Saturday, February 05, 2011

N.Y. Rangers; A Crowd Of BlueShirts Headed Back To Montreal


It's up To Coach Torts To Maintain Crowd Control


We've seen the last game against the Devils played out many times before.  We know what it looks like when we see it coming.

*A lethargic start and a furious third period.
*The Henrik Stinker; three goals allowed on twelve shots taken by the Devils, followed by a call to the bullpen. 
*The Rangers were 1 for 6 on the Power Play.  It took a two man advantage in the third period to finally score a PP goal (by Prospal).  For most of the other man-advantages, they could hardly either gain, or maintain the zone.
*Brandon Dubinsky has turned into a Human Turnover.  His legs spread wide, stick-out, puck-handling style is a real hit with defenses; especially when he's headed one way, while the puck and a skater are headed in the opposite direction.  (It's not as big a hit with the fans though).
*Sean Avery receiving the second lowest amount of ice-time.

Then..., there was...

*Steve Eminger was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.  Michael Del Zotto has been getting the ice-time....and of course has been struggling.

"I Say...I say, that kid is about as sharp as a bowling ball" - Foghorn Leghorn.

I think we're all in agreement on two things regarding Michael Del Zotto:
ONE - We like him.
TWO - He has no business being on the team and would be better served playing with the Whale and learning his craft there.  No jokes...He's just in need of some good old fashioned Minor League experience; that's all.

And then..., getting back to Avery, - he did it.   ...Coach Torts that is.

Sean Avery had only 9:43 time on ice against the Devils Thursday night.  It was the second lowest time after Chris Drury's 8:43, > and who now seems to be suffering from a bum knee.  Vinny Prospal?  16:33 worth of ice time.  AND he was reunited with his old line-mate Marian Gaborik.  Just because I didn't want to see it happen, doesn't mean we all didn't see it coming.  But, yea, I have a problem with that and last night's game.

Vinny Prospal actually played a good game (at Center) for his first time seeing action this season.  He scored on a Power Play.  But don't be fooled.  He played well when the ice got crowded down low and wasn't forced to skate about in open ice.  I was there and watched.  When play along the boards broke-up and the action skated the other way, he looked like he was skating in sand with stilettos on.  But this is what had me grinding my teeth Thursday night; - Prospal got sixteen minutes in his first game back while Avery was limited to nine-plus?

First, look up and down the list of Forwards on the New York Rangers.  I'll wait.  Forget the stats, because they don't translate with all the injuries and Tort's allotments.  Just look at the names and draw a mental image of their on-ice efforts and effectiveness.

Now, I want you to ask yourself the following question; What Forward would you consider to be our most complete package Forward?  What Forward plays almost every aspect of a Forward's game quite well?

Consider instincts and Hockey smarts; correct positioning; being a good skater; good anticipation; being a good puck handler; very good passing; passing from behind the net; grinds and wins battles against the boards and in the corners; knows how to buzz the net; good in a crowd and in open ice; very good fore-checker; understands and plays responsible defense; takes the body; knows how to finish checks; and someone who is unafraid and tough...(without going on and on...).

So now let's answer that question.  I'm not going to debate who gets into the top three of the list.  But I will say Sean Avery must be among the three.  So I cede 2/3 of any debate on the matter.  All I ask is for the 1/3 being called correctly.

I also want to point out the last game we played against the Flyers.  Yea, we lost.  My point is Avery picked a fight because we were getting our butts kicked and the young-lings needed to be shown what it takes to play Philly.  I'm not comparing the two players, but do you remember who the last Blueshirt was that decided to pick and choose moments to get into a fight just for the sake of shaking up his own team?  I do.  Sorry, but it was Messier (I'm sure we can name others..just not any recently).  Of course I'm not comparing; they aren't in the same galaxy.  I'm just pointing to one trait.

Again Thursday, when the Devils were skating circles around us, Avery took it upon himself to try and get some feistiness generated among his team-mates and took-on Clarkson.  Those two instances (Phila/NJ) weren't Avery punk-jobs.  They were needed at the time and he seized upon the moment.  I'm not talking about anything heroic here.  I'm just talking about good, hard, Hockey and recognizing the team may have needed a spark to juice em up.

Here's another, I'm sorry, but I haven't seen better passing or a Blueshirt player, play better behind net than..., that's right!...I'm going to say it! - Wayne Gretzky.  Don't gasp.  Embrace the truth.  Again, I'm not comparing.  I'm just pointing out something Avery does very well for the Rangers.

And this is why I tie myself up in knots like I did to my sneakers when I was six years old!

But you know what?  That's old news, however much it's been my pet peeve.  My gripe is with the blatant misuse of a very effective player; nothing more..Nothing less. 

But, let me tell you why I'm really cranky about this team right now.

It happens all the time.  What you start the season with, turns out to be a dog.  Then a bunch of them get hurt and you have to call up reinforcements.  Young, hungry, eager kids step in and not only hold down the fort, they excel and affect your team enough into making strides in the standings.  Then when the collective dog gets healthy again, they force the youthful exuberance aside so the junkyard fence barkers may resume land-mining the lot again with their waste.  THAT's what has me a little ticked.

Erik Christensen is coming back for today's game against the Canadiens, and Coach Torts already said he has no idea where he's going to find time for him.  That might be a small problem for the moment.  But the log-jam is bound to create a bigger issue (especially when Fedotenko gets back) down the line and heading into April.

Oh yea..., about April; I am consumed with the Carolina Hurricanes.  I think the Rangers' playoff chances are caught somewhere between us and them.

Of course, if Vinny Prospal does play well down the stretch and wakes up a sleeping Gaborik, then it will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm an idiot and the Rangers should be thankful they have Coach Torts behind the bench instead of me.

But, until that transpires, I'm going to keep pushing this issue like (a) dope.




Montreal Canadiens

From The Great White North

These are the rest of the pictures from Montreal as of January 15, 2011:
You can see the first group of pictures HERE.

Let's Go Rangers!


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