What to watch for: L.A. edition


Other than the outside chance that they’re looking to launch a film career (“Blair Betts…Jason Ward….in…..THE PENALTY KILLERS”), the Rangers objective in Hollywood tonight doesn’t extend far beyond two points.

And you figure they’re going to need it. The team has Halloween off tomorrow, but then faces back-to-back games against the formidable Ducks and Sharks. Throw in a home game Sunday against the Sabres, and my advice to the Rangers is to really try to win tonight. I mean REALLY try. Seriously. Stop laughing.


OK, so maybe that’s all easier said than done. There are reasons the Rangers haven’t won two straight games since the first two games of the season, and one is that the team hasn’t been all that impressive so far. True, they were against the Coyotes on Saturday, but there seems to be some debate over whether “the Coyotes are still technically part of the NHL”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2006/10/29/never-discount-the-importance-of-psychology/.

Meanwhile, the 3-8-2 Kings aren’t much of an improvement, and as he hinted yesterday, Tom Renney is going with the exact same lineup tonight, from the goaltender on out. You can decide if that’s something you agree with. My guess it will depend on the end result.

Anyway a couple of other things to keep tabs on:

  • Colton Orr: If the Rangers’ enforcer is going to play at the expense of one of the team’s most promising prospects, you would hope it would be for more than four minutes of ice time. But that’s all Orr saw against the Coyotes. I’m not sure if that should make a scratched Nigel Dawes feel better or worse.
  • Aaron Ward: Who needs Brian Leetch? The first-year Ranger defenseman had a goal and two assists against the ‘Yotes, but he and everyone else around the team knows his point production is practically irrelevant. More important is he has been the team’s steadiest defenseman (with a team high plus-7 rating), not to mention one of its most galvanizing personalities.
  • Henrik Lundqvist: Meanwhile, should you be worried that the King let in three goals against the woeful Coyotes? Hardly. One was a flukey shot to open the game, the other two came in garbage time. Still, Lundqvist has been only good to start the year, with his only standout performance — outside of shootouts — coming in a win over the Devils. The team needs its No. 1 goaltender to be better. But it also needs to see less of him. My guess is Kevin Weekes will play one of the next two games after tonight.

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    1. HockeyBasedNYC on

      I figured Lundqvist would start tonight. With two back to back games coming Wednesday and Thursday i’m thinking Renney will give Henrik off 2 days and start him against the Sharks hoping that Weekes can come in and steal one in red-hot Duckland.

      If not, they have their number one going to close out the trip which can be a successful one if they can do the job tonight.

      Plus it allows Henrik to go out and party tomorrow night. I’m sure Hollweg has the California nightlife down pat.

    2. Tonight would be the night to put in Weekes. He’s rusty and I wouldn’t want him up against the explosive Ducks or Sharks.

    3. HockeyBasedNYC on

      Don’t agree pruchs, i think this is the right move. Two points are on the table. As Sam pointed out, with three very tough games ahead i would want Henrik in this one to give you the best possible chance to pick up two points going into those games.

      What happens if Henrik gets blown away in Anahiem, things get very complicated then.
      Weekes will have no pressure on him in the Anahiem game, where tonight he would, think about it.

    4. I see what you’re saying but Henrik hasn’t been sharp. We need to work Weekes in. I think the sooner the better.

    5. 4 Minutes into the game. 6 Minutes of horse—- minor penalties for basically nothing. Even Rob Blake’s penalty was garbage. He bent down for the hipcheck and didn’t even make contact, the Ranger went down trying to avoid it. Wow, Refs and the NHL really has gone down the tubes the last few years. My God.

    6. Why is Blair Betts on the second line? Better yet, why is he in the NHL at all?? And it’s funny how many deadweights we have on defense who can’t keep up with the speed of the new NHL. I think Renney feels stupid for not keeping Staal around for a little longer. He would be a big improvement for some of these guys.

    7. Those of you who went to bed already, my advice to you is this: stay asleep. Actually, I should modify that: those of you FANS who went to bed already. Ranger players, this might actually be a good time to wake up.

    8. they give up 21 shots on goal in the 1st period. yeah, looks like the desert dogmeat was more of the reason Sat., not the Rangers.

    9. “Rangers are being outshot here 20-5″ Ha.

      “They came out flying and we weren’t ready. I don’t know what happened” Assistant coach. Wow that inspires confidence.

      Note to Jagr, Nylander, Straka. It wouldn’t hurt to play defense for 4 seconds a game.
      Rozsival and Malik. You are embarrassing to watch.
      Betts: You are useless.

    10. Okay, the only thing worse than that period was having to listen to the Kings announcers:
      “Tyutin got hit.”
      “Darn Tyutin he did!” (Groan)
      “Well it’s that time of year, so you have to ask, what exactly does Kasparitis mean?”
      “It means a fear of friendly ghosts!” (Shoot me right F%#*ing now!)

