A needed bogey?


Drawing on my other supposed area of expertise, I’ll give you a golf analogy to explain what may have happened to the Rangers last night against the Canadiens:

There are times, be it in tournament play or even in a recreational round, when a player will go on a particularly good roll. Maybe he’ll be 4-under through 9 holes and leading a tournament. Maybe he’s an unspectacular chop like me and he detects a chance to post something in the low 80s. Whatever the case, that player invariably confronts something that is called venturing “outside his comfort zone.” What it means is that as good as things seem to be going at the time, that player may subconsciously be wondering how long it can really last.

Maybe the Rangers were tired last night, no one more so than Henrik Lundqvist. Maybe there are some deep-rooted flaws in their game that came back to surface against a team desperately trying to save its season.

I won’t discount either of those possibilities. But I also think this was a team that was playing at a level (10-1-3) it had not approached all year; and that maybe they thought they had to lose at some point.

Again, this is all speculation on my part. But that was the impression I got watching that second period.

More later….

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  1. Well we won the first and third periods, but it seemed as soon as they scored on the powerplay we just quit. Maybe they assumed hank would bail them out, but he actually needed them to bail him out this time. Either way, a win at philly and we will be back on track. Is it just me or does cullen get kicked out of as many faceoffs as he takes?

  2. I don’t know Sam, it looked to me more like the Habs were the ones pulling off a string of 5 birdies in a row.

  3. A game like last night’s was due in my opinion. And it was a good night to lose, because we got tons of outside help. The long break should help them out, and get right back on the winning track saturday. The third period last night showed this team has the character and determination it was lacking the first five months of the season. I have a feeling they will use the game as a wake up, and the break will help them recharge to go 3-1-1 or 4-1 over their final five.

  4. Cullen does get kicked out of many faceoffs – I’ve noticed it all season.

    I didn’t think our Rangers would win all of these games, that would be an oddity. I was just disappointed in the way that things completely shutdown in the 2nd.

    However, I was impressed by the way they attempted a comeback in the 3rd. Earlier this season many of their top players would have stopped playing. Jagr kept moving and trying to make things happen.

    In any most other buildings in the NHL, I think they could have pulled out a win. After the PP goal early in the 2nd, the fans got into the game, and Montreal fed off all the energy in the building.

  5. Mr Potato Head on

    I was also impressed with the way they managed to get back into the game after being shellshocked in the 2nd.

    Pock’s showed a sense of urgency and started unloading shots in the 3rd. If he keeps up that style of play, I will be very happy.

  6. Rosi, who has been playing better, was awful. He malik’d the puck almost as many times as Malik!

    Lundqvst was due for an off night….

  7. Last night’s collapse was due…because this team hasn’t played well since the 5-0 win over the Flyers. Henrik stole them 4 points over the weekend…as the Rangers reverted to plenty of the bad habits that we’ve seen all season long. Poor defensive coverage, failure to clear the puck, soft-perimeter passing (especially passing up shots to make a pretty pass), taking bad penalties. The Rangers have plenty of problems right now…and if we keep going back to the “Well…we were tired and Montreal was hungry” then that means this team somehow thinks they’re a lock for the playoffs. Uh…don’t think so. Chances are we’ll enter Saturday’s game in either 9th or 10th (everybody else is playing before then, so no way to stay in the top 8) and if they come out thinking their talent will carry them through…they’ll drop one to a Flyers team with nothing to lose. The Rangers, in my opinion, have been very happy with minimal success. They get obliterated in the playoffs last season and somehow are annointed as Cup contenders entering the season…and proceeded to play mediocre hockey for the entire season up until this month. Now, as soon as they reach 6th place…they relax, pat themselves on the back…I’m not trying to be negative, but I’ve seen the disturbing signs and know that they’re gonna need to go 4-1 in the last 5 to get in. I don’t think 3-2 will do it. And I certainly think 2-3 will assure them early tee times.

  8. The Rangers are playing plain crazy the last few weeks– they are allowed one bad loss– the last few games they were starting to get outplayed anyway– so hopefully this will serve as a wakeup call so they dont get too comfortable.. i woudl rather lose big then lose 2-1 and be outplayed greatly.. this way they see the results of what lazy plays does and correct it.

