Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is this the End of Jagr as a Ranger?

Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline wonders...

That makes more changes inevitable, starting with the 36-year-old Jagr, who does not have a guaranteed contract beyond this season. For their part, the Rangers have not demonstrated any urgency in trying to re-sign him, while Jagr has spent the last few months dropping broad hints that he might retire or finish his career in Europe.

Right now though, Jagr insists he isn't thinking beyond the next game and is just trying to draw on his own experience in the hope that he can somehow help the Rangers make history.

"You never give up," Jagr said. "It might be my last game, eh. Let's make it special."

...Jagr has shown during the playoffs that he still has something left in the tank. I'd like to see the Rangers give him a one year contract. The reason I'd bring him back is who are we replacing him with? Hossa (That's Marian, not Marcel)? Too expensive. Hopefully we can get a home town discount and use the money we have with the expiring contracts of Straka, Shanahan, Malik and Mara to bring in some top notch defensemen.

...if they do re-sign him, I'd also like to see them take the "C" away and give it someone like Drury or Gomez who will be here leading the team long after Jagr is gone. It's not so much I don't like Jagr as a Captain, I just think it'd be a good time to start the transition into the post-Jagr era.

In Between Games 3 & 4 Sights & Sounds


Rangers On Demand has this video from this mornings practice...

Tom Renney answers questions about the Game 4 against the Penguins and how losing Sean Avery for the remainder of the season affects the Rangers here.

Henrik Lundqvist talks about the upcoming Pittsburgh game and having Sean Avery out for the remainder of the season here.

Ryan Callahan talks about the risks of hockey and losing Sean Avery for the season here.

Jaromir Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky talk about the loss of Avery and what this team needs to do to get back into the series down 3-0 here.

Debate: Is There A Chance the Rangers Come Back?

At The Final Score, Jim Baumbach and Anthony Rieber debate that very question...

JIM: No.

The Rangers are done. D-O-N-E. Done. My only regret is that the Rangers will get swept and not lose in five games as I predicted. Too bad....

ANTHONY: A chance? Yes.

If I sat here and said the Rangers will definitely come back, it would undercut the vast amount of hockey knowledge I obviously have. But to say it's impossible? No way...

...click on The Final Score link for the full debate.

...me, as much as I love the Rangers, I don't think they're doing it. I can see them getting a game or two, but four in a row against this Penguins team is a tall order.

Now What?

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has this on the Rangers line-up...

"Avery is out for the rest of the season, and with Blair Betts and Chris Drury banged up as well, the Rangers had Lauri Korpikoski, Greg Moore, and P.A. Parenteau in practice. Drury, who has what Tom Renney calls a “torso injury,” sounds more likely for tomorrow than Betts, who may have fractured a cheek bone after taking a puck to the face. Either way, we’re not likely to know anything more until tomorrow."

...hopefully the team can use the injuries as a rallying cry to win Game 4.

Rangers Deny Avery Was In Cardiac Arrest

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has this...

"Team sources are refuting a report that said Avery was in cardiac arrest. Instead, they said Avery was complaining about an injury after the game, and that he walked into the hospital with team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman."

John Dellapina at the Daily News adds...

"Avery's mother, Marlene, told The Toronto Sun that the injury occurred during a first-period collision with a Pittsburgh defenseman."

...while a lacerated spleen is nothing to sneeze at. It's good to hear that the earlier reports of a cardiac arrest were erroneous.

Avery Sidelined for Remainder of Season

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has the official release from the Rangers...

SEAN AVERY SIDELINED FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON

New York, April 30, 2008—New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward Sean Avery suffered a lacerated spleen in last night’s game, and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. He was taken to St. Vincent’s hospital after the game, and was admitted following a CT scan. He is expected to make a full recovery during the off-season.

...great to here that Avery will make a full recovery. Hockey players are the toughest in sports. The guy was playing with a lacerated spleen last night. Wow.

Lacerated Spleen for Avery

From TSN.com...

"Sean Avery has a lacerated spleen and will be out the remainder of the season, sources tell TSN.

The source went on to say that the laceration was detected with a CT scan after Avery was taken to hospital following the Game 3 with the Penguins."

...as soon as more info comes in I'll get it out to you.

Avery Unconscious & Not Breathing Rushed to Hospital

John Dellapina and Larry McShane at the Daily News report...

"Rangers bad boy Sean Avery, unconscious and not breathing, was rushed to a Manhattan hospital Wednesday morning in cardiac arrest just hours after his team's playoff loss, sources said.

Avery, 28, arrived at St. Vincent's Medical Center about 3 a.m., according to the hospital source. The Rangers had just lost 5-3 a short time earlier in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden."

...I'm in complete shock right now. When you hear something like this last night's game seems so insignificant. Hopefully, he'll be alright. Thanks to fleisch14 for the heads-up.

Sights & Sounds from Game 3 Loss


Rangers On Demand has this video...


Scott Gomez and Henrik Lundqvist talk about the game 3 loss to Pittsburgh and their struggles on the power play here.

Brandon Dubinsky and Jaromir Jagr discuss the disappointment of losing game 3 and the need to turn the series around here.

Tom Renney talks about the Rangers need to stay out of the penalty box and going back to work to get things corrected for Thursday's game 4 here.

Renney to Blame for Hollweg

Adam Proteau at The Hockey News reports...

"I like Tom Renney. A lot. Good guy, savvy coach, hockey lifer.

