Rangers Fall in the 3rd

Friday, February 27, 2009

In a game that was very similar to the night before against Toronto, the New York Rangers looked like the faster team, more physical team, and the team that dominated in scoring chances. Unfortunately, the last thing, scoring chances is what did them in. The Rangers lost to the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-1 in a very critical game considering how tenuous the playoff hopes of the Blueshirts are right now.

David Booth and Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers exactly one minute apart to seal the deal in favor of Florida. Where do we start? The Rangers were, in my eyes, the much better team in most aspects of the game. Hustling, skating, hitting, all around effort, and shots (41 to 22 in favor of the Rangers). You would think that would make it an easy victory for the boys, but this is the Rangers - the team that's snake bitten and simply can't score.

I don't know what to say anymore. The chances are there, but the goals are not. Can we place blame on Lundqvist for allowing that soft goal on David Booth's backhand, or Scott Gomez chasing Zednik around the net while leaving his man (Horton) wide open in front of the net? Sure we can. But mistakes are what hockey's all about and if the Rangers could have found the net a couple of more times - the mistakes would be a moot point. The PP obviously still needs some major work as well. 49 seconds with a 2-Man Advantage while leading 1-0 is a chance to bury the opposition. Instead of extending the lead, the Rangers left the Panthers with a chance to hang around in the game.

It's a tough time for the Rangers right now and the players are feeling the pressure as well. With the trade deadline coming up, will some things happen? I don't believe this team can stand pat. Something needs to be done, and that's for sure.

I will be away in Boston this weekend doing some more games for the Quinnipiac Bobcats (against Harvard and Dartmouth). If you are interested in listening, the link is littered throughout previous posts and check in around 7PM EST. I will answer any comments when I get back! Over and out!


Rangers Lose, Fire Renney

Monday, February 23, 2009

The New York Rangers lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night by a score of 3-2 in OT. I'm not going to get into what happened in the game other than lots of shots, no goals, a stupid penalty in OT, a loss - end of story.

Then today, I just get back home from the YMCA and what do I hear? Tom Renney has been fired. Well, now the players have absolutely no excuse. I don't want to hear about it. It's all on them now, they have to start playing and prove their worth. It's always easy to get rid of the coach and staff - right or wrong. You can't get rid of "High Priced Under Achievers" in a salary cap league. Glen Sather probably had no choice, even though anyone who knows hockey will tell you it's all on the players.

The word is that maybe John Tortorella will be taking over? Well, if that's the case, wait until the players get a load of him. I think he's a good coach, but he's a tad abrasive and blunt. He actually might hurt a players feelings (Boo-Hoo!). I will say this, if you believe it was Renney's fault - you're dreaming. Players play, players skate, players hit, and in the end - players have to score. I hope they prove me wrong!

Great Night for Howell and Bathgate

Along with the game, I was also present for the jersey retirement of Harry Howell's #3 and Andy Bathgate's #9. I was like a kid in a candy store... Andy Hebenton, Bill Gadsby, Bob Nevin, Vic Hadfield, Larry Popein, Earl Ingarfield, Dean Prentice, Arnie Brown, Eddie Shack, "Leapin" Lou Fontinato, and finally Captain & Coach Red Sullivan - all of which, former Rangers teammates. Simply awesome.

There were also 4 others to cap these legends on the ice... they brought in Red Kelly, Dick Duff, Stan Mikita, and Frank Mahovlich. It was a fantastic night! Your's truly got to sit in the Rangers legends box with Pete Stemkowski, Gilles Villemure, Ed Giacomin, Rod Gilbert, Brad Park, and Carl Brewer's wife, Sue.

After the game, there was a party at the Plaza Hotel that was Marvelous. My wife Lisa and I had the great pleasure of talking to Frank Mahovlich and his wife on the way to the hotel. It was truly an honor to be around these hockey greats. I would like to, yet again, thank the New York Rangers for this special privilege. Over and out!


