Sunday, April 5, 2009

Muzzled in the Matinee.

I suppose I could fill this post with ditto marks as nothing as really changed from the last game in Carolina. Anyone who's had the volume up on the broadcasts during the past couple of games, is probably sick of hearing "blah blah blah... The rangers played a good game, but just couldn't score... and (insert opposing team here) simply just scored when they needed to as the Rangers couldn't..." So with that I will spare you of having to recount the details of that good effort turned bad waste of time (and 2 points) when we just couldn't score one freakin goal.

For those masochists out there, you can get the official Recap here.

The only part of the game I think I will talk about is the incident between Tim Thomas and Sean Avery. For anyone who missed it...

Many people are shaking their heads and saying "same ole Avery". Me? well while no one saw it, (they actually had to go to the replay to see it and then start handing out minutes.) I have to argue that while it was cheap, it was genius. Before the hockey purists start to rain down jeers from their Ivory tower, let us recap the aftermath... Avery was escorted from the bench to the penalty box and Thomas, the Bruins best player, was assessed a penalty too. Right after, Gomez was taken down near the boards (didn't take much, did it Gomer? ;P)and we had a 4 on 3 for almost a minute and a half. It was perhaps our best chance to tie things up. Avery did what he set out to do. He went out looked around and gave a little tap to the back of the fiberglass around Thomas' head which turned him from league sweetheart to vengeance driven penalty taker. What bothers me is that Avery was the only one who saw we weren't winning this game by doing the same thing over and over again and something needed to change. Whether it be getting the goalie off his game, getting us a 4 on 4... or possibly a 4 on 3 depending on the retaliation, but most of all make the guys on our team feel like they had an opportunity to seize and change the course of the game.

If we take a good look at the team dynamic. We can still see that Zherdev plays according to his moods, Antropov sometimes does the same. Redden has two gears (crappy and less crappy-- for the money, anyway). Gomez can still weave his way through 2/3 of the ice just before turning it over. And the only thing clutch about our captain these days, is his purse. Yet the one guy that people agonized over bringing back, and people swore he wouldn't fit in with the coach and called a disruption in the locker room, is out performing all of those guys that called him selfish and a distraction to the team. Its become apparent more than ever that this team needs more players like Avery. Am I the only one who see him kind of rubbing off on Callahan? Is it the snarl, or the attitude... or just the hard work. Doing something for the sake of saying they did something whether it needed to be done or not... a lot or a little... pretty or dirty. I'll say I have started to take a bit of a liking to Morris too. Its players like these that will allow the coach some stability when it comes to guiding this team.

It's unfortunate that Avery's plan didn't reap its intended rewards. It unfortunate that it kind of backfired because in all his agitating greatness, he also somehow became one of the top scorers on the team since his arrival and the teams other top forwards couldn't managed to scrape together one goal without him against only 3 defenders. Its unfortunate that the way this team is going, there's a chance we'll have to wait till next year for Torts to truly be able to sort things out without the pressure of inheriting a team on the slide, trying to make the playoffs, not being able to bench too many people because of injuries and getting a sense of who could serve you well enough in the future than you could push for a contract for them. Unfortunate indeed. One things for certain, whether its next week or next season... it will be the "lunch pail" guys who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, that will determine how far this team goes. Here's to hoping we can stretch this season a little further... LET'S GO RANGERS!

- J_Undisputed


  1. I think Sean Avery is brilliant!

    There I said it. Not only did he attempt to shake things up for his own team and with the Boston Bruins, if this RAG-TAG squad of ours is able to make that damn eight slot (now that FLORIDA beat Pittsburgh this afternoon -- the Rangers now tied with Florida (can you actually believe that?)) we would be seated to play the first place Eastern Conference Boston Bruins....

    Avery knows that the psychology of the 'Tim Thomas hit from behind' would gestate and become in the media's mind and reporting, followed by the Boston teammates, the greatest distraction going into the first round of the playoffs...against The Rangers.

    Sounds Brodeur familiar?

    Sean...gotta hand it to you.

