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 über-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...related:
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.
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.