Post-game musings


The question I didn’t ask, but probably should have asked, is this:

Would you rather lose a game by looking like you don’t care, or by looking like you don’t know what you’re doing?

Granted, that’s an oversimplification of what happened here against the Penguins, but it’s still probably accurate.

Tuesday night: Listless Rangers Stumble Against Flyers.

Thursday night: Clueless Rangers Make Dozens of Boneheaded Mistakes and Lose to Penguins.

Now you know why I write the stories and not the headlines.

Anyway a couple of quick thoughts.

— If you want to really be concerned, I’d look at Henrik Lundqvist. At practices recently there’s been rumblings that the goalie seems a little shaky with his glove. Tonight was the most tangible evidence in a game.

— A lot of bad penalties and defensize zone gaffes by the Rangers, but again, at least there was energy. And if not for a puck caroming off a skate, we’re not talking about a loss but possibly just a sloppy win. At this point in the season, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.

— I’d keep an eye out for this Crosby kid. He’s pretty good, you know.

If you can’t tell already, I’m shot. We’ll go over this one more tomorrow…

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  1. I watched the end of the Devils game, and both teams did the same thing Jagr did, but it was NOT called, and the game ended in an exciting way, with the players deciding it. (except I don’t want a debbies win)

    Refs have to use discretion, and not be whistle-happy robots.

  2. That is bad way to lose a game…

    they just seem out of synch. So many penalties it is a joke.

    Jagr’s last penalty was a joke, are these ref’s clueless

  3. The Rangers didn’t lose this game because the refs were clueless, they lost it because they were clueless. The Rangers coaching staff needs to lose their Giants-esque inability to react to the game as it’s being played and the players need to tighten up in a big way and learn to pick up their men and shoot often and accurately.

    As for Henrik, rest him. If he’s not in the play-every-game form, why pretend? Weekes is a very good goalie who doesn’t get the cred he deserves and he should get a game. At the very least it might remind the rest of the players(some of whom deserve their own sit-downs) that last season won’t buy them a pass on junk play.

    Long live Pock.

    Sam, you’re doing a killer job keeping up this blog. Forget Larry Brooks — you’re the man.

  4. i’m glad the ref made the call and crosby scored to give the pens the win because the rangers DESERVED to lose. this is the 3rd straight game that they played like complete garbage and didn’t deserve to win. the first one despite playing terrible manage to steal the 2 points…had we last night been able to steal a point or even 2 it would make our record look better than it should be and make it easier to ignore the problems that are going on.

    its way too early to panic but this team has the feel of the pre-lockout teams and i mean that in a VERY VERY bad way. they need a major wakeup call and soon

  5. This loss isn’t on the refs, it’s squarely on the shoulders of the players who seem to be believing too much of the pre-season press about how good they are and as a result have gone out on the ice three games running lacking the drive and smarts that got them where they went last season. I watched Jagr coast back to his own zone with his stick in one hand in the poking at midsection of a Penguin player at least four times last night. He should know better by now, he’s played a whole season under the new rules. While I do think a couple of the other calls in the game were somewhat questionable that’s no excuse for the loss. Smart teams overcome obstacles rather than whine about them.

    The penalty kill, which was a shining jewel last season, has looked substandard thus far. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with missing Moore and Orts or whether it’s the fact that our best penalty killer last year was Henrik Lundqvist. As I said even before last night, for whatever reason, he hasn’t looked nearly as good as he did last year. Last night just exposed that fact.

    Overall, I thought it was an improved effort from the Philly game, but the smarts are still not there. Like Leetch3 said — it’s good that they lost, cause they didn’t deserve to win.

  6. What a real crappy finish to a horribly officiated game, in what is becoming a GARBAGE LEAGUE!

    The NHL keeps this crap up, and they will lose me as a fan… (been watching the game RELIGOUSLY, since the late 70’s)

    A call like that, with a minute left only shows me that those young officials (Brian Pochmara and Chris Rooney) have no idea what the hell is going on… At some point, you HAVE TO LET THE PLAYERS PLAY THE GAME!!! A veteran official, like McReary, Fraser, Schick, etc, would not have made such an awful call, late in the game, that had nothing to do with a scoring chance being taken away, or that could’ve caused a serious injury…

    The league put in the “new” rules, because of teams like New Jersey, that would hook and hold to no end – but to call a penalty, every time some ******* player TAPS an opponent is pure DOGS**T and this league is becoming a joke very quickly…

    They’ve already succeeded in sissifying the game, and this display of officiating tonight (for both teams) made me sick to my stomach… People pay a lot of money to go these games and they deserve more… The NHL blew it big time, last night…

  7. any else find it funny that last year when the rangers were winning the new rules were great but when the rangers lose suddenly the rules are garbage and the league is a joke??

    stop making excuses, the rangers lost cause they stunk. its the same rules as last year and no one was complaining then.

