Sunday, December 30, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

The right guy had the puck skating in all alone on Canadien goalie Cristobal Huet in OT at the Garden tonight. Sprung by passes from Dan Girardi, who had just broken up a Montreal rush, and Chris Drury who feathered him a beauty, Brendan Shanahan blistered one by the hapless goalie to give the Rangers a comeback win over Le Habs. It marked the end of an improbable comeback rally after the Rangers sleep walked through the second period, one shot on goal, and much of the third. I believe the rally started when Fedor Tyutin put a rocket off the post that originally was called a goal but was then over ruled by the powers to be. The goal would have tied the game at three apiece. The Rangers then started to press and with about five minutes left they tied the game as Drury won an offensive zone draw back to Paul Mara, went to the net where Avery was already causing havoc and put in the rebound of Mara's shot.

With a little over a minute to play coach clueless basically played for a point by putting the fourth line out to bottle up the Canadiens. No pretense at trying to win, let's go for the tie. Fortunately, 'player coach' Shanahan saved the night with his 14th goal of the season and the 641st of his career which now puts him in 11th place all time 27 goals behind Luc Robitaille.

The Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead on Girardi's 7th of the season but the Rangers in the person of Marek Malik gave it right back. After losing the puck he committed a foolish penalty which gave the Canadiens a power play goal. While the large contingent of Montreal fans were still roaring the Rangers came back to take a 2-1 lead only 17 seconds later on Jagr's 11th of the year, his fourth in three games and the 632nd of his career putting him 8 goals behind Dave Andreychuk who is in 12th place.

Two goals by Montreal plus passive play by the Rangers had given Montreal a 3-2 lead going into the third period. The Rangers were still sleep walking until Fedor Tyutin's rocket off the post woke them up. As I watched this game I became more and more convinced that there are three people that this team doesn't need and it would be addition by subtraction if they were gone. They are: Coach clueless, Marek Malik and Marcel Hossa. Meanwhile Ivan Baranka and Nigel Dawes are still in Hartford out of deference to two marginal NHL players. They are contributing nothing to this team. Watching Shanahan and Jagr comport themselves night in and night out is proof to me that this team doesn't need a coach, especially a clueless one.

ICINGS: Number two son and I were joined by my son-in-law and my five year old granddaughter Allessandra. Her first question to me was, "Grandpa, what number does Sean Avery wear?" The guy must have it folks. He draws them from all ages. Finally. A Healthy and Happy New Year to all my Pundit readers and their families. May 2008 be the best year ever for you. God Bless.

Happy New Year

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  • Anonymous said...

    Love your columns. They're headed in the right direction for sure. I do agree that Hossa and Malik are great examples of addition by subtraction, however I don't think Renney is as bad as it may seem. It maybe the fact that he lacks the ability to put some fire under the vets' butts and coddles them too much. Anyway, they're on a role, let's hope they have a great road trip. All the best to you and yours and have a great New Year.

  • mike said...

    markt2323-Should be the biggest and toughest road trip of the season. Lets hope. Thanks for your comments and the best of '08 to you and yours.

  • wes said...

    It does seem like the veterans will step it up when it looks like the team/Renney are getting ready to sink. They must have a vested interest in protecting him, perhaps because he does "coddle" them.

    But, Shanahan definitely seems like coaching material and I'd like to see him really coaching the Rangers some day soon after his playing days.

  • mike said...

    wes-Good point. Protect the guy who lets them slide a bit. Shanny would be a great, tough coach. Have a wonderful New Year.

  • Section 335 said...

    I got home in time to see Shanny on the post-game interview. His words were very carefully chosen and proper when he spoke about Renney's telling the team after the game to "drink responsibly," but you could hear in his voice his lack of respect for this coach. Barry Melrose correctly says that this team has the talent to challenge Ottawa for first and should not be fighting in the pack for a playoff spot.

    Here is my New Year's wish for this team. One, a sniper on the first line to open the ice for Jagr. Two, a coach to order someone to step up whenever Prucha get boarded or slashed. Three, Sather to trade for a heavy hitting defenseman to keep the front of the net clear for Henrik.

    If, and this is a huge if, Jagr can start to shoot straight again, this team can make the finals with two more players to replace Malik and Hossa.

  • mike said...

    section335-Ah, the New Year with new hopes and new dreams. From your mouth to the hockey Gods ears. Happy New Year.

  • Down by the Seaside said...

    Hey Pundit, how can you write about the Montreal game and not mention Alex Kovalev's name even once?! He was only the best player on the ice all night. Perhaps you're getting soft on GM Sather, who dumped him for (can anyone remember without looking online?). Remember who "Coach Clueless" answers to: the same guy who's won (how many?! 6 yikes!) playoff games in 7 seasons here.

  • mike said...

    down by the seaside- CC and the Stealth GM are working hard for us so that we can forget Larry Popein, Ron Low and Tom Webster.