With that out of the way, I feel fully within my rights as an honest observer to observe that the Rangers coach’s decision to insert Ryan Hollweg into New York’s lineup for Tuesday’s tilt against Pittsburgh may wind up costing his team their second round playoff series – and himself his job."

...after badly out-coaching Sutter in the first round, Renney has been out-coached in the second round.

...not sure why Hollweg is put back in the line-up when the Rangers need to stay out of the penalty box against the Penguins. Why is Sjostrom, who has never skated with Gomez or Avery, playing on a line with them in the biggest game of the year? Especially when the day before he had Prucha practicing on that line. Seemed like a panic move that didn't work. Like inserting Dawes in Game 6 against Buffalo last year.

...like Proteau, I like Renney. He has turned this franchise around and has gotten us to the playoffs three years in a row. But he reminds me of Buck Schowalter with the Yankees. He was good enough to get them going in the right direction, but Steinbrenner knew Showalter couldn't manage a team to the World Series. Enter Joe Torre. I think Sather needs to come to that same conclusion and bring someone in that can get these guys to the next level.

It Happens Every 33 Years in the NHL

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this interesting stat...

"It seems to happen every 33 years in the NHL. 1942, Leafs. 1975, Islanders.

A back-from-the-dead comeback from 0-and-3."

...just in case you're not a math major, 33 years from 1975 is 2008.

...maybe we do have a chance. Plus three of the four remaining series are 3-0. One of those has to get interesting. Why not ours?

Don't Blame Hollweg, Blame Lupul

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report says...

"The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced Rangers fans’ feelings of resentment should not be directed at Sidney Crosby or Marc-Andre Fleury or Ryan Hollweg (although none of those players should be very high on your list right now) but someone you probably wouldn’t expect:

Joffrey Lupul.

Think about it. It was the Flyers forward’s overtime winner against the Capitals that set up this second-round match-up with the Penguins, and what’s become increasingly apparent is the Rangers have run into a buzz saw."

...as if Rangers fans didn't already hate the Flyers.

Was It Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?

Jay Greenberg at the New York Post notes that Jaromir Jagr says the series is not over...

...the Penguins, outplayed except for one guy, left the Garden with a 5-3 win and a 3-0 series lead that only twice in the history of the NHL has not proven insurmountable.

Jagr, to the surprise of no one who watched him last night, doesn't believe it. "Chance to make history," he vowed. "Might be my last game, let's make it special."

...sorry Jaromir, you've played your tail off in the playoffs, but this series is over.

Down 0-3 Headlines

Here are today's headlines...

Steve Zipay at Newsday says the Rangers had all the momentum in the world after tying the game at three until..."...the Penguins took advantage of Hollweg's penalty and retook the lead."

Lynn Zinser at the New York Times talks about the penalty killers during Hollweg's penalty..."For nearly two minutes near the end of the second period Tuesday night, four Rangers were stuck on the ice, all spent, desperately trying to kill a penalty. They battled, swiped at passes and shots, but the longer the Pittsburgh power play lasted, the heavier their legs became. They were trying to stave off the inevitable, trying to rescue the fantastic comeback the Rangers had fashioned earlier that period...And one slap shot by Evgeni Malkin undid it all."

John Dellapina at the Daily News has this to say after Lundqvist noted that you can't win when you give up five goals..."Or when one of your energy-generating players sucks all the life out of the team - perhaps the season - by committing a devastating and completely pointless penalty."

Filip Bondy at the Daily News talks about Jagr's effort last night..."You can't play much better than Jaromir Jagr, who was all over the ice Tuesday night, dug for every puck like a diamond miner, scored a goal and assisted on another. You can only win, which is not an easy thing to do against these Penguins."

Larry Brooks at the New York Post says the Rangers played their best game of the series last night..."The Rangers are going to have to be more than special in order to extend the series with a victory tomorrow night, let alone win four straight. They played their best hockey of the series in this one and still came up short against a strong Pittsburgh team that capitalized on nearly every opportunity while being outshot 39-17."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And That's Why You Don't Play Hollweg


Here's the recap.

...Hollweg has taken stupid penalties all year and tonight was no different. We had all the momentum and that penalty absolutely killed us. Anyone who thinks he didn't lose us the game tonight is out of their mind. I don't care how bad the pp was. In the crowd you felt the air come right out of the arena when he took that selfish penalty.

...can someone send a memo to Avery that the second round started.

...send that memo to Shanahan also.

...I think we just found out that Lundqvist is no Messier when it comes to guarantees. 11 saves on 16 shots. Not good.

...Jagr was a beast tonight. Played like he knew it was his last meaningful game in the NHL.

...I didn't see a report after the game, but Perry Pearn needs to be fire immediately. 0 for their last 12 on the pp including two consecutive 5 on 3 tonight. Awful.

...tonight its time to admit that Pittsburgh is the better team.

Rangers vs.Penguins Preview: Game 3

Tonight the New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...for some reason the last two games I decided to set a link to the New York Rangers website for the game preview and the Rangers went 0-2. So I've gone back to the Yahoo! Sports preview.

...in an effort to do a reverse jinx, I give you this stat. The Rangers are 1-17 in series when they go down 0-2.

...I'm breaking out all stops which I expect the Rangers to do tonight.

...we need an early break, bounce or miscue by the Pens to get us going tonight.

...I'll be there, so I hope to have a great recap tomorrow.

