Saturday, April 04, 2009

Hanging On For Dear Life

The Rangers got a break last night when Florida lost to the Atlanta Thrashers thereby protecting their two point lead for the final playoff spot. They got no breaks today as they were again shutout by the Bruins in Boston, 1-0. They remain two points ahead of Florida and the Panthers have a game in hand. To make matters worse the Rangers are only four points ahead of a resurgent Buffalo Sabre team, while Buffalo has two games in hand. The Rangers must rely on their hated rivals, the Devils and the Penguins, to secure a playoff spot. The Devils play Buffalo tonight and the Penguins play Florida tomorrow night. Gone is any pretense of the Rangers making a run for a higher playoff position. They proved today that they have neither the talent or fortitude for that run.

The best chance the Rangers had was a four on three power play late in the third period. This was set up totally by Avery when, during a stoppage, he tapped goalie Tim Thomas on the head, which almost started a brawl. The Rangers came out of the scrum with the four on three advantage and did nothing. What seemed weird about the penalty call against Avery, and yes it was a penalty, is that none of the four officials saw it and they called it after the video board showed it. But, it was Avery so no matter whether you see it or you didn't. Whether he actually commits a penalty or not, if there is some kind of event on the ice, and Avery is on the ice he must be the sinner.

To make matters much worse Nik Antropov was clipped on a knee to knee hit by Milan Lucic and had to leave the game. There was no word on his injury and it is quite possible that he is finished for the rest of the year. So with three games to go the Rangers are hanging on for dear life. But as our Captain, Chris Drury stated, we have to forget this one and look forward to the next game. Or, something like that. Our Captain seems to be saying that quite often these days. I remember when we had a Captain who used to predict victories. Oh well, let's be happy for the little things. In the meantime, let's go Devils. Let's go Penguins.


Avery's 'accidential' hit on Tim Thomas.

Greg Wyshynski / Puck Daddy:
Sean Avery drops Zen robot act, hits Thomas with stick --
Was it an accident? Another case of Sean Avery: Victim of Circumstance? Another chapter in the "poor, misunderstood, well-dressed me against the world" book Avery's been writing for the last two seasons in the NHL? ...

Again, this is the main point we are emphasizing. When Sean Avery is involved the rule book gets re-written on the fly.

Rick Carpiniello / Rangers Review:
Avery Rule 2 --
So apparently referees and linesmen can call penalties from video replay. Actually, they can’t by rule or bylaw. But it appears that is exactly what they did when Sean Avery tapped Tim Thomas in the back of the hat Saturday in Boston.

And apparently, rules apply to Avery, but when they don’t, the NHL can just change them...

2nd update: One final take on this newly applied Avery Rule from The Gray Lady.

Stu Hackel / NY Times:
Rangers Not Dead Yet --
Sam Rosen has it right. The officials didn’t see it [the Avery tap] live, saw it only on the center ice scoreboard and called the penalty from that.

Once upon a time (and probably even now) there was an N.H.L. regulation prohibiting arena personnel from showing replays like that for just that reason. On one hand, the officials ending up making the right call — matching minors to both Avery for unsportsmanlike conduct and to goalie Tim Thomas for roughing on the punches he threw at Fredrik Sjöström. But unless the league wants to move to reviewing everything up in the video booth or in the “War Room” in Toronto, the calls should remain on the ice with the officials, unaided by anything except video of goal/no goal calls as prescribed in the rule book...
This new Avery precedent begs the question: can the home team now control what penalties are called based on what it chooses to display on the center ice scoreboard?

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  • Anonymous said...

    They did not come out of the "scrum" with a 4 on 3. The next penalty happened almost 30 seconds later. Avery deserved the penalty and then again in typical Avery fashion, turtled instead of being a man and owning up! Thomas should have kicked is ***. Too bad Chara or Lucic were not on the ice!

  • jb said...

    Boston fans are incensed over Avery giving Thomas a love tap. It was like the Pope had been shot. Hello, it's hockey, not a bridge club serving wine and cheese.

    If the Refs had seen it Avery would have deserved the penalty. But, the fact they had to go to the video tape is another example of the NHL re-writing the rule book every time Avery plays his part as Grate One.

    Avery's plan almost worked. Too bad Colton Orr wasn't on the ice to meet and greet Thomas because he had his feelings hurt by Mr. Avery.

  • blow-me-down said...

