But...I'm still being more entertained. I know. I know. Way too much of Renney's passive, timid hockey for too long and ANYTHING seems exciting. But the pace of the last two games, even back to back, you have to admit was much better. Much.
Unfortunately the Rangers have still - three games and running - failed to score more than a goal. And that is just never going to cut it. Rememember, even if Hank stops everything - they are still never going to win without scoring.
The good news: They are getting a lot of shots. I keep staring at these defensemen taking quick, hard shots from the point and I'm like, where were you, where was that all freakin' year?
The bad news: The pucks aren't going in. And the team is not getting to rebounds, which has been a problem all year long.
The good news: The pace of the game has been greatly improved. The games have gone quicker for me. And in a good way.
The bad news: The team, tonight I felt even more than last night, seemed much slower in the 3rd. And you saw Florida take advantage of that, like Toronto the night before.
The good news: More movement on the powerplay.
The bad news: I don't think you need me to point this one out do you? You are smart people.
Look, it's not perfect. I didn't expect it to be perfect ever, or even better immediately. It's hard to adapt to anything this quickly.
Problem is - time is standing in the Rangers way. Time in the season. And time before next Wednesday's trade deadline. That doesn't allow much time for the team to adapt to a new coach and a new style, nor much time for the coach to assess what he has and try to take a guess at what he wants and needs going forward.
Make no mistake. Time is this team's greatest enemy.
Well, that and the very real and very serious goal drought they are in the middle of.
I picked the Panthers to make the playoffs. I hope they do. Surely not at the expense of the Rangers, but I'd much rather see them than Buffalo or Carolina, with no disrespect to either of those two teams. I just think, honestly, they have two goalies that have had pretty damn good years. A better than decent defense corp with McCabe and Bouwmeester. And a good chunk of guys that have come around to score this year: Booth, Peltonen, Dvorak, Zednik, Horton, etc. I think they can suprise some teams. Plus it's long overdue.
Vokoun's numbers are sick this year so far. But it's been Craig Anderson that has really done the Rangers in. Marvelous job, last game and this night especially. The difference maker, I think.
Around the League:
**If I hadn't been from the area, followed hockey, and been a Rangers fan shadowed by the accomplishments of the Devils for so long, I might have been surprised by tonight's events in New Jersey. Instead, I nod and say, yes, only Marty Brodeur can come back after not playing for months, make 24 saves, and get a shutout. One closer to greatness. But we all know he's already there. Heck, I don't like the guy (I'm not supposed to), but I'd be doing an injustice to say that there is anything less than 110% compete in that guy. Top notch talent. Great competitor.
That being said, I am curious as to what the Devils plans are for their goalies. So as to not subject Kevin Weekes to loss via waivers, they sent down their MVP this year, Scott Clemmensen, earlier this week to make room for Brodeur. Who will go where at deadline, however, remains to be seen.
**Edmonton lost a tough one to Columbus about a half an hour ago, where Steve Mason pitched the shutout and former Oiler, Raffi Torres, got the games only goal.
Gosh, the playoff push in the West is a tough, tough race, second year and running. There are a few teams fading - Colorado being one, Phoenix being another - but no one is completely out of it. Makes for great hockey down the stretch.
Where Are They Now. . . ?
Team Player Action Note
Toronto Dominic Moore Goal(12) *Shorthanded
Columbus Fedor Tyutin Assist *on only and GWG
For the record, I miss both of these guys. When Moore played with Jed Ortmeyer and Ryan Hollweg, it was a special thing. Ortmeyer was the heart. I think Moore was the talent. And it was perhaps the only time in his career that Hollweg had a role where he was not prone to putting his team in horrible situations on a regular basis.
As for Tyutin. I love Zherdev; it's hard not to. But imagine how much better Tyutin would have gotten had he been allowed to stay and develop. If he were allowed to stay and develop. Because, yes, it's always a question of "if" with the Rangers. As the many, many success stories of former players prove on an almost nightly basis.