Lightnings-Rangers in review

26

First of all, be here all morning. Quit your job if you have to. We’re going to do the annual Boneheads Trade Deadline Extravaganza (and picnic) all day long. Starting when the sun comes up … or when I crawl out of bed, whichever comes first.

Do I think this will be a day they’ll discuss for years to come? I don’t know. Nobody knows what Glen Sather has up his sleeve. I wrote a column last night about the potential pitfalls of Brad Richards (link to come later), the main one in my mind being his concussion. I don’t like trading anything of value for a guy with a brain injury. See LaFontaine, Pat. Or Lindros, Eric. Plus, who’s he going to set up? Another guy with a brain injury? Gaborik, Marian.

Thoughts on the Lightnings’ victory Sunday:

1) I don’t blame John Tortorella one bit for his rant about the officiating yesterday. The call on Dan Girardi is another example of the pansification of hockey. He bumps the guy, didn’t even barrel over him, just a normal hockey play. Boarding? I don’t think so. And the call on Brandon Dubinsky at the blue line, when the Tampa guy’s skate bumped his as he was straddling the line? Awful. Just awful. The other penalties were pretty stupid on the parts of the Rangers’ players, and Tortorella said as much about that, too. Good for him.

2) Having said that, there’s going to be a check made out to the National Hockey League and signed by John Tortorella for those remarks.

3) Having said all of that, I thought Girardi made some ridiculous plays, starting with the pass to nobody in the slot from behind the goal line that trapped him and created the 3-on-2 (I said, “1-0″ before the three Lightnings reached the red line) for the 1-0 goal. Can’t do that against that team … not with two forwards deep, too.

4) I still am giving Henrik Lundqvist the benefit of the doubt on the Marty St. Louis goal, because it’s a 3-on-2, first shot he faced, and he’s got to he cognizant of Steven Stamkos coming down the left side. Could he have stopped it? Yeah. I also don’t get what good it does anymore with Tortorella judging every goal allowed by Lundqvist as “has to stop it” or “should have stopped it” or “couldn’t stop it.” Can the guy be allowed to get some confidence? He’d played two good games in a row, and he had no chance on the second goal by Lecavalier 5-on-3.

5) Not sure I agree with the talk that the Rangers played this great game. The last 40+ minutes they played pretty well. But the first 19, even though they defended well, there were a handful of guys gliding — not kids, but young veterans and older veterans — going at scrimmage speed. Looked a lot like the start of most games last February.

6) Common growing theme: That the Rangers haven’t beaten the Flyers or the Lightnings this year. I think that means jack squat in April.

7) Bad as the refs were, I think it’s at least debatable whether the Brandon Prust short-hander should have counted, as well. The puck richocheted off the goalie and off Prust, but are you really allowed to push the goalie and the puck into the net?

8) I thought the Rangers’ game picked up greatly when things started getting rough. That’s been happening all year. And maybe it’s coincidence that they had relatively calm and sedate games against the Devils and Philly last week and lost both, and won games against Los Angeles and Washington in which there was some anger and growl.

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AP photo, above.

Gotta go rest up now (it’s after 1 a.m. as I write this). Big, big deadline day. See youse.

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26 Comments

  1. how ya doin bud? finally saw ya on HS yesterday. had to leave 3 minutes before the 1st ended though, i usually cant watch early games. hope you come here more often. i’ll be back after longgg day at work. cannot wait for brad richards saga to be done with.

  2. OK for the experts in tactics out there. Answer for me this question…………..
    The situation: Attacking forward throws the puck in deep.
    Lundqvist goes behind the net to collect it.
    On his far boards to HIS left when he’s standing in goal,instead of taking a quick peek to see where his other guys are ( and opponents), he fixates on his skater on his (left) boards who has an opponent right on him…or…sometimes only an opponent, and he tries to fire the puck around those boards.
    He does this a LOT.

    This means that in the process he is stuck trying to scramble back and set up in his goal mouth, and hope that a quickie shot doesn’t catch him flat footed ( like happens occasionally). The question is WHY does he do this, and WHY hasn’t someone broken him of this habit?

    I keep coming back to the coaching. Truly it does seem as though there is a disconnect there somewhere. And he is such a fantastic “glove man”, as we all know.

  3. Alex T (idfalk on HS) on

    Carp,

    I think I agree almost fully with your remarks. What I do wish people would consider is the difficulty in judging a hit from behind. I mean, I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s a bad call. But you have to look at it from the refs perspective too. Those are the hits that are concussion inducive, right? Nothing happened that time, but had the Bolt player been a few inches closer to his right, he would’ve gone into the boards in a akward way.