    Here we go...and terrific post J...couldn't have said any of this better.


  2. I've seen worse than what Avery did in the early morning mens beer leagues.
    Borderline dirty? maybe. Outrageous hardly.

    Hockey people have blown it way out of proportion because of who he is.

    If not Avery then who outside of Colton Orr's policing can step up and play the role that Avery does?

  3. The thing about this Ranger is that the fans have doing a post-mortem for more than half a year now and the fingers are still twitching. Everything was wrong with this team from the start but they somehow piled up points out of the gate while Henrik was peaking. Instead of PP QB they bring in a washed up D in Redden, no shot, no grit, no speed, no motivation except to deposit his cheques, when for a fourth of a price they could have had a Hedican playing on the third pair and maybe fixed things as they went along. For the PP sniper they bring in a guy who can't improvise, he needs to be spoonfed, Naslund, and they don't have a spoonfeeder.

    Tortorella arrives with some fresh troops, Avery, Antropov, and Morris, and suddenly there is a glimmer of hope. But he wants them go hard on the puck for three periods. The Carolina announcers commented to play that kind of game you have to start the conditioning in the summer because it can't be done on the fly. Whether that's true I have no idea but they actually predicted that when the Canes were taking over the game in the third period that they would win because the Rangers would run out of gas. When was the last time they scored a goal in the third period?

    If by some miracle, the Rangers scrape into the playoffs what Avery did can play dividends in the series against Boston. He's into Thomas's head. That's a team that has trouble with the hard two-man forecheck and the Rangers can drag them down to their level as they have done with the Bruins all season. Let's see them win their home games and see if they are still alive by the weekend. If they don't make it Dolan is going to have to eat that Redden contract, move Naslund, and give Tortorella something to work with next year.

  4. Interesting that the only praise on this blog is for the guy who cheated, who raised his stick, unprovoked and pre-meditated, to the back of the head of an unsuspecting, defenseless goalie, and you are all hanging on him as some type of mastermind.

    I truly hope that it comes down to the Flyers determining if the Rangers get into the post-season.

    Avery Karma = 9th Place

  5. FdaRangers,
    You're right. We should just be glad Thomas made it out alive can breathe without the help of a respirator after an attack like that. That wet paper bag he was wearing over his head to protect himself from 90+ mph slapshots, never stood a chance against that axe that Avery was swinging. Someone call the NHL Avery task force!!! HE MUST BE STOPPED.

    Feel better?

  6. FDA...thanks J. This coming from a FLYERS fan who's team is legend and won a couple of Stanley Cups solely based on 'THE CHEAP SHOT'...a.k.a The Broad Street Bullies.

    Let's take a look back to those good ole days...where hockey was hockey and everyone played a fair game.

    now I like this, but I guess it offends FDA!!?


  7. DOV,...I have no comment because I agree with you. I only wish the Dolans would do the right thing, but it's all about the money and I am afraid we are stuck with Redden.

  8. Dark and J, missing the point. I'm not suggesting that Avery's cheap shot actually hurt, nor am i suggesting a team not use physical strength, fighting and intimidation to their strengths (see 1974-75 Flyers). I'm just saying do it up front, to the other players face, honorably, like each and every one of those clips of Kote squaring up with his willing opponents. Sure the Flyers have had their share of cheapshots, there will always be those individuals... but if that's what you are praising as a way to rally the team and plot and scheme to instigate 2 minutes, well, that's not something to celebrate.

  9. Fda,
    Ah, square up? We can only hope that Sean, one aspires to throw those honorable flying elbows and cross checks that flyers fans once cheered Steve Downie for.

  10. Flying elbows and cross checks happen and are part of the game. Hitting the goalie on the back of the head when no one is looking? C'mon. As a Flyers fan, I was very happy to see Downie go, he did nothing but take bad penalties and hurt the team.

    Anyway, I'm enjoying the desperation here TDR. Kinda hoping for a Flyers OT loss tomorrow so the Panters pick up 2 pts. Would be a nice way for the Flyers to clinch a playoff spot :)


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