Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rangers Bag leafs 7-0

GABORIK EMERGES FROM SLUMP TO SCORE 4Wow, it was just one of those nights where things clicked and pucks started bouncing in our favor. Prior to the game it was announced that Dubinsky could be out a month with a stress fracture, and as hopes sunk deeper... the prayers were with Gabby to break out of his slump. His extra practice shown on a pre game feature. He delivered like only he could.

Read the official recap here.

Poor Gustavsson in the Toronto net was apparently so starstruck playing against his Idol, in Henrik, that he couldn't see any pucks coming. Actually he saw plenty, in fact his defense abandoned him on so many plays, there should have been a welcome mat painted between the hashmarks in the Toronto zone. The tandem of Avery Gabby and Anisimov, seemed almost unstoppable. It also put a little more shine on the Stepan/Zuccs pairing and the every improving Boyle and hard working Fedotenko (who looks to me like he dislocated a shoulder last night and should be out for the same amount of time Gabby missed earlier this season.) Stoning every Toronto shot he faced, Henrik closed it out in style and racked up another shutout in his meteoric rise to the top of the Rangers list in that category.

It seems to be there could be two sides to this Gaborik issue. There are some of us that will hail Tortorella a genius for calling out Gabby and sitting him for extended periods the other night. I have a hard time buying into that completely and may have the unpopular opinion. I think he's a good coach and I like him taking players to task, but there seems to be some disparity on how things are played across the board. I wasn't of the opinion that Gaborik was slumping, just uninspired by misuse. Its not long ago that we had a captain who was a great player but had more mood swings than a schizophrenic going through menopause. He was often coddled, given familiar linemates, consulted about what kind of game he thought we should play, etc. ... and I hated it. It doesn't mean that I don't recognize its effectiveness. Gaborik is a player cut from the same cloth. Not really prissy because he doesnt back down... but he's a prolific scorer than under the right conditions can produce miracles and magic pretty consistently. Lets face it, Gabby hasn't been given consistent linemates for which to build any chemistry. It also seemed apparent before that Avery on Gabby's line produced the other time it was tried. Then poof just like that after a game, it was disbanded and never came together again without even the smallest of afterthoughts. Oooh, I have one... Perhaps Tortorella couldnt stand the thought of rewarding Avery with as much ice time as he would be receive having to be on the ice every time Gaborik was on even strength.... At least not without Avery first bowing to Tortorella and complying with the coach'es image of Avery. Avery's a better player than many people give him credit for but he has to work in a confined space. Sometime he needs to stretch the boundaries of that in order to be the Avery that we love to see mentally distract the opposition... noone knows that better than for once, trust the guy and give him an occasion to rise to. I'd rather have him be preoccupied with scoring than the many things that run through his mind while sitting on the bench. For a guy like Dubinsky, who's the apple of the coaches eye for developing in the system, it's rewarding to see him progress but it also feeds the coaches ego and strengthens the idea that everyone should play his way or not at all. It's a bit idea that has its merits. Its the basis for a coach player relationship, but having players of different talents means learning to use them all effectively.
By the way, anyone else find it rather rewarding to see Colton Orr turn into a penalty minute collecting hack?

Till Next time Ranger Fans,

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written, J.

    That may be one of the harder shutouts for Henrik to get -- while the outcome was not in doubt, the Leafs picked up intensity at times during the 2nd and 3rd periods. Henrik had a strong game overall and stopped some simply stellar scoring opps. It was nice to have a laugher for the squad.

    I also like your thoughts about Avery and Gaborik -- it will be interesting to see if the momentum can be maintained and how the coach plays this out. With another forward out for yet another month (to recap, Prospal, Christensen, Frolov, Callahan, Dubinsky, Fedotenko), it's amazing how this team has hung together. Quite inspiring.

    Tonight is a real challenge with a visit to Carolina.


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