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Archive for November, 2008

Total Games Played:27
Games played against teams currently in the playoffs:8
Games played against teams currently not in the playoffs:19
Remaining games against teams currently in the playoffs:35
Remaining games against teams currently not in the playoffs:20


The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.
The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us.
If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL.

Semi-Misleading – Rangers@Panthers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on November 29th, 2008

You know, most people seem to take the “well, 2 points is 2 points” approach with regards to this game. Which I don’t get. As is usually the case, I seem to disagree with the status quo. I personally felt we played a pretty strong game tonight.

We had a few mental breakdowns which ended up in the back of the net, and that is a concern, especially since Wade Redden was the obvious culprit in the goals that sent the game to OT. However I felt we had strong offensive opportunities, and I felt our biggest hurdle was the goalpost which stopped at least 3 gimme goals, possibly a 4th (I’m not convinced Drury’s first period play hit the post, looked to me like he shot it into the goalie despite beating him cleanly).

The trio of Zherdev, Naslund, and Dubinsky absolutely dominated for much of this game, but, oddly enough, were terrible on the power play. I’m not sure why this team is so bad on the Power Play, it seems to be entirely mental at this point, which, again, points to the coach as the one who needs to get this fixed. It’s not like they aren’t good enough, and its not like they aren’t capable of scoring goals, so it is definitely a question of getting this mental block, and of making quicker passes.

All in all, I was pretty happy with this one. We could have been smarter, but the effort was there, and the chances were there in spades. This could easily have been a blowout if not for the iron.

Tom Renney hasn’t changed a thing with this team. We are still playing boring old trap hockey. We haven’t opened up squat. Luckily, the team showed up for 60 minutes, and therefore were able to keep up with a very aggressive Tampa Bay team who played much better than in the previous 3 tilts. Still though, the result was what you would expect from Renney hockey. An ultra close game, bookended by superior goaltending from start to finish. I don’t want the team to play like this, but other than that small aspect, there really isn’t much to complain about tonight.

We played a full game, we played strong in all 3 zones, and both goals scored were legit goals that you really can’t blame anyone other than to tip your hat to the other team. Our offense scored 2 goals, and generated a fair number of chances, our much (unfairly) maligned defenseman Michal Rozsival played a brilliant game now that Marc Staal is rightfully his partner, and, as usual, Henrik Lundqvist was there to slam the door shut.

2 points in the bank, and points you can definitely call legitimately won points. We deserved these 2 points is what I am saying, while I am not so sure that applies to many of our games this season.

One negative though was probably the play of Wade Redden, who really has been flat out bad since he has come here. You won’t find a bigger fan of his than me, but there is no disputing that his signing is looking worse, and worse as each game goes on. He looks significantly slower than he was only 2 years ago, his passes have no authority to them (ie, are way too soft, letting the defense adjust to the play easily), and he rarely jumps in on the offense, although he did do so twice today. I hope Wade starts to turn it around, because the Garden faithful will soon realize the wrong defenseman is getting the boos.

That’s all for now, gotta get ready for Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a great turkey day with your loved ones (unless you are a Devil fans, in which case I hope you choke on an errant turkey bone :-P ) and I will see you in a few.

Slow Start, Fast Finish – Coyotes@Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on November 25th, 2008

First and foremost let’s get one thing out there right off the bat. The Coyotes are a terrible team. They have some really good promising young players, but this is a team that by no stretch of the imagination should give the Rangers any trouble whatsoever. In short, this is a team that we should have beaten, soundly.

Luckily, we did.

However none of that takes away from the fact that once again, this team did not show up to start this game. They went down 1-0, and if not for some, once again, near God-like goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, this one would have been 3 or 4 zip before the clock struck the 7 minute mark. Following their first goal though, the Rangers picked up the intensity, and finished the game from then on out pretty much dominating the hapless ‘yotes. This could have been a bigger blowout than it was, but we hit a post, and just had a few shots just barely miss. The rush proved to be this teams greatest asset, yet again. Scoring 2 of their 3 even strength goals directly off of rushes, both being primarily assisted by Nikolai Zherdev, who had the primary assist on all 3 of the Rangers goals prior to Gomez getting the empty netter.

I’m not going to say much on this one, because this is a game where you can throw the results out the window. They literally mean nothing. If this team had come out and dominated from the get go, I might be more willing to say, hey, you know what…maybe they have turned the corner. But no, yet again, flat as flat can be to start a game, and then utterly dominating an AHL squad. That ain’t gonna cut it ’round here. Give me 60 minutes of hockey against one of the better, even one of the more average teams in the league, then maybe I will leave a game with a similar final score, with a smile on my face. For now, I’m going to pretend this game never happened.

