Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rangers Up: Cally Down

The bad news is worse than the good news. Flyer Max Talbot said he heard Callahan's shoulder pop in their encounter at the Garden last night. The Rangers fortunes may have popped along side Callahan. During their 2-1 win the Rangers  didn't show anything special, except maybe killing off a 5 on 3 power play by the inept Flyers.

Let's face it, this was a dismal hockey game between two offensively challenged teams. The Flyers put 28 shots on net, the Rangers 27. The Flyers are averaging 2.0 goals per game and the Rangers 2.66 goals per game. San Jose is averaging 4.6 goals per game. However, in the last three years the Rangers have added offensive fire power with the likes of Gaborik, Richards and Nash. That's pretty good firepower until you consider who they are working for.

You remember that famous phrase, "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead." Well, the Rangers have, "Damn the puck, retreat to the net." So we will continue to see low scoring, tight checking and holding games and shot blocking games. We will probably lose a few more players to stupid fights and even more stupid blocked shots. But that's the way it is with our coach who showed his disagreeable side when Carl Hagelin picked up a too many men on the ice penalty, giving the Flyers a 5 on 3 PP. The coach called it "dumbness." But there were no comments on the equally dumb tripping penalties taken by Gaborik and Staal. Ayn Rand had it right: "All pigs are created equal, but some are more equal than others."

My two sons keep offering me tickets to the games, which I have turned down. It's embarrassing to fall asleep at a hockey game as opposed to home. Also, if I go to the game I will miss the occasional shots of coach disagreeable making like one of the three stooges. You figure out which one.

Video of Cally's injury:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Third Period Explosion

The third period last night looked just like they draw it up in practice, without the emphasis on blocked shots. The Rangers, trailing 2-1 going into the third period put 17 shots on goalie James Reimer, who actually played a good game making 37 saves, scoring 4 goals in the last 13 minutes. Gaborik (5) scored two, Staal (1) one, Richards (2) one and Boyle (1) one. Boyle's goal was scored off his body, deflecting a Del Zotto shot. That will probably be the only way Boyle will score this year considering he has hands of stone.

But, while this output and performance was encouraging nothing really changed except we beat a mediocre team, who like us, is struggling. Remember the Islanders mauled the Maple Leafs 7-4 last time out. Eight players had over 20 minutes of ice time with Del Zotto, probably the weakest defensive defenseman on the Rangers, getting the most with 26:40. Del Zotto also got the most power play ice time, 5:21. Did I mention that the power play went 0-4? Nash, Richards, Callahan, Gaborik all on the PP and going 0-4. Did I mention that Del Zotto was the quarterback. I think he is related to Sanchez, the Jets quarterback.

The other side of this distorted equation is that the fourth line was practically invisible. Asham had five shifts, 1:57 minutes. Rupp, six shifts, 2:08. Eminger seven shifts, 4:12 and Halpern had 10 shifts, 4:16. Now that Jason Arnott is brought into the equation those times will dwindle and someone will have to sit or take the Tortorella Express to Hartford. Interestingly, coach disagreeable refused to comment on Arnott's acquisition. Arnott who is 6'5" and 220 lbs will probably be used heavily on the power play.

It looks like Chris Kreider has been playing with a bone chip in his ankle. Remember the coach bad mouthing him suggesting he would be better off in Hartford. Meanwhile he was injured. But it's not surprising considering the remarks he made last year about Gaborik, when he was injured.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Win One, Lose One

In Buck Privates, Lou Costello, learning how to shoot "craps" from Bud Abott, says, "Oh, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose." So that is how it looks with our Blueshirts these days, only the sometimes you lose seem to be more frequent. I know the season just started, but there are disturbing patterns that are not going the Rangers way.

The Rangers have a slew of very good offensive players, Nash, Gaborik, Richards, Callahan and Pyatt. But they have no offense. Does that make sense? Last night they mustered all of 19 shots against a team that had lost three straight and were struggling in net. Nash got two shots. Gaborik one, and Richards zero. Considering they all got over twenty minutes of ice time, with Nash topping out at 24:54, that was not very productive or good. Callahan led the pack with 4 shots and added 5 hits. Pyatt had one shot and it was a goal, his third in four games.

While the Rangers out hit the Flyers 25-21, it was the Flyers who outblocked the Rangers 20-15. Nine Rangers got more than 20 minutes of ice time and five got less than 10 minutes. How is that for balance? The lame stream media keeps writing that the Rangers have no depth. How can they when half the team gets minimal ice time. It was boring watching the same lines come out every other shift and to change things up the top six players played musical chairs with all different line combinations.

But we have no offense. We have no idea of any offensive patterns. We have a defensive first coach. Make a mistake and you are punished. Oh wait. Certain players make a mistake and they are punished. Kreider, who was a sensation in the playoffs, took a penalty the other night and basically sat for the remainder of the game. He sat on the bench last night. That's how it goes under the reins of the most offensive defensive coach of the Rangers.

But four games does not a season make and like Lou told Bud, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose."

