Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nothing Doing

The Rangers probably lit up when the news came that Ryan Miller was injured and would not play. Be careful what you wish for. Rookie goalie, Thomas Enroth, shut out the Rangers with the first shutout of his career. Of course John Davidson, at his current age could probably have shut out the Rangers last night. They got all of 23 shots on goal while Lundqvist had to make 35 saves. The Rangers continued their scoring woes, three goals in the last four games. They did score a goal, by Anisimov, but it was waved off as Callahan made contact with the goalie.

However, all aspects of the Ranger game were missing. The Sabres not only outshot the Rangers they out hit the Blushirts 25-19. Avery with 10:13 of ice time had four hits. He tied with Girardi who also had four hits in 25:15 of ice time, for the team high in hits.

The previous coach had the mantra, "not playing defense is not an option". This coach's mantra must be defense first, defense second and in case you forgot defense third and last. Marian Gaborik is a shell of his former self. He's been jerked around, short shifted, benched and thrown under the bus. Is it any wonder he has lost his confidence?

So now the Rangers are in a tie for 8th with Buffalo and Carolina is coming, only three points behind the Rangers and Sabres with five games to go. The Islanders are next, tonight at the Coliseum, and maybe the Rangers will come out of their slump. They have been averaging five goals per game against the Isles. Then it's Philly and Boston back to back. So wake up now or forget it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lundqvist Reigns Supreme

Henrik Lundqvist hit a milestone game, his 400th in the NHL, and came out with a milestone win, his 11th shutout this season. He had plenty of help as the Rangers blocked 29 shots. They blocked 18 in the third period when the Rangers were outshot 12-1. The only goal came in the first period on a tip in by Derek Stepan off a shot by Michael Sauer.

The ice was definetly slanted in the third period as the Bruins came with wave after wave in a frantic effort to tie the game. If the Rangers couldn't block the shot, Lundqvist made the save. He now leads the NHL in shutouts and is making a late bid for the Vezina Trophy. Lundqvist is 5th in GAA and 6th in save percentage and of course 1st in shutouts.

This was a playoff type game and typical of the types of games these two teams play against each other. It will be a renactment of WWII if these teams square off against each other in the first round. The Rangers are now tied with Montreal at 87 points and Montreal has a game in hand. They are 4 points ahead of Buffalo who has two games in hand and the Rangers are 7 points ahead of Carolina who have two games in hand.

So the playoff picture for the Rangers is rosy, but what kind of run will they make if they can't score goals? Granted they have garnered five of six points in the last three games with a paucity of scoring. However, the playoffs are a different animal and they must pick up the scoring. However, that's tomorrow's problem and let us enjoy the goal tending antics of Henrik Lundqvist who reigns supreme.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Encore Snooze

Yep, the Rangers did it again. I thought it would be impossible to follow up the yawner against Florida with an equally boring encore and yes, they did it. Aided and abetted by coach disagreeable the Rangers put on another non-event against a team hopelessly out of the league. The Rangers are getting into the habit of playing down to the level of the team they are playing. Imagine. Scoring two goals in two games against the 14th and 15th place teams in the Eastern Conference.

Why blame coach disagreeable? The team comes out flat. Almost every game the team is tentative. They are afraid to make mistakes. Unless your name is Callahan and Dubinsky you have to be afraid of what you do. You don't believe that? Last night four players got eleven or less minutes of ice time. One player, Zuccarello got all of 7:44. In fact, I believe that Zuccy, Christensen and Wolski are there for the shootout.

How many players has this coach thrown under the bus? Lundqvist, Gaborik, two of the team's top players who must perform if the Rangers are to be relevant in the playoffs. Avery? He might as well buy the bus and take it out of town. But the homer boys were thrilled with the point. It's a big point said Sam. You betcha echoed Joe. And the blame stream media are all in sync. It's a big point.

OK. So we yawn and bore our fans in the playoffs, where we all take the bus into oblivion. Maybe by then coach disagreeable will be the driver and go back to Boston or Tampa, if they will take him. Maybe he will become a hockey writer and he can make those stupid faces at himself. Yawn!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rangers Win Yawner

Tuesday nights are usually rough for me, hard to stay awake so last night's game was a real effort on my part. Suffice to say the Rangers won 1-0 on a goal by Dubinsky (22) in the third period. Lundqvist got his tenth shutout of the season and the 34th of his career. My Grandson's Pee Wee goalie could have gotten this shutout.

