Friday, November 30, 2007
"Defenseman Paul Mara has a sprained shoulder, the result of a crunch in the boards in the third period against the Isles, and Marek Malik, who has missed 13 games with a sore back/ribs since a spill on Nov. 1, apparently will return to play with Michal Rozsival, while Marc Staal pairs with Jason Strudwick..."
...at first glance I was furious with Renney for splitting the Rozsival/Staal pairing, but when I thought about a pairing of Strudwick/Malik, I began to think Renney probably is making the right decision.
...when Mara comes back, I think Strudwick should sit, Mara and Malik should be paired up and the Staal/Rozsival pairing should be reunited.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
"The Islanders may be 3-0 against the Rangers so far this year, but the deck is stacked against them as they make their second visit to the Garden tonight. After a light early season schedule, the Isles will be playing their fifth game in the last seven days today -- the Rangers by contrast are playing their third, coming off three full days off. The well-rested Rangers should not only be able to take advantage of the fact that the Isles played last night, they may also benefit from a bit of an Islander hangover from beating the league-leading (though recently slumping) Ottawa Senators in a shootout -- or if not a hangover, at least some slight dampening of the extra spirit the Isles usually bring to contests against the Rangers..."
...although this is a great point, there is no way the Islanders will not be ready for this game. Trust me, Nolan will have his team fired up.
...I think if the Rangers can hold off an early Islander surge, they should be able to wear the Islanders down as the game drags on and hopefully take advantage in third period.
The Rangers mulled calling someone up from Hartford, but opted against it, which means yes, everyone’s favorite enigma, Marcel Hossa, will skate in Sean Avery’s spot at left wing alongside Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan tonight against the Islanders.
Some more notes:
The rest of the lineup is what you’d expect, with Ryan Callahan taking the right wing with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha.
Marek Malik is now also medically cleared to play, but will be a healthy scratch. My guess is the Rangers’ reluctance to summon bodies from Hartford lies in the fact that if need be, they can insert Malik back in and put Jason Strudwick in at forward. But I would have to think that would only be a short-term solution.
I’m pretty sure Josh reported this yesterday, but Petr Prucha will take a spot on the power play with Brandon Dubinsky and Jaromir Jagr up front and Michal Rozsival and Martin Straka back at the point. The other power play has Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Brendan Shanahan at forward and a rotation of Paul Mara, Dan Girardi, and Fedor Tyutin.
A new wrinkle: Dubinsky was seen limping severely around the dressing room, with his left knee wrapped heavily in ice. Dubinsky skated this morning and didn’t show any effects of an injury on the ice, but that’s something to keep an eye on. When asked about it, he shrugged his shoulders and said he was fine.
Meanwhile, a lot of talk about the Islanders, naturally. Scott Gomez had a cluster of cameras around him and said all the right things—give them credit, we need to step up, etc. Then the cameras turned to Brendan Shanahan and Shanahan said, “I’m basically going to say everything he said."
...as always great inside information from Weinman.
...very unhappy to see the Rangers have not called up Dawes and are going with Hossa and Hollweg. This team needs to score and Hossa and Hollweg bring nothing to the table.
...hopefully Dubinsky's knee is nothing. Another injury is the last thing we need.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here are a couple of items from Sam Weinman's blog at the New York Journal...
- Ryan Callahan is back ready to play and sounded like he expects to return Thursday, most likely on a line with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha where he skated today. Tom Renney also conceded that Callahan was ready, but stopped short of saying he would definitely be in against the Isles, and even said a conditioning assignment in Hartford was a possibility. But that sounds like Renney just erring on the side of caution, so I would expect to see Callahan back at the Garden Thursday. As for where he would play….
- Obviously if Drury is at center with Callahan and Prucha, that means Brandon Dubinsky will remain at center between Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka. This was an issue after Sunday, when Renney had put Drury in that spot late in the game. But the coach said he still likes what he’s seeing from Dubinsky with Jagr, and that Drury’s style differs at least slightly from the Captain.
- Where things get even more interesting is with Marek Malik, who also is now fit and ready to return, but who might still have to wait.
“The way we’re clicking now, Harry might just have to wait a game or two and see if anything evolves where we want to put him in if someone’s having a tough night or heaven forbid, there’s an injury,” Renney said. “But he’s ready to go and that’s the main thing.”
The reason this is intriguing is that there was a time—much to the puzzlement of many of you—that Malik’s spot in the lineup was a given as long as he was healthy. And while I do think he’s a more effective player than Jason Strudwick, I’m not sure Renney is ready to split up the pairing of Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal, who continue to show progress together. That would likely leave Malik with Paul Mara, and Renney might be reluctant to go there.
- Meanwhile, through all of this it looks like Marcel Hossa would be the odd man out based on practice today. But it was hard to tell given that both Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery both skipped practice. Avery had a CAT scan on his wrist to assess the damage from the blocked shot last week against Tampa, but also because of some lingering issues from years past. Shanahan had a sore back, but was still working out in the weight room.
...I figured we would see Callahan with Drury and Prucha. Should be a very good north/south line.
