"You see things that are open in the net that aren't there if you look through the eyes of the puck," assistant GM-coach Jim Shoenfeld said yesterday after running some of his players through a shooting drill designed to help them see openings in the net better. In photography, they call it parallax -- the difference between what you see through a viewfinder versus what the shutter actually sees in non-SLR cameras, a slight but distinct shift in point view that throws things off just enough to ruin carefully composed pictures. In a camera, it's caused by parallel views that are just an inch or so apart -- for a shooter, the difference between what he sees and the angle of the puck on the stick is much greater. Does it make that much of a difference? Schoenfeld thinks so.
Things were supposed to get easier for the Rangers as the schedule got easier. From the last day of November, the day their fortunes turned sour, through the end of January, they played nearly half their games against the eleven teams currently ahead of them in the league standings, going 1-9-1 -- they were 12-1-1 against the eighteen teams with worse records. But the Rangers got no relief despite the schedule easing up in February -- during their current 2-8-4 collapse, they are 1-5-4 against teams below them in the standings (taking into account that Florida just inched ahead of them the other night).
The schedule remains light over the next four weeks, with nine games against teams below them and only four against top ten teams, four of those among the five worst teams in the league, beginning with Colorado tonight. If the Rangers want to make their last six games meaningful -- five of them against top teams -- they are going to have to resume taking advantage of the teams they should beat.
In the news today, mostly about Sean Avery's impending return to the Rangers -- Newsday, Record, Post, and the Sporting News. Hartford won its fifth straight since Avery's debut -- see Howlings, WP.com, and Beyond the Blueshirts. More from the Post on goal scoring (here) and John Tortorella (here). The NHL admitted making mistakes in how it handled the apparent Brandon Dubinsky goal in the opening minute of the last game, but did not admit that they would have ruled the goal good as a result -- see Blue Notes and Rangers Report. Previews of tonight's game -- Rangers Report, NYR.com, and NHL.com -- one line-up change, Fred Sjostrom returning in place of Aaron Voros. Prospect Park makes soup.