Sunday, May 04, 2008

Refs + Clueless = Elimination

Chris Drury bleeding after getting a stick in the face from the Pens Ryan MaloneChris Drury after getting a stick in the face from Ryan 'Bugsy' Malone.
No penalty was called?

When does a stick to the face, causing a cut and bleeding so bad that the ice is stained with it, not a penalty? When it is committed by Gary Bettman's Penguins in front of a home crowd in a tightly fought playoff game. Would you believe that Ryan Malone swung his stick, hit Chris Drury in the face, near the goal, and two referees and two linesman saw nothing? Would you believe that they had to bring out the maintenance crew to try to scrap off the blood? Would you believe that coach clueless didn't scream or yell but gave that look? You know the look. It's the look of cluelessness. But in case you think the refs were totally incompetent and didn't call any penalties you are wrong. They gave the Penguins seven power plays, they had one goal. They gave the Rangers four power plays, they scored nada and got all of one shot on goal. And right there was your hockey game folks. However, the refs do know a high sticking call that draws blood when they see one. With 1:18 left in the third period, Drury brought up his stick and cut Ryan Malone and drew a four minute penalty. They didn't have to use a scrapper to get any blood off the ice. I think a Kleenex applied tightly to Malone's face took care of that. I told my sons before the game that I was concerned about the refs calling a lot of penalties against the Rangers. Little did I realize that they would also miss such a blatant call.

It was hard to tell from this Ranger fan standpoint that this was a critical, elimination game. The Rangers came out as passive as their coach clueless is. All of 11 shots in the first two periods, and 11 in the third period when the kids got more ice time. Lauri Korpikoski, who must have gotten all of one minute in the first period, scored his first NHL goal. Nigel Dawes tied the game 1:22 later with a beautiful backhander. The Pens got 27 shots the first two periods, 7 in the third period and the only 5 shots of the OT. The kids created excitement and signs of hope. The vets played like, thank God this season is over. You don't believe me than listen to Jagr who said, "We were facing a very good hockey club, they've got young legs playing without fear." Hey Jags, I have news for you, we have young players who play without fear but they are spending the time watching the old guys screwing things up. Jagr got 23:36 of ice time, no shots on goal and committed two penalties. He also had the indignity of being shoved to the ice by Jerko Ruutu and not doing anything about it. In fact, no one on the Rangers did anything about it. They must have not seen it.

Straka got 23:35 of ice time, 4:26 of power play time and got all of one shot on goal. I must have missed that one. Petr Prucha, got all of 8:43 of ice time and zero time on the power play. He also got one shot on goal. You all remember Prucha, don't you. Fifty-two goals in two years, twenty-four on the power play and he has been on the bench almost the entire year while Straka leads the league in pirouettes. He has been on the bench almost this entire series while the power play plays tic-tac-toe with the puck and was 3-25 this series. So despite all the ref screwups the games were in the hands of the power play and coach clueless doesn't know how to fix it. All year the power play has lost games and all year the usual suspects were rounded up to do their thing around the perimeter.

It was amusing after the game to hear the apologists all have orgasms over coach clueless. They gave him the name of Tom Terrific. It seems Tom Terrific has gotten the Rangers into the playoffs for three consecutive years. His overall record in a little more than three years is 133-118. Fifteen games over .500, thats five games a year. Wow. His record in the playoffs is even more impressive. In three playoff years his record is 11-13. He can't get the team out of the second round. They extol him for how he has developed and used young players. Look at what has happened to Prucha. I said it before the season started and I will say it again. This coach cannot bring the Rangers to challenge for the Stanley Cup. To challenge, the team must win the East. This team is nowhere close to winning the East.

His partner in crime, the Stealth GM, was exposed in this series for what he is. An over the hill blowhard with no idea of what it takes to put a contender on the ice. Want proof? At the final trade deadline the Pens picked up Hossa and Gill while the Rangers picked up Sjostrom and Backman. It took coach clueless eight playoff games and numerous regular season games to bench Backman. Clueless is the reincarnation of Roger Nielsen, a good coach who could never take the team to the next level. That's coach clueless. The Rangers need a coach like Pat Burns or John Tortorella who can take a team to the promised land. The only problem is that these are tough guys who will take no guff from the Stealth GM.

