If you’ve watched hockey seasons at all … in other words, if this isn’t your first season as a fan … then you should know this. Losing streaks sometimes start with poorly-played victories. The Rangers had won seven in a row, but the last three were nowhere near complete-game wins, and if you analyze each, they got worse. The bad play stretched and extended over longer periods of time in each. Then comes 7-3. It really ought to not be a surprise.
Likewise, sometimes a team will play better as it starts to come out of a tailspin. Maybe this one miserable loss will turn into two or three. But it also could be the best thing to happen that the next opponent is the Devils at home. Because it forces the Rangers to fix it quickly.
I was waiting for the official post-game notes and quotes, but never got them.
1) Starting Valiquette. I know a lot of you have a problem with that. But starting him at home against San Jose isn’t like starting him at Pittsburgh or at Detroit. If he can’t handle San Jose at home, then he can’t be the backup goalie, because Lundqvist has to have some games off … and what if Lundqvist ever got hurt? What if he had to miss a week down the stretch with the playoffs on the line? What if he had to miss a playoff game or two? Well, if Valiquette can’t handle the Sharks at home in October, how the heck should he be expected to handle those situations? You have to let him play some meaningful games, or get somebody else. Period.
2) All six defensemen stunk. Stunk to high heaven. I think five of the goals were scored from 10 feet and in, and each time nobody was put on his fanny, and on a few of them it was 2-on-1 down low, with the other defenseman nowhere in the picture. It’s easy to always blame Rozsival, but the Calder Trophy kid and everybody else, including Staal and Girardi, were dreadful.
3) The turnovers. My goodness. I know they want to be aggressive and take chances, but not reckless and careless. And that goes quadruple for the fourth line. If anybody should play it relatively safe, it has to be those guys in their limited minutes and with their limited ability. Donald Brashear? Horrible. Only Valiquette, and maybe Joe Girardi and Alfredo Aceves, had a worse night.
4) Do the Versus clowns think that we’re watching Versus because it’s Versus, or because that’s only place we can see the game? Because every time they say Versus, the more I promise I won’t watch Versus unless I absolutely have to. Their play-by-play guy makes Chip Carey sound like Vin Scully. And how does MSG Network not have some sort of postgame presence for a home game?