1) Ryan Callahan’s last game as a Ranger? Was it? Was this the way for the guy to go out, off two God-awful losses? I suppose there remains a chance that Glen Sather doesn’t trade him by Wednesday. Two chances actually. One, Callahan gets off his seventh-year demand and drops his dollars and signs. Not likely, IMO. Why would he if he believes he can get seven years, $45M-$47M on July 1? Two, if Sather can’t get a decent return for his unsigned rental, maybe he keeps his captain for the last 20 games and whatever playoff games and has some sort of outside shot at re-signing him by or on July 1. That really could happen.
2) The decision on Callahan will, of course, get the ball rolling on anything else the Rangers do by 3 p.m., and I fully expect some big stuff out of Sather’s office before the deadline. So let’s do a Live Chat Tuesday. That could be fun.
3) These two games. Yikes. You know the scary part for me if I was rooting for this team, and what, as a neutral observer, I always see as a bad sign? When you play two soft, lousy games like the Rangers played this weekend, make so many terrible defensive-zone coverage mistakes, leave so many players unchecked near the net, and then say it was a matter of bounces, or of not burying your own chances. Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist and Brad Richards all seemed to think the Rangers lost on bad breaks, that they really didn’t give up much. Maybe the volume of what they gave up wasn’t great, but the quality was, IMO. I thought what they did give up was eye-popping.
4) And as somebody noted on twitter last night, it started with those last 11.6 seconds against Chicago, where they gave up the goal and then the other glorious chance with one second left. So in the last 120:12 the Rangers have had breakdown after defensive breakdown, and allowed 11 goals, almost all of them from within a few feet of the net That’s not bounces.
5) BTW, as I was leaving MSG last night, somebody told me the three NY/NJ teams went 1-5 this weekend, and the only reason there was a win was because the Devils played the Islanders. Also, as I was leaving MSG, there was a game going on … and Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Stephane Matteau were playing, as were, I’m guessing, a number of other noteworthy alums.
6) Going back to the deadline, there’s not much that Slats can do by Wednesday that’s going to allow this team to beat that team four times out of seven. Or even two out of six. I’ve said this before: The Rangers only chance in the postseason is that Marc-Andre Fleury’s postseason demons resurface, and that somebody else beats Boston.
7) The missed checks. Just inexcusable. I’m going to be honest. I don’t know which guy is responsible for which coverage in every single situation. But I thought Benoit Pouliot was soft on the first Boston goal, after Milan Lucic hammered Dan Girardi and J.T. Miller in the corner; I thought Derek Stepan missed his assignment on the second (after Girardi blocked the shot and it went directly to Dougie Hamilton). I thought both Kevin Klein and Marc Staal were watching the puck and Brad Richards was late to react on the third goaL. Richards and Chris Kreider were both to blame for the short-hander. The last two might have been bad bounces. Whatever. At 4-2 it was too late.
8) And while a lot of youse are going off the deep end about the team being soft, being pushed around all weekend. Well, yeah, they are and were. But they’ve been soft all season, and all of last season. It’s not a rough, tough team. Is that a problem? Yeah. Is that why they lost? Not completely.
9) Because, when they went on that 15-5-1 run through the Chicago game, they were defending better, and when they defended better they were able to transition and use their speed. And they defended out of the gate last night and used their speed and were all over the Bruins (for the third time this season, as AV duly noted). When they defended in Philly after the two early ghastly goals, they took over that game. It’s all about their coverage, IMO.
10) On the positive side, J.T. Miller showed off some sweet mitts on the 1-0 goal, and Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin showed up for a while there. And of course, Ryan McMonster was just that. He was a bit ornery, a bit bloodied. Tough kid. The Bruins went after him, all of them did, and he stood in there (dare I say again, like Leetch used to do?).
11) Tuukka Rask allowed the Bruins to hang around in that first period. Say what you want about the Rangers’ finishers, or lack thereof, but Rask was pretty special. He’s getting really close to the top of the NHL goaltender food chain.
12) Also by the way, the Rangers PP is now losing games for them as it did last year. It scored late (McDonagh), yeah, but it gave up a killer shorty and hasn’t been a factor much lately, starting around the Stadium Series.
13) Daniel Carcillo. I will admit, he’s a better player than I thought he was. I still would prefer a healthy Derek Dorsett. And Carcillo going at it with Torey Krug? Really? That’s embarrassing.
14) I have no idea why, but there was an entire section on the bridge filled with Montreal fans, chanting “Go Habs Go!” I can’t explain it.
15) NBC all weekend long, all season long, hell, since it has been televising NHL games, continues to miss scrums on the ice because of pre-determined closeups. Pay attention, dammit! Just pitiful. Somebody needs to say something about the shot-callers in the truck.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Ryan McDonagh.
2. J.T. Miller.
3. Daniel Carcillo.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Cam Talbot.
2. Henrik Lundqvist.
3. Ryan McDonagh.
Photos by Getty Images.