Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Homecoming Pawns


There was a big roar from the crowd when the PA announcer said that Marek Malik was scratched, but I swear his spirit was on the ice. The Rangers, coming home from a dreadful three game western losing streak, were not ready to play and were sloppy and indecisive. Three of the four Tampa Bay goals were deflections, one by a Ranger. Earlier in the season Lundqvist may have made a save or two on these deflections but those moments seem far gone for now. Chris Gratton, who always seems to do well against the Rangers scored twice. Ex Rangers Jan Hlavac and Jason Ward each picked up an assist with Hlavac a +2 and Ward a +3. Our number one line of Gomez, Jagr and Drury were each a -3. Strange night.

The Rangers still scored the first goal by Jagr at the 3:02 mark and then the obsessive defense first coach clueless decided to play defense. Defense against a team that is 29th out of 30th in the NHL. Defense against a team that had three road wins before this game. Defense against a team that had given up the most goals in the NHL. Defense against a team that was playing a goalie, Karri Ramo, who was playing in his 8th game and had a GAA of 3.25 and a save % of .892. No wonder Lightning coach John Tortorella was smiling all night. The fourth line got plenty of ice time, Orr 13:16, Hollweg 13:51 and Betts 13:44 of even strength time. Only Betts got PK time, 2:21. Petr Prucha got all of 8:13 of playing time, no power play time. This was the least of any forwards. One of my sources at the Garden told me that Prucha is being shopped around the NHL.

The Rangers put on a third period rally that got the fans excited but it fell short. They had a good shot at tying it when they were presented with a five on three power play for 1:24 about halfway through the period but they came up empty as Shanahan couldn't hit the net and Rozsival refused to shoot the puck. Later on Mara sent a rocket off the post and Gomez's shot got by Ramo and just skipped by an open net. Then it was over and the Blueshirts lost their fourth straight and are tied with the Islanders, who lost in the shootout last night, for the eighth and final playoff spot.

After the game there were the usual quotes, you've heard them before but there was this from coach clueless. "We've put ourselves in the position where every second of hockey is crucial to us." Really! He sure didn't coach that way. In fact he hasn't coached at all as this team continues to sink like a rock. They are 5-9-3 in their last 17 games. I was wrong when I called them a .500 team, they are sub .500.

ICINGS: Bad news on Avery, who may need surgery and could be out for the season. That would be devastating to the Rangers. Becky Gulsvig of "Legally Blonde" belted out the national anthem and must have been primed for the many outbursts that take place during the singing and she paused at the right moments. She received a rousing ovation at the end.



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11 comments:

  • Stryker said...
     

    You can count on one hand the number of games this season, this team has played with any passion. This team has no heart on the ice it seems. Bad coaching? Looks an awful like Atlanta at the start of the year...

    This is ridiculous! The cellar here we come...

  • mike said...
     

    stryker-No heart. No soul. No coach.

  • Stryker said...
     

    Time to replace the GM and Coach, with ONE person...

    MESSIER anyone?

  • wes said...
     

    Is Jim Schoenfeld an asset or a liability to this Ranger organization? If Messier were GM would he keep Schoenfeld around? As a coach Schoenfeld had right around a .500 winning % or slightly below and that's right where this team is stuck. Mediocrity reins at the Garden.

  • mike said...
     

    stryker-Great choice. With Graves and Leetch as assistants coaches.

  • mike said...
     

    wes-I believe Schoenfeld would be a liability. He wouldn't help at all. We need a strong head coach with a proven record like Pat Burns.

  • hockeyson said...
     

    great columns...game has changed so much..my dad was a Ranger in 1949-50..still loves the game..the league is so big now, and so many new rules..my nephew was also a Ranger, and to see the difference in him talking to dad is really something...I hope we dont change the game so much we lose it!...

  • The Dark Ranger said...
     

    Your Coach Clueless did one good thing tonight against Philly and that was to allow Hollweg the possibility of a hat-trick in the final power play 3rd period.

    Not that anyone else on the team could score a goal, who better a shot than a guy who has had only five career goals!!!?

    It's getting brutal Pundit. The time of Ranger Blog Armegeddon is near...two more losses and I will lead the petition to remove your favorite coach.

    You, of all people, know how much this one hurts TDR. A loss to Philly. This game was worse than Tampa Bay.

  • mike said...
     

    hockeyson-So what is the name? I may have seen one or both of them. You are right the game has changed and I am afraid it is heading in the wrong direction.

  • mike said...
     

    the dark ranger-The losses seem to get worse with no end in sight. I felt for you at the end watching the Flyer fans having a ball.

  • hockeyson said...
     

    Mike...Dads name is Chick Webster..his brother Don was a Maple Leaf...My nephew is Jason Lafreniere...his dad Roger also played pro...lots of hockey talk at our house...rob

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