I don’t even know where to begin. Do you?
The company line is that the Rangers played a lot better, that they did a lot of good things. You know what? They did. Much better than the two disasters that preceeded it. Of course, it would have been hard to match those two performances.
Defensively, until very late in the game, they were pretty good. Michal Rozsival had another nightmare game. He made a crazy, over-aggressive move off the center-ice faceoff after the first Gaborik goal, and when Marc Staal couldn’t out-battle Bill Guerin, Roszival was way out of position for … none other than Sid the Kid. 1-1.
Then Rozsival misplayed a simple 3-on-2 into the Rupp goal, the winner, and one that Henrik Lundqvist has to stop. I also think that Lundqvist is getting tired of answering the question: “Do you wish you had that one back?”
Bottom line: If the Rangers play the way they played the first two periods, most nights they’ll be OK. It remains fact that on most nights they will be out-skilled by the opponent, unless somehow guys like Drury and Higgins and Callahan suddenly figure out how to score goals. Defensively they are still messy, and part of that is the young guys, part of it is Rozsival having an awful season. But part of that, too, is the system they play.
Aggressive is great to watch, but you’d better have some horses, or what’s the point? This was my main defense of Renney last year. I don’t think he was Scotty Bowman or even Roger Neilson, and I think his shelf-life was up … but I defended the idea that he played a style he had to play with the hand he was dealt. Those Rangers didn’t have enough offense, so they played defense. These Rangers don’t have enough offense, but play Safe is Death. Well, sometimes safe is good. Sometimes, when you have Crosbys and Malkins on the other side, safe is necessary.
I know they showed it on MSG, but did you guys see this crazy injury to Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun?