Groggy thoughts on another postcard Buffalo day

72

I’m not sure I can take two more months of winter. What’s that, you say? it’s actually April? Amazing how you can forget up here.

Actually I’m not so down on Buffalo after a late-night tour through the city’s underbelly courtesy of everyone’s Sabres season-ticket holder, Sully. And at no point was I threatened or even insulted, which was a welcome departure from my own home.

Meanwhile, a few thoughts about last night:

  • The first actually comes from Sully, who said he thought the Sabres were flying in Game 1. I thought so as well, and if you’re a Rangers fan this is probably encouraging news. After “a fairly convincing 5-2 undressing”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070426/SPORTS01/704260419/1034/SPORTS, I’m not sure you want to hear, “Yeah, and the Sabres were flat.”
  • That said, to a large part, I think many of the Rangers’ problems were their own doing — the penalties, questionable or not, being one, some general careless positioning being the other. Karel Rachunek was already pretty dreadful in his return, and when Michal Rozsival went down at the end of the first, the rest of the defense seemed to struggle as well. It’s worth noting that the last time the Rangers were forced to play with five D was the night Rachunek got hurt against the Senators on March 12. Their backline was gasping for air in that game, and the result was the most recent coughed-up two-goal lead.
  • So then the question is, is it actually better to know the Rangers mostly just laid an egg? In a way, yes, and the reason is because rather than point to some fundamental gap in ability between the two teams, they can point to specific areas that need correction. They can’t take as many penalties, and they absolutely have to avoid getting stretched so thin — Sean Avery pointed to not having a forward high in the zone enough — that the Sabres can create odd man rushes.

    Don’t mistake, I think the Sabres are the deeper, more formidable team. But the Rangers system over the last part made their sum better than their parts. They need to get back to that game.

    The honeymoon is over, folks.

  • About Author

    72 Comments

    1. IF Rosie comes back, why not replace an inneffective Holloweg with Pock on the 4th line as a forward, then slip him back to D if needed so they will never have to worry about playing with 5 D again?

      Just a thought.

    2. Undressing? I saw weak calls , a goal that shouldn’t have been allowed, Our players getting hooked and grabbed, and a crowd that was drunk beyond belief.

      So I think we should calm ourselves with the undressing crap. Should have been 3-2, please. Take away the zillions of power plays they got and we were playing them even.
      Did all the fans offer to tip the refs after the game as well?

    3. Sam the penalties against weren’t questionable, but the calls not made on the chips were. Whose going to get the NHL to step up on improving their officials? … And your right, the NYR played like they were on a honeymoon,. Sully is biased & basically wrong , the NYR handed that game to the chips after dominating the first ten minutes. . … Is Rachky overdrawn on his money in the bank? … Did Hollweg do more than Orr would have? … What are Renney’s solutions? ….Good interview with Dave, now you should interview him. He is one of the best at telling it like it is, with solutions…

    4. Mark the Realist on

      Nice, RobZ. Are you an Islanders fan as well, because you sure sound like one. That goal was reviewed, and it should have counted. You should take a look at the rule book. The puck can deflect off the hand, but it can’t be pushed in, much like the puck can be deflected off a skate, but not kicked in. The ref waived off the goal to begin with because he thought the net was off b4 puck went in.

      Lastly, if you want to discount the EN goal, fine, but then you may as well discount the Shanny goal as well, because that goal doesn’t happen unless Buffalo is up by 3 goals.

    5. after all the nice fluff pieces on how classy and smart renney is, why not take him to task for not coaching a good game last nite. wasnt all the coaches fault but nor was it all the players fault. it was clear that the 2nd line wasnt playing well, yet they still played more than cally and prucha.

      and i just dont get people who in earlier posts that said they are setting themselves up for a run next year. first i dont think its possible to set up for an entire future season and playoffs while u are currently in the playoffs. also if we have pretty much the same team next year we will most likely be worse. Shanny and Avery should not be our 2nd line next year (and who wants a 36 year old lang). that is not a reaction to their play last nite but neither of them can perform at the necessary level for an entire season and playoffs (shanny b/c of his age and avery b/c he doesn’t have the skills to be a consistent top six forward).

      This team can still make strides this year and should not be thinking about the offseason or next year at all, if they are, the series is already lost.

