Saturday, May 26, 2012

We're Not Tired – We're Dead!

I don't know what annoyed me more last night. Watching our first line getting outplayed by the Devils fourth line or the heavy traffic in front of Lundqvist and the relative stress free zone in front of Brodeur. Sure, we outshot the Devils, but too many shots were the pedestrian variety, right at Brodeur. In one instance a shot by Richards, which caught Brodeur in the middle of his body, brought the crowd to its feet with chants of Marty ringing in the air. I think the cheer was more to boost Marty than to praise him.

Our first line let us down again; Richards, Gaborik and Hagelin. The Devils took them completely out of the game. Of course, the Devils completely owned the first period. The fast start that was needed by the Rangers, that was talked about, was nonexistent. I believe we only scored one goal in the first period (in game 5) in this series and I believe the Devils scored eight times. Doesn't sound like a team ready to play. Of course, this puts enormous pressure on our goalie, Lundqvist, to keep the scoring to a minimum.

Speaking of traffic, the winning goal was scored off of a scrum in front of the net. What was Brad Richards doing behind Lunqvist? Standing off to Lundqvist's left he should have held his position and put his body on Henrique. But no, he moved behind Lundqvist and was useless on the deciding goal. But maybe it saved us all a long, long night because the offense was practically nonexistent. In fact, the offense has been bad all year long. The Tortorella master strategy has been blocked shots, and Lundqvist making big saves, and petulant press conferences.

The Garden is going to charge a fortune to see games next year. You want to pay 400 cannolis to watch a team block shots and suffer through a two or three goal game? I don't. I want to see hockey games. We have a coach that doesn't have a clue about how the offense works, about fixing the power play, about building a productive, useful fourth line. But, he has a team that risks life and limb to block shots.

Almost everyone is all excited by the play of Chris Kreider, who has scored five playoff goals. However, remember he has not been Tortorellaized. He has to be taught defense. He has to be taught how to block shots. We will see a different Kreider next year. Trust me

On the way home from Newark listening to the sports guys it was all, "wait 'til next year," when we will do all kinds of wondrous things. They talked about the team like it was the second coming of Stanley Cup Champions past. It ain't going to happen with this coach. It will be more of the same. The blocking shots technique is not going to work. Teams figure it out. Look at how the Devils were passing and faking shots and the success they had.

It was a long night and today has been even a longer day. I am tired and I am writing about a team, my team, who was very tired during the playoffs due to the misuse of key players. The coach will not and did not admit to his team being tired, but the results say it. The Rangers played like a tired team, because they were and now they are dead.

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18 comments:

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    You always say it perfectly, Pundit. I'm so sad. Watching my team play this terrible style all season, handcuffing the offense, killing themselves with that self sacrificing style I knew wouldn't win them anything in the playoffs- but as in true Rangers fashion they had me believing we had a golden opportunity to win a cup in spite of the obstacles coach presents on a nightly basis. I was watching the teams who should have been the biggest threats fall off one by one and the teams who were left were beatable. I knew how badly Henrik wanted this so my reaction to the Devils overtime goal was fitting. As the goal mouth scramble unfolded I started yelling out "no no no" and as soon as the puck crossed the line I started crying and the words that were coming out of my mouth were, "I'm sorry Henrik, I'm so sorry." I have tears in my eyes as I type this. It was simply a reaction but one fit for the King who has been our first, second and third star for several seasons now including this one. No question we have a great group of extremely hard working character guys who all deserved to win but I wanted it first and foremost for Henrik. It's so sad.

    The Devils deserved to win the series. They outplayed us way more than we outplayed them. The King stole the two victories that we did have and the team not being ready to play was a theme throughout the entire playoffs. They were "staying with it" and doing it "the right way" just as they were told through the post season. Changing nothing about their approach and failing on several occasions to lift their game to the appropriate level required for winning playoff games and series cost them. All of the terrible decisions the coach made throughout, his failure to to ready the team for big games in every series causing us to go 7 games in the first two rounds, his refusal to to roll 4 lines, his usage of only 5 D the entire time, his refusal to replace injured forwards with forwards (why did we call those guys up from the whale?), His refusal to use Scott, Eminger, or Zuccarello (who could have been in for both games 5 and 6 but the coach hates him), His untimely benching of Gaborik (teaching is for regular season), his rather long benching of Kreider, the lines being back in the blender for the last couple of games, his lack of understanding of the PP, oh and of course his big mouth, all of these are obstacles the coach caused his team and the list could go on. The grueling, grinding over 100 game season caught up to us in the end and the only person the coach never holds accountable for any of it is himself. He's not going to admit the team was tired because he's the one who wore them out. Admitting that would mean that he would have to change and that will never happen. He was out-coached in each series but none more glaringly than the Devils series. Pete DeBoer strategizes and adapts as each series goes on. He prepares his players and communicates extremely well with them. That is something you will never see from our coach. His do as I say not as I do style is inflexible and quite honestly outdated. It is inevitable that he will self destruct because all psychos do but I just wish it didn't have to cost my team in the process.

