Friday, March 04, 2011


No, that's not the train that the Rangers took to Ottawa last night, that is the amount of ice time Sean Avery got last night. At the 3:31 mark Sean scored his first goal since early January (8th). It was hard remembering him being on the ice after that. The last time I remember hearing his name was when Joe remarked in the first period that Christensen was the best Ranger on the ice. Almost on cue the Garden faithful started chanting, "Avery, Avery, Avery".

That was it. Meanwhile the usual suspects, Callahan, Anisimov, Stepan, Zuccareello, Dubinsky and Prospal racked up huge amounts of ice team with no results. Only two Rangers got more shots on goal than Avery did. The Rangers power play was 0-4 and it was Prospal, Christensen and Callahan over and over and over. I though McCabe was going to fix the power play?

So the coach who has thrown Gaborik and Lundqvist under the bus continues his crusade to drive Avery out of the Rangers organization. This is the same coach who got fired in Tampa Bay after having problems with Vinnie Lecavalier. Did anyone hear Mike Keenan's post game comments on how to improve the Ranger defense? Hmmm. Is the Stealth listening?

But there was not one word in the lame stream media about Avery's disappearance. Not one question from the lame stream media in the press conference. The coach has the press corps intimidated. Sam offers up the meatballs in the opening questions and all the other hacks follow suit. The buffets most be delicious.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Rangers are dying. So they got 41 shots. It was Jose Theodore's turn to make like Ken Dryden. The Rangers are in 8th place, two ahead of Buffalo with Toronto and the Devils closing fast. Maybe SI was right, 12th place. Buffalo and the Devils have two games in hand. The good news. They are out of town for tonight's game against Ottawa. The bad news. They are back Sunday against the big, bad Flyers.

Maybe then we will hear more chants from the faithful and the coach will not like them. But then again maybe no one will show up and that will be the best chant of all. Now you all know why I enjoy my grandson's games more than the Rangers.

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  • jmaz said...

    Boy, Avery scoring that lone goal must have really chaffed Torts' a$$. A lousy 7:54 of ice time the rest of the way. Guess you were right Mike, Torts doesn't like when the story isn't about him. All his safe is death diatribes and find a way to win. More like finding new ways to lose. The Rangers have become soo predictable with that same "DEAD" strategy of going behind the net only to cough up the puck on the boards or getting those few passes thru to no one. This system is stifling whatever creativity there ever was. I see everyone doing the same thing, everyone wants the puck, everyone wants to go behind the net, everyone wants to blow the zone early, everyone wants to pass first. How do you get 2 on 1's or 4 on 2's and not even get a shot off. Well Mike, I guess the bright side is maybe it's one more nail in Fonzie's coffin. lol

  • Dan Stryker said...

    When is the last time this team played an 60 minute game?

    I was telling myself when Avery scored that goal that he will not see ice again. How dare he score a goal... Sure enough he sat most of the next 2 periods...

    Prospal looked horrible on the PP unit. He has no shot...

    12th place indeed. How embarrassing it will be when the Devils pass us in the standings...

  • Wes said...

    I'm disgusted with Torts and his keeping Avery on the bench after he provided the opening spark they've needed. Seems like the old cutting off your nose to spite your face attitude. Didn't Avery used to get some power play time, like standing in front of Marty B. a few years back causing general mayhem? Wasn't that the "Avery Rule"? The Avery Rule now seems to be to bench your spark plug and run on 3 cylinders. Fonzie has jumped the shark with this bonehead move.

  • jb said...

    Mike, I checked out a number of the other Rangers blogs and news stories and no one else seems to be questioning this lack of playing time for Avery in this game, when he got it going early. Jesse Spector at the Daily News Blueshirt blog did note:

    "GOAL OF THE GAME: Avery waited a long time for his third goal of the season, and it was tremendous, as he converted a feed from Erik Christensen behind the net with a pinpoint shot from the slot past Theodore. Still, he played just 7:54 – the fifth straight game that Avery has seen less than 10 minutes of ice time."

    But, no analysis on why Torts benched Avery after he lit the lamp? Avery is the red headed step child that no one wants to talk about.

