More from today


One of the problems with this blog is that, in the interest of timeliness, I often post updates before I get a chance to completely go through my notes. I can’t say for sure, but word is Hemingway had the same problem with his blog back in the day.

Anyway, I figured I’d pass along a couple of telling quotes from Tom Renney today about the precarious state of players’ jobs. First, there’s this one about potential moves on the horizon:

“It’s at the point now where I’m looking very closely. They know what’s expected of them and certainly going into tomorrow everyone will have a very clear picture individually of what’s expected of them, and as a team.”

More evocative is this response when asked about whether it was time to cut ties with certain veterans. Bear in mind that neither name was uttered here, but the implication was Renney was talking about Darius Kasparaitis and Marek Malik. The coach was asked about what to do with those players who might want to play better but are physically unable to do so. Renney seemed to sigh at the thought, before responding:

“That’s fair. That’s the problem at the end of the day, and that’s where your heart gets in the way of your head as a coach. It’s a business. We’re here to win. We want the Stanley Cup and we’ll do what is required.â€?

There you have it. Maybe it means something extra. Maybe not. But we try to be full service here.

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  1. Hey Sam,
    how that “physically unable to” question relate to malik. i mean, is a denal thing going to make them trade him. i see how it relates to kaspar, but not malik.

  2. I think Renney are playing with high stakes here. In hockey one thing is more important then everything else. The attitude in the lockerroom.

    Renney is really putting allot of pressure on the defense here, nobody can really feel safe. Confidence is also really important. I don’t think commitment is factor in the game today, maybe I am wrong, but I just don’t think there are many players left who aren’t 100% focused on a game day.

    Renney pressuring a few defensemens threatens a fine mix that always is there, the one between cold buisniz and playing a game.

    I am afraid too much pressure can backfire with this team. At the same time, if Renney don’t think this team can succed, he should act.

    One can also look at this issue from another angle, and I am sure thats the one Renney are trying to get produce. If Malik turned on WFAN one morning and found out about him getting sent somewhere for a 9th round pick, is that better? If you asked any player I am sure they would answear that they prefer their coach beeing honest, as long as they know what he is asking from them.

  3. I’m sorry, is someone questioning that Marek Malik has physical limitations that extend beyond his teeth? I don’t think that’s what was meant by “physically unable to”. Let’s see… Malik is very big, very lumbering, very slow, and doesn’t like to hit anybody. While perhaps that places him in line to directly succeed Willie Huber and Kevin Hatcher in Jeopardy (Uh, What are “large hunks of flesh the Rangers have wasted much time and money on for no apparent reason,” Alex? – for the Daily Double), it doesn’t make him anywhere close to ideal for playing in today’s NHL.

    Actually, I was definitely making a joke at Malik’s expense – he was reasonably solid last year and since we have him for 2 more I certainly hope he figures out how to be positionally sound again in the very near future – but the truth is our defense, for who knows what reason, played way over their heads last year. WAY OVER. At least part of that was because not only did they contribute nothing offensively, they never tried to. And that in turn contributed to a heightened sense of defensive responsibility throughout the lineup. The Rangers gave up no goals last year. So the fact that they got no offense from their defense really made no difference. It was when Ozolinsh showed up and everyone tried to jump into the offensive fray that everything collapsed. Everyone stopped playing defense, and they haven’t started again since. It isn’t Ozo’s fault. But I just don’t think in today’s NHL you can have defensemen who are either the traditional stay-at-home or offensive types. They really have to be able to play a positionally sound game and be able to transition quickly. That’s one reason Leetch was so great – he WAS a complete transition game in his prime. He could lay a good hip check on someone, then still be in position to take the puck and move it up ice and penetrate HIMSELF. Granted hes a Hall of Famer, but those are the kinds of players we need. I just hope there are guys like that somewhere in our system, because we sure dont have them now.

  4. To be clear, when I talk about being physically unable to perform, I’m not talking about bad teeth. By that measure, we’d be excluding almost all hockey players.

  5. alex–the way i took the ‘physically unable to’ comment to distinguish the difference between a guy that isn’t giving it 100% and a guy that simply isn’t good enough. all players have different limits and have to be viewed differently and there is a big difference between saying a player can/needs to give us more and a player is giving us everything he has but is that enough?

  6. my feeling is that (besides the obvious option of trades) there are about 5-6 kids that showed they are ready to get a shot during camp but were sent down because there was no room. i thought at the time that with this group of kids on the brink waiting in hartford certain vets would be finding themselves on the way out if they didn’t step up and those vets haven’t stepped up. its only logical that if the $2 mil vet can’t get the job done and you have a kid making $500k that can do the job (at worst the same as the vet) you eventually dump the vet and callup the kid.

  7. just look at tonight’s Penguin-Devils game to see that the new NHL is a young man’s league.

