After games like yesterday, I greatly look forward to waking up and reading Larry Brook's column in the New York Post to make some sense of the apparently non-sensical.
He did another great job of that today.
Here are the highlights:
"Somehow, the Rangers almost always look far worse in losing than they appear impressive in winning."
That statement is so damn true it hurts. When they lose, they lose ugly. When they win, they often win in such an uninspiring fashion, it feels like a loss.
There've been so few wins this season that truly felt like wins, I'm now struggling to think of an example to type here. An example of a decisive, all-around, courageous, passionate, team win.
The one early game against the Devils at the Garden came close, the game (not so long ago) against Pittsburgh at the Garden two weeks ago today was another perhaps.
But with 27 wins and more than halfway into the season, it's hard for me to accept that there hasn't been more to cheer about.
"An optical illusion" their record is according to Brooks. And he's right. I've been saying "smoke and mirrors" for a few months now. This team has been lucky at times, but they got exposed - again - in the worst way yesterday.
Unfortunately, they'll probably somehow scrape together one of their Renney-patented 2-1 victories at the Garden tomorrow, to make everyone think it's A-OK in Rangerland. And the team, as constructed, will live another day.
But as if there is anything they can really do about that? Personnel wise I mean. But that is nothing new. As I mentioned late last week, they are stuck with most of this un-tradeable lot for at least the next three seasons.
Oh, but of course, they can swap healthy scratches, right?
"Renney broke up the line late in the third, replacing Callahan with Nigel Dawes. The coach, at the same time, shifted Callahan onto the unit with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha. Why does it seem that the move was a precursor to sitting Prucha tomorrow night and replacing him with Aaron Voros, a scratch throughout the road trip?"
Even before the lines were officially switched yesterday, I figured this is the perfect type of game for Renney to say, oh, this, this isn't working, let's shake it up. And I figured, of course, it'd be Prucha taking a seat in order for him to do so. So reading this was not a surprise. It made me nauseated, but it was not a surprise at all.
I mean, surely - obviously - it was Prucha's lack of intensity and lack of scoring or his defensive liability - his soley - that caused yesterdays embarassment on ice.
It couldn't possibly be that - yet again - the entire team was exposed for the frauds they are. That they are a "rotten," uninspired team, that somehow managed to bore their way to the top of the conference.
And one of the few exciting and inspired players - the guy who started the renaissance against a flailing Islanders team on Garden ice, the guy who scored the only goal a few days later in Washington, and the guy whose gutsy play from his rear end a week later in Ottawa lead to the game winning goal - is going to take a seat because, really, who else can the coach blame?
I'd be more disturbed, if I didn't know it was coming, somewhere down the pike. Team efforts - good team efforts - were going to come to an end soon. Or, rather, this team was going to be exposed for their complete and utter lack of them.
That time came yesterday.
Oh and make no mistake. These are not your father's New York Rangers.
Hell, they are not even the New York Rangers of my youth. At least those guys weren't boring. At least they weren't as life-less as the bunch of "oh but we love each other" drones I saw yesterday and that I've seen most of this season.
And the one guy that isn't a boring drone, he'll probably take a seat tomorrow.
A shame really. Just truly a shame.
**Author's note on edit:
Please note that I read Larry's column on my own this morning before readng Sam Weinman's Rangers Report. But apparently he agrees with me. Great line by Brooks: