Sunday, November 30, 2008

Matinee Malaise

Well we didn't have to worry about a shootout today. Except for the loss we didn't have to worry about anything. The Rangers played pond hockey, left Lundqvist helpless and were blanked by the Panthers 4-0. The Panther goalie, Craig Anderson, who leads the NHL in save % with a .948 and is second in GAA with a 1.87, got his second shutout and quite a bit of support from his defenders. Anderson, who supposedly is the backup to Tomas Vokoun, has only played ten games.

The stat sheet says the Rangers out hit the Panthers 35-33. Really? Amazing.They must have counted as double hits the number of times Ranger players ran into each other. The Rangers were 0-5 on the power play including 1:45 of five on three power play. So what else is new? The power play ranks 22nd and is at 15.3%. Plus we have given up a league high 7 shorthanded goals. Rozsival played over three minutes of PP time with no shots on goal. Why bother with this stupid experiment. The guy is not a PP specialist. He is afraid to shoot the puck. He is afraid the shot would be blocked and turned into a score for the other team. He plays scared and it shows. $5 Mil per year. What a waste.

But that is not why we lost today. We lost today because we were badly outplayed. With Pittsburgh (home) and Montreal (away) on successive nights we better get our act together fast and not let those shootout wins fool us that this is a one game aberration.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Playing Not To Lose

For the second game in a row we saw the coach clueless, "Not playing defense is not an option," doctrine in full bloom. Boring, passive, the defense was offensive, the offense was defensive. For the second game in a row we couldn't put away one of the bottom feeders in the league. For the second game in a row we allowed a bottom feeder to score the tying goal in the waning minutes/seconds. For the second game in a row we went into a shootout against one of the worst teams in the NHL.

"Again we were able to find ways to win," said coach clueless. Again? Found ways to win? Yeah, we found ways to win. It's called Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist leads the NHL with 5 shootout wins, stopping 17 of 19 shots. This one was tough. It was a 2-1 win in the shootout. After Olesz gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead it was Naslund to tie and the Z Man to win. The Z Man has 4 shootout goals, tops in the NHL. So this is what the Rangers are about. Play for the shootout, but what happens in the playoffs? Captain Drury said, "We better learn to finish these games, because the last time I checked there were no shootouts in the playoffs." Does clueless know that?

Markus Naslund chipped in with, "Giving up the tying goal twice in a game concerns me." Does it concern clueless? Naslund continued, "Good teams don't put themselves in a position to be scored on like that, they make the right plays. It's not a good sign to be scored on like we have been. We have to be better and smarter. We're still learning." You think clueless is still learning? You think he had it right when we had a four on three power play in OT and he had Kalinin and Rozsival on the points?

But all is well as we picked up the two points. Sam and Joe and the Maven are happy. The drive by media is happy. All the apologists are happy. Hey, even all the anonymouses are happy. Take that Pundit. You keep rapping this great team and their great coach clueless and they still win. Ask yourselves this question? How long can Henrik Lundqvist carry this team?

ICINGS: Didn't mean to upstage jb but I had to get a few things off my chest. You readers are lucky. You get two Pundits today for the same price.

Milking the Shootout Cow

Milking the Shootout Cow: Rangers earn yet another shootout victory
Enough already with these shootout wins. Let's earn some points the old fashioned way, by winning a game outright in regulation.

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ICINGS:

The Blue Line:
Must the Rangers keep doing this to us? -- Katie Strang, take it away:
For the second game in a row, the Rangers blew a late lead and found themselves in overtime. And for the second game in a row, Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev scored in the shootout, giving the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Panthers Friday night.
This is simply not good for our health. Blowing one-goal leads with approximately a minute to play is not a good habit. However, ultimately winning such contests in a shootout is definitely an acceptable outcome. We both were skeptical about the Rangers' chances to win the shootout -- not because of Henrik Lundqvist -- but because of the law of averages. If they were already 5-1 in shootouts, could they possibly make it to 6-1? Yes, they could and did...

Scotty Hockey:
17-7-2: Can't We Win In Regulation? -- That makes back-to-back games where the Blueshirts blew late leads against bad teams only to pull out wins in the skills competition...

