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Archive for February, 2013

3 – Jethrashers @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts

Posted by inferno272 on February 27th, 2013

This is going to be short and to the point since it’s 2 am and I just finished watching the game.

There are 3 things I am pissed the hell off at about this game.

1)The 3rd period. The Rangers played a DOMINATING 3rd period. Where the hell was that the other 2 periods? Where was that urgency? That passion? That determination?!?!?! That’s the God damn Rangers team I thought I was signing up for, not the shit-show I saw in the first 2 periods.

2)Henrik Lundqvist…..yikes….we still should have won that game, boy Henrik was not on his game tonight, the 2 Kane goals…I know Kane can shoot it, but Henrik usually stops those.

3)I’m still seeing nothing from Gaborik and Richards. Callahan came alive, but the other 3 stars went back to struggling. When you have 5 of your 6 best players either playing poorly or not able to play (Nash & McDonagh), you’re in a world of hurt.

That’s all. I hope the Rangers are effing pissed about this one, because this was a winnable game. If they came out with that kind of passion for 60 minutes, this was a laugher.

Horseless Cart – Rangers @ Canadiens Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on February 24th, 2013

I was in the car with my in-laws and my wife driving back home, talking to my Father-in-law about the Rangers game on tonight that I was going to watch. The talk went something like…oh, who are they playing? And I say something like, it’s the Canadiens, and it’s in Montreal, we’re going to lose, and some freaky shit you’ve never seen happen in your life will likely occur.

What happens? Let’s see, we lose Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Michael Del Zotto for various reasons. Our forwards can’t do CRAP out there. Our #1 offensive player from a year ago was benched, and we got shutout while barely registering a quality shot on goal, unless Derek Stepans shoot in from the blueline that almost found it’s way in counts.

But, while that’s likely to be the talk of the town for the next little while, to me this game comes down to one thing.

The Rangers horses aren’t playing well.

Last year we finished in first place. Marian Gaborik had 40+, Brad Richards was nuclear hot down the stretch, and Henrik Lundqvist was basically in God-Mode most of the year.

This year? Henrik was mediocre at best to start the season, Gaborik had 4 awesome games and has been anywhere between average to horrendous on most night, and Brad Richards has been nothing short of atrocious on almost every single night this year (frankly, he should have been a scratch coming into this game to get his head on straight).

I don’t care what team you have, when your best players aren’t your best players, you ain’t winning folks. You can only be carried for so long by secondary scoring. There’s a reason it’s secondary scoring, it’s because it’s supposed to happen every now and then from your secondary guys to put you over the top in games when your big guys aren’t going. But when your big guys haven’t been going all season long, then you aren’t going to do SQUAT out there.

Call it what it is guys, this isn’t on Torts, this is on Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal, etc, etc, etc. Every guy who is wearing a letter, has been underwhelming. Staal hasn’t had a good season so far. Cally? Love the guy, but offensively he hasn’t given us much in the way of creating chances. He’s been a no-show offensively most night. The effort is ALWAYS there, but he’s not playing well in the offensive zone.

It’s a situation you see all teams go through, when a few key guys start to play terrible, they start hurting the confidence of everyone else around them because the others rely on them so much. The worse they play, the worse everyone plays, the worse everyone around them play, the worse they play, and so-on. You’re only going to be carried by Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin so long. If the Rangers had Nash in the lineup (who has been paying phenomenally thus far), that would be one thing. You can at least ride that 1 line that was on fire for a bit till the other guys get going, but with Nash out, and with Hagelin and Stepan simply not good enough to carry a team on their backs, you’ve got a team that’s caught in a downward spiral.

I agree with Torts, they gotta just keep playing, hope they get some puck luck, and that it gets the team going. I’m not sure it was the energy or effort level so much as the aggressiveness that’s been missing. They seem scared to make a mistake, which can make you passive, which immediately removes your aggressive forecheck game.

It’s a slippery slope.

Oh, and did we just mention that 3 of their top 4 defenseman didn’t finish this game?

If Girardi and McDonagh are out long term, this season will be in major league jeopardy. We could have probably survived one or the other. But both? Hell.

