Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rangers, Habs Split Weekend

Despite playing their worst game at home things looked up for the Rangers when Jaromir Jagr tied the game with a little over ten minutes to play with a five on three power play goal. However all turned sour when about a minute later on a five on four power play Michael Nylander had the puck stripped which led to a two on one breakaway and a short-handed goal by Steve Begin. Marek Malik was the lone defender on the two-on-one and was indecisive as to which player to play with the result he played no one and the Rangers were on their way to their first regulation loss at home.

Both goalies, Henrik the Prince and Jose Theodore, were outstanding. Theodore perhaps responding to the PA announcing that Theodore was shaky in Saturdays game was solid in the first period making nine saves, many at his doorstep. The Rangers, missing Martin Rucinsky, who will be out for about four weeks, could not mount any sustained offense after the first period. One has to question why Petr Prucha was not brought up to bolster the offense rather than use Fedorov who again seemed lost. Also unless the Rangers are on a power play the other team simply double-teams Jagr every time he gets the puck. Without Rucinsky in there the Rangers have no balanced threats.

The defense also seemed to have problems getting out of their own zone and the double minor penalty assessed Kasparitis at the end of the second period turned out to be a killer when Saku Koivu scored the games first goal 47 seconds into the third period near the end of the penalty. Overall the Rangers took nine penalties, killing eight and were short handed for over fifteen minutes. The Canadians took six penalties and killed off five. One wonders when will the dumb, lazy penalties stop. One also wonders if Tom Renney can get this team to stop.

One other point, albeit a big one. Craig Rivet was allowed to skate around like it was the rink in Central Park. I don't know if a Ranger even touched him. There is no doubt that Rivet's hit on Rucinsky which was illegal, was also deliberate to pay Rucinsky back for a clean hit on Rivet. But not a Ranger went near him. This is a problem that will surface more as we get into the season. If we didn't go after Rivet we should have gone after Kovalev or Koivu, somebody.

As a start the Rangers should bring up Ryan Hollweg and send Fedorov and Taffe to Hartford. Good beginning. Bring up Prucha, Hollweg and also Dale Purinton to add some muscle to a pretty soft defense that last night had trouble getting out of its own way. What happens when we meet the Brashears of the hockey world? The Rangers looked awfully tired last night. Even the Kamikaze Kids (Ortmeyer, Betts, etc) were not their usual feisty selves. Back to the drawing board and get ready for another home and home against the Devils starting in NJ on Thursday. Weekes should be in the nets and the Rangers need a big game from him. I think we will see some changes on Thursday. I hope we see some changes.

ICINGS: Upon arrival at home I decided to watch the rerun to hear some commentaries. The guide said that OLN (hockey network) would have the replay 11:00 PM-1:30 AM. Put on the channel and lo and behold some guys were hunting. No replay. Wasn't till this morning that I read where the game had video difficulties in the first period and audio problems the last two periods. Oh well. Mickey mouse league gets Goofy TV. What a shame. Some of the most gifted athletes in the world playing the most exciting sport in the universe and no one gets to see it....Stunned last night after the Canadians first goal. It looked like a couple of thousand people stood up to cheer. What's happening is that ticket sales to the game are not going well which opens up the arena to the visitors fans. What's scary is that the Rangers are playing rather well and for the most part are entertaining. If the Ranger fans don't show up now when are they going to come?

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