Hockey Rodent:
Fool Me Twice -- Jiminy Christmas! This opponent dwells in the nether regions of the Eastern Conference. What should have been a romp turned ugly...

Rangerland.net:
What Do We Think Of… -- Watching the Rangers power play in action is sort of what I imagine being maced...

A tie is like kissing your sister, so a shootout win is like…um…let’s just get the hell out of Florida before the Rangers get arrested for something.
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E.J. Hradek / ESPN:
My Top 5 turkeys: The list isn't pretty! -- Dmitri Kalinin

The former Sabres defender has gotten off to a rough start in New York City. Despite working for the fourth-best defensive team in the league, Kalinin is a team-worst minus-10. Every time he makes a mistake, the puck seems to end up in the net. You don't need me to tell you that's not good. Luckily for Kalinin, Rangers fans have been too focused on booing fellow blue-liner Michal Rozsival (minus-8). The 28-year-old Russian is playing on the one-year deal he signed in July. If he doesn't turn things around, it will be his last season as a Ranger...
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My Blueshirt Haven:
Turkey Shoot Out -- I am not feeling very well this evening. I have a turkey hangover. You know, too much to eat, too much to drink, too much aggravation. I served 17 of my relatives a sit down Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday. Mind you, I work full time so I do not have the kind of time Martha Stewart has to prepare. This was the least of my issues.

I am really nauseous tonight because I watched the Rangers get taken to their second consecutive shoot out by two bottom feeding teams...
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Regularly scheduled event: The Great Rangers ShootoutNow Playing

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I learned a long time ago to be thankful for the little things. I am very thankful that I have survived three cancers, so far, and I live in a great country and I have a great family. Today is dinner at number two son's house with the usual suspects and we should have a lot of fun and I might add a lot of food.

The Rangers have a lot to be thankful also. Besides temporarily residing in the greatest country in the world they are all making a lot of money, some deservedly some not so. They should be especially thankful for Henrik Lundqvist, the number one reason this team is leading the East. They should be thankful there is a thing called the shootout, which has allowed the Rangers to thrive this year. They are 5-1 in shootouts and Henrik is 4-1.

The Bolts had tied the Rangers with less than a minute to go and after a scoreless OT that should have been it. But no. The NHL says we need a shootout because ties are a no no in the new NHL. So hail to the new NHL. Hail to the shootout. Most importantly, hail to Henrik Lundqvist.

I would like to wish all my readers and others in the blogosphere a Happy Thanksgiving. May it be a day of love and joy and health with you and your families and friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Clan of the Renney Feast on Crippled Coyote

Clan of the Renney Feast on Crippled Coyote
Coyote meat is not very tasty unless you are a famished tribe of wanderers. It has a gamey flavor similar to that of Dingo. If you're ever at Outback Steak House you should try their Dingo at least once. But make sure you have a couple of side dishes like the Bloomin' Onion® or the Bushman 'Shrooms to go with it.

Last night the hungry Blueshirt tribe gorged on a crippled coyote that had limped into the MSG cave hoping to find some shelter. Dubinsky(1G-1A-1fight), Zerdev(3A), Gomez(1G) all got big bites and points off a Coyote team that was a game goner. However, can the 'Clan of the Renney' find a way to kill bigger prey? Something with more meat than gristle on the bones. That is the question.

Sure the Coyotes put up a fight for about six minutes as they thrashed about trying to nip the Prince in the first period. Any cornered animal will be dangerous unless it is swiftly dispatched. But the Rangers were content to let their prey live until the third period. Playing with wild food that has sharp teeth can be dangerous, but apparently
it was worth the risk to let the Ranger cubs exercise their hunting skills on a crippled quarry. Nature is not always a pretty thing to watch.

The big hunter, "
the dispatcher," Gomez, returned to the clan for this hunt and joined in the celebration after the kill. Clan follower, the bubbling Brooks by the Post had this Dubinsky comment about the dispatcher: "What I notice is the calming effect he has on the team. He takes the pressure off myself and other guys; he calms things down."

Your chief dispatcher must be calm. That is a creed of the clan. If the dispatcher is not calm if he gets crazed at the sight and smell of the prey then the hunt is in jeopardy. It is very good to have the dispatcher back with the clan for the winter hunt.

