I hear you

58

I try to read all of your comments, not only because I find them insightful, but also because there’s always a chance one of you is a wealthy long-lost relative who will offer to pay the rest of my mortgage.

In one sense, maybe we should be glad the Rangers are struggling to the extent that they are, since it gives us ample opportunity to analyze, debate, and lament the team’s myriad flaws. Compare that to a blog about the Buffalo Sabres, and we’d spend all our time talking about A) how the team shouldn’t change a thing because they’re awesome, and B) how much damn snow there is in Buffalo.

Anyway, I wanted to take the opportunity to respond to a couple of recurrent themes that have appeared here, and try to offer my take. I’m assuming some of you are going to disagree with me, and that’s good. If you don’t, then you’re just not paying attention.

  • Marcel Hossa. Despite what you may believe, the forward is not the worst player to ever lace up a pair of skates. Call me crazy, but I even think he deserves to be in the NHL. Now, that’s not to say the Rangers couldn’t find someone with perhaps a little more fire and offensive ability to take his spot in the lineup. But I have seen traces of a pretty effective checking forward in recent days, and if given more time to develop, that could come out even more. Does the team have that sort of patience? That’s a question for another day.
  • Toughness. I got into this a little last night, and some of you offered a pretty good response. My point: the Rangers definitely need to be more physical at both ends of the rink, but not at the expense of taking needless penalties that forces them to spend half a period short-handed. Your point: there is a middle ground where players can throw their body around with great effect, stick up for their teammates, but not end up in the box. Fine. If that’s the case, where do the Rangers sign up?
  • Jarkko Immonen and Ivan Baranka. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and with these two, it seems like the 100 miles between New York and Hartford have turned them both into Hall of Famers. To be sure, both were impressive in training camp, to the extent that I thought both had a chance to make the NHL this year. But with each gaffe by current Rangers, it’s as if Immonen and Baranka have turned into Mark Messier and Ray Bourque. Let’s be clear here: neither Immonen and Baranka could do much worse than some of the dead weight the Rangers are carrying now. And because they’re both young and their experience would sow seeds for the future, their time in New York would carry an extra benefit. But neither are exactly tearing up the American League right now, so if you think they’re the answers to the Rangers problems, guess again.
  • Tom Renney. At first I’d dismiss any call for the coach’s head by saying it’s far too early in the season. Then Ken Hitchcock gets fired in Philadelphia, and that argument pretty much gets tossed out the window. But what I will say is that whatever’s going on with this team right now, Renney deserves only a fraction of the blame. If you don’t like some of his lineup decisions, fine. I’m not crazy about some of them, either. But I also see a coach who is working deliberately for a reason. Maybe it’s because he wants to be sure about certain players before he makes a move one way or the other. Maybe it’s because he’s been given a mandate from above. But when you depict him as an inflexible coach beholden to veterans, you’re rushing to judgment. If this team is in the same state a few months from now, I still might not call for the coach’s head, but I would certainly be more critical. At this point in the season, though — especially after what this team did last year — the coach should be afforded more time.

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    58 Comments

    1. sorry, but I could make more of a case for Hitchcock not deserving to be fired, than I ever could for Renney. But to Sather and Dolan Renney probably looks like God after the likes of Campbell, Muckler, Low, Trottier, and Sather. Our standard for coaches has been so low (no pun intended) that we don’t even remember what it is like to have a really good coach.

    2. BTW, Renney’s tenure with Canucks was pretty bad as well and was one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL.

    3. sorry, Sam, but I disagree with you on all accounts.

      13 wins in 37 games since Feb.11 is not a panic response by fans. It is a reasoned, measured conclusion to 8 months of ineptitude bringing reminders of the previous 7-year drought. You don’t need any more months of observation or waiting, we’ve already had 8 months.

      Renney’s “Jagr system” of sissified east-west Euro-shinny will not work in a league of tough teams playing quick-strike, transition, north-south, bang-and-crash hockey.

      We don’t expect that kids will turn the Rangers around overnight. It will take a season. But if you’re willing to give Renney months more of patience, then why are you not willing to give a youth infusion and rebuild the same amount of patience?

      And as for Hossa, he is a poor NHL player who is taking a spot away from a Ranger prospect. That is the reason for the resentment of his presence. You say you have patience that he will become a good defensive forward. Again, you seem to have patience for him and for Renney, but not for bringing up Ranger prospects and Schonfeld and letting them have a year of patience instead.