      1. Lundquist was okay, but still is going down before any shot.
      2. Jagr hasn’t connected one pass yet.
      3. I only want to keep Ward and Tyutin on our D, although I still think Kaspar would be a mistake to give up on. How many people were hoping he and Malik would stay in the box forever?
      4. Ticky tack penalties are killing us.
      5. Only one good shift the entire period, Prucha, Ward and Hall cycling towards the end.
      6. Rozy blew a break out pass and has been a pylon for the speedy kings.

      1. er, it’s only 0-2?
      2. um, it’s not Halloween yet, so no need to be scared, right?

    11. Those of you arguing that Weeked should be in goal because Hank and the Rangers are struggling sound like all those Mets fans who used to try to convince me that Steve Trachsel was a good guy to have in the rotation. Im sure Kevin is a great guy and solid locker room presence, but he is wildly inconsistent and comes across as somewhat of a head case.

      Besides, malik, rozy, kaspar and the crew just can’t stop giving the puck away. Its like after one game of doing it right, they start trying to clear the puck up the middle again. Lets cut the BS – these guys are just flat out bad players and should be jettisoned ASAP. Of course that wont happen because our brilliant GM signed everybody to long-term contracts.

    12. first time all season where i can say the effort just wasnt there. And that sickens me to the core.

    13. >>>>>>>

      Wouldn’t that have to be Kasparphobia. Literally it would be “inflammation of the friendly ghost.”

      See, it could be worse than having Joe Micheletti.

    14. Colorado Mark LOL at your Malik comment!!! He’s useless!!
      He’s so lazy and horrible with the puck! We need to get Pock back in there.

    15. When was the last time anyone’s seen Jagr skate, hustle, or leave the neutral zone for the defensive zone?

    16. i think the rangers have proven that the ‘confidence’ boost from winning in phoenix that we heard so much about was worth jack

    17. For those whining about Orr all the time, useless yada yada yada, guess who’s had some of the best shifts in this otherwise pathetic game? Orr and Hollweg, Orr skating great, checking, forechecking, backchecking. You know, the things you’re supposed to do that none of these high priced Euro’s do.

    18. Funny. Renney puts that line out again and double shifts Ward for Orr. And we wonder why we think you have no brain, Thomas.

    19. “When was the last time anyone’s seen Jagr skate, hustle, or leave the neutral zone for the defensive zone?”

      about 1992, but hey if you get paid so much you get your own servants like Straka to do the hustling for you.

    20. Now would be a good time for a grizzled, tough, veteran like Shanahan to spark this team by throwing some huge hits, or trying to get a Kings player to get into a fight. Give this team some energy. Foolish of me to have any expectation of sorts regarding this team or any of its players, however.

    21. I am only going to say this for the last time. I made this same comment after the rangers lost to the panthers. This is the same crap I have been watching for years under glen sather as GM. the team is slow and somewhat old. This year i have noticed teams with there prospects playing and looking good. where are the rangers prospects. I know where they are, they don’t have any because maloney and Sather don’t know how to draft. I remember when maloney was the gm of the islanders and those where bad teams. I look at last year as a smoke screen because it was a new era with new rules and it took teams most of the season to get going. This is why the rangers fell apart after three quarters of the season. It’s the same old rangers not making the playoffs. I really feel bad for Lundquist because he is basically hung out to dry. I am a very disgusted ranger fan. I have been a fan since the late 60’s. I pray every day that Dolan would sell the rangers/knicks but probably not in my life time. I’m glad I was able to see them win a cup but that seems like another life time.

    22. Rangers got plenty of prospects, they are just too scared to play them. They will just use them as trade bait to get more veterans to help us out. Soon we’ll be back to 97/98 form with 1 or 2 prospects and a crappy team.

    23. I love Avery, I would take a team of 18 Averys over a team of 18 Jagrs any day.

      Betts is hyena’s pet, soon we’ll see him on the PP. Jackal just can’t get enough of Blair.

    24. “Betts must have pictures of Renney giving Sather oral.”

      yeah, I wish Dawes and Prucha could get the hold of those pics.

    25. vinny pooh; I wouldn’t say we have a crappy team. If we can package a couple of d men and tweak it a little we’ll be better. Have some faith.

    26. Ranger Lineup I would Like:

      Line 1: JJ-straka-dawes
      line 2: Shanny-Nylander-Prucha
      line 3: Dubinski-Cullen-need a trade
      line 4: Orr-Imonen-Hollweg

      D1 Tyutin-A Ward
      D2 Kasper-Pock
      D3 Gerardi-Ozolinsh or Leetch

      PP1- JJ-Straka-Prucha-Tyutin-Ozo or Leetch
      PP2 – Shanny-Nylander-Dawes-Pock-Gerardi

      PK1- Straka-Cullen-Tyutin-A Ward
      PK2- tbd

    27. HockeybasedNYC on

      What the hell. Guys this isnt gonna stop until Sather is out. One win, one loss, one win, one loss, one win, one loss

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