The clan will need to travel west to hunt large woolly hairy beasts with sharpened tooth and nail. The clan must find food and much nourishment in west or else this hunting season is a bust and the clan may scatter.

Good hunting you Clan of The Renney.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend
No it wasn't as bad as Ray Milland's, Don Birnam, in the Academy Award movie favorite, the Lost Weekend, but it was bad on a personal level. First of all, I had the chills all day Friday. Then watching my grandson Nicholas's team, the Piranhas, losing their first game of the season. And finally on the way home getting a tire blowout on The L.I.E. somewhere between Exit's 55 and 56. I was rescued by number one son and two police officers out of the Sheriff's office. Today, Sunday, sick all day and can't figure it out. It feels like the flu but I got a flu shot in September.

Then there is, was, the Rangers. Can the play get any worse? Sometimes I look back and yearn for the days when we weren't picked to do magical tricks, but we would play a good exciting hockey game that had some ebb and flow. Now with the Rangers it's all ebb. You see a bad game like the one against Vancouver and you figure they got it out of their system. They come back against Ottawa and play worse and then you are reminded that they have no system. The coach, who is as clueless as they come, sometimes speaks in tones and words that only aliens and super terrestials would understand.

The team has no system. Worse than that the team has no character. What is the character of this team? There is no bravado and swagger. They made sure of that when they dumped Jagr and Avery. Nothing wrong with that if it is part of the plan, but what is the backup? What is the plan? They dumped Jagr because of money. They dumped Avery because they didn't like him in the locker room. Don't give me the money line when it comes out to about $500k per year. He was disruptive in the locker room, they said. What, he refused to kiss anybody when he came into the room? They don't need a kiss, they need a kick in the butt.

Coach clueless talks endlessly and admiringly of the Devils winning it on defense: "Not playing defense is not an option." However, those Devils had guys like Scott Stevens and Kenny Daneyko on the blue line among others. There were no Michal Rozsival's and Dmitri Kalinin's in that lineup. They may not have invented the trap but they played it better than anyone has since the trap was implemented. I've asked this question before and no one has answered it to my satisfaction. Why did we go out and spend lots of money to buy offensive players if defense is the number one criteria for this team? Maybe if I'm lucky I'll be sick tomorrow and won't go to the game. But it's Nicholas's birthday and he is going with his dad and that's more important than a Ranger game or win.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ker-Plunk!

When the kids were small they had this game where you create a stack by adding things, I forget if it was cards or sticks, then pulling them out and hoping the deck doesn't collapse and when it does everyone yells, Ker-Plunk. That sounds like what happened last night only no one yelled Ker-Plunk. Someone should. Someone should yell something not only about last night but also about the previous games that they have been winning. It was evident last night why the Rangers were winning. It was because of Henrik Lundqvist and his outstanding play.

Last night Lundqvist decided to become a mere mortal, aided and very ably abetted by the Rangers . Lundqvist left early. He should have stayed and the rest of the team should have left. Years ago I saw the Ice Capades at the old Garden with Sonja Henie and they had a routine where a bunch of skaters came out, skated aimlessly and created havoc on the ice. That was the Rangers last night. It was completely out of control. It was chaos run amok.

When you have a debacle like this there is only one person to blame and that is the coach and his clueless coaching staff. Rozsival and Kalinin are now in a game of musical chairs. Remember Rozsival started out on the number one pairing with Redden and Kalinin was matched with Girardi on the number two. Eventually they found themselves with each other. Then last night they were together and then apart. Kalinin was matched with Mara and Rozsival with Staal. I got a good spot for both of them. Send them to Hartford. Bring up Corey Potter, Brian Fahey and Bobby Sanguinetti. The last one would make my friend Richie from Westchester, section 336, very happy.

