Sunday, April 22, 2012

At The Brink

All along I've said that the Rangers will only go as far as Henrik Lundqvist will take them. He has picked up the team on many an occasion. Very rarely has the team picked up Henrik. So it is with much pain to see a journeyman goalie like Craig Anderson shut out the Rangers 2-0 in the key game five. Anderson made 41 saves in shutting down the Blueshirts. Lundqvist came up with 28 saves beaten only by Jason Spezza, the clincher an empty netter.

The Rangers did their usual, outhitting the Sens 41-22, out shooting them 41-30, out shot blocking them 19-10. They also did their usual on the power play going 0-4. After the game the coach said, "I couldn't be happier with how hard we played. We just kept banging away." Hey coach. We lost. We didn't score a goal. We have scored five goals in four games. He also praised the play of Marian Gaborik, who got all of two shots on goal and dished out two hits. Marian Gaborik was brought here to score goals. He has one goal in five playoff games. Just what the team needs, another grinder.

So you see what is wrong with this team. It is built to grind. It is built to block shots. It is built to play defense at all costs. It signs goal scorers and they are ripped if they fail to block shots at the risk to bones and limbs. You can see the difference in the coaches and how they handle their players. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean uses his entire bench. The low ice time guys were Carkner with 8:28 and rookie Mark Stone with 8:43. The Rangers had five players with less than 9 minutes each. You wonder why the team tires in the third period and are dead in OT.

In the post game analysis the discussion was how coach MacLean ia a player coach first and he allows the players to flourish. No discussion about our coach, though the implication is that we have a coach who has molded the team to his needs, his wants, his desires. So we have a shot blocking, grinding, defense at all costs team. Nothing wrong with that, but you need offense. The power play has been a disaster all year and it is now killing us in the playoffs. That will be the team's obituary.

I ache for Lundqvist, the best goalie in the game and arguably the greatest Ranger goalie ever. He is completing his seventh season and chances at the elusive Cup get slimmer and slimmer. It would be a shame if he doesn't at least get a shot at winning the Cup. With this coach his chances get slimmer.

However, we are not dead yet and we still have Lundqvist. So maybe the ghosts of Gaborik and Richards past will revive them and we will pull this one out. Yogi said, "It's not over til its over." One shift at a time. One period at a time. One game at a time.

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  • Andy said...

    "Anything in particular going wrong on the power play?'

    Torts: "I'm not going to address that here Stan". Shocker.

    "It was a blueprint hit of Torres". Wrong. "He left his feet and the puck was at the goal line". Wrong.

    "He's a repeat offender". Wrong. "It was a dirty, cheap hit". Wrong.

    Good ol' torts spouting bull shit to cover up his and his teams faults. Hey coach, WE LOST THE GAME AND ARE ON THE BRINK OF ELIMINATION.

    Stop trying to save your ego before saving this team.

    I truly hope Boiler is ok and I AM NOT a fan of chris neil. But there's just nothing to whine about there.


  • blow-me-down said...

    Offense disappearing in the playoffs. But stick to that system, whatever you do. Do not deviate by getting creative and showing some individuality and passion out there.

    I am puzzled by that. There was some real passion coming out of the gate, but then it went away, never to be seen again. Nobody going hard to the net, no zest for chaos and surprise.
    Not sure what makes things like that happen. Some people say they look 'gassed' etc. It's the playoffs, and they better get past that or they are going to get blown away on Monday night.
    Time for the offense to reverse their magical disapppearing act.

    Now Tortorella really, truly does look like a whiner. As detailed in the first post, he just looked like a complainer who had his facts wrong. But he will never address the sadsack powerplay. How long is Sather going to put up with this, I wonder.

    If, as he says, the Rangers can beat any team in the playoffs and they cannot wait to get started, then best to get started.

  • jb said...

    Yes, where is Avery? No spark on this team. Arty, Stepan, Feds, Dubi disappear. Torts distorting reality. Boyle out. Richards and Gabby shut down. Off season here we come, unless Hagelin can make a big difference.

  • Andy said...

