Official Game Thread: NYR-ANA
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10-29-2003, 04:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
There are several things to note about last night. Unlike the previous years, when we could take absoultely nothing from losses, there were some positive things here. The fact of the matter is that the Rangers dominated the Ducks at even strength. Another fact of the matter was that our special teams were simply atrocious last night. Granted one of the goals was a 50 ft. slapshot and an other bounced of 3 skates before going in.
There was a disturbing thing or 2 as well. First of all, Dunham's Achiles heel reared it's ugly head. He was kicking the rebounds out to the Duck players again. In the previous 4 games he got away from that. And I was under the impression that the 50 ft slapshot goal would go away when Richter retired. Guess not.
A FAR more disturbing thing was amount of ice time that Jackass heaped onto Messier. 19:55 of ice time? 7:27 in the 2nd and 8:07 in the 3rd? Come one now. Bobby Holik got 17:57 of total ice time and did not make an appearance on the PP after the first period. Now Messier started well but overall I thought that he did not have a strong game last night. Especiall on the PP. I thought that Mess looked pretty poor on the PP. WHAT THE EFF'??!! Haven't we seen this before? Messier is no longer capable of being a player that thrives with nearly 20 minutes of ice time. I understand Nedved & Kovalev getting over 20 minutes. But Messier getting nearly 20? He is certainly not our 3rd most important player.
And off course with Messier getting all the ice time, the rolling of 4 lines disappeared. Jaime who? As I said yesterday, Manny Malhotra Part Deux. Pretty soon the "Jaime needs to grab the bull by the horns" comments should be coming. The only reason that he even got 9:42 of ice time was because Simon got tossed out of the game. How can a 22 year old create offense when he is paired with Rheume and Lacoutre? Who, unless you are TGO or Lemieux, could create anything that resembles offense when you have those 2 as linemates? Once again, here is an example of a Rangers promising yut not being put into a position to succeed. Absolutely assinine. Let's hope that with Wiseman coming up to play, that him and Ludmark click and are able to feed off of each other.
Back to the positives. 36 SOG's for and 22 against. As far as shots go, what more could you ask for? Another fact about last night is that the Rangers actually appeared to play hard. Losses in the previous 6 years were almost always accompanied with shoddy, lackadasical play. Last night they were playing hard and charging hard.
If I have to give props to Jackass and Renney about the imroved play at even strength and the good PK (for the most part), I have to give them flak for the PP (and the absurd notion that Messie is anything but a 4th liner). Send a player to the front of the net. How could Holik NOT be on the PP after the first period?
Like I said some good things but some bad ones as well. They are beginning a stretch of 18 games in 34 nights. If Jackass leans on Messier this way, his play is going to deteriorate to completely abysmal within 10 games.
But all is not lost. If they continue to play hard defensively, good things should happen. Gotta believe that efforts like last night coupled with Lindros and Leetch SHOULD lead to good things.
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