The Rangers win was their fourth straight at home and they beat an old nemesis Tomas Vokoun who made 32 saves. There was one penalty in the game and it was on the Panthers Ellerby who accidental got in the way of a Ranger and was given an interference penalty. But the Rangers won and enhanced their playoff chances with only eight games to go. They are now six points ahead of ninth place Carolina who has only one game in hand. More tantalizing is that they are only three points behind sixth place Montreal.

But yawners are good sometimes. It preserves energy and gives a reason to go all out the next time. What is encouraging also is the fact that the Rangers have won two games with their best player, Marc Staal, outside of Lundqvist, on the shelf. So the Ranger won a 'trap' game. The only ones trapped were the poor souls who spent good money going to the dilapidated Garden to witness this debacle. However, a win is a win is a win.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lundqvist 'Cooke's' Penguins

Matt Cooke is a cheap shot artist. There are many headaches around the NHL that are attributed to the elbows of Cooke. Well today Cooke paid the price. Better yet, his team, the Penguins, paid the price. With the score tied at one, in the third period, Cooke elbowed Ryan McDonagh and was given a five minute major and a game misconduct. However, it was the Pens who took advantage as Chris Kunitz scored a shorthanded goal to put the Pens ahead 2-1.

It was then Matt Niskanen who took a double minor for high sticking Ryan Callahan. First Gaborik and then Callahan, eleven seconds apart, scored power play goals to give the Rangers a lead they would never relinquish. Stepan added the fourth and Dubinsky, an empty netter, to close out the scoring.

The win, fourth straight, moved the Rangers to within three points of sixth place Montreal and six points ahead of ninth place Carolina. Lundqvist was brilliant in making 38 saves and in gaining his 31st victory of the year. He is the only goalie in the history of the NHL to win at least 30 games in his first six seasons. Yesterday when coach disagreeable was questioned about Lundqvist's availability for the Penguin game he said it didn't matter who was in goal. Yeah sure. And it doesn't matter whether I go to dialysis three days a week.

Anyhow, barring some unforeseen calamity, the Rangers seem destined for the playoffs which would baffle the prognosticators at SI and quite possibly, yours truly. In this instance it's good to be wrong. Hopefully it's not a one and done. However, it's good to know that it doesn't matter who is in goal.

----
ICINGS:

Out of curiosity here's a look at what some of the Pens sports writers and bloggers thought of Cooke's elbowing McDonagh. Post-Gazette blogger Bob Smizik rightly called it a cheap shot. A lame-stream media type, Shelly Anderson, also of the Post-Gazette, wrote in their milquetoast story that "it appeared that Cooke targeted McDonagh's head." The rabid Pensblog said, "It will be debated on whether it was dirty or not." Yeah right, the debate is between dirty and rotten.

Bob Smizik's Blog / Post-Gazette:
Cooke cheap shot costs Penguins --
The dirty play of Matt Cooke continues to be an embarrassment to the Penguins and owner Mario Lemeiux and today it could have cost them a game in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers...

Due to his previous history and his league-wide reputation for dirty play, Cooke figures to get a long suspension, perhaps as long as eight games.
Shelly Anderson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Penguins fall to Rangers, 5-2 --
The game turned on a series of events in the third period.

It began when the Penguins' Matt Cooke hit New York's Ryan McDonagh near the boards in front of the penalty box. It appeared that Cooke targeted McDonagh's head with his elbow. Cooke was given a major elbowing penalty and a game misconduct and now faces his second suspension of the season...
The Pensblog:
Not good. Pens lose 5-2 --
Matt Cooke took a penalty that woke up the Rangers. It will be debated on whether it was dirty or not. What won't be debated is that it changed the game in the Rangers favor...
----
FrankD at the Pensburgh blog bites his tongue on condemning "Matt Cooke's adventure." But, kindly posts the video.

Pensburgh blog:
Matt Cooke Penalty Costs Pens the Game --
As if Cooke needs another reason to get under the skin of Rangers fans. There was of course that hit on Artem Anisimov from two years back that resulted in a two-game suspension. Now we have to sit and wonder not only how long Cooke will likely serve for this one, but also if his actions will result in him being made an example of under the new head shot rules...
Pensburgh blog:
VIDEO: Matt Cooke's Elbow to Ryan McDonagh's Jaw --
As usual, I find it necessary to dedicate a special post to Matt Cooke's adventures because it often has a way of just taking over every single recap thread anyway. While I'm sure a number of comments in the recap will surround the subject anyway, a separate post should hopefully direct a majority of it to this one location.
----
Seth Rorabaugh at the Post-Gazette's Empty Netter blog nicely sums up the Matt Cooke discussion.