  • Andy said...
     

    Like I said before game 6, the only thing in our way is John Tortorella. Bang. Season over.

    If Sather really wants to see his team lift a cup, he will evaluate mr. torts very, very critically. Otherwise we are in for a long haul with this blocking/defense first style.

    We won't a cup that way, and we won't win a cup with only 1, sometimes 2 good lines. 4 line teams win cups.

    And because I have to, for the last time unfortunately, AAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVEEEEEEERRRRRRRYYYYYYYY

    Not a soul can tell me that this team was better without him. Especially in the playoffs and especially against fatso. Look what Rupp did this year. Absolutely nothing. Sean had 3 goals in 15 games.
    Rupp had 4 and an assist ALL YEAR.

    Two more years of a useless 4th liner. Hey, anybody but Avery, right John?

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    Yeah I know Andy and what really kills me is the same people who told me that this team doesn't need Avery are now suddenly talking about how this team needs a better 4h line with some energy because the Devils beat us with one. They also beat us by having a coaching staff with brains! This coach doesn't use 4 lines anyway so I don't really know why they are wasting their time talking about it. We could have used Avery when we were bullied in the first round and no one wanted to stand up to the Sens until coach ordered them to. We had to wait until our backs were against the wall in game 6 before Prust finally stood up. who else? And Avery was our best player in the previous two playoffs against Washington even though he was playing handcuffed. And the last time we eliminated NJ Avery practically did it single handed. But yeah, who needs that guy?
    Speaking of handcuffed, another one of my favorite off season story lines is emerging.... Not enough offense. Every year we go out and get more offense and every year our offensive players come up short. Hmmmmm, gee, I just can't figure out what the problem could be. Maybe it's the system? Nah. can't be. Our coach is never wrong.
    Coach said today during break up day that some players get it and some don't, so we have to continue to filter out the players who don't. Um, yeah. If you don't bow down to the czar you are out. Hey coach you want to filter out the bad seeds, let's start with you.

  • jeanine1994 said...
     

    We really could have used Seans speed and his ability to drive opponents absolutely insane. But Torts doesn't like antics, nah he'd rather goon it up.
    His wants are always ahead of the team, so much so he'd rather play Bickel at forward rather than Zuc or if he wasn't ready a forward call up from Conn. But nope, they haven't gone through Torts process or he doesn't like their D or whatever his twisted excuse is for the day.
    It makes me sick how he decides who gets to play and who doesn't. And what he did to Avery is truly criminal. Now he's going to retire, you have such a short career and you work so hard to make it and that piece of crap was a major contributer in ending Seans career. Wow. I just can't stand it.

  • jb said...
     

    Jen,

    Nice list of Tortorella's failures. If this was a court of law you constructed a very nice Bill of particulars, which is statement of the charges against one defendent, John 'Torturous' Tortorella.

    The verdict: guilty.

    Andy,

    I kept saying to myself, "what if" about Avery, because he certainly could have given the 3/4th lines a scoring/energy lift. But, he was sacrificed on the alter of Tortorella correctness.

    What a waste.

    It's going to take me a long time to get over my disappointment about now Tortorella/Sather wasted one of Lundqvist's best years, by not surrounding him with the right players and strategy

  • Section 335 said...
     

    Forgive me for not joining the chorus. I started the year predicting 105 points and a chance to reach the conference finals. The team exceeded my expectations. I also stated that without another true left wing scorer and crease clearing defenseman the team was not ready to win the Cup. Right again. Slats failed to make the trades necessary to win this year - but that was the right move as he kept the pieces needed for the next three years.

    I do not like Torts style of play this year, but I am not convinced he likes it either. I think he ran the race the way he felt he had to race it with the horses he was given.

    The loss of Sauer was overcome at the price of playing the other five defensemen too much. That eventually caught up to us. Gabby playing with a shoulder that will require surgery took away our only sniper.

    Add Ryan Suter and Parise or Juri Hudler, along with Ray Witney and this team wins the Cup next year. Also, Torts will have the canons to open it up.

