Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It’s Official: We’re Worse Than Last Year’s Rangers

Last year - over the whole year - the Rangers scored 2.44 goals a game. And we gave up 2.59 goals a game. If you're good at what the English call "maths", you know this means we were outscored on average by 0.15 goals a game last year. Not good of course - and Tom Renney's role in that led to his being fired last year - with John Tortorella stepping in for the final playoff push.

This year - Glen Sather and Torts were supposed to fix that. We brought in guys we thought could score: Gaborik (yes) and Higgins, Lisin, and Kotalik (not so much). And we are scoring more - slightly more (2.58 goals a game).

But we're also allowing more goals (2.74 goals a game). And when you that subtraction thing - you discover that this year we are being outscored by 0.16 on average, for each game.

So as we limp toward the Olympics we can now statistically prove that the 2010 Rangers are officially, slightly, worse than the 2009 team. A little better on "O". A little worse on "D". And just a little worse overall.

So where’s the goodness? Well, we can't improve the situation without playing hockey - and tonight we do have a game on the docket (Editor - he means "schedule"). So there’s that.

Who the Hell are we playing? As a point of weather-related fact, hurricanes blow. And the Carolina Hurricane are the NHL East's worst team by a wide margin. They are 16-28-7, with just 39 points. But the Hurricane is 5-5 in their last 10. We’re just 3-5-2.

Primary Skaters: Left Winger Ray Whitney leads the Hurricane with 16 goals. And Defenseman Joni Pitkanen leads the team with 26 assist. Your plus-minus champ? That would be Jiri Tlusty, a Center who has played just 13 games and is +3.

In Net: Cam Ward (whose name sounds like a game show host or a character in a bad detective novel) has a 2.82 GAA and a .909 save percentage. Manny Legace and Michael Leighton have worse stats and have appeared in about 21 games between them.

Scoring & Defense: We have outscored Carolina by a little: 137 to 132. Our defense has let up only 145 goals to Carolina's 172.

Special Effects: Carolina is 17.6% on the powerplay to our 18.6%. Their PK is 78.6% to our 84.7%.

Scheduling Conflicts: Neither team played yesterday, so nobody should be tired.

Fronting the Twine: We want Chad Johnson here. But we'll be surprised if we get him. It will probably be Hank again as we are in crisis mode. I don't knoe what Tortorella will do with the line tonight.

Dave Puck Predicts: A win. We implore the Hockey Gods - give us a win. Let's say 3-2.

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