Thursday, December 17, 2009

When The Scoring Stops

I'm stunned. And worse than that - I'm speechless - which as most of you know is not something that happens to Dave Pucks very often.

I watched as much of the game last night as I could stand. There was some pretty bad play - by both sides. But in the end the Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1.

There are a bunch of phrases I could use - but I've used them all before. This week even. Phrases like "two goals or less", "shuffling the lines too often", "late goal let up by Lundqvist" and "can't score". They're all true but I lack the will to write them again.

I mean, there is luck in hockey. There is skill in hockey. There are streaks in hockey. But if we can't beat the Islanders - and this was our second try this season - if we can't beat the islanders then I think you have to start looking at the coach and the GM. (Late Note - there is a rumor out there now that Glen Sather may be on the brink of getting fired. Supposedly - if the Rangers lose tonight - goodbye Slats)

You want a few positives? So do I. Um, we finally scored a goal. And Hank had some nice moments when he kept us in the game. And then there's ... Uh ... Well, we scored a goal - did I mention that?

The NHL has 30 teams. The Rangers have 31 points. 28 of the 29 other teams have 31 points or more. Yes, it's that bad.

The Goalies: Roloson faced 26 shots and made 25 saves. Hank? He saved 26 of 28. Not that bad really. Three goals would have won this - but three goals is looking like an impossible task these days. And you have to say that on paper at least - Hank again let up a late goal - by letting up a long rebound - and was again outplayed by a goalie who will never be considered elite.

Special Teams: Both sides failed on two power plays and both teams successfully killed off two penalties. So - we broke even here - which was a net win for the Islanders who trail us this year in both PP and PK averages..

The New Veteran Rangers: Lisin scored a goal. Gaborik took six shots.

The Kid Rangers did not show up on the scorer's sheet.

Your Returning Rangers contributed two assists (Girardi and Dubinsky - welcome back Dubi)

Defense on Offense: One assist for this unit.

In conclusion: I liked that Sean Avery did not go down without a fight. Literally. He got in a fist fight with the Islander Goalie and ended up drawing a Ranger PowerPlay. And he made yet another great feed to Gaborik from behind the goal.

But beyond that – there are no positive conclusions to be drawn. We are the dead man without even the dead-man’s bounce. Maybe we’ll see Chad Johnson tonight in the Ranger’s goal. Maybe things will go better. And maybe there’s a Santa Claus.
Where we stand: You really want to know? We’re still in 12th place in the East, but the 13th and 14th place teams are tied with us at 31 points. In fact, in the whole NHL there is exactly one team with less points than us.
Next Up: Same opponent. Tonight. At their placed this time.

They say that a clear sign of stupidity is to do the exact same thing over and over again and expect a different result. So when I pick the Rangers to win again tonight – just understand that I know exactly what that pick is saying about me.

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