Saturday, April 26, 2008

Defense Plus Refs Equals Defeat

Jaromir Jagr at the post game remarked that he expected something to happen. Boy, can he call them. Crosby, to his credit, saved his dive for the end. You remember the comedian Dom DeLuise's great line, "No applause please, save it for the end". On a play that was behind the main play, Whiner II, upon contact with Martin Straka went splashing to the ice, in obvious pain, to the roar of the White Shirted Penguin crowd. Two minute interference call, man advantage penalty, game winning goal on a shot by The Diver off another Penguin. In fact, three of the Penguin goals were deflected off an assortment of Ranger/Penguin players. So it was a typical sequence Penguin win. Dive, call, penalty, goal. Game, set, match. I tried to get a better view of the Dive but Versus had poor reruns that weren't conclusive. You don't think they did it on purpose?

However, the Rangers helped give the game to the Penguins. The defense was awful. Coach clueless's defense-at-all-costs was very costly. It started with the Rangers up 3-0 and Rozsival fanned on a simple clear out which gave the puck to Rutuu who headed deep into the Ranger zone. Rozsival, who must have felt an affinity to Rutuu, chased him in, planted himself in front of the net and allowed the first goal to go in off of his skate. Three more Penguin goals were scored including a two on one where Fedor Tyutin couldn't make up his mind who to cover and he covered no one and Sykora had an easy tap in. Tuts, in case this happens again, leave the shooter to the goalie, you cover the other guy.

After the Pens went ahead 4-3, Gomez tied it up, and with time running out Jagr hit the post. But the Rangers did score four goals and should have won the game but the defense collapsed and its hard to imagine a defense so soft and so mistake prone in such a big game. Hey, I've been screaming about this defense for three years and we have had three years to get some rugged guys but we wind up with the Backman's of the world.

The ultimate insult was Rutuu putting his stick in Rozsival's face and he did nothing but stare at him. Forget the stupid officials who skated to Rutuu and had to put down his stick with no penalty call. I guess the Sean Avery rule doesn't apply to skaters. Where were the Rangers? Where was Rozsival? More importantly, will they shake hands after the series? I remember way back when during a Ranger/Flyer game and the Flyers were harassing the GAG line and had put their bruisers on against them. Prior to the faceoff, coach Emile Francis, beckoned Rod Gilbert to get off the ice and Francis replaced him with a guy I believed was named Ron Harris. Well, they dropped the puck and Harris and the Flyer, Kelly, exchanged blows. Well let's put it this way. Harris punched and Kelly caught. End of intimidation. This would be shocking and unbecoming in the new, Bettman/Crosby NHL.

One more thing on the TV coverage. It is minor league. They seemed peeved when the Rangers scored and ecstatic when the Pens scored. The absence of a revealing replay of the Crosby dive was telling. What also annoyed me was coach clueless's post game news conference. He refused to talk about the play/dive/penalty. Why? Why not talk about the play. Why not scream long and loud about the play. So they would have fined him. Big deal. By not talking about it, it validates the call and they will see many more calls like that. Remember, it wasn't until the fourth game that they called diving on Brodeur. You wonder why the team is so passive. But this is what we have in what is called hockey today. It is sanitized. Its stick over body. Its Crosby diving at the slightest touch and its Jagr taking all kinds of hits and rarely ever going down. And the Rangers subscribe to this through their coach who believes that a pained expression and silence will carry the day. The old Brooklyn Dodger Manager, Leo Durocher, may have gotten it right when he said, "Nice guys finish last".


Scott Burnside / ESPN:
Crosby, a diver? Question sparks war of words between Rangers, Pens -- To carp or not to carp: that is the question.

It wasn't quite Hamlet's soliloquy; but for an off day after Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinals, it was pretty good. Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien took the New York Rangers, and specifically coach Tom Renney, to task for accusing Sidney Crosby of diving.

For almost three minutes, Therrien went non-stop, talking about how disappointed he was in Renney and saying it was obvious the Rangers coach was trying to get into the collective kitchens of Crosby, the on-ice officials and the NHL in general...

Arthur Staple / Newsday:
Crosby's diving works to perfection in Game 1 -- So, any of those hundreds of Penguins fans who were shocked - shocked, I tell you! - when I wrote on Wednesday that Sidney Crosby is a whiner and a diver care to chime in today?

No? That's OK. You're probably all sleeping in in your "white-out" gear after Friday night's win, and you're entitled. The Penguins showed some resolve in rallying from three goals down, got good contributions from a couple third- and fourth-liners and a very good night from the Evgeni Malkin- Petr Sykora-Ryan Malone trio...
"I haven't changed one bit; I never dove and I don't dive now ... That's just part of the playoffs; part of gamesmanship. If I go down, it's because I've been forced down. I'll do whatever I can to stay on my feet. I think he (Renney) should be the one worried about diving." - Sidney Crosby quoted in NY Post
Highlights: Penguins vs. Rangers: Game 1 2008 Playoffs - April 25, 2008 [10:30]

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  • Anonymous said...

    Ranger Pundit=Joke

  • Anonymous said...

    Ranger Pundit – Go DIVE off a cliff.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Well The Dark Ranger just caught you flying off that cliff and brought you to the Land of Agreement.

