Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

85974423LR015_NEW_YORK_RANGThis wasn’t your everyday seven-game series. We saw biting, suspensions, water-bottle-throwing, unruly fans, cheap shots left and right (by both teams), close games and blowouts – well, maybe that is a typical seven-game series in the NHL. But when it was over, the better team won. The question isn’t: How did the Rangers blow a 3-1 lead, but: How did the Capitals not sweep? Washington has so much more talent than the Rangers that the series shouldn’t have been this close. But at the same time, what happened to the Rangers in games five and six? No Sean Avery in game five, no John Tortorella in game six, no big effort and no defense in either. If the Blueshirts would have played like they did in game seven in those games, they probably would have come out with a series win.

The Rangers’ fast start to the season raised expectations for them, and the same thing happened in this series. They surprised everyone by leading the Eastern Conference the first two months, doing it mainly with Henrik Lundqvist and smoke and mirrors, but they came back down to earth and finished where they should have been – in seventh place. It was deja vu all over again in their series against the Caps. They teased us by playing over their heads and having Lundqvist in nets to bail them out the first four games, but ultimately couldn’t finish off Washington.

Their two biggest weaknesses came back to haunt them: no offense and inconsistent effort. They played a great game seven for most of the night – doing everything right on defense, always being in the right place, closing up the shooting lanes, controlling the puck with a relentless forecheck – but they still couldn’t score enough. They just don’t have the offensive talent to compete with the better teams. If Lundqvist can’t steal the game, they don’t have a chance. Their other big flaw is the lack of effort night in and night out. Most of the team didn’t show up for games five and six, and we saw that a number of times during the season. They don’t have anybody that comes close to resembling that beast, monster, robot (take your pick) Alex Ovechkin (does he really have to celebrate every Washington goal as if they just won game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in overtime?), so with their lack of talent, they have to work harder than the other team, which almost worked last night, but without that consistent effort, they’re cooked.

Tortorella probably made a mistake by benching Avery in the fifth game. The playoffs are no time to send a message; it’s a time to give your team the best opportunity to win the game that night. Of course, the coach went on to embarrass himself and the organization that same game, which made his decision to scratch Avery all the more wrong. No matter how poorly the fans are behaving, a coach of a professional team can’t be throwing things into the stands, no matter how much they may deserve it.

Lundqvist was both brilliant and shaky, and ended up giving up one too many goals. Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal all took big steps forward in their development in this series. Now if the Rangers can only get rid of just about everybody else on the team and start over, things would look brighter for them in the future. Chris Drury deserves a little respect for playing with a broken hand, Dubinsky had to get a tetanus shot after getting bit by a rabid Cap and poor Blair Betts got leveled by an obvious cheap shot by Donald Brashear that, of course, was not penalized, which just shows the horrible officiating throughout the series (both teams could gripe about bad calls). And Avery continues to have to play under different rules than every other player.

The downfall of this year’s Rangers is lack of talent. They don’t have anybody who can score a damn goal. And of course they have many bloated contracts that they’re stuck with. Now let’s sit back and see what Glen Sather will do to screw things up even more over the summer.

Comments are closed.

  • Press Harbor