Thursday, April 07, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Who Needs Sean Avery Now!?

New York Rangers:  Coach Torts Needs Avery!  That's Who.

Someone will have to pick up the slack now that Ryan Callahan has been lost to injury.  But not only that, the person or people now responsible for being Coach Torts on the ice need to make sure Coach doesn't do anything loopy in light of his (our) loss.  Losing Ryan Callahan now, could very well make Coach lose his mind.  Everything Coach Torst wants this team to be, is embodied by Ryan Callahan.  Now Skipper has lost his Little Buddy and I'm worried.  Coach trusts no one like he does Callahan.  With no one else to trust besides Henrik and Marc Staal, Coach must not be allowed to get too experimental with his forward lines.  Tinkering is one thing; overhauls are another.  Does it make a difference the way Coach has juggled his lines this season?  Yes, it still matters, because it was looking as if Coach knew which nine forwards he'd be riding into the potential second season.  Now that all changes.

Who will Coach Torts slot into the line with Dubinsky and Anisimov?  Will he move Marian Gaborik up?  Will he give Derek Stepan another promotion?  Which ever way you care to ponder this, Sean Avery is officially a Ranger again whether Coach likes it or not.  After a season of shunning the forward and limiting his minutes, Coach Tortorella must now look to Sean Avery to fill in for Ryan Callahan, in some form or capacity, and keep the Rangers' playoffs aspirations buoyant.  But when you get right down to it, Avery is the logical choice to pick-up Callahan's minutes, because anything beyond Avery as a solution is too complicated and involves too many moves to the lines.

It's funny how life goes around in circles.

Sean Avery's penalty minutes compared to the rest of the team are sky high (although Brandon Prust is a close second).  We know this.  But if you are familiar with Avery's game, you know he does most things well.  He has been very effective when Coach Torts lets him on the ice and when Sean doesn't put himself in the penalty box.  But if there has been one major flaw in Sean Avery's game this year, it's he hasn't been able to finish a play.  We know he digs in the corners, is a good skater, and passes very well.  He's usually in position and anticipates just as well.  He creates plays from behind the net and is a tenacious fore-checker.  But all that has not translated into goals for Avery.  It's been nothing short of tough luck because, like I said, he does everything else well.  But the lack of scoring has been something that has plagued the team as a whole.  The team's scoring chances and Avery's chances have been there this season, but sometimes they and he, just seem to get stymied by a goalie who decides to play his career best game against the Rangers.

The bottom line here is Coach Torts and Sean Avery need to find some common ground to work on, so this team can continue moving forward.  And even I'll admit, this is all fine and well, but Sean Avery also needs to play disciplined Hockey.

I've heard early rumors Coach Torts is thinking about using Matt Gilroy on the wing.  Really?  C'mon Coach, you've been so good this year.  Don't start doing wacky things now.  We all know Ryan Callahan is to Coach Torts what Yogi Berra was like to Casey Stengel.  They both hated playing without their "Guy".  But Gilroy on the wing is a complete panic move.  There is absolutely no reason to even contemplate such an idea when the obvious "solution" to life without Callahan right now is Sean Avery.

You have a guy Coach.  All you have to do is look to your left and you'll see him at the end of the bench.  He's been there the whole time.  Just call his number and he'll come-a-skating, ready with stick in hand.

Remember back two years ago, when the rest of the Rangers were choking away a three games to one lead against the Capitals and a young goalie named Varlamov in the playoffs?  I'm sure you do.  Then you'll also remember Sean Avery put on a clinic as to how the game of Hockey is supposed to be played.  I'm not saying Sean is still that guy more nights than not.  I'm just trying to jar a memory of Sean Avery in a Ranger jersey during the playoffs.  And if you don't remember how well he played that series, consider yourself officially reminded.

There were no playoffs for this team last year.  If they're not careful, there will be no playoffs for them this year.  But the last time this team made the playoffs, Sean Avery was busy being the Rangers' best player.

So how about it Coach?  It's time to get Sean Avery on the ice and give him important minutes again.  It's not what I want.  It's what the team needs.  And John Tortorella needs to do so by impressing upon his beleaguered forward, he's being sent out with the full confidence and trust of his Coach.

If you've noticed, I haven't made one mention of Chris Drury throughout all this.  That's because I'm not interested.

"There's not need to fear" - Sean Avery is here. 

It's time for UNDER DOG's REVENGE!

March 6, 2011

#1 ~ Washington ~ 105
#2 ~ Philadelphia ~ 103
#3 ~ Boston ~ 99
#4 ~ Pittsburgh ~ 102
#5 ~ Tampa Bay ~ 99
#6 ~ Montreal ~ 93
#7 ~ Buffalo ~ 92
#8 ~ NEW YORK ~ 91
#9 ~ Carolina ~ 87

Yesterday ~ March 5th
Buffalo 4;  Tampa Bay 2
While the Rangers were off yesterday, Buffalo downed the Lightning and gained a point over the Blueshirts.
Buffalo has two games remaining ~ FLYERS; @Blue Jackets,  End April 9th.

Today ~ March 6th
Detroit 0;  CAROLINA 3
Carolina earned their 89th point tonight with a 3-0 shut-out of the Detroit Red Wings which puts them a mere two points behind the Rangers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Carolina has two games remaining after tonight ~ @Atlanta; LIGHTNING,  End April 9th.

Last Two Games of the Regular Season for NYR
vs. Atlanta; New Jersey - End April 9th.

Atlanta Thrashers
11th Place ~ 33-34-12 ~ 78 Points
8th Place ~ 43-32-5 ~ 91 Points

33rd Street and 7th Avenue

Thrashers vs Rangers: Pre-Game:
Atlanta faded down the stretch.  They got as close as 10th place (I believe) then fell back into the pack.  They have lost two straight coming onto this game and are fresh off a Tuesday night loss to Nashville.  They are still a team which represent nothing but trouble to the Rangers.  These two teams are special team units passing each other in the night.  In the last seven games the Thrashers have given up one lone goal on their last nineteen times on a power play kill.  The Rangers power play, even with the addition of Brian McCabe still hovers around 17% which ranks 16th in the League.

The Rangers were riding high coming off back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and Boston.  Then they were rocked with news they lost their un-official Captain; Ryan Callahan as he busted an ankle blocking a shot.  But that's what the Coach demands.  He expects the Rangers to sacrifice their bodies and block shots.  Somehow he's managed to get them all to buy in.  But sometimes it costs us.  We've played before without Callahan, and now we'll have to do it again.

The Carolina Hurricanes shut-out the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 Wednesday night.  Their eighty-nine points moves them to within two points of the eighth place and idle Rangers with two games remaining.

That means the Rangers game against the New Jersey Devils on April 9th to close out the season, will have a direct bearing on the Rangers playoff chances.  The only form of control the Rangers maintain for themselves relies on the Blueshirts getting three points out of the next and final two games.

They are cutting this awfully close aren't they?  And now they must do it without their heart and soul.

UPDATED March 7th:
I wrote all this yesterday but then fell asleep and didn't publish.  So excuse the post if it sounds a day late.  Even though Coach Torts has made decisions about the lines tonight, nothing I said really changes much.  If Coach goes through with this, and plays Gilroy on the wing instead of utilizing Sean Avery, he should be committed to a nut house.


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