Redux – Rangers@Senators Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on November 22nd, 2008

Let’s see, no offensive attack, no defensive support, a laughable power play, no shots in the first 12-14 minutes, no sustained offensive pressure, our only goal coming off the rush….hmm, how best to summarize today’s loss…..I GOT IT! Look at my previous post.

Tom Renney, the clock is ticking, even the Renney apologists are starting to see the light.

Square Peg, Meet Round Hole – Canucks@Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on November 20th, 2008

I’m not going to talk much about last nights disgraceful performance. I know that’s what you expect, but that’s not what you’re going to get. What you are going to get is a rant, a rant that has been a long time coming, a rant against Tom Renney. Renney supporters, look away now. Don’t bother reading this. It will just hurt your feelings, possibly make you cry, suck your thumb and sit in a corner rocking yourself to sleep saying “it’s not true, it’s not true”

This team has been playing like absolute crap for just about this entire season. Very few people will argue with this statement. They have played 3 superb games, against the Lightning in games 1 and 2, and against the Devils (the first time). Outside of those 3 games, they have been anywhere between mediocre, and out and out horrific. But, if you really look at this team, ask yourself, have they played good hockey during Tom Renneys tenure at all? I mean, seriously, ask yourself, how many players come here, and actually overperform, or improve on their career numbers? Scotty Gomez, down year, Chris Drury, down year, Markus Naslund, down year, etc etc etc. Really, outside of Jaromir Jagr during his first season, how many players actually put up numbers better than their career averages (not counting rookies who have no base line to compare to)? Even Sean Avery just basically put up the same totals he has always had, and everyone really thought he was flourishing here.

Can anyone answer this? How is it just about every single player that comes here sees their production go down. Does anyone even bother to ask themselves this anymore? Why is it ok to simply look at the win-loss record, and say, well, we must be a good team.

That is bullshit, plain and simple. We have been a winning team because of 2 reasons, and 2 reasons only. Jaromir Jagr, and Henrik Lundqvist. Both have been superhuman. Not superstar, not elite, damn near God-like in their performances here. We used to be a 2-man team, now, we are a 1-man team. Great.

“But Inferno, your stars should play like your stars, that’s how hockey works!” That is what I am sure some of the nay sayers are saying to themselves. But ask yourself this, shouldn’t a good coach be able to get SOME improvement from the other players in his lineup? Shouldn’t he be able to improve even 1 non superstar player? The fact of the matter is, every single player that has joined this club since Tom Renney took over, has seen their offensive production, as a whole, drop significantly during their tenure here. Gomez, Drury, Naslund, even Jagr when looked at a whole, Shanahan…literally every single player has had their production go down. And that is the mark of a bad coach. Or more specifically, a coach who is woefully mismanaging his talent set.

So that is really what this entire story is about isn’t it? Maximizing the talent set. Putting square pegs in square holes, putting round pegs in round holes, etc should be the way any NHL franchise is run. But not the New York Rangers, oh no, not by a long shot. What do the New York Rangers do? They have Glen Sather announce to the world that they want to get younger, faster, more up tempo, to mimic the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Detroit Red Wings, the Buffalo Sabres, and the Ottawa Senators. You have Glen Sather pick up Wade Redden, Marcus Naslund, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Frtische, to augment with players like Michal Rozsival, Dan Girardi, Lauri Korpikoski, Brandon Dubinsky, Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan… in short, all players who are either good outlet passers, or good skaters, picture perfect to play an up tempo 2-1-2 style of hockey. You have Tom Renney tell everyone he is open to changing up the team, to making them a little bit more wide open, and you see it beautifully executed in 2 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning where the Rangers were swarming like locusts, pressuring the hell out of the puck, causing turnovers all over the ice, forcing the puck to the high quality scoring areas with reckless abandon, and a team willing to take chances with the knowledge they have an all-world goaltender between the pipes. And then, they came back home, and everything changed.

Tom Renney, old reliable, went back to what he does best. Playing New Jersey Devils hockey. He has a team built, from top to bottom, to push the puck, and instead he has one of the smallest, fastest, weakest teams in the NHL play a 1-2-2 system, where the midgets never get a chance to push the puck up the ice, are always forced to dump, chase and cycle, whose lack of size and strength clearly show as the opposition effortlessly blasts our midgets into the boards, recover the puck, and push it back down our throats.