    Thomas could have been give a penalty for hitting Sjostrom in the face.
    Myself, I was disappointed by Avery's tap with the stick, thought it was a stupid decision. The fact that they did not call it until it was shown on the replay screen is really bad.
    Was that issue even taken up by Drury with the officials? I did not notice that happening, and don't have the game recorded.

    I think I am outnumbered by most folks who have commented on the game on various sites - I didn't think it was much of an effort by the Rangers at all. They were going well under the intensity level required today. Torts thought it was well played game, so what do I know?

  • desdemona said...

    For those who think the refs shouldn't have called it:

    32.2 Disputes – The Referees shall have general supervision of the game and shall have full control of all game officials and players during the game, including stoppages; and in case of any dispute, their decision shall be final.

    32.4 General Duties – It shall be the duty of the Referees to impose such penalties as are prescribed by the rules for infractions thereof and they shall give the final decision in matters of disputed goals. The Referees may consult with the Linesmen, Goal Judge or Video Goal Judge before making their decision.

  • Scotty Hockey said...

    Now I'm sure most Boston boys are used to just hanging around on their knees, but what the hell was Thomas doing in the middle of the ice like that? You can see Avery looking around for his next conquest in the stands and whoops, there is Thomas' head. Lost in all of this is the fact that Thomas went after Sjostrom - if he had been all zen and yoga and all that garbage, he would have taken it and the Bs would have gotten the power play. Instead he freaks out like he was shot and nearly breaks Sjostrom's nose with his blocker. Nice work superstar. Against a real team with a real offense (and power play), he might have been in trouble.

  • jb said...

    Thomas is the one who needed an anger management class. And as Scotty points out if he wants to kneel in the middle of the ice as a sacrificial offering, then why shouldn't Avery take the communion wafer?

    desdemona, I don't think the issue is the refs having supervision of the game during a stoppage (they should), but the fact that they missed Avery's bump and then had to consult the video tape, is that part in the rule book - tape review of incidents during a stoppage? Or no call, if they don't actually see it. Or just make it up as they go along?

    Yes, Thomas should have gotten more, he was welding a weapon (the blocker). Avery at least appears to give a damn. I don't know if it was effort or just basic lack of scoring skills that holds this team back? Some of both?

  • desdemona said...


    I quoted the rule book as it's written and it clearly states that they may consult the video replay if they don't know what had happened. It rarely happens, and it sucks when it does but it's not a rule that they invented for Mr. Avery.


    And Sjostrom could've been ejected from the game for being the third man in. Count your team lucky that they teams had the same amount of penalties.

  • blow-me-down said...

    Desdemona - You're pretty accurate when quoting, but much less so in interpreting.
    Using video replay on goal disputes is in no way related to calling infractions after the fact.

    As I understand it, penalties can not be called when the evidence is a video replay. The penalty must be called in 'real time' by an official at the time of the infraction.

    Anything else, Shakesperean character?

    P.S. Hitting a guy in the face with a blocker pad should be interpreted as 'intent to injure'.
    Tim The Nutman Toolman Thomas should have been ejected pronto.

  • jb said...


    That's a good one: Tim 'the toolman' Thomas. I bet he would have acted differently if it was someone other than Avery.

    Do you think Lundqvist would have gone nuts like that if Avery had tapped him when they played Dallas? I guess I don't see Henrik losing it like that.

    The reactions to Avery are crazy, he's a hot stove issue. Has pro hockey gotten too soft? The Nanny Hockey League - we got to keep these guys from fight'n and hurt'n anyone. Big brother watches all and metes out punishment.

    I have to agree with B-M-D and
    Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Review that this use of the video tape clearly fell outside the current rules. But, who cares if the rules get broken in the name of good clean fun?

  • Section 335 said...

    Montreal -

    We will win if we play a very physical game.

    We will lose if we try to skate with them or fail to hit Alex at every chance.

    "Kovalev has 15 points in the six games since GM/coach Bob Gainey put him together with Tanguay and Koivu. The 36-year-old was especially lethal last week, scoring 2 goals and adding 7 assists -- meaning that he was involved in nine of Montreal's 15 goals as the Canadiens went 3-0-0 and won all three games by three goals or more."

    I have little hope for this Ranger team. Too many obvious holes.

  • blow-me-down said...

    The Habs will be very tough; nobody on that team is dogging it right now.

    Urgency..urgency, i.e. don't play like Saturday's game.