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April 25, 2006

Comments

I will be at the Garden on Wednesday and I was desparately hoping the Rangers would find a way to win tonight. That being said, they probably played their best game in weeks. They really controlled the 5 on 5 action and if it wasn't for two bone headed plays by Ozolinsh resulting in the short handed goals, this game might have had a different result. Hopefully if Kasparitis and Jagr can play on Wednesday, Renney will consider sitting Ozolinsh again. He simply does not fit in with the game the Rangers need to play. Although I hate being down 2-0, this game actually gave me some hope.

Dude you missed a good game. It came down to the fact that Weeks is beyound the worst goalie in the playoffs. If he makes make "1" save beyound what I could of done as 500lb dwarf. We are in the game. Credit the gutt for a loss in game #2. FIRE RENNY!!!!! FIRE RENNY!!!!! Reny is an idot. Thanks for the 100 pts go back to Canucks.............

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! No!!!"

All the Devils have done so far is hold serve on their home ice. The Rangers are obviously in dire straights now having to win 4 out of 5, but does anyone really think New Jersey is a powerhouse that can't be beaten? Well, I know some of you do, but you're mistaken.

These two teams are VERY evenly matched, and I still think this thing is going at least six games, if not seven. Yeah, yeah, I know - some will say I'm delusional, but I truly feel that. The Rangers in Game Two were gutty, gritty, relentless, whatever adjective you want to use, and I honestly feel that the dam is about to burst and we will win the next two at home. Have we dug too deep a hole already? Probably. But I am not afraid of these Devils. Remember, it took a miraculous comeback and a historic choke by the Rangers for NJ to even win the division (and by only on one lousy point!), so I think things can still turn our way.

As Tug McGraw said, "Ya' gotta' believe!"

Evenly matched???? What game have you been watching? THE DEVILS SCORED THREE, ready for the hard of hearing, THREE!!!! Short handed goal all year. Look, sorry but you don't make a gutt call in game 2. You make it in game #3. Only a stupid moron makes a goalie change in game #2.

I had no issue with Renney making the goalie switch in game 2. Henrik did not look right at all and hasn't since he has come back from his injury. I don't know how you could blame Weekes for last night. I mean honestly is it his fault Ozo was single handedly responsible for 2 of the 4 goals. The first goal was a 2 on 1 (Ozo's pinch), the second goal was a deflection on the power play, the third was all Ozo (yes all Ozo, I don't care that the puck got through Weekes. All Ozo had to do was hold off Madden for 5 seconds, and yes he should have known that if Madden was out of the box there had to be less than 10 seconds left) and the last goal was a 3 on 1.

Losing Jagr, Henrik and Kaspar is like the Devils losing Gionta, Brodeur and Rafalski. You tell me where the Devs would be without those guys. The Rangers played a spirited game and actually were EVEN 5 ON 5. Yes thats right they were even at 5 on 5 for more than 3/4 of the game. If they would have gotten a few breaks and Ozo takes his head out of you know where we could have won this game from the mighty Devils (who looked a little tight in the second especially when Sykora hit the post).

I will be there Wednesday night supporting my team who wasn't even supposed to be in the playoffs let alone snif 8th place this year. Let's Go Rangers!!!

Mike, I'm sorry, I don't agree about Renney. He was the only guy in 8 years that found a way to bring the laughing stock Rangers out of the basement and into a 100 point season and the playoff picture. Sure it appears that it is unravelling now but look at all the key cogs that are out of the line up. Martin, Jags, Kaspar and Hank is still damaged or something otherwise he would have been playing. Rookie sensation Prucha is still not right after that leg injury. Right now the Ranger's cannons are empty and that is what happens with a one star team who happens to be out of action.. Look elsewhere, not at Renney.

Call up Dubinsky, Dawes, and Gennoway. Put them out there and see what happens

Last night was simultaneously inspiring and pathetic. Insping because the Raqngers played so gutty and gritty and hard, and deserved a win on most night. But it was pathetic because I just knew from about the 10 minute mark on that we simply didn't have enough firepower to score, and no matter how hard we tried it was going to be a long night.

I can't wait until we get our home cooking going, take the next two, and knock the smug smiles off the Devils' and their animal fans' faces.

Dubi, I'm curious to know why you say the guy from SI doesn't understand Rangers fans. Cause frankly, I didn't think he was entirely off base in his criticism.