Lundqvist was brilliant. He almost pulled it off but the Rangers took one penalty too many. He rose to the occasion for this game making 36 saves. Unfortunately except for a couple of kids no one else did much of anything. It will be a long off season but I'm afraid, unless we get bold with some big free agents we aren't going to make much progress. Why am I getting so excited? I've been through this before but it never feels good.

Blood, but no call.

AP / NY Daily News:
Marian Hossa's OT goal gives Penguins 3-2 win, ends Rangers season -- The pivotal moment of the period may have been when New York's Chris Drury was unintentionally clipped and bloodied by Penguins forward Ryan Malone's stick in front of the Pittsburgh net only 92 seconds into the period. Both benches seemed to expect a 4-minute high-sticking penalty - play was stopped briefly to clean up the blood - but there was no call. . .

The Blueshirt Bulletin:
A Stick to the Head, A Kick to the Gut -- Today, the Rangers' momentum is blunted with less than 90 seconds left in regulation when Chris Drury was called for a double-minor for high-sticking Ryan Malone. A good call, without question. But it stood in stark counterpoint to an unpenalized Malone high stick that bloodied Drury early in the second period and sent him off for stitches — a horrendous non-call that jump-started the Penguins’ domination of that period, especially since Malone drew the marginal hooking call on Jagr that turned the tide when he should have been in the penalty box. That the deciding goal was scored off a rush that the Rangers believed to be offside entering the zone was just the icing on the cake...

Adam Proteau / The Hockey News Playoff blog:
Pens' confidence key to success -- I think the Hockey Gods are trying to call you out, Stephen Walkom. There can be no possible rationalization for your officials continuously putting their hands in their pockets in third periods of games.

I’m normally one of your biggest defenders, but what’s going on is casting everything – the officials, the players, and the game itself – in a not-so-positive light ...

Doug Fischer / Blue Shirts on Broadway:
Rangers Season Comes To An End -- The Refs missed what could have given the Rangers a 4:00 Power Play as Chris Drury took a high stick to the face and was bleeding profusely. But as I’ve said so many times in the series, a lot of the calls favored the Pens and this was no exception. A lot of times when a Ref sees blood you assume something happened and call something; It’s has happened numerous times this season both helping and hurting the Rangers, but of course-when we needed it most, no call…

Scotty Hockey:
Sad Way To Go -- Sitting in his ivory tower, Gary Bettman has got to be pretty damn happy with himself right about now. His golden boy can continue his quest towards the Stanley Cup and the perversion of hockey into something unwatchable is complete. You could barely hear the fans for all of the whistles from the referees in the second period. For a NHL playoff game to be so utterly controlled by special teams was a complete disgrace. This wasn't a true judge of who was the better team, it was which team could handle the officiating better. And the stripes came up short in the end, missing the offsides before Hossa scored to win the game - it was close, don't get me wrong, but Pascal Dupuis was clearly over the blue line before the puck cleared the paint...

Larry Brooks / NY Post:
Overtime and Done -- they survived a double minor to Drury for high-sticking Ryan Malone late in the third that carried 2:41 into OT - Malone had cut Drury with a second-period high stick that went unseen and uncalled - but could not survive one final rush led by Sidney Crosby that in fact might have been offside.

No penalty call, no offside call, but that's not why the Rangers lost. They lost because something was missing. Last year's six-game loss to the Sabres felt like the start of the something. This loss to the Penguins feels like the end.

The Sidney Crosby Show:
Game 5: Pens v Rangers (W 3-2 OT) -- The second period started with the NBC reporters talking about how Coach Michel Therrien said his focus for this period was to reduce the number of turnovers. Right away, Sid fed the puck to Hossa, who was alone in front. The puck jumped up and over Hossa's stick, and he fell trying to gain control of it, so he was unable to fire a shot. Pressure again was applied by the Steel City Line when Bugsy was looking behind himself and his stick came up and into Drury's face. The blade lodged between Drury's protective shield and his face, cutting him on the left cheek. Drury was bleeding rather profusely. The Pens were given a seriously early Christmas present because none of the refs saw it happen, so no penalty was called. Talk about dodging a four minute bullet!!! Then, if you're a Rangers fan, things just got worse for you when on the very next play, JJ was called for hooking Bugsy...