    6. “Undressing? I saw weak calls , a goal that shouldn’t have been allowed, Our players getting hooked and grabbed, and a crowd that was drunk beyond belief.”

      1. The 4th goal was def a goal. Come on.

      2. You need to accept and embrace the fact that NYR will eternally get dodged on some calls. We still took too many, and dumb/avoidable ones at that. Tip: Expect less and you’ll have more and vice versa.

      3. Are the crowds not allowed to get drunk beyond belief? This Sabres season is the biggest thing to happen in Buffalo in a long time…..I think they’re allowed to get drunk and excited….I do wish they would stay seated though. Especially the thick woman in the pink jersey down on the right side by the glass. Sully is that your piece? ;)

    7. Pete,

      They had a bad game and they were flat. Harping over it will do no good for the vibe of the players or the staff.

      If you really want to get the 3rd line more minutes, then people need to stay the hell out of the box.

      Calling for Renney to get grilled over one loss is more of an emotional reaction than a logical one.

    8. I can’t believe people are actually blaming Renney. Is it his fault Roszival got hurt and Rachunek looked rusty?

      The Rangers lost their composure for 4 minutes in the 2nd and it cost them the game. They need to focus on playing disciplined hockey for 60 minutes.

    9. Hey Mark, Sorry to tell you pal that is what happened.
      Was it our best effort not even close, but the game should be called both ways not just so you can hear the fans get crazy.
      Nah been a Ranger fan all my life so you saying
      “Nice, RobZ. Are you an Islanders fan as well, because you sure sound like one.” Your just being a moron instead of a realist.

      RANGERS!!!!!!!!!

    10. It was a bad game. What I hope to see is a great response to adversity the first time this playoffs.
      The fourth line should not be out there when we are trying to come back. We have no scoring on the fourth line and I see them out there after Hossa’s goal, come on.
      The fourth lines made the difference.

    11. Rob Z

      The worst thing you can do as an organization is bitch and moan about the officialting and take the accounatbility away from the players.

      While i agree they didn’t really get called on a lot of stuff i also think the Rangers were responsible for most of the calls against them. if you dont want to get called for a hook dont hook. if you dont want to get called for closing your hand on the puck then dont close your hand on the puck.

      Excuses will get you nothing but the chance to find more excuses. The Rangers lost, they deserved to lose that game and they need to come back and be more responsible and not worry about what they are calling on the Sabres.

    12. KELLY let’s talk after Friday, for now you can kiss yourself and take a honeymoon at THE FALLS. JUMP!

    13. Mark the Realist on

      Rob Z, I didn’t even mention that there was no smoking gun evidence that even touched his glove. My point you’re reading from THE EXACT SAME SCRIPT as the Isles did, and it got them nowhere.

    14. I understand Rob S and Mark,

      But the calls should go both ways, I mean Cullen went behind the net all night and was getting held and hooked, but nothing, that is all I’m saying.
      I’m pissed because all I hear is “O I bet there the cream of the crop now” or “get the brooms out”.
      Everyone thinks that was our best game.

    15. “But the calls should go both ways”

      What, in your history as a Ranger fan, has led you to believe this will *ever* be the case?

      I simply must know…..you must not have been around very long.

    16. How come whenever the Rangers win, the same people continuously post on here and talk like normal people? And whenever the Rangers lose, a bunch of people who we’ve never heard of before start making 5 year old posts?

      Point is the Rangers did not have their “A” game last night and Buffalo certainly did. And most importantly, Henrik didn’t have his “A” game either. Like Sam said, the good news is that much of what went wrong last night is correctable. And once the Rangers woke up and realized this last night, they played a period in which they generated more shots, scored 2 goals, outplayed Buffalo, and allowed a goal that should not have been allowed and an empty netter.

      With Buffalo, the Rangers can’t stop skating. They need to skate as hard as they ever have, because Buffalo has too much speed and has a system in place that forces their opponents to pay for it when they make a mistake.

      And lastly, did you guys expect the Rangers to go undefeated in the playoffs?! Give me a break. It’s one game. They’re too good of a team to allow it to happen again. I say they come out on fire Friday night and pull out a win to force a 1-1 series heading back to MSG. And if they lose Game 2, I’m still not panicking. The Rangers have played exceptional on home ice since the beginning of March and feed of their fans energy.

