Thursday, January 08, 2009

Two Steps Back

The Rangers followed up Monday nights win over the Penguins with a Wednesday night debacle against the Canadiens. The one step forward was negated and then some with the 6-3 loss to Montreal. It was at least two steps back. Lundqvist was dreadful, basically responsible for the first two goals, one on a giveaway behind the net and the second on a juicy rebound. The win for Montreal ended a four game losing streak for them against the Rangers at the Garden. They broke the game open with four goals in the third period, the last being a short handed empty netter, the 13th short handed goal the Rangers have given up this year.

After the game, coach clueless complained about the officiating and the lack of penalties against the Rangers. I saw two bad calls. A marginal one against Voros, who is very marginal in his play lately, and a slash against Mara that was not called. Notice I didn't say missed because there was no way that a referee could miss a double slash. They just didn't call it. Clueless stated that he will now probably be more vocal behind the bench toward the refs. Wow! I suggest he spend his energies improving the style of play of his team. He should have them watch the brief footage of Prucha skating like a whirling dervish, offensively and defensively, and explain why he was exiled all these months.

Now it's hit the road Jack, and five big ones against Buffalo, Ottawa, the Islanders, Chicago and Pittsburgh. To me the big concern is Lundqvist. We have been saying all along that he can only carry this team so far and lately there have been chinks in his armor. A half a season has gone by and there is little hope that this team will change much. The defense is soft and the offense is still perimeter oriented but Lundqvist remained the rock. If he falters this team will go down like the proverbial rock.

The ├╝ber-randy Four Habs blog put the old Ranger Pundit under their game day stripper. Thanks, that's a big complement, I think. Where is that bottle of little blue pills?

The most remarkable thing about Michael Farber's excellent 2,000 word profile of Sean Avery in this week's Sports Illustrated is that he found two players, who allegedly claimed to be friends with Avery. The friends of Sean Avery short list: Red Wings forward Kris Draper and Calgary's Michael Cammalleri.

After reading this story you have to remember the old saying: "never meet your heroes." Being a fan of Sean Avery means that you should never go near him, or else you might end up wanting to punch him. Anyone who can take pleasure in getting the mild mannered John Giannone riled up for a fist fight ain't right.

Michael Farber / SI:
The Trouble With Sean Avery --

The crude dissing of his former girlfriends was merely the last straw. Self-absorbed and a loudmouth throughout his career, the Stars' agitator has been cast out because he's a lousy teammate...

Even worse than his scripted misogyny, Avery was guilty of hockey's deadliest sin: being a lousy teammate. There can be room for personal agendas in other sports—think Terrell Owens with the Cowboys—but hockey takes a dim view of square pegs in their perfectly rounded holes...

"Brett Hull criticized us when we traded Sean, saying our team was bad for Sean and bad for the game," [Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi] recalls. "Freedom of expression. How does [Hull, the Stars' co-G.M. with Jackson,] like it today? They spent $15.5 million to protect the right of free speech. Adams and Jefferson would be proud...
NHL Outsider: Is Sean Avery Finished?

So Jarkko Ruutu got a 2 game suspension for lunching on Andrew Peters' finger. Comparing that to Avery's 6 games for a crude comment gives more evidence that Bettman's case-by-case system of justice is seriously flawed.

NY Times:
Senators’ Ruutu Penalized 2 Games for Biting --
Biting is rare in hockey, but it happens. Last January, Devils forward Travis Zajac required stitches on his finger after being bitten by Philadelphia defenseman Derian Hatcher. The league did not discipline Hatcher.

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  • blow-me-down said...

    Wow, what a surprise. Two of my most hated players ever, Jarkko Ruutu and Derian Hatchter lunching on human digits. Don't these guys have a pregame meal?

    What was Mr. "No Excuses"' excuse for one of the most brain-dead penalties I've ever seen. If I see you smirking in your next interview, Scott, I'll just change the channel.

    Maybe we should go with that tall, less sexy goalie next game. Lundqvist played poorly, and you do have to wonder why is he is never pulled when it might make a difference.

  • HabsFan29 said...

    Damn straight it was a compliment. We only link to the best.

    I thought the game was pretty even, to be honest, except for the goalies. Simple enough.

  • blow-me-down said...

    And that reminds me Mike and JB, that I am overdue in saying thanks for providing a fun and informative site all year long!

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-Gomez should be as exciting on the ice as he is in front of the TV cameras.

    Because clueless doesn't know the difference.

    jb and I want to thank you and the hundreds of viewers who literally make our day. Thanks, blow-me-down. Now huff and puff and blow clueless out of the Garden.

  • mike said...

    habsFan29-Thanks for the plug. Le Habs have been driving me nuts for years and it looks like it will continue for a long time.

    The difference is that your D protects your goalie while our D vanishes, or melts into the ice. I think Staal is still looking for his jock. But he is a good kid, our best D-man and he will rebound strongly.

    Again, thanks for the link.

  • jb said...


    Thanks for the props.

    Sitting the Sexy one sounds good to me. It can't hurt to give Valley some net time. Lundqvist hasn't distinguished himself. I would like to we seen how Lundqvist handles being sat for a game after a poor one?

    I do remember him getting blown out 5-8 at NJ on Friday, Dec 12th, but coming back the next day, Sat., Dec 13th to beat Carolina 3-2 in a shoot-out. I think I heard him say that he like's to get right back in net after a stinker. Could he handle sitting? He should, his mental game hasn't been questioned.

    The Habs fans are loyal. Mike, were there as many down in the Garden last night as there has been in past years? Or is the economy even curtailing Le Habs' fans road trips?

    Grinning Gomez needs to grimace a little more to suit me.

  • blow-me-down said...

    It was not right to see Voros on the bench after he took the penalty, with resulting goal against, smiling and looking not all that bothered. It's not a personal thing, but it's getting close. He should have looked unhappy and agitated, especially since he added el-zippo to the Rangers game.
    It was not right to see Gomez lamely protest his game-crushing penalty, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He is not as witty/funny as he thinks he is (actually quite rude in his interviews), and he was anything but funny pretty much blowing any chance of a comeback with is penalty. I'm still so severely pissed off at him.
    Cuz that's how you lose games you could win. It is in no way excusable, and he should have been benched immediately, no more ice-time for you sir!

    Henrik is going to be fine in the long run, we all know that. But I really do wish that when a goaltender looks not so good, that he be lifted. Nowhere in the hockey gospel is it written thatit must be at the 5 goal or whatever mark. Some people seem to be so worried about hurting players feelings all the time, as though they these players are delicate flowers. It's not about that, it's about whether you are getting the job done. Nobody dies.
    Just do it like a business transaction. Do it because it changes the flow. Do it because you haven't done it before...whatever.

    "Be decisive" Tom, in your own words.

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-Didn't go to the Canadien game so I have no idea how many Montreal fans were there. They usually come in droves and I don't mind them because they know their hockey and are respectful not like some of those idiots that show up for some of the local teams, plus the Ranger fans.

    You want clueless to be decisive?Hah! The locker room is a country club clubhouse. That's why they bad mouth Avery. He stirs things up. There are no stirrer uppers on this team. One big happy, dysfunctional hockey team led by their jester, coach clueless. Gomez thinks he is funny, stealing 7 mil a year. He is a joke right now and so are the Rangers.