As we near the 28th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice”, it is only fitting that we feature Herb Brooks and his “Brooksisms” in trying to rationalize the Rangers 6-5 overtime loss to the Canadiens.

“Everything goes in cycles, to a degree.” — Herb Brooks

Say this for the Rangers; they sure know how to repay a favor. After spotting the Habs a three goal lead in their Super Bowl Sunday matinee in Montreal, the Rangers throttled the Canadiens with five unanswered goals. Last night, after tagging their hosts with another five spot, the Blueshirts made history. It was the first time in franchise history, and 10th time in NHL history, that a team blew a five goal lead.

“You don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” —Herb Brooks

The Rangers again failed to grasp the need to play a full 60 minutes of hockey. The Rangers do not have the speed to simply out skate a team and they are not physical enough to pound a team into submission. They are also too passive when it comes to forechecking, which in turn, prohibits them from putting an opponent away.

Far too many times they have hit a lull in a game that cost them points. While some might want to tag the loss on Tom Renney or Henrik Lundqvist, the blame for last night’s lost rests solely on the shoulders of 19 players (Stephen Valiquette gets a pass because he did not play) and the entire coaching staff.

The funny thing about the Rangers brain freeze is that they had proven to be a solid third period team when playing with the lead. The Blueshirts were 20-1-1 when leading after two periods.

After the last game in Montreal, the Rangers should have been infinitely more aware of how momentum can swing from period-to-period and shift-to-shift. For the most part they did all things they needed to do. In building up their 5-0 lead, they managed to stay out of the penalty box, didn’t retaliate to the Habs chippy play and they remembered that good things happen when you put shots on goal and players go to the net.

Unfortunately, the Canadiens learned that lessen as well – at least the part about putting shots on goal and going to the net. Once the Canadiens steppe dup their play, the Rangers were helpless against the Montreal onslaught. Rather than rely on their solid positional play, the Rangers got caught out of position and were left twisting in the wind.

“Legs feed the wolf.” — Herb Brooks

Last night the Montreal fans fed the Canadiens. While the Habs’ fans ram the gamut of being clueless (for begging for every call any time a Canadien fell down) to the classless (for littering the ice), they also played a large part in turning the tide. If you think the crowd didn’t play a big part, just see what Michal Rozsival told John Dellapina of the Daily News following the game.

Dellapina wrote, “‘My ears are still ringing,’ Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival said 30 minutes after the game had ended.”

ON THE FLY

• I guess all of those who have been rallying against extended playing time for Colton Orr should take heed at what happens when he is not in the lineup. If you think the Canadiens, especially Steve Begin and Mike Komisarek, would have been free to run Rangers if Orr had played are watching a different team than I am watching.
• It is funny to see all of the Renney haters come out in droves after the loss. For all those who only blame him for the loss I ask one question. If it is all Renney’s fault, how do you explain the 5-0 nothing lead? If your answer is to credit the players, then you have to blame them as well. The bottom line is this loss gets filed in the Team Loss folder.
• While Jaromir Jagr continues to morph from goal scorer into playmaker could someone please beg him to shoot the next time he has a two-on-one break – especially when it is in overtime?
• Note to Henrik Lundqvist – start reviewing tapes from the previous two years. While The King was left defenseless at times last night, he is still allowing too many rebounds and is dropping to the butterfly too quickly.
• Note to the Rangers power play – good things happen when you move the puck and the feet. Even better things happen when you go the net and get shots on goal. Constantly trying to set Jag up for a one-timer on at the RW faceoff dot gets old after awhile.
• We all know Renney is a “player’s coach”, but he needs to get a little more Herb Brooks in him. When he lit into the team at a practice a week or so ago, the team responded. A few sets of “Herbies” might be in order.
• John Dellapina was on with Joe Benigno on WFAN this afternoon. He believes the Canadiens would pose a mighty problem as a playoff opponent for the Rangers. He sees the Rangers making a deal by the deadline, but does not see them bringing in a Rob Blake or Tomas Kaberle type defenseman. Rather, he thinks they get someone who is a “solid to more physical player.” He pointed to the similar playing styles of Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha as possible of trade prospects who would not severely damage the Rangers organizational depth or its youth movement. Despite Jagr’s lack of confidence in his offensive game, Dellapina sees him as a valuable decoy that draws the likes of Komisarek. He believes Jagr is more likely to absorb that type pf physical play as opposed to a Brendan Shanahan.

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