And now for the dreaded Predators


Yes, I’m aware of how silly that sounds. It’s true the Rangers opponent tomorrow is a solid team, and is even fresh off a shootout win over the Islanders. But even then, “Nashville is coming to town,” just doesn’t do much in the fear department.

Either way, the Rangers know they have an opportunity to generate some momentum after “last night’s 4-2 win over the Devils”:, and the mood around the locker room this morning was buoyant — to the extent that you forget this was the same befuddled group that stumbled home from Buffalo. A popular refrain was last night was still one game. But given the team’s struggles over the previous week, it may have been worth more than that.

Anyway, a couple of quick thoughts:

— Brendan Shanahan missed practice with a nagging hip flexor, but there’s no concern about his availability for tomorrow. Put it another way: if he wasn’t 37 and leading the NHL with seven goals, the veteran would probably have been skating sprints with everyone else today.

It’s hardly breaking news to say Shanahan has been everything the Rangers could have hoped for when they signed him this off-season, and that includes everything from his scoring touch, to his defensive hustle, to his presence in the locker room.

Already there’s been some grumblings outside the team’s dressing room that Shanahan’s emergence might step on the toes of Jaromir Jagr, and the thought is not without merit: Shanahan has not only been the team’s best all-around player thus far, but he’s also been the guy many us go to first when looking for insight into the team.

That said, Shanahan’s already made a point of always deferring to Jagr, and the fact that he may talk to the media more is simply a reflection of him being a better quote. Within the team, the idea that the team’s chemistry might have been disrupted has been quickly dismissed; and if anything, many players say Shanahan — both on the ice and off — has been just the complement that Jagr has needed.

— Given a night’s sleep to cool off about last night’s officiating, Tom Renney was still visibly annoyed when talking about it today, with the most glaring offense in his eyes a third period interference call against Ryan Hollweg. To Renney and to many others, the frenetic pace with which Hollweg plays is the embodiment of everything the coach wants out of his team. And even if Hollweg is going to be targeted by referees, the coach has already made it clear he doesn’t want the player to change a thing about how he hustles.

“We’ll kill those penalties any day,” Renney said.

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  1. Hi Sam !

    Can you remember me ? I am the one who asking you to hire an assistant !!!

    Didn´t I told you about my obsession for Koala and their big diversity in contrast to hockey players ???? But I think I did :)

    As you have realized last night that it would be very helpful to have someone to protect you during those kind of violence, which occurred on your way down to the locker room :) . Please be aware of some weird violence, whenever you enter the Garden for a rivalry game….

    Despite the fact that I was not really hundred percent satisfied with your answer on my last question concerning the assistant:) I need to ask you for your assessment on the Rangers again once in a while.

    As I have to admit that I am not able to see the Rangers either in the Garden nor live on TV it´s seems to be that the Blueshirts got back to winning ways simply that they returned back to the disciplined way in all three zones, they showed mostly during last season !

    In your article today you wrote about a resurgent Henrik Lundqvist. Do you have the impression that the guy can really return to his perfection from last year or even get better ??? Henrik is definetly putting a lot of pressure on himself. Do you think that he can shoulder it ?

    As I thought that the word of a mini crisis after only five games is absolutely premature, do you think that the Rangers really can establish that kind of defensive protection of him, that at least par example the old HMO line provided for him to be the threat for the opposing top line very often being out the last seconds of games ? I am always very optimistic so I don´t like the word crisis at all !!!!

    Do you think that last night´s success over the Devils can be a turning point to build on for a four or five games winning streak to create that kind of confidence to be that team, that a lot of fans expected to be after acquiring guys like Shanahan, Cullen or Ward similar or even better than last year ?

    But Sam, don´t be worry, I am posting those kind of stuff probably once in one or two weeks, so there is no reason for panic! :):):)

    Hopefully you are realizing that I make every effort in my posts !!!!

    Big smile


    P.S. I usally add some different smileys showing special emotions to my e-mails but it is really pity not being able to do so in your blog !!!!

  2. shanahan has been great so far but someone really needs to get renney to realize that you can’t ride a 37 year old all year like this…if he continues to play 24:00 plus penalty-kill he isn’t gonna survive till april.

    on the shanahan/jagr situation, i’m not worry about it cause first off you know that at some point during the year jagr is gonna be the guy on the tear carrying the team and if anything shanahan is making life easier for jagr by stepping up until jagr gets really rolling. and on talking to the media, last year jagr declined the C over concerns over the language barrier and his ability to explain things to the media. so i get the impression that jagr would be more than happy to let brendan handle the media while jagr can worry about the other stuff.

  3. Today I read in the papers a story about the reason that Patrick Elias decided to stay with the Devils instead of signing with the Rangers. They said that the Rangers didn´t offer him more money but no no-trade-clause so Elias chose to resign with the Devils.

    hm I simply don´t understand it ! He choses to resign a contract with less money and without a no-trade-clause for more money more czech players ( which he stated that is very comfortable for him )only because there is no trade-clause….????

    So the Devils would be able to deal him anyway ???

    I think there was some other stuff involved in his decisison ! Hm, if the Rangers would have signed him they wouldn´t have had the cup space in acquiring Brendan Shanahan….

  4. I’d take the C off of Jags and put it right on Shanny. Shanny is playing like a captain right now and Jagr isn’t.

  5. Shanahan has kicked ass, but someone(that would be you, Sam) better tell him to cool out on throwing himself to the ice too often. He’s going to break at some point.

    And whether or not Renney loves the hustle, the Rangers just continue to take too many penalties, most of which are legitimate calls. Quite simply, refs don’t lose games for the Rangers. Lack of discipline and accountability on the other hand…

    Anyone else notice that Tutin seems to have picked up a wicked hip check? Maybe Darius should teach that to everyone.

  6. Koala —

    It’s still open for debate whether what we saw from Lundqvist last week was a complete aberration or whether he is struggling with something specific. My guess is last week was an exception, but it does show, as you rightly pointed out, that some of the success he enjoyed last year had to do with the system around him. It’s one thing to make some acrobatic saves. It’s another to have to do it every six seconds because no one else is in the defensive zone with you.
    Lundqvist is a great goalie, but he can be exposed just like anyone else without help.

    As for use of the word “crisis,” it was somewhat sarcastic. You’re right, three losses in October isn’t a crisis, but it was perhaps a brief crisis of confidence for a team that is supposed to have high aspirations.

  7. On a side note, Buffalo is beating Philly 9-1…..that has to make Renney feel a bit better. The question is, who can stop Buffalo’s offense??

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