In order to play Tom Renney hockey, what you need is a Tom Renney team. A team of Blair Betts and Colton Orrs, a team with very little offensive creativity, but strength, and defensive responsibility, and who can play the cycle game. This is why the most consistent, best line out there game in and game out is the 4th line. Why? Because THAT is Tom Renney hockey. Boring, methodical, completely devoid of skill, encapsulated by bigger, stronger, players fighting through checks, getting the pucks to the net, and scoring garbage goals.

It sounds good in theory, but why the hell is the roster built this way then? Clearly there is a break down between what Glen Sather envisions this club, and what Tom Renney envisions this club. One sees it as an up tempo, Buffalo Sabres style club, the other sees it as a defensive, grinding New Jersey Devils style club. There is a massive disconnect, and it is clearly showing in the quality of play that is being shown to us on a nightly basis. The only player holding up his end of the bargain in this ballet of idiocy is Henrik Lundqvist, a player who is single handedly willing his team to victory. And when he wasn’t able to do so last night, a slaughter ensued.

A mark of a good coach is being able to see the roster he has, and to adjust HIMSELF to what he is given. If you are given a small team with speed and skill, you don’t play a 1-2-2, you play a 2-1-2. If you are given a slow lumbering team with a lot of strength, then you play the 1-2-2 to protect yourself from odd man rushers, and take advantage of your superior size and strength with a cycle game. Tom Renney, through 3+ years of coaching, has clearly shown he has zero creativity, and zero ability to adapt to his players.

Is he a players player coach? Sure. Do the players love the guy, and buy into his system? Absolutely. Is he the best man for the job? Until he is willing to realize the idiocy behind playing a defensive hockey style with speed skaters, the answer is unabashedly, NO.

The Storm Is Coming

Posted by inferno272 on November 20th, 2008

Tomorrow, I will rip into this team, and more importantly this coach.

Tonight, I need to get to bed for some family stuff early tomorrow morning. I am not happy, and this has been festering for a long while now.

There was a moment during this game where Joe Micheletti kept repeating a phrase that went something like “And Lundqvist makes the save”. He kept doing it over and over and over again. And really, that’s what this season, this team, this blog has become. The Rangers play mediocre hockey, Henrik bails them out, they find a way to win. I’ll say this again. This defies all logic. A team playing this mediocre brand of hockey should not have 30 points in 21 games. They aren’t a 30 point team. But I will tell you this much. If the Rangers aren’t a 30 point team, Henrik Lundqvist is a 42 point player right now, because a team like Detroit in front of him would be undefeated right now. He is keeping his team in games they have no business being in. He is bailing them out time, and time, and time, and time again. How many breakaways, partial breakaways, odd man rushes, peope left all alone in the slot did he stone today? 10? 12? Seriously, deflections, one-timers, slam dunks, it doesn’t seem to matter for Henrik right now, he is stopping just about everything he sees. The shots that beat him seem to come off of mad scramble usually involving rebounds, or a blown assignment that leaves a guy wide open in front of the net for the 20th time in the game with the puck on his stick. Today it was a pick play that ended up with Alfredsson all alone in front of the net where he could pick his spot. Other than that, the Senators had nothing to show for all their hard work.

This is a common theme with the Rangers if you really pay attention. The opposing coach saying how he felt his team played superb hockey, our coach saying we played mediocre hockey, and somehow us pulling out 2 points. Can this last for 82 games? I would be shocked if it did, but enjoy the points while they come, because when this ship turns, if its in the wrong direction, you could be looking at a mirror image of what happened to the Senators last year and a colossal flop. Of course the flip side of that argument is, if it turns in the other direction, where the team in front of Henrik plays great hockey, and he continues to play the way he is playing now, then you’ve got a juggernaut in the making. Right now, one could envision it turning either way.

People on the boards seemed to take exception of Ruutu shooting the puck at Henrik in the shootout after he fanned on his shot and it went wide. But I really didn’t have a problem with it. Why? Because the puck kept forward momentum the entire time, and Henrik didn’t touch the puck till that point. Ruutu didn’t officially miss on the shot till Henrik made the save. Remember, in order for the play to be dead, Henrik needs to make a save, the shooter needs to score, or the puck needs to head in the reverse direction. Since none of those things happened till Henrik made the eventual save on Ruutu, to me, it was a good, and a smart play by Ruutu. You need to play the play all the way till its conclusion. Like in baseball, you want your runners to run hard to first base on each and every play, because you never know what’s going to happen out there. Ruutu may be a schmuck, but he made the right play there.

