Game 12: Rangers vs. Coyotes

Tonight, our beloved Blueshirts take on the surprisingly good Hamilton Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes are led by Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski, their leading point scorers this season. The biggest surprise is Radim Vrbata, who got his money in Tampa, only to crash and burn, only to be resurrected in Phoenix (really?) and lead the team in goals with four. The 6-3-0 ‘Yotes will be a tough challenge, and if the Rangers look to right this ship, they will need to play smart.

There are many Ranger stories to discuss for this game, so let’s break it down a bit:

  • The Rangers are playing some pretty terrible hockey lately, and have lost three straight, albeit one in overtime. The Rangers’ problems stem from some pretty bad habits that have developed during the seven game win streak, specifically taking way too many lazy penalties, and no longer challenging the puck carrier to disrupt the opponents’ offensive flow. The Rangers are not a good enough team to win while taking seven penalties a game and playing passive defense. Mike Cammalleri’s OT winner on Saturday night really illustrated the second point, as he walked in essentially untouched, save for a Marian Gaborik poke check (sort of), and ripped a shot that Henrik Lundqvist had no shot against. The defense needs to step up, preferably before hitting the crease.
  • Chris Higgins and Brandon Dubinsky were benched for the entire third period against Montreal, each committing an egregious error that led to a goal. Dubinsky acknowledged he was upset, and will probably look to maintain control of the puck a little better.
  • Higgins, on the otherhand, has been downright awful so far this year, and, as Jeremy stated, his play is generating a lot of concern. He needs to play better, case closed.
  • Tonight marks the return of my old-favorite Ranger, Petr Prucha. Lauri Korpikoski is also making his return, but he didn’t have as much of an impact on the Rangers as Prucha did. Prucha was the first homegrown player since Mike York to score 30 goals in a rookie season, and we were all excited. Prucha’s numbers slipped with the addition of Brendan Shannahan, as Shanny took all of Pru’s PP time, but he still managed to net 22 goals that year. After that, he must have beaten Tom Renney’s dog to death or something, because he never saw the ice again. Pru should get a very warm welcome, and I sitting in Section 323 Row C, sporting my Prucha jersey (come say hi), to contribute to the welcome.

As for the lines, the Rangers are putting the Benched Brothers together with Ryan Callahan. Donald Brashear is no longer sore, and will be playing in place of Aaron Voros tonight. Expect a Tom Renney amount of line shakeups tonight, as our struggling Blueshirts look to find some sort of answer to the funk.

Game time is 7pm on MSG. If you’re going to the game, come say hi. Otherwise, use this thread to discuss the game. We had a lot of comments during the Canadiens game, and we definitely want to keep the chatter going. Enjoy the game.

56 Responses to “Game 12: Rangers vs. Coyotes”

  1. Looking forward to the game. What the atmosphere like at the msg for this one Dave?
    I assume there may be some tension?
    Under alost all circumstances i’d expect a victory tonight. i’d love the guys in the doghouse to come out hot.

  2. This is a pretty big early season game for the blueshirts. Losing 4 in a row would be bad. They need a spark from Higgins and Dubi

  3. Jeremey – agreed. this game can tell us how this team racts to adversity.

    By the way guys;did you see the Pack scores on the weekend? Grachev had 2 goals (so get updating he watch! 😉 ) and Heikkenen and Sanguinetti were both very good by all accounts

    • he’s got so much upside its exciting. When Drury is gone i like the look of Dui/AA/Stepan

    • On the twitters, one of the beat writers (think Cerny) said there was a “Pruuuuu” chant. Maybe he’s hearing things?

  4. MUCH better start for Higgins and Dubi. Hustling, backchecking and forechecking. good to see. and phoenix looks really good. They have a good chance to make the playoffs this year.

  5. YYYEEEEEESSS! great cycle and pass from Dubi for goal. anyone remember last years PP?!?!?! lol

  6. I have never seen a goal scored in these 13-on-13 midget hockey games in between periods.

  7. Dave, you might be able to answer this better than I could, but why in the world would the NHL not want to relocate the Coyotes? They are a talented team, but Phoenix is not a hockey market. Why for bid Basille, or any other buyer from moving the team? Hamilton, Quebec, Hartford, Milwaukee, all these spots would be better than Phoenix. I just don’t get it. Thoughts?

  8. Jeremy, i put it to Bettmans pride and his ‘legacy. he feels like he created sunbelt hockey. He wants his vision to succeed yet its plain to see the majority of teams in these areas arent profitable sustainable long term or successful. Florida? Atlanta? Pheonix? please…

    Give me Hamilton, Quebec and even Portland/Hartford or Vegas (yes Vegas) any day

    • the only successful sunbelt teams are the canes and the lightning and they have one thing in common: A cup. I think it’s better financially to get teams in a market that will be successful, no matter how good or bad the team is.

  9. Balsille has been shady, so that’s why the NHL doesn’t want him to own a team.

    I think a lot has to do Bettman’s stubbornness to make it work in Phoenix. A good team draws, and they are good, with a good future, so this season should be a good attendance season for them.

    • I guess. But, Phoenix is not a hockey market. You’re right, if they win, they will get fans. Look at Tampa. But, there are so many better hockey markets out there. It just makes sense financially.

    • As bad as those teams were, I used to love Dale Purinton. Don’t know why. Wonder where he is right now

  10. BTW, Kotalik is underrated as a point man. We know about his shot, but he is really deft at seeing the ice and making crisp passes.

  11. Gaborik is too good. What a shot. And they’re bringing in an old friend Jason LaBarbera. Too bad Bryzgalov is on my fantasy team. I’ll take a rangers win though

  12. but seriously…. how much is gabby enjoying this system? he’s playing like a top 3 or 4 player – which he is when the reigns are off.

  13. how about a PK of Staal Girardi Dubi and Cally, w/ Hank – CAN YOU SAY HOMEGROWN?!?!?!?!?!

  14. The guy who scored the first shortie against the Rangers has a last name of Fiddler. Ouch.

  15. next 5 mins will be huge. this team will be nervous afer coughing up a lead in montreal

    • Agree. Not necessarily that they will be nervous, just so they don’t cough up the lead again

  16. MSG just said that the ‘Yotes and the NHL agreed on a deal for the NHL to buy toe Coyotes. they are talking to prospective owners–believed to be one fom Alberta who wants to keep them in Phoenix

  17. Good win, but Gabby’s hurt. Didn’t play last half of 3rd. Didn’t come out for first star. Let’s hope for the best