12.31.2009

Wow.... Happy New Year!!!

The Rangers showed up last night and glided around, losing every battle in the game and initiating none. The Philadelphia Flyers blew them out 6-0 with Simon Gagne picking up a hat-trick. I didn't feel like writing so take a listen to the new aspect of The Beat....



Ranger-Flyer rant




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12.29.2009

Prospal out


Vinny Prospal had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his right knee, which was injured in Saturday night's loss to the Islanders. The Ranger's second leading scorer will be gone for 2-3 weeks. Just what a team struggling with scoring needs.

Christopher Higgins will get a shot with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. Ales Kotalik will move up to one of the top 3 lines and Eric Christensen will probably play. He's shown enough to make you want to see more of him but he hasn't gotten a chance to play. Not sure why you'd sign a guy like this if you won't even look at him for more than 5 minutes a game. The power play has been struggling and Christensen has a good shot... why not give him a try? Maybe he gets a chance now in the absence of Prospal.

We'll see where the scoring will come from but it wasn't exactly coming in droves with Prospal out there.

12.26.2009

The Islanders just kept coming... well not really but Henrik Lundqvist didn't have enough. The Rangers lost to the Islanders for the second time in 10 days at the Garden, 3-2. The Isles were very good defensively in one of the most boring "rivalry" games I've ever seen. Brandon Dubinsky led the way for the Rangers with 2 goals including the game-tying goal with :47 left. But Kyle Okposo was just better than him on this night.

The MSG crew couldn't stop talking about Okposo's 18-game goal-less streak. They completed their objective of waking him up as he won it in overtime on a weak wrist shot from just inside the blue line. It was a shot that simply has to be stopped by The King. Okposo had a goal and 2 assists and was by far the best player on the ice.

The Rangers showed some good fight being 2-0 and seemingly out of this game. In the end they came up short but stole a point. It's hard to be positive about a loss especially when Christopher Higgins missed a wide open net in overtime. Wide open... unchecked... doesn't even get a shot off.

Notes:
Michal Rozsival had another 2 assists... Vinny Prospal made a huge play batting the clearing attempt out of mid-air at the blue line prior to the tying goal... Donald Brashear continues to be absolutely useless... Ales Kotalik embarrassed himself on Blake Comeau's short-handed goal taking himself out of position to throw a hit... that never landed. Somehow he was still on the power play unit later in the game... Rangers don't play again until Wednesday in Philadelphia.

12.24.2009

Streaks...

The Rangers are on a good streak going and continue to end bad ones. They won their fourth in a row last night beating the Florida Panthers 4-1 last night. Henrik Lundqvist was the focal point again making two sparkling glove saves on Nathan Horthon in the first and Michael Frolik in the third, among others. The King has simply been on fire for the last 10 games or so. He was beaten early ona rebound he had no chance on but stopped the next 33 shots.

As for the streaks ending... Vinny Prospal snapped a 14-game goal-less streak with a power play goal in the second and one in the third. The Blueshirts broke a 5-game losing streak at home and 7 out of 8 with a complete effort last night. Chris Drury scored his third goal in four games and was fantastic all around. Enver Lisin made great hustle play to negate an icing before feeding the Captain in the slot to tie the game just 2:13 after Victor Oreskovich opened the scoring for Florida. Drury also added an assist after stealing the puck short-handed in the neutral zone. Drury was taken down but rewarded for his effort when Marian Gaborik came flying off the bench to beat Tomas Vokoun on a bad angle back-hander. Gaborik who leads the league with 26 goals.

Ryan Callahan is scoring again and had a beautiful assist on Prospal's first goal. His stick was tied up in front so he kicked it to Prospal. Callahan has 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 7 games. Hey... Wade Redden even tried to hit a player. He got laid out by Mike Duco but oh well... at least he tried. Redden did make a great play earlier in the first sliding to take away a 2-on-1 opportunity. Michal Rozsival has been much better since Redden was sat down and played well again despite not being able to clear the rebound on Florida's only goal. He played 23:18, second only to Staal's 24:50.

Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were reunited for the first time since the Detroit game and absolutely shut down the red hot Michael Frolik-Stephen Weiss-Nathan Horton line. The bottom line is when this team gets a complete effort, they look like a team that can make some noise. Can they keep the effort going? We'll see on Saturday when the Islanders return to the Garden. That last 2-1 loss the to the Isles and meeting after seems like the wakeup call this team needed.

Notes:
For the second straight game the Rangers responded to a goal against quickly. Marian Gaborik scored in Raleigh :28 after the Hurricanes had taken the lead... Brandon Dubinsky looks to be getting his legs back with 3 points in the last 2.

12.20.2009

Gilroy back...

The Rangers have a 2-game winning streak and that's due mostly to the play of Henrik Lundqvist. Chris Drury and Artem Anisimov both scored again on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 2-1 win. Drury has handled his demotion to the fourth line with class, shutting his mouth and scoring in consecutive games. But the King continues to be the story as he was simply incredible stopping 36 shots.

Coach John Tortorella had some harsh words before the game. "There's going to be no entitlement around here and I think that's what kind of stinks of that around here." He added, "We'll go through some bumps in the road with kids, but not with underachieving veterans." It's about time.

Michal Rozsival must be listening as he had the best effort he's had in a while... no one better than him at being an 'underachieving veteran'. Marc Staal played over half the game (30:45) basically because Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen barely played. They were both sent down after the game while Matt Gilroy was called back up. That obviously means Wade Redden will be back in the lineup tomrrow night in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. It'll be interesting to see how Redden, who's been a baby so far, will respond.

12.18.2009

The Return...

The word in New York yesterday was that if the Rangers had lost the second of their home-and-home with the Islanders, Glen Sather's job could be in jeopardy. Hard not to root for a loss with that news but the Rangers won 5-2.

John Tortorella flipping out may have had something to do with that. He sat Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik in an attempt to wake these guys up. Chris Drury did wake up with his first goal since October 19th. Ryan Callahan continued his hot play with 2 goals and 2 assists (5 goals in last 7). Marian Gaborik assisted on both of Callahan's power play goals and added one of his own. Vinny Prospal fed Gaborik for a one-time canon on a 5-on3. Whenever Tortorella employs the 5 forward look, Prospal and Gaborik always line up on the off point, unable to shoot the puck off the pass. Thankfully for once they switched and the puck was in the net :03 later.

Michal Rozsival led the team with 26:37 of ice time and had 2 assists. Artem Anismov added a beauty in the third going wide and powering his way in front to slam it past Dwayne Roloson. But it was Henrik Lundqvist who set the tone again. The Rangers took two early penalties and were out shot 14-4 in the first. He made the saves he had to and gave the Blueshirts a chance to ease into this one.

So for one day talk of Glen Sather being fired will die down... but hopefully only for a day.

Notes:
Donald Brashear took another stupid penalty and played only 4:36. Another Sather special at $1.4 a year... Bobby Sanguinetti was shaky playing just 8:46 and did take a penalty... Rangers face the Flyers in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.

12.17.2009

Another one...

The Rangers fell again at the Garden 2-1 to the Islanders last night and now have lost 8 of 9 in the World's Most Famous Arena. The good thing for them is they only had to play 2 periods. They didn't show up for the irst at all getting out shot 10-3. They were outworked all night. Strange effort from a team that is now rocking a 5-game losing streak going to the Coliseum tonight.

John Tortorella threatened that change are coming. "There has to be something done and we'll see along the way here before [tonight's] game what we go with." Not sure what there is he could do but one thing I can think of is sitting down Sean Avery. Avery lazily tried to handle a Henrik Lundqvist rebound of a Matt Moulson shot. Problem is Blake Comeau was next to him and literally shot the puck from Avery's stick into the top corner for what became the game winner.

Of course the Rangers got a goal late as you knew they would to get it close. Enver Lisin, who only played 9:14 got the goal.But this team just doesn't have enough. That's thanks to their General Manager Glen Sather, who is responsible for the 5 worst contracts in the history of the sport. Somehow it's never even talked about that he should lose his job.

12.16.2009

Freefall...

Despite pumping a season high 48 shots on net against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Rangers only scored 2 goals... again. Marian Gaborik still is the only scorer on the team until you put him in a shootout (1 for 16 in career). The Rangers are now 7-17 after opening 7-1. Yeah I know technically they're 7-14-3 but who cares? Overtime/shootout losses are still losses.

Now enter the Islanders who are supposed to be horrible but have 31 points... just like the Rangers but with a ton cheaper payroll. They're rebuilding but competitive. The Blueshirts are competing sometimes but are not scoring or winning... nice combo. We shall see if the Islanders can bring something out of this team. Rivalries are pretty much dead in this game anyway and even if they weren't, there's no good fighters on either of these teams.