    JB-yeah, all of the mentioned guys have totally disappeared. It's heartbreaking honestly.

    Last summer I argued with a lot of people that were in favor of re-signing feds instead of Prospal. Obviously torts has a thing for feds, but seriously, it would've been nice to have Prospals' leadership and work ethic.

    Not to mention he notched 16 goals and 39 assists for CBJ. Feds' numbers this year....not that good to say the least

  • mbernold said...

    well its just about i have predicted since before the playoffs began..i have been a ranger fan for 62 years and i will not be sad to see them dislike for tortorella has no bounds..he has made watching the rangers play a distressing event.. the worst coach i have ever seen...he has destroyed the team, worn out,injured by blocking shots, no power play, no offense, a scheme of defensive play that is a guaranteed loser in the playoffs... goodbye rangers..too sad he will not be fired..such a waste of lundquist...

  • Jen9400 said...

    Its so refreshing to come to this blog spot and read some truth and honesty about this team and this ridiculously overrated coach of ours. Everything you guys say about him is right on the money. I can't stand listening to him anymore. That bullshit he spews is so sickening to listen to and most of what comes out of his mouth is simply not true. He is always covering up for his incompetence. How about before game five when Sam asked him about the series being tied and he said "the series is right where it should be Sam" really? Seriously? We have been in first place all season, we should at least be good enough to make some noise and this coach is saying we should be playing at the level of a team that just made the playoffs? Bullshit. Its just another way for the coach to lay the groundwork for the strong possibility that he might yet again lead his team to a first round exit so no one puts the blame where it belongs: on him. It disturbs me to hear him say over and over that we don't need to change anything "stay with it" "i like the way we are playing" and the players all repeat the same thing. Guess what coach? The Sens don't think you should change a thing either. it's working just fine for them. We don't change our game at all. The players have had it drilled into their heads all season that we have to play "the right way" play the same every game, no one game is more important than the other and now its the playoffs and they can't lift their game because they have developed this habit. Ryan McDonagh said after game 4 that there was no such thing as momentum when he was asked if Ott had it. He said he believed that there were momentum swings during games but not going from game to game during a playoff series. Kid, you are a great player but you have a lot to learn about playoff hockey in the NHL if you believe that. All of this attitude extends from our clueless coach. Also, I have said all along that this coach doesn't inspire confidence. During the National Anthem before game five I told Jeanine that the expression on the players faces on the Sens bench looked like a team who was confident. Our guys looked like they were a nervous wreck. I knew it right there. Actually who am I trying to kid I knew after game 4 that they would lose game 5 but I was trying to stay positive. If you look at the Rangers faces they look defeated. Its going to take something big to turn this series around and it has to be more than Henrik standing on his head.

  • Jen9400 said...

    Andy, you are right about Feds. I was not too thrilled when we signed him but you know he's one of Torts boys. Prospal and Torts seem to have an "understanding" of one another but if Torts is going to have to choose between the two players you know he is going to go with the guy who is molded by Torts and not with the guy who has an actual opinion that may rival the ego of the coach. What's that thing Torts used to say when he first came here oh yeah "conflict is healthy" well to quote a Metallica lyric from a song called eye of the beholder Torts philosophy is a very clear contradiction: "you can do it your own way if its done just how I say." That same philosophy answers the question of where is Avery? The guy has his own mind and he is ostracized. Avery may not be the answer to everything but he is a guy who brings basically everything we are lacking in this series. Game 2 was turned around by Neil, Carkner and Konopka. Where was our answer to them? They have been hitting and agitating and they are utilized by their coach. Would Avery have stood up for his teammates. Yes he would have and he wouldn't wait for the go ahead from the control freak coach who doesn't trust anyone to their own instincts not just Avery. Rangers could have used some speed. Avery has that. Energy? Avery always comes through especially in the playoffs. Agitation? Yeah we could use a little of that too. Name me one player who is really in their heads? And there is no one better at getting into the heads of the opposition than Avery. Rangers could sure use his help but hey he was replaceable right? We have Rupp, Feds, The AHLer Mithchell... need I go on?
    Bottom line is Avery is only one example of how this coach puts his ego before the needs of the team. I'm sick of it. It costs us and we have to wait for the "Stealth" to figure out that the deceptive one has been pulling the wool over his eyes for 3 years. I don't know, Sather has given this guy free reign and if he doesn't do anything with it, then maybe, just maybe we can get rid of this guy but I'm not holding my breath.

