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Rangers Lose Again

Posted By Adam Gavriel On Feb 20 2011 @ 5:06 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

I have a lot of things I want to say about this franchise, about the state of this team. About their oft injured $7.05 million captain who hasn’t scored a goal this season. About their $6.5 million dman sitting in the minor leagues. About their $6.875 million goalie who has been struggling mightily this month. But it’s a rant for another day, coming up soon in my trade deadline preview. Today we’ll focus on this all too familiar loss.

First of all, I’m going to brag a little bit.

I’ve called the uselessness of Boyle and Prust when everyone else was clamoring that they’re the best thing since sliced bread and a part of the core. Where was Prust tonight? Parked on the bench. Where was Boyle tonight? Seeing random shifts on the fourth line as Tortorella took to rolling three in the third period. Actually, I’m going to do some research on Pruster…

Here’s what I wrote on Prust in my player profile segment of him on January 11th:

“In the eyes of John Tortorella and the Rangers brass Prust has taken a huge step forward in his development this season. He’s gone from a fourth line energy guy to a third line power forward that can be used in all situations. He’s gone from averaging 9:20 on ice per game to averaging over 14 minutes a game. He’s also experiencing what is by far and away his best NHL season so far recording 15 points in 43 games while being able to do the dirty stuff like dropping the gloves in the absence of Boogaard as well.

But it is here where Torts and I really differ in opinion. Torts has gone on record saying that Prust and Boyle (more on Boyle next week) have worked their way into the core of the Rangers. And I’ve said this in a previous post but I’m not sold on Boyle and Prust in the core. They are essential players to making a deep playoff run but they are not guys that you build a team around, my definition of the core. I still think that Prust is playing over his head right now on the Rangers third line and would be better served for the team in a fourth line role with PK time.  I just don’t think Prust has the offensive skill to play over 14 minutes a game but hey, I’ve gotta trust the coach on this one.”

Brandon Prust has:

  • Not recorded a point in his last 8 games, in those 8 games he is a combined -6 and hasn’t recorded a + game.
  • I get on Prust a lot for seemingly only fighting when the Rangers are winning, which is dumb because it allows the opposition to gain momentum, well… In the 14 games Prust has fought, the Rangers were winning 5 times and their record in those games stands at 3-0-2. He has fought 4 times when the Rangers are losing and in those games the record is 1-3. And in the 5 games where he fought during a tied game, the Rangers are 2-3. So, not as bad as I expected…at all. But you can’t deny that there were a lot of good opportunities for Prust to drop them today, and in previous games that could have helped swing momentum for the Rangers.

Reading twitter accounts of the game now, seems that the Rangers are staying positive. Not sure how Callahan could say with a straight face that the Rangers played a full 60 minute game today because I don’t even remember seeing a blue sweater on the ice during the second period. I’d give them a generous 40 minutes today. But again, Rangers staying optimistic.

However I am not as optimistic. I fail to see how the Rangers of today are the same as the Rangers of the beginning of the season. The team with swag that was easy to fall in love with. The team that gave an honest 60 minute effort 95% of the time and you never thought was out of the game. I don’t have the same emotional attachment to THIS team right now, they’ve lost me. I don’t think they’re playing as hard and I don’t believe that they have the ability to pull out a win even when they’re going into the third period trailing, which by the way has become this teams specialty.

Gaborik didn’t return to the game because he has a concussion, Rangers aren’t sure when he sustained it, no timetable for return. Concussions are tricky, he could miss three games or thirty. Either way, not the news you want to here.

Lundqvist continued to slump today when I thought that Jersey game would definitely help him break out. However he was only really at fault on the Carcillo goal, which is now magnified as it turns out to be the game winner. Not entirely sure how that puck got under Hank but it makes you wonder. In his last ten he’s only surrendered 2 goals or less twice. His season save percentage is .921 (before today) and in his last ten he has only one game of a save percentage higher then that mark, the game against New Jersey which turned out to be a loss. It’s obvious that for the Rangers to quickly right the ship Hank is going to need to stand on his head nightly.

I’ve also been preaching to you guys that the Wolski – Stepan – Zuccarello line is the best line this Rangers team has right now, and Torts has been breaking them up constantly until today where he consistently had them out on shifts together and that line accounted for both of the Rangers goals in the game, not surprisingly to this fan.

Dubinsky and Callahan need to get going and be the gamebreakers they were in the beginning of the season.

Avery needs more ice time with more competent linemates.

Boyle and Prust need less ice time.

Christensen needs to find a new team to play for.

Prospal is old, and he looks old out there.

I’m very curious to see who the Rangers bring up to replace Gaborik in the lineup. It’s got to be a scoring winger so my bet is on either Kolarik or Grachev.

To bad at the beginning of the season they decided to send Kennedy to the Whale over Todd White (Remember them?) because Kennedy would be a good spark plug for this team right now, and there’s no doubt he’d be lost on re-entry waivers if the Rangers tried to bring him up now. If I’m Sather and company I’d go with Grachev and put him in a scoring role, see what he’s got at the NHL level and if he can provide anything to the team. No word yet who the call up is but I’ll have my eye on it for you guys.

All in all, what else can you say? Since the emotional 1-0 win over Vancouver at the Garden the Rangers are 5 – 10 – 1. Not the record you’d expect from a team coming off a huge win over the then best team in the NHL. Not the record from a team chasing the playoffs and appearing they might fall out looking at missing a shot in the second season for the second consecutive year. Not the record you want to see from your team ever.

Also, the Rangers not getting a power play the whole game? What is that? Against the Flyers too. Not sure about that one. Could be seen as a good thing though considering the power play we have been treated to so far this season.

Absolutely HUGE road games coming up against the Hurricanes (Tuesday) and Capitals (Friday) and a home game against the Lightning (Sunday). These three games are the only 3 games remaining before the trade deadline on next Monday.

Expect a trade deadline preview on Wednesday or Thursday (here on http://adamgav68.wordpress.com/) and a game preview of the Canes game on Monday or Tuesday.

I’m expecting Grachev to be called up for the game, and if I had to take a shot at lines…

WW – Step – Zucc

Dubi – Christensen – Grachev

Avery – Anisimov – Callahan

Prospal – Boyle – Prust

It’s time.

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