Earlier in the day I was filling out an interview and one of the questions asked which of the Rangers' games so far this season was the worst in my opinion. Had I filled that interview out tomorrow, instead of today, tonight's 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers would have been my answer.
There are no excuses for what we saw out of this team tonight. Everyone knew the Oilers were going to come out skating after a rough loss in their last game, and everyone knew that the Blueshirts were going to have to raise the effort level if they wanted to keep up with the young and talented Edmonton squad. Yet the Rangers still came out flat, remained flat for the entire game and missed out on an opportunity to grab their third straight win in the process.
I thought the Rangers were going to have a response in the second period after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board with a wicked wrist shot from the slot that beat Henrik Lundqvist. I guess I couldn't have been more wrong because they actually found a way to play worse from that point on, especially on the powerplay where very little was generated.
I don't know how many failed attempts the powerplay needs before the coaching staff realizes that the current approach with the man advantage is not working. The Rangers are dead last in the league on the powerplay and all John Tortorella has done so far is switch which side Brad Richards is positioned on, like that is supposed to make a world of a difference or something. It did nothing because Richards himself has done nothing on the powerplay all season long.
The only player I noticed on offense tonight was Marian Gaborik, which sounds like something I would have said in 2009-10. And the thing is, Gaborik is independently having success without much help from Richards at all. In all honesty, I haven't been overly impressed with Richie just yet. I know it's early and he's been almost a point-per-game player up until tonight, but he's not standing out like a player making his sort of money should.
And where has the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan trio been? They've been invisible which is extremely uncharacteristic of those three. That's a line the team leans on for energy and for a spark, but they've come up with noting for the past two games or so. I get nervous when I say things like this about that line because they are usually very consistent.
The defense wasn't much better than the offense. I'm losing patients for Michael Del Zotto and his constant gaffs. He makes the same mistakes over and over again and I don't know how he expects to remain in the lineup playing like that. Once Sauer and Staal return to the lineup, which I'm praying is sooner rather than later at this point, Del Zotto could very well see himself demoted to the AHL and that will be completely on him.
Another thing I am losing patients for is John Tortorella's antics with the media. For those of you who stayed up for the postgame, you saw the negative attention the coach drew to the team in just a few seconds of speaking. For those of you who did not see it, here's a basic recap of Tortorella's postgame presser:
Tortorella walks out, immediately says "this will be quick" and that he will not be answering any questions. He then said "we sucked from head to toe" and reiterated that he would not be answering any questions. He then stormed off and never returned.
Are you kidding me? His team just embarrassed themselves severely and he has the nerve not to answer a damn question? And I know a lot of fans see something like that and laugh, but it's not funny. He should grow the hell up and realize that he is representing a professional sports franchise. This is not a joke. If I am Glen Sather or a member of ownership right now, I am not happy AT ALL with what the coach pulled here.
I've defended Tortorella a lot over the past few years, but I'm sorry, there's no defending this childish behavior. And what frustrates me the most is that the "media" will not call him out on it. They were just disrespected, yet they won't make a single mention of it because they are a bunch of gutless zombies that fear the man, with exception of a few. Okay, more like one.
The Rangers put only 19 shots on goal tonight and didn't even force Edmonton to break a sweat. That's embarrassing enough, but then when you have a clown such as Tortorella throw a hissy fit on television, that only makes it worse.
And since the coach didn't give any answers on the matter, the Rangers had to confirm that Henrik Lundqvist left the game in the third period due to a skate issue that was causing him pain. Lundqvist said it is "fixable" and that he will be fine, but it was causing him too much pain at that moment. He probably also realized that the team in front of him had given up the game, so he didn't feel the need to stay in either. I don't blame him.
The Rangers will wrap up their western Canada road swing on Monday when they take on the Jets in Winnipeg, and then they will finally come home for Thursday's MSG debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here are the game's highlights, err, lowlights if you did not stay awake:
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