'I Am A Ranger' Fan Studios Debuts Before Game 3

According to newyorkrangers.com,

"Recognizing the passion that Blueshirts fans bring to every Rangers home game at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers organization has set up a new way for the Garden Faithful to capture and share their playoff spirit.

All Rangers fans are encouraged to visit the new "I AM A RANGER" Fan Studios located in The Garden Mall Entrance and at Gate 71 for a chance to take a photo or record and e-mail their best 'I AM A RANGER' video. The booths open this afternoon at The Mall Entrance."

...man the Rangers have become very fan friendly during the playoffs.

Sights & Sounds of Game 3 Pre-Game


Rangers On Demand has the following video from this morning's pre-game skate...

Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney preview tonight's game 3 match-up at the Garden against the Penguins with the Rangers down 2-0 in the series here.

Tom Renney talks about the differences from the regular season to the playoffs and how he plans on coaching tonights game 3 at the Garden here.

Paul Mara talks about the importance of the power play and how the Rangers plan on improving their special teams performance here.

Hollweg Back, Prucha Out

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has this...

"Both Prucha and Strudwick will be scratches, meaning Christian Backman stays in at defense, and Brendan Shanahan most likely stays on the second line with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery.

In Prucha’s place, Ryan Hollweg looks like he’ll be making his series debut."

...I have no words.

Repost: Playoff Bus Back for Second Round

From newyorkrangers.com,

"Rangers fans looking to fire themselves up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Pittsburgh can join in the pregame Rangers Playoffs Double-Decker Bus Tour, which will carry Rangers fans from Madison Square Garden to Times Square and back...

...Both Tuesday and Thursday's first of two Playoff Bus Tours begins at 5 p.m. in front of Madison Square Garden on the Northwest corner of 7th Ave. and 31st St.. After boarding, the buses will leave at 5 p.m. Fans lucky enough to make it onto the buses will be eligible for prizes, giveaways and more."

More Shots on Fleury Please

Kevin Greenstein at the New York Sun says a key to a Rangers victory tonight will be more shots on Marc-Andre Fleury...

"Facing an average of only 27 shots against per game, Fleury is simply not being challenged often enough. Given his propensity for surrendering big rebounds, it's critical that the Rangers start firing more shots his way. Through the first two games of this series, the Rangers have fired only 50 shots at Fleury, and they'll need to be more prolific if they're to regain control of the series."

...while Fleury had a very good first round against Ottawa he started this series very shaky in Game 1 and we let him off the hook with absolutely no offensive pressure in Game 2. Hopefully tonight we can get a quick one and let the crowd get on him right away. That could be the difference in us getting back in this series.

Renney Needs to Replace Second Round Avery With First Round Avery

John Dellapina at The Blueshirts Blog writes...

"And if the first-round Avery - the guy who had a shift-after-shift impact on every game - simultaneous replaced the second-round Avery - the guy who so far has had no impact whatsoever on either game."

...it amazing that for the second year in a row Avery went from amazingly effective in the first round to invisible in the second. There's plenty of time in the series for him to turn it around, but it is a disturbing trend.

Game 3 Headlines

Here are today's headlines...

Steve Zipay at Newsday talks about the sniping between the Rangers and Penguins..."Therrien had said he was "disappointed" in Rangers coach Tom Renney and players for raising the issue of alleged embellishment by Sidney Crosby to draw penalties and declared "enough is enough." Yesterday he brought another element into the fray: crease-crashing."

Lynn Zinser at the New York Times has a feature on Chris Drury and winning..."But Drury just kept winning. He chased his first sports love, hockey, and won a national championship at Boston University as a freshman and captured the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s best player in 1998, when he was a senior. The next year, his first with the Colorado Avalanche, he was named the N.H.L.’s rookie of the year...He won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. Now, he plays under the brightest lights, as a center for the Rangers."

John Dellapina at the Daily News says the Rangers are happy to be home..."The Rangers are confident that their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Penguins is about to turn around for the simple reason that the Broadway Blueshirts are coming home Tuesday."

Also at the Daily News, Kristie Ackert says the Penguins are ready for Avery's antics..."The Penguins expect that Avery and the Rangers will do anything and everything they can to get back into the series."

Jay Greenberg at the New York Post feels the Rangers must move the puck to win..."The Rangers' power play doesn't necessarily have to score, Renney said, but it does need to generate enough energy and confidence to carry over five-on-five."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Strudwick a Possibility in Game 3

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Reports notes...

"Christian Backman was swapped out of in favor of Jason Strudwick in defensive pairings today; and that Paul Mara had taken Backman’s place alongside Michal Rozsival on the power play."

...I have no problem with this move as Backman has been pretty bad during the entire playoffs. Plus, I think we all remember Strudwick's game winning overtime goal against the Penguins earlier this year. So good karma could be in order. God knows we need some.

...having Strudwick in the line-up also gives us some toughness with both Orr and Hollweg in the press box.

Sights & Sounds In Between Games 2 & 3


Rangers On Demand has this video from today's practice...

Tom Renney talks about his teams performance in the first two games of this series and how they feel about being back home to play Game 3 at MSG here.

Henrik Lundqvist and Brandon Dubinsky talk about focusing just on tomorrows game and how important it will be to get a win back home at the Garden in game 3 here.

Jaromir Jagr talks about the Rangers performance in this series so far and what they need to change in order to bounce back from an 0-2 deficit in this series here.

Martin Straka and Marc Staal discuss the Rangers ineffectiveness on the power play in the series and how they feel about playing Game 3 at home here.

