Sunday, April 15, 2012

We will do his talking

So New York Ranger coach John Tortorella didn't want to talk about the Carkner incident, the refs or really much of anything judging by the entire 2:20 that his postgame press conference lasted. Given the way the NHL has reacted to coaches being critical of the way games have been called, it is not very hard to understand the way the coaches and their wallets are feeling.

That's okay because we don't mind saying what we feel because we don't have to worry about the NHL fining us. First, let's cut to the chase as we  are not going to let the Rangers off the hook for this loss by blaming either the refs or the calls.

The Rangers lost this game because of their failure to cash in on the five-minute power play that they received for Carkner's major penalty. Honestly, if you want to force a team to change their behavior then you make them pay for that behavior, not by fighting but rather cashing in on the opportunities you get when given power plays.

If you score 1-2 goals during that five-minute power play then Ottawa is going to think twice about taking the risk of penalties. But if at the same time you're not cashing in on your power plays, then Ottawa has no incentive to stop running you.

Why should they stop running you when you are not making them pay on the scoreboard? If the Rangers had gone 3 for 4 on the power play instead of the 1 for 4 then it is a guarantee that Ottawa coach is not going to put on the ice the guys who are giving up the power plays.

But let's start with Matt Carkner because in that situation, we can question the calls and the aftermath of the decisions made by the referees.  First off Carkner clearly goes after Brian Boyle and say what you want about this was "justice" in the eyes of the Senators.

Carkner attacked Boyle and iBoyle went down not once throwing a punch.  Now if you want to go by the "code of the enforcer" then why when Boyle was on the ice did Carkner keep throwing punches?

According to the "code" that was  a huge no-no (but at same time when asked Boyle should have fought Carkner according to same code) but what bothers us the most was the failure of the linesmen to step in when Boyle clearly is not in a position to defend himself.

If you wish to look at the situation then here's our first question.

What exactly was Brandon Dubinsky supposed to do while somebody is throwing punches at a teammate who is on the ice and unable to defend himself? The linesmen were clearly closer before Dubinsky stepped in so no excuse for the linesmen not to take action at that point.

Linesmen step in to break up what was a one-sided fight then Dubinsky does not need to protect his teammate and step in. Carkner gets the instigator not for what he did with Boyle but Dubinsky?

That one is a sure head scratcher for us because IF Carkner is given the 5 minute major for what he did to Boyle then shouldn't that be where the instigator takes place?

Our second big question is why wasn't this a double major?  The first obviously was for fighting but the second quite clearly was "intent to injure."  Unless you are blind then from the very moment the puck was dropped the Senators had put a bull's-eye on Brian Boyle because of the events of game 1.

It's not a question about whether or not it was right for Boyle to be a target, but because it was clearly an intent by the Senators to "get Brian Boyle," then we ask why "intent to injure" was not also called?

As for Carl Hagelin, no question about his actions as a clear elbow to the head did happen. Sorry but because Alfredsson leaves the game then it does warrants a suspension.

Before anybody says anything, we covered Carl Hagelin for four years while he was playing at Michigan so yes we do know that it was not a deliberate act.  It was sadly  a reckless act that we knew the moment it happened that Hagelin regretted.

But contact to the head still requires in our eyes a suspension no matter who the players involved were. Rightfully, most hockey fans will argue that compared to the other hits that have not been punished, this was a minor infraction compared to those.

At the same time let us see the NHL address what Carkner did as well because while we could make a case that Hagelin had no intent to injure Daniel Alfredsson, we want to see somebody make a case that Carkner wasn't trying to hurt Brian Boyle.

So if you suspend Hagelin then you need to also suspend Carkner because his act was clearly an attempt to cause injury. It doesn't matter that Boyle kept playing because for us the key word remains "intent" in both cases.

It will also be interesting to see whether Brandon Dubinsky faces supplemental discipline for his Gatorade tossing act after he was ejected.  Again, for us it goes back to if the referees and linesman did their jobs in the first place then Dubinsky is not put in a position where he faced ejection.

