The Rangers Game Log

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Game 4 – Rangers 2 at Washington 3

2005-06 Record: 1-1-2, 4 pts.
Last Year: 0-0-0, 0 pts.
Seen: On tape, MSG
Pts out of 8th: Here we go…Tied in points but behind several teams based on one less win
Islanders: Lose listlessly at home to Florida 3-1 on a Monday afternoon in front of 47 laid off investment bankers and John Spano impersonating an usher.

- In all of my years following the Rangers, and that’s a lot of years, I never, ever recall missing a game because it was on a weekday and I was at work. Columbus Day? Who is off besides schools and the post office? I spent a couple of years living in Philly in 1980-1 and Jay Greenberg, the snide columnist for the NY Post, was then a beat writer covering the Flyers for the Philadelphia Daily News, and a member of a press corps that took every opportunity to blast New York City and its fans. In 1981, the Rangers hooked up with the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs, and the Garden had a scheduling conflict with the Knicks. There was speculation that perhaps the Rangers would have to play a weekday afternoon playoff game, a plan that was eventually scuttled. Greenberg wrote that the Garden nixed the idea because too many fans wouldn’t be able to get out of their prison work-release programs to attend the game. Ha ha, very funny.

The NY Times estimated the crowd in Washington on Monday to be around 5,000. Given the arena’s proximity to our nation’s capitol and the current corrupt Republican administration, perhaps Greenberg’s words ring truer in this case.

As for me, I wanted to watch the game without knowing the score, such is the heady excitement of this early season. No problem in this office; I don’t think anyone knows what hockey is. And given the current standing of the sport here in New York, the chance of me walking down the street and hearing someone go “Hey, the Rangers lost!” is about the same as the chance of hearing someone go “Hey, Bloomberg lost!” come this November 2. The only problem is there are some taxis these days that have these damn ESPN sponsored scoreboards on top of their cars; this has caused me to see a score I didn’t want to on more than one occasion. So here I was, a grown man (in some peoples’ opinions), walking around Manhattan late yesterday afternoon with my head down so as not to see any traffic. Walking around this city with one’s head down is not recommended, even in these days of reduced crime.

Big Plays: An unbeaten in regulation streak can quickly become a losing streak. That’s three in a row, though this was the first one with no points earned. It was the team’s sloppiest game of the young season, with odd man rushes and awful own-zone giveaways by the D galore. Bryce Lampman dressed in place of Jason Strudwick who was gone with a death in the family, and his shaky play made his uniform number 33 reminiscent of Bruce Driver in more than one respect.

I guess the big play was the Caps’ goal right at the end of the second period, though in my opinion, the awfulness of giving up a late period goal is sometimes overrated. There are some times after surrendering a goal that a 17 minute time out is exactly what a team needs. As the period ticked down, Jagr made a nifty move into the attack zone, went behind the net, and got rocked by Brian Sutherby, wow. At the same time, Nylander fell in front of the net, and the Caps were off to the races three on two. Tyutin and Kondratiev backed up faster than the moving vans at Yankee Stadium today, and while Weekes stopped the initial shot, Steve Eminger scored on the rebound to tie the game. In fact, all three of the Caps goals came on rebounds of tough first stops. Weekes doesn’t show much in the way of directing rebounds out of harm’s way, and his D was certainly no help on any of the goals; the others were scored on a 3 on 1 break and a 5 on 3 power play.

Yet with all the ragged play, the game was the Blueshirts’ to win, as they had three full power plays and part of another in the third period. Jagr was stopped on 8 out of nine shots and seemed to get frustrated towards the end, taking shots that had no chance to get through. Kolzig made two big skate stops on him in the third, one of them with Nylander lying on top of him, I have no idea how he did that. He made a Hasek-type stop on Jason Ward off a scramble in front, and took care of his rebounds all night.

- Ville Niemenen dressed for the first time and didn’t seem to have much jump coming off a groin injury. Ryan Hollweg sat; don’t know if he would have anyway with Niemenen’s return, or if it was due to the late penalty he took in New Jersey. It’s good that Renney holds players responsible, but personally, I loved that hit on Paul Martin, and his feistiness was noticeably absent in this game. Let’s see if Kasparaitis sits for his awful penalty that led to the five-on-three and the losing goal.

- No fights in the first four games. Come to think of it, with Purinton suspended, just who is going to drop the gloves on this team? Is fighting still permitted?

- I hate the shootouts. Caught the OT of Leafs-Sens and the wide-open back and forth four-on-four play was breathtaking. To me, the shootout was just anticlimactic and a farcical way to decide a game.

3 Comments:

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    That goal at the end of the period was, to my thinking, an absolute disgrace -- not simply because it was a late goal, which, as you point out, is sometimes over-emphasized. No, this one was a disgrace because of how it happened. Leading 2-1, on the road, and in control of the puck in the offensive end with .15 left -- how in the world do you not get the puck deep and kill the period?! Instead, Jagr gets taken out, a second forward (Nylander?) wipes out, and, WORST OF ALL, the 3rd forward, who I saw as Ruccinsky (tho. the papers suggest Lundmark?) does a total lollygag back to the Ranger end -- it was sickening to see. Whoever that 3rd forward was, Ruccinsky or whoever, should sit the next game -- it's just too symbolic of the difference between being a competitive team and an also-ran.

    Phew -- glad to be able to vent a little!

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  • At 11:17 PM, Blogger alan said…

    Sam and JD said that Lundmark jumped on the ice to replace Jagr (maybe it was Rucinsky) just before the goal and got hit with the minus even though he didn't do anything.

     
  • At 11:38 AM, Anonymous throwaway said…

    That makes perfect sense -- which makes Lundmark blameless on this one. What Renney should do is sit the whole team down and show the video of Ruccinsky dogging it back -- it's all about accountability.

    So, how does one keep up with the coolest game on ice down in Georgia?

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