Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are We For Real?

Have the Rangers quit on Tortorella? After falling behind 3-0, the coach called a timeout and screamed at his players, to no avail. They were just as bad after the scream out as they were before. Maybe, they quit on us, the fans. They sure as hell didn't sh0w us any respect, the people who pay the freight. I think the Rangers quit on themselves. How else to explain it after Blair Bett's goal in the opening minute. This one was total destruction. If there was one good play we made I would like to be reminded of it. Even the house guys, Sam and Joe, had a hard time coming up with one.

Where do we go from here? Isn't it time to back up the truck and dismantle this mess? The four game winning streak against the sub par teams is a distant memory. Two of those teams, the Islanders and Flyers, have come back to beat us and Carolina is on deck tonight for payback. We haven't hit rock bottom yet. That dubious distinction awaits us in 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

But let's be honest as we have been here before. Until the Stealth gets fired this team will continue to sink, not only this year but years to come. However, we all know that unless there is a change at the top, with the Absentee Owner, we will be stuck with this loser.

I may not be awake to cover tonight's game so I will take this opportunity to wish one and all out there in hockeyland a healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All...........

The Rangers gave their fans a holiday treat last night with their fourth straight win, a 4-1 pasting of the Florida Panthers. It broke a five game schneid at MSG and tied the Panthers for the eighth and final playoff spot. While the 'old reliables' Lundqvist and Gaborik shone again there was help from the supporting cast as Prospal scored two goals and Drury notched another in his comeback bid.

The Rangers played one of their better games of the season which is quite encouraging to their fans. In the last four games the Rangers have outscored their opponents 14-5, led by the sterling goal tending of Henrik Lundqvist. The guy seems to be a fortress right now and everyone must have their fingers crossed wondering how long this will go on before he tires and collapses.

The same goes for Gaborik. It is hard to visualize the lineup without Gaborik in it. So this Christmas let's hope Santa brings us an injury free year for Henrik and Gabby.

Speaking of Christmas, I will like to wish all of you out there in hockey land a very Merry Christmas to you and your families and loved ones. God bless everyone of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Lundqvist Again

The Rangers continue to feast on the dregs of hockey, winning their third straight against the sub parest of the sub par teams. Their 3-1 win over Carolina was nothing to write home about despite the hype provided by Joe (are you kidding) Micheletti. If not for Lundqvist the Rangers go in the tank on this one. Henrik Lundqvist may well be the savior the Rangers are looking for.

There is both good news and bad news here. The good news is that he could lead the Rangers to the promised land. At the least, to the playoffs. The bad news is that he would save the onions of the Stealth GM. Now I have no illusions that the Rangers missing the playoffs would result in the demise of the Stealth. The Stealth and the Absentee Owner are connected at the hip. They are like an entry in a horse race. They are 1 and 1a. But maybe, just maybe, lightning might strike and we get rid of the two of them.

Gaborik continued his stellar play with his league leading 25th goal, plus an assist. Dubinsky also had a goal and assist and Marc Staal who also was outstanding notched an empty netter. The next game should be something of a test as the Rangers play the Florida Panthers, so we shall see if we can beat a contender.

Long live The Prince!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Prince And The Kids

So now we know the strategy for saving the season. Play Lundqvist until he drops. The Prince was brilliant again with 36 saves. In the last eight games his GAA is less than 2.0 and his save percentage is about .95. The Rangers reverted to their 2 goals a game but this time it brought a win. During this period the Rangers are 3-4-1. With the Prince's numbers the Rangers should have been 8-0.

The other element that seems to be in place now, at least for two games, is the young guys are getting more meaningful ice time. Staal got a tad over 30 minutes. Anisimov scored the winning goal. Sanguinetti got over ten minutes, including PP time and he wasn't afraid to shoot the puck. Rozsival is the only blot on the blueline. Of the other five, Girardi is the senior man in point of service.

So now the Rangers head to Carolina to play a sub, sub, sub par team and it will be interesting to see how they react with a chance to win their third straight, the longest since the early seven game winning streak. How long can Lundqvist carry this team, because without a doubt Henrik Lundqvist, The Prince, is the true leader of this hockey team.

Prince Lundqvist saves RangersLong live The Prince!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Prince Does Save The Peasants

So the coach screamed, one player cried, the other players had a meeting and guess what happened? Nothing. They came out as duds again and were outworked and outshot, 14-4, in the first period, 37-22 in the game. A PP goal by Callahan and a miracle goal by Chris Drury, which is still under review to determine the authenticity of the player, gave them a 2-0 lead after the first period. Lundqvist was outstanding in the first period and throughout the game and the losers knew it. The Isles coach, Scott Gordon confirmed it with, "The guy in the pads at the other end was pretty good."