Straka Can't Buy A Break

Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun has this...

"If Martin Straka wanted to drown his sorrows by taking a midnight dip in the stained waters of the nearby Monongahela River last night, no one could have blamed him.

In Game 1, the veteran New York Rangers forward was sitting in the penalty box for taking a controversial interference call on Sidney Crosby when Evgeni Malkin scored the winner in a 5-4 Pittsburgh Penguins victory.

Yesterday, Straka appeared to have knotted Game 2 at 1-1 with less than five minutes to play only to have the goal waved off because the play had been blown dead by the officials."

...its too bad for Straka that he was involved with both plays. Hopefully the Hockey Gods will change his luck starting tomorrow.

Rangers See Unlimited Future for Girardi

Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com has this feature on Dan Girardi...

"And to think, Girardi, who signed a free-agent contract with the Rangers in 2006, sat through both the 2002 and '03 Entry Drafts without one of the 30 teams -- that's 583 players -- announcing his name. Good defensemen are hard to come by in any draft and the fact the Rangers were able to discover a blue-chip prospect that has suddenly developed NHL star power is pretty significant in today's defense-first approach to the game."

...since being called up last year Girardi has been one of our best defensemen. And his increased offensive production this year has been a nice bonus.

...its amazing how every team's scouts missed so badly on Girardi.

Shanahan to 4th Line

According to Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report...

"Brendan Shanahan appears to be switching spots with Petr Prucha.

The veteran is practicing on the fourth line with Blair Betts and Fred Sjostrom, while Prucha is with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery.

These were the combinations for the last game of the regular season."

...glad to see Renney mixing things up, as Shanhan has looked real slow in this series, but I'm completely baffled that Renney refuses to go with the line combinations that worked so well at the end of the season. I mean does he have amnesia.

...I was also disappointed that Renney finally put Prucha in the line-up and only gave him 5 minutes of action. If Renney put him in there to provide a spark, I think you need to at least give him a chance.

What Would You Do For Ranger Tickets?

Rangers On Demand has what some fans did...

Some die-hard Rangers fans, eager to attend Games 3 and 4 of the Rangers-Pens series, woke up very early on Friday and made the trip over to The Garden to compete in a popcorn-diving event -- motivated solely by their love of the Blueshirts. See it here.

...I love it!!!

Playoff Bus Returns for Second Round

From newyorkrangers.com,

Rangers fans looking to fire themselves up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Pittsburgh can join in the pregame Rangers Playoffs Double-Decker Bus Tour, which will carry Rangers fans from Madison Square Garden to Times Square and back...

...Both Tuesday and Thursday's first of two Playoff Bus Tours begins at 5 p.m. in front of Madison Square Garden on the Northwest corner of 7th Ave. and 31st St.. After boarding, the buses will leave at 5 p.m. Fans lucky enough to make it onto the buses will be eligible for prizes, giveaways and more.

Rangers Overreacted

John Dellapina at Blue Notes says...

"The Rangers overreacted today. I wonder how many of you will do the same.

After a Game 1 that was decided by one goal that was set up by a controversial penalty call, the Rangers completely withdrew into a defensive-minded shell. While that didn’t succeed in completely shutting down the Pittsburgh offense, it pretty well succeeded in precluding any Rangers offense."

...while defensive adjustments needed to be made, I agree with Dellapina that Renney and the coaching staff might have overreacted.

...after a shaky Game 1 we needed to get pucks at Fluery. Instead we paid too much attention to our defense and forgot that we need to score to win. Like I mentioned in my post game comments, Renney needs to reunite the three lines that catapulted this team into the playoffs.

...and get Tyutin off the point on the power play please.

Down 0-2 Monday Headlines

Here are today's headlines after the Rangers 2-0 loss to the Penguins yesterday...

Steve Zipay at Newsday notes..."If anything, the Pittsburgh Penguins have shown they can beat the Rangers in a number of ways."

Zipay also has an article in Newsday on the Rangers power play failures..."The Rangers were 4-for-17 on the power play in the five-game series against the Devils but are only 1-for-9 - Martin Straka's opening goal of this series Friday - in the first two games against Pittsburgh. Not only did the Rangers slide back into their perimeter-passing game, but they couldn't control the puck for long stretches."

Lynn Zinser at the New York Times says yesterday's loss puts the Rangers in a familiar position..."For all the changes the Rangers have made in the past year, for all their free-agent signings and their positioning as a contender, they find themselves in exactly the same hole they fell into last season: behind, 2-0, in a second-round playoff series that started with so much hope."

At the Daily News, John Dellapina says another referee's call doomed the Rangers..."The Rangers thought they at least had the game tied with 4:14 left, when Martin Straka swatted at a loose puck and sent it skittering through Marc-Andre Fleury's pads. But referee Dan O'Halloran lost sight and blew his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line, apparently having believed that Fleury had covered it."

Dellapina also has an article in the Daily News reporting on Jagr's confrontation with Crosby..."When referee Dan O'Halloran raised his arm and assessed a holding penalty to Tyutin for what appeared to be a standard check, Jagr was fed up. So when he and Crosby crossed paths near the Rangers bench, Jagr got in Crosby's face and, according to a couple of rinkside witnesses, told the Pittsburgh captain to stop diving and stay on his feet."

Larry Brooks at the New York Post says the players and coaches need to step it up..."If the players in uniform have to be sharper, then so does Tom Renney. The coach simply must ride his best players against a deep opponent. He must make adjustments on the fly."

