All the good from that late-December/early-January run is being undone now. It’s six losses in eight games, with only five of a possible 16 points gained.
1) Don’t know about you (actually I do), but haven’t we seen enough of Drury and Rozsival on the power-play points? Isn’t it time to put Kotalik back in the lineup, even if he only plays the PP point? What’s the worst that could happen? During those nearly six minutes of consecutive PP in the third period last night, we saw Rozsival fail to keep a puck in at the point, commit an icing; we saw Drury get shot after shot blocked; we saw the Penguins get three (I believe) shots on goal to the Rangers’ seven, including a semi-breakaway. Could Kotalik do worse than that? How bad could it be?
2) I don’t know how many times the Rangers’ fourth line has been on the ice against Sidney Crosby this season (the Rangers are 0-4 vs. the Pens, by the way) but it has happened far too often. If it happens once, that’s too often.
3) Vinny Prospal had his worst game as a Ranger. Watch the replay of the winning goal. That’s all him. Originally I thought that the goal occurred because both Rozsival and Staal were on the same side of the net, and they were, but that’s because Rozsival was taking care of Crosby. Then I thought it was Dubinsky’s man — but I had my doubts when Dubinsky wouldn’t own up to it in the post-game lockerroom. So I watched it again. Prospal glided down the slot and let Conner get away from him.
4) The battle level was a lot better than it was in Montreal. That’s not saying much.
5) I guess Anisimov saw that story about how he should be sent to the minors. Seriously, he’s fine where he is, playing a third-line role and developing. And if he gets on a little roll, maybe he slides up to the first or second line.
6) I cannot believe how many Penguins fans were in the building, not to mention how many Islanders fans the last time the teams played, and how many Devils fans the last time the teams played, and how many Flyers fans the last time the teams played. Add to that the number of first-time fans who somehow got tickets at every single game, and that’s why the crowds are so average-to-dull, and why there’s so little actual fury in the building when things go bad. One game recently, the Rangers scored a goal and the cameras panned the crowd and a bunch of “Rangers fans” were sitting in their seats clapping. Sitting!
7) Saw an interesting move by a guy sitting near the pressbox, which is over the Zamboni entrance. When the game ended he took off his Rangers jersey and clapped for the Penguins and told them what a great game they had played, in an attempt to get a stick from one of them.
8) It seems the worse the losses get, or the more they pile up, the funnier you guys get. Last night might have been the most hysterical thread yet … and one of the biggest in terms of traffic.
Matt Zaba (daba-doo) was assigned to Hartford today, and Dos Nueve (Chad Johnson) was recalled.
Here is my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com today.
Don’t know if you saw this story on Gordie Howe Hat Tricks on NHL.com.