There is some good news in Rangerland in that Brandon Dubinsky is back and Ryan Callahan may be heating up. But a 4-game losing streak can very easily become 6 by tomorrow night if the Rangers can't find a way to score more than 2 a game.

Notes:
The record is 7-8-1 at home and 7-7-2 on the road.... They've lost 7 of 8 at the Garden and haven't won since Marian Gaborik beat Columbus 7-4 with 4 points... Henrik Lundqvist will start... Bobby Sanguinetti has been called back up.

12.14.2009

Frustration...

It's frustrating to watch this team and it was again the other night in a 3-2 loss at the Garden to the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres got 2 goals from fourth liner Patrick Kaleta (never had 2 before in a game), including the game winner on a short-handed breakaway. Henrik Tallinder's clearing attempt skipped past Ales Kotalik, who had an awful night against his former team. He took two penalties and failed to take a third that would have prevented Kaleta from walking in alone... much rather have him take a penalty shot.

It's frustrating because the power play was starting to work again... or Marian Gaborik was starting to work again. He assisted on Ryan Callahan's tying goal in the first and scored his league-leading 22nd shortly thereafter. But there's just not enough on this team. They can't score more than 2 goals. Sound familiar?

Sean Avery, Christopher Higgins, and Marc Staal have all been noticeably better... but they're not scoring. You just can't win if you don't score... period. And with the contractual problems you have on this team, you can't go out and get scoring. Brandon Dubinsky appears close to a return but guess what? He doesn't score either. It'll be interesting to see what happens with this team because right now the season appears over.

12.11.2009

Money Talks...


GM Glen Sather has done it again. Instead of sending down Michal Rozsival, who has been utterly useless, he has sent Matt Gilroy to Hartford. The move clears some cap room to get a better look at Ilkka Heikkinen. The bottom line is when you make $5 million a year it doesn't matter how bad you are... Sather will just knock one of the kids down.

Gilroy has not been great as of late. He opened the preseason flying, opened the season cautious, and lately has been unnoticeable. He is a 25-year-old rookie that has been only been playing defense for 4 years though. There must be no time for him to grow with powerhouses like Rozsival and Wade Redden dominating like they do. A mop laying in the defensive zone all game might be better than ol' Rosy. Moving Gilroy comes on the heels of him getting beaten and outworked on both Chicago goals the other night.

Accountability was supposed to be the staple of this team with John Tortorella in town. Is he not able to see what a disaster Rozsival is every night? He made more mistakes than Gilroy the other night that very easily could have led to goals. You know where Rozsival would be if they did? Right on the ice against the Sabres on Saturday night. Even Wade Redden, who has been better this year, still sucks. His deal goes down as one of the worst signings in the history of the league. The team will go nowhere with these two clowns making $11.5 million and that's 4 more years in Redden's case... awesome!

If I was Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival or even Chris Drury I'd be embarrassed that the team can't be good BECAUSE OF ME. Drury is supposed to be a captain and leader. He must know that he is making about $4 million too much right? Imagine if Rozsival was making $2 million (I wouldn't have given him anything), Redden $2 million and Drury $3 max. That's $11.5 million that could be used to get someone good on this team besides Gaborik. But this is pro sports... you take the big money from the Rangers like every other over-the-hill free agent has in the past and accept the boos. Who cares? The people booing don't get to live like you do.

12.09.2009

Rangers-Hawks Thread...

FIRST PERIOD

Game opens with Michal Rozsival giving the puck away twice for quality scoring chances. Pretty bad turnover by Ales Kotalik leading to Andrew Ladd blowing by Rozsival but Henrik Lundqvist looks sharp.

Vinny Prospal at the end of a shift tried to clear the puck and it took a Ranger bounce to Marian Gaborik. He fed Rozsival who dropped it back to Gaborik and what a pass to Christopher Higgins who buried his second goal in 3 games. Rangers being outshot 16-5.

Rangers lead 1-0...

SECOND PERIOD

All Henrik Lundqvist in the second period and little else. Rangers being outshot 14-10 and 30-15 for the game.

Rangers still lead 1-0...

THIRD PERIOD

2 huge penalty kills with outstanding work from Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle. Then a ridiculous call on Dan Girardi ultimately doomed the Rangers... for the second time in the game Patrick Kane looks like the most unbalanced skater in the league and falls over. Penalty of course and I wrote this before Chicago just popped it in as you knew they would. Jonathan Toews got it as Brian Boyle just stood there in a goal mouth scramble not picking anyone up.

1-1 as the refs tie it... Just a matter of time before the Hawks win this one... Rangers had no business in this one anyway...

Yep... they lost. Dustin Bfyuglien, a third liner, beats Gaborik and Matt Gilroy up the ice and embarrasses The King. The Rangers did not match Lundqvist's effort and he was pissed, slamming his stick against the glass. He was the only one who played tonight. The funny thing is Gaborik could've caught Byfuglien in his sleep but didn't start skating until the red line. They just find ways to lose and have no one to score... EVER.

Rangers had one shot in the third lose 2-1, as predicted during the game right here... They were outshot 41-18 for the game. What an embarrassment.

Questions...

The Rangers are in Chicago tonight to take on the Black Hawks who are best in the NHL at home at 11-3-1. A lot of question marks going into tonight and the foreseeable future for this team. Will Wade Redden play? Donald Brashear? Will we get another look at Erik Christensen?

The answer is who cares? None of these players will make any difference and that's exactly the problem with this team. There are no difference makers on it except for Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist. And now with the King faltering and letting in the most ridiculous goals I've ever seen late in games, you're down to one guy.

John Tortorella may want to play up-tempo but he doesn't have the players to do it. Now they just play boring, almost unwatchable hockey and win a few games 2-1 or so. I thought it was Tom Renney's fault but it's Glen Sather's. He built a team with (yes I know this is recurring) 4 marginal players at best taking up $26 million in Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden. He somehow moved Gomez but there is no hope for this team when you are unable to get secondary scoring with no money. Not to mention the millions he threw away on guys like Patrick Rissmiller (3 years at $3 million), Tyler Arnason ($700,000), Aaron Voros (3 years at $3 million) Donald Brashear (2 at $1.4) and now Erik Christensen.

Somehow it's never even mentioned that Sather should be fired. Think about it... $3.4 MILLION on 3 guys that don't play (Brashear, Voros, Rissmiller). At least Voros and Brashear are with the club but they're invisible when and if they play except for always taking dumb offensive zone penalties. I'd love to say the future looks bright but boy... what a disaster.

12.07.2009

King Without a Crown..

Maybe he was just tired playing the second night of back-to-backs... maybe he slipped... or maybe he just sucks. Henrik Lundqvist has been staying on his feet more lately and not surprisingly, has been better. The King saved the worst for the last 2:03 when he let up maybe the softest goal I've ever seen from him.

The Rangers lost 3-1 to a Red Wing team decimated by injuries and sits last place on the road in penalty killing. The deciding goal came on a cross ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg to Daniel Cleary, whose shot from about the goal line somehow got through Lundqvist. Kris Draper added an empty netter.

The Blueshirts didn't really go out and try to win this game. They seemed to be waiting to lose. Ryan Callahan missed a penalty shot and Christopher Higgins missed a breakaway. Other than that the power play was dreadful against the league's worst. 3 power plays in the third produced nothing but a few shots and very little set up time. The first unit, which had been so cohesive before John Tortorella started messing with Ales Kotalik, was terrible. The second unit generated a 2-on-1 down low in the third. Higgins fed Sean Avery for a wide open net but he didn't even get a shot off.

Marian Gaborik needs to be able to shoot but had no shots in the game for the first time this season. Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Raflaski had something to do with that but if he doesn't score a point, they have no chance.

Brian Boyle opened the scoring tipping in a Higgins feed after a nice rush. But Jimmy Howard was made to look like Patrick Roy the rest of the way. A little over a quarter of the way through the season, this team appears to be headed nowhere. They are an average team who can't make much noise in the playoffs... if they get there at all.


12.06.2009

Back on the horse...

The Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist made a first period goal stand up til :59 left. Fortunately Ryan Callahan had added another one in the third banging in a Sean Avery rebound in a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres last night. The Sabres had been on a four game winning streak.

The first period was extremely boring but ended with Marian Gaborik feeding Christopher Higgins for his 3rd of the season. Gaborik and Artem Anisimov made good defensive plays on Tyler Myers to get the play started. Gaborik has scored points now in 23 of 26 as a Ranger.

The King played the best he's played in a long time aside from the Jason Pominville goal. It was simply a puck that has to be stopped from a terrible angle. Thankfully the Blueshirts still had a goal to play with as they continue to miss open nets. I've never seen a team struggle so mightily to score in an empty net. Brian Boyle and Callahan both missed good chances.

