Friday, January 21, 2011

CSI - Carolina Scene Investigation -- Nothing to See Here | CAR 4 NYR 1

Hockey once again proves to be a strange game. Your team can look invincible one night and the very next night very, very ordinary.

Witness this week. The Bruins laid a 7-0 shellacking on Carolina on Monday and beat them again the next night 3-2. Then they lose to the lowly Sabres 4-2. The Leafs got steamrolled 7-0 by the Blueshirts at the Garden on Wednesday and then rock the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 the very next night.

You know where I am going here -- the Rangers -- victorious with the aforementioned butt-whipping of Toronto on Wednesday -- put forth a follow-up pathetic performance losing 4-1 in Raleigh to the Hurricanes. The recap is here.

Thanks to the Bruins, the Rangers did keep some distance between themselves and Carolina but when the task was in their hands to drop Carolina further, the Rangers came up woefully short. Today, the 9th place Canes trail the Blueshirts by 5 points and have 2 games in hand.

There's little about the game to discuss without my wanting to simply hit my computer's off switch. In fact, I am not using any pictures from last night's game since there was nothing noteworthy and I want to spare myself and readers from those horrific black home jerseys that Carolina donned.

Casualty Concerns. So far this year the Rangers already have lost nearly160
man games to injury. Last year -- 78 for the entire season. The number
will continue to increase by 6-7 games for the next couple of weeks at least.
Excuses are plentiful -- back-to-back games while Carolina rested. The infusion of green youngsters (including yesterday's call-up, Chad Kolarik) to replace the missing players: Prospal (Gaborik misses him for sure), Christensen, Frolov, Callahan, Dubinsky, and Fedotenko.

Note the last 3 names on this list -- the bedrock for penalty killing and backchecking -- and you have to admire how well the Rangers have been able to play with all the Hartford call-ups filling the roster. But fans sense (and rightfully so) that the team's resilience can only be stretched so far in the face of losing so many top-line players.

Still, performance from those highly paid to do so is required and it was sorely lacking everywhere except in goal -- Gaborik and Avery had no chemistry last night due in large part to Carolina's making Gaborik a focal point. Chris Drury looked s-l-o-w.

Hartford Express Derailed. Whether the Rangers can keep up
a winning pace relying on several call-ups remains to be seen.

Even at full strength, we have seen that the Rangers do not match up well with speedy teams like Tampa and Philadelphia.

Based on Henrik Lundqvist's quote -- “It was too open a game, too many scoring chances and not the way we wanted to play. They were fast and came at us with a lot of speed.” -- it looks like you can add Carolina to that mix.

Last night's game was lost early in a depressingly similar way to the last weekend's losses against Montreal and Philly as the Rangers fell behind once again 3-0. Only this time, they could only pull to within 3-1 midway through the 3rd period before Carolina closed the door with an insurance goal by rookie Jeff Skinner.

At least this time, from the opening whistle, the Rangers tried to match Carolina's attack. Although outshot 16-11, the Rangers had ample opportunities to score but either failed to finish or were thwarted by Cam Ward, who had a solid game.

Artem Anisimov had 7 shots on goal -- several quality efforts. Wotjek Wolski had several pretty moves that could have been rewarded.

Henrik Lundqvist had a solid game, bordering on spectacular, but was abandoned several times by his defense. The Rangers' play in the defensive zone the entire night looked ragged like their effort against the Leafs in the 3rd period the night before. The loss of 3 of their defensively-expert forwards was very noticeable.

The Rangers defensemen, other than a beautiful goal-denying swipe from the crease by Dan Girardi early in the game, had a forgettable performance. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing Marc Staal's #18 as he was beaten when Brandon Sutter scored to make it 3-0 in the second period.

By the way, Ward's and Lundqvist's numbers so far this season are eerily similar:
  • Ward 20-14-5 2.67 .921
  • Lundqvist 20-15-3 2.26 .927 .
These are both elite goaltenders. Henrik has been the beneficiary of a much more solid defense that has permitted many fewer shots than Ward has faced. Those blocked shots do pay off.

I watched the first 2 periods of the game from my personal man-cubicle (my office) last night. My work neighbor and I watched the game from our respective computer monitors -- each of us muttering to ourselves about what we were seeing.

Toward the end of the 2nd period, I saw that CSI was coming on -- so I simply flicked it on for the 3rd period and relied on my neighbor's outbursts to tell me what was going on.

So I missed Brandon Prust scoring to make it 3-1 (assisted by Chad Kolarik and Ryan McDonagh, both of whom notched their initial NHL points) halfway through the 3rd-- my response to my neighbor: Let me know when it is 3-2.

After hearing that Skinner scored to make it 4-1 -- my response: how much snow are we getting tonight?

Meanwhile, I came to some acute observations while ignoring the 3rd period:

(i) although admittedly a Bruckheimer t.v. addict (Without A Trace, Cold Case, and CSI Miami and CSI NY), I learned that the regular CSI show really is awful. But it was still better than the Rangers' game;

(ii) if I am a cop or detective or treasure hunter and this incredibly too-wonderful-to-be-true good-looking woman "befriends" me and takes a much too curious interest in my work, then I should be watching my gun, my back, my self-respect, and most of all, my privates. Too often, all 4 become victims.

(iii) My final observation needs pictures. . . lots of pictures.


"It Moved." Suffice to say if I am a victim in a CSI Miami episode and Emily Procter and/or Eva La Rue are poking around me, you can be damned sure they will find a pulse. I may be a corpse, but I ain't dead.

Let's hope the Rangers show some life as their ongoing 3 game road trip continues -- Atlanta on Saturday night and Washington on Monday night.

---The Graying Mantis

1 comment:

  1. Good Post, Tony. Maybe we should fly some of the aforementioned beauties into the Rangers Lockeroom to check for pulses. At least they're more likely to be awake before the 3rd period that way.

    ReplyDelete

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