Sunday, January 06, 2008

Western Woes

The Rangers slide into oblivion continued last night with a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton. Edmonton which had only won two out of their last nine. And the aberration, the gimmick, known as the shootout, hockey's version of European soccer, decided the "contest". Edmonton has won 18 games all season and has an 11-2 record in shootouts. Think about it? In 43 regular season games Edmonton has only won 7 in regulation. Want more shootout nonsense? The kid who scored the winning goal, Sam Gagner, has four shootout goals. In 40 regular season games Sam Gagner has 3 goals with 13 assists for a grand total of 16 points. Baseball has its DH and hockey now has its SS. This is what Gary Bettman and the GM's have given us. Sam Gagner is tied for 270th place among all NHL forwards in goal scoring. And the guy who ranks 13th on the all time goal scoring list shot a blank at a goalie named Mathieu Garon who ranks 18th in GAA and save % this year. However, he is 7-0 in shootouts having stopped 21 of 23 shots.

But the Rangers have no one to blame but themselves. They were swept in the three game Western tour and are 0-6-1 against the Western Conference this year. They have three games at the Garden against LA, Anaheim and San Jose. They lack any of the spark and cohesion that is needed to be consistent. Of more concern is the fact that Brendan Shanahan may have been seriously injured in another collision at center ice. I find it amazing how these big moose always seem to bang into him. Coincidence? Shanahan will be sorely missed if he is out for any games. He is the only leader on this team and that includes coach clueless. Any lengthy absence will severely damage the Rangers playoff hopes. Martin Straka was also injured and there is no update on him either. His loss could force coach clueless to bring Nigel Dawes back and give him some serious ice time.

I turned the TV off right after I heard Sam Rosen make the comment that the Rangers had gotten a point. Wow! A point against one of the dregs of the NHL. I could hear the post game show now. "We played a good game but didn't get the breaks." "It was a big point". "It's starting to come together." "That was a bad call by the ref." "We have to be more disciplined." "We have to play a full sixty minutes." "We'll turn it around in the second half of the season." Blah, blah, blah, blah. Guess what? The second half started last night and it doesn't look too good. I saw enough of it on the pregame as Trautwig and Fischler, the happy boys, told us that everything is fine and soon we will be putting it all together.

So we continue to drift and slide. We are 4-4-2 in the last ten, confirming that despite the predictions of a Stanley Cup by the drive by media experts, we are basically a .500 club. We are in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, only six points ahead of 14th place Washington and only one point ahead of 9th place Islanders who have two games in hand. Belaboring a point, we have put together a collection of offensive players and are struggling to win games where we give up two goals. What's wrong with this team? There is an old Italian expression but I will use the English translation. "The fish stinks from the head."

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  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Not loving the Rangers these days, but I do love the Italians!! Sad to say Pundit, but you are one of the only great performances these days.


  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-That is sad my friend, very sad.

  • kaspar fan said...

    I'm at an utter and total loss. What a disaster. Thanks, "Coach."

    The dreams of a Broadway Cup Homecoming are disappearing fast.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    It's like an older brother you're mad at. You just don't talk for a week or so. Remember, family is family!??

  • mike said...

    kaspar fan-You gave up your spot on 33rd Street?

  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-Another old saying, "Blood is thicker than water."

  • David Rabinowitz said...

    Before the game vs. Tampa tonight Brian Leetch will be on MSG's Hockey Night Live! to answer fan-submitted questions. So if anyone wants to pick Leetch's brain, feel free to post here:

  • mike said...

    David-Thanks for the info. Consider it passed on.

  • David Rabinowitz said...

    No problem, Mike. Any time. :-)

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