  • blow-me-down said...

    There seems to be some kind of misplaced pride in 'boardwork'.
    "The Rangers work the boards well" or "The puck control they have displayed is amazing" and " The Rangers are not afraid to do the dirty work". I am paraphrasing these as examples and not direct quotations, but it's the kind of thing we hear all the time.
    The strategy is so very predictable.
    The opposition watches them behind the the goal line, or on the sideboards the Ranger players facing the boards and away from where scoring opportunities are.
    Dump and chase? Could be a strategy that pays off if it culminates in shots on net with Rangers getting in the way, dirtying it up in front of their goalie.
    I've been pissed off about the way they just don't do this, for a long time.

    And I look at Sean Avery as an advantage for this team, a very real one, that is not utilized. He has effectively been neutured by Tortorella. Don't tell me that Sean's game left him all of a sudden. It did not. Let him run more freely and give him the minutes with which to do it. Infuriating
    The team has this incredible work ethic, but so much of it is misdirected because they won't consistently do the basics. The players have some weird aversion to unpredictable freelancing in the offensive zone. Everything is so rigid and boring. Freelance a bit, break from the puck cycling sooner and get it to somebody open, time a pass to someone busting in. Do a criss-cross. Then shoot, don't pass. Passing into the net is not a valid primary strategy. Put big Brian Boyle, Avery, anyone, in front of the net. There should always be a Ranger heading for the net. Always. The Pittsburgh Penguins, as an example, do that all the time. All their forwards, not just their stars. Why would you choose to not do the thing that can make you win more games?
    Hey, they've already proven they work hard. How about keeping that heart, that work ethic, and tie it up to some brainpower?

  • mike said...

    jmaz-The team has no creativity because their coach will not allow it. It is his way or the highway.

    Wayne Gretzky would not have made it big with this coach.

  • mike said...

    Dan Stryker-You know its a homer thing when Joe M. was praising Christensen when it was Avery who scored the goal.

    BTW, Prospal is the new Gretzky.

  • mike said...

    Wes-You just hit on the new Avery rule. If he scores a goal early he sits the rest of the game.

    If he gets an assist early he sits for the third period.

  • mike said...

    jb-Not only is Avery the red headed step child, Torts is the sacred cow, or is it bull?

  • mike said...

    blow-me-down-Wow! You should be an assistant coach. You have it right. You wonder what the hell they are teaching these guys.

    Unfortunately everyone has figured us out. We are predictable. Predictably bad.

    As always, thanks for your comments.

  • jmaz said...

    Looking at other sites I've also seen little mention of the Avery-Torts tango. I also hear a lot of Ranger fans blaming a lack of talent with this group rather than the issues with Fonzie's coaching style, in-game management, ego, and attitude. Which brings me to my next point, at what point to some fans stop blaming the talent. It seems to me that back in the days of Muckler and Lowe, and of course Mr. 18 page essay Trottier, it was still the talent. You remember, with all the Bure's and Lindros's, the Kamensky's, Fleury's, Hlavac's, the Nedved's, Messier's, Leetch's, Dvorak's, Kasparitis's etc. It was always the talent, never the style. Although there was a point earlier in the season when this team was sitting in 6th. So did the talent go on vacation?

  • jb said...

    So is it the talent(lack there of) or is it the Torts(coach out of sorts) that is the problem? I think it's the coach. Summarizing a few reasons:

    1) constant line changes, no chemistry. Going with coaches 'gut' every game to decide who plays with who.
    2) predictable offense
    3) promoting this sacrifice the body, shot blocking style that does okay early in the season, but wears down a team as the season goes on.
    4) Not having the X's and O's figured out on the PP for most of the season.
    5) Not getting enough bodies in front of the net.

    I'm sure there's a few more...

    As the season drags on you'd think the 3rd and 4th lines might get more time, but Torts seems to go even more to his top lines on both offense and defense. Lundqvist is going to feel the whip hand as the ride him to season end.

  • jmaz said...

    Well I'm hoping between tonight's loss and Sunday's loss, two more nails in Torts's coffin won't hurt lol