Found October 27, 2011 on
The Rangers Tribune:
Michael Del Zotto
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Blueshirt faithful entered the newly transformed Madison Square Garden with heads held high this evening, proud of the beautiful facility they were walking into for their beloved team's home opener. Three hours later, though, they left with their heads hung low realizing their club just dropped their fifth of eight games this season. The hope was that coming home after a seven-game road trip would renew the Rangers, as they would finally be in front of their home crowd. Instead, their homecoming was nothing short of a complete disaster and having their home fans there to get on them only made things worse.
New York actually got off to a solid start in the first period, skating well and establishing a forecheck. Dan Girardi got the Rangers on the board with a slapshot from the point that squeaked through Gustavsson's legs. The Rangers went on to put two more pucks to the back of the net in the opening period, but both were waived off due to goaltender interference on Ryan Callahan. The first was interference and shouldn't have counted, but the second one was iffy. Ryan was given a shove from behind and head coach John Tortorella was enraged on the bench that the goal was immediately waived off.
I watched Torts on the bench as I was sitting a few rows behind him, and when he requested an explanation, the official held up a finger as if to say "one second" but then blew his whistle to resume play and never returned. Hmmmm.
Things went downhill from there, with the Rangers coming out completely flat in the second period. Matthew Lombardi's tying goal just 1:20 into the period wasn't enough to awake the sluggish Blueshirts and failed powerplays didn't help with that, either. They continue to stand around with the man advantage, therefore defeating the purpose of the "man advantage" all together. Time to change up the strategy, Mr. Tortorella.
Everything fell apart in the third period, including goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, which is when you know the Rangers are doomed for sure. The Leafs scored three consecutive goals in the third, and in my opinion, all three could have been stopped. At the same time, though, Lundqvist did stop back-to-back Phil Kessel breakaways in the prior period and still received no help from his blue-line, so it's certainly not only his fault.
I expected the defense to be much better tonight with Michael Sauer returning to the lineup, but while Sauer looked fine, the D as a whole did not. There was too much running around in the defensive zone and the Rangers ended up chasing the Leafs around more than they stopped them. That's part of the reason why there was no offense going the other way.
Michael Del Zotto may have scored tonight, but good Lord was he awful in this game,
Another cause of the lack of offensive attack was the team's sudden strategy of passing to make the perfect play instead of getting the puck on net. This was especially true for the first line, which was pretty much non-existent tonight. Bras Richards has made some fabulous passes this season, but he also possesses a wicked shot that he doesn't use. That's up to the coaches to tell him to let it fly more often, and not always look for Gabby.
Also, I don't what's been up with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky, but they haven't been themselves the last few games. They're spending far too much time in the penalty box and not getting their well-known forecheck going. Again, I can't really put a finger on what the problem has been there, but those are two very important players the Rangers need to pick up their games. They are supposed to be the support for the Richie-Gabby combo, but right now only one player out of those four have actually performed well this season.
At one point the crowd began a booming "We Want Avery" chant, in reference to Connecticut Whale forward Sean Avery. Tortorella, meanwhile, had his head buried in his clipboard drawing up new lines.
So while the arena was a sight to see, the team surely wasn't. There are no excuses for playing 40 minutes of lifeless hockey in your home opener, even more so when your home arena is Madison Square Garden. Tonight's effort was disappointing to put it lightly and it would be in their best interest to come out and actually play hockey on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
BEST OF MAXIM
I like Rangers head coach John Tortorella, I admit it. It’s probably one of the least “cool” things that a Rangers fan can admit to right now, but I like him. However, when I see a post game press conference that last only 16 seconds, like what occurred after last Saturday’s abysmal 2-0 loss in [...]
… Torts is right, the building is great but you still gotta win!
First, he did not give out his lineup, or his lines, saying he wasn’t sure. (Andrew Gross loves when he says that, LOL). But he said it will probably be the same lineup as the home opener.
He did say that Mike Rupp (knee) remains out.
I asked him a few questions about the possible breaking-up of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik—at practice yesterday Gaborik played with Erik...
John Tortorella refuses to "dissect" the issues plaguing his club, but after Monday's 2-1 win in Winnipeg, the Rangers coach provided an accurate summary of his team's 3-2-2 start on the road. "We score a couple, we're ugly as hell, and our goaltending has certainly given us an opportunity right on through here," Tortorella said. "So we're...
The New York Rangers are known for their consistently inconsistent
offense. One thing you can always count
on when the team fails to score is that coach John Tortorella will put the
lines in the blender and start over again, which he did today at practice. Katie
Strang of ESPN New York tweeted the lines:
<span style="mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Marian Gaborik has been the New York Rangers best forward
thus far this season. Gaborik has
returned to the form of his first season in New York with four goals already
and showing the burst he never really had last season. With as well as Gaborik has been playing the
fact he was not playing...
Every once in awhile, I like to get readers directly involved in my blogs and today happens to be one of those times.
Feel free to leave a comment for the following questions:
1) What would you like to see the New York Rangers accomplish during this 6-game homestand?
2) What forward lines would you like to see head coach John Tortorella utilize? Why do your proposed lines make...
New York Rangers coach John Tortorella has shifted the lines around for tonight’s home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs and here are what the lines will look like: Ruslan Fedotenko – Brad Richards – Marian Gaborik Brandon Dubinsky – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan Wojtek Wolski – Brian Boyle – Brandon Prust Eric Christensen/Mike [...]
Sadly, this is not a joke.
Head coach John Tortorella switched the offensive lines up in practice again today (insert joke here), and in the process moved Erik Christensen up to the first line, where he centered Marian Gaborik and Wojtek Wolski. So, in place of the All-Star center in Brad Richards that was signed for an arm and a leg this summer, $925,000 Erik Christensen finds...
The New York Rangers finally get
to hit home ice tonight after playing their first seven games on the road. The team battled through both poor play and injuries
on defense to come home with a successful 3-2-2 record. Much of the discussion this week is about how
nice it is for the Rangers to be with the opportunity to play in a partially
renovated Madison Square Garden...
John Tortorella may be impatient over Brad Richards’ lack of chemistry with Marian Gaborik, but as Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators demonstrated, the Rangers have bigger problems.
You can bet that John Tortorella never told Jim Dolan, “I can’t say we definitely want [a Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik combination] to happen,” when lobbying the Garden CEO in May and June to invest $60 million over nine years to sign the blue-chip free agent center specifically to combine...
John Tortorella believes so much in Brad Richards that he uses the veteran center as a barometer for younger Rangers. When second-year forward Derek Stepan earned his way onto the top line after two games, Tortorella said the 21-year-old was receiving the opportunity because he "gets it," because he understands how to play and carry himself as a professional at a young age.
The Rangers' effort in their 2011-12 home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday was disgraceful. Actually, maybe I am wrong in using the word "effort" to describe what happened that night because there simply was no effort beyond the first period of play. From top to bottom, everything with the Blueshirts' game was ugly, even the goaltending, which...