Thursday, February 11, 2010

Growing Pains


Like any hunter without their biggest gun, we stumbled into last night's game, the first of 3 before the Olympic break, hoping everything else we had would be enough. It wasn't.

Read the official Recap here.

The Rangers lost Marian Gaborik to a laceration he sustained in a collision with Lundqvist at practice while practicing shootouts. While sportswriters were jumping the gun and blurting out groin injuries suspicions, it was telling that Tortorella didn't switch his lines much as to prepare for life without Gabby. If he had and did occasionally throughout the game, it probably wouldn't have and didn't help anyway. The Rangers were a step behind for most of the night... Playing as though they felt they deserved points for just showing up to play in the middle of a blizzard.

For the first period, they kept pace with Nashville before a momentarily lapse allowed a screened shot that snuck past the king to make it a 1-0 game. The Rangers would spend most of the night on their heels. Yielding several odd-man rushes and breakaways. Despite St. Henrik keeping it 1-0 with amazing goaltending, our beloved Blueshirts never did mount much of an offensive, aside from the scrappy dig in the Nashville crease by Prospal that tied the game at one all. Any other suspenseful moments for us, turned ugly rather quickly as there were several good looks that our forwards got at the net, making room to make textbook plays... only to forget one very important thing... THE PUCK!  WTF? we're that good, that we even managed to dangle ourselves out of the play.

Much was made of our ability to kill penalties last night. In fact, if there was one place we did look comfortable, it was defending our zone and wheeling back behind our own net and praying Nashville would give us room to break out cleanly. The pivotal point in the game even had us flubbing the penalty kill. Young Michael Del Zotto racked up a minor, for hooking a Nashville player working near his crease. Unfortunately, after the whistle was blown, DelZo pursued the ref about a missed call when he had been taken out of the play only moments earlier. Going just a little too far, the rookie was given a second minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. His teammates did their best to kill off the double minor and with the help of the king, were seconds away from succeeding when a Rozival clearing attempt hit Callahan as he floated through the slot and ricocheted to a Predator who shot it over Henrik's shoulder to make it 2-1. DelZo got an earful from his coach upon returning to the bench and was made to sit in the doghouse at the end of the bench while enduring the rant/lesson about keeping his mouth shut. The rookie would return in the third... but the chances of the Rangers developing a second offensive threat, didn't come to fruition. With several shots and stepping up the tempo on the attack, much was made of taking an abnormally high number of shots in regards to the average of shots against Nashville. It's not news to me as we always seem to manage a high volume of shots against teams and usually have nothing to show for it. Its simply a by-product of many of our scoring opportunities being so transparent that opposing teams rather let their goalies see the puck and make the easy saves, than screen their own goalies and making an easy shot difficult to stop.

As for the DelZo situation, it's to be expected that a team full of young players are going to make these kind of mistakes. He got chewed out back on the bench, was reinserted back into the play a period later with a lesson learned. He didn't lose his nerve or get rendered ineffective for a few games like Dubinsky was last season in a similar incident with Renney. I'm also glad the kid spoke up. Ok - it went a bit far, but you never know how far you can push it unless you push it a little... We've all seen how effective a silent guy can be at being heard, especially when he is wearing the "C". Speaking of which is it just me or does Drury actually seemed to be playing harder now that the Olympics are almost upon us? Nice to see him finally get excited about something, huh.. and team USA, didn't even have to dump a truck load of money on his doorstep.. Now I'm really pissed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

This site/blog is not affiliated with the New York Rangers or The National Hockey League in any manner whatsoever. Some photos on this site are used w/out permission but are hosted on the blogger server, therefore not interfering with the profit or bandwidth of the original owner. If you are the owner of a specific image that we have used in our blog , please email me at to have it removed - we will gladly remove it immediately.

If you have a hockey blog/website and would like to place a link on our site, please contact me & we can do a link exchange (the best way to get more traffic to our blogs).

Any offer of 'tickets at cost' is exactly that -- I have season tickets and will sell them for what I paid --- so no mark-ups.

The Dark Ranger is a not-for-profit site, not officially, but we derive no income at all from anything on this site; in fact, DARK at his own expense enjoys the freedom of having no sponsors and speaking his f*cking mind.