    4. Well. The Rangers lose 4 straight last April to the Devils and now they are a Stanley Cup contender because they bought Shanny (37) A. Ward and Matt Cullen from the Cup Champs but really just role players. And added a 27 year old ex Senator dman named Rachunek???? Come on Coach Renney. Please don’t drink the koolaid!!! The Rangers are still a re build. We need to make room for young players and lose with them. Not with these brainless journeymen who have been coughing up the puck on defense thier whole careers. Rosival,Malik,Kasper, Rachuneck, are just as bad as they were in last years playoffs.(albeit Rachunek didn’t even play in the NHL Last year.

      The Power Play sucks because Rosival sucks as a point man.And he plays more the 50% of the PP time per game. I’ll never forget Rosival passing the puck on pp to Jagr repeatedly in Game 3 of the playoffs with Jagr always passing it back to him saying not me idiot I can’t shoot. My shoulder is seperated! But Rosival just kept passing it back to Jagr like a deer in headlights. Plus minus is a BS stat.
      Coach Renney please don’t drink the koolaid. Develop a true Ranger team from rookies.

    5. Fair points, all of them.

      But 4 Rangers, you keep referring to Renney’s “East-West shinny” system when the coach is the one trying to steer his players away from just that.

      It so happens that Jagr, Nylander, and Straka have played that way in the past and often to great effect. But even with them, Renney is looking for them to simplify, put more shots on goal and go hard to the net.
      If he’s not getting that message across strong enough, criticize him for that. But that’s not his system, either.

      Anyway, keep them coming…

    6. Sam –

      Nice response. While I am not as impatient as 4Rangers, I wholeheartedly agree with much of what he wants in a Rangers team.

      On Hossa – there is one major element of his game that is missing. banging. If he stopped turning away from opposing d-men a stride before he gets there, and he focused on shot blocking, and hustle, he would really be something to root for, until then, his place in this lineup is vulnerable at best.

      Toughness – watch the sabres. Watch the Hurricanes last year, watch the devils during their cup runs… heck watch the oilers in the 80s. I could go on and on about this, but winning hockey starts with grit and speed. This is not about isolated incidents or players but an overall team concept. “Tilting the ice.”

      Baranka and Immonen – I agree with you. I’m more interested in Baranka and beyond that I’m more interested in the development of guys like Korpikoski and Dubinsky. I’m not sold on Jessiman, G. Moore or Falardeau… beyond that Sauer and Staal and one or two other surprises… and I’m fine with them developing in Hartford for the next few months at the very least. Though Baranka, like Pock, is reaching the point in their development where remaining in the minors or stands could hurt them.

      Renney – I’m not sure he or the rest of management had a clear understanding of last season, the health of their star and their expectations for this year and it’s gotten the team off on the wrong note. The team really lacks definition in terms of roles and style and passion and now it’s a major uphill battle.

    7. Sam — My big problem is the lack of team toughness. It became a big problem in the second half last year and has spilled over to this season. Jagr gets punked every night without ANY retribution — whether that retribution is legal or illegal, thats cause for debate, but some way, somehow, these guys need to do what almost every other NHL team does. I remember specifically when Hollweg nailed Forsberg with a pretty legal hit last year. But he knocked him into next week, so lo and behold, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble, neither of whom are guys who fight or are that physical (Knuble’s big and plays hard, but he’s not a ‘tough guy’), both IMMEDIATELY jumped Hollweg. The message — you mess with our best player, you will pay. Just ONCE i’d like to see that from the Rangers. Or else Jagr will never get healthy and we’ll see more of the Jason Ward’s lying crumpled on the ice. I’m totally understanding of the fact that we cant afford to take any more penalties, but in a way, i think thats BS. If we have to protect our guys, so be it. In the end, that will foster more togetherness and will create more room for our good players. The alternative is to play sissified hockey where the Darcy Tucker’s of the world know they can do whatever they want and get away with it. Dont get me wrong, im not saying they should jump everyone who hits Jagr, but some sort of retalition, whether its a legal hit, or ONCE IN A WHILE, someone going after the other teams’ star, is necessary. I believe the games post Olympics and this season have proved that.

