Monday, December 29, 2008

Backs to the wall...

Any of us that was expecting the type of cross river rivalry game that would see us come out an take charge early looking for revenge was in for a shock as, the Rangers got off to a poor start by taking a Too many men penalty, before the game had much of a chance to get under way. While the devils couldn't capitalize on that powerplay, it didn't take them long go up 2-0 thanks to careless play and uncoordinated defense. This would turn out to be the theme of the night for the blueshirts as we made a previously offensively challenged team look like defending Stanley cup champions.

However, if anyone was looking for bright spots, they needn't look any further than the two players closest to Hartford reassignment in Lauri Koprikoski and Corey Potter. Korpikoski single handedly killed off precious seconds of a Devils Power play by hustling, taking possession of the puck and playing keep away in the devils end. This drew a resounding applause just shy of a standing ovation from the crowd at the garden. Corey Potter didn't do too badly for himself, earning a key assist on the night. On a routine play, Potter succeeded where many of ranger defensemen failed in contributing to the offense by making a simple quick touch pass to a teammate willing to shoot without hesitation (Kalinen).

Even with the goals by Nigel Dawes and Kalinen, the rangers were still made to look amateurish by a New Jersey team that spent most of the night teeing up big shots through the slot as our defense failed to provide cover and our forwards arrived late on the back check, never finding the open man and contesting any of the shots.

Official Recap Here.

I used to attend about 20-25 games a season. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time or funds to attend many games this season, but it didn't take long into Saturday night's game to confirm what I suspected in my last post. The "ho-hum, we'll get em next time" attitude has seeped into the stands where the very spirit of the Rangers live... The fans. It used to be that it was impossible for a player to make a mistake on the ice without hearing the disapproval of the crowd for the rest of the night. While there are still many of us that can't contain our profane outbursts, it appears that much of the garden crowd has grown somewhat used to the gaffes, preferring instead to reserve their energy for the times when we (by effort or good luck) are bailed out of the precarious situations we skate into or create for ourselves. Every clearing receives cheers similar to the ones reserved at one time for when Brian Leetch went end to end and carrying the puck through the entire opposing team and their goalie. More disturbing were the visiting devil fans that cheered as loudly as they could when their team scored and giving rangers fans that frequent the prudential center, a taste of our own medicine.

Where does it end? I guess that all depends on when the players, the fans and the organization decides we've had enough. I think many of us have already reached that point. The coach however, seems content to blame the players and not himself. “I can tell you I’m not happy with how our team played. I’m not happy with performance from some very key members of our hockey club, who need to be better,” Renney said. “They need to step up and start taking charge of this hockey club and start playing the way they can. If we do that, we won’t have to worry about making personnel changes. We’ll strengthen ourselves internally by how we choose to play. Nobody has to worry about their jobs at all. Show up. Play hard. Compete. Battle. Want it bad enough. Have some urgency in your game.”

Clearly, they have been holding him back and lacking in putting his perfect plans into action.

- J_Undisputed

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