The Confluence of the Three Rivers:
Hossa’s OT winner sends Penguins to Conference Finals vs. Flyers -- The Rangers fought to the very end, gotta give them a bunch of credit. They could have folded in the third period with a 2-0 deficit staring at them, but they came right back with two quick goals to stun the Penguins and the Igloo crowd.

It was a game of powerplays to be sure. Ryan Malone was very fortunate to not get called for a double minor high-sticking penalty on Chris Drury, especially considering that Drury was called for the exact same penalty late in the third period that didn’t expire until nearly three minutes of overtime were done. The Rangers’ powerplay was shutout again, going 0-for-4. The Pens didn’t fare much better, going only 1-for-7...

Jim Cerny /
Rangers fight back, but fall to Pens in OT -- Rangers head coach Tom Renney agreed that losing in overtime was a very tough way to see the season end. "It's tough to swallow, it's as simple as that," Renney said. "We wanted to keep playing. It's disappointing. But we have to just suck it up." [...]

"This is just a disappointing season," said Shanahan. "We built this team to go farther than the second round."

Brett Cyrgalis / NY Post Blue Seats:
Sun Sets on Season -- The Rangers came out of the gate slow and were just getting burnt up and down the ice. They looked sluggish and were being outworked in every facet of the game. At one point, on one of their many failed power play chances, Jaromir Jagr was skating in circles because no one on his team was moving without the puck. He was the only one trying...

Lynn Zinser / NY Times Slap Shot:
Rangers’ Postgame: The End Comes Hard -- The Rangers feel they are well-stocked with young talent. They might not be on the level of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal and Ryan Callahan and Dawes installed themselves as huge parts of this team. Still, it was hard for them to swallow the end of it all. They started the season believing they were Stanley Cup contenders after signing free agent centers Chris Drury and Scott Gomez in the offseason. . .

Marian Hossa, right, shakes hands with Jaromir Jagr, leftCBC:
'I don't think I'm going to retire': Jagr -- If he doesn't re-sign with New York, Jagr still plans to keep playing.

"I don't think I'm going to retire from hockey," Jagr said after Sunday's loss. "I know I'm going to play somewhere. I don't know where...

Jagr wants to return to hockey; future fuzzier for Shanahan -- The persistent rumor has Jagr, 36, returning to Russia, where he played during the lockout. He has also indicated he'd like to play in the Czech Republic before he retires from the game for good. If he stays in the NHL, it's less likely he'll stay in New York. Jagr will be an unrestricted free agent in July...

John Dellipina / NY Daily News Blueshirts blog:
Season's over -- Rather than simply judge this Rangers season a failure because it lasted one game less than the one that preceded it, the pertinent questions are about whether this team has the pieces to continue to take legitimate runs at the Cup. Or whether a significant roster overhaul is needed. . .

Rangers Review:
Playoff Grades -- Before I do my post game, and really a post series wrap (tomorrow, Im spent today) I wanted to share with you my playoff grades for the team. Goal: Lundqvist:A-. In a postseason where he got very little support, he stood tall. Only game 3 stands out as an un-Henrik like performance...

Zipay: What's next for the Rangers? -- now a team in transition that needs to retool...
Zipay: Jagr says he'll keep playing, but where?
Staple: Rangers should allow youth to take over
Poll: How do you rate the season?

The Hockey Rabbi:
Rangers Go Bust -- with the notable exception of Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers' best players simply did not play their best hockey. Gomez's turn-overs set up more plays for Pittsburgh than his passes did for New York. Drury disappeared long before he injured his ribs. . .

Seth Rorabaugh / Post Gazette Empty Netter:
Clutch -- Marian Hossa sheds his poor playoff reputation by scoring two goals, including one in overtime, in the Penguins' series-clinching 3-2 win against the Rangers...

The Pensblog:
Fuhgetaboutit. PENS ADVANCE. -- All series, the Rangers looked "deliberate," as NBC's Mike Emrick would say. In the waning moments of a tied game, "deliberate" is interpreted as "careful." Over the course of a playoff series, it translates as "slow."

