Monday, November 15, 2010

NYRangers; Fighting For Everything and Avery Too

The Gang is all in!

The injury bug isn't gone just because Marian Gaborik is back.  We still have players we need their quick returns to health.

But everyone dressed in a Blueshirt and present yesterday was ready, willing and able to lock arms, plow forward and through Edmonton early yesterday afternoon.  Sean Avery will be topic one, as many accuse him for instigating yesterday's on-ice fracas.  But I'm thinking Coach Torts is not only happy with how the Rangers responded after the fracas, but how they all came together during the fights.

Penalties be damned!...when you win 8-2.

I'm thinking after a gritty Over-Time win over Buffalo where Torts could be seen pumping his fist in triumph, the response to a game like this makes Torts want to go out and hit someone himself.  He didn't, which is a good thing.  Instead, Torts had to restrain Brandon Dubinsky from getting involved while he was on the bench as he was getting pulled into the fight by his jersey.  I'm guessing Torts was thinking and feeling like Flounder in Animal House, "Oh Boy!  This is great!" as he was holding Dubinsky back.  But did you think, like me, Torts really wanted to let him go?

OK...So the Sunday matinee game wasn't an exercise in sportsmanship.  It was more like Grown Men Behaving Badly.  I'm sure the kids in attendance had a blast watching things transpire despite an appalled soccer mom or two.

But in Hockey, the game is tough, the crowds are rough, Coach says and does crazy stuff, and we can't get enough, of a game like this.  Just because the Sunday game is usually "kids day" doesn't mean you're going to get a P.C. game.  We got a Tuesday night game this Sunday.  It was a little bit of Hell for the Oilers but Heaven to the Blueshirt Brotherhood.

So what about this fight?  What about Sean Avery?

Sean Avery laid a clean shoulder to shoulder hit on Colin Fraser which sent him into the boards and down to the ice.  Fraser didn't appear to have a problem with the hit and got up and skated on.  Ladislav Smid seemingly had a problem with the hit on his team mate and skated cross ice to confront Avery.  The story on the Oilers side is Avery told Smid "No" or "Next shift" with regards to dropping gloves.

If you were watching, Smid was still talking at Avery and snapped his stick up and away from Avery.  Smid might have been about to skate away from Avery, but Sean pounced on him connecting with a first shot; a solid right to the jaw.  Smid saw Avery drop his gloves and couldn't react in time.  But why was he challenging Avery in the first place?  He did so and forgot the cardinal rule of self-defense; never let your guard down.  Too bad for him.

Avery was peeled off Smid and escorted off the ice.  That's when the place went all Mike Milbury and the Bruins.  Some Oilers, who were in the middle of a change so therefore had about 8 men on the ice, went after Avery as he was being escorted off the ice, as he was done for the night riddled with penalty minutes.  Avery's team mates came to his aid and it was on.  Several fights and struggles ensued before the Refs and Linesmen restored order.

The Oilers used Gutless and a few other descriptions when speaking about Avery.  But when Avery was told the Oilers said he said things like, "No" and "Next Shift".... Avery's response was, "That's what they said?  Funny."

Avery is many things to many people; mostly bad.  But I don't think he's a liar.  He doesn't need to be.  He beats his own drum and isn't out to win any popularity contests.  So why lie?  Who knows what Smid said to Avery or Avery to Smid.  Smid picked a fight with the wrong guy and got more than he bargained for.  Too bad for him.

I can't tell you what Torts was thinking as he watched Avery in action before things got out of hand.  Most likely the thoughts were not positive.  I don't believe Tort's disdain ever went away for Avery, just because he's on the roster.  My friend and I discussed the fight and Avery and he said even Ryan Callahan could be seen snipping at Avery as the Refs led him off ice.  But by that time the Oilers were closing in and Avery was still exchanging pleasantries with them.  I myself did not see Callahan yell at Avery.

But the aftermath is something I think Torts feels is a positive if you look how they ran up the score afterwards.  It turned out to be somewhat of a Kumbaya moment for the team....I hope.

But now I really want you to pay attention.  Sean Avery is partly the result of bad coaching by Torts.  That's right.  I said it.

Busy hands are happy hands.  Torts is not doing enough to maximize his skill.  We know Avery has loads of it.  He is fantastic behind the net and is a good, crisp and above all smart passer.  He skates very well and finishes his hits (yea....that's part of the problem.  Don't stop me now).  He's a great battler along the boards.  He does many things well.  You know this to be true.

Torts needs to put more talent around him on a more consistent basis.  Sean Avery flat out needs a better line to play with.  The more he is engaged into the offense the less reckless he is.

Torts has buried him all season so far on the third and fourth lines; playing with Boogaard and Christensen at times.  As is Tort's way to mix lines in-game, Avery has played at times with Prust and Callahan.  But if Torts continues to bury Avery on the 4th line, he's playing right into the mind of a mischief maker.  Idle hands are the Devil's playground.

Coach Torts needs to engage Avery.  His game and skill is waiting to be utilized.  Yes, there's things that come along with that.  But if you want Good Avery, give him Good Time with a Good Line.

** There are no suspensions as a result of last night's fight.  Only Brandon Dubinsky received a monetary fine.  How ponderous is that?

Tonight the NEW YORK RANGERS take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in their new arena.  Let's see if the Gang is still All In.

Penguins      2

Post Game:
NYR ~ Late Heroics Save Rangers And Their King..(Henrik).

The Penguins came in waves.  They buzzed Henrik all night long.  They cris-crossed in front and behind him.
Shots came from all angles.  The Rangers kept committing penalties and kept having to kill them off.

Through all this Henrik Lundqvist remained true.  He protected a very precarious 1-0 lead as best he could till 57:29 of regulation time.  If you're being honest with yourselves, you were thinking when the shoe was going to fall off this game?  You were thinking that very thing all the way up until 57:28.  Then it happened a second later; The Penguins scored and you didn't feel good about the rest of the game.

If you still had hope at that moment, I'm positive you were feeling queasy 28 seconds later when Pittsburgh scored again making it 2-1 with 2:03 to go.  The other shoe had just fallen off.

We were feeling that because we've all experienced it and here we were again.  Right?  After two wins and the Penguins on the slate, recent history said we were going to lose tonight based on the win, lose, win, lose, lose, win, win model.   If you're still being honest with yourself, we were over-come with this very same feeling against Buffalo, before we pulled that one out.

But a funny thing happened on the way to our Ranger Fan's abyss tonight.  This team re-affirmed a remarkable break from the past.  Tonight, heroes wore Blue.  What makes this special, aside from being the third consecutive win, is the guys who we really want to be our new heroes, are answering the calls.

Marc Staal scored a short-handed goal with 1:26 left off a Dubinsky pass, which he brought up ice.  That tied the score and sent this contest into overtime.  In the extra period, Callahan wrestled a turnover in his own end and headed up the right side with Dubinsky riding shot-gun.  A pass to Dubinsky and a return pass to Callahan ended this game.

The guys this organization wanted so badly to place their trust in; the guys Torts is imploring to be great; the guys we the fans so desperately want to commit to..., even the most jaded of us..., Those guys; the Callahans, Dubinskys and the Staals.. may be breaking through.


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