This time from a very good Boston team. For the most part, it was a rather lackluster game to start. Not bad, by any means. But slow. And especially after all the hype surrounding it. Saturday night, two best teams in the East, from the World's Most Famous.
The Rangers led in shots 5-0 to open the game and when Boston woke up in the 2nd half, they quickly tied up. Again, a very back and forth game. The difference? Boston came on in the 2nd to score 2 goals, taking the life out of the Garden and out of the Rangers team.
And then the thiefs came in and stole some points - again.
Late in the 3rd.
First at 13:55, Nigel Dawes struck. And then at 19:07, Naslund pulled it even for the tie. I was, for one, shocked.
As a Rangers fan I can't help but be happy that they did pull it off. Of course I am. But there has got to be some major concerns about a team that if now becoming accustomed to playing catch up, come from behind hockey. The Rangers of this year actually have a better record when they give up the first goal. Rather than get it themselves. Something backwards there.
That being said, it is character that helps teams to win games like they did Saturday night. And credit them for that. I'm just wondering what happens when they fall more than 2 goals behind or they run into a team they can't push aside.
Some random thoughts. The line of Dan Fritsche, Nigel Dawes, and Lauri Korpikoski looked strong again. So strong, in fact, that they were utilized extensively in the 3rd and for all over 1:30 min on the powerplay. Take that as you will. I'm not judging. But credit them.
However, Scott Gomez, who looks to be unavailable for tonight's game because of his ankle situation, well, when he comes back, who else but Dan Fritsche leaves? Can't pull Dawes, because, well he's Dawes. And you can't pull Korpikoski unless you are going to send him back down to Hartford. So that leaves #49. And it actually is a shame. I think Saturday (and Thursday as well) showcased the type of player the Rangers got. He can play stronger on the puck than the Rangers smaller guys. And as everyone was ooo-ing and ahh-ing Korpi's pass to set up Dawes for the first Rangers goal, it was Fritsche who carried the puck all the way in the zone and behind Thomas' net. I've seen too little of that this year. End to end. By one guy. Without loosing the puck. It'll be a shame when that goes away.
More a shame really considering the way Korpikoski and Fritsche fight along the boards and pass the puck, they seem to be working in great tandem. More so even than Dawes.
But you're not going to not bring Scott Gomez to the lineup in favor of Dan Fritsche. So it goes in NY.
I made a few notes, but I'm going to ignore them since two days have passed. Nothing was as important as the two points in the end, it seems.
Of note though, is Tom Renney's defense of Michal Rozsival, which I agree with to an extent. He's trying to convince a group of unconvincible fans, who have been booing him mercilisly, to not do so. Because he's here. And he'd like to see the fans do what Rozsival can do. And I agree there. Too many that boo have no idea how hard playing NHL hockey is.
My problem with the booing, is that it's counter productive. Booing him BEFORE he even has a chance to screw up, is messing with his head. And it's not fair. Not fair when it was Petr Nedved, not fair when it was Tom Poti, not fair when it was Marek Malik, and now not fair when it is his countryman, Rozsival. It will do nothing to boo him, except make his confidence take an even further nosedive. And although slightly rejuvinated, thanks to some other guys getting a chance on it, is the Rangers absysmal powerplay, really something you wnat to see nosedive further?
Rozsival is not worth his $5 a year. True. But he wanted to stay, they gave him the contract. End of story. Unless my short-sided and ill conceived theory is true (see next blog entry), they wanted Rozsival on this team.
Now, I'm not sure if I were Renney that I'd keep putting him out on the PP, but that's just me.
So tonight in come the Ottawa Senators, who managed to lose not once, but twice to the Islanders. Yes, those Islanders. Word on the XM radio circuit is Jason Spezza could be headed out of town in a blockbuster trade, perhaps with Edmonton.
I've said for years, I don't bet against a team that has Spezza, Dany Heatley, and Daniel Alfredsson. But I've also said that when that line does not produce, they have little else to compensate and it gets ugly quick. It's geting ugly folks. And I didn't pick Ottawa to make the playoffs. So I'm not entirely surprised with their start. But I have to believe there was more than just Ray Emery going on in that lockerroom. Perhaps a chance of scenery for Spezza will help re-focus the team. We'll see.
Of course, Larry Brooks in the NY Post today, proposed that maybe the Sens, to get a defenseman, would trade Vermette or Neil. And the Rangers can ship Prucha, presumably Rozsival, to Ottawa for one of them. If I'm the Rangers, I'm not sure I'd need Neil when I have Orr. But they'd shed salary, that's for sure. And for the sake of Prucha, I hope the kid would have a renaissance in the other nation's capital. I really would. Of course, this is all massive speculation.
Please see next blog for more thoughts on this.
In other Larry news, in Sunday's paper he asked:
"Finally, from Page Six. Which marquee player who is all about the team in the newspapers has been bringing his wife on road trips without the knowledge of his coach or GM?"
Now, at first I was torn, but I'm pretty sure I figured it out. Players that are marquee (in salary or in well actual marqueness): Hank, Drury, Gomez, Redden, Naslund. Cross out Hank and Gomez because they aren't married. Now cross of Drury and Naslund because presumably their wives would be home with their young children. Mystery solved. It's one Wade Redden.
Sure newlyweds can't keep their hands off each other, but is there more to this than meets the eye? hmmm.