Chris Drury was very good on both sides of the ice and won 13 of his 21 faceoffs. He still has a tendency to make dumb decisions with the puck though as he did on a second period power play. The Buffalo penalty killers were completely out of gas as Drury controlled the puck in the neutral zone. Instead of walking the puck back in he sent it over to his bench where his team was changing. Eventually he got what he was after when the Rangers were whistled for too many men. This could've been a huge turning point but thankfully wasn't.

Notes:
Ilkka Heikkinen made his debut and played well in 9:27. On his first shift he put a solid shot into Patrick Kaleta in the corner... Erik Christensen made his debut also and was a non-factor... Rangers get right back at it tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at the Garden.

12.02.2009

Blockbuster!!! Yeah right...

The Rangers today waived Steve Valiquette and signed Eric Christensen according to Steve Zipay of Newsday. Chad Johnson, who is probably not ready to be up here, was called up to replace Valiquette. So much for Lundqvist not playing as much this year.

No Donald Brashear or Wade Redden at practice today. In Redden's case it's odd because Bobby Sanguinetti was already sent back to Hartford.

As for Christensen, he's another guy like Aaron Voros, Tyler Arnason or Patrick Rissmiller who were signed for no reason other than to waste money. He should contribute nothing and I'm looking forward to that.

12.01.2009

Just Not Good Enough...

After winning back-to-back games for the first time since October the Rangers have dropped the next 3. The Penguins got a hat trick from Mike Rupp and 2 more from Sidney Crosby winning 5-2 at the Garden. The only guy playing for the Rangers offensively... AGAIN... was Marian Gaborik. His 2 goals gave him 21 to lead the league and tied him with Joe Thornton for the league lead in points with 37. Imagine if he had some other people on this team...

The officiating was downright embarrassing as it always is with a Sid The Kid game. That is not what doomed the Blueshirts though. What doomed them was Henrik Lundqvist who was awful at a key time again. If you just shoot high on him and hit the net... it's going in 80% of the time. He needs to be good enough to steal some games and he is not able to do that right now. Mike Rupp's go ahead goal in the third simply cannot happen and neither can Crosby's in the first period :11 after Gaborik gave the Rangers the lead.

The Rangers responded, battled and still came up way short as they will continue to do against most decent teams. They're just not built correctly. Brian Boyle made his way back in the lineup and Enver Lisin was out. Ales Kotalik is also in the doghouse. He was not used on the power play and played only 3:14. Donald Brashear was on the third line tonight... are you kidding me?

Somehow I don't think 'ol Glen Sather is going to be able to fix it with a deadline deal. Even if they make the playoffs, this is not the kind of team that can go deep. Right now they're boring to watch... they can't score... and they just suck. Their coach would tell you that too.

Notes:
The team doesn't play again til Saturday and will have tomorrow off. I'd like to say they need it but they certainly don't deserve it... Bobby Sanguinetti was returned to Hartford meaning Wade Redden should be back against Buffalo on Saturday.

11.29.2009

Wow..

Last time the Rangers were in Pittsburgh, they were in it til the end. This time they were done in the first. As predicted here on the Beat yesterday, The Rangers did in fact get obliterated by the Penguins with a final of 8-3. Sidney Crosby led the way with a hat trick and 2 assists.

Steve Valiquette got the start and was awful. Not sure why he started being that Henrik Lundqvist got the early hook the night before but he gave up several goals a good men's league goalie could've stopped.

Matt Cooke took Artem Anisimov's defenseless head off in the third period and got 2 minutes. Donald Brashear tried to go after him but was prevented by the refs and Cooke's fear. They gave him 4 minutes. I just don't get how you're allowed to injure someone, get only 2 minutes and then be suspended 2 games. This league is an absolute embarrassment as is Matt Cooke. Later Ryan Callahan was able to drop the gloves with this pussy but you'd rather someone who can fight go after him. Now Cooke gets protected by the league and will not be in the lineup tomorrow in the rematch at the Garden.

John Tortorella adressed it angrily after the game, "To me it's pretty simple, change the rule book. Some of these guys that go about doing that and have no fear at all as far as maybe a little retribution, it'll continue and that's why our game is more violent now because I think guys hide behind that rule book." He also referenced Brashear's effort to get to Cooke, "The linesman jumps in when someone is trying to take care of business that should have been left alone. This is where our game is screwed up as far as I'm concerned, there's just no respect, no respect in these types of situations and I think the rule book has a little bit to play with that." You can watch it all here:

http://rangers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=765&id=52817

The team seems to be trying to stick up for each other more now but they're just not a very good team. Normally I'd be excited to see what kind of response the Rangers would have on Monday night but I'm sure there will be none. That's just what this league is now.

11.28.2009

Not good...

The Rangers were absolutely dominated in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. Not a great homecoming for Vinny Prospal or John Tortorella, except for a video tribute they did for him.

The team was simply never in this and doesn't appear able to compete with the quicker and more physical teams in the league. That's what happens when you have players like Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden and Chris Drury signed to gigantic and ridiculous contracts. You have no money for secondary scorers and tough defensemen. Good job Glen.

Not many bright spots except Ryan Callahan finally scored and Bobby Sanguinetti was pretty good in his debut. The pivotal play happened in the second with the Rangers down 2-0 though still in a game. Victor Hedman held Artem Anisimov's stick for :03 heading toward a puck in the corner. Anisimov finally yanked his stick free and it clipped Hedman up high. The only call was a high stick that iced the game for sure. Another joke call from the clowns... directly impacting the game, and in this case, deciding it.

Notes:
Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 22 shots... Marian Gaborik's 8 game point scoring streak came to an end... Rangers will get obliterated tonight by Pittsburgh.

11.26.2009

Two in a row... (UPDATED)

The Rangers won consecutive games for the first time since the 7-game streak at the beginning of the season. They did need the shootout and the King to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 last night.

Chris Drury returned from his concussion and was solid. I get aggravated with him at times as everyone does. It isn't his fault Glen Sather was dumb enough to pay him Marian Gaborik money. He is the same player he always has been and that is not a scorer. Drury wins faceoffs, kills penalties and has the abiltity to score in big spots.

The Rangers opened the scoring with Drury on the power play point in place of Ales Kotalik, who is nursing an injury. The Captain took a good, low, hard shot Gaborik effortlessly tipped in for his league leading 19th goal of the season. He has now scored in 20 of 22 games as a Ranger.

You knew the refs would have to make their presence felt in this one and they did. Victor Oreskovich had already knocked Wade Redden out of the game with a clean hit in the first. He drilled another Ranger later and when Matt Gilroy, of all people, stepped in and dropped the gloves they gave him 17 hysterical minutes in penalties. That left the Blueshirts with only 4 defensemen for most of the third period and overtime. Of course that never would have happened if Oreskovich had fought Donald Brashear when challenged but he was afraid.


Sean Avery missed a perfect outlet pass just inside his blue line in the third that Dominic Moore turned into the tying goal. Henrik Lundqvist was screened by Dan Girardi on the play and had no chance. He did have a chance in the shootout stopping Nathan Horton, Steven Reinprecht and Stephen Weiss. P.A. Parenteau won it for the Rangers on a beautiful drag move out waiting Tomas Vokoun.


Notes:
Wade Redden is expected to be out a week with an upper body injury. According to Arthur Staple of Newsday Bobby Sanguinetti has been called up and will make his debut tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning... Michal Rozsival will be the only defenseman over 25 in the lineup Friday night... Ales Kotalik will be a game time decision with a rib injury. If he does play, P.A. Parenteau better not be the man sitting.

***Update
Kotalik will play tonight in place of Aaron Voros which is obviously the right choice.

11.25.2009

The Captain Returns...

Chris Drury returns from a five game absence tonight. Hard to tell who the odd man out will be but it could be Ales Kotalik who got drilled the other night. He evidently has some sort of "body" injury... good to know that it is in fact a portion 0f his body that is in pain.

Rangers look to win back to back games for the first time since mid October. Florida is 5-0-2 in their last seven including a 3-2 win last week at the Garden.

11.24.2009

For one night the offense was there... thank goodness there was no one in net for Columbus as the Rangers blew out the Blue Jackets 7-4. It was much of the same with the Blueshirts playing a couple of good stretches of hockey through the game.

The game started with two defensive breakdowns leading to two goals from Columbus' fourth line. Coach Tortorella called a timeout after the second one and the Rangers woke up led by... all together now... Marian Gaborik. He did have help from Steve Mason who was awful for the Jackets. Mason had no chance on Artem Anisimov's 5th on a deflection. Michael Del Zotto made a nice rush right after and a simple wrist shot eluded the net minder letting the Rangers walk out of the first with a 3-2 lead.

