Tuesday, November 18, 2014

N.Y. Rangers: Lightning Strikes MSG


Former Rangers Captain Ryan Callahan Scored Two Goals In Return To MSG

NEW YORK RANGERS: The Time May Have Come To Promote Dylan McIlrath.

I swear I watched a bunch of girl scouts lash out over the (clean) hit Dan Girardi sustained from Ivgeni Malkin!  I saw a lot of grappling in the corner, but not one punch.

You just can't let hits like that go unchallenged.  It's not that I want someone to get a black eye.  It's just that teams have been taking advantage of the Rangers for two seasons now, so I guess this is welcome to season three.

It's painfully obvious the Rangers do not have the type of player to police the ice; Glen Sather ensures that.  I blame him.  Things like Colton Orr and Brandon Prust, and Sather's feeble attempts to correct his folly with Donald Brashear and Derek Boogaard come racing into my brain!

With the Lightning in town Monday night, I was also reminded of Glen Sather's inability to manage the salary cap.

About Monday....

Without even trying to be physical, Tampa showed once again how soft the Rangers can be.

I watched Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucjerov set camp in front of Henrik Lundqvist and play a leisurely game of tic-tac-toe for Tampa's opening score.

Then I watched Ryan Callahan easily shove Dan Girardi completely out of position and score a power play goal to give Tampa a 2-0 1st period lead.

  • The Rangers have 7 PP goals this season; Callahan has 2; just saying....  Callahan even pushed around MatsZuccs at one point, because everyone can, and does.
After a mindless neutral zone turnover by Rick Nash resulted in a breakaway goal by Steven Stamkos, the Lightning had their 4th potential goal of the evening waived off after literally pushing Lundqvist clear out of his crease.  No Bolts player received even so much as a dirty look.

Shortly thereafter, I watched Palat and Johnson again, with Alex Killorn blitzkrieg their way to an unhindered 4th Tampa goal.

The 5th Tampa goal was not a garbage time goal; it was just a garbage goal.  Two Rangers defensemen (who shall remain nameless) failed to matriculate the puck from behind their net, much less initiate an effective breakout.  Ryan Callahan swooped in to arrest the puck, and scored his second goal of the evening, capping off a triumphant return to Madison Square Garden.

Rick Nash and Steven Stamkos are now tied with 12 goals each this season, with the difference being Stamkos plays with Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle, and has his team in first place with a 13-4-2 record, while Rick Nash now plays with Martin St. Louis, whom together have helped the Rangers achieve an inconsistent 7-7-4 record.

Teams like Columbus and Toronto have already shown what happens to the Rangers when games really get physical.

In summary, the Rangers are playing soft, ineffective defense.

They can potentially improve their strength, size and presence in front of Henrik Lundqvist, while at the same time perhaps adding a measure of toughness in other scenarios.  Perhaps it's time to promote Dylan McIlrath again - and this time, for good.

McIlrath, 22, is listed at 6'5" and 220 lbs.  He would instantly become the Rangers biggest   defenseman, and arguably their most physical.

What could it hurt?  In his absence, perhaps a lot.


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