Like every sport, hockey is a game of inches, confidence, and fundamentals.

1. CONFIDENCE: The Rangers have no confidence, so they play hesitant and a step slow. Remember early in the season how much "quicker" the team seemed than the opponents? Now they are hesitant and that weighs the legs and slows the mind down. Watch how no one skated back on the 2nd madden shorthanded goal [except ozolinsh and thanks for that!] thinking the play and period was over. And if Weekes is confident he skates out to cover that puck instead of letting Madden come to him. If Renney is confident he doesn't panic and go to Weekes based on two games he played 4 years ago.

2. INCHES: The rangers hit posts and sticks and miss wide with shots. The devils hit corners and get point shots through traffic. Gionta's PPG was a deflection on the side of the crease from a point pass/shot. In the second period the rangers tried the same play and the deflection when off to the side of the net.

3. FUNDAMENTALS: The rangers cant defend a simple odd-man rush...basic hockey you learn when you are 7. Watch Poti try to defend the 2-1 on Madden's first goal. He ends up kinda-halfway-down-on-one-knee...facing the goalie! The rangers try to skate through 3 people at offensive blueline and pass up shots. The rangers don't move around on the PP or pass the puck quickly on the PP or even change up the PP [tell me you didn't know that that the 5-3 PP was going to be a set up for Sykora at the right point?]. Watch how the Devils move around on their PP. The rangers don't attack on the PK. They play a passive box and don't get in front of pucks or in passing lanes. Watch how Rafalski attacks with his stick and positioning.

We need to call a spade a spade - the NYR played above their head for 70 games, relied on Jagr, Lundqvist, and a ton of overachievers to get peoples playoff hopes up. They had what...7...8 rookies in the lineup last night playing meaningful playoff games? That's the positive to take out of this situation. Play Lundqvist, if healthy, and sit Ozolinsh and Poti. Let Pock play in Ozolinsh's place, and let Strudwick play in Poti's. Let Wiseman play and let Immonnennennennennenn play inplace of Orr. Orr is more of a detriment than a deterrent.

ARGH. Newsday reports Jagr's out for game 3:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/ny-spjagr0426,0,1986983.story?coll=ny-sports-headlines

I suppose there's the chance they're just trying to play mind games with the Devils, but it certainly doesn't sound good.

Things were looking better this game and I felt the NYR had it in them to come back, until Bozolinsh checked in with his distinctive brand of hockey. Arrrrgh. I'm looking forward to being there tomorrow night and truly hope that Kev is right and we'll wipe those smug smiles from Debbies' faces. It'd be a bonus if it's done with the Lundqvists and Pruchas and Immonens and Tyutins, so they can have a glimpse of our promising future.

In the meantime, I NEVER thought I'd feel anything in common with Flyers' fans. Holy Hextall! 5 against in the opening frame?!?!? And the coaches are exchanging vitriol, too.

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/14420131.htm

Please oh please oh please fellas, find a way to get to Games 5+6.

"ARGH. Newsday reports Jagr's out for game 3"

Well, at least we have an excuse. :-( I was going to reply to [saget] that it's too early still, and the team worked too hard last night to write this off and use the remaining games as a rebuilding lesson, but seeing this, maybe he has a point. However, with Jagr out, I think they have no choice but to play Ozolinsh; they need any offense they can get. Maybe Renney can attach a leash to him so he can yank him back when he tries to pinch. Wouldn't mind seeing Pock though. Just gotta hope that Henrik can stand on his head like in the good old days.

Laurie, I say that because that's what Ranger fans always say in the heat of the moment. They'll be there.

Laurie, I think the problem with the comments by the Ranger blogger on SI is the same problem I have with some of Saget's post: while both contain some element of truth, they're both extreme in their assessments, and I ultimately disagree with both. Anyone who was at MSG for the Ottawa game and experienced the rousing welcome the team received for its return understands what Ranger fans are all about. The fact that many didn't stick around for the final minutes of a 6-2 blowout doesn't change that. The fact that there are some boo birds, who love to do nothing more than boo Poti or scream "shoot" at every opportunity, doesn't change that either. You want a sense of what being a Ranger fan is all about, look no further than the posts on here in the hours following last night's loss: posts from people like you, Laurie, and LurkerKev, and Alan, and CSwede, and Bob Merchant, and our gracious host Dubi, all finding a reason to feel good about the team, to have a reason for hope despite being down 2-0 to the Devils. That's what being a Ranger fan is all about, and that SI rant fails to capture this at all.

