Rangers Stop the Bleeding!

Monday, October 26, 2009

After dropping 3 straight games (2 at home, 1 road OT loss) the New York Rangers put an end to the first mini-crisis of the season. The Rangers won 5-2 on Monday night against a good and fast Phoenix Coyotes team (coached by my former teammate, Dave Tippet). The Rangers came out with the energy that seemed to be lacking during the losing streak. Anisimov, Gaborik (PPG), Prospal, Gaborik (Again on the PP) all scored giving the Rangers a 4-0 lead midway through the 2nd period. Then- It happened.

The same problems that have plagued the Rangers in the previous losses crept in. The boys in blue stopped skating, forgot to play defense, and basically played lazy. Well, 2 quick goals by Phoenix (one short handed) turned what could have been a laugher into a serious battle. Not the way that you want to finish a 2nd period after being up by 4 goals! As this was happening, I turned to my son Cody and mentioned if the Coyotes get a PP, things could get even tighter. Well what do you know? To open the 3rd period that's exactly what happened. Dan Girardi got called for tripping and the Rangers faithful got that uneasy feeling. Fortunately, the penalty kill was excellent and the Rangers killed it off. Enver Lisin finally put this game away with a blast to make it 5-2 and the Rangers picked up a much needed victory.

It wasn't perfect, but a win is a win. There's lots of work to be done with this team, still. Neutral zone play and the defensive zone need to be addressed. I'm sure coach John Tortorella and his coaching staff see this. Trust me, it will be taken care of. You won't become a great team until you learn how to play in all 3 zones of the ice. In the offensive zone, it's easy to work hard. Especially when the goals are going in. It's the other 2 zones where it's easy to get lazy. Players must understand that!

Unfortunately this win was on a down note of sorts. Marian Gaborik left the game late in the 3rd period after flexing his knee/leg for a short while on the ice. Al Trautwig said during the broadcast that he saw Gaborik "limping" to the locker room. There is no definitive word yet on the status of Gaborik. Hopefully it's nothing major.

Also, on a sad note, my condolences go out to the "Big Whistle" Bill Chadwick's family. He truly was a big part of the Rangers history. A true legend. RIP, Bill.

**Quick Update thanks to Andrew Gross... Gaborik was NOT limping after emerging from the trainers room. He said whatever was sustained tonight was NOT related to either his hip or groin. Status still unknown for tomorrow's practice or the game on Wednesday against the Islanders. Either way, seems like some good news.


Reality Check

Monday, October 19, 2009

It was probably something that the Rangers needed: a good thumping by a decent team. The San Jose Sharks came into MSG and started slowly at first, but in the end they gave the New York Rangers more than they could handle. You could almost smell this one coming after a win in Toronto where the Rangers were outshot and did not play all that spectacular.

The Rangers started out this game like most have started out this season. They had a nice early 2 goal lead thanks to goals by Chris Drury and Michael Del Zotto. But it all changed quickly and by the end of the 1st period things were tied up at 2 a piece. The only thing that really bothered me in the 1st period was Heatley’s goal. He had his head down with the puck at his skates and no one pounds him with a hit? You can’t stick check a player of Heatley’s stature and get away with it! Plus, as I said, he was prime for a bone crunching hit and no one took advantage of it! The Sharks proceeded to blow it wide open in the 2nd period with 3 more goals (5 straight counting their first 2). Sloppy play, penalties, and poor goaltending did the Rangers in tonight. The 3rd period was just basically going through the motions for both teams. The game was really over after the 2nd period.

My take on this thumping? It was bound to happen sooner or later. You can’t win them all. However, Torts will have to remind them that they are a team that still needs a lot of work. I’m pretty sure most fans did see this coming at some point and it came at a good time. There is no need to panic. The Rangers are a good hockey team- just not great yet!

The Devils are coming up next for the Blueshirts on Thursday. The Rangers will have to come out with a better effort against a hated divisional rival if they hope to get back on track. Over and out!