And it bears noting that one of the linesmen involved was the same guy who blew the off-sides call in game 1 of the Flyer/Penguin series. Time to bench this guy for the playoffs before real damage is done.

We would be shocked if Ottawa's Chris Phillips even gets a phone call for his elbow to Ryan Callahan at the end of the second.  John Tortorella in that case was playing a little bit of gamesmanship there.

So what do the Rangers have to do in order to win game three and regain home ice advantage?  For us, it starts with not panicking and stay with their game plan.

Ottawa really has not done nothing to suggest that they can beat the Rangers in this series.  It has been the Rangers themselves who have beaten themselves leading to just about every Senator goal, so right off the bat the first goal has to be stopping the mistakes.

The Rangers have been super sloppy when it comes to puck possession and that badly needs to be cleaned up.  If we see another Ranger make another blind pass in their own defensive zone, we want to kick that player in his rear end.

Pretty sure that there will be a flood of calls wanting the Rangers to put Chris Kreider into the lineup.  It's easy to just say that but how many people fully realize the high risk that would be taking?

Who's gonna play with Chris Kreider?  And if Carl Hagelin actually is suspended then while the easy decision is to insert Kreider at the same time.

The question will be would it be the smart decision?  It would be insane to have Kreider simply replace Hagelin on the first line.

So if we are replacing Hagelin than what we would have to do is some shuffling and we would shift up Artem Anisimov to replace Hagelin with Richards and Gaborik.

Dubinsky, Boyle and Callahan, we would leave intact which opens up the door for Chris Kreider to be reunited with Derek Stepan.  Number one Stepan and Kreider have played with each other when they were on Team USA.

Number two is that both players have worked out with each other during the off-season for the last couple years and it is as close to chemistry that Kreider will have. The bigger question would be who we put on right wing for this line?

There are three choices for right wing on this line, Brandon Prust, Mike Rupp and Ruslan Fedotenko.  Of the three, Brandon Prust is our pick because let's be honest the very first thing that the Senators would try to do is run Chris Kreider.

Rupp would be too slow and Fedotenko not tough enough, but friendly advice to the Ottawa Senators.  Don't let the college boy fool you because Chris Kreider (a) on the ice is stronger than anyone realizes and (b) has a temper on the ice too.

Kreider if pushed will push back and you know the saying "let sleeping dogs lie?"  The quickest way to get rid of any butterflies that anyone thinks Kreider has would be to piss him off.

Kreider is 6'3 220 and while everyone wants to talk about his offense as someone who has watched him for over 3 years we know better. Kreider can play a physical game if you want but we  will bet you that you will get the worst of it.

While we do not support the original decision to add Kreider to the roster, we do know that Kreider can handle the defensive part of the game no problem (except the shot blocking). And there is no defenseman on the Ottawa roster who will be able to handle Kreider one on one in open ice.

Still, the Rangers need to stop talking about playing better and just do it.  The Ottawa fans will be a lot easier to silence if you jump on the Senators first.

Come out ready to play, come out ready to do a better job protecting the puck, and come out ready to knock that chip off the Senators shoulder.

But most of all, remove the finger off the panic button.


Again, just one game involving any of the prospects with Saturday night featuring JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) and his Plymouth Whalers facing the Kitchener Rangers in game five of their OHL Eastern conference playoff series.

Miller has struggled during the series with just one assist to show after five games and while Miller started the night as the first-line center, it appears that he didn't finish the game in that role.

It was another quiet game from the Ranger's top pick in the 2011 NHL draft.  After a very good first round, the second round has been a huge disappointment.

Miller was held scoreless yet again and is still looking for his first goal of the series.  The Whalers need his offense not only to get past the Rangers, but down the road against London and possibly Niagara.

Still, if Miller wishes to jump to the next level after this season, then he needs to start right now getting his game back together.  His Plymouth Whalers defeated the Kitchener Rangers 3-0 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 will be Sunday in Kitchener and for Miller, we hope he has a big game.

(Miller- Plymouth)

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