  • Section 335 said...
     

    Also, Denis Wideman is an option - and a good one.

  • mbernold said...
     

    AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING--ITS SO BAD I COULD ONLY CHECK FOR THE SCORE IN THE THIRD PERIOD WITHOUT WATCHING THE GAME.. AFTER BEING A RANGER FAN SINCE 1949, I AM DONE WITH THE RANGERS UNTIL TORTORELLA IS GONE. WHAT A BUFFOON AND IMBECILE!!! THIS IS NOT HOCKEY.. I GUESS IT WILL BE ANOTHER FORTY YEARS BEFORE THEY WIN ANOTHER CUP!! GOOD RIDDANCE..THEY ARE TO DISGUSTING TO WATCH!!!!

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    Section 335 I agree with you on most points except I have a very hard time believing that Torts doesn't like his own style of play especially since he was asked at break up day point blank by Katie Strang of ESPN if he would change his style next season depending on the the players who are added and he basically said no. His response was "We certainly are not going to lose the premise of what we are." As I stated above he said he wants to continue to filter out the players who "don't get it" - I guess you can look at those replies a few ways but it is loud and clear to me that this doesn't sound like a person who is open minded to change. Also, every year since we've had him there has been someone who tells me that next year he's going to open it up more. "You'll see Jen, when he has the guns." Last year it was wait until Brad Richards comes and then Torts will let the offensive players go. I'm telling you, he can't let them go. He's a control freak who wants everyone to be the same. He doesn't trust the players to themselves. Gaborik makes a "bad defensive play" and he's benched in the playoffs- same crap with Kreider. Zuccarello could have helped our PP and offense in games 5 and 6 as he was helping before he was injured but nope. Torts doesn't like him. He's not defensive enough or big enough or worse - he sits out healing when he gets injured. Ever notice how difficult it is for players to get back into Torts line up after they are out injured? Guys play through injuries during the regular season all the time because they don't want to be out of the line up once they are healed. Prust was playing with a ligament torn from his finger since January. Why? That's just stupid decision making and don't tell me the coach has nothing to do with it because he's the guy who writes the line up card every night. In the end it is HIS decision who plays. He doesn't HAVE to play a player who is injured in January. Let him heal enough to be ready for the playoffs. Its just more stupidity.

    I know the Rangers weren't expected to go as far as they did by most people but they did have a golden opportunity to win a cup. They could have beaten the Devils for a chance to play the Kings and give our King a shot at grabbing it but the chance was blown. Coach insists that the series was lost because your "best players have to be your best players" which is an obvious fact- but he won't consider that maybe his "best players" -namely the offensive players, would be more successful if they didn't play with the fear that one mistake will nail them to the bench.

    Unfortunately management has made it clear that Torts has all the power but there is danger in one person having too much power and when that one person is as psychotic as our coach, look out.

  • EJ Kudelka said...
     

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jason Kudelka said...
     

    I could NOT POSSBLY agree more on the series winner

    It’s rule number one in a scramble like that – you look to pick up a man, not the puck. You see how the pill wasn’t going to cross the goal line had henrique not been able to put it in?

    A forward to play goalie rt there has no chance. witness the fact that the puck that went through was moving very slowly, and 19 could still not stop it. it was a pure ‘panic/rookie’ move



    And not to mention – the game winner in game 5. That one was the real killer – the one that will haunt me for a long long time – because the garden was about to explode. Yet mr ‘clutch’ couldn’t be bothered to mark his man in front.



    As for comments about being tired --- maybe if he had a few better guys he had confidence in for the 4th line he could have spread out that icetime a bit?

    But why did he have no money left?

    You guessed it. it’s all wrapped up in #19



    And THAT is why you don’t pay a guy who shows up every now and then (28 goals max in his career) maximum money

    Because when he doesn’t show up – as he did for the entire conference finals, you are left with a huge chunk of money doing nothing



    And what kills me is how you were saying about listening to the sports guys on the radio. I have same issue with guys on the train home to long island. Because all everyone talks about is the free agent class

    Can you believe it? the free agent class!!!

    All goes back to the definition of insanity – trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results



    The only team in sports i’ve ever known to win it all by picking up the top free agent every year is the Yankees – and even they have only one it once in 12 years

    (not to mention that baseball has no salary cap...and that if you bring in a pitcher who can throw 3 times in a series is obviously a different world)



    Jason Kudelka

  • jb said...
     