Brooks also has an article in the Post on Jagr and Crosby..."...Jaromir Jagr obviously had issues with Sidney Crosby, twice yelling at him after getting in his face in the first period..."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hockey Night Live Crew Analyses Game 2

MSGNetwork.com has the below video...



...one of the issues the "crew" discusses, which I forgot to mention in my post game comments, is Avery's cut in ice time. This guy has been averaging over 16 minutes a game all year and in the first two games against the Pens he's only averaging 12 minutes. Why? And why isn't he on the power play in front of the net agitating Fluery. I'm completely baffled.

Lundqvist Issues Guarentee for Game 3

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Reports has this...

So now it’s backs-against-the-wall time, and while it wasn’t quite Mark Messier against the Devils, Henrik Lundqvist issued his own sort of guarantee today.

“It feels like the difference between these two teams is not that big. It could be one bounce that’s the difference,” he said. “We should go back to New York and put more pressure on them. I think they looked a little better than they are. I know we can put more pressure on them. We’re going to do that in New York and we’re going to get the win.”

...like Weinman said its not quite like Messier, but I like it.

Game 2 Sights & Sounds


Rangers On Demand has the following video from today's game and post game...


Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury and Martin Straka discuss the game 2 loss to Pittsburgh, and heading back home with a 2 game deficit here.

Henrik Lundqvist and Scott Gomez talk about the disappointment of losing the first 2 games of the series and not being able to capitalize on the power play here.

Tom Renney talks about what the Rangers were missing in game 2 of this series and the different style of play from game 1 here.

Power Play Outage


Today the New York Rangers were defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. For a full recap go to newyorkrangers.com.

...its almost the same storyline as Game 1. The Rangers didn't deserve to win, but a bad call late ended up hurting us.

...today's call, however, had nothing to do with Crosby and wasn't part of an NHL conspiracy against the Rangers, as I've read on a few message boards, it was just a quick whistle. Real quick. It seems luck is not on our side right now.

...the real culprit tonight was the power play. One word awful. Now I'm not saying that putting a guy who didn't play at all down the stretch in Prucha on the power play would have magically turned things around. But maybe after the first five chances failed, Renney could have tried something different. With how bad our power play was at the end of the year we knew it could come back to burn us in a big spot and tonight it did.

...it might be time for Renney to reunite the three line combinations that actually worked this year. Which were Avery-Dubi-Jagr, Dawes-Gomez-Shanahan, and Straka-Drury-Callahan.

...I understand that Renney had to make defensive adjustments after Friday night's game. But it looked like these adjustments took away the Rangers aggressiveness. I mean we had no offense tonight. That had to be the easiest shutout of Fluery's career.

...while I'm still confident we can comeback. The one thing that worries me is that the Penguins were able to beat us at our own game today. Now I know we can't beat them in a track meet, but if we can't beat them at a slower pace either, I'm not sure when we can win.

...I'll be there Tuesday night cheering these guys on as hard as I can. We can only hope that bounces and whistles start going our way or the Rangers could be making tee times on Friday.

Prucha Takes Orr's Spot on 4th Line

From Steve Zipay at Blue Notes...

"...right wing Petr Prucha will make his first playoff appearance this afternoon, subbing for Colton Orr on the fourth line with Blair Betts and Fred Sjostrom."

...look for Prucha to hit anything that moves.

Rangers vs. Penguins Preview: Game 2

Today the New York Rangers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. The Penguins lead the series 1-0. For a full preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

...today's game will be televised nationally on NBC at 2 p.m. The radio broadcast can be heard on 1050 ESPN New York. Prior to the game, watch a special, online-only pregame edition of MSG's "Hockey Night Live" on MSG.com.

...although we came back to tie the series against Buffalo last year after going down 0-2, I'd like to try and avoid that this year. A win is huge today.

...we need to throw as much rubber as possible at Fluery as he looked shaky at best against us Friday night.

...I look for a real bounce back game from our defense and if Prucha plays I can see him bringing some real energy to the team.

Prucha to Play, Shanahan to the 4th Line?

Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports...

"Tom Renney implied that Petr Prucha would make his first appearance of the playoffs here this afternoon in Game 2 against the Penguins, and though the coach did not say whom he would replace, it's likely Colton Orr will be the healthy scratch after getting 5:48 of ice in his first tournament game on Friday.

In that case, there's a good chance Prucha will skate on the right side with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery while Brendan Shanahan, who has struggled since the first two games of the Devils' series, moves to the unit with Blair Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom."

...not sure I trust Brooks, but I'd endorse the move. I think Prucha's speed would work well with Gomez.

...while Shanahan has struggled the only problem I have with him on the fourth line is that you're taking his leadership off the ice. In Game 2 of the first round when the Devils started to get physical, Shanahan was the first one in every scrum showing the rest of the team that we weren't going to be pushed around. That could be missed.

Game 2 Headlines

Here are today's newspaper headlines...

Lynn ZInser at the New York Times reports that the second period has been a trouble spot for the Rangers..."The statistics bear out the trend. In the regular season, the Rangers scored fewer goals in the second period than in any other, and they gave up more goals than in any other period. They also shot less and allowed more shots."

At the Daily News, John Dellpina talks about the Rangers needing to step up their defensive efforts..."...the Rangers are counting on making a profound turn back toward the defensively responsible game they played for the last three months."

