Game #7: Young kids misused again in overtime loss to Coyotes


Alexandar Georgiev allows a goal in an otherwise brilliant effort that fell short for Rangers in a 3-2 overtime defeat to Coyotes. AP Photo by Kathy Willens via Getty Images

It is getting redundant. The way David Quinn runs the bench is perplexing. Even in a game his team responded well in following a abysmal first period, the second-year coach refuses to play the kids enough. Who cares about the bleeping point earned in a 3-2 overtime loss to the much better Coyotes?

Lias Andersson 7:34

Kaapo Kakko 9:51

“Hello coach! I exist.”

Let’s stop right there. How is it possible for them to call this a rebuild? If he’s not going to give consistent minutes to Andersson, who remains in jail, and prize second overall pick Kakko, who recorded his first NHL assist, what the heck is the point? Either play them or leave. I’m serious. This is a bad team. Let the young players learn. They’re not going to sitting glued to the bench.

Tonight, it was Alexandar Georgiev’s turn to get peppered early. I don’t know how you come out so flat following Sunday’s fiasco against the Canucks. How is it possible to look as unprepared and be as outplayed as the Rangers were in the first period? They got outshot 21-4 and heard it from the crowd which included my Dad. He’s already starting to get down on Quinn and for good reason.

Like one of many classic scenes from Groundhog Day, the Rangers saw their collective shadow by taking ill advised penalties to hand an opponent the momentum. In this league, you cannot do that and be successful. They’re lucky Georgiev was so good. He only allowed one goal in such a lopsided period, it must’ve given Henrik Lundqvist nightmares watching from the bench. They can thank Georgiev for standing on his head in a game his team totaled 19 shots. He made 32 saves in his third start (first since last Thursday).

Astonishingly, Arizona only was able to get one puck by him early. It came on a total breakdown that allowed Lawson Crouse to put in a Christian Fischer rebound on a play set up from Carl Soderberg. It was way too easy with first Brendan Lemieux and then Tony DeAngelo failing to clear the front of the net.

The period was so bad that I can’t recall any of the four Ranger shots. They at least woke up in time for the second. Finally playing with more assertiveness, they got the game tied up. Pavel Buchnevich forced a turnover in the neutral zone and led a odd-man rush. He fed Lemieux for a one-timer point blank that Coyotes started Darcy Kuemper got. The rebound was put home by a cutting DeAngelo for his second at 5:04.

Unfortunately, Buchnevich also had a bad turnover that led to him getting nabbed for a cross-check. His second minor of the game. He’s putting up points, but isn’t playing a complete game yet. If he wants to be in the top six where he should be, Buchnevich can’t take shifts off. You won’t find this criticism in other blogs. They ignore that part of the game. Taking the body is also a requirement. Not an alternative in the NHL. These are areas the 24-year old must improve on. Not every fan likes him for this reason. I do, but understand the game. He can give more.

The second Arizona goal came with Buchnevich in the box. Alex Goligoski was able to take a Jakob Chychrun pass across and fire a shot that took a unlucky carom changing direction to get by Georgiev for a 2-1 lead at 13:46. Nick Schmaltz set the play up.

But this time, it was some undisciplined play by the Coyotes that allowed the Rangers to even the game back up. A delay of game and bench minor less than a minute apart handed the Blueshirts a two-man advantage for 1:09. Some near misses from Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad allowed Arizona to kill the first half off.

With the top unit off, it was the second unit that went to work. Kakko worked mostly on the left point and had two attempts. Eventually, he helped get the puck over to Ryan Strome, who came out and made a bullet feed across for a cutting DeAngelo finish for his second career two-goal game. It was Kakko’s first assist. The knowledgeable fans cheered in recognition. Too bad it didn’t result in more shifts. Why not?

The third became a defensive battle between two teams not wanting to make a mistake. Neither netminder had to do anything. There were eight total shots. Arizona had five while the Rangers had a pedestrian three. So, in two of three periods in regulation, they totaled seven shots. That’s awful. Way to entertain the fans who paid good money. What are they charging for beer now? Fifteen bucks? Eight dollars for bottled water that sucks. Holy mackerel. And they wonder why they can’t sellout. Why don’t they push another five-game mini plan? In the old days, it was ten games because there were more true fans due to the cost.

The game would go to overtime. Yay! They got a point. It didn’t last long. It only took the Coyotes 64 seconds to end the game. Christian Dvorak took a good Goligoski feed and skated into open ice where he fired a good shot past Georgiev high glove, or top shelf. Where Mama hides the cookies. Thank goodness for Rick Jeanneret. To be honest, it’s a shot Georgiev should’ve had. Something he admitted later. He credited Dvorak for making a good shot. I like his honesty.

They don’t get a point without him. That’s how it’s going to be more often than not during this season. The goalies are gonna have to steal games. Sometimes, it’s not even enough. Be glad they got to OT.

Don’t be happy about DQ. He’s seven games into Year Two and I’m already losing patience. He is not only mishandling Kakko and Andersson, who I don’t even remember being out for a shift. But insists on misusing Chris Kreider. Kreider is hardly featured on the power play due to the three big right shots. He also continues to play out of position because the coach doesn’t trust Kakko to give him first line minutes.

The misusage is frustrating. Not every blog is going to agree on everything. However, most of us see what Quinn isn’t doing. It’s not helping the process. It’s hurting it.

Play the kids already! Let them make mistakes.

Hudson 3 🌟:

3rd 🌟 Alexander Georgiev, Rangers (32 saves including 20/21 in 1st)

2nd 🌟 Tony DeAngelo, Rangers (2 goals including a power play goal, -1 in 18:54)

1st 🌟 Alex Goligoski, Coyotes (power play goal, primary assist on Dvorak OT winner, +2 in 20:28)

Note to the biased New York media who cover this team: I see they somehow gave Kuemper a 1st 🌟. What for? He stopped 17 of 19 shots including a paltry 15 of 16 at even strength. He’s got a nice streak going of allowing 2 goals or fewer dating back to last season. But why is he even a 🌟 for?

Do these fools even watch? Georgiev stood on his head and got no respect except for his teammates, who knew better. Even Sam and Joe saw it. Would it kill them to recognize the quality backup he is? Only the King gets preferential treatment at MSG. It’s insulting. Much like Quinn’s coaching. Stop insulting our intelligence!

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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