The Rangers scored 7 straight including 3 in 1:11 (2 by Sean Avery and another by Gaborik). Gaborik finished with 2 goals and 2 assists and is now tied for the league lead in goals with Dany Heatley. Of course Gaborik doesn't have Joe Thornton passing him the puck but he still has scored a point in 19 of 21 games as a Ranger. Christopher Higgins was the new winger with Gaborik and Vinny Prospal on the first line and had one of his best games of the year. He had 2 assists and hit the post, of course.

Matt Gilroy capped off the scoring off a beautiful no look cross ice feed from P.A. Parenteau. Gilroy abused backup goalie Mathieu Garon going forehand-backhand-forehand. Parenteau has played very well and when the time comes he should be playing over Enver Lisin. The scoring was there... at least for one night.

Notes:
Artem Anisimov was great getting a goal and 2 assists and the third star of the game... Aaron Voros did well for a second fight in a row with Jared Boll who ealier went hard at Marc Staal... Rangers with a concerted effort to get in the face of anyone who went near Henrik Lundqvist but he eneded up getting run over by Rick Nash anyway. Someone should have punched him in the face but instead the Rangers were happy to take a power play... which is ridiculous.

11.22.2009

Fading Fast...

The 7-1 start for the Rangers is long gone... as are the hopes most of us had at that time. They dropped their third straight to Florida Saturday night by again playing the only second half of the game. Apparently they don't realize the games start at 7.

This team is a disaster and that starts with GM Glen Sather. The coach hasn't been much better though. I've always liked John Tortorella from afar. He seemed like the kind of coach who would hold people accountable. But what has he done? They played a more aggressive style toward the end of last year and in the beginning of this one. Now they appear not good enough or scared to play it. If Tortorella was the guy I thought he was, Rozsival would have been sent down or released already.

Sather seems to be doing just fine though. No talk of him being released. Let's see, he signs a second and a third line center for $7 million + a year. Gomez scored over 80 points once while Drury has never scored 70. Then he signs Wade Redden for 6 years and $39 million and Michal Rozsival coming off hip surgery for 4 years at $20 million. 4 horrible players taking up half the salary cap. Somehow he moved Scott Gomez and got something in return other than a bag of pucks. He also went after Donald Brashear (2 years and $2.8 million) who has been awful. He can't fight, skate, or hit anymore. But hey that's how you spend $20 million on 4 useless players. Ok maybe Drury isn't useless... but Blair Betts could do all the things he does... for a lot less.
And why not give Patrick Rissmiller a million to play in Hartford?

They have absolutely no offense except for Marian Gaborik (points in 18 of 20 games) and Vinny Prospal. Don't expect that to change anytime soon. It's nice that Sather signed 2 good players but they don't have one that plays with an edge. Sean Avery is just not who he was. They don't stick up for one another to the point it's embarrassing. Paul Mara would stand up but of course they let him walk. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi seem to be regressing. No one on defense can clear the front of the net or prevent their franchise goalie from being run over regularly. This is a horribly constructed team built by a guy who should've been fired a long time ago. Somehow it's never even talked about though.

I guess I'll continue watching the least physical team in the league get pummeled every night. Even if they somehow made the playoffs they would have no chance against bigger teams like Philadelphia and Washington (See 6'7" Brian Boyle who falls over if the AC kicks on in the building). I picked a good year to start a blog... even when they play a game there's nothing to write about.

11.18.2009

Same Old Song...

After starting 7-1, the Rangers are now 11-9-1. Not very good. It's the same problems that the team seems to have every year. They take penalties and they can't score. Every game they say they have to be aware of penalties and every game there's at least 2 lazy ones. You could also argue that John Tortorella's usage of players like Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal tires them out.

You look at the power play which started off blazing but has now cooled except for Gaborik. Yet Ryan Callahan continues to trot out there with the first unit. He has 6 out of his 7 points with the man advantage but he doesn't seem to fit with Gaborik and Vinny Prospal. He has 7 points in 21 games... anyone expect that? Nice to see P.A. Parenteau get a shot on it last night and he produced an assist on a good drive to the net.

The first line has had Enver Lisin on it for weeks and though he has some upside, he's done nothing. He has no points in the last 8 playing alongside Prospal and Gaborik... That's almost impossible. I know he hurt his foot but c'mon. Coach Tortorella ended up trying Ales Kotalik with them in the third last night.

Another reason for the lack of scoring could be the loss of Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Drury but let's be honest, they had 16 points between them before going down. Tortorella has said he has the players here to get it done but they haven't.

Why not take a look at Corey Locke (9-15-24 with 7 PPG in 17 games for Hartford this year)? He'd allow you to put Prospal back on the wing. Gaborik-Anisimov-Prospal sounds pretty good for a first unit. If Anisimov is offensive, put him with offensive players. Parenteau-Locke-Callahan as your second and Higgins-Avery-Kotalik/Lisin as the third. Putting Avery at center may wake him up from the invisibility cloak he's been wearing aside from the last 2 games.

On the defensive side, there's not one unit that appears cohesive. Not one pair that you say 'Oh we can't break these guys up'. I'd like to see Ilkka Heikkinen (4-8-12 in 17 GP) or Bobby Sanguinetti (6-13-19) brought up. If the coach really holds people accountable then he will realize that no matter what Michal Rozsival makes, he is just not the same player he was before surgery.

The bottom line is scoring. It has to come from somewhere and it's not coming from the guys on the ice every night.

11.17.2009

Rangers-Caps Thread...

Boy talk about boredom. The Rangers came out solid with a goal by who else? Marian Gaborik scored his 14th of the year. Then from 4:35 into the first the Rangers didn't get a shot again til 3:51 into the second. They did let Henrik Lundqvist get run into again, this time by Jay Beagle (real tough guy) with no response and no call.

Alex Ovechkin responded with his 15th on the power play in the first. He also helped set Brooks Laich's PPG in the second. A period in which I don't remember seeing one good chance other than a quick shot by Ales Kotalik. John Erskine gave a lesson to the Rangers when Sean Avery went near Semyon Varlamov. He was immediately drilled and put down Erskine. I wish the Rangers had one tough guy who would protect his goalie.

And in a great end... Aaron Voros won the first fight of his life leaving Matt Bradley bloodied. Bradley came back and won the game with 4:51 to go.

The Blueshirts had 5 shots in the first and exploded for 6 in the second. They're getting blown out 21-11 in shots and dominated in the game.

2-1 Washington through 2...

Gaborik ties it on the second of back-to-back power plays in the third. Great play by P.A. Parenteau to drive the puck to the net with Gaborik pumping in the rebound from a near impossible angle. Funny moment as right after this a scrum ensued which reulted in Niklas Backstrom punching Ryan Callahan in the face and him not doing anything. I sat here and guaranteed matching minors and got them. You knew the clowns couldn't feel comfortable calling 3 in a row in the third on Ovechkin's Caps... especially on a nationally televised game on a hunting channel.

Aaron Voros won his first fight of his life in this one leaving Matt Bradley a bloodied mess. But Voros still can't win as Bradley came back to score the game winner with 4:51 left in the third. Beagle added insult to injury adding an assist on it. The Rangers are still seemingly unable to see their franchise goalie getting run over.

11.15.2009

Parenteau's Patience...

The Rangers beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in a shootout yesterday. P.A. Parenteau, despite missing an open net in the closing minutes of regulation, won it it in the seventh round of the shootout.

The usual suspects showed up again as Marian Gaborik fed Vinny Prospal for the first short-handed goal of his career, 894 games. Prospal, Ales Kotalik and Parenteau beat Brian Elliot who was solid. And hey... even Sean Avery decided to show up for this one.

Parenteau said before the game, "I'm planning on making a point here [Saturday] afternoon and sticking here as long as I can." He made his point in the shootout going backhand forehand top shelf on Brian Elliott for the win. Nice moment for him as his family was looking on. He's been good and noticeable with the ice time he's received this year.

Notes:
Thw Washington Capitals come to the Garden on Tuesday night. Last game in the Garden, Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the lineup for the Thrashers and basically won by himself. Now Alex Ovechkin will return from a 6 game absence with an upper body injury... awesome...

11.13.2009

No Defense...

The Rangers lost another one last night 5-3 to the Atlanta Thrashers. The first line of Ilya Kovachuk (goal, 2 assists) with Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov skated circles around them. Marian Gaborik (goal, assist) kept them in it for a little while and a late goal by Brian Boyle made it close until Afinogenov sealed it with an empty netter.

The Thrashers struck :19 in when Evander Kane made Michal Rozsival look like an old man. I know the kid is fast but it looked like old Rozy was out of gas :19 in. Is there any upside to this $5 million dollar defenseman? Kane fed Colby Armstrong who had beaten Michael Del Zotto for a tap in.

No one was in the stands to see how exciting Atlanta can be. Or how bad Henrik Lundqvist can be when he handles the puck. He put the game away when he played the puck away from everyone on his team. They were all next to him when he fired it around the boards to Rich Peverley who fed Kane wide open in front to put the Thrashers up 4-2.