    Jen,

    Very good points about injured players having to play thru their injuries to stay in Tortorella's lineup. Sit out to heal and lose your spot in the rotation.

    Remember at the beginning of the season when Torts accused Wojtek Wolski of being a malingerer, and not getting out of the hot tub for practice. Wolski, in fact, had been at the practice and it was also later found out that he had sports hernia, which required surgery.

    Jason,

    And to think that we are saddled with Richard$ for another 7 years, when clearly his best years are behind him. Plus the Rangers are still paying Wade Redden just as much for another 2 seasons. They will be a great pair in Hartford in 2013-14.

  • Andy said...
     

    Nothing else to say, you guys covered it. It's frickin sad and unfair to us, real fans, every with this nonsense.

    JB: you nailed it when it with Richard$. I like Richie, but what the hell is Sather thinking when it comes to contracts? You also nailed with Hank and his wasted awesome season. The poor guy was particularly on his head this year, and was given two offensive lines and 1 good defensive line. Shame.

    Jen: You should be a sports op/ed columnist! Good Stuff.

    I agree with the notion we should have traded before the deadline like in 1994. Not everyone will like it, but sometimes it just has to be done for the betterment of the team. No one wanted to give up amonte or gartner, but the TEAM needed guys like anderson and matteau. We needed a scorer or a defensemen, we got John Scott. Wowza.

    Wild, wacky world of the NYR. It's always could of, should of, but never would of with this management.

  • Section 335 said...
     

    Guys, this team was a goal or two away from the finals, yet reading these posts you would think the team finished 9th.

    We have the youngest, not second youngest, defense in hockey. It will be even stronger and younger with Erixon and Mcllrath in the pipeline, Erixon as early as the start of next year.

    Our goalie will be strong for at least five more years.

    At forward, Kreider is a beast on left wing. Calley a true worthy Captain on right wing. Stephan a solid 50, soon to be 60 point second line center. All young, worthy, top six forwards.

    The weaknesses can be addressed. Richards will be a solid, although overpaid, 60-70 point first line center for two more years. Worry about this later. Gaborik will put in 40 biscuits on the left for two more years. Worry about this later. This takes care of 5 of the 6 top forward positions.

    We need to add scoring on left as Dubbie just is not going fill the role of a top six player. At his $$ he needs to go, if we can get value, or we eat the wasted money. He is a very solid third line player, who can fill in the top lines when necessary because of injuries.

    We need to add a shot from the point to improve our power play. The only problem with our power play is that without the point shot other teams cheat and cover us at the hash.


    We need someone nasty to clear the crease until Mcllrath is NHL ready.

    This team is just a few pieced away from a Cup.

    Before the season started everyone was saying how bad we were. Well, if you were one of those, you were wrong. And, if you are singing the same song, it's time to change the record.

    As I said at the start of last year, the plan was to make a deep run for experience. Give the kids a taste of what it takes. And, the kids did good.

    We have a two year window to win the Cup and just a few holes to plug before February 2013. If you want to cry about how close we were, go for it. We were a goal or two away - suck it up, wipe your self off, and get back up on the horse. This is a journey, not a sprint, and we are looking pretty damn good.

  • Andy said...
     

    Ha you sound like torts. Definition of insanity. Just a few away....a few away...

  • jb said...
     

    Sec 335,
    All good points, you went down the the asset side of the balance sheet. But on the other side of the balance sheet there are some liabilities.

    Some of which are:

    1) Tortorella hockey does not build a team up for the playoffs, it wears them down. The Rangers finished the season very weakly, they were 10-10 over their last 20 games from March 2nd to April 7th. They then went 10-10 in the playoffs. So from March 2nd on the Rangers were a combined 20-20 - a no better than mediocre .500 team. Conversely both NJ and the Kings steamed into the playoffs with big momentum:

    "Both teams had terrific records late in the year, with New Jersey putting up a 39-18-4 record (including the playoffs) since early January and Los Angeles going 25-7-3 since adding Carter near the trade deadline."

    2) Other teams will get better too. The Rangers are just 1 of 30 teams, each trying to improve themselves. On a pure statistical basis, each team only has 1 in 30 chance of winning the cup. The Kings for example have an average team age of 26.5 years-old, versus the Devils at 30 (thanks to Marty). The Rangers average is over 27. Every team has its "promising kids". The Rangers have only three young players I would consider above average McDonagh, Staal, and Kreider. Del Zaster, Zuccy, Hagelin, Stepan, Anisimov are average. You could make an argument that Stepan, Hagelin, and Anisimov completely faded during the end of the regular season and playoffs, not promising.