    8. I really miss Moore-Ort-Holliweg. They played with heart and soul. That issue is MUCH larger than anyone would like to admit.That line played in key parts of the game. They predominantly shut down the opponent on the shift after a Ranger goal last year. They kept the puck hemmed in behind the net for what seemed like hours. Wearing down the opponents defense over time.
      That is the type of line the Rangers need to assemble again. Even while we wait for Ort to play again. The bright side is that type of line is easier to put together than a scoring line. Find that combo in Hartford because Hall , Ward,Dawes, do not seem to be able to fill that role. It takes alot of sacrafice to muck the puck instead of running for the bench when the puck is in deep!

    9. Sam, Renney is just blowing smoke when he says that, because if he REALLY wanted to change player bad habits, he would BENCH those who don’t conform. Instead, guys who screw up don’t miss a shift. Last night, after Roszival gave the puck away for a morale-killing goal by trying that exact same east-west Euro shinny, he never missed a shift. In fact he was rewarded with more PP time afterward. And if Renney wants players not to play that way, then what is he doing playing Hossa, and not Orr?

      Discerning fans are not buying Renney’s smooth-tongued salesmanship, when his actions don’t match his words.

    10. “The Power Play sucks because Rosival sucks as a point man.And he plays more the 50% of the PP time per game. I’ll never forget Rosival passing the puck on pp to Jagr repeatedly in Game 3 of the playoffs with Jagr always passing it back to him saying not me idiot I can’t shoot. My shoulder is seperated! But Rosival just kept passing it back to Jagr like a deer in headlights. Plus minus is a BS stat.”

      Rozsival definitely is a terrible PP guy, but it takes a complete idiot of a coach to play Jagr in the playoffs after that shoulder injury, never mind playing him on top line and on 1st PP unit. I guess in his little world playing a totally disabled Jagr is more likely to win the game than spreading all that icetime around, he dug his own grave by relying on 1 player. This is a fricking team sport, we need a coach that understands that at least.

    11. Rozsival definitely is a terrible PP guy, but it takes a complete idiot of a coach to play Jagr in the playoffs after that shoulder injury, never mind playing him on top line and on 1st PP unit. I guess in his little world playing a totally disabled Jagr is more likely to win the game than spreading all that icetime around, he dug his own grave by relying on 1 player. This is a fricking team sport, we need a coach that understands that at least.

      I can’t disagree with you. Renney plays 5 guys 40% of the game. Very Very bad.

    12. “By the Way. When did Matt Cullen earn the role as a number 2 center in the NHL?? Who are we kidding with that?”

      when did Nylander earn #1 center role? When did Betts earn 3rd and now 2nd line center role? When did Straka and Rozsival become PP specialsts? It is all in Renney’s head.

    13. when did Nylander earn #1 center role? When did Betts earn 3rd and now 2nd line center role? When did Straka and Rozsival become PP specialsts? It is all in Renney’s head.

      I know. It’s absurd. This kid Pock scores a goal, shoots the puck every chance he gets to, and he sits. And when he plays, no PP time!!! I can’t be the only one seeing this!!! Tyutin-Pock on the point every night, on every PP. That is what I want to see with the choices on this squad.

    14. also if anybody remember last season especially in the 1st half Malik was often on the PP. In fact he got over 125 minutes on the PP last season. What other sane coach would have Malik on the PP?

    15. Come on. You Know why. Its the Jagr PP. No one else needed. lol.
      Now JJ has to compete with Shanny for the puck. And Shanny wants to stand in front of the net. But the JJ’s don’t know what to do with a player like that. Stand in front of the net?? “No No, we don’t do that in my country” JJ says. Pass to the point to Tyutin and Pock that’s what you do JJ and look for a rebound dude!!!

    16. Doodie Machetto on

      Nylander as a number 1 isn’t bad when he has Jagr on his wing. Point per game production is fine when it means that you rank 30th in points last season, 13th among centers, which is good when you consider some were the only guys who got any points for their teams last year (Crosby, Jokinen). You’ve got me on the rest.

      John M – I was JUST thinking about the HMO line yesterday. I feel like Cullen could be a GREAT replacement for Moore. This would require Renney to accept the fact that Cullen is not a scoring threat.

      Sam, I mostly agree with you. But can we all address the true problem aside from everyone hating all of the players and Tom Renney? The team is slow. They’re not fast enough to compete seriously in the “new” NHL. It’s not the grit and toughness(admittedly, that’s part of it) that makes Buffalo great- it’s that they are so FAST. I just watched them shutout the Islanders; they looked twice as fast as the Isles. Anyone who saw the Afinoganov goal knows what I’m talking about. He actually pulled away from the chasing defender with the puck on his stick! That’s how fast he is. You tell me anyone on the Rangers with any real speed. Here are the only possibilities:

      1) Straka – can be fast but he does it in such rare spurts that it doesn’t help.