He was good enough to win the home and home series but was betrayed by his team mates one of whom cried to the press that he was being singled out. Singled out! He should spend the rest of the season watching the replays of him and his buddy Rozy getting toasted by opposing forwards. They would make wonderful croutons for salads and soups.

So the Rangers beat the Islanders and scored five goals. So what? So what does it prove? It proves that on any given night one sub par team can out mistake another even more sub par team. The problems are still there. Henrik Lundqvist can mask the problems only so long. He can not carry this team the entire year without some big changes. I'll say it one more time. Unless there is a blockbuster trade and shakeup this Ranger team as it is constituted will not make the playoffs.

Long live The Prince.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Stink

I don't know any other way to describe it. There is a supposed shakeup tonight with Kotalik and Redden out and Christensen and Sanguinetti in. But what about the other stiffs like Rozsival and Drury? Last night I fell asleep during the second period. When I awoke I had some problems with MSG so I switched to the Islander channel and Howie Rose. I heard things like, "It sounds like Let's Go Rangers, but it really is Fire Sather". Also, a closeup of Drury produced the comment that he is invisible tonight. Tonight? He's been invisible all year. The final nail was at the end when the Rangers finally scored and the color guy wondered where was all this energy throughout the game? You think Sam and Joe would say these things. However, in all fairness, Joe did rip the poor defensive play on the Islanders first goal.

So tonight is the encore performance from last nights debacle. Drury promised things would be different. He didn't give a Mark Messier we will win statement, but things will be different. How? Tortorella was supposedly upset with the teams performance. Why? This is basically the team the Stealth put together with the approval of the coach, Tortorella.

So two sub par teams meet again and right now while the Islanders may be sub par, the Rangers are sub, sub par. Let the farce begin.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

48 Shots=2 Goals=1 point

The Rangers put on quite a show last night. They drummed up the energy to put 48 shots on goal. Unfortunately they only scored twice and that wasn't enough to win the game which was lost in the shootout, where they were outscored 2-0. So the slide continues as the Rangers head into a home and home against the beloved Islanders. This should be one hellava brawl as both teams are at the 31 point mark and reeling. If this was a football game we could dub this The Toilet Bowl.

Speaking of 31 points, there are five teams in the Eastern Conference that have accumulated 31 points and that are fighting for positions 10 through 14. And you say there is no excitement left in hockey. Like Sam said last night, a point is big this time of the year. A win would have given the Rangers sole possession of 10th place.

So the Rangers move on or is it down. Too bad PA Parenteau was sent back to Hartford. At least he could score in shootouts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bah Humbug!

I know it's early, but that is exactly what my granddaughter Allessandra shouted to me over the phone after she inquired as to how the Rangers did last night. The Rangers right now are the Grinches. They will ruin every holiday that comes around this year. The Rangers are an equal opportunity holiday ruiner, regardless of creed, race or nationality. Their ineptness knows no bounds and their effort is pathetic and has no spirit.

One of my readers wanted to know how I have put up with this for 70+ years. I'm a masochist. It wasn't too bad when the seasons started in October and ended in April. Now they go from September to June. Before their were a few teams who made the playoffs and you knew fairly early when the Rangers would be eliminated. Now there are so many teams and quite a few are as bad as the Rangers so its difficult to know when they will be eliminated. So we keep backing in and we hear Sam and Joe shout, "The Rangers make the playoffs," like it was the Yankees adding another Championship.

Last night? Another loss. Gaborik tried. A goal and an assist. Lundqvist tried but was beaten again by another breakaway. Two goals we scored and Tortorella says we are stuck on two goals. Tortorella has now become the shake and bake coach. No line hits the ice two shifts in a row without a change in personnel. We put guys on the point on the PP who can't shoot, Drury, guys who can't hold the puck in, Rozsival, and guys who should be in Hartford, Redden.

But what's the use. This has been going on for seventy plus years and I don't think there are enough great ghosts of the past to save this sinking ship. How bad is it. One of the fans last night was overheard talking to his buddy, "Tortorella is safe. His name is too long to get up a good 'fire Tortorella' chant. In Italian we have a phrase, "The fish stinks from the head". You figure it out where the problem is.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Prince Can't Save The Peasants

It was another super human effort but unfortunately Lundqvist couldn't pull it off as the hapless, punchless Rangers fell to the Black Hawks in OT, 2-1. The Prince had it going until about 5 minutes to play when Dan Giradi took a stupid stick between the legs penalty which led to a Hawk PP, which naturally led to the tying goal. The goal was scored in a scrum in front of Lundqvist while the Rangers were trying to stick the puck out instead of using their bodies on the Hawks. Some stuff never changes.

