Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Road Wrecks

In six road games the Rangers have accumulated all of one point and Lundqvist had to pitch a shutout to get that point. Last night was a typical road performance, unfortunately it came against the Islanders who have now beaten us twice at the Coliseum. The Rangers with future Hall Of Fame goal scorers like Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan plus other top goal scorers like Martin Straka and Petr Prucha decided to bolster their scoring at the beginning of the season by adding top notch offensive talent like Chris Drury and Scott Gomez to give them as potent a force of wingers as any team in the NHL.

So what kind of a powerhouse do we have? We have come off of a six game homestand where we won five of six and the last four straight and we scored a total of twelve goals in those six games. Imagine, twelve goals in six games and five wins. Why can't we score goals? Why can't we have a sustained forecheck game and put more pucks in the net? We bulked up on offensive firepower and we have basically turned into the reincarnation of the NJ Devils. We have a coach who has proclaimed his doctrine. Defense comes first and the offense will come from the defense. Stupid me, I thought the best defense was a strong offense.

If you saw the game last night you saw the tale of two teams and more importantly two coaches. There was Ted Nolan, animated, smiling and smirking throughout the game. Then there was coach clueless, tense, unsmiling and lost. This demeanor reflects on a team. The Rangers right now are playing a close to the vest, don't screw up type of defensive game which is anchored by Henrik Lundqvist who has covered up many a mistake.

In the second period, Gomez had a chance to split two Islander defensemen and go directly to the net. Instead, he passed the puck backward to a defenseman and it caused a turnover. One of the beat writers wants to know if Gomez left his game in the Lincoln Tunnel. I think Gomez and a few others are leaving their game in practice.

So where was or is the mistake happening? Was it wrong to go after Drury and Gomez in preseason or is it wrong to follow this defense at all costs philosophy? If defense was the main theme of this team why sign Drury and Gomez? If defense was the overriding theme of this team, then keep Nylander and go after some defensive forwards. Apparently it is defense and if you watch any of the games you can see the tentative play that has taken over the team. Except for Lundqvist, who should have not been held out to dry like he was last night and like he has in other games.

Is it the players or is it the system that has kept the scoring down? Is this what the Stealth GM wants and if so why the big dollar surge for two potent forwards? Will the press ever ask these questions? Am I a minority of one who wants to know if I will continue to pay top dollar to see boring hockey games, where every night the goalies are the stars of the game? Stay tuned.

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