The Rangers are in a funk. Is it time to panic? Making the playoffs is looking more like a pipe dream. Beating a Pittsburgh team now having won eight in a row, on the road, was perhaps too much to ask. But those losses to the Sabres and Jets sure planted the seeds of doubt for even the most optimistic fan. This game demonstrated that those seeds have now taken root. Any hope for me as to a deep run this spring has been ruptured. Last season was terrific. The best since the Cup. This season is not going as planned. With that, I give you the following:
2) Speaking of Sid. It’s no secret that most fans outside Pittsburgh despise the Penguins, and that whiny baby has to be one of the biggest reasons. No doubt supremely talented. However, he complains to the officials nearly every time he is on the ice. You would think his own teammates would be embarrassed by all that moaning and groaning. And that moustache? The whiskers on my kitty are more manly.
3) How about the Penguins broadcast team? Errey and Steigerwald, arguably the biggest homers since the invention of the microphone, could not possibly be less objective. Their act is either fueled by mass amounts of hallucinogens or they purposefully are comedic geniuses. As example, play goes on and Sid elbows Girardi—this is what what you hear…”..ahhhhh there should be a penalty on the Rangers for that, behind the play, Girardi’s face hit Sid’s elbow….and the referee was standing right there.” Complain all you want about Salmon Joe, but I would stick a hot poker in my ears if I had to listen to those two ding dongs call every game. When McD, off balance, pushed Dupris into the boards. Steigerwald called it, and I paraphrase, “the most heinous act in the last century”
4) Well, you can’t win every game. But, expecting a SOG in the first 11 minutes doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. Hags had the first even strength shot at the 17 minute mark. The first period looked like the Varsity against the JVs. When you struggle just to make a line change winning is not your primary objective.
5) Down 1-0 after one was a reprieve. Rangers fought back and played a good second period. No real scoring chances of their own but at least they appeared to be trying. These days, that is to be applauded.
6) Down 1-0 after two was just a tease. The Penguins looked bored. Play hard enough to win. No reason for the Penguins to exert unnecessary energy.
7) Hammr has made me forget about CABER. More … Hammr will not win the Norris Trophy this year. What was Slats thinking? Oh wait, why am I thinking Slats was thinking? I would assume before signing him someone watched him work out at least once. Seems that putting a sundial on Hammr timing him end to end would have convinced the Rangers to say no thank you. Stu Bickel on one leg is a better player.
8) Hank tried. He was good yesterday. On the Pens’ first goal, credit Stralman and Hammr with the assists. Hammr got caught trying to pinch in on his own blue line (how is that possible?). Stralman playing only slightly less worse, allowed Bo Bennett, one of the purest goal scores in the game, to beat him to the puck and score his second goal of the season, first at even strength.
9) Say what you will about MAF but put Hank on the Penguins and the Black Hawks would have more losses. Can’t blame Hank. Credit Eminger with the second goal. Kick save and a beauty—right over Hank’s left shoulder.
10) More Hammr? The game was over at 2-0, but his play on the Pens’ third goal was not how you are taught to play defense. Was that a breast stroke on the ice? The butterfly? Give Richards the secondary assist. Watching him wave and fan on his back check reminded me why he isn’t in any Selke Trophy conversations.
11) TOI needs a subcategory. TLOI—Time Laying On the Ice. The Rangers no longer flop around just trying to block shots or stymie odd man rushes, now they slip and slide like it was an audition for a Paul Simon video circa 1977. Not sure if it’s a skate problem, balance issues, or what, but our boys could have used the double runners on their skates Saturday. I lost count after 10 fall downs—and that was only the first period.
12) Enough negativity. There were several positives to take away. One, it ended. Two, a couple of nice hits on Crosby by Girardi. Three, Matt Cooke was nailed in the ankle by a Girardi shot from the point. As a result, Girardi gets my third star.
13) Hags played a good game. Along with Hank, the only real bright spots. I imagine there are quite a few teams that would like to pry him loose, but Sather would never do that … he isn’t that stupid … Hold that thought …
14) If the Rangers could find a way to hold their opponents to negative one, the lack of scoring wouldn’t be as much a problem. Zero beats negative one every game.
15) JR – “The end is never before the middle.”
16) A big thanks to Carp for this. A big shout shout to the night crew. Youse guys are hysterical and I love laughing with you …
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie’s Three Rangers Stars:
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Martin Biron.
2. Matt Gilroy.
3. Stu Bickel.
Photos by Getty Images.
(Editor’s note: Not sure whether to go with the capital Es or the commas in the name, because it seems to be a moving target. But a big thanks for filling in, and a job well done, e3. Much appreciated).