With no Chris Drury or Brandon Dubinsky, Coach Tortorella rode Vinny Prospal (27:52) and Marian Gaborik (26:02) all night. Not sure how long that can last. What's Evgeny Grachev doing? He free? Something must change as the Rangers are now 3-7-1 in their last 11.

The roster and score sheet continue to have Sean Avery on it but I have yet to see him this year. He has become the most invisible player on the team. Aaron Voros has even been better than him this year. If Avery is not agitating and doing what he does best he is useless to this team. He has golden opportunities to lay people out each game with the fans just yearning to explode... but he just shies away. I'd sit him down and put Dane Byers in his place. At least you know you'll have some effort.

Notes:
Donald Brashear returned and fought Eric Boulton's helmet. Brashear didn't land one punch but peppered the helmet to oblivion. The helmet was able to return and said after the game, "I'm fine". They build them stronger than the human hand nowadays which is odd.

11.12.2009

Who will step up?

Chris Drury will not be in the lineup tonight at the Garden against Atlanta after sustaining a concussion in Calgary. Curtis Glencross was of course suspended 3 games though there was no call on the play. There is no timetable for Drury's return but the more important issue for the team is that no one responded. They all claimed they didn't see it. You believe this?

Then there's Henrik Lundqvist who is nursing a lower body injury but may return tonight. That injury was sustained one of the 90 times he's been run over this year. Surely the Rangers must have seen one of these. If you were screaming that Jamal Mayers should have had a penalty then someone should have seen it no? And you're telling me NO ONE saw the Glencross cheap shot on Chris Drury? No one took a look at it between periods?

I don't care if it's a men's league game, a college game, or an NHL playoff game, you do not allow your teammates to be abused. You shouldn't have to be told this either. It's instinctual. I remember one game in college where someone took a run at one of our players. He wasn't our best player but it was a cheap shot. My brother, who was on the ice and didn't even like the guy on our team, attacked the guy that ran him. He wasn't told... that's what you do.

Here's what Lundqvist said, "I don't think it's been as bad the last little while, but I know it's been a lot more than last year, and if it continues, of course we have to stand up and respond." The King continued, "As long as we get calls, I don't mind getting hit if we get power plays, but if we don't get the calls, then we have to respond to it."

You see him get run over when you know he's your best player and something should snap in your head. It should just happen and thoughts of taking a penalty or ruining a potential power play should be the last thing in your mind.
Especially when it's happened to the King over 10 times now.

So far no one on this team has even acknowledged what has been happening to them. They blame "not seeing it", the threat of penalties and suspension, or the instigator rule as Sean Avery did after the Calgary game. They lean on all these excuses to disguise the fact that they are cowards.

I blame John Tortorella as well. If he felt the hit on Drury should have been called a major... well then he must have seen it. Instead he fell back on the excuse that it was a "close game". What a joke. Hopefully it won't take losing Henrik Lundqvist or Marian Gaborik
for the year for this team and this coach to realize you have to protect your teammates.

11.07.2009

Embarrassment..

The Rangers lost in every fashion tonight. First they lost their Captain :49 in when Curtis Glencross threw his body into Chris Drury's head. The great part about this play was the puck was nowhere near Drury, he was not looking, completely defenseless, and the Refs didn't call a penalty. Even funnier is this guy will be suspended and nothing was called. "I'm a guy old school believes you have to still have a battleship in the ocean when they don't have Donald Brashear out there somebody's gotta answer the bell. That is their Captain and it was a dirty hit," said Ken Daneyko in between periods. No one answered the bell and I am embarrassed to be a Ranger fan.

Sean Avery was asked about it and said, "You can't... you can't. If the game had been more lopsided something would've been done." That's ridiculous. This was your Captain. Avery has done nothing to help the team all year and doing anything would've gone a long way. The Rangers and Coach John Tortorella ought to be embarrassed because they did nothing. I mean no one even had words with or hit Curtis Glencross. Are you kidding me? How do you think Chris Drury feels that there was no response because his team was scared of penalties? The more I think about it the more it blows my mind and it is unacceptable.

The MSG crew continued in the second intermission and who better to sum it up than Mike Keenan who was asked by Dave Maloney if there should have been a response to Glencross. "The accountability has gotten out of the game and I don't know if we have to go back and take the instigator rule out of the rulebook and I know that the people running the league don't want that to happen". He continued, "You have to review what has happened in the past and what has worked and we did not have serious injuries like we have now that go unchallenged. The teams that I coached, most teams would have responded to that. Now teams are fearful to respond because they think they're gonna get the book thrown at them. The jurisdiction on the ice is taken away right now." This man knows how this game should be played.

Even though the four idiots on the ice somehow missed this blatant call, they picked up on an Ales Kotalik high stick call in the second period. Funny but they caught it after the Rangers controlled play for :14 and play was whistled down for a Calgary penalty. And woudn't you know a Ranger power play turned into a Calgary one as they called a double-minor on Kotalik. It resulted in Jarome Iginla's game winner... you just can't make this stuff up.

The Blueshirts also lost Brandon Dubinsky who blocked a slap shot with his wrist or forearm. The Rangers finished the game without Drury and Dubinsky who it looks like they'll be without for a while. Daymond Langkow and Dan Girardi traded first period goals. The Rangers had a chance to tie on a 2 on 1 late in the third but Kotalik missed Christopher Higgins' feed for a wide open net. Shortly after that Marc Staal turned the puck over in Calgary's zone resulting in a 3 on 1 Rene Bourque goal to seal it.


Notes:
Rangers lost in one more way... they got to watch Nigel Dawes assist on all 3 of Calgary's goals. Also Derek Morris, who was traded for Dawes and played a whopping 25 games for the Blueshirts, added an assist in Boston's win tonight.

11.05.2009

Oilers Wrap...

The Rangers had their most complete effort in weeks in a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Steve Valiquette gave up a couple of soft goals to Lubomir Visnovski and Mike Comrie but otherwise was solid in his third start of the year.

Chris Higgins got it started on a pretty give-and-go with Matt Gilroy for his second in as many games. Higgins was all over the ice tonight. The Rangers had 14 shots in the first and second. They wound up with a season high 39 shots to Edmonton's 28.

The power play returned tonight and was nasty. Michael Del Zotto hit Ryan Callahan cruising through the middle on the rush for the first of 3 power play goals. Later in the second Marian Gaborik threaded a beauty from the right corner to Ales Kotalik on the left point for a one-time canon through the legs of Nikolai Khabibulin. "The Bulin Wall" was incredible keeping his team in the game.

In the third, Kotalik (1 goal, 2 assists) unleashed another power play rocket that got through Khabibulin and was tapped in by Gaborik who now has 12 goals and 9 assists. The Rangers needed a solid effort and played their most complete game in weeks against a depleted Edmonton team that was without Sheldon Souray and Shawn Horcoff. Tom Renney had said he wanted to beat the Rangers but was left with a sour taste in his mouth. Who cares? We don't miss ya Tom... but we'd probably grab a beer with you though.

Notes:
Dan Girardi was all over the defensive zone blocking shots... Donald Brashear was scratched again... Aaron Voros played 1:00 in the first and took two idiotic offensive zone penalties.... AGAIN. He sat for a while and saw only 2:39 the rest of the way... Higgins played his best game as a Ranger.

Joke is on the NHL...

I've said all along that this league is now a joke. The jokes continued Wednesday for Dane Byers and Coach John Tortorella with Byers being suspended for a game and the Coach being fined $10,000.

Byers was deemed to have "instigated" a fight with Trevor Glass with 1:10 to go in Vancouver Tuesday night. Darren Dreger of TSN reported that going into Tuesdays action, the instigator has been called in 8 of 117 fights this year. Funny that the refs called it in this case, when a mandatory fine and suspension would kick in. Byers, who grew up in Saskatchewan, had about 8 family members attending tonight's game against Tom Renney in Edmonton. Of course now they won't see him... and you'll all continue to see less and less fighting in this ridiculously boring, European soccer game on ice.

I think Gary Bettman should take the player's driver's licenses away for a month for fighting also... maybe give a penalty APR on their credit cards for a year. That oughtta help deter this violence (that leaves fans screaming louder than they do for goals)...

Notes:
The Vinny Prospal-Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik line will be reunited tonight... Enver Lisin returns to the lineup tonight after missing a game with a bruised foot. He will play with Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan... Look for Artem Anisimov to center Ales Kotalik and Chis Higgins... Steve Valiquette will start his third game of the season.

11.04.2009

Raycroft the Great...