Empty Netter
:
What do you say about Matt Cooke? Lots of things actually. He's a dirty player. Period. He's a talanted player. He's vital to the penalty kill. He's competent with the puck. And he's amazing on the forecheck. But all of that is lost by the fact that he's a dirty player. And today, he was a liablity.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Price Is Not Right

The Rangers finally stopped their losing streak against the Canadiens with a 6-3 win that was not as easy as the score would indicate. The Rangers broke up a 1-1 game with a four goal outburst by Girardi (4), Callahan (22), Gaborik (21) and Boyle (21). Outside of that goal splurge the Rangers played a so-so game, had their goalie run twice and face the possibility that his injury is worse than they are making it out to be. The Canadien goalie, Carey Price, made only seven saves on twelve shots.

While the win enhanced their playoff hopes, if the injury to Lundqvist keeps him out of the next game and future games, the season is doomed. Sunday the Rangers are at the revitalized Penguins and the thought of Lundqvist being out is frightening. There is nothing new in Lundqvist being run. There is also nothing new in the Rangers doing little to retaliate for those aggressions.

There was only one fighting major in the game. Would you believe it was at the one second mark of the first period? Prust went with Moen. Now, pray tell me, what could possibly have happened in one second to create a rumble? Now, I am not a foe of fighting. I think it is part of the game. But there should be a reason for a fight. However, I am a foe of these prearranged bouts. Needless to say the homer boys, Sam and Joe, credited Prust with sparking the Rangers. Honestly, do the Rangers need a fight at the one second mark to spark them? You mean coach disagreeable couldn't spark them to start the game?

The Rangers have now put a little distance from ninth place Carolina, who trail the Rangers by four points with the same amount of games, ten, left. The Devils have been stymied by losing two straight and now are six points out of 8th place with only 11 games to go.

Sean Avery sat for the second time in three games and it says here that we will not see Sean Avery in another game this season unless one of the current players goes down with an injury. It also says that as long as coach disagreeable remains with the Rangers that Sean Avery will not put on a Ranger jersey. The blame stream media and many of the blogs are on the crusade that suddenly Avery is bad for the Rangers. Yes, he has taken some dumb, inexcusable penalties, but he also has drawn many. He is one of the few who do actually stick up for teammates.

A friend of mine was at the game and said he was surprised how many Canadien fans were at the game and how noisy they were. Well, with the ticket prices skyrocketing and the faithful being priced and pushed out we will see more of the opponents fans and the Garden ice will truly become neutral ice for our heroes. This is what has become of a storied franchise under the 'leadership' of the Absentee Owner, the Stealth GM and coach disagreeable. Boy, do I miss Emile Francis.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Isle's Be Damned!

Any idea that goalie Al Montoya would come into the Garden and get revenge on his ex mates was quickly dissipated when the Rangers scored two first period goals, one shorthanded (Prust) and one PP (Christensen). Granted the Islanders tied the score in the second period with two goals in the opening four minutes, but after that it was all Rangers. Gaborik got two goals which gives him 20 for the season. Gabby feasts on the Islanders.

Gaborik isn't the only one as the Rangers have no scoring problems when it comes to playing the Islanders. In five games, with the Rangers being up 4-1, the Rangers have outscored the Islanders 25-16. While the Islanders have recovered nicely under rookie coach Jack Capuano and Montoya has at times been brilliant, 7-2-3, with a 2.09 GAA, the Islanders defense disappears when they play the Rangers.

Speaking of disappearing, Sean Avery had one of his poorer games. Yes, he only got 7:16 of ice time, but he also got six minutes in penalties, the last one a foolish roughing call which resulted in an Islander power play goal. This resulted in the TV cameras spending an inordinate amount of time on our exalted coach going through all kinds of gyrations and mouthing all kinds of expletives in a piss poor academy award performance. Let's face it. The Rangers have committed dumber penalties with no reaction from the disagreeable one.

The cameras stayed on Avery as he went back to the bench after the goal with more moronic gestures by the exalted coach. It was then followed by comments from the homer boys Sam and Joe about how bad a penalty it was. Never have I seen a penalty so highlighted, emoted, dissected, rehashed and regurgitated. A week or so ago Dubinsky took two of the dumbest penalties a player could take and not a word, not a face, not a grumble.