  9. Eastcoastsportsfans.com on

    They looked like a worn down team last night no doubt about it…Girardi was gross..

    The Habs have good speed so it’s a bad team to match up against when your squad is out of gas…revenge coming soon at MSG, we are the better team.

  10. 3-2 will definitely do it. Given their current points situation, it is virtually impossible for the Rangers to go 3-2 and NOT make the playoffs. Simple math: if the Rangers go 3-2, then in order for 3 teams to overtake them, Montreal and Tampa would have to both come up as 4-1 over their last 5 AND Toronto, Carolina or the Isles would have to go 5-1. Everyone is playing one another so not all of those things can happen. Believe it or not, 2-3 might even do it.

  11. Nothing comes easy with this team. I’m exhausted. My emotions, this season, have been toyed with nonstop. I don’t know if I could handle a playoff run with this team.

    My left arm is numb since last night, is that a bad sign?

  12. This just sets them up for another 5 game winning streak. They were going to lose sometime, hopefully it’s out of their system now, so let’s roll.

  13. “Joey –

    Is your chest hurting you as well? Are you short of breath?”

    Ah yes the signs of a Ranger fan…..

  14. Eastcoastsportsfans.com on

    “Nothing comes easy with this team. I’m exhausted. My emotions, this season, have been toyed with nonstop.”

    Imagine how the players feel :)

  15. CJP- Well put! my thoughts exactly. I’m especially concerned after last night because I think the Habs exposed the Rangers weakness on D, and Hank finally hit a wall.

  16. reginald dunlop on

    hope they have extra towels next week at MSG for all the Diving the Canadians do…….thought Koivu was shot and how do you fall chin first like Komisarek when someone picks up your stick….guess that’s what happens when 3 grenouilles make up the officiating crew in MONTREAL

  17. hockeymanrangers on

    The way I see it, if we may make the playoffs we will NOT go far. They got lucky with Boston and the Islanders to pull out wins. They seem to play a fairly good defensive games (up until the 2 period of last night) but can’t generate enough offence to put teams away. We shall see how they play Saturday in Philly. I can stil see them NOT making the playoffs and if they do they will get knocked off in the first round. Although I hope I am seriously wrong, but remember this post. RENNY MUST GO.

  18. Peter 2-3 would be extremely difficult to make the playoffs with. Chances are in that scenario 2 of the losses would be to the combo of Tor, NYI, Mtl which would give those teams a leg up. We’ll know more before we play again since all the contenders have 1 or 2 games before Saturday. I would not want our fate to be decided by games after our season ends. For example the NYI play the devs on the 8th.

  19. I almost knew last night would happen…i was telling everybody i felt nervous about the game, and after the 2 goal lead was blown i said i had a feeling hank was gonna get pulled..for anyone to be angry about this game..you shouldnt,,this was a great run by NYR and i think this game was to let them know they can still miss the playoffs. So hopefully they come out strong and kick ass. We gotta beat Philly, and the most important games are against NYI, TOR, and MTL so we gotta win those…I was hoping TBL would win so they can tie ATL for 3rd place..but there prince holmqvist just plain sucked..eh anway shanny is playing pretty good..i thiknk he had 2 assists in last nights game..5 assists in 4 games, hes not scoring goals but hes playmaking pretty sweet….
    By the way lapierre is a puss…after the french comments by avery (that he said about gauthier) i think it was lapierre who said he’s back it up..Avery challenged him when the score was 2- 0..2 – 2. and beyond. PUSS..

    Oh yea…..I GOT FREE NHL CENTER ICE..it showed up outta no where.WOOOO
    LETS GO NYR…..and its cool that NBC is coming back next year, cause we were undefeted this year
    And also NYI has a game against BUF, and TOR and there game at hand is against NJD so hopefully they lose…HA DP sucks.

