Post-game musings


Sorry for the delay in posting, but it’s good to see you all aren’t taking the loss hard…

A couple of quick thoughts before I keel over from exhaustion:

  • I actually switched up and ventured over to the Panthers’ locker room to talk to Gregory Campbell, who I actually wrote about when he was in high school, and who, of course, torched the Rangers for that Don Maloney-style mid-air deflection in the second period. One thing you forget but that was quickly made apparent by the Panthers jubilant post-game mood: EVERY team comes into the Garden wanting to stick it to the home team. And then there’s the the Rangers, who are currently playing just to avoid looking like fools, and it’s a sorry combination. And by that, I mean the Rangers end up looking like fools anyway.
  • Karel Rachunek is minus-9. What’s Czech for “I hear Hartford is lovely this time of year”?
  • Reason for Rangers fans to be depressed No. 9,746: Henrik Lundqvist said after the game that the puck is looking small these days. Maybe that’s not a surprise given the results of late (although you can’t peg it on him), but it certainly doesn’t help.
  • Reason for Rangers fans to be depressed No. 12,756: Back-to-back games next week against Anaheim and San Jose.
  • You all want to talk about toughness, have at it. Here’s the one thing to consider: This team can’t be pushed around if it expects to win. No argument on that. But it’s certainly not a team that can win by spending any more time in the box than it already does.

    With that in mind, I should mention Colton Orr spent the second and third periods sitting behind me in the press box. Word is he’s so discouraged by his lack of ice time, he’s thinking about getting into sports writing.

    You know, mostly for the money and the chicks…

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    1. You can play tough without sitting in the penalty box. You can have a couple defensemen that would actually take the body. You can have an Orr in the lineup to do his duty after every Ranger gets run. Would you rather an occasional 2 minute instigator or a Ranger eventually getting injured from being run over (Jason Ward tonight, Jagr every night, Nylander before that)and missing the rest of the season due to injury?
      Teams are running wild against the Rangers, physically, and translating to the scoreboard because they simply aren’t being punished and are running free.

    2. Anaheim has big guys that take the body. Fedoruk, Pronger, big guys like O’Donnell, Getzlaf, Penner, O’Brien. I don’t see it hurting them.

      San Jose with Bell, McLaren, Grier, Bernier, Michalek, Davison

      Buffalo’s undefeated. Anyone remember a Gaustad tossing Rangers around? Andrew Peters isn’t hurting that team, and he’s a fan favorite. Adam Mair. The Sabres don’t let other teams punish them.

      I’m not saying the Rangers need goons, but they have NO defensemen that take the body. Other than Hollweg they have no forwards that will dish out a big hit. Teams run free around this team, and it amplifies the struggles they already have when no one on this team has any type of balls.

    3. If Orr can’t skate at an NHL level get someone who can. Get rid of Hossa bring up Dubinsky. Free up a 3rd line spot for another grinder and non-vagina, and get a d-man that can actually take the body and play in the new NoHitLeague. A couple hard skating hard hitting grinders with heart would do this team a lot of good. Teams will continue punishing the Rangers night after night knowing there is nothing and nobody to answer to.

    4. Chris Neil of Ottawa is a tough guy who also has the skill to play on the top lines. They should try to get him.

    5. Sam –
      Great read. I agree that this team can’t spend more time in the penalty box. And, as much as I like Orr, I actually don’t think he’s the answer to a growing problem.

      Renney has always been right when he refers to team toughness. Team toughness starts with a willingness to sacrifice the body. That means blocking shots, grinding, claiming the crease and demanding respect for your teammates.

      Also, if you remember a few games back Ryan Hollweg got a penalty for throwing a clean check and Renney said he’ll gladly kill that penalty every single time. That’s exactly what’s missing. I’m not talking about retribution. There’s no point in dressing a player who gets 2 minutes of ice and 10 in the box.

      Let’s flip it around for a moment… if you don’t slow down the opposing team with the body, then you end up doing it with the stick… (what the league is actually cracking down on)

      Hall, Hossa, Betts, J. Ward etc have to elevate their games… otherwise… they shouldn’t play. Who needs a big guy who plays small and scores once a month? If Renney believes these guys are fulfilling their roles, then their roles aren’t big enough to be NHL jobs.

      And yes, by all means, stay away from stupid retaliations. This isn’t about retaliations, it’s about going out from the drop of the puck and claiming some space, tilting the ice. A team needs to impose its will out there, with speed and grinding. Do that and defense becomes easier, the entire game can be simplified and then the Jagr line can go out there and create some magic too.

    6. Sam,

      Any players on teams that the Rangers play on the West Coast that are rumoured to be available or that people in the organization are talking about?

      Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually thought Hossa had some good, aggressive shifts. I don’t think he’s a real problem; he’s just not his brother.

