One of the nice things about the concept of Rock Bottom is its resiliency. Just when you think you've found it - boom - there's another one - just a little lower in the dirt than the last one was.
That's a nice way of saying that our New York Rangers have hit a new Rock Bottom last night - lower than all the other Rock Bottoms we've hit before.
The Flyers - who started the night in 13th place in the East - a team we beat earlier this month - kicked the Christmas Goose Crap (sorry kids) out of us - on our own home ice.
The first goal - just 54 seconds in to the contest - was put home by none other than our old friend Blair Betts. That same Blair Betts who hustled and helped us so much last year - and who the Rangers left in a heap on the ice in last year's playoffs. All I can say is - good for you Blair.
But the Flyers were just getting started. They scored 3 goals on Lundqvist in the first period. So Tortorella - one of those guys who will start throwing switches randomly at the first sign of trouble - yanked Hank. But I wouldn't blame the King this time - the game resembled a never ending shoot out at times - with the Rangers letting up odd-man-rush after odd-man-rush. It only took 11 shots for the Flyers to go up 3-0. And poor Hank was reduced to sitting on the bench shaking his head - trying to understand what had just happened.
So after reading in the papers that he wouldn't get to play for the rest of the decade - Chad Johnson was thrust into the Ranger net. And just like in pre-season - the very first shot he faced - another Flyer Breakaway - found the back of the net. Welcome to the NHL, Chad.
And on it went with the Rangers playing no defense - throwing no hits - and looking as bad as a team can look. By the end it was 6-0 and the Garden fans - what was left of them - cheered the announcement of the final minute of play.
We were shut down, shut out, and shot full of holes.
It's a little hard to go on - but here's the autopsy:
The Goalies: Well, one goalie had a great night. Leighton only faced 22 shots - just 10 in the first 2 periods - but he stopped them all.
Hank: 8 saves. 3 goals. Hung out to dry by our "defense".
Chad Johnson making his NHL debut - let up 3 goals in 20 shots. He was also left on his own by the Rangers - the first goal was a breakaway - just 23 seconds into the 2nd period. I think - if Chad had an actual hockey team playing in front of him - he would have been just fine. I want to see him out there again - from the start - and soon.
Special Teams: First of all - thank you for even reading this section today. It's kind of beside the point - because the Rangers appeared shorthanded even when they weren't and we let up 5 even strength goals. But anyway: the Flyers were 1 of 2 on the PowerPlay, Rangers were 0 for 4. So we were out scored on specials despite having 4 man-advantages to the Flyers 2.
The New Veteran Rangers: No goals. No assists. Nothing
The Kid Rangers: nothing
Your Returning Rangers? Well, you know. Also nothing.
Defense on Offense? Not only was there no offense from the defense - there was no defense from the defense.
In conclusion: Sad day in Ranger-ville. Maybe this will get Sather fired? Anyway - we have a few hours to regroup and get ready to play the Carolina Hurricane - the worst team in hockey - tonight.
If Glen Sather's job was really on the line in the end half of that home-and-home with the Islanders a few weeks back- what about tonight? I mean - it's back to back games against two teams not in playoff position. We just had our worst loss of the season. We've got that big Calendar thing going on tonight - that sort of symbolizes the dawn of a new era. And Glen - how about grabbing back a little dignity and stepping down yourself. You're a hockey legend - you don't need this anymore. Why not stand up and give yourself a nice big healthy scratch?
Anyway - It sure feels like the Rangers need a win tonight. But I'm not too sure it feels like we'll get one.
On a much less terrible note - thank you to everyone who commented a few encouraging words to my 11 year old son Pucks Junior - who is in the first few painful days of braces on his teeth. And Pucks Junior has a post about the game just below this one. And finally - thank you to all our BlueShirt Brothers Readers. As the year draws to a close we appreciate you stopping by - through good times and bad. A Happy and Healthy New Year to all. See you on the decade's flip side.
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