But the apologists and "the real fans" will say that this is a one game aberration and we still have the best record in the league. We played three teams that the Islanders swept, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver, and how did we do? We were 1-1-1. But we committed the cardinal sin last night. We left our goalie naked. The guy who has been carrying us for the better part of three years was left to be embarrassed. We have long talked about what shape the Rangers would be in if Lundqvist went down. Last night coach clueless and his paper tigers showed us that it would be a very long season. Ker-Plunk!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Yawn Patrol

When I was a kid, now that's a real long time ago, I believe there was a late night radio show called the Yawn Patrol. It was dreamy, doctor's office, elevator style type music to put you to sleep. The NHL has the answer to that show and its coach clueless's New York Rangers. You know the rule. "Not playing defense is not an option." What makes this work so well is that the opposition goes along with it. How else to explain how a once formidable offensive juggernaut like the Senators are now reduced to Jerko Ruutu as their offensive threat. Offensive is really the word for Ruutu. I still remember him putting his stick in Rozsival's face in last years playoff game and not one Ranger, especially Rozsival did anything about it. Last night it was taking a shot at Lundqvist after he had fanned on the shootout. Is Colton Orr on a sabbatical?

Rozsival is another story and he kept the boos and the boo birds to a minimum last night by playing a sterile, passive game. I guess the good news is that if you don't make any mistakes you must have played a good game. Never mind that he did no good, the main fact was he did no harm. In coach clueless's system this is good. But let's not blame Rozsival when in fact very few Rangers did good. Except for Lundqvist, who lately has not been just good he has been fantastic. Lundqvist has not given up more than two goals in twelve straight games. While this would indicate a great record for the Rangers it is due to the fact that they are not scoring much more than that per game.

Lundqvist is the reason the Rangers are where they are. Look at the Ranger record. They are scoring an average of 2.7 goals per game and they are giving up an average of 2.1 goals per game. Pretty thin margin for a team that purchased all that firepower. Long live The Prince, Henrik Lundqvist.

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Oh Prince Henrik! We are not worthy

Sunday, November 16, 2008

True Grit

True Grit
Webster describes grit as, firmness, unyielding, stamina, etc. This is what the Rangers needed last night against a team, the Boston Bruins, who were bigger, faster, tougher and younger than the Rangers. But the Rangers were grittier and hung on til they pulled even and eventually won in the shootout. The Rangers were down 2-0 with about six minutes to play, thanks to the continued ineptness of Michal Rozsival, who handled the puck like a hot potato. One of the giveaways resulted in another shorthanded goal scored by the opposition.

Billed as a battle between two top teams in the Eastern Conference the game became a duel between two top goalies. Tim Thomas of Boston with a league leading .945 save % and a 1.76 GAA was up against The Prince, Henrik Lundqvist with a .929 save % and a GAA of 1.99. The game lived up to the billing and the goalies lived up to their stats. Twenty three saves for Lundqvist, including four in the shootout, and 29 saves for Thomas including three out of four in the shootout. The one miss was the game winner by Chris Drury.

The Bruins thought they had tied the shootout when Patrice Bergeron slid one under Lundqvist and Dan Marouelli signalled goal. Lundqvist protested and the replay showed that yes the puck slid under Lundqvist but it hit the post. No goal. Ranger win. What is amazing to me and I'm sure others is that Marouelli was standing right there and signalled goal. How could he not possibly see the puck hit the post and not cross the line?

The unlikely trio of Dan Fritsche, Lauri Korpikoski and Nigel Dawes started to bring the Rangers back with Dawes second of the season on a beautiful feed from Korpikoski, whose parents were in attendance, and tough work by Fritsche along the boards. The tying goal with 53 seconds left by Nashlund, his sixth, on passes from Dubinsky and Mara brought the crowd to their feet. In overtime Lundqvist stopped Wheeler, Kessel, Axelsson and Bergeron. Thomas had stopped Dawes, Zherdev and Sjostrom before Drury won it.

So it was over and another beautiful old style hockey game had to be marred by a shootout. Yes marred because the shootout has nothing to do with hockey. But it was a great game for 65 minutes and old Rooster Cogburn would have been proud of the Rangers. They showed True Grit in a great win.

ICINGS:

Canadians are stuffing the NHL All-Star ballot box. Are we going to let the minyans of Jim Carrey and John Candy decide the fate of our hockey Prince?

RangerLand.net:
Vote for Henrik --

My fellow Rangers fans, I have some bad news. We’re being embarrassed.

How you say? Have you seen the All-Star Game voting results thus far?

Carey Price 206,773
Marc-Andre Fleury 41,529
Henrik Lundqvist 34,793

It’s like an old school Chicago election out there. Maybe the Habs fans hired ACORN?