It finally looked liked we'd have some old time hockey in the third... then I realized there was no fighters on either team. What resulted was 10 players wrestling around during a line change. No big deal but the refs saw fit to hand out 10 minute misconducts to 5 players. The only guy that deserved one was Canuck defenseman Shane O'Brien who speared Sean Avery from his own bench while the clowns were trying to sort out the penalties. Not sure how he didn't get an extra 2 and a game misconduct.

Hysterical call on Rozsival in the third as Henrik Sedin grabbed his stick, wouldn't let it go and fell over. The refs are that dumb that they'll call it every time and that's what this league is now. Mikael Samuelsson cashed in with his second of the game on the gift power play to put the game away. Earlier in the third, Rozsival got roasted on the game winner after Christopher Higgins had tied it with his first goal as a Ranger. Rozsival tried mightily to take an interference on Ryan Kesler instead of turning to get the puck... which he was beaten to. Kesler skated around the net and fed Rick Rypien back door.

Coach Tortorella was pissed and probably wants a new defenseman. "There are some areas and some people that we continue to need more of an effort in certain situations and making big mistakes... big mistakes at a key time." He also mentioned "losing a battle initially" on that Rypien goal.
Can't help but think he's referring to Rozsival. Of course as of now, he has no one to replace Rozsival with if he wanted to sit him... which he does.

The Rangers continue to look like a one man team. Marian Gaborik was shut down by Willie Mitchell. He got some help in the third from Kevin Bieksa, who interfered with Gaborik 2 times on one shift and didn't get called.

Despite Vancouver being decimated with with 7 injured players, the Rangers were never in this. It's hard to win when you score 5 goals in 4 games.
Nice to see that someone was frustrated with the effort as Dane Byers dropped the gloves with Tanner Glass with a little over a minute to go. They're playing Tom Renney hockey just in time to go see him on Thursday.

Notes:
Vinny Prospal was named the second assistant captain after Chris Drury recommended him to Coach Tortorella. He wore the A last night for the first time.

11.03.2009

The Rangers snapped their skid the other day against Boston winning 1-0 on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik's return and 11th goal of the season. They will have to be better tonight in Vancouver but get a break with Andrew Raycroft starting in place of Roberto Luongo.

Sean Avery and Christopher Higgins also returned to a lineup that looks to have lost Enver Lisin, at least for tonight. Lisin blocked a shot the other day with his left foot on Sunday. X-rays were negative but he couldn't put a skate on yesterday. Someone else needs to get it going other than Gaborik and Lundqvist. Maybe some of the Prospal-Gaborik magic can rub off on Higgins who will get a shot with the top unit tonight.

Michael Del Zotto won rookie of the month. He has been amazing with 12 points in 14 games. I had no idea this kid was going to be this good and he's getting better and more comfortable each game. Everyone who was screaming for Sather to acquire a power play quarterback... and he had one the whole time.

Notes:
I'm getting really annoyed watching Rangers take hits from behind that leave them bleeding and injured with no call. Every time this happens without fail, someone gets touched by a Ranger stick and looks like they were shot with a canon... the refs are dumb enough that they call that.

10.31.2009

Losers...

The Rangers lost to one of the worst teams in the league again last night falling 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild. The Wild was the second straight team to get their first regulation win of the season against the hapless Blueshirts who were never in this one. It is alarming how much this team gets outworked almost every night now as they lost their 5th in the last 6.


Donald Brasheer, who has been utterly old and useless, got it going early turning the puck over in the defensive zone with no one pressuring him. He very easily could have carried it out but instead made a moronic pass to... well no one other than a Wild player. That was quickly turned into Petr Sykora's 2nd of the year and a 1-0 lead. Henrik Lundqvist did what he could but was left on his own again. Eric Belanger and Antti Miettinen were also able to beat him while Marc Staal added a useless third period goal.


The Rangers were without Christopher Higgins (who cares), Sean Avery (invisible man) and Marian Gaborik (whole team). The guys skating continued to be horrible including Chris Drury (who they say is embracing the new role of not scoring when the team needs goals), Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. I wouldn't have paid him more than $1.3 a year and stated that on this blog. Certainly not the $1.7 he was able to hold out for. But that's Glen Sather who doesn't seem to understand contracts... see Donald Brasheer's $2.8 for two years (or Redden or Michal Rozsival).


The lone bright spot came from Wade Redden and Dane Byers, who got to the facility late due to weather. Redden stepped up in the first to block a clearing attempt and fired it on net. Byers was there for the rebound and his first NHL goal. Other than that... this team is a mess without Gaborik.

Rangers lose 3-2.

10.30.2009

M.I.A.

The Rangers are in Minnesota tonight to face a 3-9 Wild team. They'll be doing battle without Marian Gaborik and now you can add Sean Avery and Christopher Higgins to the walking wounded. Higgins injured himself, literally, twisting his ankle trying to clear a puck the other night and Avery was limping on the same knee he injured earlier in the year. Maybe that's why he's been invisible. Can't say the same for Higgins who was good his first few games but since has disappeared.

The Rangers have called up Dane Byers and P.A. Parenteau is already here. Parenteau is coming off his first NHL goal and the only goal against the Islanders the other night. Byers has 2 goals and 3 assists with the Wolf Pack this year with four points coming in the last 3. The Blueshirts weant Evgeny Grachev to continue to get plenty of ice time and decided to leave him with the Pack.

The Rangers habe lost 4 of their last 5 (one in OT) while the Wild have the fewest goals in the NHL with 26. Should be a barn burner....

10.29.2009

No Show...

The Rangers didn't show up last night for their "rivalry" game with the Islanders. I didn't feel like showing up on the blog either. This was one of the most boring hockey games I've ever seen. But hey... there were some exciting shoving matches.

Highlights... Ryan Callahan missed what must have been his sixth open net tap in goal of the year and that's including the one he missed against Toronto that Luke Schenn put it in for him. The guy works hard and hits everything but continues to skate himself passed the net on the rush so that he's not in a position to shoot. Where is he going? There's nothing behind the net...

The Rangers have lost 4 out of the last 5 and were a completely punchless team without Marian Gaborik. The Marc Staal-Daniel Girardi pairing continues to struggle... and Chris Drury continues to get $7.5 a year to block some shots, kill some penalties and be invisible. Better hope that banged up lower body of Gaborik gets itself right soon...

10.28.2009

What Happened to this Game?????


Gearing up for the Rangers-Islanders rivalry tonight when I realized... there is no rivalry. There are no rivalries in this league anymore. The reason for that is no one cares. Most people don't even know hockey is being played right now. The reason no one watches is a guy named Gary Bettman.

Long gone are the days when the Islanders, getting blown out, iced the puck with :02 left. One of the greatest coaches of all time, Al Arbour, dispatched Mick Vukota and Ken Baumgartner to beat down Jeff Bloemberg and others. That was the way this game was played... messages were sent if not for that game than the next. This happened in a playoff game in response to Chris Nilan laying out Pat LaFontaine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8SrvGjcWFg

If this fight happened today... well it wouldn't happen today because there are no fighters in the league anymore. If it did, however, the fines and suspensions would be astronomical. Take a look at what hockey was and enjoy it... you'll never see it again. Notice how quiet the crowd is when Scott Stevens and Dave Manson head to center during the St. Patrick's Day Massacre:


There are no messages sent anymore... it costs teams and coaches too much. Take a look at this joke which is the fighting rules on nhl.com:

www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26336


This is what happens when a man takes over a professional sports league, without ever having seen a hockey game AT ANY LEVEL. Commissioner Gary Bettman worked for the NBA and David Stern... Stern sent him over to the NHL... now the sports is less watched than the NBA though it's play resembles it. Bettman incredibly is making $7.1 million a year on his crusade to ruin the sport and the league.

Another good advantage in a fight was to pull your opponents jersey over his head. You certainly can't do that anymore. If your jersey is not tied down you get an unsportsmanlike minor and a game misconduct. Are you kidding me? God forbid you put your fighter, if you have one, out there at the same time as your opponents fighter (Yeah right... 2 fighters in one game) and they drop the gloves before the faceoff. The ref can then call misconducts and give out fines if he feels it was planned.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has done everything he can to make this sport unwatchable. From idiotically expanding the league, to changing all the rules to "speed up" the game, to instilling a shootout. A shootout is a complete gimmick and an individual skills competition which has nothing to do with the flow of a hockey game. Again... this is an idiot who had never seen a hockey game of any kind before taking the position. He also "placed" Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh to save a dying franchise. The Rangers would've had the number 1 pick in the draft that year but a "new" draft lottery was instilled just in time for the game's most promising prospect. Wow... what are the odds of a bankrupt franchise getting the first pick and the team with the worst record in the league (Rangers) ending up with the 16th pick? Not good.