      2) Cullen & Ward – They hustle, but have no hands.

      The worst part is that half of the defense are the four slowest skaters on the team!

    17. right on, man. That is exactly how I feel and felt all last season. It is the most pathetic, boring and predictable PP I ever seen. Isn’t hockey still entertainment? Shouldn’t they try to entertain their fans or do they think that raising the sticks at the same time in the air is enough?

      What can you expect from a team that plays Sweet Caroline when they win? Bunch of lethargic perimeter pussies. With a sleazy slimy coach.

    18. Incidentally, the Flyers won in a shootout over Atl. in their first game under their AHL coach, John Stevens.

      Of course, that can never happen here.

      And incidentally, Renney was a complete and total failure in Vancouver, and guess who got him fired? Mark Messier, that’s who. Mess was the Canucks captain at the time, and he didn’t like the Renney “system”. Gee, does that sound familiar?

    19. I totally agree that Cullen is almost a clone of Moore, only 4 years older and 2 million more expensive. Not a bad player, but way to go overpaying players left and right.

      I don’t know how Cullen got anything over 2 mil and how Rachunek got anything over 1.3 mil.

      Also I just love how casually Jagr skates to the bench whenever there is an odd man rush against us, our captain is just so committed to team defense it blows my mind.

    20. DM

      I think Cullen would be perfect in that role. Why do they think a player like Cullen is going to change after he has been producing the same way for years? Yet, the same minds put Nigel Dawes on the 4th line with no chance to succeed and then bench him in the latter parts of games for all the wrong reasons? Play the kid 15-18 minutes a night. If he stinks , we’ll know real quick!
      I like Coach Renney. I just think he has put the pressure that the tabloid predictions said the Rangers will be in the Finals this year on his players by the way he carves up the ice time.

    21. Doodie Machetto on

      They bought Cullen (at his inflated price) on the assumption that the team was headed back to the playoffs, and picking up a guy with ring would help them over the hump. He’s also fast, but he takes a TON of stick penalties (currently in a four way tie with Jagr, Hollweg, and A. Ward for team lead with 12 PIMs). Stick penalties are lazy defense, which explains why Jagr has so many, but Cullen should be playing more disciplined.

      Ortmeyer for Captain! (just kidding, but not really…)

    22. Anthony (Abev) on

      Hey pooh feel free to review the 96-97 canucks roster before you place all the blame on Renney.

      Maybe part of the problem is most fans only watch their team, and the only time they watch other teams is when they play the Rangers or catch 5 second highlights.

      Sam, good post tonight. Whether I agree with any of it or not is immaterial, you have views that you can back up with intelligent facts and first hand experience. Does it make you right? Who knows?

      The Rangers and other teams must think its the most comical thing they’ve ever heard when 1/2 of MSG is yelling “shoot”. I guess they best place to determine shooting lanes is somewhere in the 300’s? Maybe it will catch on. The fans at Yankee Stadium could be yelling “swing” when Arod steps up to the plate next season?

    23. Doodie Machetto on

      “The Rangers and other teams must think its the most comical thing they’ve ever heard when 1/2 of MSG is yelling “shootâ€?. I guess they best place to determine shooting lanes is somewhere in the 300’s? ”

      That goes double when it’s a 5 on 3 and patience is the most important thing.

    24. your 96-97 Canucks:

      Bure age 25
      Mogilny age 27
      Gelinas age 26
      Ridley age 33
      Naslund age 23
      Linden age 26
      Sillinger age 25
      Lumme age 30
      Noonan age 31
      Courtnall age 31
      Tikkanen age 31
      Aucoin age 23
      Babych age 35
      Bohonos age 23
      David Roberts age 26
      Walker age 23
      Hedican age 26
      Joseph age 27
      Brashear age 24
      Odjick age 26
      Rohlin age unknown
      Wotton age 23
      Murzyn age 30
      Semak age 30
      Mclean age 30
      Courville age 21
      Crowder age 28
      Hirsh age 24

      pretty damn good team if you ask me, most players’ age between 25 and 30

    25. shooting lanes??? come on. quick release beats goalies more time than not. You don’t have time to find a shooting lane when you quick release the puck and the goalie has no time to react.I say shoot more from the point and score more.

