Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where Are Our Game Changers. . .?

I listened to the majority of today's game on the radio not being near a TV, although I did watch the last 8 minutes just now.

I hate to say I'm not surprised, but I am not.

On the radio, Dave Maloney, whose insight and lack of hesitancy to say what is on his mind - popular or not - I applaud, pondered whether the Rangers had a game changer on their team.

He said the Bruins had plenty on the ice, even more on the bench.

What is a game changer?

To me, someone who can take a game over. Someone who when the team is down and needs a goal, that's the guy you can go to and he can get it done.

Goalies, too, can be game changers. But in the case of today, Lundqvist would have had to give up zero goals to be a game changer.

Well, in that case, add Tim Thomas to Boston's ever growing list.

Point is, I agree with Dave Maloney. I sadly agree. The Rangers do not have that guy. If they have a guy that has showed up at times, in certain games, in given situatuations, that's great. But to have someone, or preferably a couple someones, who can be counted on and called upon to get the job done, would be fantastic.

But if you look at this year, collectively, from beginning to end, the Rangers just do not have that guy.

There'll be plenty of time for more thought on this season and this team, but that's what I'm thinking right now.

I was at the 1-0 Rangers loss in Boston in January, where one misplay caused them the game. Boston is not a team you can mess around with. They are lethal at getting one and shutting the door, especially against teams like NY that struggle to score anyway. This has been the Rangers/Bruins track record for the better part of 3 years now. 1-0 games. At least if it was 1-0 in overtime, the Rangers would have gotten a much needed point. As it was, three games to go, all again, must wins.

As for the Sean Avery stunt, that moment was the first time I have been disappointed with him this year since he came back. It was unnecessary and pretty classless to be honest. Would it have "hurt" Thomas? Probably not. But it's that sneaky, behind the back bs that other people hate a guy like Avery for. And honestly, I don't like that. Get in his face, yap at him in the crease, but something like that. . . I think it was badly timed and foolish.

Now, if he got Thomas off his game and garnered the 4 on 4 and the Rangers made something of it, we'd be calling the move smart.

As it was, he has to be thankful it was only a minor to himself. You can argue that it became 4-3 for the Rangers in the next few seconds when Savard took the penalty. But it very easily could have gone the other way and the Rangers could have been down 3-4 at that key period in the game.

Avery had to have been frustrated, but I think he can do so much else effectively. Today was a rare moment I disagreed with his intentions.


Since I got the radio feed, I heard the Bruins give away their team awards. Chara, Savard, and Thomas got the team 3 star awards, and Savard picked up one for being the best player on home ice.

Maloney speculated that many Rangers fans might not like to think about Marc Savard's success because he was, first and foremost, a Ranger.

I've made no secret here at NHTP that I love Marc Savard. I think he's a funny, likeable guy. And I think he is a hell of a hockey player. The right mix of talent and spunk.

I hate (hate, hate, hate) that the Rangers lost him for nothing, in the end, and that he went on to become one of the hottest point producers in the league, for Atlanta and now for Boston.

But to hate him, the player, because the Rangers got rid of him and he became something of himself? Please. I'm a Rangers fan. They disappoint me on a yearly basis with who they get rid of. Savard is just another one of the many. But a great hockey player I enjoy watching, for sure.

I heard on hockey night in Canada a week ago (?) that his first game as a Ranger was at Maple Leaf Gardens and he got four points.

Gosh I wish ANY Ranger on the team right now could get four points a game.

As for Milan Lucic, who also won an award, he's a fun guy to watch, and I've heard big fan favorite in Boston. What I didn't know until today, and perhaps you didn't either, is he's a saxophone player who went through a lot to make it to the NHL, including overcoming a spinal condition. Check it out here.


Anonymous said...

I love, love, LOVE Marc Savard. I only just discovered him during the All-Star game when he was mic'd up. That guy is absolutely adorable.

My brother and I actually wanted to create a whole 'Midget Team' on NHL 09 (including Prucha, Dawes, Drury, St. Louis, etc...) but we ended up turning it into a team composed of 'the Ones that Got Away.' To give you an idea-- our first line conists of Marc Savard and Zach Parise. Good times, eh?

Since Prucha's departure, I have resigned myself to the fact that no one on this team truly inspires me, and I'll just have to root for the Rangers as an organization as opposed to a team composed of individual players. And that is painfully ironic, considering the fact that it was this organization that has screwed us all over...With Prucha, with draft picks, with all of our 'young talent'...With Savard, with Parise....

Kerri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerri said...

I didn't disagree with Avery's INTENTIONS at all, as his intentions were to annoy the frick out of Tim Thomas. I disagreed with his method.

HOWEVER... if the Rangers manage to sneak into the playoffs (and this is assuming a lot), we're almost-most-definitely playing Boston. Avery was setting this up, and he knows what he's doing.

I disagree that Avery did that out of frustration. Look at the tape, and watch him look around for refs. Watch him "casually" tap Thomas in the back of the head. This was a perfect example of why Avery didn't need anger management classes. He's not getting so pissed he's whacking goalies with sticks; instead, he's coldly and carefully calculating these moves for a reaction.

