Sunday, February 27, 2011

Video: Tortorella Rips Into Officials, "A Horseshit Call"

While the Rangers have struggled for the better part of two months coach John Tortorella has managed to keep an upbeat attitude about the team and the games for the most part.  Today some of the frustrations of that time and today's lousy officiating came out in full force at how the officiating was in the game.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has quotes from the post game press conference in which Tortorella ripped into the refs and the league:.

“It’s a tough one,” Tortorella said. “We gave them *&$)#@ all night long and they beat us five on three on a horse*&$)#@ call to start.

“As the game went on, it was one of those games. Both teams were grinding. I just wish the league would stay the hell out of it and let the teams decide it. It’s bull*&$)#@. There’s too much at stake here.

“We took some stupid penalties but Danny Girardi’s is not a boarding call. It’s just a simple guess. We gave them nothing five on four, nothing and we get beat five on three and it starts with a bad call.”
I would expect that Torts will be receiving a call and a fine from the league for his comments.  Courtesy of Jesse Spector's Blueshirts Blog here is the video of the post game presser.

Lousy Start, Lousy Officiating Doom Rangers in 2-1 Loss to Lightning.

Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
In a refrain that Rangers fans are tired of hearing, Sam Rosen ended today’s game with, “they just ran out of time.”  This team continues to battle late in games, but they are coming up short in the close ones far too often right now.  Losing the games is one thing, but losing in regulation and failing to get any points is really hurting them both in securing a solid playoff footing and in their ability to rise in the standings.  Other than against Carolina on Tuesday they are just unable to come up with that tying goal late in games and that is why it ended up in a 2-1 defeat against Tampa Bay.  The loss dropped New York back to 14-14-3 at home and that simply is not good enough if you want to go anywhere in the postseason.
I am with everyone that there was some horrific officiating in this one whether it was the phantom boarding call on Girardi or the even more made up interference call on Dubinsky at the blue line when the Lightning play fell on his ass all by himself.  Having said that, the officiating is not responsible for the utter lack of effort the Rangers put on offensively in the first period this afternoon.  This team still seems to fail to grasp the concept of playing 60 minutes and that is not about the officials. Overall the team played an awful first period in which they developed nothing offensively and generated only one lousy shot in the first 19 minutes.  Defensively they played pretty well on the whole, but would give up the only goal. 
The Lightning struck first on a slap shot from Martin St. Louis at the right faceoff circle.  The shot would squeeze through Lundqvist as he was working from side to side to get into position.  Dan Girardi got caught pinching on the play and it led to a 3-on-2 for Lecavalier, St. Louis and Downie against McDonagh and Stepan the two Rangers back.  St. Louis carried the puck down the right side, dropped it back to down who fed it back to St. Louis for the one-time goal.  I will not call it a soft goal, but it is one that Lundqvist usually stops.  Lost in the goal itself was Roloson getting away with illegally touching the puck outside the trapezoid not long before the goal.
New York played a much better second period than first and they would get rewarded on the scoreboard.  The Rangers penalty killing unit was again their best source of offense and led to their only goal.  While down a man Brian Boyle ties up a man in the defensive zone along the wall, Ryan McDonagh picks up the puck and outlets it to Brandon Prust in neutral ice.  Prust collects the puck and skates aroun Marc-Andre Bergeron and in on goalie Dwayne Roloson.  Prust and Roloson collided as the puck went in the net, but the goal stood after a review.  The tally was Prust’s fourth shorthanded goal, which is one off the NHL lead and gave the Rangers 10 on the season.
The penalty kill was brilliant this afternoon in fighting through the combination of lousy penalties by Rangers players and lousy calls by the officials, but you knew if you kept giving them chances that Tampa would finally convert.  They did in the third period.
While on a 5-on-3 the Lightning scored the go ahead and eventual game winning goal. Vinny Lecavalier would score from almost the identical spot as Martin St. Louis, except his one-time was a perfect shot far side off the post.  The reason for the 5-on-3 was some ridiculously bad officiating.  Dan Girardi was called for an awful boarding call at 1:11 of the period and then Brian Boyle would go off for flipping the puck over the glass for a delay of game at 2:04.  Against that offense you cannot be down two men or you will likely be fishing the puck out of the net as they were 2:40 into the third.
The Rangers would again generate chances late, but not find a way to get the tying goal to at least get one point out of the game.
  • McCabe played well in his debut while doing excellent work keeping pucks in the zone and firing his shot at the net.  He will get better, but you already saw that he can make a difference on the power play.
  • No forwards really stood out to me today.  Callahan, Boyle and Prust played well on the PK, but we generated nothing offensively in the game.  Stepan was probably the most noticeable in their zone.
  • Lots of talk about Sean Avery and the 54 seconds he played the last two periods today.

