Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Vigneault, Richards Doom Rangers

You could sense it in the reaction of the crowd. It was loud prior to the game, but when the game started the crowd became eerily subdued waiting for something. At first we thought we were waiting for a Ranger explosion, but soon discovered it was the implosion we were awaiting. Near the end of the first period the Rangers went on a power play and guess what? Out came Brad Richards. The PP sputtered and at the end Carter rifled a shot off Giradi past Lundqvist and it was 1-0 at the buzzer. The crowd surrendered.

The Kings were to score two more goals, one off of Marty St. Louis and the Rangers continued to sputter on the power play five more times, all lead by Richards, going 0-6 and sealing their fate. Richards didn't miss a shift and in his ineptitude he continued the malaise of St. Louis and Carl Hagelin who looked like spectators.

Don't let the Ranger shot total fool you, Quick made 32 saves. The Rangers were outplayed and Richards and others talking about lucky and bad bounces was an effort to mute their inferior play. The coach, Vigneault, added to the defeat. Not once in the sixty minutes did he make one line change. Not once. You think maybe moving St. Louis and Hagelin, two of the biggest producers in the playoffs, might have changed something. Nada. Zilch. Also, not once during the power play did he not start Richards at center for the faceoff and then move to the point. I don't believe he won a single faceoff and was totally useless on the power play.

I mentioned in the previous blog of the ineffectiveness of Richards on the power play and how his play was hurting his linemates St. Louis and Hagelin. Well last night is was all there to see. But its more than that. The team did not come out with fire or passion. I believe we got four shots in the first period. They took the crowd out of the game. I can say with all honesty that in all my years of going to playoff games this is the worst I have ever see a Ranger team play. It surely was the worst since the 1994 playoffs.

But what's surprising about missing fire and passion? Game two was lost when the refs blew an interference call against Lundqvist. The coach's comment was something akin to asking the NHL. No outrage. Pierre Maguire, the NBC analyst, in between the benches ranted that the no call was bad and cost the Rangers the game. But no comment from our coach. Maguire's job may well be in jeopardy next season. So now we are down 3-0 and we will hear the usual crap, about winning one at a time and going shift by shift. The Rangers are in a deep hole, partly their fault, partly the officials.

I would say, and last night added to the confirmation, is that the NHL is the worst officiated sport of all the major sports. The NHL officials influence the outcome of NHL games more than any other official in any other sport. I dare say the World Wrestlng Association referees have as much credibility as the NHL officials. The best, most exciting sport in the world, has the worst officials in the world. So game four, and maybe the last one, will be Wednesday. What do you want to bet that our fearless coach comes out with the same lineups and uses Richards on the power play. Brad Richards is considered the de facto Captain of the Rangers. Last night the de facto Captain and the coach showed no leadership and no ability to change things when they are going right.

Let's see what kind of a crowd shows up Wednesday, if even a crowd shows up. One more thing. Rumblings around us of how Lundqvist should have made the saves on the King's goals especially the first one. Well two of the three went off Rangers and the third was no shot to stop. Let's understand one thing. This Ranger team has picked up its game in the playoffs, but Lundqvist after an early slump, has been solid all year. If not for Lundqvist the Rangers would not have been in the playoffs. Its as simple as that. Fans should remember that and not get caught in the moments of any particular game. He is the true leader of this team. In fact he is the de facto Captain.

ICINGS: The Pundit does not get around as good as he used to, so I have to rely on the disability facilities that an arena offers. Last night the Garden failed. The elevators that were highlighted to be used for disabled persons had a line a mile long and we had to keep trying other elevators. Well it seemed that the reasons the lines were long was that the elevators had to be used for the press. That's a good move. Take care of the press and that guarantees a good story about your team even when it falls flat on its face as it did last night.

Related Articles by Categories


  • Anonymous said...

    Touching on the ïcing"comments, the Garden was a total disgrace last night. I am a paying season ticket holder for 20 years, and to hear the press needs the elevator more than handicap people, is an utter disgrace. Well said, they care more about the press and their reputation than the paying season ticket holders! Not surprising, just sad to see.

  • Jen9400 said...

    Pundit you must have had steam coming out of your ears when you wrote this because it really comes across in this post. My first reaction was simply: WOW!
    I can't agree with a few things. Starting with Richards. I agree Brad is having a terrible series. The PP needs a shake up and I guess that came during the last 2 when Nash got some ice time there. Richards hasn't been sharp on the PP and has made bad decisions, no doubt. He's had a few decent opportunities but keeps missing the net as Stepan has. The PP certainly is an area the Rangers need to focus on in the off season along with face-offs. I just can't jump on the Brad Richards lynch mob because as I said on here a few times before I am glad we didn't buy him out. I still don't want to buy him out. He's been a key cog in getting the Rangers to this point, a point we never imagined we would be at and that's all I will say about that.
    Vigneault has done a masterful job coming in here after the dictator in changing our style of play and one of the ways he's done that is with patience. He's gained the trust of the players by not nailing them to the bench, by not juggling lines at the first sign of trouble and it has worked so far. Will it work again? I don't know. He does't know, but now is not the time to start showing players he's lost faith in them which is the message they will receive. The first two games of the series the Rangers could have won and honestly we did win game 2 before it was taken away. So we were not playing bad hockey. Why would you change the lines? Its really easy to do what Torts did and react to everything but its really hard to be patient like AV...

  • Jen9400 said...

    ...Believe me, I also have my moments of impatience as you do. For instance, I really can't stand how we dump and chase or chip and chase or whatever the new term is these days, on the PP. We lose the face offs, retrieve the puck, chip it it, retrieve the puck, try to set up... it drives me crazy. We need to have the puck. That's the key part of our system. I want to see a more aggressive forecheck if we are going to do it that way so we can have the puck. The PP has improved but its hit and miss and as I've said before the deeper you go into the playoffs, the better the teams and the harder it is to score on the PP. Last night's game was the toughest one because that was the best the Kings played in the series by a long shot. They're a big strong, tough team with a recent championship under their belt and it really shows. I didn't think the Rangers played bad. The first period I thought was great hockey. Back and fourth, I thought the Rangers had the better of the play. The official shot total was 5-4 Kings but if we don't make that soft play at the end and allow Carter to get that shot then the period ends 0-0 with 4 shots a piece. In addition, I was quite surprised the Rangers had only 4 shots in that period. The server was down at MSG and that's why there was no shot clock. I know some off ice official was counting shots somewhere but as with all NHL officiating, we can take that with a grain of salt! Anyway, no doubt that goal hurt. Every mistake or misplay we have made against this team has cost us dearly and that was one of them. Then I felt the Rangers came out in the second running around a little and our carelessness with our sticks forced us to kill back to back high sticking penalties which cost us a goal and that to me was the point where the Rangers sagged. That's when I sensed the feeling of- what do we have to do to win a game here? Then Mike Richards sealed it when fortunately for him he couldn't complete his pass on the two on one as McD had trouble intercepting the pass and boom. A 3-0 game and a 3-0 hole. A cruel fate this team doesn't deserve if you ask me. So now what? Are you giving up? You can if you want to but what's the point? Rangers have nothing to lose here. Pressure is off. Last time the Rangers were in a hole they had a tragic loss to rally around. Let's see if they can find something else to rally around. Don't expect them to? That's good. The Rangers never do what you expect them to do. Let's just see what happens.

  • william Peace said...

    MSG has been hostile to disability access for decades. Attending a game as a wheelchair user is often a nightmare. Even with the renovation obstacles remain.