Long Live The King – Bruins@Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on November 16th, 2008

Here’s some stats about Henrik Lundqvist so far this year:

  • In his past 10 consecutive starts he hasn’t let in more than 2 goals.
  • In 14 of his 16 starts he hasnt given up more than 2 goals.
  • He leads the league in wins
  • He’s 4th in the NHL in GAA (amongst goalies with 10 or more starts He would be ranked 2nd)
  • He’s 7th in the NHL in SV% (amongst goalies with 10 or more starts He would be ranked 4th)
  • He’s seen the 2nd most shots in the NHL
  • He’s made the most saves in the NHL
  • He’s played the most minutes in the NHL
  • Where would this team be without King Henrik? In my personal opinion, battling for a top lottery spot. Even this game where I felt the Rangers played a pretty strong game from start to finish, they didn’t look like the better team, and Henrik had to keep this team in the game.

    Even the final 10 minutes which featured domination by the Rangers and an offensive barrage, the Rangers still had to depend on Henrik (and a goal post) to bail them out, especially in the last few minutes of overtime.

    Want to know how bad the Rangers Power Play has been this season? Well statistically they are ranked 24th in the NHL (15.8%) when using conventional means of measuring the Power Play. That is, Power Play goals divided by Power Play opportunities. But what about a way of not just ranking the effectiveness of the PP in scoring, but also taking into account short handed goals. IE, (PPG-SHG)/PPO If you measure this new stat, lets call it, Power Play Effectiveness, here are the numbers you get:


    PP Opp
    PPG  
    PP%
    SHG
    PPE
    1
    DET   
    69
    23
    33.3
    0
    33.33%
    2
    STL  
    66
    17
    25.8
    2
    22.73%
    3
    MIN  
    67
    16
    23.9
    1
    22.39%
    4
    PHI  
    72
    16
    22.2
    0
    22.22%
    5
    TOR  
    88
    20
    22.7
    1
    21.59%
    6
    BUF  
    90
    18
    20
    0
    20.00%
    7
    BOS  
    66
    14
    21.2
    1
    19.70%
    8
    ANA  
    72
    15
    20.8
    2
    18.06%
    9
    OTT  
    80
    16
    20
    2
    17.50%
    10
    WSH  
    69
    12
    17.4
    0
    17.39%
    11
    VAN  
    88
    15
    17
    0
    17.05%
    12
    SJS  
    96
    18
    18.8
    2
    16.67%
    13
    DAL  
    78
    13
    16.7
    0
    16.67%
    14
    CHI  
    72
    14
    19.4
    2
    16.67%
    15
    CGY  
    91
    19
    20.9
    4
    16.48%
    16
    ATL  
    74
    14
    18.9
    2
    16.22%
    17
    CAR  
    82
    14
    17.1
    1
    15.85%
    18
    EDM  
    70
    13
    18.6
    2
    15.71%
    19
    LAK  
    85
    15
    17.6
    2
    15.29%
    20
    MTL  
    72
    12
    16.7
    1
    15.28%
    21
    TBL  
    69
    11
    15.9
    1
    14.49%
    22
    COL  
    83
    13
    15.7
    1
    14.46%
    23
    NSH  
    84
    14
    16.7
    2
    14.29%
    24
    PIT  
    81
    16
    19.8
    5
    13.58%
    25
    PHX  
    69
    9
    13
    0
    13.04%
    26
    NJD  
    62
    8
    12.9
    0
    12.90%
    27
    NYI  
    82
    12
    14.6
    2
    12.20%
    28
    NYR  
    101
    16
    15.8
    6
    9.90%
    29
    FLA  
    63
    8
    12.7
    2
    9.52%
    30
    CBJ  
    84
    10
    11.9
    6
    4.76%

    9.9%. 9.9%?!?!? Are you kidding me? This means, on average, only 9.9% of the time the Rangers have a Power Play that ends up with something positive happening for them. 9.9%!!!

    That this team is in first place right now baffles all conventional logic of any sorts. A goalie should not be this good. It seems insane to think that we are literally a one man team right now.