    17. The only way to view losing game 1 (for me) is this.

      We lost game 1 on the road after not playing for a full week. We lost against a very good team – in their building.

      This is a race to 4 games – no need to panic. There is plenty of hockey to be played for both teams to get to 4 wins.

      Look at the tape, devise a strategy to counter the Buffalo offense and take it from there.

      Buffalo played a strong game and the Rangers did not. That means that the Rangers can and will step up their play. And when they do – they can beat Buffalo on the road and at home.

    18. my intent is not to harp, but rather address what needs to be changed:

      if rosy can play, dress pock over rachunek

      have a balanced powerplay and if we are lucky enough to get another 5on3 do not use avery on the unit and do not only take shots from the point as this is exactly what the sabres want them to do

      like robz said, when we need offense don’t play the fourth line. roll three lines if we need a goal with the first and third getting most of the time.

      i agree that in theory with less penalties the third line plays more, but when the 2nd line takes at least 3 of the penalites they should be given less ice-time and should have to earn time in the next game

      get the puck on the net and in front of miller, he doesn’t look that great when you get him moving, but if you take long range shots (like avery and shanny tend to do) he should make those stops.

      jags and co got better as the game went so if they can build on that momentum and keep cycling the puck good things will happen

      backcheck, backcheck, backcheck, cant have jagr and avery and others gliding back to our zone, buffalo is too fast and skilled on all four lines

      all things that can and should be addressed by coaching staff and players

    19. Way too many penalties. On the other end questionable non-calls. Lundqvist was unlucky on first goal and he couldn’t help it. Second and third goals came from great, precise shots but Henrik was able to see it all the way. I think he could do a little better than that. Thanks to Kotalik we were playing with only five defensemen and I knew we’re going to blew it. Rachunek was bad and if so that was the mistake from Renney. Why to make changes if something works well? Where was Avery? Where were all that hits from Hollweg? He looked like an AHL player and whole team looked flat-flat comparing to Sabres… We have to compete more on Friday and not to take so many penalties, come on – we’re playing like 8 minutes on PK just in the first!

    20. Pete,

      You cannot play only three lines against a team that rolls four lines in a seven game series. This is especially the case against a hard skating team like the Sabres.

      They will be out of gas by game 4.

    21. Yeah, NJ Mark!

      Lots to fix — but it’s fixable and this whole shebang is clearly win-able. One game is one game. It’s a good reminder that talk is cheap and the team has to leave everything on the ice every shift, every game. Hey, I love sports cliches…

      Let’s go Rangers!

    22. If Sabres’ crowd booed Jagr and taunted Avery, will the Rangers’ crowd be smart enough to do the same?

    23. Good point Chris – As I said before the Rangers needed a little wake up call. They were starting to get big heads. Losing the first game is a blessing in disguise. In 1994 I believe we lost two game ones on the way to the Cup no?? There is’nt any panic yet- We play solid on Friday and stay out of the box – We gain home ice advantage and get this thing rolling!!!!

    24. I repeat again Avery is the reason Sabres and their crowd were so fired up and he took brutal penalties as well and turn the puck over.

      Other terribly stupid penalties were 2 hooking, closing the hand on the puck, too many men. Can’t remember Girardi’s penalty. Hollweg’s and Mara’s were not much of a penalty, just terrible calls.

    25. Cullens hooking was the one that pissed me off. he barely touched the guy while Callahan was getting drille din the face away from the puck at the same time.

    26. agreed you can’t roll three lines the entire game, but at the end i think you need to or at least only let the 4th line on for like 15 secs instead of a minute like in the third last nite (game was prob over anyways but they werent bangin anyone around either ie setting a tone for next game) and the call on mara was totally deserved he plowed right into miller, there was no need to do that, can’t take stupid penalties like that

    27. I think it would be a mistake to bring up Dubinsky. He was pretty good at faceoffs and offense, but he was running around aimlessly too much in the defensive zone. The only people that should be brought up are Dawes and Immonen, who were pretty solid in their last chance with the team, but Renney has “lack of foot speed” on Immo, so that would leave Dawes, who would fit in well because he is a LW.

