Michael Ryder, GWG or: The Unlikeliest of Heroes

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I hate the Canadiens. They are my hockey Yankees. I hate the Canadiens more than the Detroit Red Wings. Only because….I mean fuck it’s Detroit. Those people need SOMETHING, and Chrysler and Eminem can make a good commercial but they aren’t exactly raising revenue for the city now are they?

It took me a long time to accept Michael Ryder as a Bruin for this exact reason. Shortly after I accepted him though, he proved to be pretty awful and not worthy of my gracious acceptance. If you watch as many Bruins games every season as I do, you’re pretty quickly able to pick up where strengths and weaknesses are in the games of individual players. Ryder was particularly easy because unless the puck was on his stick he was invisible. I guess that’s his strength: the power of invisibility. Ryder takes indifference to a whole new level. He’s often lazy, and aggressively and mercilessly pursues mediocrity without relent; in this endeavor he succeeds greatly. Generally he’s worthless on the ice. On occasion he’ll be in position to grab a turnover, make an outlet pass, or even assist on or score a goal. Making a good defensive play is best left to those who care more about the game than him, such as children or ferrets.

But on rare occasions, like when 98.32% of Boston Bruins Nation (including myself) is taking to The Twitter, The Blogomosphere and even the Facetubes re: SIT RYDER; PLAY SEGUIN (Or as I like to call him, Tyler Sequin. Because the kid has as much grit as a baby’s soft white ass. He fights to get to the net with as much energy and bodywork as a dead stripper. But I digress, the kid at least has speed, occasional flashes of brilliance, and if the light hits him right he looks like he might be able to make a play or three) Ryder does something absolutely nobody in the world expects: he makes a hockey play. And once in a blue moon he finds twine. The Blue Moons were out in force tonight, apparently, as Ryder not only netted a game tying goal early in the 2nd period, but found himself alone in front all by his lonesome and became the first former Hab to score an OT goal against his former team. Or at least that’s what I think they said.

Regardless, a guy who’d be the Grocery Stick if he didn’t get regular minutes (the grocery stick is the worthless guy on the team that just sits on the bench and is basically a body separating lines, like that stick you put in between orders on the grocery conveyor belt) was the guy who came through when it mattered most, in a game that was without question a must-win, even though a loss wouldn’t have actually ended the season mathematically. The Bruins needed to win, have the mo’ coming back to Boston, and a guy everyone had written off was the guy that came through. So I guess let’s keep writing people off, because it seems to be working for these guys so far.

But despite having the mo’ and coming back home with the series tied at 2, you’re either going to win in Montreal (which you’ve done twice already) or play 7, and I don’t think anyone wants that with these Canadiens. Despite winning the Bruins showed why they were down 0-2 in the series and down 1-3 in the game. They had a glaring inability to clear the zone, relied too much on long passes out of the zone instead of structured movements up ice and through the neutral zone. Their placement seemed off, always getting caught in their zone, and rather than controlling the puck out of their zone they’d just throw the the puck towards the blue line towards one of what seemed to be an army of waiting Habs. And there’s the biggest point: turnovers turnovers turnovers. While the Canadiens had the most damaging turnovers and misplays and the Bruins (read: Ryder) stood on the doorstep waiting to capitalize, the Bruins looked like it was possible that they had worked on turning the puck over in the neutral zone and at their own blue line in practice for the two days off between games three and four.

Game 5 happens Saturday night in Boston and if the Bruins hope to have any shot of taking the series back to Montreal for the clincher, they’ve got a lot of work to do with puck possession out of the zone, limiting turnovers, and crashing the net — you’ve gotta make life uncomfortable for Carey Price if you’re going to win. One can’t rely on high glove side all night long and expect it to work every time.

They might want to work on the powerplay, too. But that’s another blog entry entirely.

Also, this:

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