Both Dellapina here and Larry Brooks at the New York Post here report on Michel Therrien's emotional and unsolicited defense of Sidney Crosby and attack on Tom Renney for even daring to suggest by implication that Crosby dives.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gilbert & Richter on NBC Sunday

According to newyorkrangers.com, Rod Gilbert will be on NBC's "Weekend Today in New York" show Sunday, April 27 at 7 a.m.

And NHL.com reports,

"Mike Richter, the Stanley Cup-winning goaltender with the 1994 New York Rangers, will make a guest appearance during the first intermission of NBC Sports’ coverage of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal game between the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Sunday’s coverage begins on NBC at 2 p.m. EDT. Richter will join studio host Pierre McGuire and studio analyst Mike Milbury to discuss the first period and promote both NBC’s and the NHL’s environmental initiatives."

Sights & Sounds from Off Day Practice


Rangers On Demand has this video from this morning's practice...

Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney re-cap the Rangers' 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh during the team's practice at Mellon Arena here.

Tom Renney speaks to the media about many topics including the ice surface at Mellon Arena and possible changes in game 2 here.

Brandon Dubinsky discusses the outcome of game 1 vs. the Penguins and some of the problems for the Rangers throughout the game here.

Marc Staal talks about facing his brother during the playoffs and the interaction they had on the ice last night here.

Brendan Shanahan talks about what the Rangers saw during their video session of the game 1 loss and the corrections they need to make here.

Blown Call Pivotal No Matter How the Rangers Played

Here is John Dellapina's take at the Blueshirts Blog on the Straka interference call...

"...far be it for me to rail against Don Koharski and Kelly Sutherland for the interference call on Martin Straka with 3:20 left. But can we dispense with the charade that Sidney Crosby doesn’t embellish minor fouls against him to draw penalties? And was it really a coincidence that only two penalties were called in the last 28:51 of last night’s game and both were “drawn” by Crosby?

Also, while it is certainly true that the Rangers played a brutal Game 1, that doesn’t mean that a blown call (if it was blown) that late in a tied game isn’t pivotal.

Or, as a Toronto writer who happened down to our side of the press box pointed out to me when he asked what the Rangers’ reaction to the call was and I said that they didn’t deserve to win: “Yeah, but did the other guys?”

Fact is, this was an up-for-grabs game between two teams that didn’t play close to their best hockey last night. Two teams that figure to play much better, each requiring the other to raise its level of play to win the desperate and quickly-finished race to four wins that will advance one to the Eastern Conference Finals.

So when it’s 4-4 with less than four minutes left and you’ve pretty much pocketed the whistles to that point, shouldn’t it be a clear infraction that causes physical harm or precludes a scoring chance that finally merits a manpower advantage?"

...while I refuse to blame the refs for losing the game for the Rangers, especially when they blow a 3-0 lead, I love Dellapina's take on it.

Prucha May Play Tomorrow

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports...

"The news is that Petr Prucha----who has played well against Pittsburgh, according to coach Tom Renney---could play in Game 2 on a line with Blair Betts and Fred Sjostrom, a trio that practiced together this morning.

When I asked Renney about Prucha, the coach said he was still contemplating that, but since there won't be another practice before tomorrow's matinee, I'm figuring he'll dress.

Prucha, who has yet to make a playoff appearance, had just one assist in seven games against the Pens this season, but certainly has speed, and "a touch", as Renney said. That would mean Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr are scratched. Will Prucha be rusty? The Czech right wing has played in six games since Feb. 10."

...I'd love to see Prucha in there tomorrow. I think he brings way more energy to the ice than Hollweg or Orr. Plus with Sjostrom on the other wing the Rangers might actually get some offense from the fourth line.

Zipay also notes that Renney declined to get in any back-and-forth about Therrien's comments on Crosby.

Therrian Disappointed in Rangers Reaction to Interference Call

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has this...

Although there wasn’t much hope anyway that this Sidney Crosby-is-a-diver storyline was going away, Michel Therrien breathed new life into after practice today in defending his captain. And for the record, it didn’t take much prodding, either.

“Where I’m kind of disappointed is that there’s gamesmanship before the series about Sidney drawing penalties,” Therrien said. “And I’m disappointed. I’m kind of disappointed about that. This is a star player that plays into traffic—a powerful skater. And when a star player like this goes to traffic and plays into traffic, well he’s going to draw penalties.

“And we all know what Tom Renney’s trying to do. He tried to do it before we started the series. He tried to do it last night, I saw his comments today. He’s trying to get attention to the referees and complaining about the penalty last night at the end of the game...I’m kind of disappointed they complained about.”

Breandan Shanahan's response...

“I haven’t read the papers today but I feel like the only thing our team did last night was defend Martin Straka,” Brendan Shanahan said. “We certainly didn’t come into the room and throw down our equipment and say we got hosed by the refs. So I’m kind of surprised that Therrien’s making a big issue today. I’m actually really surprised. But if he wants to bring the referee’s attention to it, that’s fine.”

.
..what in the world is Therrian talking about? No Ranger, except Shanahan who said it was a weak call, said anything about Crosby diving or the refs losing them the game. Like Shanahan said if Therrian wants to bring attention to it, great.

Sights & Sounds from Game 1 Loss


Rangers On Demand has this video following Game 1...


Tom Renney discusses the early flow of the game vs. the Penguins and the need for the Blueshirts to bounce back in game 2 here.