    26. Doodie Machetto on

      I forgot to mention that I agree that more shots need to come from the point, but the way to create the shooting lanes for them is with better movement of the puck and people driving to goal to draw defenseman/screen the goalie. skating in circles along the board just wastes your time and leads to a bad pass back to be broken up and taken in for a shortie.

    27. Question…

      Just for argument sake, let’s give Renney the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he needs time to get his system into the player’s heads and to weed out players not getting the job done. What’s a reasonable time table? The end of the road trip? And what are the markers? The indications? Is it merely wins? Is it the teams ability to shut down another team? What is it? With the current team as it is, what is reasonable to expect in terms of improvement, both system-wise, record-wise and personnel-wise?

      Sam, has the coach set any goals for any players or the team as a whole? Besides wins and losses? In other words, what are Renney’s standards for accountability? And as the beat writer, what standards are fair to apply here?

    28. Steve Sommers, who is the best guy on the FAN, is not happy about the Rangers being overly finesse and having no enforcer. RIGHT ON Steve. I don’t know what surprises me more, hearing the Rangers on the FAN or someone in the media actually saying this team needs some toughness.
      Now, I don’t necessarily think the team needs an enforcer, it’s the new NoHitLeague, I’d like one, but I’ve come to grips with it’s phased out. BUT, very very nice to see someone recognize this team needs at least some toughness and not a bunch of pansies that have other teams run roughshod all over them night after night.

    29. One issue that I’ve never heard mentioned is that Jagr dislocated (not separated… it’s different) his shoulder in the Devils series when he shouldn’t even have been on the ice. In the final 2 minutes of a game that was already lost, he was sent out to kill a penalty. There was absolutely no reason to expose him to injury at that point, none. Now I know that tradition says that you keep rolling your lines even when a game has been decided, but JJ hadn’t been killing penalties all year. Maybe he insited on going out and Renney didn’t want to make a scene with his star… but in any case, we are still paying the price for that inane decision, and that, along with the record since soon after the Olympic break last year (which is a long enough sample to have validity), a reversion to assigning ice time on factors other than merit, and observing how the players responded to his attempts at motivation this past week, are enough for me. It’s not going to get better without a change at the top.

      And I must add thanks to Sam for this blog, now my number one source for the latest on what’s happening in Rangerland.

    30. Vinny- Wasn’t Mess on that team? I think the names on that team are good, but a lot of those guys were either past their prime or not quite in it yet. I’m not defending Renney as a coach that year, and I question his moves all the time and I blame him for players not willing to stick up for eachother (Chinstraps post was right on!).

      Anyway, I put this post in the wrong blog entry, so I am reposting it here. If your read it already, you get a free rest for your eyes!

      Hey, Vinny, there’s a poster on Blueshirt Bulletin you’d get along great with! I think he might even beat you out for the “Straka and Betts Fan Club�! LOL By the way, I like Immo also, but he is struggling in Hartford. I don’t think we are at the point where we take a struggling AHL’er and immediately jump him to first line in the NHL.

      I also disagree with your assessment of Nylander. Yes, the guy is soft, but you can’t have a team filled with all the same type of players. I think that was one of the reasons Rucinsky and Sykora were let go. We had two offensive lines that played the same way. I have confidence that a Shanahan based second line will eventually give us a balanced attack. Nylander does things that no other players on our team can do. Yes, he can be frustrating at times, but he can find players (especially Jags) where no one else can. He also can sneak up on players and pick their pockets. I counted at least 4 takeaways by him alone. I love physical players as much as anyone, but I personally think he has been one of our better players overall.

      On Lundquist’s Struggles: As a goaltender/goaltender coach the big difference I’ve noticed with Hank this year is the fact that he is going down too soon. Yes, he’s a butterfly goalie, but last year he anticipated a lot better and stood his ground. He looked like that in pre-season, so I would think it is a confidence issue and that it will sort itself out as he gets more defensive support. Going down early is a bad habit, but even our goaltending coach can’t boost his confidence. Watch him next game and look to see if he is going down on shots early. The only technical problem I see with him is that when he doesn’t use the butterfly he is dipping one knee when a shot comes, which is opening the five hole where several goals have dribbled in. Again, this wasn’t a problem last year. This can be worked on in practice, but the confidence issue might be in effect here as well. If he isn’t sure when to go down, he might hesitate and this is kind of an in between move.