    Back on the plus side of things, both Dan Fritsche and Lauri Korpikoski (have you tried going to www.laurikoprikoski.com by the way?) played an absolutely superb game. In fact one would have to say that they were our 2 best forwards out there most of the game. They kept it simple, played a good speed game, played a sound board game, and played a sound defensive game. They helped spark the team by setting up the first goal by Nigel “If I’m not scoring, I am completely invisible” Dawes, and got rewarded with more ice time for their effort. I love what I have seen of these 2. They need to keep playing when Gomez comes back. If either of these 2 sit, I will have lost all respect for Renney.

    Finally there is Michal Rozsival. The guy has been absolutely killed on the message boards for his performance tonight. Yes, he was terrible guys, but it is flat out retarded to call for his head, or to make it seem like he has been this bad for every single game this year. How about some stats to back up that statement?

  • He leads the team in TOI/G
  • Hes tied for the lead on defense for GWG
  • He leads the defense in PPG
  • Hes 2nd on defense in points
  • Hes tied for first on defense in goals
  • He’s tied for 2nd on the defense in assists
  • He leads the defense in shooting percentage
  • The only bad stat he has right now is his +/-, and Kalinins is worse, as is every single other statistical means of measurement for Kalinin. Yet Rozsival is getting booed out there and Kalinin gets a free pass. Don’t get me wrong here, I think Rozsival was indeed putrid tonight, but let’s try not to miss the forest from the trees here. It was one bad game. And really, hes only had 2 bad games this season in my personal opinion (The one against the Isles, and tonight). The reason everyone is getting down on Rozsival is because his bad games have been spectacularly bad games. Statistically though, en masse, he has been fine out there. Has he been a 5 million dollar a year player? No, but he has been for the previous 2 years, so I know he has it in him waiting to come out. Booing him serves no purpose whatsoever. This isn’t Marek Malik or Sandis Bozolinsch out there. Michal Rozsival is a legitimate top 4 defenseman in this league. Booing him will only force him to play worse and spiral out of control. Show some freaking restraint guys, for the love of God show some restraint.

    I’m not talking about the first goal, or the third goal, or even the fourth goal that Kevin Weekes gave up in the Rangers dominating 2nd period performance just a few hours ago. I am talking about the second goal he gave up. It was a softie, plain and simple. It was one he should have had, but didn’t. When was the last time the Rangers could honestly say they got themselves a break like that? It’s been a long, long time for sure. It seems like night in and night out, our forwards are squeezing their sticks harder and harder because they seem to never get the lucky goals that make a team feel a lot more confident about themselves. You could definitely see the collective monkeys fall of their shoulders after that one went in. Before Chris Drury scored that goal, I thought for sure this one was going to end up in a loss. I didn’t think we played particularly well in the game up till that point, and I felt the Devils superior forecheck was going to wear us out, and waste yet another superb performance by the man between the pipes. Luckily we got that break, and that opened the proverbial flood gates.

    Let’s temper all this by recognizing that this was a seriously depleted New Jersey team, with Kevin “deer in headlights” Weekes between the pipes. This was a team we should have beaten. Just like the Leafs, just like the Islanders, and just like the Oilers. We did what we had to do, despite once again not playing a complete 60 minute game. But I do take some hope out of watching what we saw. This wasn’t a case of the Rangers getting lucky all over the place, this was a case of the Rangers out and out dominating another team for 40 consecutive minutes. They made the Devils look like an AHL club rather than the juggernaut they have been for the past 15 years. This is a good thing for this club. Temper your enthusiasm for sure, but don’t forget that this is a club that wins on it’s system, not on it’s personnel.

    Also for the first time all year I can say that Dan Fritsche looked like an NHLer out there. He really stood out as one of the best Rangers on the ice, which was huge for the 3rd line of Fritsche Dawes and Korpedo. The line accounted for 5 points, which is huge. They also looked like a legitimate 3rd line you could live with. Once Gomez comes back, shift the lines to something like…

    Naslund – Gomez – Drury
    Voros – Dubinsky – Zherdev
    Fritsche – Korpikoski – Callahan
    Sjostrom – Betts – Orr

    And I think you have a winner. The lineup just makes a lot more sense this way than anything else. The NYRangersCast guys have been saying it almost as long as I have. We need to give that lineup (or something very similar, maybe Fritsche out for Dawes or Prucha) a shot on a consistent basis.

    I still was not happy with the power play. We scored 2 goals, but they were on the 5on3 man advantage, those are situations you should score on. The regular 5on4 man advantage looked hapless once again. What I did like though was seeing Paul Mara out there more, he looks a lot better on the PP than either Rozsival or Redden to be honest.

    This was a nice win, but I’m not getting too happy here. Let’s see how we play on Saturday shall we?