Thursday, March 31, 2011

Video: Tortorella Refusing To Discuss Awful Team Perfomance

Rangers Embarass The Sweater With Performance Against Isles, Risk Playoff Spot

There are no words to accurately describe the disgrace that was the New York Rangers performance tonight in a 6-2 loss to the “rival” Islanders.  Coming off a mediocre performance in their biggest game of the year last night in Buffalo the team decided it didn’t really have to show up at all with the belief the Isles were going to roll over and hand them two points.  The power play was atrocious in going 0-7, defensive zone coverage was even worse, but the utter lifelessness and lack of effort for the team as a whole was the worst part of it all.  There is no way in the last five games of the year that you should lack effort and energy while battling for a playoff spot. The performance was an embarrassment to the sweater that they wear and should have all the men in that room ashamed at their "effort".
Hard to believe but the Rangers actually did lead in this game when Vinny Prospal made it 1-0 Rangers 14:25 into the first period.  The goal was created by excellent work from Marian Gaborik down low would get him the puck, he stepped out and fired a shot that was blocked by Jack Hillen, then Gaborik played the puck over to Prospal who fired a quick slap shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Montoya high.
Following the goal the Rangers would have a series of four power plays over the next eight minutes of action including two different 5-on-3 advantages in which the team converted nothing and ended up creating momentum for the Islanders and they would actually feel like converting something tonight.
Blake Comeau and Radek Martinek would score 33 seconds apart to take what was a 1-0 deficit and turn it into a 2-1 Islanders lead.  After killing off the Rangers sixth power play of the game the Islanders would could get two more quick goals during the latter stages of the period with the first from Jesse Joensu on a deflection and then Parenteau would score 76 seconds later to make it 4-1.
Matt Moulson added to the insult mid-way through the third and then the ultimate indignity occurred when Trevor Gillies scored at 14:00 of the third period to make it 6-1.  Prust gets an absolutely meaningless goal with 13.6 seconds left to make it 6-2.
Now they have to pick themselves up and show some of the heart they showed before the last two nights on Sunday or all the work of the first 76 games could unravel rapidly.

Rangers Recall Cam Talbot, Precaution or Lundqvist Not Available Tonight?

According to the AHL Transaction Log, the New York Rangers have recalled goaltender Cam Talbot from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. There was no corresponding move to send Chad Johnson down to bring Talbot up so that means the Rangers will have three goalies on the roster for tonight which brings into question the availability of Henrik Lundqvist tonight against the Islanders. 

Lundqvist took a shot off his right leg above the knee last night, but was able to stay in for the third period.  It would be no surprise to see that once the adrenaline left the body and the injury had the night to set in that the issue is worse today than yesterday, but even if Lundqvist is out tonight I would expect him to be back shortly.  The move for Talbot is likely one of precaution in case Lundqvist cant go so the Rangers dont end up with only one goalie available.

Ryan McDonagh Strides Into Hockey's Future Top 50 Prospects

Ryan McDonagh has been so good since being brought up to the Rangers in early January that there are many points where you forget he is still a rookie and technically even still a prospect.  Today is one of those reminders as the Hockey’s Future countdown of the top 50 prospects in the game has started and McDonagh comes in right at number 50.  McDonagh had been ranked by HF before when he came in at number 39 back in Fall 2009. 

The heady McDonagh has impressed during his time with the Rangers this season, and seems poised to move his career to another level.

There were those who were concerned with McDonagh’s game last season with his lack of offensive production at Wisconsin and then his slow start in the AHL at the beginning of this year but he has more than erased those doubters since coming to the NHL.  From nearly day one he has played with a tremendous amount of poise, intelligence and skill on the ice that when you watch him you see a veteran on the ice not a player still eligible for prospect lists.  In 35 games for the Rangers McDonagh has eight assists with an impressive plus 17 rating in 18:39 of ice time per game while combining with Michael Sauer to be arguably the Rangers best defensive pair in the stretch drive.  The sky is the limit for this young player who might come in at number 50 on this list but will be much more valuable to the Rangers than that for the next decade.

Rangers Offense Still Boom Or Bust, Will It Cost Them Playoff Spot?

The New York Rangers are a team that prides itself on the consistency of their effort in order to gain results and that has shown itself throughout the 2010-11 season.  The one place the Rangers have failed to find that consistency is on the offensive end of the ice.  After the offense exploded for 17 goals in three games the team has gone back to struggling only accounting for three goals in the last four games.  Luckily for the team they have played tremendous defense over the same stretch only surrendering three goals and going 2-1-1. 

It is great to have a defense and goaltender that can shut teams down like that and it will give you a chance in just about every night, but you have to score some goals to win in this league.  It is not too much to ask for an offense to find two goals a night and yet over these last four games the Rangers cannot seem to find a way to do it.  A lot of the offensive struggles are confidence related as this team is one that when it starts flowing in a game can explode because everyone else loosens up.  When they struggle to score early in the game they get tighter and tighter and then the problem seems to snowball on itself.

On the season, according to, the Rangers have scored 210 goals in their 77 games, an average of 2.73 goals per game which ranks them 16th in the league.  That does not seem all that bad, but that factors in the fact that the Rangers have scored six goals or more on nine different occasions this year.  If you take those games out the Rangers are left with 152 goals in the other 68 games the team has played which is an average of only 2.24 goals per game and would rank them 29th in the league.  To further that they have had 20 games this season in which they scored 1 goal or less.

Obviously all teams are going to have games where they have big offensive nights that inflate their numbers and others where they struggle and the numbers slide, but the Rangers have been a huge team for the differential.  Until the Rangers figure out a way to get more consistent with their offense their ability to be a true contender for the Cup will be in question and maybe even their spot in the playoffs altogether.

Video: Did Getzlaf Play Hide-and-Seek With Puck To Rob Flames of Goal?

Quick thinking and a will to do whatever it takes to win are things any team wants from its players and it appears on Wednesday night Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks put both of those to work by breaking the rules to prevent a Calgary goal late in the second period.  With the Ducks up 2-1, Tim Jackman deflects the puck on net and it appears to be resting on top of the prone Ray Emery over the goal line when Getzlaf comes in, closes his hand on the puck to hide it from the video review and then slides the puck out under Emery.

Following the review it was ruled that no goal was scored as there was not enough video evidence to overturn the call.  TSN does an excellent job breaking down the play:

Did Getzlaf steal a goal from Calgary?  Is that leadership from the captain of the Ducks?