  20. TB

    30th Tampa Bay at Carolina 7:00 PM
    31st Washington at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
    3rd Carolina at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
    6th Florida at Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
    7th Tampa Bay at Atlanta 7:00 PM


    28th Carolina at Philadelphia 7:00 PM
    30th Tampa Bay at Carolina 7:00 PM
    1st Carolina at Florida 5:00 PM
    3rd Carolina at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
    6th Atlanta at Carolina 7:00 PM
    7th Florida at Carolina 7:00 PM


    29th Toronto at Atlanta 7:00 PM
    31st Pittsburgh at Toronto 7:00 PM
    1st Toronto at NY Rangers 7:00 PM
    3rd Philadelphia at Toronto 7:30 PM
    5th Toronto at NY Islanders 7:30 PM
    7th Montreal at Toronto 7:00 PM


    30th Montreal at Ottawa 7:30 PM
    31st Buffalo at Montreal 7:00 PM
    3rd Boston at Montreal 7:30 PM
    5th Montreal at NY Rangers 7:00 PM
    7th Montreal at Toronto 7:00 PM


    30th NY Islanders at Buffalo 8:00 PM
    31st Ottawa at NY Islanders 7:00 PM
    3rd NY Rangers at NY Islanders 7:30 PM
    5th Toronto at NY Islanders 7:30 PM
    7th NY Islanders at Philadelphia 1:00 PM
    8th NY Islanders at New Jersey 1:00 PM

  21. Ed – it was actually Denis who sucked for Tampa last night, giving up the first three goals and getting pulled for Holmqvist after 2.

  22. Sam, with all due respect here is no sense in trying to put a silver lining over last night’s performance, or even the way the team has played the last few games.

    Renney is challenged to find the right way of integrating Shanahan and Straka back into the lineup. In their absencia, the team relied upon puck possession in the offensive zone, coupled with tenacity in all zones. Since neither of the aforementioned can play ‘all out’, they can’t be counted on playing significant 5 on 5 minutes.

    Renney broke up Avery, Cullen, and Callahan (is it a mystery to anyone why Callahan has not done as much on his off wing), and placed Straka back with Nylander and Jagr effectively making them a North South unit. WAKE UP COACH…

    If your team has the puck in the offensive zone less, chances are it’ll be in your defensive zone more. MAKE SENSE????? Play Shanny and Straka together with Prucha on what will in essence be a 4th unit used predominantly in offensive zone situations, and allow those three players to provide special teams play. Put either Isbister or Ortmeyer with Jagr and Nylander, leave the Betts line alone, and put Cullen back with Avery and Callahan. Watch the intensity and even strength play flourish.

    Also, with Philly coming up this weekend, and the fact that Strudwick cannot play in the playoffs, why not bring up Liffiton to add another tough guy to the lineup for what will certainly be a physical game.

  23. I posted on the other one, so I will rehash what I said in an abbreviated version….

    In last night’s 2nd period they stopped skating, taking the body, playing physically, and hustling. That is the story. They got complacent. I was glad to see they did not roll over in the 3d period and still had some fight.

    Malik sucks. I still can’t figure out what he was doing skating into the corner to help Roszival and abandoning the front of the net. Totally puzzled on that! On the 4th goal, he was basically watching as they walked right through him. He is a liability.

    I did not think they would win every game they had left. Did you guys? Come on. That was their 3d game in 4 nights after an amazing stretch. I like Sam’s analogy of a bogey, but it was at least a double with a mulligan.

    Enough of the “who the other guys play” thoughts. That is irrelevant. With 5 to play, we are in 6th alone. Even if the teams with 6 to play win, we would still be in 6th alone with all games remaining even. We control our own destiny. They need to tighten it up and play smart. The last thing we want is for everyone to lose all their games and then the Rangers back into the playoffs and then get Deviled out of the playoffs in 4 straight.

    We need to focus on things like: How hurt is Straka really? I hear he needs surgery after the season…so how strong can he actually be? Malik is a bozo and Strudwick (subpar last night, btw) cannot play in the post-season, so will Toots really be ready? What about Hossa? Are we going to have to throw him into the thick of it in Game 1 (if we get there)? Is Renney really going to kee the ineffective Jags-Nylander-Sraka line together? I sure hope not. Avery would do better there (big body, decent hands, gritty). Maybe Straka should be put with Shanny and Callahan? These are much more important questions and better things to talk about then “Who do the Isles play in their last 5 games.”

  24. Hey Sam,thanks for putting (and ladies)in your post. There are a few of us here. I read this blog everyday even if I don’t post a comment.

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