    My point is; it is obviously a structural, systemic problem more than a officiating one. The leauge wants to get rid of all “dangerous” hits, well, good luck, that is going to have severe side-effects. Players will take advantage, get comfy along the boards and penaltys will be given much more arbitrarily.

    I keep thinking; work at it from a gear and helmet point of view instead. But what do I know.

    I think Torts is right in calling out a bad call, and especially calling out the leauge. But looking at it from a more forgiving point of view, how could the refs have done anything else, given the fact that the pressure is on them from Bettman, Crosby, Mario, everybody. The leauge have cornered themselves, really.

    Well, thats my thoughts on it anyways.

  4. Alex T (idfalk on HS) on

    Fran,

    Interesting. However, if I understand you correctly, I think 9/10 thats the safest play. Fleury for instance does check both sides more often and every other game he gest caught being to slow to move the puck.

    I think Hank just plays it safe, not risking getting flanked by forward on his blind side…

  5. hey carp, good post. as usual. hasnt torts always been kind of critical of his goaltenders back with tampa too? i think he does give credit to hank sometimes but yea its getting annoying. the guy gave up 2 to one of the best offensive or the best offensive team in the league right now. he really should get on the guys like artie,duby ec, wolski and prospal for not scoring enough. in fact he shouldnt publicly get on anyone really, but hank might be one of the guys with too much extracurricular activities he doesnt approve of. notice a diference in averys game?

  6. hank rarely plays teh puck or at least not as much as he used to. he is not good at it, so yea unless on a pp helping a d man get the puck instead of an oppsing player, he should stay in the net at all costs lol. his”adventures” used to cost him alot more than they do now.

  7. Alex T (idfalk on HS) on

    Grabby,

    I got kond of irritated when I called out Hank more severly a couple of weeks ago, but somebody here mentioned a good point that this might be a thought out kind of thing he does to keep Kank were he needs to be. As everyone says, Hank is a true competitor and maybe he needs to hear those kind of things. I think if your franchise goalie had been a fragile one, those words would not have been uttered. Hank can take it.

    And I do remember Torts saying that “that shot needs to be stopped”, which is really not a harsh thing to say. It was a tough spot but I think Hank was in a fairly good position to make a save. Second one was impossible.

    Wait a minute. Tables have turned! Youre defending Hank? How can this be!

  8. Alex T (idfalk on HS) on

    Looking at that Seabrook deal, it makes me think that Staal is a bargain. Not that Seabrook is a lesser player. Just that Staal might be top-5 D in the leauge in terms of defensive play and had he been RFA this summer instead of last it would have cost us 1m per year more at least. He has been playing 27-30 minutes as of late.

    Jeez. He almost got Girardi money!

  9. Good morning all. Our team gets set in stone today until July1 (barring retirements, hint, wink). I say let’s stay pat and grow old together. More when I get to work.

  10. I still keep noticing that Hank, despite his excellent goal tending in general, still has some bad habits that cost him ..and this needn’t be, With the proper coaching ( oh yeah I know that his coach is the best ever), but it doesn’t always show up in his technique. This fact is what I believe keeps him from becoming one of the immortals.

    1, His glove hand. I’m sure he’s aware of this and has worked on it a bit

    2. His stick. this is a glaring weakness in his weaponry.
    he doesn’t make adequate use of his stick, and this is a shame, because that can be a goalies most potent weapon. Watch his stick when he has a shooter coming in at him. He holds it at half staff and lets it waft in the wind. He relies almost totally on his athleticism.. That stick blade should be on the ice far more than it is, and it could have been saving him a lot of g/a that have gone by him. Now here’s where I always get in trouble with commenting on Hank: as soon as I mention these things, someone say, ” Oh yeah, well look at this record”

    I do look at his record…and I think it could be better…much better, with his God given abilities. He should be without question THE best out there.

    “Quit bashing Hank!” I’m not bashing Hank…if I were I wouldn’t be bothered to make some suggestions about his improvement.

    And don’t tell me that a guy is so set in his ways that trying to improve him would mess him all up, If that were the case, Chopin would have been stopped at
    ” Twinkle Twinkle little star.”

    I’ve often wondered about that closed mind set that thinks that if a guy is exceptional, he can’t get any better. LQ could….and should.

  11. fran

    Arguing that Lundqvist isn’t improving is legitimate, if debatable. But I still don’t understand your insistence that he simply refuses to even try, that he doesn’t care or that he’s too stubborn to listen to anybody. What exactly is that based on?

  12. The Boyes to Buffalo one is interesting- that’s a salary dump for the Blues ($4M cap hit for this season + next) for a player that has had one good season and underperformed since.

