Some random observations over a lukewarm cup of coffee (if you must know, I’m too lazy to go heat it up)…
<li>The Rangers’ loss last night wouldn’t be alarming if the team hadn’t already lost two of three games coming into it.
Even then, I’m not sure I see a trend. The Buffalo loss was the inevitable letdown game after a 5-0 start; the loss in Detroit can be attributable to a slow start, an unfortunate call, and a handful of defensive lapses; while last night was a case of a team dominating early, and simply not having enough to show for it.
Observers will point to the 14 shots the Rangers took that missed the net last night, as they should. The team’s inability to score from close range particularly in the first period was probably the difference, and when asked about it last night, Tom Renney said he’d much rather see players hit the net and then try to pump in a rebound. As the coach likes to say, the best pass is one off the goaltender.
But let’s also not forget that it’s certain players’ ability to pick corners that has also led to some goals of late. I’m thinking specifically of Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan, who both scored caught a sliver of the net in Detroit to get the Rangers back in that game. There’s probably a happy medium in there, but the goalies in this league have become so proficient in covering up the net, that players have almost no room to work with — hence a lot of shots that sail high and wide.
<li>One has to assume Renney’s decision to put Patrick Rissmiller at right wing alongside Markus Naslund and Chris Drury was in part to see what Rissmiller could offer in a more prominent role — if only to then rule it out moving forward. Feel free to rule it out. Rissmiller struggled all night, and it was his inability to clear a puck in the third period that gave way to Mike Modano’s game-winner.
In fairness to the player, Rissmiller has played only part of one game this seasonÂ and is coming off an ankle injury, so it’s not realistic to think that he can just jump back into the lineup without a hitch.
But this only reinforces the idea that the team has to do something about the glut of forwards, and quick. Not only are you carrying around extra salary, but you’re also letting certain players languish on the sidelines for too long and getting diminishing returns as a result. It doesn’t matter who it is –Â Rissmiller or Dan Fritsche or Petr Prucha — anyone’s going to be sharper if they’re seeing the ice on regularly. And it’s only going to help their prospective linemates since they don’t have to adjust to the tendencies of a different player on a nightly basis.
<li>Sean Avery has said repeatedly that part of his rationale for yapping at opponents is to get himself into the game. He said as much last night about his early run-ins with Brandon Dubinsky, Stephen Valiquette, and Henrik Lundqvist.
But what’s his excuse for taking on a broadcaster who has no impact on the game?