Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Double Wrap and The Irony Of It All. . .

Many apologies for the lack of posts in the last few days. Lots of stuff going on. Perhaps next week will allow me to get back to a normal rhythm, I hope.

In the meantime, a few quick thoughts on the last two games.

Sunday versus Boston:

This was, without a doubt, one of the more entertaining games the Rangers had played all season. If not the most exciting. A quick pace from the beginning, it didn't look like the Blueshirts we'd seen most of the season skating around Garden ice. If this were a month ago, those guys would have been passively gliding along. Now, thanks to a new system, they were flying.

I'll take that all game, any game, regardless the result.

As it happened, the Rangers opened up a nice lead, and then let the Bruins tie in the third. A timely goal by Nik Zherdev (and yes, he's had a few) put the Rangers ahead for good.

It might have ended up being closer in the end than they may have wanted, but you know what, against a team that is on most nights much better than they are, I think the Rangers gladly take it. Their effort was the difference.

As for the familiar face in Rangers blue, Sean Avery helped remind the fans why we liked him so much the first time around. Hitting, moving the puck, and skating. I noticed, more than once, just how good a skater he really is. Perhaps in all the drama I forgot the fact, but he's a legit talent. He accelerated to get to open pucks, put other pucks in perfect positions for teammates, and wasn't afraid to shoot. So really, the perfect model of the way the New Rangers should be on the ice.

Dust is shaken. We'll have to see where it settles, but the dust is definitely shaken from Sean.

As for the other new guys, I am holding out judgement on Morris, because I haven't seen enough yet, but I thought Antropov looked very good on Sunday. A few times, as he was carrying the puck, he held up with such strength (again, obvious considering the guy is built like a house) and didn't lose a second of his stride.

I thought, somewhat sadly, many other of the Rangers small forwards would have definitely tumbled over.

But I also noticed Antropov has a nice shot. I hope he continues to use it.

Overall, I would think most fans left Sunday's game with a feeling of happiness and renewal. Three wins in a row. Four or more goals scored in those three games. The world was good.

Carolina on Monday:

Well the world wasn't quite as good Monday as the Rangers somehow forgot how to score again. But that is going to happen and Cam Ward seemed much more confident than the last time the Rangers faced him.

Actually, though, I liked the game. Thought they played well. Thought Valiquette, as he so often does, stood on his head to help them out. Both goals were not his fault, especially the first.

If there were two moments I was annoyed, it was on those two goals against. And not at Valiquettte.

On goal number one, Vali made an awesome save with the blade of his stick along the ice. Amazing. But he's taken out of the play, understandably so. Where was the rest of his team? Not one guy could have scooped up the puck and cleared it, or gotten coverage on the Carolina player so they didn't have a open lane and a free net to shoot at? That got me.

And on goal number two, Brind'Amour's on the powerplay, I see the puck go in behind a screened Vali, and I realize it's Redden that's screening him, just standing there with no man, no where near a man in fact, when the Rangers are down one.

Well down one man, and thanks to that, two goals.

I usually don't like to pick apart moments in games and who did what right and wrong in that regard; I'm much more comfortable talking in generalities. BUT, when Vali plays as well as he did, and I think he certainly did, you look to the two goals that went in. And both didn't sit right with me. You may have your own opinion surely, but you just heard mine.

At least the pace of the game was good, even if they couldn't score. Well score a goal that counted at least.

Credit Carolina for coming with a good effort and keeping with it. They deserved it.

You know what was refreshing though. I heard some interviews on XM radio driving in, because on Versus they don't do a team post-game. And in the clip Tortorella was admitting the other team played harder and that the Rangers didn't match their speed.

I'm sorry, even though they lost, I'll take that honesty over the "we played a good road game" crap any day.

Around the League:

In Montreal, Coach Guy Carbonneau was fired by the Habs early yesterday evening. The irony of ironies, I listened to Team 990 from about 10:30 to 1:30 yesterday and the topic that Tony and Randy (in for PJ) kept talking about was, if the Habs had lost Sunday, would Guy have been fired today.

Little did we all know.

Stay tuned for Where Are They Now and a Coyotes update later tonight. I am going to be home so I should get to actually sit down and watch a full game uninterrupted for the first time so far since the trade. I am looking forward to it.

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