    He could work out for the Sabres, or he could be another Prucha or Cheechoo style flash in the pan.

  13. LW

    I really don’t make that statement, although it might be construed that I do, due to the posting of critical commentary. But I have no idea whether he does it bull headedly, or not. That I leave to the experts. All that I know is what I see before me, and the way he handles the stick makes me wonder if that coach doesn,t see the same things that I do.

    Many years ago I used to coach Jr age hockey in CT,
    and I saw some of the kids using their stick like a wand rather than a true defensieve tool. I’m no genius, but I did manage to teach quite a few goalies how to imrpove their game via the stick. ( Like sliding the hand up and down the shaft instead of anchoring a single grip right at the broad side of the grip. This allows the goal tender to “sling” the stick at a puck or slide it into the uncovered side of the net when he goes down on his body to block shots. Like backing up his blocker with his glove backhandedly like Emil “Cat” Francis used to do. There are so many different techniques and mannerisms that a goalie can employ. By the way…LQ is not the only butterfly goaltender that gets nailed on depending on the legs overmuch …I’ve seen them ALL get caught like this from time to time. No- I have no magic elixir for him other than examining in detail what he does that causes goals to get by him in certain circumstances and then set out a program to cut down on these incidents. ( I’m sure that they do go over films and work on such things, but some of those bad habits still remain.

  14. On the Hank clearing attempts….he mostly tries to always go forehand…which I understand, but he sent the puck up the boards a couple of times with St. Louis right there….just maybe a little backhand to the weak side would be better served.

    We are on the left side of Hank in 1st and 3rd….1st shot should have been stopped….and second was a beautiful shot, but from that angle if he weren’t always so deep…no way it gets past him….

    That said…they all have their weaknesses…playing the and snaring the high hopper are Hank’s…I’ll take that.

    Short Staal, Gabby and Fedetenko…w McCabe having no skate time and we almost steal a point against a good team….I think they will do just fine down the stretch….

  15. LinCalPrustBoylahan on

    And so it has arrived.

    Jim from Blueshirt Banter, in keeping with the holiday spirit, has renamed Trade Deadline Day… GLENUKAH.

    Hope they pass on the dude with the concussion they can have for only money come July 1

  16. Great Post Carp – I can’t wait for the picnic. I am mixing up my classic potato salad and some slaw.

  17. Good Morning Group Yes even when Hank lets up his softies whether it be high glove or going down too fast , is there anyone out there that you think we COULD have in goal that is better. Sometimes ya gotta take the bad with the good and hope the law of averages works out. Overall I give Hank a b+

  18. Good morning, boneheads! Tough to catch up with you if you’re two hours behind.
    Good review, Carp. Pay good attention to #6 ‘heads, we need to get in. I’m not convinced Tampa will be that formidable come the playoffs. I can see Torts adjusting to them overloading one side in the D-zone easily during the POs, it may actually backfire. Not sure their defense is good enough to withstand well organized forecheck. They have a good coach, but his PO experience is zip.

  19. ilb
    the best teams unload countless shots on goal. When
    rangers shoot on goal it is usually now and then, and the most familiar play by play remark is, “wide of the goal”‘
    maddening to watch.Flyers shoot from everywhere and the minute they get a puck on stick, wham. A shot on goal..and I do mean ON the goal. Coincidence that they are so potent?

    Rangers overpass way too much…and with very questionable success,

  20. Long-time lurker, first time poster….

    Having played goalie for 22 years and against fairly elite opponents I have a few observations on the King that may help bring understanding to the recurring points/assertions about his weaknesses.

    As they say, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and this is certainly true in the goaltending position.

    Henry plays deep in his net so that he can minimize the distance needed to travel from post to post. That coupled with his backside recovery (when they push off their skates in the butterfly) help him recover quickly from shots while maintaining a square angle to the shooter.

    The trade-off however is that by playing deeper in the net he is forced to give away real estate in the top corners. Certainly an improved glove hand (and equipment change btw) has closed the gap, but he is always going to struggle in these situations given the positioning decisions he is making.

    If you remember Richter, the knock against him was that he challenged the shooter too much; consequently forcing him to make acrobatic saves on crossing passes. Sure, he was better with the glove but that was as much a function of positioning as anything else.

    Speaking as a goalie, you don’t make it to the elite levels without supreme confidence coupled with serious accountability. Every goal is your responsibility period. Torts is right to point this out because it emphasizes the mentality the king needs to bring to every situation.

    It can be safely said that we wouldn’t trade Henry’s weaknesses for the apparent strengths of other less successful goalies. With that said, he still has room to go and it’s been fun to watch.

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