Hanging out to dry

42

If and when Kevin Weekes requires extensive pschyotherapy for seeing slapshots in his sleep, he might want to send the bill to Rangers coach Tom Renney.

As was the case when Renney threw his backup goaltender out against the surging Buffalo Sabres for Weekes’ first start of the season, Weekes will get start No. 2 tonight against the unbeaten Anaheim Ducks. Man. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of starting slowly?

Anyway, plenty to catch up on. I’m in Hartford, where a big sign was stretched out across the highway saying, “Hartford Welcomes Darius Kasparaitis.” OK, not really. And sadly, there was no sign for me, either.

In the meantime, here’s the rest of the lineup tonight for the Rangers. Please note the reunion of Petr Prucha with Matt Cullen and Brendan Shanahan on the second line, and, drumroll please…Nigel Dawes taking the place of Marcel Hossa on the fourth.
Alas, before you start dancing in the streets, you’ll also see Karel Rachunek is getting the nod in place of Thomas Pock.

So, no, all is not right in Rangerland:

Straka-Nylander-Jagr
Prucha-Cullen-Shanahan
Hollweg-Betts-Hall
Dawes-J. Ward-Orr

Malik-Rozsival
Tyutin-Aaron Ward
Rachunek-Ozolinsh

Weekes

One last thing. I was struck by a thought driving into town to the strains of Uncle Tupelo (a group that is sadly no more), and it goes something like this: You forget how impressive it is for anyone to reach the NHL level.

Here I am in this cavernous minor league arena, and every player who will take the ice tonight has aspirations of getting to the Garden. Below them are players in the East Coast league, and juniors, and Division I college hockey.

The steps any of these guys take to reach the highest level is pretty remarkable. I don’t care if you’re a star like Jaromir Jagr or even a fan punching bag like Rachunek.

I’m not saying you can’t criticize them because that’s part of making the money that they do. But even the worst players in the NHL can still be counted among the best in the world.

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42 Comments

  1. ANGIE ON TOP OF IT…..I am one oft he few that think Hossa is not playing all that bad….now if Pock would replace any one of the D execpt Toots and Ward, than that is progress

  2. HockeybasedNYC on

    Dawes is playing! WOW! i totally forgot about him!

    Well… hopefully theyll be some spirited hockey tonight and Rachunek gets a hat trick so we can send him and someone else off for Seabrook, yeah… talk about wishful thinking.

    I called it! Weekes vs. Ducks.

    Not that anyone cares.

    – Lets Go Rangers

  3. LOL! Hey SP… I dont think hes playing badly, but I’d rather give Dawes a change to prove himself then let Hossa do absolutely nothing… As usual!

  4. Dawes is on the 4th line. I bet he sees less than 10 minutes of ice time. Probably closer to 4.

    And no Pock. Raccoon and Bozo will be a disaster together.

    Here is an excerpt from Dubi’s Bulletin yesterday.

    “Back to the defense: Karel Rachunek, scratched for a second straight game, has been a detriment on defense (team worst -9) while adding no offense (one point in nine games) despite significant power play time; Darius Kasparaitis has either not recovered from his off-season health problems or is just not going to be the same player he used to be; and Sandis Ozolinsh has quietly gone -4 in his three games back even though the Rangers are 2-1-0 in those games — he has been on the ice for an incredible seven of ten goals against in his three games, but only three of twelve goals for.”

    Exactly as I have been saying for weeks.

  5. Angie…I doubt Dawes will replace the time HOSSA spends on the PK however. But maybe he will. I just dont want to see Shanny have to take MORE PK time….not that I am upset about Dawes playing…just wondering how he will do much more than skate around for 2 min of the playing time teh 4th line usually gets.

  6. Dawes: Good for him, I hope he makes the best with his time. But with Orr’s dead skates on the ice, I’m not going to hold my breath. Frankly, I’d like to see what a line of Hossa-Immonen-Dawes would do; a large winger, a playmaker and a sharpshooter. Sounds like winner to men I sort of wish was Betts was moved back with Ward and Hollweg. But hey, what can you do.

