Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rangers Watch: NYR 4, WAS 5 (OT)

Why does Colton Orr continue to drop gloves with Donald Brashear? He gets thumped every time. I'd understand if Orr was looking to change the momentum of the game, but it was so early on neither team had yet established themselves. Or, say, Orr wanted to send a message about taking liberties with his teammates, as Brendan Shanahan did last year when he challenged the Capitals' resident pugilist. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those pansy, "there's no room for fighting in hockey" types, but this bout was unnecessary and bound to end in disappointment for Ranger fans. The only thing Orr accomplished was getting the home crowd into the game early. He needs to be a bit smarter about picking his battles.

This isn't Blueshirt Bulletin. I hardly think the Rangers get the short side of the stick when it comes to officiating. But on the Caps' first goal, it looked to me like Brashear clearly used his stick as leverage to muscle Dan Girardi off the puck. And there was the tell-tale stick parallel to the ice. That's hooking, right? No one else seems to be complaining about it, so maybe it's all in my head.

Even if it was a missed call, it's not to blame for the Rangers loss. They were outworked for long stretches of the game. A number of Washington goals stemmed from New York's inability to clear the zone. It seems the Rangers can score goals or play tight defense, but not both.

There's been a lot of calls to put Chris Drury on the first line with Jaromir Jagr and Marty Straka. I have to say I agree. Brandon Dubinsky isn't getting better with increased responsibility and ice time. He's shaky defensively and often gets caught staring at the puck instead of taking the body. Washington's second goal was a direct result of Dubinsky overskating a missed poke rather than taking separating the Capitals player from the puck.

On the plus side, Scott Gomez has been flying as of late. When he's on, he's a pleasure to watch skate. Gomer started the season off trying to do it all himself, but he now seems back to his playermaker style. I look forward to having him on Broadway for the next seven years, even though I doubt he'll ever be top scorer.

Recaps: Y!/AP, TSN Broadband



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