    There are not any words that we haven't used all season -- we've seen this team, just never expected to see them in the playoffs.

    I enjoyed your post much more than last night's third period.


  • Anonymous said...

    Charges of Crosby being a diver are true. Just do a Google search on Sidney Crosby dive and you get something like 42,000 hits.

    He's a freak'n Greg Louganis on skates.

  • jfl1066 said...

    It is only game 1 and i am already sick of Crosby and Versus.

  • Nathan said...

    The results of Google search is a poor indication of the relative truth of anything. If you believe everything you read on the Internet, then I've got this bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Anyone want to venture a guess as to how many times Crosby got called for diving this season? If you said zero, you're right. Neither of his two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties this season were for diving.

    You don't want to let the refs decide the game (a crybaby argument if there ever was one)? Then don't let yourselves get caught in a postion (e.g. getting beaten in the neutral zone) where the refs are most inclined to call a penalty. The refs didn't put five pucks behind Lundqvist last night, and the refs didn't make Rozsival into the disaster defensively that he is. Grow up and admit to yourselves that you lost this game by giving up goals 14 seconds apart and 20 seconds apart, by forgetting to cover Pascal Dupuis in the slot, by failing to shut down a trailing Petr Sykora, and because Rozsival couldn't knock Malkin on his ass in front of the crease.

  • Anonymous said...

    "One more thing on the TV coverage. It is minor league. They seemed peeved when the Rangers scored and ecstatic when the Pens scored. The absence of a revealing replay of the Crosby dive was telling."

    I sincerely doubt Homerism on VS, particularly with Benanati. Listen to one of his Washington games next year--he occasionally trashes Pittsburgh even in games against other teams (he doesn't understand why some people think a few of Pittsburgh's players are better than his man-crush object, oVETCHkin).

    What I do agree with is that VS has been amateurish with its telecasts in these playoffs. I can't really comment on many of the penalties in this game, since Versus didn't show about half of them and preferred to cut to commercials or camera shots of a tall woman interviewing people in the crowd.

  • jb said...

    Agree that the Versus coverage was very weak. Was anyone else annoyed when some graphic covered the bottom third of the screen while the game was in progress?

    The issue about Crosby and his alleged diving seems to dog him. Is it just sour grapes by the teams the Pens beat? Or is the sport changing for the worse. Is there anything wrong with embellishing hits and selling calls to the officials?

    An NBA game is now almost unwatchable because of all the floppers (diving) going on. Flopping in that sport was ushered in by golden age of floppers led by Vlade Divac of the Lakers, John Stockton, Bill Laimbeer, and Dennis Rodman. ( See a recent top list 10 NBA Floppers)

    The golden age of NHL diving may now be upon us. Both Ovechkin and Crosby have elevated the art of drawing a penalty (or diving). Both stars seem to spend a lot of time on ice, either scoring goals or getting viciously hit.

    Consider how many times do you remember hearing allegations of diving directed at Gretzky, Messier, Lemieux, Cam Neely or Eric Lindros?

    Perhaps this new breed of NHL scorer is just light on their skates and easily knocked over. Given the controversy Crosby is generating it would be interesting to find out what old-school players think.

    Searching Crosby+dive etc. at YouTube finds these videos.

    Crosby diver
    - Perfect score 10.0

    Crosby Dive against the Flyers - Peter Forsberg yaps at Crosby and makes a diving gesture.

    Crosby Fake! - against the Canadiens

    And my favorite: NHL 08 Crosby dive

  • mike said...

    anonymous-That is what we are here for. Entertainment and a few laughs.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Now on this dive I take off the cliff. Is it a Crosby dive or a Louganis dive?

  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-Save and a beauty. Thanks for a voice of sanity.Now if clueless would get his voice we might have a prayer.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Nah! He just has bad ankles and has trouble standing.

  • mike said...

    jfl1066-Hang on, possibly six more. You can't get any sicker than that.

  • mike said...

    nathan-What a shock! Crosby hasn't been called once for diving. The defense rests.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Boy, there are a lot of you guys with the same name.

    Its hard for me to believe that there are ANY Pittsburgh players better than Ovechkin.

    Versus is a joke, like Bettman and like the minor league refs we have calling these games.

  • mike said...

    jb-Good job keeping us updated on the ups and downs of the most popular player in the NHL, according to Bettman.

  • Nathan said...

    Funny, he hasn't been fined or suspended for diving either. And those decisions don't come from the on-ice officials. Grow up and actually hold on to a lead for once.

  • jfl1066 said...

    What would the NHL do if Ovechkin were a Canadian? Declare him God? I can't believe that I'm actually looking forward to the game being on NBC today...

  • mike said...

    nathan-The more you talk, the more vindication for the fact that so called hockey stars like Crosby don't ever get suspended for anything.

  • mike said...

    jfl1066-Right next to the Rocket!

  • jb said...

    Opps.., I need to remove Lemieux from the list of non-divers. He was the forerunner for Crosby on the Pens. Substitute Forsberg.

  • mike said...

    jb-Nah! I understood. You were talking about the old warhorse Claude Lemieux.