Friday, November 11, 2011

Four Goal Third Sends Rangers To Sixth Straight Win

The New York Rangers rode a four goal third period to win their sixth straight win, 5-1 over the Carolina Hurricanes. Dan Girardi scored on the power play at 10:47 to break a 1-1 tie. Just nine seconds later Brandon Dubinsky scored his first of the season. The look of relief on his face was great and to see how happy all his teammates were tells what he means in the room.

Callahan sealed the deal with a goal off a scramble in front. The goal might be credited to Callahan, but Dubinsky's work along the boards created the goal.

Brad Richards finished the four-goal period when Cam Ward botched handling the puck leaving an empty .net with 1:34 left.

Sean Avery scored a beautiful goal in the first and played an excellent overall game.

Alexei Ponikarovsky had the lone goal for the Hurricanes following a bad defensive play by Michael Del Zotto.
  • Stepan-Anisimov-Gaborik did not get on the scoresheet tonight, but they were dangerous all night.
  • Girardi played another excellent game tonight.
  • Richards vision was on display tonight with Girardi's goal and his hustle to take advantage of the brain cramp by Ward was important
  • Lundqvist never had to make the huge save tonight, but he was very solid all night.

Despite Injury To Marc Staal, Eric Did Nothing Wrong

There seems to be a sentiment running through at least part of the New York Rangers fan community that booing Eric Staal or even a Rangers’ player going after him is warranted when the Rangers take on the Hurricanes tonight.  Neither is deserved nor will it do anything to get Marc Staal back on the ice any sooner.  You can play up the hit as much as you like Larry Brooks of the NY Post did in his column this morning, but it was a legal check that unfortunately had a bad result for Marc.  From Brooks…
But it will be Eric, the concussing captain of the Hurricanes and not Marc, the concussed alternate captain of the Rangers, who has been sidelined all year in the aftermath of the unbrotherly blow he sustained in Carolina on Feb. 22 of last season.

That’s where older brother, Eric, who leveled his younger brother with a mean, high, albeit not penalized hit at 19:10 of the second period of that fateful game in Raleigh, visited Marc this week after the Hurricanes played in New Jersey on Tuesday.
These statements are geared at creating a sense of hatred towards Eric that is not truly deserved.  Dan Girardi had it right when he told Andrew Gross of The Record
"It’s kind of a weird situation," said Dan Girardi, Marc Staal’s longtime defense partner. "We’ll see how it goes on the ice. It was a freak thing. Obviously, it was not his intent to injure him."
Those looking to damn Eric for the result instead of the play itself have the wrong perspective here.  If it had be a dirty hit, then I would be all for booing him, though never intentionally look to injure anyway, but that is not the case here.  Eric made the play he is supposed to make against any opponent in the NHL and the Rangers will do the same to him tonight.  You hit hard and clean while hoping the results are not what Marc is currently fighting.

According to Pat Leonard of the Daily News, Paul Maurice does not believe Eric was actually the one who concussed Marc.
"It was a clean hit, & his brother came back & played, so to me, he's not the reason there's a concussion."
While I am against booing Eric for the result of his hit, this faulty logic by Paul Maurice deserves to get severely booed.  Just because Marc played after the hit does not mean he did not get a concussion from the hit.

Richards Failing To Pay Dividends For Rangers?

Rapid reactions to moves made over the summer are part of the way the sports world operates so it is not surprising that TSN took a look at the best and worst unrestricted free agent moves of the summer thus far.  It is also not surprising that is numbers that become the focal point of assessing impact on the team, and accordingly they viewed Brad Richards move to the Rangers as not paying off for the New York Rangers.
"The biggest free agent in the pond this summer was forward Brad Richards, who made a high profile move from Dallas to the New York Rangers. He was expected to drive their offence but the 31-year-old has given New York less than a point per game and has just four goals in 13 contests."
I was having a similar conversation to this yesterday about whether the Richards signing was truly necessary with what Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov have shown with Marian Gaborik in the last few days.  However, that conversation was not about whether Richards has disappointed, but if the investment long-term was one the Rangers needed to make.  Personally the jury is still out on that one, but in the early going his impact has been what was to be expected, even if more off the ice than on it.

While it is true that Richards has less than a point per game, recording four goals and six assists in 13 contests, to argue that he has been a disappointment is inaccurate in terms of the Rangers needs.  The “analysis” is also superficial in arguing that point, especially goals, are the key to determining impact.  There is no arguing right now about how influential Richards has been with Stepan and Del Zotto in helping them advance their respective games early in the season.  Stepan gets to learn from and talk with a playmaking center who has been at the highest levels in this league.  Del Zotto gets the pressure taken off him to be the savior as power play quarterback and allowed to just use his offensive instincts more freely while learning how to better play that role.  Those things cannot be quantified by looking at Brad Richards statistics alone and are invaluable adds to the Rangers organization.