Nobody on this blog is celebrating, I’m sure, this victory over the Islanders. Nobody is putting any emphasis on it other than the Rangers did what they had to do. They had to beat the Islanders. Or, the other way around, they couldn’t lose to the Islanders.
But it wasn’t the Red Wings, and it wasn’t even the Flyers or the Panthers. It was the Islanders. So the Rangers should take the win, be glad that they did a few things well, be more glad that some of their big-money players decided to jump off the milk cartons, and move on.
They simply avoided a disaster last night. That’s it.
Some points in review:
1) As I’ve been saying for a while, I’m not sure Glen Sather ever intended to fire Tom Renney, and may wait until the season is over to evaluate his coach. It no longer is available on the internet, I don’t think, but Larry Brooks wrote the same thing in an early in the Post.
(We often write one story that appears in the early editions, with deadlines too early to include the game; then replace the early story with the story about the game; it’s standard procedure but sometimes some of our best writing isn’t seen by most readers).
Brooks noted that in Sather’s entire career as a GM, his coaches have been himself and his cronies/organizational people (Muckler, Ron Low, Ted Green, Kevin Lowe and Renney). He hired two guys from outside his circle: George Burnett and Bryan Trottier, and neither of them lasted 60 games. So it’s not likely Sather will go outside for a guy like John Tortorella if he was inclined to fire Renney. And he might not be inclined to do so, regardless.
2) Here are a few more voices, with whom many of you will strongly disagree, writing that Renney is not to blame for what’s gone on, or pointing out how hamstrung Renney is with the roster he has.
3) Last night marked the 41st anniversary of first game at the “new” Garden, which is now the second-oldest arena in the NHL. (Kenny Albert found out that Flyers goalie Doug Favell had the first fight in the building, against Reggie Fleming).
I was thinking this could be the last game in the building if they lose because the fans might tear it down.
4) I thought I noticed in St. Louis that Scott Gomez and — forgive me for saying this — Wade Redden were playing better. Last night was the best game by either of them that I’ve seen. And Chris Drury stepped to the plate, too.
I know there’s a lot of venom built up for these guys, but they may be your only hope of anything happening this year or in the next few years. They have to be better, because they’re not going anywhere, and much as it pains you, you might have to actually root for these guys to get it together. They will never live up to their contracts, but if they live up to their annual statistics that will have to be good enough.
I nearly fell out of my chair when Redden took that hit to clear the zone on the empty-net goal.
5) They have to play Petr Prucha every single game now, right? Or trade him. I’m sure he was one of the players Phoenix was scouting, with Don Maloney and two other Coyotes scouts in the building last night.