      And what’s the deal with Kaspar? Really just recovering, or is something else going on? Like maybe he’s pregnant?

    7. I am totally fed up with Renney and his brand of hockey and his managment of players.

      Young players get screwed, while vets get way too much icetime. The likes of Betts on 2nd line, as if 3rd line wasn’t bad enough.

      Renney is a pathetic coach, he should go coach in Europe after he gets fired.

    8. Hossa has no business being on the roster. He has gone 42 consecutive games without an assist. That is almost without precedent in the annals of the NHL for a forward. It means that whatever line he is on will not generate any offence except through individual effort and that’s a recipe for failure. He is also minus 20 since Feb. 10 and only Rachunek has more this year. He is not an offensive threat and he can’t supply the grinding energy in the offensive zone you need from a fourth-liner. Any other coach would have kicked him off the team long ago in favor of trying others who just might bring something to the table. He was a first round draft choice at Montreal and was given every possible opportunity there. They finally dumped him for a part-time but reliable fourth-line grinder who can also kill penalties well. Renney doesn’t get it and so he insists on playing with 11 forwards every night. Renney doesn’t get a lot of things and that’s the root problem there.

    9. Tom Renney is not the problem. People always rush to lay the blame on the coach. Renney was a finalist for coach of the year last year; let’s not forget that. When was the last time a Rangers coach won the Adams? Well… it’s NEVER HAPPENED.

    10. Why, for the love of everything, was Rachunek out on the PK? Given his terrible +/-, I was suprised to see him even dressed up in last nights game….

    11. And! Why, for the love of everything, are Straka & Rosival on the point of the PP?? And!, not much better is Jagr and Shanny playing patty cake with the puck 10 ft from each other and being defended by one PK’er. there is a lot I don’t know about hockey but it just seems like commen sense to spread out with the man advantage get the PK moving to create some lanes and shots on goal, which isn’t happening.
      They won some games early last year b/c the PP was working and nobody could touch a healthy #68. Frustrating not to see an adjustment.
      And VERY disappointing to see nobody retaliate against Ollie for shoving Prucha or Roberts having his way the whole OUR building!

    12. It’s really hard to watch this team get beat up on continually and they do nothing about it! Losing is bad enough, but at least have some dignity!! We’re in for a long season, I’m afraid.

    13. I’ve never been a fan of the +/- rating myself. But in Rachunek’s case, it seems to be pretty telling. I didn’t catch the whole game, but the part I did, the defense did NOT look like a group of guys fighting for their jobs in New York. With exception to Aaron Ward, they all looked beyond abysmal. Malik was cemented to the ground. Kasparatis looked invisible. Tyutin seemed to be frequently out of position. Then there was Roszival and Rachunek. When I played organized hockey, just one blind lob to the center in the defensive zone would grab you the rest of the game on the bench. Now, were the aforemention pass to result in a goal, there was a good chance you wouldn’t be dressing the next game. This is Hockey 101 and certainly something that NHLers worth their salt should know. In both cases, they could have banked the puck off the boards, then it’s a 2-2 game. And on Campbell’s goal, why wasn’t he tarred and feathered for hanging out in the crease? If Renney has some smarts, both Roszival and Rachunek will start the road trip sitting.

      The more I see these guys play the more I realize how valuable Moore and Ortmeyer were to the squad last year. They were in essence, third defensemen. And while one gone might not have changed much, having them both absent has noticably changed this team’s chemistry, as there’s hardly any back check on any of the lines now. Before, at least third and fourth did their part. With how quick rushes can move in this game, it’s necessary to have at least one line of highly mobile back checkers.

      As for the talk of sending this guy or that guy to Hartford and bringing up (insert rookie name), there’s simply no room on th Pack roster and from looking at the stats, it doesn’t look like they’re having much better luck with holding the blue line. So given all this, here’s my couchside coaching advice for this team:

      First, they need a bonafide second-line center to feed Shanahan and Prucha, allowing Nylander to go back between Jagr and Straka. Is that center Immonen or Dubinsky? Probably not at this point, regretably. Still, it couldn’t hurt to try at this point. Second, it’s time to realize that Blair Betts is a fourth liner, period. And if he can’t both win faceoff and clear the crease, then his tenure here should be short. Third, this logjam of defensemen must be cleared and cleared quickly. Having eight guys is doing nothing to solidfy this team, especially seeing as though the majority of them aren’t or can’t skate anymore. And lasty, the third and fourth lines need to understand their roles as back checkers and bangers. If they can’t get the job done, then they should be showed the door. Lastly, lock the team in the dark room and force them to watch the Buffalo Sabres’ first nine games; take notes.

      On a post script, Renney needs to find pairings and lines, then stick with them. The time for shifting guys around was during training camp. Now is time to develope chemistry.

