For those of us who watched the game last night, saying that the Rangers were out skated, out worked, and pretty much out played by the Canadiens, would be the biggest understatement of the year. The Habs forced turnovers in the Rangers zone, beat the Rangers to every puck, and just looked to be the better, faster team. The Rangers were playing the puck in their zone, not the body, leading to the tic-tac-toe passing and goals. You just can’t do that against the Canadiens.
Now, was this debacle of a game the result of back to back games, with travel in between? Could be. But this Ranger team is a flawed team. The defense is mediocre at best, and if not for some goalie by the name of Henrik Lundqvist, their overall record would be laughable. The offense averages about 2.6 goals/game, not exactly what you want to see from a lineup boasting the likes of Gomez, Naslund, Drury, Zherdev, and Redden. The PP is terrible, but that’s an argument that’s been beaten to death. But hey, the PK is outstanding.
Let’s stick to the defense problems right now. Redden/Roszival aren’t going anywhere, and they have been playing better as of late. Roszival was recovering from hip surgery, which, although he won’t admit it, probably was a reason for his poor performance through the first 20 games. The problem lies with Dmitri Kalinin, who has flown under the radar to an appauling -13. That’s right, -13. That’s fourth worst in the entire NHL (Brind’Amour, Boyes and Brewer man the top three spots). Yet, he has played in all 29 games this year. This would be soften a little bit if he was putting up some decent numbers, but six assists just doesn’t cut it. Why don’t Sather and Renney decide on a defenseman from Hartford to call up? Brian Fahey is Hartford’s most solid defenseman, with a goal and seven assists in 18 games and a +6. You can argue for Corey Potter, who should have made the team out of camp. In 21 games, he has two goals and 10 assists, and is a -1. A seventh defensemen creates competition, and competition brings a sense of urgency to the Rangers defense. Who knows, maybe a kick in the butt is what Kalinin needs, let him have the Prucha treatment for a while.
So that this post isn’t entirely negative, Paul Mara has been a very pleasant surprise this year. He came into camp in much better shape and it’s showing, he has been one of the best defensemen on the team this year.
I’ll leave this as an open thread, I want to hear your opinions.
Update 10:20am: Well, with Redden day-to-day, looks like we get our wish, one of Potter/Fahey will be called up to play. Here’s to hoping they play well, so that when Redden returns, Kalinin sits.