If it isn’t the end, then there really is nobody paying close attention when it comes to the hockey club that occupies 33rd and Seventh.
In a game they had to have essentially to save their coach’s job, the Blueshirts were just blue in the face falling to the Blues in St. Louis 2-1 extending the misery to eight defeats in the last nine (1-6-2). True to form, the league’s ugliest offense saw its collective shadow scoring two goals or less for the eighth time (all defeats) during this putrid stretch.
Also sadly predictable was Tom Renney remaining loyal to overpaid stiffs like Wade Redden, Scott Gomez and captain of this sinking ship Chris Drury while lone goalscorer Lauri Korpikoski and Petr Prucha mysteriously didn’t take one shift in a final period dominated by a hungrier St. Louis club that outshot them 14-4.
It was the Blues who wanted it more and got just reward with 5:14 left when an unchecked B.J. Crombeen got to a Barret Jackman rebound taking seemingly forever before putting one upstairs past a helpless Henrik Lundqvist, who looked visibly disgusted at his teammates.
That was enough to finish the dead team walking who had shifts so sloppy late, it made you wonder if they ever had an organized practice. The lack of cohesion was noticeable with the club struggling to get out of their own end with a Michal Rozsival giveaway handing the Blues the best chance to add an insurance tally.
That’s how little fight they had. Perhaps they saw dead people.
If it truly was the bitter end for Renney, he stuck to his bland system which has derailed this club. The powerless play again took the collar misfiring in three chances extending it to a mindless 1 for their last 32.
The coach who at the beginning commanded respect and brought it back to the bumbling franchise which humiliated itself not seeing a postseason for a decade clearly has lost this team. While it isn’t all his fault due to Glen Sather’s ineptitude last summer, a change clearly must be made before they take the ice to renew the rivalry with the Islanders.
With the exception of the always effort giving fourth line and a few others, the team has tossed in the towel and is beginning to look like a lot of past Ranger failures which saw overpaid fat cats rule the day with zero accountability as they missed the postseason.
That’s where this sinking ship is headed.
Notes: With D Paul Mara likely done for the season due to sustaining a shoulder injury in a scrap with Arron Asham who showed class stopping Saturday, D Dmitri Kalinin returned to the lineup following six missed games logging 12:13. … Also sticking to his guns to the very end, Renney somehow healthy scratched Nigel Dawes after trying him for two games with Gomez and hooking machine Markus Naslund. Team mascot Aaron Voros was back in and turned into a punching machine in a one-sided fight with ex-Devil Cam Janssen. Janssen probably got angry watching Orr pound rookie D Tyson Strachan 62 seconds earlier in the second.
… If the axe falls on Renney, his captain Drury went without a goal in 11 straight while Gomez was vacant in nine during the futile stretch that’s put the club in danger of missing the playoffs. … The circus comes back to town Wednesday when the Rangers (30-22-6, 66 Pts) host the Islanders, who ended their latest skid with a 3-2 shootout win over the Penguins with Jeff Tambellini actually netting the winner.
SINGING THE BLUES (NYR Last 9 Games)
1-6-2 Record 13 GF 33 GA 1-for-30 PP
Note: Three games were decided in a shootout including Rangers’ lone win over Washington. Shootout wins weren’t factored into the goal differential.