Anyhow, the Rangers are hanging tough in seventh place, two points ahead of Buffalo and eight points ahead of the on charging Devils who have two games in hand on the Rangers and who play the Rangers in the last game of the season. Last game of the season, now that is not a good thought or memory. Will history repeat itself. Pray for Lundqvist.

-----
ICINGS:

Avery the doomed. Would you prefer a blindfold Mr. Avery?


Rick Carpiniello / Rangers Report:
Rangers-Islanders in review --
Sean Avery sure aggravated the Islanders, and he was this close to being the Avery of old. That’s why I thought Avery should play this game. And then he aggravated John Tortorella, rightfully so. And what he did, especially late in the game with an undisciplined penalty, is why he shouldn’t play against Montreal. The Habs can kill them on the PP. Wolski should be back in.
My Blueshirt Heaven:
If it weren’t for Avery taking the stupid penalty that lead to the Tavares goal, the Rangers would have drubbed the Islanders instead of coming away with just a 6-3 win. Lundqvist kept them in the game. Speaking of Avery, what in the hell is wrong with this guy? He’s been playing all season as though he’s been eating Thorazine laced cornflakes. He finally gets a shot and takes three bad penalties.

When the third Islander goal went in, Torts looked like he could have throttled Avery. The “Avery Effect” has all but disappeared. Avery has one season left on his contract. He’s untradeable. If he doesn’t buck up he’ll find himself with a one way ticket to Hartford to join Redden or enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Blue Seat Blogs:
I expect Avery to be right back in the press box watching on Friday as he was awful tonight. He took three penalties and none of them of the “good” variety. The boarding call in the first he got lucky, at least from where we were, to not get more than two minutes and the one in the third cost them what in this game was a meaningless goal, but you cannot expect to be up four to be ok with giving up a goal down the stretch.
Rangers Review:
Welcome back Sean Avery, now get the hell out. What a miserable game The Grate One played tonight. Generating next to nothing in the offensive zone, turning the puck over with stupid passes, and taking 3 idiotic penalties. Sean is on his game when he is getting players to take penalties on him, NOT when he is taking penalties. He cost the Rangers a cruise control win with his stupid penalty in the 3rd, and you could see Torts going, “jeez Sean, do you just not want to play ever again?”. Personally speaking, I think Wolski is far more valuable to the team at this juncture, and I would have no problem whatsoever with Sean sitting the rest of the season (barring injury). That’s all for now.
Scotty Hockey:
There have been few bigger Avery apologists out there than me and even I have to throw up my hands after this one. A perfect opportunity to do what he does so well and he goes out there with no control. Instead of a trained police dog being allowed off the leash to go after the bad guys, we had a rabid animal who turned and bit us in the hand. So disappointing.
NY Rangers blog:
...just an awful game from Avery tonight. Undisciplined and nothing doing on the offensive end. With Torts looking for any reason to bench the pest, not a good time for a performance like that.
Rangers Tribune:
Speaking of healthy scratches, you can almost guarantee that Sean Avery will be one on Friday against Montreal. He took three total penalties in this game, two of which were in the offensive zone. The last one in the third period was completely unnecessary and I know Tortorella will not be happy about that one, especially since it cost the team a goal against. He needs to be much smarter than he was tonight.
----
Sean Avery is flattened in front of Islanders goaltender Al Montoya

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rangers 3, Sharks 2 - Random Game Notes

Another gritty win by the Rangers and thank God for shootouts. Take away the Rangers 8-2 record in games decided by the shootout and turn into a more average 5-5, and those 3 less points put the the playoff picture in even more jeopardy.

It's a scheduling big break for the Blueshirts that we don't swim with the Sharks that often, or else we'd be sinking in the chum bucket. The San Jose Mercury News notes that "the two teams hadn't met in 509 days." Plus, the Sharks had a "5-0 sweep of the East's top four teams as the Sharks twice beat Washington and won the single meetings with Philadelphia, Boston and Pittsburgh."

Erik Christensen's goal will sadly give Sean Avery a case of Cat Scratch Fever.

Rangers writer Jim Cerny notes that was "Dubinsky’s first career shootout goal." My thought is well it's about time and you have to wonder why is Gabby so far down the list of shootout players?