The penalties Bettman and the refs have instilled are ridiculous and it's just a matter of time before we're calling them "fouls". The first thing I was taught while learning hockey was to hold on to your stick. If you don't someone could knock it out of your hands. This was a great play and a "penalty" to the player that wasn't paying attention as he would be out of the play. Now they actually call a penalty for this. Can you imagine? Grown men who are professional athletes rewarded for not gripping their stick tight enough. Stick checking and solid defense are not allowed as the players use composite sticks that can break while receiving a pass. You hit a guy's stick and it breaks... you guessed it... penalty.

It's not just those penalties either. If your stick comes up on a guy and touches his hands or above his waist you're automatically in the box. Think of how many great players made their careers slowing people up. Kevin Lowe, Cam Neely, Adam Graves, Esa Tikkanen, Jeff Beukeboom... Or even fighters like Vukota, Baumgartner, Willie Plett, Bob Probert, Tie Domi, George McPhee... most of these players wouldn't even make teams today. they've been replaced with "skill" guys who have no heart or passion for the game.

Everything Gary Bettman has done for this league... has been wrong. People used to love this sport. You'll never hear an arena louder than when there is a fight at center ice. You'll never feel the anticipation of knowing your tough guy is out to send a message in the closing minutes of the game. Those days over. Rivalries are over. And this league, which is making no money thanks to this clown, is almost over.

10.27.2009

Parenteau called up...

Wolf Pack leading scorer P.A. Parenteau has been called up. Expect him to be in the lineup against the Islanders Wednesday in place of Marian Gaborik. The sniper injured his right knee Monday night in a collision with Petr Prucha of all people. Though the injury is not thought to be serious, he didn't practice today and there's no reason to rush him back. You know he's going to want to face his former team in Minnesota Friday night though.

Meanwhile Parenteau leads the AHL with 8 goals and has 14 points. He played decently in camp and it's getting to the point that we need to see if the 26-year-old can play at this level. Obviously if he can, he would have some trade value as there's just no room on the Rangers right now.

10.26.2009

No Need To Panic...

The difference between this year's Rangers and last is clear... this team has scorers. How many times last year did they dominate in shots and put up 1 goal... maybe 2? They didn't dominate in shots tonight, but did on the scoreboard beating the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 at the Garden. The Yote's came in as one of the hottest teams with a 6-3 start.

Marian Gaborik continued his assault on the score sheet with 2 goals and and an assist. He is second in the NHL in scoring. Gaborik (10-8-18) has scored in every game as a Ranger but one. He did give us cause for panic though when he left the ice flexing his right leg in the third and headed to the locker room. Thankfully, Steve Zipay of Newsday is reporting that it is not thought to be serious. Gaborik said "It's nothing related to my groin or hip or torso." He continued, "We'll see how everything is in the morning. I collided with one of their players, but it's nothing major. It happened with about five minutes left and the game was pretty much over." Hey maybe there is a God.

The Fourth line got the scoring going again for the second straight game with Artem Anisimov converting a give-and-go with Brian Boyle with a nasty spin around wrister past Ilya Bryzgalov just 2:31 in. They deserved it after good defensive work and another good all around effort.

Marian Gaborik sandwiched
setting up Vinny Prospal for his 4th of the season between 2 beautiful power play goals. Coach Dave Tippett removed Bryzgalov with the score 4-0 in favor of former Ranger Jason LaBarbera. His team responded. Ed Jovanovski scored followed by Vernon Fiddler getting the first short-handed goal against the Rangers this year.

Phoenix carried much of the play and out shot the Rangers 32-24. They couldn't break Henrik Lundqvist in the third though. The only goal of the frame came when Enver Lisin flew down the left side and ripped a slap shot past LaBarbera. Lisin (1 G, 1 A) had his best game as a Ranger and also had the satisfaction of scoring against his former team.

Notes:
Vinny Prospal has scored in all but 2 games as a Ranger. He had a goal and 2 assists tonight giving him 4 goals and 12 assists on the year... Michael Del Zotto (4-8-12) was great again adding two assists and you can see this kid getting better every game... Aaron Voros good hard work was rewarded with a seat on the bench as Donald Brashear returned.
.. Is Sean Avery on this team? I was wondering when he'll be coming back and doing ANYTHING. If someone can tell me that'd be great.

10.25.2009

The Hab Nots...

The Rangers just have a thing for Montreal... They like to just go there and figure out ways to lose. My favorite was obviously 2 seasons ago when they had a 5-0 lead and lost 6-5. They outdid themselves tonight and it was one of their stars that is to blame.

The Canadiens came out flying and took the lead on a Michael Cammalleri goal, the first of his 3, 4:16 in. Of course Scott Gomez (2A) picked up an assist on it. The Rangers didn't even show up until a hard working shift from the fourth line produced an impossible angle rebound goal from Artem Anisimov, his 2nd of the year. The Blueshirts then dominated the rest of the first with goals from Ales Kotalik and Matt Gilroy.

Midway through the second and the Rangers in full control, Brandon Dubinsky turned the puck over in the neutral zone leading to Matt D'Agostini's goal. That made it 3-2 and left Henrik Lundqvist laid out on the collison. He appeared to have seriously injured his right ankle but somehow was able to skate it off and remain in the game. Brandon Dubinsky did not receive another shift from that point forward.

It was time for some brilliance. Michael Del Zotto fed Enver Lisin who quickly head-manned to Marian Gaborik. The Slovak tipped the puck from behind his back to himself (somehow staying onside), calmly went in and embarrassed Jaroslav Halak going forehand-backhand-forehand through the legs. It was 4-2 Rangers... but they figured out a way to let it all slip away... with penalties swinging the momentum... again.

Vinny Prospal took a silly elbowing penalty but while killing it Guillaume Latendresse literally skated into Chris Higgins' stick... from behind him... and they called Higgins. This was by far one of the funniest calls I've seen in years. A 5-on-3 for 1:35 yielded a Marc-Andre Bergeron goal and a brand new game. Cammalleri then tied it with 1:02 left in the second. Chris Higgins forgot to backcheck on this one... and he was not seen in the third either... some homecoming.

In overtime, Cammalleri scored the easiest goal of his life. With Gaborik back-checking lightly, and I mean lightly, he calmly skated from his own end. He entered the Ranger's zone with Matt Gilroy in front of him and Marian Gaborik gliding behind him. They both softly stick-checked Cammalleri as he cut in and roofed the winner on Lundqvist. You can blame either Gilroy or Gaborik but if
this battle takes place in the offensive zone, Gaborik wins it and that's unacceptable. The Rangers got a point but blew two 2 goal leads in the loss.

Then a special treat as "Hockey Night Live" came on. I figured to get a chance to hear some reaction from Gaborik and Coach Tortorella... but no. We spent the first ten minutes of the show watching and talking about Ron Duguay and Ken Daneyko in "Battle of the Blades". Guys... there's a reason the show isn't on in this country... NO ONE CARES. They have been wasting time showing this for weeks now and when the Rangers lose... fans don't want to watch old men who used to play hockey figure skating. This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the Rangers or the 3 games played by local teams. "Hockey Night Live" with NO hockey... WHAT A JOKE.

10.24.2009

Oh Scotty...

The Rangers are in Montreal tonight and they have to be careful not to let 2 losses in a row turn into 3. They face Scott Gomez and his tiny little new team. Gomez so far has respectable numbers with 2 goals and 3 assists. Not bad for a guy making $91,463 per game. Contrast that to the guy you replaced him with (monetarily) in Marian Gaborik with 7 goals and 6 assists and you see why I told you no one would miss Gomez... he's garbage. Christopher Higgins is in the worst slump of his career and only is 3 points behind ol' Scotty.

Marc Staal and Dan Girardi look to bounce back collectively from their worst effort of the year. They were on the ice for all 3 Devils goals and missed assignments. The worst coming when Staal let Niklas Bergfors break past him for an easy tip it goal that Henrik Lundqvist had no chance on.

The Canadiens have won back to back games and the Rangers haven't lost 3 in a row in regulation since 2007. The King will start for the Blueshirts while the Habs should be starting Jaroslav Halak (2 GA in last 2) if Coach Jacques Martin has a functioning brain in his head. He hasn't committed to a starter yet though.

10.22.2009

Ranger-Devils

FIRST PERIOD
The Rangers came out sloppy again and lost 17 of 21 faceoffs. The Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Zach Parise and Niklas Bergfors. The first line was intact but new lines featuring Lisin-Anisimov-Higgins and Callahan-Drury-Avery. No Donald Brasheer in this game either... I guess there is a God.

Rangers very easily could have been down 4 or 5 nothing. Henrik Lundqvist made some big saves to keep them in it. I'm pretty sure Coach Tortorella was not pleased with the effort to say the least.

2-0 after 1.