      All in all, I think there have been some valid points made. The number one issue that everyone is dead on about is that Jags and Lundquist (and Prucha) were the reason we dominated early last year. If you believe that these three will not resume playing to their abilities, then I can see why your outlook is so bleak. I, for one, am under no such illusion.

      It’s not even Halloween yet. Successful teams face adversity and overcome it. We faced it at the end of the year and never were able to recover. I’d much rather have us struggle early and finish strong. If not, then we can burn Renney in effigy and jettison everone on the team and sign up the Pee Wee national champions to show how serious a committment to youth is needed.

    31. The 4 takeaways by Nylander were in the Florida game. Not that it helped, but he created chances every time he did it.

      I defend Nylander, I know, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Swedes.

    32. pure enforcers/goons are obsolete, I want team toughness.

      To get shooting lanes open you need fast and accurate puck movement, not the patty cake BS.

      Immonen got 4 points in 5 games that leads the team, I wouldn’t call that struggling yet, but their whole team is struggling scoring goals and winning games.

      Messier was on Canucks the following season when he helped Renney boy get canned.

      What I want from Nylander at least is some Grezky-like passes/assist, because almost none of Nylander’s passes make you go “wow what a pass! what a vision!” Most of his passes are simple routine short passes. And is finishing checks too much to ask?

      Jagr killing penalties is only a bit more funny than Shanahan killing penalties.

    33. Hossa isn’t taking a spot from a rookie. Is Dawes really better off with 5-8 minutes of ice time here than he would be with 20 in Hartford?
      Would Immonen be better off with 5-8 here than Hartford?
      It’s a tough question, but I don’t think so.

      I don’t think we have room for Immonen. We have enough of what he is in our forwards right now. We need some brute force, we have plenty of scoring.

      Baranka, though… yeah. And Jessiman, almost. He’s been playing well, but is still about two years behind where we’d need him to be. But he’s going to be physical, at least. Finally not looking like a bust…

    34. Vinny pooh, team toughness never works. there is no such thing. the flyers tried that this year and look at where it got them, at the bottom of the atlantic divison.

    35. There’s one thing the Rangers need: a rock-solid Lundqvist. A lot of the team’s short-comings were brushed under the carpet last year because Henke saved their asses night in and night out. But for some reason he hasn’t been able to do that yet this year.

      It’s no surprise that since the Olympic break last February the Rangers have won only something like 12 games out of 40. And the post-Olympic stretch was also when Lundqvist started to falter a little. Coincidende? I think not.

    36. Neil asked about what’s a fair standard for the road trip. I say four points. You figure Phoenix is a must-win, as is, to a lesser extent, L.A. Both Anaheim and San Jose are going to be tough, especially since it’s back-to-back, and especially if a rusty Weekes plays in one of those games.

      Bear in mind, those are my standards. The team has been much more vague with us.

    37. Hi Folks !

      I have the perfect solution for an enforcer for the Rangers who hold players responsible for taking liberties on Rangers´star players !:)

      Do you want me to elaborate on this ????

    38. re:shanahan–good think renney continues to overplay him and ride him into the ground. i mean that worked so well come playoff time last year with jagr and i’m sure shanny at 37 will hold up so much better. i hope no one is surprised when he gets hurt because he’s playing too much

      re:baranka & immonen–sam, it isn’t that people think baranka and immonen will be saviors and step in to be superstars but rather feel that even in the worst case scenario they can’t possibly be worse than we are currently getting. there is a saying “young players get better, old players just get older”…guys like malik and rozsival can get out of their slumps but basically what you see is what you get, they aren’t gonna suddenly get that much better at this stage. baranka on the other hand will get better. so basically it comes down to you can lose now with malik and gain nothing for the future or you could possibly also lose with baranka and pock but in the process those 2 establish themselves and you are better off down the road.

      if the vets aren’t even competent and you have kids that can do the same job or better for a fraction of the price it only makes sense both from the salary cap and looking at the big picture to make those moves.

