1) This is another tough one-day trip, the Rangers’ third of this streak—a three-hour flight for one game, and then right back home again. Game was moved up to 6 p.m. local time, so it will begin at 7 p.m. here, probably for Versus.
2) Imagine if they don’t beat the Blues and Islanders back to back the next three nights? Actually, it’s not hard to imagine … but it will be really ugly at MSG Wednesday.
3) There are games in this streak in which I thought the Rangers had a level of “battle”—in Boston, in New Jersey, in Florida, in the only win, against Washington. Then there are those games in which they just looked a little flat—Atlanta at home, you could also argue Boston.
But there were also games where “quit” would not be too strong a word to use on a good portion of the roster, and I thought yesterday was one of those, along with Dallas.
It was game in which the top, and usual, suspects just looked as if they were out for a skate in Central Park. Scott Gomez? Hello. Not only is he playing poorly, but he seems to be avoiding contact. Chris Drury?
4) It’s also unfair to paint everybody with the “quit” brush. I thought some guys competed and tried really hard against the Flyers—who, by the way, are not a very physical team anymore. Again, though, it was the usual suspects in the “effort” department, too: the Callahans, the Maras.
5) Even when they try to do something positive it turns out negative, and there was no greater example than Mara fighting Arron Asham, trying to make a statement, or trying to play to the buzzer, or whatever he was trying to do. Then he hurts his right shoulder, and from the immediate looks of it, it could be serious. We’ll know more in a day or two, probably.
After the game, Mara sought out Asham to thank him for stopping the fight once he realized Mara was hurt. There is honor among some of these guys, bless their courageous hearts.
6) In past regimes, “Fire Renney” and “Fire Sather” might have had a greater impact than it does now. Why? Because Jim Dolan isn’t about to be swayed by a chant, and neither is Sather. And because, let’s be honest, those chants were feint, not the kind that rocked the place for “Fire Muckler” and “Fire Campbell.” Anyway, I really doubt that fan dissatisfaction even registers with these untouchable guys who run the team.
But I wrote today that something needs to happen. Here is my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com today.
Maybe the number of kids in the stands at the matinee game, and the number of diehards who probably sold their seats to fake-fans or Flyers fans kept the volume of the chants down.
7) The power play really, really stinks. I mean it is God-awful. I mean, I have to go to the Thesaurus to try to find a word that accurately describes the foul odor it emits. And I still can’t, except in my Roget’s II it uses an example for “a foul odor”: This shrimp smells. To compare the Rangers power play to shrimp would be unfair to the shrimp. You almost have to try to be this bad.
I’ll probably update here later. See ya.
(ed. note: I previously had written that it’s a 7:30 start tonight. The NHL lists it at 7 p.m. Sorry).
JUST WANT TO PASS THIS ALONG:
A couple of commentors mentioned Rangers trainer Jim Ramsay.
I forgot to write that he was one of yesterday’s heroes. Somebody behind the bench took a puck to the head— I’ve been told it was a young kid—and Ramsay actually left the Rangers bench and ran into the stands to tend to the injured kid until the EMS got there. Wow!
This guy is a perennial all-star, and as much or more than anybody in the organization, deserves to see the day when the Rangers win another Cup.
Great work, Rammer!
Nothing major: Rangers had an optional skate this morning in St. Louis, did not call up a defenseman to replace injured Paul Mara (right shoulder). No update on Mara’s condition.
So Kalinin goes in as the Rangers have only six defensemen; nobody called up from Hartford, but I’m guessing that will change by practice time tomorrow. Sounds like Prucha gets another shot tonight and Voros sits again. Lundqvist in goal.