Thursday, October 17, 2013

N.Y. Rangers: Big Win Over Caps Overshadowed By Bigger Loss Of Ryan Callahan


Rangers Fans Get "Thumbed" In The Eye

NEW YORK RANGERS:  That's One Big Win For Tex's Rangers, But One Giant Loss For Blueshirts Kind.

The Rangers looked and played like they were happy to be back in familiar surroundings Wednesday night, even if it was in Washington.  The enigmatic Capitals turned out to be a welcome elixir for the beleaguered Rangers, even though the Caps have more problems than a math book too.  That should not take away from the kind of game the Blueshirts played though.  They've shown incremental progress of late.  But the Rangers still have a long way to go before proving anything.

My attitude hasn't changed much.  In fact, very recent attempts to play man-to-man defense looked very keystone cop at times.  Overall, the defense still finds themselves in places on the ice Henrik is not used to, and as a result is facing a wider range of shots he's likewise not accustomed to.  Three cheers go out to John Moore for scoring a goal however.  I'm still not over an increasing lack of toughness, but it was nice to see Justin Falk mix it up in the first period, and the Rangers actually out-hit the Caps by a wide 35-21 margin.  That's a tangible positive.

Certainly not last, Ryan Callahan was already being tasked with having to do too much.  He easily led ALL forwards Wednesday night with twenty-eight shifts and 22:06 minutes of ice time.  Alex Ovechkin took twenty-two shifts.  Callahan also led ALL forwards with five hits, and led the Rangers with six shots on net.  Only Alex Ovechkin took more shots, but Callahan had the only goal by a forward.  Oh, and he was asked to kill penalties too.  Now, Ryan Callahan will miss the next several weeks with a broken thumb.  He'll join Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin on the list of players the Rangers can least afford to lose.

Here is more evidence that Alain Vigneault is just as guilty as the previously ousted coach when it comes to shortening the bench.  While Callahan topped everyone with 22:06, Ovechkin saw 21:40 minutes, but no other player surpassed twenty-one minutes.  Derick Brassard and Brad Richards were the only other two Rangers forwards to clock twenty minutes.  The Caps had five different forwards eclipse twenty minutes.

It is now J.T. Miller's and Taylor Pyatt's big chance to shine.  In fact, Glen Sather's newly assembled crew is all together now.  Miller, Pyatt, Brassard, Derek Dorsett, Benoit Pouliot, Jesper Fast, Dominic Moore, John Moore, Darroll Powe, Justin Falk are all Glen Sather's bright ideas to improve a club that went to the Eastern Conference finals two years ago.

All we need now is for Chris Kreider to become the next Manny Malhotra - the Rangers former number one pick of the 1998 draft, and the seventh pick over all, whom the Rangers wound up trading to Dallas for three sticks and a bag-o-pucks.


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