"He played well tonight, but he had no impact on our guys," Crawford said of Avery. "You're giving him far too much credit. Give him credit during Fashion Week."
I took the scenic route through college, which is to say, five years to earn my degree. In those five years I encountered quite a few educators that had a post-test policy: Wait 24 hours before discussing your exam results with the professor. This of course limited rash conversations and comments that would later be regretted by all parties involved. If blogging weren't the time sensitive art form that it is, I would place similar restrictions on myself after games like this, because folks...I am really struggling to maintain some semblance of professionalism after the New York Rangers defeated the Dallas Stars 5-2.
Here's something professional: A stat. As I sat watching the Stars sink to the Rangers level tonight, at some point the following thought crosses my mind: "This is just as bad as last year." Interestingly, it's actually worse. Through 43 games last season, the Stars had collected 45 points (19-17-7). This year through 43 games they've collected 47 points; A mere two ahead of last years pace.
Here's the rub: The Stars were about to win 7 of their next 9 last season after their 43rd game. Fat load of good it did them, they still missed the playoffs. Flash forward to this season: Does this look like a team about to win 7 of 9? That sounds like some kind of fairy tale at this point, doesn't it? I submit to you that the Dallas Stars are in worse shape this morning at game 43 than they were last year with all of the injuries. At whose feet does that blame rest?
I cannot defend Marty Turco after last night's game, but even so I would encourage everyone to look bigger picture. This is a 20 man problem, not a one guy problem.
After the jump, reaction and quotes from another creative way to lose a hockey game...
Mike Heika says there is a book on the Stars, and when teams get the last change on the road, they get whatever they want against Dallas:
There's something wrong with this team on the road.
You don't play that poorly that many times without there being a trend.
Obviously, the goaltending has been lousy, but I think it's more than that.
I think this team is full of holes, and those holes are most exposed when the opposition coach gets the chance to match-up. It's clear that teams are putting full pressure on the Stars in hopes they make mistakes. They are forcing the defensemen with a hard forecheck and they are sitting on passes in the neutral zone.
Now, that's the strategy for a lot of the league in a lot of the games, but I really think teams have had a chance to scout how this team plays, and there is a book out there. Obviously, that book is working pretty well.
I couldn't agree more. It seems this "style" or "system" is not working with the players they have, and so far they haven't made the adjustments accordingly.
All of the hype heading into the game was about Sean Avery playing against the team who changed the course of his career by pretty much dumping him after making an inappropriate comment on television. Well, Sean of course responded with his mouth, but the biggest impact he made was on the scoreboard. Sean scored or assisted on four of the five Ranger goals, leading them to their defeat of the visiting Dallas Stars. When looking at the team performance as a whole, the Rangers played a solid game on home ice, and looked like the team we thought they would be entering this season.
We all know that Sean Avery hasn't been playing like that for the Rangers this year. He never played like that for the Stars. That's not what kind of player he is. It was an aberration. But still, Dallas allowed it to happen to them specifically. Why?
What kind of player he is, is the kind of player that goes out of his way to hit Jere Lehtinen after his team has just scored a goal. Jere Lehtinen of all people.
With the win, the Rangers catch up to the Stars with 47 points. It gets them 7th place in the East, however.
Mike Ribeiro was sent to the hospital to have his throat looked at after he was high-sticked in the game against the Rangers.
Ribeiro will stay overnight for observation, simply because doctors did not want him flying with what could be a dangerous injury. If there was swelling on the flight, for instance, how would they treat it?
If he is feeling better on Thursday morning, he will fly home. That's what the Stars expect to happen.
It seems he's fine, but they sure could have used him on those third period power plays, or that 5 on 3.
The refs gave both teams ample power play time, and the Stars did nothing with it. Absolutely nothing. So complaining about the officiating is silly, yet I felt the zebras were at the very least a little puzzling last night with some of their calls:
The resulting minor penalty gave the Stars a 54-second two-man power play, but they were unable to cash in and Crawford suggested it should have been a double-minor, even though no blood was spilled.
"If there’s an injury on the play, you’re supposed to get four minutes," Crawford said. "They didn’t think it was a severe enough injury. That’s tough for them to call."
Later, the Dallas penalty-killing unit was forced to kill off a double-minor to James Neal, and then two more penalties early in the third period.
The extra minor to Neal was a little maddening. Obviously that's up to the officials, they know what's being said down there and we don't. But when their guy skates over to someone that is already being escorted to the penalty box and bumps into him...? I don't know about that one. Give them both a minor if you want, but that was kind of silly.
"He has a good shot, he always has worked hard," said goaltender Marty Turco, who stopped 20 shots after sitting out the night before. "His intelligence on the ice has always been an issue - was with us and is there. But that just adds to the confusion for our club. It really has nothing to do with him."
Marc Crawford has some harsh words for one of my favorite whipping boys...
"We battled our tails off tonight," Crawford said. "We kill off all those penalties and our defense does a great job, and Matt Niskanen goes out and gets beat like he’s playing in a different league."
``I would have liked to see that delinquent do that for us last year. I didn't think it was possible, really.''
Turco on allowing the goal to Avery: ``I can't let in that first goal. I have to be better than that. That's just something I have to improve.''
``We got a little bit out of synch tonight, and you get a little bit out of synch when your team loses its composure. We've held our composure pretty well this year, and tonight we weren't great. Nonetheless, you still have to try to maintain it as best as you can, because the only way to get back in those games is to do the right things and play with controlled emotion.''
``We'll get them regrouped tomorrow. It's a focus-forward league. We've got to throw that one quickly in the garbage can and put our focus forward. We know we're better than we showed tonight. We had great performances from lots of guys, but not enough. There were way too many passengers, and that's got to stop.''
``Someone has to figure out something. We've got to do something different. It's not working.''
I'm starting to feel like that Olympic break will be a really good thing for this team. The problem is that they might be so far out of it by then that it won't really matter anyway.
That's it for today. I don't want to read about this game any more.