    28. Rangers Pride on

      Have you guys noticed that Buffalo is covering Jagr the same way the Rangers did Thornton when we played SJ earlier this year. Ever time JJ gets the puck they have 3 guys sticks on him.

    29. Come on guys.
      I thought we were REAL Ranger fans.
      Crap, it’s only the first game.
      Gotta support the team,

    30. Rob S – I agree wholeheartedly, play Pock, sit Hollweg … if Rosival cannot make it thru the game move Pock back there .. double-shift Jagr and Callahan …

      More thoughts:
      I thought Renney should have gone with the same lineup that swept Thrashers … if it ain’t broke don’t fix it … superstitions being what they are that would be another reason …

      If Jagr was minus 4 would he be getting a ton of criticism??? You bet … You do not hear much about Shanahan being a minus 4 … Shanny and Avery looked slow … they may have to move one of them and put Callahan or Prucha up on the line for speed…

      Can we get Dubinsky brought up to play in place of Hollweg?

    31. Buffalo Bandwagon Fan on

      Rag fans, Your posts have nothing to offer. This series is all about the Sabres and not one other team. You think that your team can help the fact that they made those penalties. They were predominantly forced. The Rangers played a great game, got tired, let their guard down for about 10 total minutes last night and lost as a result. The Sabres are not by far the best team in the league, but they have more support, better players in total, better coaches, almost more to lose than any other team ie. free agency. Most importantly they have more to win for.

    32. yenner the NYR gave them the game. Avery only gave them a little push. Way too many excuses for too many mistakes.

    33. I noticed Cullen takes a ton of these hooking and holding penalties. It is ridiculous, they can’t get him to stop doing it.

    34. Sabres fans are so arrogant it’s pathetic. What a pathetic group of people. Sabres how many times have you won the cup. What? None, yeah, what I thought, go away. Rangers in 6 is still my prediction.

    35. “will the Rangers’ crowd be smart enough to do the same?”

      …let’s not get started….say what you will about MSG, I think NY crowds are terrible…they do not know how to help a team.

      Here’s a tip: Swallow the pathetic Potvin chant and try counting down the period or the special teams…something that has potential to actually help your team.

      Chanting “These Refs Suck” or “ASS-HOLE” does not help the home team.

    36. BTW, Shanahan last season was on a top seeded Red Wings team that got killed in the first round by the Oilers. Get the old toothless out of here ASAP.

    37. I can’t believe some of this crap-bring up Dubinsky. Sit Hollwegg. Cullen hooks to much. What a bunch of bandwagon jumpers. Get off the Rangewr train now-they don’t need fans like you. The Rangers will be fine-they’ll adjust. Have a drink and chill.

    38. Buffalo Bandwagon Fan on

      ‘how many cups have we won?’ None, nothing, why do you think it is such a big deal? Catch a clue, everyone here feels it. There is nothing to be complacent about. Personally, the only way the Rangers win 4 is if they play best of 10 or 15.

    39. yeah, MSG crowd is clueless about how to help the team, they just come there to socialize and whistle the Potvin Sucks tune.

    40. Man, some of you are brutal. Wake up already. This Ranger team wasn’t exactly going to rifle off 16 straight wins.

      Now that they have experienced a loss they need to refocus, come back tomorrow with their A game and try to pull off a win even if it isn’t pretty.

    41. “Yenner Mot
      April 26th, 2007 at 12:38 pm
      If Sabres’ crowd booed Jagr and taunted Avery, will the Rangers’ crowd be smart enough to do the same?”

      No, we like Jagr and Avery. We won’t boo them.

    42. “Rangers Pride
      April 26th, 2007 at 12:59 pm
      Have you guys noticed that Buffalo is covering Jagr the same way the Rangers did Thornton when we played SJ earlier this year. Ever time JJ gets the puck they have 3 guys sticks on him.”

      And it would be nice if the refs called even ONE of the 3 sticks on him. I think the string of the tape on Cullen’s stick passed into the aura of a Sabre and it was called.

    43. Buffalo Bandwagon Fan
      April 26th, 2007 at 1:07 pm
      Rag fans, Your posts have nothing to offer. This series is all about the Sabres and not one other team. You think that your team can help the fact that they made those penalties. They were predominantly forced. The Rangers played a great game, got tired, let their guard down for about 10 total minutes last night and lost as a result. The Sabres are not by far the best team in the league, but they have more support, better players in total, better coaches, almost more to lose than any other team ie. free agency. Most importantly they have more to win for.