The winning goal came after Prospal flubbed a gimee in front of the Hawks net which led to a Hawk breakaway and the winning goal for the Hawks. The Rangers were outshot 38-16 and got all of one shot on goal in the third period. One shot in twenty minutes. Most of the third period was played in the Ranger defensive zone. The Rangers were outshot, outhustled and eventually outscored. The Rangers had a shot when Gaborik was scoring but now the opposing D Men have found a way to shut him down, all seems to be lost.

Meanwhile the empty suits in the Penthouse continue to fiddle while the Rangers burn. Is there an end in sight?

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Split Weekend

If ever you needed proof that the fortunes of the Rangers are directly tied into the performance of goalie Henrik Lundqvist, this weekend provided all the evidence you needed. In Buffalo, on Saturday night, The Prince was outstanding with 36 saves as he led the Rangers to a 2-1 win over the hot Sabres, ending their four game winning streak. Last night it was another story as the Prince faltered by giving up a soft goal late as the punchless Rangers fell 3-1 to the injury ravaged Red Wings.

The Rangers continue to be futile on offense. Even Gaborik shows some signs of futility, getting only an assist in Buffalo and no shots on goal against Detroit. Of course, he had to contend with the Red Wing defensive duo of Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski who checked him constantly. Too bad Gaborik can't go up against the Ranger defensemen. Oh wait. He did. Last year. He scored five goals against us.

So this is what we have to look forward the rest of the year. There is no help coming. Christensen is not the answer. Maybe, Dubinsky can come back and along with Gaborik spark the offense. Maybe, but I doubt it. However, that is all that is left for this punchless squad. Lots of hope but little faith. Meanwhile someone should teach Anisimov to skate with his head up.

Today is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. God bless all our veterans through the years who have fought and died in the many wars to defend the constitution of the greatest country in the world, the USA. God bless America!

Friday, December 04, 2009

So This Is A Shakeup?

Whom are they kidding? This is a shakeup? This is samo samo. Erik Christensen is with his fourth team since being drafted by the Penguins in 2002. In nine games this year he has zero goals and is soft. Forget about working the boards, he is another perimeter player so he fits right in.

Ilka Heikkinen is another European defenseman. Good on offense, soft (there is that word again) on defense. So he fits in. Valiquette has been cleared on the way down, will he be cleared on the way up. Interesting.

Chad Johson, the new goalie from Hartford, probably won't see any action except maybe in a mopup. The book says he gives up too many rebounds. Interesting.

So, this is a shakeup?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Lonely Lone Ranger

Kato, Green Hornet, Batman, Robin
The Lone Ranger has Tonto. Batman has Robin. The Green Hornet has Kato. Poor Marian Gaborik, he is all alone. No Tonto, no Robin, no Kato and now no Henrik Lundqvist. In another display of poor hockey the Rangers fell again to Pittsburgh and once more were victimized by a hat trick from Mike Rupp. Mike Rupp? Crosby? Yes. Malkin? Yes. But Mike Rupp? However, Rupp had help. Michal Rozsival turned what should have been a nothing play into the game winning goal as he kept backing up toward Lundqvist. Of course, Lundqvist didn't help by fanning on it. It was one of three soft goals that Lundqvist gave up. But Rozsival will continue to get his 20 plus minutes of ice time. Tortorella couldn't wait to send Sanguinetti back to the minors.

But this is what the Rangers are coming to. A mistake prone team that can't play 60 minutes of hockey. I'm tired of hearing how we stayed close to them and caught a bad break. Bad teams get bad breaks. Good teams get the bounces and the breaks. We are a one man team right now and it is impossible for Gaborik to score enough goals to make the Rangers a winning team. The Rangers have no goal scorers, save Gaborik, no defense, no grit, the goalie is starting to go south and they lack leadership, especially in the coaching area. Add the mismanagement of the team by the Stealth and you have the perscription for a disaster that is currently taking place. A shakeup is looming.

The good news. Baseball practice starts in February.

ICINGS: Sources are telling The Ranger Pundit, that GM Glen Sather, who is apparently feeling some heat from the Dolan's, is looking to make some moves to improve the floundering Rangers. Sources tell me the most recent chatter has the popular NY native, Chris Higgins, headed to Anaheim for Todd Marchant and a defenseman.

Last night the Rangers honored Brian Leetch and Wayne Gretsky. When their names were called the Penguins, led by their leader, Sydney Crosby, tapped their sticks on the ice as a sign of respect. The Rangers, collectively, sat on their duffs during the procedures.