Rangers Solid in 3-1 Win

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hey, first of all I am not doing cartwheels after the Rangers 3-1 victory over the Islanders at MSG... but what I will do is give the Rangers credit for the hard work and effort given in most of tonight's game. Nigel Dawes, Scott Gomez (PPG), and an empty netter by Fast Freddie Sjostrom were the goal scorers for the Blueshirts. Solid goaltending by the King tonight and great inspirational play by the youngsters contributed to the much needed victory. Dubinsky hit everything in sight, Dawes created offense, Callahan being... well, just being Callahan, and I want to give a special tip of the hat to Petr Prucha - who was energetic, got into a scrap, picked up an assist, and played a great all around game! I also would like to point out Scott Gomez's play. He said it himself, "I wasn't playing well". Well, Scott, you showed up tonight and here's to hoping it's a kick start for the rest of the season for you. Again, I won't get too excited, after all it was the Islanders (worst team in the NHL). Not only that, but the PP sucked in general (Gomez caught a break when Danis mishandled his shot) and the usual goal scoring drought that has been a problem all season was evident yet again tonight. But, there's a saying, "Winners laugh and tell jokes, losers say deal". Well, the Blueshirts won, got the 2 precious points, and now head to Buffalo in a good mood. Over and out!


Update: You know the drill... I'm away at Quinnipiac again doing some games on the radio. Also, I'm going to the Garden on Sunday for the Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell night against the Leafs! I'll answer any comments when I get back.

» Bobcats Link: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x981.xml


Late Goal Does in Rangers, 2-1

Monday, February 16, 2009

When B.J. Crombeen flipped the puck past a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist, it basically solidified the notion that the Blueshirts are in a deep funk. The goal was more evidence where early in the year the Rangers would find a way to somehow pull out a victory in close contests... now, the Rangers can't even buy a win in the close games. Marc Staal, and I really love the play of this youngster overall, relaxed and forgot about B.J. Crombeen. Crombeen, in turn, collected the rebound and turned it into the game winning goal. One mistake and that's how it goes when a team is struggling. And let's face it folks, they are struggling mightily at this very moment. No scoring, the PP is laughable, and some players are not playing up to the standards that are expected. I thought the Rangers actually showed some energy against the Blues in this game, but in the end the result is what counts. What happens now is anyone’s guess. Up next, the Islanders on Wednesday night and that won't be an easy one either. Over and out!


Flyers Flatline Rangers

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Philadelphia Flyers came into Madison Square Garden in a 12:30 Sunday Matinee to take on the New York Rangers. In less than 30 minutes, the Flyers put the Rangers to rest. 5-2 was the final score in favor of the Broad Street Bullies and folks, let me tell you... it was Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! Claude Giroux, a rookie, scored on a wrist shot to give the visiting Flyers a 1-0 lead on a play where every Ranger on the ice was staring at the puck like an 8 year old kid playing in house league hockey. 3 Rangers players had Giroux surrounded but didn't think to actually cover him. The result was embarrassing. This is the NHL, is it not? How can you make it this far and not know the basics of hockey?

From there, it gets worse. On a 5 v 3 PP, the 30 Million Dollars (Give or take a mill, but who's counting?) of the Rangers PP specialists unit botched another glorious opportunity to get back in the game. But, here it comes, you know it - there was another shorthanded goal by Mike Richards (5 on the year for Richards) and a new NHL record with 3, 5 v 3 shorthanded goals. If that doesn't drive Ranger fans nuts, nothing will. Do you still think it's Renney's fault? How about Drury, Gomez, Naslund, Rozsival, and Redden do their jobs when they are on the PP and stop giving up shorties for once!

I really feel that it's time for the Rangers "leaders" to be held accountable for their actions. If you're gonna pick out Wade Redden as the new Marek Malik, then how does Drury and Gomez escape the wrath of the Rangers faithful? I, for one, don't believe in booing your team... but if it's good to boo for one, why is it not good to boo for the others? I think I speak for all Ranger fans, it's frustrating to see what's happening right now (Embarrassing, might be the better word). I could go on and on about this mess, however there is no miracle cure. The players must fight their way out of this. You can criticize Coach Renney and his style all you want, but it comes down to the guys in the locker room. Over and out!


