In his old comedy routines, Bill Cosby used to joke about how you can have a kid that will score 100 on a citywide test and then get D's in school. Now I'm not a parent (In fact I think I may have been barred from reproducing, but that’s a different post entirely...), but at times, I feel like I am with this team. Sometimes you wanna love them and other times you just wanna kick them in the ass and demand a DNA test to prove they are yours.
Another game, another D.... Official Recap, here.
Before the game, Coach Torts felt he should clear the air and let the press know that it wasn't the staff that was suppressing the edge from Sean Avery's game. In fact many of us have been wondering what happened to Avery. Was he taking this Zen thing too far? Still suffering from the injury? Spending too much time shaking hands and greeting people at Warren 77? or designing to many dresses and handbags? (Sorry, Aves) Whatever the reason, it appears Avery heard the call and was getting back to pestering ways last night. Jawing with players, extra shoves, a face wash here or there. Was it enough? Hardly. Is that Avery's fault? Hardly..(in my opinion anyway.) Now before I dive into that one with both feet.... Let’s examine more of the game.
The capitals doubled our shot output and that’s with their cheerleading, board running, cheapshotting superstar only taking a single shot. Unfortunately for us, it was a potshot from the blue line that found its way through. That was close to embarrassing. It was our lowest shot totals to date this season. And even over the sounds of slurping and humming coming from the Versus broadcast team trying to fill a quota for saying "Ovechkin", you could still manage to hear boos and yawns coming from the garden crowd. Our game was clearly lacking and despite the excitement of Gaborik scoring a minute into the game, the rest of the team aside from Gaborik, Avery and Aaron "the butcher" Voros and Prospal... seemed content to let things play out and accept what fate had in store. The second goal for Washington was telling and a clear example of how this team is failing miserably at showing they give a damn. A shot on goal, stopped by Henrik and while our defense stands around waiting for a whistle to be blown instead of attending to business. Yeah we were shorthanded. To that I say SO F*CKING WHAT?!? To watch Girardi stand there idly while Laich walks crept in and started jabbing between the pads was pretty embarrassing. His consolation shove after the fact did nothing for me. As for the Third goal, (I won’t take a side on the Redden issue) the Redden turnover wasn’t a shock to me, though it was painful to watch as he has been doing a lot better this season and I see no point in arguing on whether or not he is worth his contract as few Rangers are ever worth the money we give them and raise only seem to make that more impossible. (just the same, you or I would take double the money to work at half capacity, if offered.) Just the same, I liked that Gilroy tried to get back and cover. My problems in particular with that play was:
- Letting a guy like Bradley go top shelf on you while he has two players on his back.
- Gilroy is still lacking the meat on him to really crush a guy, but next time, drill that guy or dive in front of him…screw the poke check, it never works for us.
- Henrik butterflied but failed to keep his head and shoulders high. Butterfly and keep your head up. The bottom of the net is going to be covered no matter where you’re looking as long and your stick is down and your pads are together
Speaking of those few players worth their money; Gaborik seems to be shaping up to be the value for us. He does what he’s expected to do and then some. Unlike some of the other high profile playmakers we had in the past, he doesn’t have to be romanced into back checking. He stands up for himself and doesn’t whine or cry to the officials. That’s why it seems like such a shame for the guy to come back from an injury, play up to his potential and try to carry a team on his shoulders only for them to drag their feet on backing him up and watching with wide eyes and he gains the zones, shoots and tries to get his own scraps in front of the net. That’s coming from a fan who thought he’d be another soft, heartless primadonna. How many of us weren’t drooling at the thought of him getting a hat trick and putting Ovie to shame, last night after he scored the first and second goals. There was a time when this team would be drooling too and do everything possible to try and make it happen. That time wasn’t last night. In fact, it hasn’t been for quite a while.
The team can hang out more off the ice now than before (As revealed at the fan forum) but that means nothing unless it translates to the ice. Does anyone else wonder if Gaborik could be good for 2 points a night instead of just one, if he had the right kind of support; Or why a like Sean Avery would stick his neck out night after night and ruffle feathers without feeling it would spark his team. Especially if he gets cheapshotted and lands flat on his back last night courtesy of an Erskine face wash while the rest of the team was content to see him laying alone in a circle of towering caps players? What about a guy like Brashear who injured his wrist punching Orr in the face for this team only to hear boos? How about a guy like Staal, who’s being told to play offense more, but knows there’s no one backing him up if he turns it over. Theo Fleury, just published a book on his career and problems he had. He describes the Ranger years as a nightmare. Aside from the temptations of this city, he detailed this feeling that the team was all about the money, and the players played like mercenaries for hire. Yep just like old times.
P.S. – Personal congrats on an amazing career for Brendan Shanahan, who officially retired. Let’s hope Detroit is planning a banner hanging Ceremony for him. Another team player into retirement, another chunk of heart and soul gone from the game, as we bleed to death in the Bettman/Crosby era of whining, dives and rule protected cheapshot artists.