Take a deep breath


The Rangers are having their Family Day at the MSG Training Center the afternoon after….well, what was it exactly? A resilient road win? Another showcase of their myriad flaws? A little bit of both?

Either way, the team is 4-4 with what is likely a difficult stretch of hockey ahead, with nine of their next 12 on the road, including four on the West Coast. As was the case last week against the Nashville Predators, this Wednesday against Florida at the Garden is another chance to generate some early momentum and pick up the points they’ll likely need at season’s end. Of course, making that happen, as we’ve already discovered, is a whole other matter.


Now, let’s talk a little bit about some of the comments you’ve all made on this blog, the overwhelming majority of which are thoughtful, insightful, and clearly impassioned.

Here’s the deal, folks: Disagreeing with me is not only allowed, but at times, it’s even encouraged. I’ve never claimed to be Scotty Bowman, so if you’re seeing something I don’t, or vice versa, I’m all ears.

That said, I do appreciate the fact that most of you have been civil and constructive with what you say, both in responding to me and to your fellow posters. And if some of you cross the line from time to time, I just ask that you reel it in.

When I read your comments, I see a pretty good forum for discussing both what’s right and what’s wrong with the Rangers these days — to the extent that it often helps me look at the team in a different light.

Let’s try to keep it at that level.

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  1. What’s wrong with the team? Immonen isn’t on it! Don’t get me wrong… I like Betts, but he’s no top six player…. Get Immonen involved and in a big way by giving him Shanny and Cullen to play with… or Dawes and whoever… Hall or Ward…. whatever Renny decides to do with him in the lineup is alright with me as long as he’s there and playing

    So if you haven’t in the past Sam, next time you get a chance…. can you inquire about Jarkko to the coach…. see if he has been considered lately for the big club…. I’m sure he’ll give you a typical Renny answer like “of course he is, all the guys in Hartford who were in camp with us are always being concidered, but whether he’s ready to come up yet or not is another question” (or something like that)

    Just try to get the point across that ALOT of fans want him on the big team

  2. “The Rangers are having their Family Day at the MSG Training Center the afternoon”

    Baby Koala is deftly complaining about the number of afternoon games at the Madison Square Garden !:)

    It is seems to be that the Blueshirts are not really family friendly as they obviously don´t have any family sections at all at the Garden !

    Baby Koala asked me as well that the Rangers don´t have a mascot !! Why is that ????

    I know it should be the wrong place for posting it but if you mail something to the Rangers website you usually didn´t get any response….!!!!


  3. Hey Sam – why no article on the game in today’s paper? (Well, online anyway?) I was looking forward to reading your thoughts on the game this morning.

  4. I am seriously worried about the Rangers lack of toughness. Why are they so soft??? I know it’s an age old question but it’s still frustrating. I can’t stand to see Jagr get hammered out there and NOT ONE PLAYER COMES TO HIS DEFENSE and is made to pay the price!! If we hammered the other team’s star, you better believe it wouldn’t go unanswered.

    Another concern that I ruffled some feathers with is that I am worried about Henrik this year. He seems to lack confidence and goes down way too early.

    The thing that is great about the team this year is the balance in scoring. Rangers have a lethal offense this year and I think if they got a defensive game in, they’ll be serious trouble and will make a lot of noise in this league!!

  5. Sam,

    This blog is great. I live in LA and have to tivo every game, and I don’t get to talk much about the Rangers, so thanks for keeping it up.

    Also, any word on possible additions, via trade or waiver signings, in the Rangers future? Maybe LeCavalier or even Nolan Baumgartner? I know it’s incredibly early in the season, but…

  6. I agree that this next stretch is gonna be big for us. 9 of 12 on the road, and the always dreaded West Coast stint, so it’s safe to say we need to pick up some huge points. It will say a lot and build up some confidence that this team can settle down and hit it’s stride.

    There are still plenty of questions to answer on D, but when it comes to our offensive I’m not too worried. As opposed to last year, the fact that Jagr hasn’t hit his scoring touch yet is not causing me to pull my hair out. With tons of production by Shanny, Jagr and Nylander getting the assists (1st and 2nd in the league respectively), and even our 4th line coming up with some opportunities and even goals, things are looking good in that department.