Winning is All That Matters!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With wins over the Anaheim Ducks (3-0), Toronto Maple Leafs (7-2), and the Los Angeles Kings (4-2), the New York Rangers are proving to be a very versatile team early on in this season. The Rangers have been versatile in the sense that the boys in blue have won games while playing the full 60 minutes, won while taking some 2nd periods completely off, won after getting outplayed during the course of a game, etc. To me, these are all good signs. Signs that lead me to believe that something very good is brewing in Ranger Land.

I mean, how bad is it when we as fans start to worry about a period of bad play? Or a game in which the Rangers got outplayed and still end up victorious? Are we getting spoiled? I hope not. Of course we must always remember the “It’s early in the season” line and yadda, yadda, yadda. But you know what? The Rangers are winning and that’s all that matters!

Getting off subject a little bit here, but isn’t it time to get on board with Donald Brashear? Enough is enough! He’s a Ranger now and that is not going to change. Brashear has done his job so far and has done it well. The fans just have to get over the past and embrace “The Donald”. Colton Orr, much beloved by Rangers fans and by myself, is no longer here. It is time to get on board and accept the man who has one of the toughest jobs in all of sport- let alone hockey. That man is Donald Brashear and he is a Ranger! Over and out!


This Team is Different!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Rangers invaded the Washington Ovechkin’s arena- Oops! I mean, the Washington Capitals. For what was to be a great early season test to see how this Rangers team would fair against one of the best teams out there. To me, it’s not so much that the Rangers got the win by a score of 4-3, it’s more so about how they did it.

Starting off… Ryan Callahan. Would he play? Or would he not? Well Rangers fans, not only did he play- but he played his tail off and supplied the Rangers with a huge goal and an all-around outstanding performance. I’ve said it before and I’ll stay it again. Ryan Callahan will someday be “Captain Material”. You can take that to the bank! Next, was “The King”. Henrik Lundqvist totally gaffed on a dump in from near center ice by Nicklas Backstrom which ended up knotting up the game at 2. Shortly thereafter, this Rangers team rallied around their franchise goalie and Lundqvist himself came along for the ride. Lundqvist made many big saves down the stretch. Sure, the Capitals scored on a PP (Bad penalty by Voros) to take the 3-2 lead. I’m also sure there were many Rangers fans thinking, “Here we go again”. Well, that’s when it happened.

Something that Rangers fans have not seen from a Ranger team in years. A quick strike by Marian Gaborik tied up the game at 3-3 just 18 seconds later. A few minutes after that, Gaborik struck again off of a beautiful feed from Michael Del Zotto (Boy can this kid pass!) and the Rangers were now in front 4-3! What? A Comeback after facing adversity? You better believe it.

That’s the difference that I see so far with this Rangers squad. They do not sit back and lay down like dogs. They kept the pressure on the Caps and just continued to play their game. As a result, they were victorious in the hostile Washington arena. I saw a team tonight that cared for each other out there. They bailed out their star goalie by making sure the Voros penalty’s PP goal would not be the lasting impression of the night. That’s what the word “team” means and this win proves that. This Rangers squad is different in more ways than one. You have to like what you see so far! Over and out!


Three Games In...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Well, we are officially 3 games into the 2009-10 NHL regular season. The New York Rangers are currently sporting a 2-1-0 (4 pts) record... not bad. So far, so good!

The new style of play is very refreshing to see. This team will continue to be aggressive, exciting, and scary all at the same time. With the top line of Gaborik, Dubsinky, and Prospal- the Rangers now have a line that puts fear into the eyes of the opposition. Opposing teams will definitely have to account for them when they are playing the Rangers. If they don't, well, they will be in for a long night! Overall the forwards will be in a "go" mode and not be held back by an overbearing defensive style.

The new additions of Gilroy and Del Zotto (as well as the returning cast) have brought both some good moments and some scary ones in this early part of this season. Really though, how can you not like what the defensive youth brings to the team? There will be breakdowns, there will be lots of odd man rushes, but over time the Rangers will tighten it up on the defensive end (Torts will make sure of that).

One thing is for sure though: there will be no restraints put on the attacking offensive style that Coach Tortorella is trying to install. The real early test will come on Thursday night in Ovechkin Land. Can the Rangers seek a measure of revenge for last year's 7-game playoff exit at the hands of the Capitals? You'll have to tune in to see. Over and out!


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