SECOND PERIOD
Definite difference in battle level and it was evident from the start. They were helped out by an early high-sticking call to Mike Mottau. Vinny Prospal won the draw with help from Marian Gaborik. Ales Kotalik took the puck at the point and returned it to Gaborik who snapped right in through a screen

Later Marc Staal (shaky tonight) turned the puck over in his own zone resulting in a great save by Lundqvist on Dainius Zubrus. Dan Girardi gathered the rebound and sprung Kotalik on a breakaway that he buried low glove side on Marty Brodeur. Rangers won 12 out of 16 faceoffs in the second. They were helped out by Prospal (won 5 of 7) who was switched to center.

Second period lines:
Lisin-Prospal-Gaborik
Kotalik-Drury-Avery
Callahan-Dubinsky-Higgins
Voros-Anisimov-Boyle

2-2 after 2.

THIRD PERIOD
Lundqvist gave up a terrible goal as Zach Parise flung it on goal and apparently Dainius Zubrus got a little piece of it. Dan Girardi was standing nearby doing nothing, as he and Marc Staal have all night. Best chance was Ryan Callahan's breakaway with a couple of minutes left. As he went to tee up the shot though Colin White made a fantastic poke check. Parise adds an empty netter after a missed interference call on the Devils against Prospal.

Rangers lose 4-2.


10.21.2009

A Dandi?

Steve Zipay of Newsday has confirmed that 33-year-old defenseman Mathieu Dandenault is with the Hartford Wolf Pack on a tryout basis. He was released by the San Jose Sharks when Dany Heatley was acquired. He's been in the league with Detroit and Montreal for 13 year. Dandenault's best year was in 2002-2003 with the Red Wings when he had 19 points and was a plus 25. He was a plus 7 last year with the Canadiens in only 41 games.

Also, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik were sent home before practice today with what John Tortorella called "colds or something". He wanted to keep them away from the team and get them some rest. Hopefully they're ok for the Devils at the Garden tonight...

10.20.2009

Problems...

I don't want to go too crazy over one game but there were some things in this one that made your head shake. The Rangers got beat 7-3 by the San Jose Sharks last night at the Garden. I didn't expect them to go 82 and 1 but it's the way they lost that is the problem. They lost every single battle last night.

First off, I have a problem with John Tortorella starting Steve Valiquette. The Rangers have been playing well and so has Henrik Lundqvist. Why not have started Valiquette in Toronto? He could have given The King a break and then had him for Monday against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Next game is Thursday so another couple of days of rest. I don't get it.

I have an even bigger problem with Tortorella going to Lundqvist in the third. That defeated the whole purpose of him not playing in the first place. I know it is an Olympic year and they don't want him playing 70 games but gimme a break.

I hope it's just one game but Donald Brashear appears done. He is not a good fighter, doesn't hit as much and is outworked all over the ice. He looked very old last night. Could be another "Sather special" as we have him for 2 years at $1.4 per. Not even 10 games in and the guy needed to sit out already from soreness. Worst of all... no one is scared of him anymore as evidenced by the Leafs repeatedly running Henrik Lundqvist over... IN THE GARDEN... with no response.

The team is taking too many penalties in the offensive zone and just too many in general. I wrote last night that if they continued into the box, the game was over and it was. It needs to be corrected.

There was a positive though... Michael Del Zotto has continued to be awesome... scoring his 4th on the power play.

10.19.2009

San Jose...

FIRST PERIOD
Promising start as Chris Drury beautifully deflected Marc Staal's wrist shot for a 1-0 lead 7:17 in. The Rangers went on the power play and Michael Del Zotto got his 4th on the power play banging in the rebound of an Ales Kotalik bomb just 1:17 later. It went downhill from there.

What was the problem? All together now... PENALTIES. After killing off a Chrostopher Higgins holding penalty, Tortorella sent out Vinny Prospal with Donald Brasheer and Ales Kotalik, probably because of players resting from killing the power play. Brad Staubitz stripped a lazy Donald Brasheer in center and buried it past Steve Valiquette's glove. A high sticking call to Wade Redden, who otherwise has had another solid start, and Dany Heatley ties it on the power play. If the Rangers continue to take penalties, even though they've only taken 2... they're done in this one... San Jose is just too good.

SECOND PERIOD
Rangers took 3 more penalties including two moronic ones by Sean Avery. I love how he never knows why he's called... one a blatant trip the other a blatant hold. At 4-2 though the Ryan Callahan was all alone in fron with a chance to get the Blueshirts back in it and somehow missed the net. Steve Valiquette has been awful tonight but it's Tortorella's fault he's in there against one of the league's best offenses. With no game until Thursday it is mind-boggling that Henrik Lundqvist is not playing.

Though all I've heard is how this guy is a better hockey player than Colton Orr, I have seen no evidence of that in Donald Brasheer. He's not a better fighter or hitter and tonight he just looks like an old man. He was beaten by Staubitz in the first and outworked by Patrick Marleau of all people for Devin Setoguchi's second goal of the period. He's certainly not winning anyone over here... still waiting.

5-2 and game over after two.

Surprise?

Nah... no surprise here at all. Michael Del Zotto will not be going anywhere. Tonight against the San Jose Sharks marks the 9th and last game Del Zotto would've been eligible to play in if he was to be sent back to juniors, which he most definitely is not.

Del Zotto leads all rookies in scoring and has been the power play quarterback on the first unit. He's been fantastic and just haven't given one reason why he shouldn't be here. Not to mention what the hell would you do if he left?

As it is now the Rangers are relatively small on defense and could use a veteran. Chris Chelios could be that guy. He wouldn't need to play a lot and wouldn't be asking that much. His leadership for these young guys would be priceless. You think a guy like Chelios would stand for Henrik Lundqvist being constantly run over?

10.17.2009

Cranking Away...

It's 7 in a row for theRangers after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs again last night, this time 4-1. They were outshot 14-8 in the sloppily played first but walked out of it with a 1-0 lead thanks to Brandon Dubinsky's 3-on-1 rocket off the short side post on Joey MacDonald. The Rangers played the best second period they have in a while and completely shut the Leafs down in the third dealing them their 6th loss in a row.

Unfortunately and maybe not coincidentally, Jamal Mayers was scratched in this one. Henrik Lundqvist was excellent again despite Leafs continuing to barrel into him led by human rat Jason Blake. Brian Boyle went after and warned Blake after he slashed Lundqvist. Blake was penalized but came right out of the box and skated into the King again. Lesson obviously not learned as Lee Stempniak followed right behind and bashed into Lundqvist (all comically not called).

John Tortorella addressed the issue saying . "I asked the refs, 'What do you want us to do?'". He continued, "Some of the hits that are coming on him right now, it's ridiculous. Something has to be done, or we have to do it our way." Not sure what you're waiting for there John. It has been 3 straight games where he's getting mauled and twice by the same team. NHL isn't helping you bud.

Blake may have gotten the message in the third though when he was absolutely drilled and laid out by Marc Staal. It was as hard as I've seen Staal hit anyone and it's the kind of leadership you love to see. Blake was shaken up, returned for a few shifts but didn't go anywhere near Lundqvist again. The pairing of Staal and Dan Girardi has been incredible and gets better each game. The Rangers defense now leads the league with 9 goals after Staal got his first and Michael Del Zotto added his 3rd on the power play in the second period.

Marian Gaborik assisted on both second period goals giving him the team lead with 12 points and at least 1 point in every game as a Ranger. Right behind him is Vinny Prospal who's scored (3-8-11) in every game but the first one and had an assist tonight.

Notes:
The things that happen to Sean Avery (Stempniak running him when he didn't have the puck) and don't get called are hysterical... Enver Lisin got his first of the season skating with the fourth line on the rebound of Wade Redden's partially blocked shot... Colton Orr tried several times for a rematch with Donald Brasheer but there was no point with the Leafs and their fans out of the game early... Michal Rozsival was solid but still took a lazy and moronic hooking penalty in the third period.

And The Response Is?

The Rangers meet up for the second time this season with the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Air Canada Centre. The Rangers kicked the shit out of them at MSG last week 7-2 without playing the second period... but the story was the running Henrik Lundqvist.

Donald Brashear will be back in the lineup tonight but having him last time didn't deter Jamal Mayers from blatantly running Lundqvist. Amazingly the two morons posing as referees somehow missed this call. If Sean Avery did this to a goalie he's be suspended 50 games.

Coach Tortorella responded saying, "I don't believe we should go as far in protecting goaltenders as the NFL does in protecting quarterbacks, but if it's blatant, the way it was Monday with Jamal Mayers, that needs to be called,". Let's just hope that Tortorella is saying the right things... but will also do the right thing. The coach holds his players accountable but will he hold the opposition's?

My answer... there must be a response tonight either against Mayers or whatever goalie the Leafs start. The message needs to go out loud and clear that "The King" is untouchable. I don't need to see Brashear fight Colton Orr... go get Mayers. If the Rangers win and nothing is done about this... it will go down as a loss in my book.