    Count me as one of the many who wouldn’t like to see Prucha hit the bricks. But nothing could be worse than when York got traded for the enigmatic Poti, who was a “fan favorite” in Edmonton at the time. I’d definitly give my desk a swift kick with Prucha gone, but if a guy like Seabrook came back, I’m not sure if I’d be willing to break a tow.

    The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that the Rangers need to ditch at AT LEAST two defenders and adding Cullimore and Seabrook isn’t exactly addressing that. If that’s the case, then I think it says a lot for what the organization thinks about the development of Pock and Baranka.

    4Ranger/HDH – when I say the Pack are bad, it’s not necessarily a comment about the quality of player they have down there. Frankly, after watching Immonen, Korpikoski and Dawes play last season several times live (ironically against the Albany River Rats), I have no doubt more than a few of these guys will make quality NHLers. On the other hand, having seen Jessiman skate, I can say with fair certainty, that unless he starts throwing around his big frame infront of the crease, he’s not going to ammount to much more than a fourth-line grinder. The last game I saw in the early spring, Falardeau looked 100 times better than Jessiman, who despite his large stature, was 100 percent invisible on the ice.

    As for trading all the vets and promoting the youngesters, what you’ve got to understand is that they’re probably not ready for time in the show. And if they did have some icetime in MSG, chances are pretty good they’d make rookie mistakes and cost the Rangers games –something that neither management nor the fair-weather fans would put up with. And were there a solid two seasons of the Rangers playing like Pittsburgh has while they’ve developed Armstrong, Fleury, Orpik, Whitney and all their other young guys, even the diehards would be calling for Renney’s head. New York wont’s and can’t ice team of teenagers.

    Ultimately, the curse of last season’s success is that the fans and management have been guiled into thinking this team is closer to icing a champion than they probably are.

  7. Wow, 4th line minutes for Dawes – the rebuild is in high gear now…

    Any idea what Pock needs to do to get a game? Comically subpar performances by those ahead of him on the depth chart don’t seem to be enough.

  8. what a load of malarkey. The fans, including me, are calling for Renney’s head NOW, and it is BECAUSE he won’t play the kids.

    And the fact that mgmt. won’t put up with rookie mistakes is just exactly the problem.

    And the fact that you want Hossa in the lineup says plenty about you.

    And Poti was NOT a fan favorite in Edm. Just the opposite. He was booed out of town.

  9. “Any idea what Pock needs to do to get a game? Comically subpar performances by those ahead of him on the depth chart don’t seem to be enough.”

    buy a gun and pay visit to Renney’s home.

  10. at least it looks like there are real lines on the ice for tonight. defense is still atrocious and will look even worse with weekes back there.

  11. here is a quote from Larry Brooks http://www.nypost.com/seven/11012006/sports/rangers/struggling_rangers_have_hawk_eye_rangers_larry_brooks.htm

    “Changes are in order. Loyalty has its place, but not at the expense of success. Renney knows that. So does Glen Sather.”

    he is suggesting that Renney needs to stop favoring Blair Betts and Jason Ward whom he is very loyal to. And Sather needs to fire coach Hyena to whom he is loyal to. Or is he suggesting that Sather suggested to Renney to stop fooling around with Betts?

  12. Sather and Renney are not willing to change their views on who plays/who sits, their disastrous line combinations and defense pairings, and their insanely desperate icetime distribution. We will continue to live this nightmare until both are gone. Jagr does not have captaincy mentality. He’s the second coming of Captain Brian Leetch. Shanahan should wear the C. But he’s probably in shock, muttering “What the hell did I do” to himself.

  13. yeah choosing Jagr as captain over guys like Shanahan and A.Ward was extremely dumb from the very beginning, judging by preseason it should have been Ward or Shanahan, not the guy who mumbles broken English.

  14. 4Rangers – And you obviously don’t understand sarcasm. Not only did his play warrant the booing he got, he was a contract holdout who bilked the Oilers for more money than he was worth, which got him even more boo-birds.

