Friday, February 15, 2013

Rangers Blow It!

Considering the opposition, the Islanders, this was probably the worst performance of the season. Almost everyone stunk, including the coach. Marty Biron, so good last game, not too good this game. The defense looked like they played helter skelter, trying to catch up. The power play, while scoring a goal went 1-4 and actually was the cause of the Islanders comeback. The Islanders out did the Rangers on the supposed Ranger strengths. They out hit us 33-29 and they blocked 21 shots to our 16. The coach? Line changes galore and he cut down Richards ice time in the third period.

Players? Carl Hagelin was good. 21:51 of ice time. A goal, an assist, plus two and seven shots on goal. Richards, to me, has become an enigma. Lately he has been hard to find on the ice. Maybe it's all this shuffling around. We are stuck with this guy who got an eight year deal and to me is starting to bring up memories of Lindros, Bure, Fleury, ad nauseum... Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't the Islanders. After all we did get a point. Del Zotto was back over 20 minutes. Why? I don't know. Third base. Boyle was back. Another why? Kreider sat. Is that anyway to develop a prospect? We'll ruin this kid yet.

The Islander started their comeback 12 seconds after the Rangers "killed off" two power plays. It's now 5-49 on the season. They scored two goals in forty seconds to take a 3-2 lead. That's becoming a habit. Scoring goals against us in a matter of seconds. We were lucky we didn't lose in regulation. Hagelin's goal (5) was scored on a scramble and poor defense by the Islander defense and goalie Nabokov's inability to hold on to the puck.

Two streaks ended. Our three game winning streak and the Isles five game losing streak. Watching, I fell back to thinking about old Ranger/Islander games. The excitement, the fury, the efforts, the crowds. This one was absent of all that. It was two nondescript teams out fumbling each other. Even the coaches looked out of place. Our coach wasted a timeout because of two many icings. How about the days when the goalies stalled and got time outs. Hasek knocking the net over. Brodeur getting his glove or pads restrung. I forget the name of the goalie who used to break his stick banging against the pipes. No innovation these days.

Number two son insists I go to the game Sunday. So I'll go and make it a part of my Lenten penance. The good news is maybe I'll see some old friends. The bad news is that I will see a blowhard coach overcoaching a team that needs to be unshackled and left to play hockey. Fat chance. I have to go see my grandson's team to see that. But that is good because it's free. There is nothing free at MSG except the antics of the coach.

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  • mbernold said...

    well the idiot coach has done it...ruined kreider and kept his collection of 3rd and fourth line junk..
    it is almost impossible to be a ranger fan hell with them

  • Jen9400 said...

    First period was pretty much all Rangers until they went up 2-0 then the Islanders stated to take the game into their own hands as the Rangers started protecting their lead. The second sucked as it was pretty much all Islanders. The third period was brutal watching the Rangers gradually slip into a comatose, robotic state. That's when I started daydreaming. I was saying much of what you said Mike about the rivalry. I was saying this is a Rangers - Islanders game, these teams are supposed to hate each other, they are supposed to go at it, trade chances, hits, bumps, fights, leave it all on the ice. The Garden used to buzz during these match ups but it was sooooo quiet. It sucks.

    As far as the players, yeah Richards isn't himself but I'm not quite ready to throw him into the category of Lindros, Bure, Fleury. It was shocking to see the coach bench his golden boy - that's how you know things are bad for Brad, but he won't give up, he will come around. I know I am in the minority on Boyle but I'm glad he played. He played well. Got 5 shots on goal and was trying to go to the net. He's a big boy and he needs to get in front of the net and use his size much, much more than he does. Two seasons ago he scored 21 goals and I believe he can be one of those role players who chips in 15-20 a year. I also like his PK. He is also one of those character guys. He has a ton of heart and I know he wants to win. He needs to find his way again. Find where he fits and learn where he can contribute. Unfortunately for him and all of us, pulling out players strengths is not a strong suit of this coaching staff so its going to be a struggle for Brian. Coach works on the theory that "its all up to the players" and as a result he doesn't put them in a position to succeed because he has no idea how to do that.