I disagree with what he did; check number two for times I've been disappointed with Avery so far since he's back. But he has my support, because he didn't hurt anyone, never meant to hurt anyway, and because I know what his intentions were and where his heart is. I just didn't like how he went about it.

Although I might change that opinion if by some miracle this does affect Thomas' play come playoffs, lol.

As for a game changer, I think the Rangers do have a game changer in Lundqvist. If your goalie is your game changer, that's great, but you still need the ability to score up front. Maybe not a "game changer" up front, but at least the ABILITY. Gomez, Drury, Dubinsky, etc etc have all proved they can't do it, they can't sustain it. (I can't believe that's the word I used. Sustain. WoWoWoWoW.) You maybe don't necessarily need a game changer, but you need a player or two who can hit thirty goals. (Are these all psychological Petr references or what? I'm not meaning it. :-P Freudian slips?)

Meanwhile, we're paying Drury and Gomez and Redden as game changers, whereas Redden doesn't even look like he has a pulse, and Gomez and Drury, while great complementary players, aren't cutting it.

The other issue is that although I consider Henrik a game changer, he hasn't been playing like one, and hasn't all season. I can't think of one game that he robbed for the Rangers. Maybe that Blackhawks game. Can you think of any?

Meanwhile, we're paying him like a game changer, too.

If we make the playoffs, we'll be lucky to even put up a fight and win a game, IMO.

kels said...

I'm so glad you got to see him do the All-Star commentary. Guy is just first class. That is too funny about the team you guys created. You'd have your pick of the crop with all the guys the NYRs have let depart.

"Root for the Rangers as an organization as opposed to a team composed of individual players." I think you've got it, Allyson. I really do. There are years you root for the players because you love them, and live and die with them. There are other years, like this one, where you can't find many inspiring players to cling to, that you just have to be a fan of the team, minus the "team."

And irony not lost on me. It is a hard team AND organization to love.

Kerri: Point taken on the word "frustration" Kerri. I re-read what I wrote and think I more meant he was frustrated the team was losing, not that he did that because he was frustrated, like an frustrated player using his stick when he got aggravated (the great magician - of talent and disappearing - Alex Kovalev, did that a lot). But point taken.

He is smart. I know we both know he is smart. I just wish he didn't do that in particular.

I can't disagree with much of what you said.

I love Hank. I think the Rangers would be in a much more dire situation without him, but to your point, I cannot, off the top of my head, name a game he has stolen for us. To me, that would lean towards the side of him not being a game changer. Has he in the past, yes. Can he be sometimes, yes. But this year, he has not been that guy. Again, no one really has. He kept us in a lot more games than we should have been, by keeping it to 2 goals are less, and that should be applauded, but in games the team got some goals and appeared on the way to a win, he often didn't come up with a big save to keep it that way. Again, the entire team collapses in front of him, I'm not blaming HIM, but, I think you get my point.

I won't even get on Drury, Gomez, Redden, etc. I have tons to say but I'm holding my tongue. Did you read Brooks today??

And Kerri, I still think they are 50-50 to even make the playoffs, for one. If they do, they barely even deserve it, I hate to admit. And lastly, if they do, they will be out in four or five games, tops. I agree. They don't have that killer...anything.

Loved your Pruch-ian slips, haha!

Kerri said...

I knew what you meant by "frustration," but the internet has taken Avery's actions to be purely selfish and motivated by anger, so I just thought it was an important thing to clarify, you know?

I think Henrik CAN be a game changer, he just hasn't been this year. Last year, we had Jagr. Avery sometimes acted as a game changer. So put all three together, and something would happen. Now the pressure is square on Lundqvist.

I have a big issue with something Sam said last night, about how Henrik loves the pressure when his team's not scoring.

That's totally not true. Henrik loves the pressure of a big game, but his forwards need to do the dirty work and chip in some goals, otherwise it doesn't matter how well Henrik plays. And THAT pressure, of feeling like you can never let up more than one goal, I think has negatively affected Henrik. Thus he hasn't been a game changer this year.

I did read Brooks the other day, and what else is there to say? We're screwed by this lifeless squad. It's the reason we all feel so disenfranchised. I mean, if Prucha was still around I could be hanging on to him, but that's not changing the fact that I've felt this way since November. Actually... October.

Actually... I completely forgot how empty I felt when the season started even when they were playing so well. That moment, when Dubi and Z jumped all over each other? Everyone else totally ::fangirled:: and I thought... well, I would like to love this team.

Face it; we lost too much that we couldn't replace, and we're feeling the side effects in several different ways, be it from fan support to being barely able to squeak into the playoffs just to be killed by whomever we play, because this team just does not cut it. They do nothing for the fans, and nothing to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. It hasn't cut it since we let Jagr walk, and everyone knows it, and Sather needs his head to roll for it.

I'm going to stop there before I rant and rave, because I feel in bubbling up inside me, lol.

kels said...

I think so many Rangers fans feel the same way we do Kerri.

This is the first year in a long time that I really feel so little connection to this team.

I want to talk about it for days but I also think its best to wait until this teams season is over to further reflect. It will give us all something to do until October :)

Kerri said...

It will give us all something to do until October :)

Oh goooodddd, don't say it, lol. I'm not ready for this long summer. Not ready one little bit.