    The Pens have only 4 vets, and the rest are all young guys. And they are lighting up the Devils and Brodeur, which I love to see, after the Devils got skunked 8-1 their last game.

    The Rangers should bring up several kids. AND PLAY THEM. Stop treating them like unreliable, 4-minutes-a-night spare parts, and let them be key cogs in the team.

  8. 4Rangers/Leetch3 –

    Agreed. No reason Baranka, Dubinsky, Dawes, Girardi, Pock, Immonen, and even Moore should not be playing right now pver the dreck we have. I cant say whether Girardi, Baranka or Pock will ever be a top 3 defenseman. but I can say with complete certainty that Rosival, Rachunek, Malik, and Kaspar never will be.

  9. Renney and Sather are in a very tough spot. It’s really up to the players. There ain’t a lot Tom/Glen can do with most of the players on this roster. They can set an example by sending a player through waivers and hope they don’t get burned, they can make a trade or bench a player for a game or small stretch…

    Trading players when the team isn’t playing up to par ultimately means its harder to get equal trade value. On top of that, is it worth putting a player on waivers? Chances are, a guy like Malik would make it through waivers before a guy like Pock. Heck, Rosival would make it through waivers because of his latest contract. And if you put a player through waivers, are you on the hook for any of his contract if another team picks them up? (i’m ignorant here)

    Basically, Renney’s gotta make this squad work. If he can’t get them to play a team game, then, unfortunately, Renney’s going to end up getting the majority of the blame in the long run. I’m not saying that because I think Renney would deserve such blame…

    Also, I mentioned early in the season to look out for the Pens because they spent time at West Point, where we went last season. And… lo and behold, here come the pens. They are really bonding over there. While I’m no Pens fan, I can at least appreciate what’s going on over there – especially since lemieux isn’t involved.

  10. Neil –

    Sather, Maloney and Renney put themselves in this tough spot. Nobody held a gun to their heads and made them run out and sign Rachuneck and Roszival this year, or Malik last year. There are and were plenty of young defensemen in the system whtheyo could have at least competed for 1 or 2 of those spots. Similarly, this may have been a year where some of the young offensive talent was given a chance to really emerge. Edmonton, for example, has Sykora playing on a top line – not that we should have signed him – but he’s there along with a rookie who is being given every chance to develop into a top line player. The Rangers never develop any top line players because they never play anyone like Dawes on a top line. Instead they destroy these prospects and trade them away for washed up veterans. You don’t want to sacrifice your “youth movement”, Tom? Then how about giving Dawes a shot on Jagr’s line, where he’ll be a physical presence and snipe away off of some of Jagr’s great setups. Or how about letting Dubinsky center a fourth line, especially if they’re only getting 6-8 minutes/night. How about sending Rachuneck to Siberia and let Baranka get in there? We may still lose, but at least we’d be developing our future that way. This is just ridiculous.

  11. If a vet has to be sacrificed, I would hope it would be Malik rather than Kasper. Malik paired with Rosival was steady and reliable last year, but then again the forwards were more committed on defence, and I think we are missing the all around hustle of Ortmeyer and the smart positional play of D.Moore on a regular shift.
    Kasper when healthy keeps the opposition wary of flying down the wing.
    I would love for Pock to get a real chance to grow and I think he’s a better option on the PP at the point than Rosival. Quicker release and a heavier shot…

  12. Peter et all – I’d be a bit more insistant upon the kids getting the call, were it not for the AHL standings as published this week. Taking a quick glance, the Pack have managed ONE win, and that was an overtime shootout victory against the Sound Tigers. Mind you, I haven’t seen a single game, but it appears as though Girardi isn’t performing up to last year’s precident. Dubinsky hasn’t lit up the league as many of us thought he would and Immonen, while leading the team in points, is also leading with a gnarly -4 and goose egg in the goal column. I know all of these guys pretty much earned spots in training camp, but that was last month and this is the NHL, so the axiom is, what have they done lately?

  13. I don’t know – if you’re Immonen and you put forth the effort he has and show what he showed in the preseason, it’s gotta be tough to get sent to Hartford again. I’m sure he’ll get going again soon.

  14. the win-loss record of minor league teams is completely MEANINGLESS. for example, the Sharks minor league team was in Cleveland, now Worcester, and they usually had a poor or mediocre record, yet they developed many great young players mainly because the Sharks quickly give them key roles on the NHL team, and don’t bury them in the AHL, or waste spots on NHL vets. The same goes for the Buffalo sabres.

    the win-loss record of minor league teams mostly depends on how many AHL lifers they have to snipe goals. This year the Wolfpack has mostly all kids, and they are basically in training to learn Renney’s Ranger system play, which I think is the problem, because his “system” is geared toward Euro east-west Jagr-hockey, not the speedy, north-south transition hockey of the Sabres and Sharks.

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