...very happy to see Renney reluctant to put Malik back in there. Right now the team is playing too well defensively for a lineup change. Plus Malik doesn't deserve to be put back in. Strudwick has been solid in his absence.
...lastly, while I'm not the biggest Hossa fan in the world, I think he should be in there instead of Hollweg. Orr has to be in the lineup for toughness, but I'm not sure what Hollweg brings besides a -4. Hossa would at least have a chance to do something offensive, while still being solid defensively.
'It was a pretty hard practice today and I felt pretty good out there,' said Callahan, who had four goals and two assists in 14 games last season after being called up from Hartford. 'I think Thursday's pretty realistic.'..."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Nobody is laughing at the Rangers these days because they're tied for first place in their division and aren't an easy team to beat. Still, it's clear the big dollars they gave to free agents Scott Gomez and Chris Drury last summer have yet to create the desired result..."
The damage to the reputations of those teams has been significant, as has been the damage to the league's profile, particularly at playoff time, when major markets are missing. Clearly, there's value to the teams and the league when the Original Six clubs are successful; and, right now, five of the six, excluding the wobbly Leafs, are having what they would term successful seasons..."
The Rangers are tied for the Atlantic Division lead, but there are land mines ahead. Sean Avery is looking like a leader now, but that could change. Jaromir Jagr is struggling through a so-so season. Three teams the Rangers have to face repeatedly -- Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New Jersey -- still are recovering from weak starts and are almost certain to play better.
"...By reducing the number of divisional games, NHL teams will play every club at least once a season. It doesn't guarantee a home date with Sidney or Alex and the boys every season, but it does assure there won't be the three-season drought the current schedule imposes.
There is a possibility that the board of governors could adopt a schedule that included a home-and-home with every nonconference team, but that would mean going to an 84-game slate, and that will be a tough sell unless the owners and union could agree to cut the preseason schedule dramatically...
...Assuming the NHL sticks with an 82-game schedule, the new format would include six games against divisional foes (for a total of 24), four games against remaining conference teams (two home, two away, for a total of 40) and one game each against the 15 nonconference teams. So the problem becomes the three "wild-card games" that would round out the schedule..."
...I had written about this in an earlier post (see here). And I haven't changed my opinion. Change back to the old format please.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I'm not sure if my e-mail had anything to do with it, but Sean Avery's name has been miraculously added to the Eastern Conference Allstar Ballot write-in section. See the new updated ballot here.
"In their last four games, only one of which they have won, the Rangers have taken 139 shots and scored only 7 goals, and they are 1 for 12 on power plays. Rangers Coach Tom Renney says his team needs to start crashing the net more often, poking at rebounds."
...wow Tom do you think?
...7 goals on 139 shots is atrocious. For all you number geeks, that's a 5% shooting percentage. Like I said in an earlier post 'Shooter Tutor.'
In today's New York Post Jay Greenberg feels Gomez is not earning his millions...
"THE Rangers, who out shot Dallas 41 to 18 yesterday, were rope-a-doped into a 3-2 loss. And one of their biggest dopes was Scott Gomez...
...After averaging 64 points in his seven seasons with the Devils, Gomez is on a pace for 53, not exactly bang for a lot of bucks."
...ouch. Hey Scotty, I bet the New Jersey media was a little bit easier when you were slumping. Welcome to New York.
According to Steven Zipay at Newsday, the media isn't the ones getting frustrated with Gomez as Renney is upset with Scott Gomez' lack of shooting...
"That should be an objective of his. Maybe it's a selfish approach. The guy can shoot the puck ... A lot of time he's in position. But he loves to make plays, he wants to defer to somebody else and be an unselfish player, but now I really have to be firm with him and say I want X number of shots."
...I like seeing that Renney is finally getting frustrated with this offense. Although it is ironic that he finally says something about the lack of shooting after the Rangers put 41 shots on Mike Smith.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
...well I posted a Jagr goal montage 'Video of the Day' on Friday and he scored today, so in an effort to get Scott Gomez going I have a "Video of the Day' just for him.
...bloggers note: I'm going to be changing 'Video of the Day' to 'Video of the Week.' While there is a lot of Ranger related video on the internet most of it is garbage and I don't want to run out of quality video, thus ruining the integrity of 'Video of the Day.' So every Sunday I will be adding a new video.
Nigel Dawes had two goals and two assists for the Wolf Pack.
...good thing we sent Dawes down to Hartford to work on his overall game because we really don't need his offense right now (dripping with sarcasm).
Saturday, November 24, 2007
...great 1971 brawl during a playoff game between the Rangers and Maple Leafs. During the brawl Vic Hadfield throws Bernie Parent's goalie mask into the crowd and because the crowd never gives Parent the mask back Jacques Plante had to finish the game in goal.
...great seeing old Ranger video with Giacomin, Park, Hadfield and Ratelle.
...this is old school hockey at its best.
'It's a funny thing because I always believe our guys will score in the shootout, and they usually do, but not tonight,' Valiquette said. 'Without winning it feels like you've been cheated.'