      Thanks, Isles fan, but if we were really tired like you say before the game was half over, we could be in trouble. And you’re right, we can’t help what gets called in a game. If they are not calling two handed whacks to the hands, and interference by #5 on dump ins on one team, you would think finishing a check wouldn’t be called on the other.

      We’re used to it. We gotta play BETTER.

    44. “Salty Wound Licker
      April 26th, 2007 at 1:17 pm
      “will the Rangers’ crowd be smart enough to do the same?�

      …let’s not get started….say what you will about MSG, I think NY crowds are terrible…they do not know how to help a team.

      Here’s a tip: Swallow the pathetic Potvin chant and try counting down the period or the special teams…something that has potential to actually help your team.

      Chanting “These Refs Suckâ€? or “ASS-HOLEâ€? does not help the home team.”

      Thanks for the tip, sport. I’m sure the Rangers need us to count down the time for them. The Potvin chant is not to help the team, but it makes us feel good. The chanting about the refs has gotten us a call after we are sent to the box for the 5th BS penalty in a row. We’ll keep that one. Think the home crowd helped Donut Koharski along yesterday??

    45. “yeah, MSG crowd is clueless about how to help the team, they just come there to socialize and whistle the Potvin Sucks tune”

      Unfortunately the closer you get to the ice, the truer this seems to be.

      But seriously, “Garden Faithful”? Please. Anyone who goes there knows whats up. Sure the fans bring energy *when the team is doing well*, but they can bring bad energy just as fast when the team is running flat.

      (These are blanket statements, I don’t mean everyone in the building…but I am sure the true blues know exactly what I’m talking about)

    46. Crooked Ref (Buffalo Bandwagon Fan) on

      Hey guys, quit making any noise about my officiating. I have to do what the league officials mandate. And this gig gives me too much fame, money, and respect to lose it because eagle eye Ranger fans get hot to me. Well, I have to go tape a moon landing before Elvis comes over. Remember guys, hush hush. … Morons

    47. Salty,

      nothing wrong with letting NYR know when they are playing crappy by getting on them at home games. They’re big boys. The only one I can’t stand is us yelling at them to shoot all the time. Reminds me of a soccer mom yelling to her kid.

    48. miss. harass on

      It was only 1 game. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We all think that we will take the series in 6, so simple math means that we would lose 2 games.

      Maybe they needed this loss to get the fire in their bellies. Tonight they will lick their wounds, taste the blood, and come back tomorrow night ready for the kill. They are fighters to the end.

      Don’t ever give up on them. A true fan is behind their team through thick AND thin. Wins and losses. We have to believe in them and root for them at all costs. We need to stay positive for them. They need us now to not give up on them. So stop bitching and making excuses. They lost, now on to the next game.

      I will be at MSG on Sunday in my Ranger gear yelling at the top of my lungs until I am Ranger Blue in the face. Have faith they will win.

      GO RANGERS!

    49. I’m back after a interesting game one. I think speed was the biggest issue last night. After some lack luster games against the Islanders, the Sabres finally seemed to hit stride. I agree some of the penalties on NYR could be considered questionable – but take notice that most of them occured in the Rangers offensive zone. The speed of the Sabres transition caused the Rangers to hook, grab, or do whatever possible not give up an odd man rush the other way.

      By the way – I was very impressed with Lundqvist. He is no joke.

    50. Sully your guys got away with too many penalties. As a result the game was handed to you by the NYR & the refs.

    51. THE RANGERS BETTER GET THE PUCK DEEP AND SEND TWO CHECKERS IN ALL NIGHT. NO BS AT THE BLUE LINE MAKING PLAYS. THE TRAP DOESNT WORK AGAINST THE SABERS

    52. Refs don’t lose games for anyone, Rangers included. They didn’t play well enough, long enough. They made mistakes of every kind. They know it. Okay. Fine. Moving on…

      LET’S GO RANGERS!