Carey Price? Rangers fans, we must do better than this, for the good of the NHL. We must come together and make change. We must vote for Henrik Lundqvist...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Celebrating a Devils Festivus

What is about the Devils that brings out the best in our Blueshirt heroes? Is it simply a case of familiarity breeds contempt. If we know you, then we own you. We don't worry about no stinking trap. So where exactly was the vaunted Devils trap and their defensive discipline last night?

It was a Rangers shooting gallery in the second period. Has Marty Brodeur really been the prickly super glue that's been holding the Debbies together all these years? Without Martha they looked weak, while not working well for Weekes (say that fast). Must be all their injuries.

Rupp, Salvador, Langenbrunner, and Elias all took penalties in the 2nd as the Devils gave the Rangers powerplay a chance to find some mojo. Going 2-for-6 and cashing in on a couple of 5-on-3's was like giving the Ranger powerplay a dose of Viagra. Hopefully even a Cialis weekender if the glow carries over to Saturday against Boston. Shoot Roszy shoot.

I just had to check and see when we get some more of this magic Devils' tonic. We play them four more times: Dec 12, Dec 27, Feb 9, Mar 30. Which means January might a rough month when the Blueshirters go off their meds.

You could even say Devils games have become an unofficial Rangers Festivus holiday. With whoever is in goal acting the part of a Festivus pole as the Rangers dance around them and score. The Rangers scored 4 goals against them back on October 13th.

Cosmo Kramer: Is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza: It's made from aluminium. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.
Mr. Kruger: I find your belief system fascinating.
The Devils fans must have heard about this special Rangers holiday, because no one showed up to enjoy it. Reports said the place was half empty.

Well, too bad, Fesitvus can't come every game, but if we're going to celebrate it -- no one better than the Devils to celebrate it with. Mike will be back soon to throw the required cold water on our little Festivus celebration. So while he's still off-line I'll just dance around the Festivus pole for now.

Happy Fesitivus.

ICINGS:

Boston has this 21-year-old phenom, Philip Kessel. He's been called the American Sidney Crosby. It will be interesting to see how he does against Renney's confident Blueshirters. By the way, when's the last time the Rangers had a phenom on the team?

MyFoxDetroit:
Win a Chance to Practice with Phil Kessel --
It's every hockey players dream to skate with the NHL. While few will ever see that dream realized, one lucky hockey devotee will be able to win a personal practice session with Boston Bruin Phil Kessel, in the Play It Again Sports and Nike Bauer Hockey "Practice of a Lifetime" sweepstakes.

Players can enter at any Play It Again Sports location in the country. While only one lucky player will win the chance of a lifetime, 200 others will win Nike Bauer Hockey apparel. The sweepstakes ends December 31...

Considered the most talented player on the United States team in the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Kessel understands the value of practice. As the 5th pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, the forward was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in his rookie year. A product of USA Hockey's National Development Team, he was the program's all-time leader for goals and points. This is a man who knows the value of practice, and for one lucky player and 20 teammates, truly a cant-miss opportunity to learn from a league great...
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Blue Jackets Ice Crew
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Lightning Girls
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When You Play Not To Lose

Markus Naslund is a 14 year NHL vet so when he says something you have to listen. One of his comments after last nights loss to Edmunton in a shootout was telling. "Maybe we're too concerned about making mistakes, so we stay back instead of taking the game to our opponent. Then when we fall behind, we have no choice." So when a player like Naslund has those thoughts imagine what some of the younger guys think, especially those that know that a bad shift leads to less ice time. So there you have the doctrine at its worst: "Not playing defense is not an option."

For the second night in a row a controversial goal cost the Rangers the game. Cole's goal off of his skate was ruled good and gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead. From my vantage point it was hard to see if it was kicked in. Also, Callahan's no goal was also close. It showed goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers hand over the goal line but no puck was visible so no goal. So another slow start and another defeat for a team that after it started out with five wins is now 6-5-2. That is seven losses in the last thirteen games, which is sub .500 hockey. However, under the NHL rules the Rangers have garnered 14 points in 13 games so that is plus .500. Where else in the world do you lose more than you win and are over .500. In the new Gary Bettman NHL, that's where.