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend Film (1945), starring Ray Milland not the same as Rangers lost weekend of Jan19-20, 2013
Notice I didn't say The Lost Weekend. I think we may have a few more clinkers in store. You think Ray Milland had it this bad back in the 40's? Ah, the 40's. They could chant all they want about the 40's, but at least they were alive then. This group, two games in, looks pooped. What was it Sam said last night? Was it tentative or hesitant? Sorry to bring up the old lament of mine, but the team looks scared. Scared of making a poor play, missing a check, not blocking a shot. Not blocking a shot? Go to the bench, or go to Hartford. Do not pass go, do not collect your paycheck.

But there are exceptions to the rule. Rick Nash is playing to expectations and of course there is Captain Crunch, Ryan Callahan, who plays with abandon, heart and a lot of talent. He would have been wonderful along side Phil Watson and Alex Shibicky. And of course Henrik Lundqvist, who was mercifully pulled halfway through game two by coach disagreeable. Not that the goals were all his fault, but The King seems to lack a certain sharpness that will come as the season progresses.

Ah, the progression of the season. If this keeps up coach disagreeable will put back the weight he lost. If this keeps up we will see more line changes than "I Love Lucy" reruns. But it's only two games and there must have been something last season that can be recaptured to make this a hockey team again. Two games do not make a season, unless you are the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Pens look solid. Two big, really big, wins on the road against the Flyers and Rangers are making the Pens look like The Habs of the 50's and 60's. But, of course things could change, and fast. An errant elbow, a 100 mph puck, a balky knee, a tired groin and we have a new season.

Right now, the Blueshirts need to regroup and maybe reassess what they have and how to use them. We can't expect to hit rock bottom, as Ray Milland did, and come back. The season is too short.

ICINGS: Glad to see that Scotty Hockey is back. We already lost The Dark Ranger and Hockey Rodent. Losing Scotty would have been a tough Hat Trick to swallow. Welcome back Scotty.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Hockey Time...

Here is a very nice looking backyard ice rink that was made in suburban Chicago.

The video shows an interesting 5 day time-lapse of  it being built. Well done, sir! They should hire you for next year's Winter Classic.

Backyard Ice Rink Time-Lapse video
More than 28,000 individual photos combine to follow the construction of the ultimate backyard ice rink located outside Chicago, Illinois. Five days of labor, 15,000 gallons of water and sub-freezing temperatures. Shot entirely with a GoPro Hero2 using a Steadicam Smoothee rig and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro. The song is "Tribulations" by LCD Soundsystem
Backyard Chicago ice rink - click for video
The ABC News back story about the rink:
Man Builds Backyard Ice Rink Using 15,000 Gallons of Water
"The construction took five days," Matt Vriesema told "It would have taken longer but this was our third year doing it. I was able to reuse the boards, so there was no grunt work of cutting and painting. We've perfected it over the years." ...

"I played hockey growing up. So did my cousin. And the kids just love skating. It was their idea. We were sitting around thinking about how cool it would be to have a rink in the backyard," Vriesema said...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lockout's Over-Let's Boycott

The lame stream media is all gaga over the end of the hockey lockout. Why not? It gives the lap dogs job security. They get to live another day. They get to worship at the altar of coach disagreeable, the Stealth GM and the Absentee Owner. Gee, I really miss hockey.

Nothing has changed. Or has it? The Hockey Rodent has retired. Mark Everson has retired and my pal, Scotty Hockey has gone into hibernation. But there is excitement in the sports world because hockey is back. No one is more excited than the pub owners north of the border. Well I'm all for lifting a few pints myself. But I have an idea. Lets lift the pints, in the bar, at home. Let's stay home.

Yes, lets stay home. Lets boycott the NHL. Let Gary Get Them be the only one in the stands, along side the owner hearing it from "the crowd." However, judging by previous lockouts and strikes in other sports the crowds will come out in droves paying exorbitant price increases for a watered down product.

The lockout was the billionaires vs the millionaires with the billys winning a squeaker. The losers were the middle class. The 1% beat the 2% and the 98% are footing the bill. Sound familiar? So prices go up and what do we see? We see, which team blocks more shots. We get to see less open ice hockey. We get to see more over officiated games and if we are really lucky we get 16 second news conferences.

I'll try to keep my record intact of catching at least one home game but its going to be a struggle to get me away from my TV and my pint to fight "the crowds" that will be flocking to MSG.

Let's Boycott!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Physical Cliff

Just saw this video of congressman down in DC trying to work out their differences over the 'fiscal cliff'. Looks like the fiscal got physical.

Too bad the NHL players and owners can't work things out yet. I think most of us would like to see Gary Bettman getting hammered in a scrum. He is a champion enabler of no hockey.

Henrik Lundqvist's latest tweets this afternoon sounded positive:
HLundqvist30: Past few months I've spend most of my time in Gothenburg. Hanging with family and good old friends has been rewarding. But now It's time to make a move. Time to return to NYC and hopefully I'm coming back for the right reason like I said..
The King Returns

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