Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Helping Hank Out

A funny thing happened on the way to the New York Ranger's 3-2 overtime win in game 5; a former Ranger explained exactly what the team needed to do in order to get around the Washington Capital's shot blocking.

Ron Greschner was the 2nd period intermission guest on the Ranger's radio broadcast and when asked how he would get around the shot blocking said exactly what Marc Staal did on his game winner.

"Deke, take a couple of steps left or right to avoid them and shoot"

Gresch was 100% right on and to be blunt about it; none of what he said was rocket scientist material. Or what nobody wants to say is that shot blocking is actually a high risk, not too bright way to ask for trouble.

Two Washington Capitals went to block the shot; the puck if you watch the replay hit one of them and changed direction. Now toss in all those bodies already in the slot and all it did was create even more of the screen that prevented Braden Holtby from ever seeing the shot.

Which leads to this question; why didn't any of the Rangers try this beforehand? Seriously, how many times did the Rangers just fire the puck right at a Capital player?

There is nothing smart ass in asking this question because let the Washington Capitals have twice as many, three times as many block shots than the Rangers. Take the puck to the net and attack the net just like you did to score the tying goal.

There's nothing smart about putting your body at risk while also risking that you are (a) screening your own goalie, (b) risking that you're deflecting a shot (which cost Washington tonight) or (c) taking yourself out of the play.

Give me a dozen Dan Girardi checks on Mike Green over any shot block any day of the week. That to me did more damage to the Capitals then any attempt by the Rangers to block a shot.

Green had no idea what he was for several shifts and it was a very clean hard hit. Unlike the one hit where certain player left his feet to deliver a blow to Girardi's head in a previous game (excuse cheap shot at NHL failure to once again show consistency regarding hits to the head).

Nor should this be seen as pouring ice cold water on the win but let's be real here and acknowledge that the Rangers were giving this game away.him him him They had a clear and decisive advantage on the offensive end but failed to take advantage of it.

They still had 38 shots on Braden Holtby and if you add in the 25 blocked shots then the Rangers wound up with 63 attempts at shots compared to Washington's total of 28.

It is frustrating when you see the Rangers allowing Washington to dictate and determine the tempo and pace of this game. The Rangers had no shots on goal on the previous three power plays and you can't blame Mike Sullivan or John Tortorella.

Blame the players who either just fired the puck or stuck to the outside. Why was it that the only real time that the Rangers attacked the net was in the final minute of regulation when the Rangers were in panic mode?

Henrik Lundqvist needs to give everybody on the team a bottle of wine for bailing him out for a change. You bet Henrik Lundqvist was sitting on that bench thinking about a game six where the team was down once again 3-2.

Henrik Lundqvist played possibly one of his weakest performances of the playoffs if not the entire season. Washington had a goal on 10 shots after two periods; two goals on just 14 shots barely into the third.

Sure, we can say how nice it is that the Rangers were able to rescue Henrik after all the times Henrik has rescued the Rangers. But this is the playoffs and Henrik Lundqvist cannot have another performance if the Rangers are to win nine more games.

Come Wednesday night, please Rangers come out playing like you did the final minute of tonight's game right from the start. Finish the Capitals, not in the last minute, not in an overtime but take the game to them and play like a number one seed should


The only prospects seeing action on Monday night were the two New York Islander prospects Ryan Strome (2011 1st) and Mitchell Theoret (2011 7th) as their Niagara IceDogs took on the London Knights in game three of the OHL Finals.

London held home ice by winning 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead over the IceDogs.  Neither Islander prospect scored but a question should be asked about Ryan Strome.

Strome has but two goals in his last 13 playoff games and while he may have 23 total points, we have to wonder if he's playing at 100%. Niagara needs Ryan Strome scoring goals if they wish to go on to the Memorial Cup.

Game 4 will be Wednesday in Niagara.


Ryan Clark who writes the blog "Slightly Chilled" gave Portland Winterhawks fans a huge gift when he reported that Seth Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones will be announcing his intentions to play for the Portland Winterhawks next season.

It is a major pickup for the Hawks as Jones is already seen as the top defenseman in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. It's a good move for Jones as he is fresh from winning a gold medal with Team USA at the World Under-18's.

Memo to those who keep saying Portland will not be as strong a team next year; you said that about this year's team last year. Give Mike Johnson and Travis Green some credit as they have a lot of talent waiting in the wings to put on a Winterhawk jersey.

( Greschner- New York Rangers)

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