    14. Yeah… Rangers should fix the defense Malik, Rozy and Rchuneck just have to go all 3 of them Ozo, Pock and Baranka should be in. And Rangers will not be a competitive team until they start hitting and hitting hard. Oh and did you guys see, on top of things Henrik almost scored a goal on himself- that would have been funny, Rachuneck and Rozy have assists on Panters goals and Henrik scores his own goal. Kaspar should be given a review also he is just not there … Our decent defensmen are Ward and Tyutin it hurts….our ONLY defensmen

    15. The sad thing is Hossa has 42 games with no assists… but he’s been one of the best players on the ice for those 42 games.

      He’d been one of the best the last month of last season.
      And he’s been one of the best this season. Very few, if any, of those -‘s are his fault.

      But his scoring is literally nonexistent, even though he’s made some great plays and taken more shots per minute than most of our other forwards.

    16. And I still think Rachunek isn’t as bad as his +/- shows, relative to other players. He played poorly last night, but for the most part he’s been slightly better than Malik and Rosival, he’s just never on the ice with a scoring unit.

      However, being better than Malik and Rosival doesn’t mean playing well. Just means, as far as this team goes, he’s in the middle of the pack. His +/- is out of whack with the rest of the defense.

      I’d shed no tears over his demotion, especially given his huge salary. But right now I only like Pock and possibly Kasparitis.

    17. Krill, you’re right! If they started hitting, they’d remember that when you hit, it opens up the ice so you CAN skate!!

      Sam-If you get the ear of Renney, can you please suggest another outing to the West Point team building thing they did last year? It seems to me this team needs it again!!

    18. Forget West Point, this team doesn’t seem like it would bond in Fallujah.

      Renney should bench Jagr. That might send a message. Might.

      Sam, any word on Ortmeyer’s health?

    19. 1. If you notice Panters targeted J.Ward – why? Cuz in Toronto he was the key to our victory, his line was the scoring line, he can light it up with phisical play- you take him out the line is dead- Nylander can not hit, Dawes is way too small to make room on ice. Jagr had made a great play on Pruchas goal – but he is not there and at this point I doubt he will ever going to get back into his last season’s form.

      2.I also happen to think it is not only the team’s fault since I have not heard any sane comment from Renney yesterday after game. TOM it is not components who should play physical – it is the team as a whole starting with guys from last year. Game vs NJ was the only game when the whole team was dishing out hits like their life depended on it.

      3.Note to fans DO NOT expect hits and fights from Shanny, Hall, Cullen and Ward since they are the new comers they will do whatever the core of our team does. Our guys from last year should lead the way – if they play soft why would Shanny or Hall or Cullen would want to sacrifice their bodies??? For who??? For Blue sweater or for team that lets itself to be pushed around and a trainer who says it is OK (he has components to deal with it). And just who are they Tom, do you know??? Where were they yesterday or in Toronto???

    20. I’ve read everyones comment and it still adds up to what I said earlier. This team looks just like the teams I have seen the past seven years before the strike, old, slow and soft. It appears last year was a smoke screen. This team is not going to make the playoffs case closed unless the front office does something about it and we all no that track record.

    21. Renney and his staff is the main problem. Not much will change unless they get fired. We need a coach who is all about action, not words, coach that demands physical play, hustle, offense and defense from everybody. A coach that has half a brain to realize that PP is not working especially with Straka and Rozsival. Coach that is willing to play young guys and trust them in all situations. Coach that realizes that Betts is at best a 4th liner. Coach that punishes and rewards players for their play, unlike Renney who just kept on playing ROzsival after that turnover as if nothing ever happened.

      Also I don’t think Hossa and Rachunek are a problem, yet. Rachunek’s minuses are more from the lack of scoring from the 3rd and 4th lines. Hossa is not going to get many points if he doesn’t have a decent center who can pass and score, not Betts and Hollweg.

      Betts once again was bad on faceoffs and his line didn’t score. Hollweg once again is at center when he should be a LW. Prucha once again demoted and with under 13 minutes of icetime. Straka yet again with over 22 minutes of icetime.

      I give up on Renney, he is so clueless and assbackwards that it is hopeless.

    22. I also see other teams like buffalo, pittsburg and others who are looking really good with young players from 19-22 years of age. This team is the same crap sather has done for years. Sather brings in old or soft and small players either through free agency or trades. I keep hearing that the rangers young players in the farm system aren’t ready for the NHL. Is it because either there not good enough because of poor drafting or they are good enough to play on the rangers but sather’s philosophy of getting old veterans that are either soft, slow and past there prime.

    23. BTW, we are currently 13th in the East. Is Pat Burns healthy? Or how about Jagr’s favorite coach Kevin Constantine?

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