Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hey Gab_rick! Your “O” is missing!

You could see John Tortorella yelling, pleading, encouraging, imploring his troops to fight on. There was 1:55 left on the clock – we were done two goals and hadn't scored more than one in a solid week of play. But Torts was trying to breath some life into a dejected, frustrated, exhausted, Ranger team.

In the end though – it was St. Louis that scored next – an empty netter that made the final score of 4-1 in a game that gave you had the feeling we could have played 6 more periods without catching up.

For all of you who wondered where this year's team would be without Marian Gaborik – this past week – where he has failed to score a goal – has given us all a clear indication. And it's an ugly mess. Tortorella has been trying to get all the non-Gaborik players to start contributing – and now The Gifted One himself is having a slump. It's like a boat that keeps springing leaks – the Ranger flagship keeps taking on water. Because when Gabs doesn't score – and no one else scores – guess what? We lose.

And not one those encouraging losses. This was one of those hard-to-watch games that makes you wonder why you spend so many hours watching the little rubber puck slide around when you could be making something more of your life. It's a loss that makes me understand why my former blog partner Nugman disappeared months ago never to return.

I'm not sure I have the heart, or the stomach, or any other required internal organs to write the full recap today – but here goes:

The Goalies: Even though Pucks Junior and I shouted “Dos Nueve” (Ole' style) whenever Chad made a save – in a sideways homage to Chad OchoCinco – it was all in vain. (Editor: homage means “sort of like”)

Chad let in one bad goal, Alexander Steen's seeing-eye back-breaker from the side of the net, but we've seen Hank do worse – and over all it was an entirely acceptable performance from a rookie in his 2nd ever NHL start. An .875 save percentage isn't great – but there are starting NHL goalies who aren't much better for the whole season. All told, 21 saves on 24 shots – some of them pretty good ones.

And even though we lost - I still love the move to start Chad Johnson. It's a long season – the kid still looks very impressive for a rookie in his 2nd NHL start – and the rest gives a dejected Henrik Lundqvist some time to get his mojo back. If Hank had started we could have easily lost this game 2-1 – or worse – and we'd have a tired Hank tonight against Montreal. So we get a better hank tonight – and a more experienced Chad next time out.

The Blue's Mason was helped immensely (Editor: that means “a whole lot”) but the fact that the Rangers only shot 22 times on goal yesterday. But he saved 21 of 22 for a .955 save percentage that could have beaten almost any team last night.

Special Teams: You could pin the loss here. We were 0-2 on the powerplay and let up 1 goal in 4 tries on the PK.

The New Veteran Rangers: It was Boyle that broke the scoreless streak – that had reached nearly 3 full hockey games – with an 11 footer off a great play by Aaron Voros. Also 5 hits for Brian. But notably absent from this section are Mr. Gaborik and Mr. Prospal, both of whom were -2 on the night

The Kid Rangers: A minus 3 night for the teenager. But he's learning. Maybe this is a rebuilding year?

The Returning Rangers: Voros? One assist.

Defense on Offense: Next...

In Conclusion: As my former co-worker Hamilton Shippee used to say “Where's the Goodness”? I wish I knew. Maybe the best thing is we get right back at it tonight.
Next Up: Montreal. Tonight. With Hank back between the pipes. Let's hope the crossbar isn't mad at him after he slammed it with his stick on Thursday – he needs all the help he can get.

Where We Stand: The loss tumbles us to 7th place in the East, just 1 point above the 8th place Islanders and the 9th place Montreal. So if we lose tonight... best not to think about that too much.

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