Unlike the rest of his team, he was."
Friday, November 23, 2007
...just in case you forgot what a Jaromir Jagr goal looked like, this video shows every goal Jagr scored last year. Its a bit long, but hey we haven't seen many Jagr goals this year so it might be worth it.
...maybe Renney should have Jagr sit down and watch this himself.
...if you thought I was disgusted with the Ranger offense after their win Wednesday night, you can only imagine how po'd I am right now.
...first some positives: I guess it's safe to say Valiquette is more than a capable backup at this point. He is the only reason we even got a point tonight. He was outstanding. The back-to-back glove saves he made during the shootout were sic. The other positive was Drury. Not just his two goals, but his overall game tonight was great. Too bad he couldn't cap it by scoring to tie up the shootout. I thought this guy was clutch? Just kidding Chris, nice game tonight.
...now to the negatives: let's see where should I begin. Oh yeah, the power play. I think at this point we should just decline power play opportunities. If it wasn't for Valiquette the Panthers would have had two short handed goals including a 3 on 5. I know we eventually scored on that two man advantage, but wow are we struggling to get anything going on the power play. I'm out of solutions at this point.
...five rounds in the shootout and we can't score. We weren't even close.
...I'm sorry to pick on the guy on the same day the New York press does. But, what is up with Jagr? It seems as though he's trying to be a play maker instead of a goal scorer. I do have to give him credit for two outstanding, hard working shifts tonight, but he also took way too many shifts off. If anyone saw Straka's interview between the 1st and 2nd period you could tell he was frustrated with Jagr not shooting when Micholetti asked him about it.
...again, I'll take points anyway I can get them, especially with the Flyers (in OT) and Islanders losing tonight, but that is a game the Rangers have to win especially with the goaltending they got from Valiquette.
Unable to find linemates who see the game the way he does, unable to comprehend how he fits into a defense-first system and unable to simply blow by or overpower opponents to score by himself anymore, Jagr is groping rather than grinding..."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"...New York Rangers: Don't look now, but the early MVP HAS to be Lundqvist. The guy kept the team in it until they got their game together, which they have done. The Defense and backup goalie is an issue. They are too good and too close to winning a Cup to go into the playoffs without plugging up a few holes. The Rangers are an 8 ranking on the Trade Watch Scale. BUYERS..."
...'the Defense and backup goalie is an issue'? Does this guy Eklund even watch hockey? Without our defense, even with Lundqvists heroics, we would be in the bottom half of the league instead of the top. And in his one game Valiquette was awesome.
...right now, I don't think the Rangers should make any moves at the deadline, unless there's a major injury.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
…hopefully the Rangers are able to get Monday’s loss out of their minds and be ready for tonight.
…Tampa is always a high scoring team with Lecavalier and St. Louis so we need to continue our solid D.
…once again we are playing against an average goalie in Holmqvist. Lets hope we can take advantage of that and not make him look like Patrick Roy.
…I’m looking forward to seeing what Greg Moore can bring tonight. Not sure if Ivan Baranka will dress. I’m guessing unless Strudwick can’t walk we won’t see Baranka.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Dear Mr. Bettman,
I recently went to the NHL Allstar fan voting website to vote for some of my favorite players from the New York Rangers, when I noticed something amiss. Sean Avery's name was left off the ballot. I saw numerous other players who, in my opinion, are less talented than Mr. Avery. I was wondering what the NHL's official comment is regarding why Sean Avery was left off this year's ballot. Thank you.
...I'm eagerly awaiting a response.
“Nigel Dawes was indeed sent down to Hartford despite having the second highest goal total (four) on the team. As was the case last year, when Dawes started in the NHL before being returned to the minors, he still hasn’t made enough progress with his play away from the puck. While Dawes clearly has NHL-caliber offensive skills, the Rangers may be sending him a message that there needs to be more than that for him to stick around…”
The Rangers commented on the move by saying…
“…‘It was more geared toward Nigel understanding the consistency and standard that we have to play at here, especially for a young fella like that who has terrific offensive attributes. He has to be involved at that part of the game. Having said that, there’s a level of consistency and standard he has to meet off the puck and it happens to a lot of young players. Some guys are up four or five times before they nail it. But I think Nigel Dawes is an NHL player.’…”
…this isn’t much of a message. I bigger message would be sitting Drury, who has been struggling and critical of himself (quote also from Weinman)…
“…Shanahan came to the Rangers last season, as a free agent. He says that he likes living in New York because so many things happen that the days seem agreeably prolonged. Last year, he sometimes took the subway to the Garden for games. If people recognized him, they usually said no more than good luck. One night, coming home from a game, he stood next to two men on the platform wearing Rangers jerseys with number 14 and "Shanahan" stitched on the back, but they never noticed him…”
…talk about a bunch of metrosexuals. First Avery’s on People’s sexiest persons list and now this.
…these are the type of interviews the NHL should be promoting. This article gives the reader great insight into Shanahan as a person. Not sure why the NHL refuses to promote its stars.
…hey Shany love the sweater