Friday, February 17, 2012

Blackhawks 4, Rangers 2: Sloppy Loss

"Don't blame Marty," was John Tortorella's statement after the Rangers lost a sloppy 4-2 game to the Chicago Blackhawks last night. Tortorella is the proverbial bus driver, and he gets to pick and choose, who gets thrown under the Rangers' bus. It's a skill set that he has refined, but has not had to use too frequently during this winning streak. Last night the mini-Machiavelli decided that throwing the team's backup goaltender under the bus, would not be a wise thing to do.

Torts read in this situation is correct. You don't want to shatter the confidence of a key player by saying or doing anything that jeopardizes his future performances. Perhaps Torts remembers how quickly 'Big Bird' backup goalie, Steve Valiquette, fell apart in November 2009. Valiquette was gone shortly after letting in 8 goals against Pittsburgh on November 28th, 2009. His record at the time was 2-3-1. It's hard to remember what Torts did or said when Big Bird broke bad, but Valiquette lost his confidence and his game very quickly. A few bad periods and he was gone to Hartford. It's a tad worrisome that Biron's play the last few games has been eerily Valiquette-shaky.

The good news, I guess, is that Biron shook off a horrible first period, where couldn't stop a volley ball. The last two periods are a welcome positive and reflect on a mental toughness this team has. They have not let bad play snowball into something worse. Confidence is a precious commodity, especially for a backup goalie, who sees infrequent action. So, we will give Marty a mulligan, and go with the party line. It was the defense that was sloppy and put Marty in the soup.

You can't argue with the fact, that the fate of this team depends heavily the play of the defense. Last night they had one of their few bad games. However, both Rangers goals also were directly due to defensive players doing the heavy lifting. Eminger set up Staal for the Rangers' first goal in the 2nd period. And McDonagh's nifty move up the left sets up Hagelin's score in the 3rd period. So the defense taketh away and then giveth.

In fact, Ryan McDonagh has been more of an offensive force than Brad Richards in the last three games. McDonagh has two goals and an assist, Richards has been shut out. That leads to the question, what's up with Brad Richards? Some games he just disappears and looks lost in the sauce. Last night, he almost coughed up a break away, while on a late power play.

Anyway, last night was very forgettable, and that is what we will do. That is our skill set, forgetting stuff.

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ICINGS:

Our favorite fashionista, Sean Avery, is still out and about despite working in Connecticut. He hates wedges (women's shoes). He also day dreams about being a TriBeCa housewife? I guess playing in Hartford will do that to a man.

Matthew Lynch / Women's Wear Daily:
Sean Avery in the Neutral Zone --
Sean Avery, once and perhaps future National Hockey League agitator without equal, was in the big airy loft he rents in a SoHo walk-up one recent morning just back from spin class and considering its clientele.

“I would really like to come back as a TriBeCa housewife,” Avery says, halfway into a neatly tailored chalk-striped gray wool suit...
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Shinan Govani / National Post:
Sean Avery is cutting wedge --
Sean Avery has pretty strong feelings about women’s shoes. Very strong feelings...

A fatwa! On wedges! He ain’t kidding. The own-drum-marching hockey dude, turning his attention to flats, then opined, “The flat is a great thing, it actually does the opposite of the wedge...



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