    39. Sam…Sam is that you…wow I have a ton of mone…wait..your not teh right same…oh well…pay for your own house :) THE POWER PLAY: I know its not great…but it is teh 10th best in the NHL right now…withough Shanny and with Prucha on the 1st unit last year it was one of the best, so adding Shanny makes it bad?? Everyone says they miss the HMO line…well yeah, but why is it when Hossa plays a high spiritewd game everyone bashes him for not getting any points…how many points did Moore orts and Hollweg get again? I know I am known for my sunny outlook on things, but sometimes it seems everyone is TRYING to find bad things. The Rangers are NOT palying good right now, but to bash on things like not having Moore, liek he would really make a difrence, and if anyone points out how Pit is doing, well dont, its not Moore, its Crosby, and Malkin, and Staal not Moore. Maybe when Orts gets back he and Hollwegg can play together, and who knows who plays with them…maybe Orr, or Hossa…but that dosnt matter yet. Also on Hossa, whu is a guy that is finally using his size and bagging some bodies when he gets the chance, and he fights along the boards, he works hard every shift, and kills penalties fairly well, and his +/- is deciving, most times HIS player is tied up and cant help the team score and its another paler who misses an assignment and the gaol is scored. People need to back off a hard working guy who is just trying his herat out to find a way to fit in and help the team.

    40. I would LOVE to see Immonen replace Betts and see if he can do a better job. I mean Betts hasnt even been good with faceoffs…and thats what he helped with so much last year, it helped on the PP and teh PK, since the Rangers arnt winning faceoffs I bets a few gaols have been scored that last year wouldnt have been, and a few gaols havnt been scored that would have. Just my take. And as for Baranka, well, lets start with getting Pock in, and see if Ozo can play better as he gets more into game shape…he had a decent game the other night. If they work out that you can get rid of two deadwood vet defenders…THAN if it still isnt good enough bring up another palyer…but he may be better off with another year of seasoning int he AHL

    41. But I don´t want to be penalized by the webmaster of this blog for a violation of the code of conduct !:)

    42. DoodieMachetto on

      I agree with you Leetch3. And the last part of Colorado Mark’s post is good- its still early. Remember how bad the Devils were until mid Janurary and then they won the division? Granted, we’re not going to have an Elias join the team midway through the season, but they can still right the ship.

      Wildcard – are you sure you’re watching the right Hossa? And the benefit of the HMO line wasn’t points. It was keeping the puck in the other team’s zone, wearing down their defenders and keeping their first line off the scoreboard.

    43. Devils righted the ship when they got rid of a useless coach. Good teams do that often, bad teams cling on to mediocre coaches for their dear life.

      Hossa has been playing very well, still want to see him use the body more, whith his size he can be a great hitter. And he needs to work on his hand quickness when handling the puck.

    44. I don’t think Renney is the problem, and some of the prospects we saw in training camp still need time to develop. Toughness would help, but pushing and shoving someone for making a clean check on Jagr isn’t exactly going to stop them from doing it again, and I don’t think anyone is recommending we start breaking sticks over players heads. Lundqvist is looking a bit pedestrian these days, but thats a small problem when compared to the defensive lapses and high number of shots against. With the win over Washington aside, the Rangers are lucky to be 4-5. This team needs a wake-up call, and needs one fast. But who is going to come and save the day, and why would any other team want our baggage? If things continue on like this, I say accept the fact that we are going to miss the playoffs again, and start rebuilding for next year. Maybe its a bit early in this season to hit the panic button, but its something that we should have done last year instead of kidding ourselves. We lost 9 straight including the playoffs and are now 4-14 in the last 18 games. 3 of which, in my mind, were lucky.

      Sam, you da man! I haven’t been able to go a single workday without spending time on your blog!

    45. DoodieMachetto: Yeah I am watching the right Hossa…if you dont see a guy that hustles and has started to fit in as a checking wingger, and who is using his body more, that YOU my friend are NOT watching the right Hossa. If I remember correctly two games ago the only line for teh Ragners that kept the puck in deep had HOSSA on it, in fact I was thinking that it should be a perminant line, than Renney changed it, but thtas when he moved Hossa up a line…most likely he was impressed with his work ethic. I THINK the line was Hossa/Ward/Hollweg but I am not 100 percent sure, Dawes may have ben tere instead…DAWES is another guy who has started for a shift here and there to through his body around, maybe thats why he is on the lower lines…dont know…..but he is palying with more heart, doing his best to keep in the right places at both ends of the ice.