Rangers Analysis: Brad Richards Is The Easy Move, But Not The Right One.

Once the New York Rangers made the move to trade for McCabe yesterday the rumors predictably turned back to discussing Brad Richards being moved to New York.  There really is no easier rumor to write about than that one.  The Rangers love big name players, and they have a need for a first line center.  Richards is the biggest name potentially on the market and well what do you know, he just happens to be a first line center.  As it is the easy rumor to write it is the easy trade for the Rangers to make.  It is the Rangers answer to the Carmelo trade of earlier this week that says to the media and the fans that the team is in it to win the whole thing instead of just squeaking in the playoffs.  The fact that the move is the easy one to make and the flashy one as well does not mean it is the right one.
The Rangers have preached all season about how important the youth and the young core of this team are.  Trading for Richards goes against that movement.  Brad Richards is a great player.  He would be the best offensive player the Rangers have on their roster today.  My concern is not about today, but making sure there is a tomorrow. 
At a minimum, you have to assume that, New York would have to give up at least Artem Anisimov or Michael Del Zotto and a number 1 pick in a package for Brad Richards.  There are surely some who are willing to take that risk whether it is a lack of belief in the development of those Rangers players or the fascination with the big name first line center.  I am not one of those people.  Hopefully Glen Sather is not one of those people either.
After years of building with aging veterans the Rangers rebuilding has reached a point where there is enough contributing youth in the lineup to see the bright future on the horizon.  The same people who complained about the lack of young talent are now ready for a quick fix to improve today.  Cashing in some of those assets for a soon to be 31 year old center who is not only a rental player, but currently out with a concussion is a horrible idea.  Even with Brad Richards the New York Rangers are not winning the Stanley Cup this season. 
I know that is hard for some to hear and they will tell me that anything can happen in the playoffs.  It is true that anything can happen in the playoffs and if every single thing fell right there is the remotest of possibilities they could win it, but I try to deal in more realistic terms.  Richards ensures the Rangers get in, which they will either way, as long as they don’t play Boston or Philly first round that the team wins at least one series.
There is this magic theory for some that if the Rangers trade for Richards he will suddenly decide that he does not need to test the free agent market and sign an extension here before July 1.  Sorry, but I am not buying this at all.  Pierre LeBrun at sort of dealt with this idea last night in regards to Richards.
“I still think July 1 is the best play for Richards. One NHL GM I spoke with Saturday said while he can't make a play for him now, he'll certainly get into the fray July 1. And this is a team that hasn't been remotely linked to Richards this season. Translation: July 1 will be a bonanza for Richards, who will clearly be the top UFA in a weak market.”
It is fun to think about how we could convince him that he loves New York and that he wants to stay here forever and even at a discounted price, and it could all happen, but I do not see any of it happening before he plays the market come July 1.  If you want him to give that up you likely have to overpay him since he has the leverage knowing you dealt assets for him and need to make it worth it by signing him.
Then there comes the question of what Richards is worth in terms of not his past production but his future.  Richards is going to be 31 and coming off a season where he has 24-39-63 in 56 games and even with a concussion issue someone will pay him at least 7 million a year and my bigger problem is the number of years which anything over 3 or 4 means he will be paid to be Scott Gomez in production by year 3.
The combination of cost in being counter to the building around the you for the long haul, the assets, the money, paying for declining production and lack of any guarantee he stays makes trading for him the wrong move.  As I said earlier this week, I am not averse to making a big move and going after a top line talent, but if I am moving a Del Zotto or an Anisimov or both in a deal then I want a young top player who is signed longer term back, not an older one who has hit his peak and had no certainty to his future destination.  The Rangers do not need to make a Carmelo splash. This team is not built on sexy moves anyway.  What they are is a team at critical point where they just need to make the right move which is Paul Stastny and not the easy  one in Brad Richards.