There is a silver lining from the loss: Ticket prices should not go up for next season. But that just sugarcoats what really happened. A beat down by a Flyersteam that played somewhat like they should have been playing all season. I can count on one hand the number of quality scoring chances and shifts we had. It’s sad/telling when, with about 3:30 minutes left and a faceoff in the opponent’s zone, Torts puts out the 4th line — and I am happy about that. The Jokinen line was non-existent. Gaborik’s was too quiet, but not awful. The third line — who’s on it now again? — did its best but is severely handicapped in talent. All the injuries hurt us, though we can’t complain about that after being remarkably healthy all season (especially compared to the Flyers). We were just beat by a better team.
Anisimov messed up. But not horribly. He was trying to make a play — a play that Torts in camp preached was the style he wanted to play. The better move clarly was a dump, but I’m not blaming the rookie too much (just a little). Sucks for him that he has to think about that all summer after having a decent rookie season. (He was the only Ranger forward to play all 82 games.) If anything, Torts should not have put 2 young players together on the ice for a key kill. But that’s nit-picking given our injuries.
Correct call not using Gaborik in the shootout top 3. He’s shockingly bad at them. I would have used Prospal over Jokinen, but can’t argue too much. Kudos for using Parenteau even though he was benched most of the second half of the game (and for good reason — though I do like him overall).
I would like to give a standing ovation to Kerry Fraser, who retired after yesterday’s game. Was real nice to see many of the players go out of their way to shake his hand afterwards. Always seemed like a stand up dude and was a solid official. Even called a good old-school/playoff-type game in his farewell. That had to be intentional.
Stay tuned later this week for my 2009-1010 New York Ranger Season Awards. (Preview: The team Vezina goes to Lundqvist…) And in the following weeks my thoughts for next season, including how to make salary cap space and which players to re-sign, and playoff updates.