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Monday, April 11, 2011

Rangers Return To The Scene Of The Crime

The first round of the post-season in 2008-09 against the Capitals was quite a roller coaster ride.  It was a series few expected to win.  It was a game 7 few expected to lose.  The Rangers went up in that series 3-1 only to drop 3 games in a row. 

The meltdown began with Sean Avery taking two atrocious penalties late in Game 4, Tortorella squirting a water bottle at idiotic (and probably homophobic) Capitals fans in Game 5, and finished with Wade Redden screening Lundqvist on the final goal in Game 7.

Sure, it's easy to sit here and cherry pick those specific incidences as reasons for the Rangers demise, but the reality was the Rangers had no business winning that series.  

The Blueshirts, defensively, rolled out a red carpet for the Caps right on Lundqvist's doorstep.  They allowed 35+ shots (most of them within homeplate) in 4 out of the 7 games in that series.  Their power play went 4 for 32, and they were about as disciplined as a 5 year old in a candy store...which of course overshadowed the fact that refs Kelly Sutherland and Dan O'Halloran also did their best to ensure a Penguins/Capitals match-up in the ensuing round.

But that's all history right?

Well in order to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself, the Rangers who played (and yes coached) in that eventful series must remember how they beat themselves.  

Sure there are new players on both sides and new tactics (which I'll get into later this week), but if the Rangers want to steal this series, it must start with determination on defense and end with discipline.

My first roster casualty to ensure these principles...bench Sean Avery.