They're still a solid hockey team. But in the end... Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Brendan Shanahan made a combined $19 million this season. They combined for 1 goal in the whole series...way back in Game 1. That is a joke and yet more proof that you cannot buy a championship...
Darren Dreger /
Why So Many Short Overtimes? -- Six of the 13 overtime games last year were decided in the first overtime period, while the remaining seven needed a second overtime period or longer. No such marathons this year with the average overtime this year clocking in at 6:48, with 13 of the 14 games decided in the first 12 minutes and three ended by the winning teams first shot...

James Mirtle:
Final Eight by age -- Another breakdown of the teams that made the second round this season (even though three, and soon perhaps, four, are already eliminated):


Ages are as of Sunday, with only players who have played at least one playoff game counting in the averages...
Rangers aren't the only New Yorkers taking a spill:
NYPD horse throws officer off, then makes his way home alone

Staal brothers hugEric Staal of the Rangers hugs brother Jordan Staal of the Pens
(via The Sidney Crosby Show)
Rangers Pens handshake line Rangers & Pens shake hands (via Empty Netter)

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  • The Big K said...

    I'm not sure, but I think this is why Malone was not penalized for the stick to the face-

    If you look closely, you see that Rozsival did, in fact, lift Bugsy's stick directly into his face.

    Combine that with the incident being away from the play, therefore the eyes of the officials.

    The Pens got a break, but it went both ways.

  • wes said...

    Something is seriously broken with NHL officiating. The refs swallowed their whistles in the third period until the Drury penalty.

    I hope I never read that these guys are getting action in Vegas.

  • BLUEKNIGHT5754 said...

    dear rp,

    after some thought i wanted to say that the team def got hosed on the offsides call..bad call in the 3rd..and a missed call on drury perhaps..but in the end its been the rangers not being able to cash in on the power play or not STAYING out of the god damn box...if i see rosey going into that box one more time im gonna flip..the team is short 2 d men one a puck moving zubov kinda guy and a masher someone who will make people pay for standing in front of the net..i watched coach clueless and he kills me...hes too nice...i mean he just is like oh well tough break...thank god im not a coach cause my foot would have been up someones ass for the lack of interest some of the rangers showed in that game! I know that everyone is an expert but just there are certain moments in a persons life where you have to STAND up for your team or your job and say something!



  • Down by the Seaside said...

    Same old #$%^!!!

    Inept power play, too much ice time for the slow of foot, not enough shots, no forechecking, no adjustments from the coaches, a lack of toughness and excuses. On and on.

    The entire season and the coaches never fixed the power play. Unfortunately, the NHL today is a special teams game. We pose no threat. The young guys (Dawes, Duby, Staal, etc.) were not part of the original plan in the beginning of the season, but the coaches were "forced" into using them as the ineptness continued. Prucha has been screwed up. Hollweg and Orr rarely dress, and when they do, it's 3 shifts. Straka's contract must require him to pass to Yagr every time he has the puck.

    But the good news is that Renney's got plenty of chewing gum to keep his mouth busy. God knows we wouldn't want him actually yelling, would we?!

    Same old Rangers ...

  • Anonymous said...

    I hate the Rangers.. I am an Islander fan. That said the refs killed you guys. That was a disgrace. It is bad for the NHL when stuff like that happens. It looked like the league wanted Crosby and Malkin in finals. I would have been ok with the no call on Malone if they did not call an ABSURD double on Drury (with a minute left in a tie game!!!???). You either let them play or make ALL calls... crazy. I saw at least 4 hooks that were not called on Pens as well.. was a terrible job.

  • jfl1066 said...

    I just can't believe that the refs figured in every outcome of the series. I can take losing and who knows if we would have beat them, but let us lose on our own without the help of the officials (we had Renney's coaching against us, we didn't need the refs against us too).

    And to the NHL. Please stop with the marketing of Crosby. You aren't going to sell the league to new fans based on a single player who isn't even the best in the league. Save Crosby for the canadians...the rest of the world doesn't want to hear all the marketing crap about him. You can't sell this game on one player when the nature of the game is that everyone spends more than half of the actual time sitting on the bench.

    "Rozival is brilliant today" Mike Millbury.

  • Anonymous said...