Michael Gleich over at the Bleeding all Blue blog wants to make the case for Michael Sauer as Rangers Rookie Of The Year. I think Derek Stepan can still be best rookie if he scores some goals down the stretch.

Scotty Hockey echoes a feeling we all have: "It is impossible to appreciate the officiating. Eric Furlatt and Bill McCreary did a piss-poor job calling the game. And it is infuriating. The zebras should be invisible and yet time and time again this season the men in stripes have stepped into the story. How disappointing and annoying."

The "crutch" carried the Rangers again. Adam Herman of the Blue Line Station reminds us that Henrik Lundqvist "continues to be the best Ranger, which is what has to be in the case in order for the Rangers to make the playoffs... The win gives him 205 all-time, which puts him past Gump Worsley and 3rd all-time for Rangers goalies." Here is a toast to the old Gumper.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cracked

The Rangers defense has been pretty solid most of this season. They haven't given up 5 goals in a loss since November. Before last night's 5-2 shellacking by the Anaheim Ducks the Rangers were fourth best in the league in goals scored against (at 164). Henrik Lundqvist's nine shutouts and steady backline play, of course, being a big key to that stat. Anyway, last night the Rangers team defense cracked like a big brittle Lady Gaga birthing egg. Arty Anisimov was the lead egg cracker and he was aided by Girardi and Staal doing their potted plant imitation.


Out of this decisive loss pops the reality that the Rangers are beat-up and trying to limp into the playoffs while be chased by a pack of other gimps. In the Conference of the Gimpy, the man with the crutch will win. Will Lundqvist again have to be our crutch?

A quick roundup of Rangerland finds the optimism running low this morning:

Andrew Gross / Ranger Rants:
Ducks 5, Rangers 2: Ugh. Just ugh --
Here’s what I saw through hazy eyes last night and fresh eyes this morning: a less talented team being outworked by a more physically imposing team...
Rick Carpiniello / Rangers Report:
Mighty Ducks-Rangers in review --
The Mighty Ducks have an awful lot of Monsters on their team. How in holy hell are they where they are in the standings? Maybe further proof of the difference between the Bestern Conference and the Leastern Conference … especially now that you see the lousy teams closing in on the Rangers...
Scotty Hockey:
35-30-4: ReDuckulous --
Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brian Boyle all seemed to be playing hurt. When your energy guys have no energy you are in serious trouble...
Michael Gleich / Bleeding All Blue:
Rangers Unacceptable Performance Has Tortorella Admit "We Sucked" --
This team simply is not talented enough to put in the effort they did against Anaheim and beat anyone in this league. They have a style they must play and with a level of energy and effort they must play at to beat people and when it does not produce they will get blown out by anyone...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cally, Henrik Roll Flyers

There were a lot of surprises at the Garden today. First, the Rangers wore their white road jerseys. Then Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup. Then the coach did not scratch Avery, but inserted him as shotgun with Gaborik. Ryan Callahan scored four goals and Henrik Lundqvist scored his ninth shutout of the year and the 33rd of his career. The biggest surprise of all. A 7-0 rout of the Flyers, their first win over Philadelphia this year.

The Rangers outshot the Flyers, 36-24. While the Flyers outhit the Rangers 33-28, the Rangers gave no quarter. They pushed and shoved every time the Flyers pushed and shoved. They stood up for each other. When Gaborik was being hassled in front of the net, the other four Rangers rushed to his side. It was that kind of a game.

You have to wonder how a team could wipe out the number one team with such ease one night and lose the previous four without putting up much of a fight. Remember the two big shutout blowouts of the Washington Caps? However, there were too many maddening losses at home. This was only their 15 home win. They have 20 wins on the road. Hence the white road jerseys.

While Avery got only 8:08, Gabby got 14:28, 10:25 at even strength. But the message was out there. Gaborik must be protected. The Rangers gave themselves a little breathing room by moving three points up on 8th place Carolina and four on Buffalo. The bad news is Carolina has two games in hand and Buffalo has four.

So we go West for two big games, they are all big now, and are there any other surprises in store for us? We shall see.

----
ICINGS:

Buffalo will be a big threat all the way. The team changed owners in February. The new owner, Terry Pegula, brings a new attitude to the Sabres organization. When was the last time that an NHL owner "fought back tears" at a press conference?