As for Saget's post, I read it with great interest, particularly the detailed breakdown of the hockey x's and o's. Even if I don't agree with all your conclusions, your points are good. We could argue Poti vs. Strudwick -- I think Strudwick was the one who should have cleared Gionta out on the PP goal, and I think Poti actually has played more physical than Strudwick -- but the 2-on-1 analysis was perceptive. THe PK suggestions are valid, but they've done much of what you suggested throughout the year (remember all the blocked shots by Ortmeyer?), and I suspect part of the recent problem is fatigue. Also, they did seem to do a better, more aggressive job yesterday. Similarly, the team got the puck deep much better last night, which I had suggested was a problem in recent games. The problems you note re. the PP are certainly a concern, but even there I felt some progress late in the game last night. But where you lose me is the conclusion that you draw from all your points, that the Rangers played over their heads for 70 games. For 70 games?! Isn't the more reasonable approach to look for an explanation for the recent problems, rather than dismissing the accomplishments of virtually the entire season? I refuse to believe that the good we've seen this season is some kind of fluke. The effort I saw last night, even in defeat, only serves to reaffirm that position.

Kudos for that last post throwaway! Superb, especially: "Isn't the more reasonable approach to look for an explanation for the recent problems, rather than dismissing the accomplishments of virtually the entire season? I refuse to believe that the good we've seen this season is some kind of fluke. The effort I saw last night, even in defeat, only serves to reaffirm that position."

Agreed, agreed, agreed! I've been called a homer and worse, but I am not delusional. If any of the teams I support aren't very good, or don't work hard, I'd have no problem saying so. At the same time, I stand by my belief that this Rangers team is good - not great - and that we are CERTAINLY in the same class as these Devils. We have almost zero margin for error, and we definitely need some breaks to go our way, but if they continue to work like they did last night it will happen. They may not win the series, but they will continue to make us proud, as they have all season long.

Does anyone find it strange that Jagr wasn't even in the building last night?

It seems that Larry Brooks, who I often take issue with, is the only writer who really got it when he wrote that "the Rangers come home for tomorrow night's Game 3 with much of their identity restored, if not entirely intact." That's what has me so frustrated after reading that Jagr will be out again. Maybe they actually NEEDED him to be out for a game to rediscover the work ethic that got them to the playoffs this year. Because without that, I don't care if he scored 70 goals, they'd already be out on the links. It wasn't Jagr that made them one of the top defensive teams in the league, it was the hustle of guys like Rucchin (and kudos to him for his effort with a broken foot), Betts, Hollweg (emerging as a physical force in these playoffs), Kaspar, Malik, Moore, Ortmeyer....I could list virtually the entire roster here. If they were able to add back a healthy Jagr and effective Lundqvist to this mix....DAMN!!!

Alan, I'm 50/50 on Jagr's being home last night. As de facto captain, yeah, I'd think he'd want to be there in the room with words of encouragement. Yet as Kaspar recently reiterated, a cranky Jagr is no fun to be around. I'd like to know how the coaching staff and his teammates felt.

throwaway: "Isn't the more reasonable approach to look for an explanation for the recent problems, rather than dismissing the accomplishments of virtually the entire season? I refuse to believe that the good we've seen this season is some kind of fluke. The effort I saw last night, even in defeat, only serves to reaffirm that position.""

I think when we look back on this season, we will see a team that was not as good as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference [which we were, in the standings, through the Olympics]. And we will see one that is not as bad as the recent losing streak. Its a team that works hard, as you said, has trouble scoring [Prucha's unexpected goals in the first half...Nylander's career year may be the exception, rather than the rule], is acceptable defensively [Malik and Rosival checked in with career years defensively too and that may be the exception, rather than the rule], with exceptional goaltending. I think that works out to about a 6-7-8-9 seed, and not a division winner. That's my basic point - we exceed expections, and I'm not sure the stars can align again next year.

If this same team played this season over again, I think its just as likely that this team would struggle to make the playoffs as it would to be fighting for the division.

Saget - Since what you suggest is impossible to measure, the best we can do is conjecture. I'm prepared to give the team a bit more credit than you are, but your point is certainly well-made.

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