    As for our D, I think Ozo had a pretty solid game, was out of position at times, but stayed away from his typical high-risk play. I’m still expecting the worst, but maybe, just maybe, he can tighten things up and be a decent D man for us, and come up on the point for our PP.

    And Sam, you’re doing a great job with this blog. Like I said before, I hate the fact that I didn’t know about it sooner, but it’s already bookmarked both on my home PC and the one at work, and getting insight from an actual beat reporter is always great. Not to mention you actually update it a handful of times a day. We all appreciate it, keep up the good work.

  7. Sam, wherever there is good constructive discussion, there will always be corresponding jerkoffs who try to ruin it, sadly, it goes with the territory. thats why i have comments turned off on my yankees blog :)

  8. The Rangers inconsistency is best illustrated by the 3 points they have given that lousy Flyers team. the only points they have this season in 8 games. and the firing of Hitchcock and the resignation of Clarke should put Renney and Sather on a short leash in NY, but of course it won’t.

  9. Sam, any chance you could convince one of the writers who covers Hartford to do a biweekly update on this site on how things look down there? It would be really great to read some more focused coverage of the aspiring Rangers and their games. Thanks.

  10. Sam-
    Something I have a problem with right now is the media pointing out the defense as our biggest problem.

    The problem is that there aren’t a D in the league that can play solid unless that teams offensive game is in order, and with offensive game I mean all aspects when the team are in possesion of the puck.

    I saw Ottawa route NJD last night. Ottawa didn’t expose NJD’s defensive game, they exposed NJD’s offensive game, especially by pressureing the puck hard all over the ice. Once you loose the puck in the wrong areas today, any D is smooked, there are no room to recover.

    The D’s moving the puck, the centers transporting it, the wingers ability to execute on set transition plays, that are IMO the biggest problem. For example, last night for two periods when we where able to establish some cycling down low, Toronto where almost harmless on the counter attack, most of the time it where a pice of cake for the D to break up Toronto’s attempts. Though this season, whenever our forwards have lost the puck within seconds after entering the attacking zone, our D’s are left with the odds against them.

    Another issue I have, is Renney’s use of Fedor Tyutin. Tyutin have been asigned a offensive role next to Ward. Renney have encouraged him for a while now to be more active in the offensive game.

    Though in the game today, there is no shortages whatsoever on D’s who can cash in from the blueline and in, 5 on 5. You don’t have to be Brian Leetch to find openings anymore.

    What there is a extreme shortage of around the league are defensive D’s that can move the puck. Having a D that can’t move the puck have become a extreme weakness. Besides that, most former defensive D’s, don’t have the agility to keep up anymore.

    One of Buffalos biggest assets are their “defensive” D’s, Tallinder, Spacek and Kallinin, all three are offensive D’s turned defensive.

    I think Renney should explore turning Tyutin into a defensive expert. Cause if Tyutin can do that, with his agility and puckmovement, he could become extremely valueble. Buffalo have Spacek paired with Kallinin, we could have Tyutin paired with someone like Ozolinsh.

    I think Tyutin have the tools to become a great defensive D. He is agile, he have a nice hip check, he have decent size. Buts its a aspect he never have been asked to emphizais.

  11. Excellent points from Ola, and from everyone.
    You’re right about us harping on the defense, when in fact, it is the inability of the forwards to come back and help that is the bigger problem. Put it another way: Malik wasn’t that much quicker last year, but he wasn’t exposed like he was against Nashville. The difference is no one was there to provide any back pressure.
    As for everyone else, there are a lot of valid concerns out there: Inability to move the puck. Lack of toughness. Burying Jarko in Hartford. Misuse of Fedor Tyutin.
    Let’s revisit some of them this week.
    And Laurie, thanks for missing me in today’s paper. I’ll explain later.

  12. Sam

    Question…… can Pock be sent to Hartford withour clearing waivers? Enjoy the blog and the effort on your part. Thanks for the work. Now get some sleep.

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