Sunday, December 04, 2005

Rangers Cap-Sized

Thank goodness the Rangers play the Washington Capitals only one more time. Everything went wrong that could go wrong last night. Tunovers galore, out hit and out hustled by the Caps and even The Prince suffered through his poorest performance. Alexander Ovechkin had a field day breaking out of his six game slump, with a goal and three assists. Olie The Goalie Kolzig was excellent in the nets stopping 36 shots, but honestly I don't remember any of them being overly tough shots.

The Rangers are 1-2 against the Capitals. The win was the dramatic shootout. Out of the total six points the Rangers have two and the Caps have five. Not good, not good at all. The turnovers started with Ville Nieminen having his pass picked off by Ovechkin who put one past Lundqvist to start the follies. It continued throughout the game. Michal Rozsival took three penalties for interference and hooking while losing the puck and trying to slow down a Cap. But he wasn't the only culprit. It got so bad that at the end Jaromir Jagr, obviously frustrated, was throwing body checks a few which could have been called for penalties.

Is it time to panic? No. But it is time to do some retooling. A big problem is the scoring. Or lack of it. Playing against the two teams with the worst records in the Eastern Conference the last three games, Pittsburgh and Washington, the Rangers have scored five goals. The Rangers, for the season, have scored ninety(90) goals. Jaromir Jagr has scored twenty-one (21). That's 23% of the total goals. The rest of the Rangers, about 20 excluding the goalies, have scored a total of sixty-nine (69) goals an average of 3.45 per player. A solution might be to move Petr Prucha to the top line with Jagr and Nylander. Put Straka on with Rucchin and Rucinsky to maybe generate some offense from that line. Leave the HMO line alone and put Nieminen with Betts and Ward.

Defense? Am I the only one who sees Michal Rozsival turning over the puck and committing the kind of penalties that indicate he is slow and constantly behind in following the play? Three penalties in one game. But he spread them out, one per period. It's a rebuilding year so let's bring up Thomas Pock and Ivan Baranka and trade or waive Rozsival and Tom Poti. Trade them both to Boston for Brian Leetch. Wouldn't that pick up the offense having a defenseman that can carry the puck into an offensive zone without tripping over his own skates? Come on Glen you can do it. Bite the bullet and give this team a legitimate shot at the playoffs and who knows, the Cup. In Stan Fischler's dreams. However, the playoffs are a possibility.

Game Recap []
Besides ignoring hockey some folks have other issues with ESPN

update: Larry Brooks of the NY Post & Tom Renney agree that offensive changes are needed:

Fact is, the Rangers have become a club with one scoring line — when it scores — and three checking's now on Renney to find the way to give some support to Jaromir Jagr's unit.

Obviously, this is not news to the head coach.

"I contemplated switching things before [this game], because I think that can get guys' attention," Renney said immediately following Saturday's debacle. "Now, it's certainly an option I'm going to take a serious look at."

... What can the coach do? He can move Martin Straka from wing into the middle and flank him with Jagr and the dynamic Petr Prucha, whose work demands more ice time and offensive responsibility.
RENNEY MUST JUMP-START 'O' [Larry Brooks, NY Post, Dec. 5, 2005]

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