Heave ho, five in a row. All in regulation. Zero of a possible 10 points ripped right off the schedule. Your New York Rangers, right now out of a playoff position.
That’s all it takes, just as it will only take a three-game winning streak for them to be right back in it, and for everybody to snap ankles jumping back on the bandwagon.
1) You know what? You can cry all you want about the first-period effort and the offense that showed up too late. Really that first period and the 3-0 deficit—insurmountable for this team—was all on Michael Del Zotto. And if you’re going to be honest with yourselves, you can’t be angry about that. We knew there would be nights like this, and here it was. It’s part of the process of throwing a teenager into the big leagues, on defense no less. No matter how great this kid’s potential, how high his ceiling, there will be nights like this. And since he’s a risk-taker in a ridiculously risky system, it’s actually surprising that there haven’t been more. You all wanted MDZ here, and rightly so. So live with it. I think that’s why John Tortorella wasn’t ripping mad last night. He knew it was on the kid, and didn’t want to pile on. And he knew that the first period wasn’t as bad as it seemed, but seemed horrible because it was 3-0 on three awful mistakes.
2) Given that, for decades and decades, the rule for a defenseman on a 2-on-1 against was to not allow the pass. “Let the goalie have the shooter, don’t allow the pass.” So why is it that the Rangers’ defensemen always allow the pass? Sometimes they slide on their bellies, and once in a while they get a piece of the pass (to cries of “Great play by Girardi; great play by Staal” on TV). But more often than not, they don’t take away the pass, they don’t take the man and let the goalie have the shooter.
3) Speaking of 2-on-1s, was it just me or did it really seem that Sean Avery, on his 2-on-1, looked over, saw it was Christopher Higgins coming down his left side and figured, “I’d better shoot this because Higgy will never get it on goal”? In truth, as bad as Avery has been, he is one of the few guys on the team that really understands “pucks and bodies to the net.” He’ll throw it to the paint from anywhere, and that’s what everybody ought to be doing by now.
4) The Coyotes messed up their own little 2-on-1 against when the defenseman slid past Gaborik. Everybody praised Christensen for his return pass, and it was pretty, but, geez, it was 2-on-0 by then.
5) Don’t you wish you had Don Maloney back and sitting in the big chair?
6) Tortorella and MSG made a big deal out of Prucha’s reaction to the high stick. Well, Rozsival’s stick caught him in the face. What do you think the studio voices or the coach, or anybody, would do if hit in the face with a stick? Right, you recoil. Whether it’s a sharp piece of wood or a shot from a water pistol, you recoil when you get hit in the face unexpectedly. It was a penalty. Correctly called.
7) Wade Redden. Ugh.