Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Game 21: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay

Yet again with the overtime - and with the shootout. Hmmm. Oh well, what can you do, right?

Tampa Bay lost a very creative and entertaining game to the NY Rangers 3-2 in a shootout - if you hadn't figured that bit out yet from before. I was entertained, at least. I don't know about the rest of you that watched this game.

Two things occurred to me while watching the game. The first one happened during the first period. Lecavalier had been helping out the defense and was skating backwards a couple of times, and that reminded me of a quote by the Lightning general manager from earlier this week.

Lawton was quoted as saying, "I don't like our forwards skating backwards through the neutral zone. I like to see our 'D' continue to be activated more - just to be more aggressive." (Care of Tony Fabrizio at the Tampa Tribune.)

This from the man who put most of the defense together in the first place and has no idea what he's doing. Wow. He should be extremely thankful that they have some versatile forwards that are defensively responsible to help shore up the defense, not criticize them for doing it - and the defense for still trying to find their way.

It was an absolutely ridiculous comment to make. Other teams in the league would trade half their players away if they could for some of these defensive forwards. Not just Lecavalier, but St. Louis, Recchi, Gratton, Halpern, Roberts, and Pettinger as well.

The second thing that occurred to me is that the seven or so remaining guys from last season will be getting a much needed shot of stability (or, at least the appearance of stability) in the form of the return of Mike Sullivan. This was a good move. I wouldn't be surprise if he ends up with the head coaching job next season. Not because Tocchet is a bad coach, but because Sullivan is good. I think he is, anyways.

Smith, again, had a solid game. The defense were pretty good in front of him as well. Ranger had 5 shots for the game, so good for him. It was the most for anyone on the team. Shots for the team weren't bad, but they were great at face offs winning 35 of 59. (Yes, that's actually good for those of you who don't pay too much attention to stats.)

It was a hard fought, hard hitting game. One that you would think usually comes at the end of the season by teams trying to squeak into playoffs. I thought it was a great effort.

And, who knew that Stamkos actually will drop the gloves? I didn't. But then, I don't pay all that much attention to rookie stats from junior hockey. Just because a guy dominates in junior or college hockey doesn't mean that he'll do the same immediately when he hits the NHL, after all.

Oh yeah - and that Naslund guy? He didn't do too bad, either. Unfortunately, it was for the wrong team, tho. It's weird cheering against him after cheering for him for so many years. If you watched this game then you know exactly why I think so highly of him. It's because he really is a great hockey player.

Now if only he still played for the team that I follow....

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the team plays like this the rest of the way, win or lose, I'll be happy. After the NJ lack luster effort, it was nice to see the team play like they actually gave a rats ass. GO Stammer, nice fight. Koci did what he is paid to do. Arty was hitting everything that moved. Will we see THIS team the rest of the way?

Cassie said...

Probably some of the time, at least. It's hard to say at this point whether or not they'll play like that always.