    53. Sully –

      I understand that it’s nice to think the Rangers took penalties because the Sabres speed forced them to, and certainly that was the case a few times, but off the top of my head I can think of four penalties taklen by the Rangers that were purely stupid – neither of Avery’s holds had any bearing on the game as one took place in the offensive zone and one took place after a successful backcheck had been completed by him, Mara’s goalie interference was plain stupid, and Straka’s hook – the one that led to goal #1 – was necessitated by his terrible attempt at a breakout pass when he clearly had time to go up the boards or carry the puck out. And periodically, about every 10 games or so, the Rangers decide to go into panic mode and decide they need to get that one goal back NOW, so nobody covers properly defensively, and suddenly they’re down 3 goals. Same thing happened in Montreal about 1 month ago. And in fact, I’ve seen the Sabres do the same thing at MSG earlier this year – up 1-0 then completely imploded for a few minutes while the Rangers piled on 3 goals (of course the Sabres did come back to win that one in OT).

      If what happened last night happens 3 more times, hey, fine. But once? I think the Rangers laid an egg, and I think Friday will be a much tighter game.

    54. “nothing wrong with letting NYR know when they are playing crappy by getting on them at home games”

      Ehhhhhh…yes and no. Either way, my real gripe is with the Potvin chant….seriously….the lamest thing in the entire NHL. Let’s move on already shall we? At least save it for Isle’s games. It has no meaning vs. Blackhawks or whoever……ya monkeys!

    55. If that is Buffalo’s best, we can beat them. We took stupid penalties and gave them the momentum. This game was actually alot closer than the score, well I felt so any way. They got 3 goals like that and it changed the game dramtcally. We outplayed them in the 3rd period and really outscored them 2-0. I dont think the punch in was a goal and they got an empty netter. Shanny got a goal as did Hossa. If we get them going , we have a great chance. Another thing I noticed was Avery seemed a little antsy out there. He took some penalties we have not seen him take. Also Hollweg needs to go as he just adds to the penalty problem. Putting Rachunek in hurt yesterday but it might work out better over the whole series as it was clear he was quite rusty

    56. Peter – i agree. One game is one game, it’s still a race to four. I think the Rangers will be better Friday, i just hope the Sabres show up as well.

      In response to the Avery penalties – guys who play like him never get breaks from the refs. Is it fair – no, but that’s just the way it is in the NHL. It goes the other way as well – Derek Roy is prolific diver, and the refs know it. The opposing team can now basically hit this guy with a hatchet, and not get a penalty. Nothing we can do about it.

      Game 2 should be good.

    57. I missed the first 2 periods yesterday (my TIVO did not obey my commands), how did Rosival get hurt – a check along the boards/ – Open Ice hit/ – who did it and how?

      Thanks.

    58. Kotalik pounded Rozy into the corner boards. I think Rozy tried to avoid the hit and his legs came up so he got hit across the legs as they were off the ice.

    59. About Hollweg, did anyone see the call that was called a penalty?…..That was the worst call of the night along with Cullen’s intereference or whatever the hell that was.

      I think it was just a bad game, I think They will refocus, Tell you one thing though if We Win tomorrow(hopefully) Then I think that puts us in the drivers seat.
      -It creates a bigger belief in the dressing room
      -We come home 1-1, so LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I guess no practice today SAM?

    60. Sully – I understand Avery’s not going to get any breaks, but actually last night I don’t think he should have. My point wasn’t that they were bad calls – those were bad penalties to take, all four of them. The Rangers had stopped doing that. Hopefully they don’t start again.

    61. TIRF (Typical Idiot Rangers Fan) on

      Hey 1994 – “Tell you one thing though if We Win tomorrow(hopefully) Then I think that puts us in the drivers seat. “Did the Isles win game 2 in round 1 after losing the 1st game? How did they end up?

      Someone please explain to me how we are supposed to win this series? We can’t match up on defense, can’t match up on offense, can’t match up on coaching, goaltending is a draw at best, and given the totality of both Hank and Ryan Miller’s playoff career, I would say Miller is superior.

      Everyone became delirious after the Atlanta win, and thought we were a juggernaut. I am guilty of this as well. At the same time, we have convinced that the Sabres aren’t that great, Miller sucks, the regular season record doesn’t have a bearing here.

      Again, utter than sheer faith, or half of Buffalo getting a staph infection, I just don’t see how we advance.

    Leave A Reply

    Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud