Meanwhile, if you think the power play is already a tired subject…

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…consider today’s odd sequence with Darius Kasparaitis, the injured defenseman who has been out of the lineup for the first three games of the year.

At almost every juncture over the past two weeks, the subject of Kasparaitis’ availability has been discussed either with Tom Renney or with Kasparaitis himself. The recurring theme has been that the veteran is indeed showing progress in his conditioning work; and considering that he was practicing alongside Karel Rachunek today in practice, one got the sense that his return to the lineup was imminent.

And yet, when Kasparaitis walked off the ice after some more conditioning tests this afternoon, he was visibly frustrated. Although he wouldn’t tell a group of us around his locker how exactly he fared, it was apparent he wasn’t happy. A few questions ensued — does he feel better, is he getting frustrated — and then mid-sentence, Kasparaitis just up and walked away.

It was so abrupt, we all looked at one another as if we weren’t sure what happened. And just when we thought Kasparaitis was gone for the day, he walked back into the room and proceeded to answer the rest of our questions.

Like I said, strange stuff. Now, even if he wouldn’t allow as much, the natural deduction from all of this is that Kasparaitis isn’t back to where he wants to be, and either the coaching staff or the tests revealed as much to him today. I’m not sure where that leaves him in terms of being ready for tomorrow against the Penguins.

Either way, though, it’s obviously not something he’s taking lightly.

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8 Comments

  1. European correspondent on

    Sam, please Can I just repeat my question from last night !

    Very often during the intermission the Rangers radio crew of Dave Maloney and Mike Crispino are interviewing some beat writer from different NY Papers !

    So there is a quite a good chance that we can hear you in of the next Rangers games ???? :):)

  2. My mom always said I had a face for radio.

    I suppose it’s in the cards, although bear in mind that I’m a neophyte on the beat when compared to the likes of Zipay, Brooks, and Dellapina. You all might think I know what I’m talking about, but those guys are savvy veterans.

    Meanwhile, I’m like the writers’ equivalent of Nigel Dawes.

  3. European correspondent on

    Thanks Sam !

    I am so busy today with soccer here in Germany some very important games for UÉFA 2008 (Slovakia-Germany !!)

    I am very lucky to find someone different today for mowing my lawn !:):):)

    Keep up the good work, it is absolutely great to have someone so close to the Rangers especially for someone like me more than eight hours flight time away…

    have a nice day and evening !!!!

  4. Hey Sam love the coverage, but with all this talk about Darius, whats going on with Ozolinsh? Is he almost ready to go? He could definetly solve the PP problems altough he would need to be severly limited to #6 defenseman at even strength.

  5. Adam —

    Ozolinsh is probably at least a week away, and then the Rangers are likely faced with some difficult choices, especially since I thought Pock was a rare bright spot against the Flyers.

    In any scenario, I think a healthy Kasparaitis is at least the No. 6 or even No. 5 D. The question is whether the Rangers skate Pock or Ozolinsh as the No. 7, or whether they try to move Ozolinsh somewhere else. As Renney said, they also could send Pock down to Hartford.

    I would imagine much depends on both players’ conditioning, and like you said, whether Ozo is in shape enough to help the power play. Maybe he can, although he could be a liability elsewhere.

    It seems like the team has a number of options, even if none of them are terribly inspiring.

  6. Sam, the blog is great. Thanks so much.

    My question is on Pock. He was their best D-man aside from Ward last night. He has a bigger upside than malik, rosi, rachunek, or even kaspar. His D on its own has been way more solid than rachunek and even bettter tahn rosival and malik at times.

    Why oh why on earth will he get sent down in favor of rachunek?

    Can you ask Tom the tough question: “Tom, Pock is your best puck carrying offensive defensman and has proved very solid in his own end as well, more solid than some of the other vets at times. He led the Pack’s PP on the point and racked up nearly a PPG. Why the hell is he 1) not playing the point at least as much as rosival to see what he can do? 2) in any danger whatsoever of getting either sent down, or benched.

    It’s absurd. How can they break guys in if they don’t break them in? Is there something I’m not seeing? What the hell is wrong with Renney?

    Ask the tough questions!!!! Keep up the good work.

  7. Alex —

    Fair questions, but first, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Pock had a great game last night. But it was one game. We’re still a long way off from seeing if he can play that way on a regular basis. I think he has the potential to have more offensive flair than Roszival, but right now, Rozsival is a little bit steadier of a defenseman. As far as how he compares to Malik or Kasparaitis, he’s certainly not as physical, but no doubt, a better puckhandler.

    As for your second question, I agree with you. According to Renney, Pock right now could conceivably be the odd man out on defense if everyone returns, and I don’t see how. Maybe all of those above players are a tad steadier now, but none have as much potential. And none are world-beaters to begin with.

    But let’s see how it plays out before jumping on Renney.

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