Pissed Off Gods – Rangers @ Senators Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on February 21st, 2013

The Rangers deserved to win tonight. I get that Ottawa is banged up, I get that. I also get the fact that they play the same suffocating system now that the Rangers do, and that can equalize a lot of talent deficiencies, but boy oh boy, the Rangers were just unbelievably unlucky tonight. How many goal posts did they hit? How many WIDE OPEN, completely empty nets did they miss? 3? How the hell does the game winning shootout goal go in?

It’s one of those games where you scratch your head and wonder if you’re watching something like Angels in the Outfield but for hockey. It’s just amazing how unlucky the Rangers were tonight. Oh for sure you gotta acknowledge injury wise the Sens were just devastated out there (ignoring the fact that the Rangers were without Nash, and have been without Sauer for a year now), but I’m not talking about injuries, I’m talking about sheer weird unlucky bounces.

I’m not really sure what to take away from this game though. The Rangers got a point, and will probably get Rick Nash (hopefully) back for the game against Montreal which I’m sure we will lose, so there’s some stuff to be positive about….and it’s not like we got dominated or what not, no, the Rangers played a halfway decent game, they had a lot of scoring chances, but for some reason pucks just would not go. You get the feeling that this team is primed for some floodgates to start opening.

I have not forgotten about Brad Richards.

Yes, he was, again, just God-effing-awful.

However, the issue with Richards right now is 100% mental. What is he doing? Stupid plays. Blind passes, terrible high risk plays that are getting picked off and going against the other way. It’s all decision making stupidity. He’s not super slow and can’t do anything out there, he’s skating at his usual pace. His shot hasn’t completely disappeared, he just has zero confidence in it right now.

It’s between his ears, he’s a professional, he’ll figure it out, or he’ll get eaten up by NY…I choose to be optimistic here.

About Sums It Up

Posted by inferno272 on February 20th, 2013

I’m with Torts here…

This was one of the worst games I’ve ever watched in my life. It’s rare I’m not on the edge of my seat when watching hockey….but I’ve never been more interested in watching plants vs zombies being played by my wife a few feet away from me than a New York Rangers game…..till today.

Seriously, she played an excellent game, those Gargantuars just kept coming and coming but she killed em with…

Oh wait, this is a Rangers blog, not a PVZ blog.

uhhh.

Shit.

I don’t know what to say, I was so damn bored out of my mind I could have fallen asleep and not missed much.

Crap another icing…oh wait, the game is over….nevermind, I must be flashing back to the game.

I’m done here, clearly I have nothing worthwhile to add other than, this game SUCKED. BOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGG.

Deservedly So – Capitals @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on February 18th, 2013

Make no mistakes about it, the Rangers just played their best game of the season till this point. They weren’t perfect, oh no, not by a long shot, but they were at times completely dominant, and if not for some really remarkable goaltending by Holtby who seems to love playing against the Rangers, this would have been a 5-1 or 6-1 blowout.

Sure, the scoresheet looks like the same old Rangers. 2-1 win, can’t put pucks home, blah blah blah. But you know what? That’s B.S. The Rangers have the guns to put pucks into the net. This isnt Aaron Voros shooting the puck, it’s Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, etc. The Rangers have the guns, they have established goal scorers, and they were put into high quality scoring areas with the pucks on their sticks, and they couldn’t finish. It happens. But, more importantly they came away with a win.

You’d obviously hate to lose any game, but a game like tonight would have hurt to lose, because, let’s face it, the Rangers for much of this game were the better team. Only on the penalty kill did they look at all like they were in trouble. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding when down a man, facing a barrage of high quality scoring chances and still keeping the high octane (of late) Caps to only 1 goal. Ribiero in particular was ripping our D to shreds with some crazy good passes into the slot. How many times did a Caps forward find himself all alone in the slot with the puck on his stick only to shoot it wide, have it blocked at the last second, or have Henrik come up big.

You’re not going to keep a good team down, and despite their record, I believe the Caps are a good team, but, the Rangers are a damn good team too, and if they could ever get their damn power play fixed, it could be a lethal team.

How lethal? The Rangers have a top 10 offense when playing at even strength, if they had even an average power play they would be a top 10 offensive team in the league. A good power play puts them into the top 5. Not bad considering the hellacious schedule they’ve had, having to play the Bruins 3 times already, the Pens twice (not great defensively, but they control the puck so damn much Rangers never get to touch it), and the Devils who are an elite defensive team.