Martin Straka talks about putting this loss behind the team and having a good practice on Saturday in preparation for Sunday's game 2 here.

Scott Gomez talks about his experience with a loss like this and the need for the Blueshirts to head back to New York with the series tied at 1-1 here.

Henrk Lundqvist talks about some unlucky bounces that cost lead to the Rangers 5-4 loss to the Penguins here.

Jaromir Jagr talks about bouncing back after a tough game 1 loss to the Penguins here.

35 Seconds Was the Difference

Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News reports...

"But for a total of 35 seconds of clock time, the New York Rangers played a perfect road match against the Pens in Game 1.

Ah, but in those 35 seconds – a 14-second span in the second period and a 20-second spurt in the third – the Blueshirts gave up back-to-back goals twice, ultimately leading to their 5-4 demise...

...Had it not been for a couple momentary lapses in judgement, the complexion of this series after one game would be very different. But of course, those lapses happened and if the Rangers don't tighten up in Game 2, there will be a lot of mistakes and regrets haunting New York in a week."

...now I'm not a mathematician. But doesn't 14 + 20 = 34?

...despite his poor math Kennedy is right. Which is another reason the Rangers or us fans shouldn't be hanging our heads today.

Crosby on the Interference Call

John Dellapina at the Daily News has this quote...

Asked about the call after the game, Crosby said: "I just saw Pas block a shot and I just tried basically to catch up with him and I ended up falling. I don't know what I tripped over - whether it was (Straka's) stick or his feet or what it was. I think he was just trying to get back and get position on me."

...even Crosby thought it was a bad call. And what will Bettman do? Probably put Don Koharski and Kelly Sutherland on for the rest of the series.

Game 1 Loss Headlines

Here are today's headlines...

Steve Zipay at Newsday says that if you want to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you have to protect three-goal leads...

John Dellapina at the Daily News says the Rangers were on their way to stealing Game 1..."Instead, it is the Rangers who must find the wherewithal to bounce back after blowing a three-goal lead and losing to the explosive Penguins, 5-4, Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals."

At the New York Times Lynn Zonser says the frenetic pace last night was not what the Rangers wanted.

Larry Brooks at the New York Post says Rangers were wretched in Game 1..."The New York Rangers were dreadful last night, simply dreadful, and are fortunate they didn't get blown right out of the Igloo."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Early Ranger Reaction to Interference Call on Straka

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report has this...

...most of the Rangers didn’t want to talk about the interference call on Martin Straka. Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez said they didn’t see it, and Straka didn’t want to talk about it. The one exception was Brendan Shanahan. “Weak call,” he said.

Weinman has since added the entire Shanahan quote...

“I think it’s a weak call at that time in the game,” Brendan Shanahan said. “Sidney embellished and you could make the call that he was interefering with Martin Straka. It’s too bad it had to happen to a guy like Martin Straka. He’s such an honest, hard-working player… I think it was a tough call for the referee to make at that time in the game.”

and this one from Gomez...

“It’s over. There’s nothing you can do about it,” Scott Gomez said. “Maybe when you’re younger you might dwell on it. But we’re not going to let that happen. We’re down 1-0. It doesn’t matter how you lose. There’s no use in crying over it.”


Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from Jagr on the call...

"I cannot comment on that. I didn't see it I don't know what happened." Then, he says, "I was expecting something like that."

...I watched MSGNetwork's post game coverage after the game and not much more from the players or Renney on the call. Renney said to a reporter who asked him about it "You saw it." And when Straka was pressed on what he said to the ref after the call he stated "I told him he dove."

...although the Rangers didn't get crazy after the game over the call, which I'm very happy about, Stan Fischler went nuts on the post game report. I'm trying to find video of it.

...and speaking of the post game report. Why in the world is Butch Goring on there? What Ranger fan in his right mind wants to listen to Goring break down a Ranger playoff game. He was especially pissing me off tonight when he was talking about how the Rangers can't whine about the interference call. Go hang out with Giggs McDonald and Deb Kaufman.

No Excuses


Tonight the New York Rangers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-4 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. For a full recap go to newyorkrangers.com.

...ok, instead of being a total hypocrite and whine, ala Crosby, about the awful call on Straka I've decided to take a deep breath (very deep) and move on.

...to me, the Rangers should have never been in that position in the first place. When you have a team down 3-0 you can't let them back into it. And the way they got back into it was an absolutely horrendous give away by Rozsival who then promply deflected the puck into his own net. That play in my opinion was much bigger than the bogus call on Straka. It gave the Penguins life and 14 seconds later they were back in the game.

...the defense tonight was bad. Penguin players were wide open in front of Lundqvist all night. With the exception of Staal and Mara the other four defensmen all had tough plays that led directly to goals. I've already gone over Rozsvial's gaffe, then Tyutin and Girardi couldn't have played Sykora's goal any worse and Backman got his pocket picked by Crosby behind the net leading to Dupuis goal. Renney's got to get these guys straighted out.

...now having said all that I still love our chances to win the series. I mean how bad was Fluery tonight. If we had any type of pressure on him after Avery's goal we would have run away with this game. We need to throw as much rubber at him as possible the rest of the series. Another reason for confidence is that three of the Penguins five goals were deflected in so luck wasn't on our side tonight either.

...one thing this team does is comeback from tough losses. The Montreal debacle actually spring boarded this team into their late season run, so I have no concerns that this game will haunt them throughout the series. I look for them to bounce back with a great effort on Sunday and get this series tied up going back to the Garden.

