The Rivalry Continues: A Metro Hockey Update
Some Rambling Rambles about last Tuesday’s Ranger-Islander game:
-Hats off to the refs for not calling a penalty on Eric Lindros for his hit on Oleg Kvasha in the first period. A quick look at the videotape reveals that the hit was clean and legal, and that Lindros did not leap or charge towards Kvasha (the rule book defines charging as taking more than two strides towards a hit). Thank goodness the ongoing emasculation of the sport of hockey was paused, if only for one game.
- Speaking of penalties, the third penalty on the Isles’ Jason Blake (15:36, hooking) deserves some special attention. The call was justified, but thankfully the refs refrained from calling a diving penalty on Lindros, the Ranger victim. While the Update certainly supports the diving penalty (embellishing a fall ruins the integrity of the game), the rule as enforced is currently, to put it politely, idiotic. A diving call is often called IN ADDITION to the original penalty, which makes no sense; imagine being mugged and then being arrested for being victimized. Either call the original penalty, or call the dive, but not both.
-Although the Update was initially skeptical of his acquisition, Boris Mironov was just what the Rangers’ injury-depleted defense corps needed. A right-side shot, Mironov can effectively man the left point on the power play and take advantage of a wider shooting angle against most goalies who, more often than not, catch with their left hand. He can also better receive passes from left-shooting players like defenseman Vladimir Malakhov and center Petr Nedved. Those three, along with wingers Radek Dvorak and Mikail Samuelsson (or, eventually, Ronald Petrovicky and Pavel Bure), function well in a five-man unit.
This is no surprise, and it’s a wonder more teams don’t incorporate this system; it is the kind that each of the aforementioned players grew up playing within in Europe. While this may seem obvious, it is most certainly a revelation for a Ranger organization that has suffered chemistry problems for the better part of a decade.
-Islander center Alexei Yashin was not very noticeable in his team’s 5-0 loss. Hmmm…maybe Alexei Kovalev, who is quietly being shopped by the Pittsburgh Penguins, can help him. They were teammates back in Russia, and are reportedly good friends. If the high scoring Kovalev is somehow acquired, he doesn’t necessarily have to play on Yashin’s line; Kovalev’s presence on a line with, say, Mark Parrish can divert the attention of opposing checkers away from Yashin’s line. Hey, it’s just an idea…
- Speaking of trades, why is Roman Hamrlik being shopped around by the Islanders?!?!? The injury list is getting longer, and the team needs his puck moving presence at the blue line. Trading Hamrlik is a dumb idea, period. At least wait until another defenseman, Adrian Aucoin, returns from injury. Sheesh…
-Despite what the scoreboard indicated, Islander coach Peter Laviolette was justified in keeping his team disciplined, fighting-wise. Again, the team is too hurt and is, frankly, not deep enough to justify loosing any more players to injury or suspensions.