As my wife and I were getting off the train last night in Babylon there was a big crowd of Ranger fans getting off also. I remarked to her that there is a loyal base of Ranger supporters that have never wavered from their support of a team that has not always excelled. We both agreed that the fans are better than the team. Too bad the team has never reached the level of the fans.

ICINGS:

Happy Veterans Day

Ted Leonsis / Ted's Take:
If you have the time, watch this film. It is very appropriate for Veterans Day. Let us never forget the brave men and women who serve our nation...

77 minutes / SnagFilms.com:
East L.A. Marine - The untold story of Guy Gabaldon

PFC Guy Louis Gabaldon ( March 22,1926 – August 31, 2006) was a United States Marine who was credited with capturing (or persuading to surrender) about 1,500 Japanese soldiers and civilians during the Battle of Saipan (1944) in World War II. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor but was instead awarded the Silver Star which was later upgraded to the Navy Cross Medal for these actions...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Capital Punishment

There it was in broad daylight, or instant replay, the net was off the peg and you could see the yellow peg and Sam and Joe couldn't understand why the Rangers were complaining about Tom Poti's goal. Heck, anytime Poti scores it's suspect. The rule is clear. If the net is off the pegs it's no goal. But they allowed it and then I remembered this is the new Washington and there is change in the air. The claim was that the net was not completely off. Then there was Alexander Semin running Lundqvist, who was in the crease, and there was no call. I guess Lundqvist hasn't reached the status of Martin Brodeur who draws penalties by getting menacing looks.

So early on it was evident that the Rangers would have to contend with more than six Washington players. What was disturbing, but not unexpected, about Lundqvist being run is that there was not one Ranger player, other than Lundqvist, who even looked at Semin. Forget enforcer, forget policeman, how about protecting your goalie? But since the end of the lockout and the new coaching regime that is in place, sticking up for a teammate is not in the clueless ones playbook. But how do you not stand up for your goalie? You do when defense is your mantra. You do when you have a team that is not offensive, not aggressive, is in fact passive.

So now we have a team, since its early out of the gate spurt, is playing .500 hockey. What is so surprising? There is no team toughness, no team system, no team concept. Thank God, can I still say that, we have Henrik Lundqvist, at least until someone runs him out of the NHL.

ICINGS:

Good News the recession is here, but we still have our Rangers.

Steven Stark / Real Clear Sports:
A Long Recession May Help Sports --

a look at what happened during the Great Depression of the 1930’s reveals that in times of trouble, people need diversions more than ever...

If the economic downturn is as severe and as long lasting as some predict, it will be tough on almost everybody. But in an odd way, our sports will likely become more interesting than ever before.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Captain Clutch Special

The Dark Ranger is a little brighter today. His boy, Chris Drury, had the game of his short Ranger life last night in which he scored his first hat trick as a Ranger and did it in a special way. One short-handed goal, in which he picked Martin St. Louis's pocket and completely undressed the Lightning goalie, Smith, and two power play goals, one off of a beautiful setup by Scotty Gomez and the other off of a rebound with time running out in the game. The goals gave Drury five for the season and hopefully ended the funk he was in.

The Rangers were 3-8 on the power play but before we get too excited that the PP is now working you must understand that two of the power play goals were scored on rushes up ice. Besides the Gomez feed there was another gorgeous pass from Zherdev to Callahan that set up the first PP goal. The Z Man had two big assists, plus there was the spectacle of him tussling with three Tampa Bay players along the boards and handling himself quite well. He must have been crosschecked at least three times but the referees in their infinite wisdom gave Zorro the two minute penalty. He was the number three star of the game. Drury was obviously the number one star.

Henrik Lundqvist, naturally, was the number two star. The Rangers should have a ceremony whereby they retire the number two star award and re-name it the Henrik Lundqvist Award. He wasn't good, he was great. It's hard to imagine this teams existence without Lundqvist. With all the inconsistencies on this team; the power play, the lack of scoring, the shoddy defense, the clueless coaching, Henrik Lundqvist remains the one solid, consistent performer on this team of underperformers. Zherdev and Mara are two others who have performed well but The Prince is Mr. Consistency. Long live The Prince.