...man that was a bad call. Sorry I couldn't resist.

Rangers vs. Penguins Preview: Game 1

Tonight the New York Rangers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. For a full preview go to newyorkrangers.com...

...it's felt like a year since these guys eliminated the Devils. This game can't start soon enough.

...if the Rangers can stay away from being distracted by Crosby's whining and diving and stick to their commitment to defense there is no reason why they shouldn't win this series. Plus, we have Hank in-between the pipes if anything breaks down.

Pre-Game 1 Sights & Sounds


Rangers On Demand has this video from this morning's practice...

Rangers Morning Skate Report with Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney here.

Jaromir Jagr talks to the media about the start of the series vs. Pittsburgh and the years he spent with the Penguins organization here.

Tom Renney speaks about the game of some individual Blueshirts players and the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals match-up with the Penguins here.

Sidney Crosby and Penguins Head Coach Michel Therrien discuss playing the Rangers in the second round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs here.

"I Don't Dive" Part 2

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report adds a little more detail to Sidney Crosby's comments...

But then came a question about remarks from Tom Renney that Crosby has been known to embellish, or even dive. Again, this wasn’t what was really said—Renney was asked about Crosby’s theatrics and the coach merely said he hopes to talk to officials—but Crosby still couldn’t resist a slight dig at his opponent.

“I haven’t changed. I never dove. I don’t,” Crosby said. “That’s just part of the playoffs, part of the gamesmanship,” he said. “If I go down it’s because I’ve been forced down. If not, I’ll find a way to stay up. I think he should be the one worried about guys diving.”

...thank you Sidney. Put it up on the bulletin board.

...sure you don't dive...

Crosby: "I Don't Dive"

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports...

Sid the Kid had this to say about diving: "I don't dive. I never dive. The only way I'm going down is if I'm forced down."

Zipay also notes that Colton Orr will be taking Ryan Hollweg's spot on the fourth line and Gary Roberts is out tonight, with ex-Ranger Adam Hall taking his spot.

...Um...Sid...yes you do.

...glad to see Orr back in the lineup, especially with Laraque on the other side. Not that I expected Laraque to start fights, but at least he knows if he does get physical with our skill players he'll have to deal wih Orr.

Shanahan a Whiner?

Tony Ferrante at the Most Valuable Network calls Ranger fans and New York media hypocrites for calling Sidney Crosby a whiner...

"Yesterday, we got this beauty of a column by Newsday’s Arthur Staple, as well as this little snippet from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News.

And it got me to thinking, is it just me, or are the Rangers’ fans and media the biggest bunch of hypocrites, or what ??

Let’s focus on the subject of whining, since that’s high on Artie’s list.

Let’s, for the sake of argument, agree with Artie’s assessment that Sidney Crosby is a master whiner.

If Crosby is a whiner, what does that make Brendan Shanahan ??

Even the most diehard of Rangers fans would have to wade through the homer-ish fog and see that Shanahan is one of the biggest whiners in the history of the NHL, and that’s no stretch.

Brendan Shanahan is the Grand Frickin’ Poobah of whiners !!!!

Just so I understand, Crosby is the master whiner, but Shanahan is merely an intense competitor ?? You can’t be serious !!"

...is this guy Ferrante out of his mind or is it just me? In his two years with the Rangers I can't recall once when Shanahan embellished a call or cried to the referees. Unlike his boy Cindy who does it on a gamely basis.

...despite the stupidity of this column, I'm glad I found it because I can now bring up a concern. I'm worried that the Rangers are going get consumed by Crosby's whining the way the Devils got caught up with Avery's antics and their play will faulter. Hope I'm wrong, but just something to keep your eye on.

Rangers Counting on Their Rookies

Dan Rosen at NHL.com says the Rangers need their rookies to play like veterans...

"Brandon Dubinsky gets it.

The New York Rangers' rookie center knows this has turned into the National Hockey Young Man's League, and in the new NHYML, using the old inexperience excuse simply doesn't fly because rookies are counted on just as much as veterans.

"Look around, not just at our team but every team, because some key players on every team are kids or young guys in their early 20s," said Dubinsky, who makes up a quarter of a quartet of Rangers rookies coach Tom Renney has put on the ice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and will again in Pittsburgh when their Eastern Conference Semifinal series starts Friday."

...our young players have done an outstanding job this year and there's no reason for me to think that they'll not continue that play in the second round.

Your Game Day Avery Fix

From TSN...

"Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar of the Pittsburgh Penguins against Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, just to name a few.

And yet, on the eve of what should be a dynamite Eastern Conference semifinal showdown, one player dominated the talk. You guessed it, Sean Avery."

...I'm sure Rangers fans are starting to get sick of Avery with all these stories. Can we just start this series so Avery can do something else the media can report on?

Around the Playoffs

Here's what happened in the two series last night...

(1) Canadiens vs. (6) Flyers - Alexei Kovalev scored late in regulation to force overtime and then Tom Kostopoulos ended it 48 seconds into the extra session in the Canadiens' 4-3 victory over the Flyers Thursday night to take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up. For a full recap go to ESPN.com.

(1) Red Wings vs. (6) Avalanche - Johan Franzen scored two goals and had an assist to help the Red Wings build a three-goal cushion, and they held on to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Thursday night in Game 1 of their second-round series. For a full recap go to ESPN.com.

...I can't believe that the Flyers blew that game last night.