You didn't have to like him. He was never the most composed player, and his team mates didn't necessarily like him either. In truth, his general misconduct belied his true hockey abilities. Sean Avery could skate, and knew how to play, and was a brilliant passer, particularly from behind the net. Avery also knew how to crash the net, and possessed down-low killer instinct. He didn't get pushed off the puck, and knew when a well timed fight was in order. If he and John Tortorella could have only found an inch of common ground, they would have made sweet music together...,
(Ryan Callahan withstanding). Just saying.........
Gotta turn this into a street hockey game. No blood, no penalty.
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Century Village Ice Hut
NEW YORK RANGERS: Physical play starts behind the bench, meaning, Alain Vigneault has a tough adjustment to make.
The Rangers scored 5 times in Game Three. That should have been good enough..., anytime..,
....except, when you commit another offensive turnover near the blue line that went the other way for a goal; allow Tampa the offensive zone with numbers off one stretch pass; play with a complete lack of resistance in the neutral zone; arrive late to the boards and shy away from dirty ice; and commit stupid penalties because they can't keep up (or they're either just stupid, or Chris Kreider, or both). All that demonstrated just how much faster the Lightning are than Tex's Rangers.
Henrik was the one who said he's having trouble zeroing in on the puck, and that Tampa was doing anything they pleased these last two games - not me. Yeah, Henrik has been a little sketchy of late, but I still refuse to unload my ire on him. I chose to direct it towards the forwards, and to a lesser extent, the blue liners.
So, what can the Blueshirts do to slow Tampa down? You know the answer to that as well as I do.
Refer to Game One.
The Lightning are even smaller than the
With regards to style, Coach Vigneault is getting beat at his own game. Therefore, the directive must come from him. This is his adjustment to make.
On another front, how many Rangers bells have been rung so far? Ryan McDonagh, Dan Boyle, Kevin Hayes... Who's next? Where has the response been? What bells have they rung? Don't think I forgot the cheap shot Sindy Crosby took on Henrik that went completely ignored. I don't want people getting hurt. I just want the Rangers finishing their checks, and initiating effective physical play, but I also want them administering justice for any opposing indiscretions.
Coach must make the call for tougher play, and demand his players respond accordingly - all of them, including Rick Nash. He should be the lead bull in Tampa's china shop. If he's been veering wide, demand that he turns toward net. Toughness starts behind the bench.
I predicted the Rangers would be enjoying an advantage with regards to PP opportunities, but they lost their bearing along the way. The Rangers are 4 for 9 on the power play this series. That would ordinarily have been considered a glorious success, as they were just 6 for 36 during the two previous series against Pittsburgh and Washington. Instead, it's an inglorious performance, because they've let Tampa on the power play 12 times this series, and the Lightning converted on 7 of them. That's unacceptable! The Rangers are having too much trouble skating with Tampa at even strength as it is. If they're going to allow Tampa goals on special teams as well, then this will be a much shorter series than anticipated.
At 9:55 of the 1st period, Jesper Fast (and the Rangers) did it again. They proved once again Ben Bishop can be beat if you make him move side to side. Yet, the Rangers have largely settled for outside shots, and generally played the last two games with a major lack of killer instinct. Sure, they did well to stay somewhat competitive in a 6-5 loss (as if..). But, a loss in the playoffs is a huge loss nonetheless.
Be Better, Do More, Get Tougher.