Monday, April 4, 2011

McCabe Delivers Slap (shot), Fire Rangers Needed to Wake Up In Critical Game (w/video)

Tom Mihalek/Associated Press

When the New York Rangers acquired Bryan McCabe just before the trade deadline they did so with the intent of using his experience and leadership to add another piece to a young defense core.  Even more important than that was the belief that his huge shot from the point could help to solidify their struggling power play.  It has been an up and down experience for McCabe since joining the Rangers as he played very well his first ten games with the club and the results were seen in the power play finding a rhythm.  After that though his level dropped on both ends of the ice and if not for being Bryan McCabe he would have been talked about more as possibly coming out of the lineup. 
His dip offensively coincided with the offensive drop of the whole team and the power play returned to the prior inept status it had before his arrival.  Yesterday during a huge game against the rival Flyers with the Rangers about to have a good road period turn into a 1-0 deficit McCabe made everyone remember why the team brought him in to begin with.  Yes, his bomb from the point that tied the game with just .7 seconds left in the period was critical to the Rangers in terms of the scoreboard, but more their psyche both for the game and the power play in general after going 0-7 against the Islanders.
Video of the shot:

What was more impressive to me, and maybe more important to the team, than the goal itself was the intensity of the reaction McCabe had after it.  For a team that had played pretty flat hockey for the prior two games to have that kind of intense reaction sends a charge through everyone on the bench and a different leadership than the Rangers normally have.  This team is built on a base of young leadership and all of those guys, sans Brandon Dubinsky, are lead by example types that don’t say much and don’t express the fiery side that this team will need some of these final few games and into the playoffs.  Maybe that goal will give McCabe another level of comfort in the room to step in and say something when something needs to be said.  He and Vinny Prospal are certainly two of the veterans that can aid the team and the young leadership in rounding out the group that pushes this team forward in terms of accountability and preparation as the stakes get higher.
The Rangers brought McCabe in for his experience, leadership and huge shot and yesterday in Philadelphia in arguably the most critical game of the season to this point he delivered all three when the team needed it most.