Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Almost Trapped

Not quite, but it was close. Watching a Jacques Lemaire team playing hockey is about a half-step above watching my two eighty-year-old grandfathers play checkers. Both are guaranteed to put the viewer to sleep. Lemaire's plan goes deeper than that. He hopes to put the opposition to sleep. For the second night in a row the Rangers had to play trench hockey, but unlike Sunday night when they fell 2-1, they pulled it out last night on Scotty Gomez's (16) game winner off of a nice feed by Avery. Avery tried to energize the crowd by engaging Cal Clutterbuck (that's his real name) in a disagreement over a previous late hit on Antropov. Colton Orr later mixed it up with Owen Nolan to keep the crowd awake.

Of course the highlight goal was scored by Nikolai Zherdev from what looked like an impossible angle behind the net. It was his 22nd of the year. The Z-Man also picked up an assist. Actually these games shouldn't be that close but the Ranger power play continues to be pathetic. This is one thing that coach Tortorella has been unable to fix. It was 0-5 and the night before it was 0-6 and in the last nine games it is 4-41. What do you expect of a power play when night after night Wade Redden gets the most ice time on a power play. Could it be that Jim Schoenfeld is protecting the Stealth GM's interests? This power play will signal the death knell of the Ranger playoff season.

The Rangers have eight games to move up in the standings. They are four behind Philly, who have two games in hand, and there are two games against each other. They are a point behind Carolina and have a game in hand. However, if they don't get the power play going it is not going to matter where they finish, they will be cooked in the first round.

ICINGS:

HockeyFights.com:
Cal Clutterbuck vs Sean Avery -- Average rating of 5.8. Who won?

  • Cal Clutterbuck -- 44.4%
  • Sean Avery -- 37.0%
  • Draw --- 18.5%



HockeyFights.com:
Owen Nolan vs Colton Orr -- Rating of 5.4. No doubt here who won.
  • Colton Orr -- 66.7%
  • Draw -- 26.7%
  • Owen Nolan -- 6.7%


----

Greg Wyshynski / Yahoo Puck Daddy:
MSG brawl doubleheader; can punch-less Wild make cut? --
Perhaps the only shock here was that Avery wasn't the first one to remove his helmet, considering the game was on national TV.

Why fight so early? Because Avery played like a slice of crap in the Rangers' previous game, according to Coach John Tortorella: "I know Sean knows he didn't play well that other night. He didn't get some ice to play on. I think he wanted to get back into his game, bang a little bit, fight." ...

Scotty Hockey:
39-27-8: Not So Wild But Still Two Points --
Cal Clutterbuck also asked for it and Sean Avery answered the bell. Finally. Avery picked his spot well, taking on someone of pretty much the same size and aptitude. The Garden roared after the first period fight and Avery went on to add another assist. It is interesting that when he is involved in the game, banging bodies and doing whatnot behind the play, the Rangers step up their game and get more offensive chances. When Avery steps back, so do the Blueshirts ....



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3 comments:

  • jb said...
     

    I can't remember a game where I saw so little of the puck. It seems the two teams were always locked into a scrum along the near boards facing the camera. Therefore, you couldn't see much. Boring indeed.

    Also, what's up with Versus? They couldn't even show the power play time on their time/score bar. Have there been budget cuts, so they can't afford one anymore? Talk about down sizing.

  • Section 335 said...
     

    What stood out to me was the play of Redden, Stahl and Sauer. Sauer only took 17 shifts, without any special team time, but they were solid shifts. He looked like he belonged. That is very important for this team in the future.

    Redden was on the ice for each goal. He is less timid than he was under Renney. Maybe change is doing him good.

    Stahl, wow. What hits. What positioning. What amazing hands to get in and out of 2 on 1 situations and then dish the perfect little outlet pass that catches two men behind the rush.

    And a little point on Z. I think he plays best when there is a Russian countryman leading the other team. He wants to show he is better. And damn it, he is. Maybe everyone should have a top Russian so we can motive him.

  • jb said...
     

    Good point about Zherdev picking his spots to perform. It begs the question, why can't he just bring it every night? Is he auditioning for a Russian gig? Siberia?

    I don't want to gush too much about Staal, but I'm almost expecting him to surprise me in a good way every game now.

    I wasn't paying close enough attention to pick up on Sauer's play. The fact, he doesn't standout in my mind is probably a good thing.