NY Times:
Sabres’ Job of No. 1 Fan Is Taken -- 
Pegula fought back tears at his introductory news conference Tuesday when he noticed members of the 1974-75 Sabres team in attendance, especially the man he called “my hero,” the Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault...
----
The Wall Street Journal put some sort of hex on Dubinsky two and a half weeks ago when they wrote this February 17th article featuring him. He hasn't scored a goal, and has only two assists since then (one today on Cally's first goal). We need Dubi down the stretch. The WSJ should pick on corrupt bankers and not our power forward.

Wall Street Journal:
In a Rarity, a North American Leads the Rangers in Points --  
With his 42 points, Brandon Dubinsky leads the New York Rangers in scoring this season. Mr. Dubinsky is 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, a swift skater and hard worker with an accurate shot, and at 24, in his fourth season, he's entering the prime of his career. So his place atop the Rangers' stat sheet shouldn't necessarily be an oddity. Except it is. Because of where he was born...
----
Even operating under a scoring hex Dubi has found other ways to contribute. He has fought Mike Richards three times before today. He'd won two of the three and after today's pummeling of the Flyers captain he's now 3-1 versus Richards.

HockeyFights.com:
Mike Richards vs. Brandon Dubinsky --
Dubinsky wins (87.65%), 6.0 rating


Scotty Hockey had some spot-on thoughts regarding Richards dropping gloves with Dubi:
It was a nice contrast to the Flyers captain, who cowardly picked a fight with Dubinsky and then held on for dear life. Nothing says toughness like starting with a guy while wearing a visor. When the leader pulls a Richie Pilon, there is no way the team is going to recover...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Bounceback

Maybe it was the fact that the Rangers were away from home. Maybe it was the fact that they were playing the second worse team in the entire NHL. Only Edmonton has a worse record than the Senators. Never mind all that, the fact is the Rangers won a game and snapped a three game losing streak, all at home, in which they scored all of four goals. To paraphrase that great poet, Gertrude Stein, a win is a win is a win.

Nine players had points and pariah Sean Avery helped set up the first goal by Vinnie Prospal. It didn't matter as he still got the least amount of ice time of all the forwards. Avery is headed for the bench when Gaborik returns. It would be ironic if Gaborik returns against the Flyers and the Rangers would be absent one player, Avery, who could offer Gaborik protection against the head hunters. Maybe Christensen will take over that role.

The Rangers were 0-4 on the power play. How is that McCabe at the point working out folks? Joe, part of the Joe and Sam homer team, made an interesting comment that kind of amused me. It was something to the effect that the coach was trying different combos until he got the right players on the power play. What? After 67 games he is still trying to figure out the power play? He will have all spring to figure it out watching all those teams in the playoffs.

So now the Flyers come to town Sunday and hopefully The Dark Ranger will unleash some of his dreaded potion on our friends from the city of brotherly love. We will need a lot of potion and luck because nothing else has worked in the previous four games. It will be a packed house. Unfortunately a lot of the house will be made up of the first place Philadelphia Flyers fans.

Friday, March 04, 2011

7:54

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.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Slipping Away

With another one goal loss, with another home game loss, with another putrid first period, the Rangers are seeing another disappointing season come crashing down on them. The Rangers are now on a 4-9-1 dive with the ninth place Sabres only three points behind and having three games in hand. The Devils, who were dead over a month ago, are only 12 points behind the Rangers and have three games in hand. The Devils are on a 17-2-2 run. Who would you rather face in the playoffs, the Rangers or the Devils?

The signs are there. Prust is playing on fumes. Dubinsky gets almost 20 minutes of ice time and doesn't get a shot on goal. Boyle is skating slower and slower. Newbury gets around 4 minutes a game, so why even dress him. Avery gets between 4-9 a game so why bother with him. Anisimov did score a goal, but that was his only shot on goal in over 16 minutes.

So what is the common denominator? The coach. I would like someone, anyone, to tell me how many different line changes we get in a game. We talk about chemistry. This team has no chemistry. It has grit. It has determination. But chemistry? No. The coach has chemistry and it is all within. He is a potential explosion in the press room. So we shall wait for the impending explosion, but no matter it won't change a thing.

----
ICINGS:

Hockey Rodent:
Berth-o-meter -- Rangers playoff chances are 55.9%, down 11% with loss.


Sports Club Stats:
NHL Playoff Chances -- loss drops Rangers playoff chances 7.7%, boosts Sabres chances by 10%
----
Look out below.

NY Rangers on Twitter

NHL Tweets