Get the Power Play fixed (and a beauty of a PP goal was scored tonight…but they need a whole hell of a lot more than that) and it solves so many problems it’s not even funny.

Sure, the Rangers scored a power play goal. But I don’t give a crap. The power play, AGAIN lost us the game. Brad Richards complete inability to do jack shit out there cost us this game. What more can you say? We deserved to win, with the exception of our power play. It sucked the life out of the team, allowing the Islanders to tie the game and then take the lead.

I don’t care what Tortorella says, it’s not about the goal we scored, it’s about how the shitty ass power play keeps killing any and all momentum.

That’s all I have to say. GET THE EFFING POWER PLAY FIXED GOD DAMN IT.

Context

Posted by inferno272 on February 13th, 2013

Just sitting here thinking about how ridiculously tough the Rangers schedule was up until this point when I decided to take a quick peek at the other contenders in the East. I think we can all agree that the best 4 teams are some combination of the Rangers, the Penguins, the Bruins and the Devils (they went to the SCF and are in first place so far, to say otherwise is just absurd at this point).

Let’s look first at the Devils.

Total games played: 13
Games VS Other “Elite teams”: 5 (38%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East last season: 4 (31%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East as of right now: 4 (31%)

Next, the Bruins:

Total games played: 11
Games VS Other “Elite teams”: 4 (36%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East last season: 3 (27%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East as of right now: 2 (18%)

Next, The Penguins:

Total games played: 13
Games VS Other “Elite teams”: 5 (38%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East last season: 3 (23%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East as of right now: 4 (31%)

Finally The Rangers:

Total games played: 12
Games VS Other “Elite teams”: 6 (50%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East last season: 2 (17%)
Games VS the worst 3 teams in the East as of right now: 1 (8%)

So, what can we interpret from all this data? Here’s a simplistic way of looking at it, the Rangers had to play by far and away the most difficult schedule of any team listed here, and I’d be surprised if there is any team in the NHL who had as tough a first 12 games to their schedule as we did. What did we do during this span? We are currently on a 7-3 stretch, are currently in a playoff position, and are a total of 5 points from the best record in the East with a game in hand against the Devils. Furthermore, during this time span, let’s note that the Devils have had the easiest schedule of any of the “big 4″ so to speak.

Why did I do this? To point out how important it is to have perspective. To understand that the standings, the scores, the results, everything has context.

Freebie – Rangers @ Brooins Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on February 13th, 2013

Look, I know you want to freak out about the end game collapse. But let’s state the facts here. The Bruins score a goal that shouldn’t have counted. Lucic touched the puck with his hand, that goal shouldn’t have counted. Period. End of story. It’s a hand pass. Worse yet, it’s a hand pass that gave Bawstun a freebie point which I can’t stand.

Don’t get down, the Rangers pretty a helluva game for 55 minutes in regulation, and the entire O/T. Stralman breaks a stick. Blargh. Nash hits the post. Blargh. This crap happens. But, this crap happened, AND we won the game. That’s all that matters. The Rangers just finished arguably the most difficult opening 12 games of any team in the NHL…having to play the Penguins and Bruins a total of 5 times in our first 12 games. And you know what? We’re in the playoff picture as of right now, we’ve won 3 in a row, we’re 7-3 in our last 10, and, let’s be honest here, Gaborik and Richards really aren’t going yet. It’s the Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan, and Henrik Lundqvist show. Once Gabby and Richards get going, watch the eff out!

I really liked a lot of what I saw tonight, but one thing did concern me. The play of Dan Girardi. Our all-star defenseman (one of 3 arguably), is clearly not himself. I can’t even remember the last time Girardi played a game so mediocre as this. He’s usually so steady, but he looked like he was hurting out there. It’s more important the Girardi is healthy down the stretch than it is for him to “gut it out” right now. I sure hope the Rangers are doing their due diligence here, Girardi is just too damn important to this team to screw around with his health.

The Rangers now enter a stretch of games where, really, they have a 10 game stretch coming up where, if they don’t pick up a MINIMUM of 14 points, I would call it a complete failure. Games against the Sabres (1 line team), Caps (complete disarray), Ottawa (no Spezza), Winnipeg (lol), Montreal (who knows what team shows up), and the Islanders (lolx2). Honestly, winning 13 games in a row should be the goal here (counting our current 3 game streak) before we head into the game against the Pens. If by the March 16th game the Rangers are not in first place, or nipping at the heels of whoever is in first place, I’ll be very annoyed.