    3) Lundqvist played well above his career averages this past season. He had a career best GAA 1.97 (now has 2.27 career average), save% .93 (now has .92 career). This was probably due to him playing the fewest games this season (62) thanks to Marty Biron giving him some rest, plus his teammates blocking a ton of shots for him. Can he deliver the same next year? He is the King, but not invincible. Injuries become a factor, he's over 30 now. The Rangers lose in either of the first two rounds without Lundqvist being royal.

    4) Coaching shortcomings. I heard Torts again today on ESPN radio saying everyone including him can get better. Big understatement, he has totally failed to implement a decent powerplay for his entire tenure, among many failings. He's proven he doesn't have the smarts. His constant line changes also show that he doesn't trust his guys to play together. He had combinations on the ice during the playoffs that had never played together during the regular season. He has proven that his 'gut' does not know now to coach. Also want's with the total flat first periods throughout the playoffs? Torts was outcoached in all three rounds. He is a big liability.

    That's all for now, but there is much more to coach disagreeable's shortcomings that will prevent this team from ever winning the Cup under him.

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    Andy - Thank you very much for the compliment! I do enjoy writing. Maybe I should incorporate it into my new career changes I have been making.

    Anyway onto the important stuff: The Rangers lol!

    Honestly, overall I feel that many important things happened to the Rangers this season and it was a success as far as growth and experience are concerned. If you told me in October that they would be in the ECF this season I would not have believed it. They exceeded my expectations as far as results are concerned. I am very proud of this group of players, their commitment and hard work are unmatched and I appreciate it very much. Yes I am disappointed that they could have won the cup and did not. Mainly because in my opinion it didn't have to be this way and I place most of that responsibility on the coach for all of the reasons I stated above.

    As far as some of the players who are being talked about on here I must say a few words. First of all, I am not willing to write off any of our underachieving forwards so fast. The system they are forced to play sacrifices not only our players health but their offensive numbers as well. When you are forced to think about D as much as they are, when you are fearful of losing ice time, you second guess yourself. That hesitation, that attitude that everyone must be the same, and every game is the same, offense will come if we play defense defense defense makes players less likely to score. There is no emphasis on any part of the offensive side of the game and as Larry Brooks wrote, if our system does not change, it will not matter how many goal scorers we sign in the off season the results will be the same. In order to get different results, you must do something different. I don't see Torts changing a thing...

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    ...Brad Richards IMO does add to our team. He adds to our offense. He came up with some big goals this season. He was OK in the playoffs but like everyone else he looked like he was just done in the end. Yes his numbers were down after coming over from Dallas but I bet they would be up if our coach was Mike Babcock.

    Hagelin is anything but average if you ask me. I know he didn't score in the playoffs but this was his first NHL playoff and most kids don't handle it the way the amazing Kreider did. Hags is so much fun to watch. He has so much skill and a great future. So fast and great hands. he makes things happen out there no question about it. Kreider looks amazing and I am excited about his future but as pundit said I am concerned about him. Once coach gets his hands on him in camp he will surely suck the life right out of him. Goodbye creativity.

    Dubinsky had a terrible season offensively. Surprise Surprise. I would not trade him though. I honestly believe that Dubi is a great two way forward capable of putting up numbers at least equal to Callahan. He has toughness, grit, personality, smarts, he just needs to be trusted to use them by you know who.

    Anisimov - my jury has been out on him for a while. I see flashes from him but never on a consistent basis. He is always the first guy in the dog house when things are going wrong. I think he is one of those players who needs a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement. He never really responds when he is benched or chewed out. he just seems to disappear for long stretches. I often wonder what he could really bring to the table.

    Just as we saw Avery unable to use all of his assets to fit the mold, I know there are several others. I see an amazing talent in Gaborik. He is obviously not too fond of the defensive aspect of the game but most guys who are pure goal scorers aren't. Gaby does what he has to do out there to maintain his ice time. He scored 41 with the handcuffs on, I wonder how many he would have scored with the cuffs off. So this is why I can't write off our forwards. I don't believe our coach gets the best out of the players. People say he does based on the fact that the players sacrifice so much of themselves to "buy in" but that's not what getting the most is. Getting the most IMO means bringing out all of their talents and allowing them to use them. Every player made it ti this elite level by using their talent. Not everyone is the same. They all have different things to bring to the table. They can all play individual roles that compliment one another as they come together as a team. We have been robbed of that. The players are robbed of their identities too. Its a shame but that is exactly what control freaks do.

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