    Whaa whaa whaa, cry cry cry..."the refs screwed us, boo hoo hoo." Did the referees stop all of your shots from going in on the PP? Did the referees blow a 3-0 lead in Game 1? Did the referees let up the goal in OT? What crybabies you Ranger fans are.

    Oh, and let us Pens fans know about the whole "was he offsides?" thing. We'll be busy watching our team in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Enjoy the offseason, babies.

  • Anonymous said...

    im sick of hearing you dang new yorkers cry about the refs if you'd take your head out of your butt an look you'd see that the high stick was one of your own players fault,go cry boo hoo somewhere else babies the refs didnt blow the series for you. your own team blew it...not to mention half your team is former penguins,that they got rid of for a reason idiots

  • jb said...


    The Rangers definitely needed some 'though love' at times, especially in this series. Renney's calm may be a good at times (especially for younger players), but a coach needs to crack the whip at times. Renney is just a 'good cop' and there is no 'bad cop' when you need one.

    regarding pens fans saying Rangers would have lost regardless of bad calls and non-calls. I quote the 9:39 anon, the Islanders fan who wrote:

    "I hate the Rangers.. I am an Islander fan. That said the refs killed you guys."

    Yes, the powerplay stinks, yes or money guys didn't perform, but some decent ref'ing might have let the Rangers push the Pens to a game 6. Anything can happen, injuries took out Avery and probably hampered Drury, who knows how the Pens would have handled the pressure and a bit of adversity? They've been on a great roll.

  • Anonymous said...

    Ridiculous. I don't understand how things like high sticks aren't called in the overtimes... it's a free-for-all during overtime and someone is going to get seriously injured.
    Bettman has this league totally screwed up.

  • mike said...

    the big k-It may have gone both ways but too many games are being decided by calls and non calls. We don't pay to see the refs call eleven penalties in a crucial game.

  • mike said...

    wes-One never knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men, and sports refs.

  • mike said...

    blueknight5754-Clueless is the coach that wants to be respected around the league . Think about why he would be considered for coach of the year with the record he has?

    He is Czech mated with a guy like Rozsival who gives up the puck regularly. He is absolutely obedient to the Stealth GM and he is the guy in the office who manages up and not to the situation but to the brass. The Rangers cannot and will not win with him as their coach.

    Thanks for your loyal readership and cogent comments.

  • mike said...

    down bt the seaside-Outside of those things you mentioned the Rangers have a pretty good team.

    The young guys were rarely used in key situations. Guys like Callahan, Prucha, Dawes and Staal saw little or no ice time on the power play.

    He is afraid to yell, he might swallow the gum and then Rozsival would have to give him mouth to mouth.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-The refs are deciding too many hockey games that should be left in the hands of the players. It is time to go back to the one ref system.

  • mike said...

    jfl1066-As I have stated many times, the refs are playing too important a role in the outcome of the games.

    Bettman is from the NBA and the big success of Bird/Magic. He wants the NHL to be the league of Crosby/Ovechkin.

    When quoting Mike Millbury, I like my mother's old line. "Consider the source."

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    ...the stick in the face was one call - playing hockey might have caused the stick to flip up. Okay.

    The obvious off-sides was not called in the final winning goal -- they were too nervous to call it back, to take away something from the home crowd.

    It was the wrong call at the wrong time -- any Penguin fan can rub it off or turn it on us Rangers fans, but if you look at the play you will see something to it. They were absolutely over the line.

    One case where bad officiating determined the outcome.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Every time I looked up after a whistle it was a Penguin who was complaining to a ref about something.

    Also you should go back to Reading 101. I never mentioned in my post about any offside call. In fact, had you read the artice, which obviously you did not you would have noticed that the majority of my article was about the Rangers and their coach and how badly they played. But I guess you were too busy to read and had the talking points ready to go.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Why is it that all you guys who pan the Rangers are anonymous? You would think you could come up with something more original but gosh dang it, there doesn't seem to be any originality left in Pittsburgh since Jagr played there.

    Gosh Dang It.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-Good luck with your fire Bettman site. It will never happen. The idiots (owners) running the NHL are making too much money.

    Good luck, anyway.

  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-The refs controlled the game completely. Sad state when the refs are more important than the players.