of them even put a hand on him and it resulted in the game winner by Thomas Vanek. This is two games in a row that Rachunek has distinguished himself by his inability to pick up or stop his man. And Thomas Pock continues to sit and I will never stop wondering why he resigned a two year extension with this team. Do you think that Pock and Orr would have stopped Campbell from skating like he owned the back of the Ranger net? Strike three!

Other musings from this game. Jaromir Jagr unable to score a goal even though he had six shots. He has two goals in six playoff games and one of those was an empty netter. Michael Nylander played his poorest game of the playoffs. Twenty one minutes, no shots on goal and losing 13 of 15 faceoffs. Brendan Shanahan had bad luck on five shots and two crossbars and Sean Avery was active again with three shots, three hits and winning eight out of fourteen face offs. Ryan Callahan in 12:35 of ice time had three shots and four hits. This kid should be put on the first line with Jagr and Nylander to jump start it. It needs more life that it has shown so far. Disturbing to me was Dainius Zubrus running around nailing everybody, nine hits, with some questionable hits and no one on the Rangers to challenge him. The hit on Jagr looked like an intent to injure to me, but I see things different when I am p'od.

Lundqvist was credible with fifteen saves and Ryan Miller, perhaps annoyed by the talk about Lundqvist's greatness, played an outstanding game stopping 31 of 33 shots, some of them spectacular. Without a doubt the star of the game. Zubrus, with no points, was the second star and Thomas Vanek with the game winning goal was the third star.

I hope that Ortmeyer is not hurt but I would like to hear a good explanation from Renney than just, "I had to play Isbister." For those who are starting to despair, not me I'm just p'od, remember that all Buffalo did was hold serve for the first two games. Now the Rangers have to do the same back on the Garden ice starting Sunday. Maybe I'll be in a better mood after that game. Maybe, as you age, and God knows I am aging, you look for the little things.


April 28, 2007
No.2 Needs To Be The One
40 Minutes Isn't Enough For Win
Make No Mistake: This Victory Was Squarely In Miller's Glove
Daily News
Rangers Give 'Em 2
NY Post
Tough Loss But Don't Sing Blues Just Yet
Game 2 Slips Away
Journal News
Rozsival Returns To The Ice For Rangers
Sabres Thwart Rangers

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  • lobster said...

    Why are you focusing on Ortmeyer? What about Malik? THis guy single-handedly took away all the momentum from the Rangers and put in into the hands of a sleepy Sabres team last night in the third period. He is the reason they lost. If this guy isn't giving up blind passes then he is putting the puck in his own net. THere was no excuse for that!!! Bench him the rest of the series and put in Pock!!!

  • Sabresin07 said...

    It's nice to see a Rangers fan not whining about what they didn't get and owning up to why they didn't. Being a Buffalo fan, (big shocker that I approve of your comments!!)I am sometimes shocked to hear other fans complain constantly. You are completely correct on saying Renny is making some piss poor decisions right now. The Rangers proved last series that they deserve to be here, and now need leadership and good decisions to take them further.
    I will disagree with your post loss anger regarding the Zubrus hit. If Buffalo wants to win this, they have to show more than just speed, they need to show some strength, and that is what Zubi did last night. I do have 2 gripes though. 1) Although it did not turn out to be any type of difference maker in the game, did anyone else, besides me and the ref who put his arm up, see the obvious off sides by the Rangers in the 3rd period. How is that not called?? 2) It has long been my opinion that the league does not want a team like Buffalo winning the cup despite the fact they posted a league tieing winning streak at the beginning of the year, winning the presidents cup, they are clearly the most all around skilled team, and they do all this without having a single guy stand out above the rest. It is an honest OPINION of mine that the NHL wants a large market team to win the cup to try and gain a fan base again for this great sport. Why else would the refs have called Briere for cross checking with under 2 minutes to go, but it happened to him just a few minutes prior with no call. Big fan of your blog, putting a cooler next to my recliner on Sunday! Go Sabres!!

  • mike said...

    lobster-Did you read my article? I spent a paragraph ripping Malik. I've been ripping him all year. My focus on Ortmeyer was that he should have been playing and Buffalo would not have scored the first goal.

  • mike said...

    sabresin07-Tampa Bay and Carolina won the last two Cups and I would not call them big market. Penalties? How about the bogus 4 minute penalty to Tyutin and the bogus call on Hollweg the night before? C'mon! Nice comment and thanks for reading the Pundit.

  • Binghamton Bob said...

    Being halfway between Buffalo & NY I've rooted for both teams over the years. I still feel the pain of that Brett Hull skate in the crease in the 1999 Stanley Cup final. I just hope the refs stay out of the picture in this series. I agree the that the league would prefer to see NY stay in the playoffs, but I don't believe in any conspiracy theories that impact the officiating. I'm a big Lundqvist fan, but I'd love to see the Sabres get their cup. This series will be bittersweet one or another for me.

  • mike said...

    binghamton bob-Maybe the series will go seven games with 4 OT's and that should make you happy.

  • kaspar fan said...

    As always, Mike, I have to agree with you. Malik has been a positive force. But ONLY for the other side. I miss Pock. I miss Pock. I miss Pock. Malik's hype? I don't see it. I don't get it. And Orr? As much as I love to see Hollweg, he does not belong in the lineup. Not for this series. Regarding Ortmeyer? He continuously puts his body in the line of fire to block and stop shots. Isbister? BEH!

  • mike said...

    kaspar fan-Never break up a winning combination.

  • Anonymous said...

    I am sick and tired of hearing fans/media out side of New York constantly complain that the league wants a big market team (i.e. NYR) to win the cup. It’s just not true. Have these people ever watched a Rangers game? I watch a lot of hockey, other then the Rangers, and I constantly see penalties that aren’t called but would have been called against the Rangers. I’ve seen goal reviews come down directly from the “NHL” go against the Rangers while ones that should have gone for the Rangers were deemed no good. This series exemplifies my perspective. Buffalo puts a puck in with a hand that is moving forward off the stick. The play was called no goal by the ref, but after further review it was a goal. I saw the replay 10-20 times at no point could I tell if it went off the stick or his hand let alone figure out what his intent was. So to me the correct call should have been to let the play stand as it was called on the ice. Enter last night’s game where the Rangers could have taken a 2 goal lead. I’ve only seen the replay a hand full of times (I was at the game and the fans in attendance are the only people not allowed to see a replay) and it looked to me that his stick was in front of his feet and he was breaking when the puck went off of his skates. That’s a goal. So please stop this nonsensical talk about how the league wants the Rangers to win, if anything I can make a stronger argument in how the league wants the Rangers to loss. Did you see the penalties called and not called?

  • mike said...

    anonymous-The refs are atrocious. Last nights game was a farce.