ICINGS:

Would the Rangers ever consider sending either Redden or Rozie to the minors to make cap room for Sundin? They cleared $1 Million of cap room when they waived Pat Rissmiller. MSG has an interesting management philosophy, they pay athletes like Patrick Rissmiller and Stephen Marbury to just hang out and watch.

Kevin Allen / USA Today:
Sundin would have to give up cash if he wants a Cup --

If Mats Sundin truly wants to play for one of the teams with a better shot at winning a Stanley Cup, he will have to leave a wad of money on the table.

Currently, the three teams that seem like the most logical fit for Sundin would be the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens and none of those teams have any significant room under the salary cap...

Even if Sundin were willing to play for less money, it still would be challenging for the Ducks or Rangers to fit him under the cap. At this juncture, it would be tough to move $3 million in a trade without taking money back.

The more likely scenario would be a general manager persuading ownership that in order to bring Sundin aboard, a name player would have to be sent to the minors. That would take that player out of the cap equation, but the team would have to pay his NHL salary in addition to the regular payroll...
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pathetic Power Play

It was bad enough when the power play wasn't scoring, at least it took two minutes off the clock. But now we have a new wrinkle to our power play, we give up goals to the other team. In as inept a performance that they have given this year the Booshirts lost to the Islanders 2-1. Too bad they don't have the same rules as they do in football where they have the option to decline the penalty.

Naturally, the drive by media has found the culprit, Michal Rozsival. Michal says that he made two bad plays that cost the game. Have you closely watched Rozsival this year? Last night's two gaffes were an improvement over his play lately. Just think. The Stealth GM paid out five big ones to keep this guy who still thinks that Jagr is on the team because he keeps passing the puck back to the spot that Jagr used to stand on.

But the Stealth has bigger problems than Michal Rozsival. He has a clueless coach and coaching staff that don't have a clue how to fix a power play. It's three years and counting and to no avail, they can't fix it. And what's more damning is that they don't know how to fix it. But the power play is just a symptom of a bigger problem. They can't score goals and the Stealth doesn't have too many options. He dismissed Shanahan, too old, too slow, but who can still shoot, which is more than you can say for the rest of the team, because he is on a youth kick. Really?

Then there is Mats Sundin, of which there is no money to hire him. Need money? I'll give you money. Trade Rozsival. Then there is the matter of line construction and ice time distribution. Playing Petr Prucha every third day is not going to do it. Playing the Z Man, Nikolai Zherdev, on a line with Dubinsky and Voros is like putting up a goal deterrent. The Z Man should be playing with Gomez and Naslund and then if it doesn't work we should scrap the season and put the whole team on waivers as Emile "The Cat" Francis did years ago.

Chances are nothing will be done. It will be February and we will still be discussing how the power play is costing us games and how the Islanders have scored eight shorthanded goals against us. They already have three. It will be February and coach clueless will admit he is pissed again, thereby breaking a record of using the word that he set in December. Like December, nothing will be done, Prucha will be benched two out of every three games, and Rozsival will continue to lose the puck on the power play, and Mats Sundin will be in California waiting for the sequel to Slap Shot.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What Happened?

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What Happened to the Rangers in Toronto?For close to 53 minutes Steve Valiquette was pitching a shutout and the Rangers were playing their rope-a-dope style, defense at all costs game and then the house of cards collapsed. The culprits? The team and the clueless coaching staff. The giveaways were as good as those on The Price Is Right and more expensive. First Gomez, then Rozsival, then Fritsche and Valley who was the rock most of the game suddenly became a sieve. Five goals in 5:52 wiped out the Rangers lead and has the Rangers at 10-3-1 looking suspect.

The Rangers right now need to regroup and regroup fast. The game also showed how fragile this team is especially in the offensive area. They passed on Shanahan, are vacillating on Sundin and have benched Prucha; and for all intents and purposes his career with the Rangers is over. So trade him. The mere presence on the team of such bodies as Fritsche, Voros and Sjostrom to the exclusion of Prucha annoys me to no end. Putting Zherdev on with Dubinsky and Voros practically insures that The Z Man is taken out of the game offensively.

So the Rangers are 10-3-1 and falling and in danger of collapse. But wait, here come the Islanders on Tuesday and that should straighten us out. But will it? Be careful of what you wish for.

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