Rangers Rally Against Caps

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A couple of fights, overtime, a shootout, and the New York Rangers actually scored 4 goals en-route to a much needed 5-4 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Ryan Callahan's goal in the shootout, off the crossbar, banked in off the back of Jose Theodore to send the Rangers faithful home in a happy mood.

Where to start? Well, I guess it starts with Colton Orr facing off against Donald Brashear early to excite the crowd. Seconds later, Aaron Voros and Matt Bradley went at it as well. At least you could say the Rangers were ready to do battle one way or the other and knew this was a big game for the Blueshirts considering how horrible the team had been playing. It started well with Ryan Callahan driving to the net and deflecting a gorgeous pass from Lauri Korpikoski to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Thomas Fleischman evened it up at 1 and later in the 1st period Eric Fehr banged one in to give the caps a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd period. What bothers me is both goals could have easily been prevented if the players on the ice would just stop acting like they're back in pee-wee hockey and each take a man, stick with him, and stop staring at the puck! Both goals were scored by a Caps player who was covered, but for some reason was allowed to freely head to the net. Sorry, but intelligence is also part of the game.

In the 2nd period, Korpikoski blocked a Ranger point shot and turned and blasted the puck by Theodore to tie it up at 2. Washington's D-Man Mike Green gave the Caps a lead (Again, Rangers watching the puck, not the man) and then Rangers D-Man Paul Mara - who played a strong game - wound up on a slapper that tore into the net to tie up once again. Later in the period, Nigel Dawes fooled me as I thought he was going to take the puck around the back of the net, but he threw it in front to a crashing Markus Naslund (literally) and the puck went in giving the Rangers a short-lived 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, that man Mike Green scored again on a slapshot for his 21st goal of the season... that's right, a D-Man with 21 goals and the Rangers team leader has 17! Ouch! The goal itself, to me anyways, should have been stopped by Lundqvist. Not a great angle and he went down way too soon. Hey, I often praise the King and sometimes he deserves a little criticism (Not very often though).

In the 3rd period, the Rangers had the best chance to put this game away. They had a PP and then Naslund got clipped in the face with a high stick during the PP. Unfortunately, the boys couldn't even get the puck to a Caps player that would have given the Rangers at least a 2-man advantage for over 50 seconds. Once again, here's where Hockey IQ is supposed to click in, but it didn't. The Rangers ended up wasting valuable time and eventually the Rangers got 36 seconds of a 2-man advantage thanks to the 4:00 high sticking penalty.

The worst part of the night for the Rangers was the powerplay. It was, simply put - horse****. After watching it, I thought about all the people who think it's the coaching. Are you kidding me? You saw it, I saw it. Anyways, enough of that. In the end, the shootout had its moments and when Nigel Dawes scored, it was up to Ovechkin to keep it going for the Caps. Well, he certainly did so in ripping a 5-hole shot through Lunqvist's legs. That's when Ryan Callahan became the hero for the night, scoring the GW goal in the shootout.

My overall take on the game is that it was a very entertaining one. Fights, hits, goals, and for the first time in a while the Blueshirts really looked ready (Well, at least some did). You got to love the fact that the lesser knowns stepped up: Callahan, Korpikoski, Dubinsky, and Colton Orr. It would be nice to see the top-half players step up and take control of this team and it's destiny. Over and out!


Update: Away at Quinnipiac again doing some games on the radio, will answer comments when I get back!

» Bobcats Link: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x981.xml


Rangers Shutout at "The Rock"

Monday, February 9, 2009

The New York Rangers, coming off of a 10-2 blasting courtesy of the Dallas Stars (fortunately I did not see this game), ventured into New Jersey to take on the Devils at the arena that they love to call "The Rock". The end result, a 3-0 whipping by the Devils as the Rangers offense continues to fall like a rock... no pun intended.