  8. Jonathan Probber on

    After the first 2 or 3 penalties, the officiating crew established that they’d be calling the game tightly, a fact the Rangers were unwilling or unable to acommodate.

    I agree with Chris that the team seems unable to make mid-course corrections. They persistently mis-handled the puck in their own zone and coughed it up to the Pens.

    Perhaps we can get Brian Gionta on loan.

  9. Anthony (the other one) on

    Time for Weekes to get a start against Philly?

    Just checked’s aggregate goalie stats. Hank’s let in more goals than any ‘tender in the league. The D has been swiss cheese in front of him, and he’s not responding well.

  10. Actually, Leetch3, I’ve always said these “new” rules suck, and you can check my posting history at to verify it…

    The league was supposed to stop the HOOKING AND HOLDING, that teams like the Devils would do night after night, clogging up the neutral zone…

    What the league DID was go OVERBOARD, and now they call “stick taps and stick checks” that players learn at the age of 6…

    And any ref that makes a call, with less than 2 minutes to go in a game, that has NOTHING TO DO WITH A SCORING CHANCE or nothing to do with a play that can cause an injury, should be beaten severely!

    Wake up! The NHL is garbage now, and a ballet-on-ice would have more contact…

  11. Jagr didn’t get called for playing a rough game — in fact, hardly any of the Rangers penalties so far this season have been a result of hitting or physical contact. Calling lazy hooking penalties has nothing to do with turning the game into “ballet-on-ice.” Jagr was either A. being lazy, or B. too winded and not yet in good enough shape to be playing the minutes he did. So instead of SKATING back to his own zone, he decided to coast and reach out with his stick instead. The refs have made it abundantly clear that anytime a stick is up on the midsection of an opposing player, it’s gonna get called. Jagr did exactly that at least FOUR TIMES last night! I said to my husband after the second one that he’d better watch it or he was going to get caught. Guess what? He did. TWICE. You’d think he’d learn!

    Last night’s loss has nothing to do with the refs. If the Rangers played a hard, smart game and got called for that kind of penalty in the final minutes, I’d be pissed. But they didn’t. They showed little of the hustle which got them into the playoffs last year, and none of the smart, positional play. Blaming the refs deflects attention away from the fact that this team is completely out of synch with one another.

  12. NickyFotiu is right. I have been playing and watching hockey for many years, and these clowns have gone overboard, and they ARE turning a tough, physical sport into a bunch of sissies on ice. And the worst thing is that it is NOT being evenly enforced. Some young refs are robots with no discretion or brains, and they are turning long-time fans off of the game.

    Case in point–

    I just watched a breakaway as I write this, in the game between Buffalo and Detroit. The Buffalo player was hooked from behind with one hand reaching by Lidstrom, MUCH MORE FORCEFULLY than Jagr did last night. Only this was a clear breakaway, and he did not score, and get this, NO PENALTY was called on Lidstrom.

    So that call on Jagr was pure garbage, and if you don’t believe it, just read the Blueline Bulletin by Dubi today. The Ranger players are quoted as being perplexed as to the ridiculous calls, and that includes Shanny, who helped craft the new rules.

    If you think that watching players standing around in one end killing “hooking” penalties all night is good hockey action, then you are clearly misguided. If you think that games with very little hitting and body checks are good hockey, then you are clearly misguided.

    The idea of the new rules was to put a little more offense into pro hockey, NOT to emasculate the sport.

    If the NFL went to flag football rules, would fans be happy? Hell no, they wouldn’t. And last night’s refs were turning hockey into no-contact shinny.

  13. Good points, all of them. Bear in mind: eight of the Rangers nine penalties last night were stick penalties (tripping or hooking). What that tells me is that yes, the officiating was tight, but that were also instances when the Rangers weren’t moving their feet and tried to make up for it with their sticks. I think the prevailing message from players is that the calls have been over the top. I agree. That said, if it means you absolutely have to keep your stick down, then you’ve got to adjust.

  14. Yes, Sam, but the larger point is that games should be decided by the players, NOT the refs. If a scoring chance is taken away, then that SHOULD be called. But a one-handed reach tap on the arm 200 feet from the net, in the corner, with a minute to go in a tie game, is an example of the refs deciding the game due to poor discretion.

  15. No question. And I think there’s something to the fact that a young ref is more likely to make those calls than one who knows enough to use discretion.

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