  • jeanine1994 said...

    I absolutely loathe Tortorella, worst coach we've ever had. I'm proud to say I was never a fan of his, didn't even like him when he was our coach for 4 games in 2000. He is a control freak and a dictator. He is a selfish man who always puts his wants ahead of the team and to hell with the consequences. He does not let our players breathe, you can be offensive as long as the D comes first. He doesn't let these guys use their instincts at all, and he doesnt trust them to make decisions. They are so concentrated with the D because God forbid they make a mistake they will sit, but just on the D side. They take a shot and almost immediately start backing up to eliminate the slighest chance of losing they're defensive assignment. They don't go to the net, they don't stand in front of the net, they don't shoot pucks. Oh 41 shots the other night but perimeter shots, safe shots, from safe distances where you can get back quickly...D, D, D, they played timid the other night and honestly they have not stepped up their level they are playing at a safe regular season level. I knew our pp would be our death but it is so ugly it's inconcievable. We've been in first place all season but honestly it's almost boring. We don't dominate teams. If we lose this series 9 out of 11 of Tortorellas teams have exited in the 1st round or missed the playoffs completely. He talks tough but he's a wimp and he doesn't get it done.

  • jmaz said...

    Well then it seems us here are the minority cause everywhere I look Tortorella can do no wrong in many a Ranger fans eyes.

    For whatever reason, having won ONE cup in his coaching career somehow makes him above reproach. Need I mention he's been eliminated from the 1st round four times thus far, soon to be five, 3 of those times with the Rangers. He's only been past the first round twice, one of which was the cup he won with TB. Mind you, that was with a team stacked with guys like Lecav, St Louis, Richards, Boyle, Kubina, Modin, a face-off winning machine in Tim Taylor, and big Dave Andreychuk... My nephew could've coached that team to a Stanley Cup.

    Being at the game yesterday, I saw frustration and futility up and down the ice for 60 minutes. I saw "Square Peg, Round Hole" come to life before my eyes. All creativity and belief gone. guys couldn't make passes, couldn't get into the zone on the PP, couldn't get to rebounds, couldn't forecheck, didn't know enough to go to the net, passing up shots in prime shooting locations only to dish the puck off to guys shooting from bad angles. So what adjustments does coach make? Let's see, he doesn't call a time out earlier in the game, he shortens his bench, he sits his role players for shifts at a time while Konopka, Neil and O Brien dry hump any Ranger they want up and down the ice. Del Zaster can't keep pucks in the zone, Richards can't win a face-off, nor was he able to get ANYTHING behind that pathetic shot he calls a wrister. Where's our coach who can find different ways of motivating his players? Can find spots during a game to have certain guys on the ice to stir some stuff up? Not one fight? Not one bit of fight from your home team other than Callie when Gaborik was hit. What happened to this team? It's mind-boggling. I guess when your coach is erratic with his behavior, it's only natural you're gonna have an erratic team.

    Just not sure what games Tortorella is watching. Guess that's his MO, act like nothing is wrong, stick your head in the ground, everybody else is crazy.

  • wes said...

    The evidence of Torts erratic behaviour is his constant shuffling of lines all year. He was throwing guys out there this last game that haven't played together all year. No ryhme no reason. He never had a consistent set of lines all year. Not a coach who can build for the playoffs.

  • Jen9400 said...

    jmaz I don't think there are as few of us as you think. Did anyone read what Larry Brooks said? Its almost like he's been reading our thoughts lol!
    I hope the link below works. The Post gives me a hard time sometimes.
    the tiltle is "Tortorella must push buttons for Rangers to stay alive vs Senators" just in case it doesn't work.