    46. Why do people act like you can string together a reconr from last season to this…that would say the Hurricans are doing great because of thier record to end last year and start this year…or Detroit because tehy look so good over their last 25 to 30 games. This term is a difrent team, not the same team, after a summer off. the rangers are 4-5 Not 4-14…and I say the rangers are unlcky at times and almost everyone says its not luck that makes teh puck bounce over their sticks, its bad positioning and such, but that alot of peopel say some of the wins were lucky wins. SO the rangers can have good luck, but not bad? Crazy if you ask me

    47. it is not crazy, peaople are just trying to make a point that the cup is half empty. IMO there is more than a very good case against Renney. CRazy would be to think Renney is great because we got 100 points last season and finally made the playoffs.

    48. And the fact that he was nominated for coach of the year is totally meaningless because he never would have been nominated if we made the playoffs in previous season(s).

    49. Just to clarify, I’m not saying that the records should be strung together, and I understand their the not same teams, but my point is that they have lost their way. They were not playing fundamentally sound hockey at the end of last season, and they haven’t done it this season either. Seperate seasons, seperate teams, bad hockey.

      There are bad bounces and there are good bounces alike, but good teams find ways to win even when it feels like the ice is tilted and the refs are cross-eyed.

    50. Sam,

      I was at the game against Fla. The view from the TV is certainly better, but the full “flavor” of the play can’t be appreciated unless you’re their in person. And the flavor on Weds. was definately RANCID.

      As for Hossa: he’s big and he’s tough to push around but, he doesn’t play a physical game and I’ve seen better hands on a clock. I’m sure he’ll score sometime – probably by accident. But the DNA that his parents passed along to brother Marcel was not the same. Either that or his mother spent her pregancy drinking scotch and chain-smoking Marlboros. He may not be the worst player on the ice, but he’s definately the most frustrating to watch.

      Renney must be looking for something and I appreciate that he’s searching. But why not leave the line combos that played well together in Toronto.

      I blame much of the defensive breakdowns on a cultural issue. The defense – especially Rozival – must have heard about our American custom of giving candy away free to strangers at the end of October. They figured if candy was good, the puck was a better gift!

      Keep up the good work on this blog!!!

    51. Everyone says they miss the HMO line…well yeah, but why is it when Hossa plays a high spiritewd game everyone bashes him for not getting any points…how many points did Moore orts and Hollweg get again? I know I am known for my sunny outlook on things, but sometimes it seems everyone is TRYING to find bad things. The Rangers are NOT palying good right now, but to bash on things like not having Moore, liek he would really make a difrence, and if anyone points out how Pit is doing, well dont, its not Moore, its Crosby, and Malkin, and Staal not Moore. Maybe when Orts gets back he and Hollwegg can play together, and who knows who plays with them…maybe Orr, or Hossa…but that dosnt matter yet. Also on Hossa, whu is a guy that is finally using his size and bagging some bodies when he gets the chance, and he fights along the boards, he works hard every shift, and kills penalties fairly well, and his +/- is deciving, most times HIS player is tied up and cant help the team score and its another paler who misses an assignment and the gaol is scored. People need to back off a hard working guy who is just trying his herat out to find a way to fit in and help the team.

      …………….
      WildCard has a point. BUT.
      I have been very critical of the Rangers MAIN role players this year by comparing them to last years role players.
      MOH was light years better than any line combo put out this year to do the same job. Who are the players being used this year to do that job? Holliweg,Hall,Betts,Ward,Hossa,Dawes..in different combinations.

      None of them work so far. The line that serves the same purpose as the HMO line is responsible for grinding down the opposition night after night. Softening up the defense so to say. After they are done, The elite players are suppoed to have a marginally easier time at beating those same opposition players to lose pucks and find it easier to score a few goals. This years combinatios have not worked so far. Hossa looks and plays big on one shift then diisapears for the next three most nights. Ditto Hall,J.Ward,Orr. Dawes doesn’t belong period in my opinion, on a grind line. Holliweg does his job. Ortmyer is missed big time. Moore had a role thats all. He plays it well this year in Pit. and he did last year as a Ranger. That role is what benefits Malkin and Crosby today. But no longer for the Rangers.

    52. The HMO guys didn’t get a lot of points, but they created energy which seemed to flow to the next shifting lines. That’s what your 4th line’s got to do and Hossa doesn’t do it. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and Hossa will figure it all out – but I doubt it. To paraphrase the immortal Casey Stengel, “We’ve got this guy Hossa and he’s 25 years old. In ten years he’s got a chance to be 35.”

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