    Hagelin is on fire right now. It's good to see. He didn't give up on that play that led to his PP goal and its nice to see some tenacity. A forgotten word in the vocabulary of the Rangers. I'm holding to what I said about Gaborik playing on his natural side. He was so happy to go back to the right side in the TB game but coach doesn't give a crap what he wants. In order to get Callahan into the top 6 Gaby had to play Left again. Why not ask Cally to switch sides and let your goal scorer play where he's comfortable? Its not supposed to be funny but I was laughing at the amount of times I saw Gaby leave the left for the right and Cally had to race over to cover the open side. Hell Gaby scored his goal on the right side. Other than that of course the lines were in the line blender at the first sign of trouble and its sad when searching for a positive to pull from the game people are talking about how there wasn't a too many men on the ice penalty called on us. That and 'we grinded out a point" - I suppose to some these are positives but to me it just shows how discombobulated the Rangers really are. Last year we were great at throwing down the defensive blanket and taking their foot off the gas didn't cost. This year it seems to be catching up. We'll see how it goes but the game plan won't change. That's the one thing we know we can count on. Sigh.

  • jb said...

    I really enjoy reading your take on the games. I don't disagree with any of your analysis.

    You've hit the nail on the head when describing Torts as having a "square peg in round hole" coaching philosophy. Players have to adapt to his rigid demands and style of play or else they ride the pine or the bus out of town.

    He takes any and all square pegs (read as naturally talented scorers) and works on sanding off their edges and pounding them into his defensive system. So, you might have zeroed in on Boyle's problem. He sucks offensively because Torts has got inside his head. Boyle seems like the type of players who wants to please the coach, so he works tirelessly on his Tortorella game. Any offensive skills he might have had are being sacrificed on the altar of defense at all costs.

    I bet the Tortorella of 2004, with a cup for Tampa would not recognize the coach of today. I was surprised to see that Torts' 2003-04 Tampa team was the 3rd highest scoring team (245 goals, almost 3 per game) in the league, behind Detroit and Ottawa.

    Would Lecavalier and St. Louis still want to play him?

  • Jen9400 said...

    Thanks JB I appreciate that. I get on the coach a lot because the coach is so important to the team. Hockey is a team game and if you don't have the right coaching philosophy for the team you have its always a battle because you are stuck watching theses guys go against their grain. Not all people recognize that so its welcomed to speak to those who do.

    Yes Boyle seems like a guy who would want to please his coach but he's also a guy with integrity and confidence and its a constant conflict for guys like that. I was recently listening to a Catholic radio show Brian was on with his Father Artie this past summer and Artie was telling the story about how it came to be that Brian was traded from LA to NY. Leading up to it Brian said that the last eight games he played at BC he played as a defenseman due to injuries on the team. He said he had never played a position other than center in his life so it was tough but they needed him to do it and he learned a lot about the on ice relationship between the centerman and the defense and it helped him round out his game. So when he was in LA the coach wanted him to play a more defensive role and Brian was used sparingly. Artie wasn't happy with the way things were going for Brian and he knew Dean Lombardi was from the area the Boyle's are from and that during that summer Brian was traded Dean would be attending a local event Artie was also attending. Artie said Dean is like him. A family man who knew Artie wasn't one of those father's who complained about his son's ice time. He told Dean what kind of kid Brian was and what kind of values he had and that he didn't think things were working in LA. He told him that Brian doesn't fit into the Kings coach's philosophy (Terry Murray at that time -another take no risks play it safe coach) and get this: the reason he gave for Brian not fitting was "because Brian was always a goal scorer" - I sat up when he said it. I sat up because my sister Jeanine has been saying all along that she thinks Boyle's 21 goal season was not a fluke and she's seldom wrong. Now maybe Brian is not a "goal scorer" by NHL standards but what if he is?

    On the 2004 cup team in TB I just want to add that in spite of that team being the 3rd highest scoring team their PP finished 16th. The best bit of proof that his guy is clueless on PP strategy and offense too. Even though that number says he can get offense out of a team, I don't think he's much different today than he was in in 2004. The guy is a one trick pony who had a team with a lot of offensive talent much like right now. Last few games the Rangers have been scoring a lot of goals but its not because of the game plan. Its because players with that much talent are going to score eventually.

    Funny you should ask if Lecavalier and St. Louis would still want to play for him because I keep asking myself this question: Does Brad Richards still want to play for him?