Time to make our run boys…time to make it NOW.

Oh, and nice goal by Cally, way to pick up the boys.

Grunt Work – Lightning @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

Posted by inferno272 on February 11th, 2013

Want to know why I loved the way this game turned out tonight? Because the best players on the ice were not Gaborik, Nash or Richards. Those guys, honestly, didn’t play all that great. Nash had some good moments, but Gabby and Richards were awfully quiet except for 1 or 2 chances here and there.

No, this game was all about the other guys. The low salary guys. Hagelin, Powe, Halpern, Asham, Pyatt…those guys had some really excellent minutes out there. The 4th line in particular had several shifts where they just owned the play. Chipping in a goal by Asham was great, and well deserved, but that trio did a phenomenal job of playing in the Tampa zone, and when they were trapped, they kept things simple and smart. Losing Rupp helps a TON in terms of our team speed and ability to roll 4 lines. Powe looks like he’s going to be a solid addition to this team, and you have to wonder, barring injury, how is Brian Boyle going to find his way back into this lineup.

I really wanted to talk about Taylor Pyatt though. This guy, though he doesn’t put up a ton of points, does such a great job of keeping the play going. He’s a monster on the boards, reads the play so well, plays responsibly, and does so many little things that, if you weren’t following him, you wouldn’t really notice it. He’s so often in the perfect place for an outlet pass if the D gets into trouble, or just simple dump ins when the guys need to change instead of trying to keep a rush going. Just a smart player, whose game I really love. I know I’ll take a lot of heat for this, but he reminds me a little of Marcel Hossa in his ability to play the boards. When Hossa was here, and he wanted that puck on the boards, nobody stood a chance of getting it from him, Pyatt is a lot like that.

I really love the way 3 of our lines played tonight. The sole exception being…well, actually, Pyatts line. It wasn’t Pyatts fault though, his 2 linemates, Gaborik & Richards had really shitty games. Richards has looked off all season. He’s made some good plays here and there, but by and large he’s been a complete non factor. Time to get your head outta your ass Richie and start making some plays. I get that he’s putting up points, but he seems to be ancillary to the play…he’s there, he’s touching the puck, but he isn’t doing shit to make the actual play happen.

Isn’t it nice though? Power Play still doesn’t score…Richards & Gaborik play like crap, and the Rangers still are able to handily win a game. Having depth helps. You can thank Miller & Powe for that…they’ve turned this once 1 line team into a solid 4 line team. Keep it going boys.

I know everyone wants to talk about “Miller Time” or what not. I know I should be happy with a pretty good Rangers win…and I am, I really am. But, just like I refuse to get too down on this team when they were getting beat up by the Brooins and Pens, I refuse to get too high when they beat, let’s face it, a very inferior Islanders team.

But…but, their power play, OMGZ SO GOOD!, and…they’re much better, blah blah blah.

No, seriously. It’s the Islanders. Each and every one of you picked them to finish dead last. I did. You did…yeah, you, over there, you picked them to finish dead last….no, don’t you shake your head at me…I know you did. They suck ok? Let’s just admit it. They have Tavares, Moulson, and a bunch of 2nd rate AHLers. Nabakov is a solid goalie, but not in the same league as Henrik. Tavares is frikkin awesome, and Moulson gets his dirty goals, but they’ve got pretty much nothing else. Grabner, sure, he’s fast, but so is Hagelin. Meh.

So yeah, I’m not super impressed by the win. JT Miller was great, no doubts. Thankfully Cally is back, and his presence did a lot to lift this team, but by and large, this wasn’t a game you can say, wow, what a win. We beat an inferior team. This is a team we SHOULD beat. Just like the Brooins and the Pens are 2 teams where we could win, we could lose, or we could have a 3 point game. Teams that are pretty good. But the Isles? No. I’m throwing this game out. We should won. We did. Great. Now go win another, and another, and another. Go get me a 7 game winning streak. Put together 14 out of a possible 18 points or something. Then I’ll be thrilled. But right now? We beat a shitty team. Yay.