I thought the Rangers came out fast, hustling, skating and really carrying most of the play. When Colton Orr placed a beautiful right hand and dropped Mike Rupp with the punch, I expected that to be the game changing moment. It should of been, but it was not to be. The Rangers never used it as a momentum boost and shortly after that Scott Gomez showed a lack of discipline by retaliating on what would of been a boarding penalty to Dainius Zubrus to even up the penalties. Sorry, as a leader you have to know the situation and in this case Gomez clearly did not. From there, Bobby Holik jammed in a wrap around attempted originally by Brendan Shanahan (He should still be a Ranger) to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. I got that lousy feeling that I got far too often this season... that 1 goal might very well be enough. When Zach Parise slammed home a rebound past Lundqvist, you knew it was over. At least I did.

I can't leave this game without my usual rant about the offense. It's the players people! Stop all this nonsense about the coaching is bad, the team plays too much of a defense style, the free agent signings have simply not lived up to the expectations and the salary that goes with them. The last 5 games there has been a total of 5 goals scored for the Rangers. The stats don't lie. There has to be some serious soul searching going on by the players individually... if not, the season is starting to slip away, fast.

On another note, after almost 20 years, yours truly finally laced up the skates (something that I thought I would never do again) over the weekend at the "Ice Vault" in Wayne, New Jersey. I was part of a New York Ranger/New Jersey Devil Alumni squad who played against the Don Bosco Prep High School Hockey Alumni squad. The game was a charity event to benefit the Vincent Linguanti Memorial Scholarship Fund. Vincent passed away unexpectedly in August 2006. He was a hockey player and a volunteer fireman. I was fortunate enough to be invited by a former teammate and friend, Ron Duguay, as well as Bruce Driver who was basically in charge of getting the players together. Thanks for inviting me, it was for a great cause! Over and out.


Rangers Squeeze Out A Point!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The setting was perfect: Adam Graves Night. The fans paying respect to this true gentleman and warrior. The lowly Atlanta Thrashers are in town. Surely an easy 2 points, right? Wait a minute, when has it ever been easy for the Rangers? ... Exactly.

On a night where the fans could of been sent home on a total high, the Rangers failed to secure the much needed 2 points. Atlanta slipped by the Rangers in a 2-1 shootout victory where the Blueshirts bombarded Kari Lehtonen with 40 shots but could only manage a late game tying goal by Markus Naslund with 11 seconds to go in the 3rd (with Henrik Lundqvist pulled for the extra man).

Hey, we've been down this road far too often. This "no scoring" is clearly a problem that the Rangers have with the team the way it is. I'm sorry, but how much longer are we gonna hear that it's Tom Renney's fault? Or Glen Sather's fault? Sorry folks, but I am not one of them. I'll say over and over again that it's the players responsibilities to step up and perform. Somebody, somewhere has got to take the bull by the horns and put it on his shoulders. This needs to happen soon though... I mean real soon. I get people telling me that the Rangers are too defensive and play a basic offense... are you kidding me? 40 shots? But only 1 goal (not the first time)? Anyways, they did salvage a point out of it at least. It's too bad they couldn't finish the night with a win as the cherry on top of Adam Graves Night. But, that's hockey for ya!

Speaking of the jersey retirement... Adam Graves truly is a remarkable man. He has done more things off the ice in the charitable work realm than any sports figure that I can think of. Adam, you deserved this night!

Also, I want to let you know that I was there last night and it was great to see my friends again. As usual, Ron Greschner, Larry "Ratso" Sloman, Nicky Fotiu, John Davidson, and Ron Duguay (Who I sat with at a reception party for Adam Graves). It was a fantastic evening and the Rangers organization must be applauded! No organization in sports does it any better... I thank you!

Well, on to Dallas for the Rangers on Friday. Over and out!


Update: I will be away this Friday & Saturday doing some more Quinnipiac Bobcats games on the radio (As usual). I will answer any comments when I get back!

» Bobcats Link: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x981.xml


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