    And allow me retort, you thinking that Orr will do more on the ice than Hossa says a lot about your thinking here. Not sure if you caught the last fight he got in with Andrew Peters, but the word ‘tarred’ comes to mind. I’ve never been a big proponent of this thinking, but I’ve been told he needs talented guys on his line to be productive. That’s not going to happen with Orr and Jay Ward out there with him.

    Frankly, I agree with you that it would be nicer to see Pock and Baranka get burned than Roszival and Ozolinsh. But it ain’t gonna happen in New York, no way, no how, never. The guys who buy expensive box seats to treat international clients like to see th Jagrs, Lindroses and Messiers. They could care less about the Daweses, Immonens and Dubinskys. Hence, why I say the fair weather fans. I’d argue, however, even you would get sick of seeing the youngsters if there four consecutive seasons of less than 30 wins culminating in a season (last year) with just over 20, such as the modern-day Penguins have experienced. That’s tough hockey to watch by any fans count.

  15. Sam,

    I hope I can convince you with that post that you are going to recall me in the near future :)

    If you are going to the game tonight at Civic Centre, I think it is worthwile to give you my thoughts about Darius Kasparaitis. I think it is very tough on him after appearing in over 800 games in the NHL to be sent to a minor league team when you got used to play in front of 17 or 18 000 fans in attendance. I don´t think that it was a good move by the Rangers especially it must be very tough on Darius mentally to be prepared to play in this league. I am not a coach but I don´t think it will really help Darius to get back to his normal form…I feel it is more a mental problem than any physical problems. And even you wrote an entry about “NEVER DISCOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF A PSYCHOLOGY “. Maybe you can confirm my assessment after talking to him…..

    P.S I made a similar post on the Wolf Pack Weblog and was deftly critized for it, ( as I said I had a very tough time at the blog as most of those fans liked that move in order improve the struggling Pack !!) but I hope you see it the same way in considering this as possible good point and even reconsidering the possibility for recalling me back to the Rangers report weblog of the Journal News. Demoting to a ECHL weblog would be almost disastrous, because I don´t even know where this team would be :) Even the hardest critic I got from Baby Koala who didn´t want to talk to me any more after being demoted a couple of days ago…!!!

  16. “Frankly, I agree with you that it would be nicer to see Pock and Baranka get burned than Roszival and Ozolinsh. But it ain’t gonna happen in New York, no way, no how, never. The guys who buy expensive box seats to treat international clients like to see th Jagrs, Lindroses and Messiers. They could care less about the Daweses, Immonens and Dubinskys. Hence, why I say the fair weather fans. I’d argue, however, even you would get sick of seeing the youngsters if there four consecutive seasons of less than 30 wins culminating in a season (last year) with just over 20, such as the modern-day Penguins have experienced. That’s tough hockey to watch by any fans count.”

    I am sure there could be a compromise reached with several big names and a bunch of rookies/young guys.

  17. Fair point tdchi…I sit in the 100’s . I’ve been there since 1993. Before that, I couldn’t afford seasons.

    I will be the First guy to sign a 5 year season ticket package if The Ranger Management would counter sign a guarantee that 70 per cent of the Big Club would have to be Ranger draft picks or I get the next 5 years free.

    Anybody with me?

  18. Wouldn´t you agree that it is sometimes tough to read always those low styled kind of personal attacks on the Coach ???

    I feel if you don´t like the coach, then you can express it in a different clean manner !!!!

    Sometimes you really need to demote some people to other weblogs !!!

  19. get it straight. I never suggested that ALL the players on the Ranger roster would be kids. Of course they should keep the best vets, particularly in the scoring dept.

    Thus, some of the big names would still be there, and the rich box seat clients you seem so eager to please would have a bone to chew on.

    And the team would NOT be a loser. With the scoring vets intact, the rest of the team would be younger, faster, and more willing and determined backcheckers, with much more hustle, aggressiveness, and desire.

    understand? I know your buddies Sather-Renney sure don’t.

  20. Once in a blue moon a “special” coach comes along and gives me Tourette’s syndrome… With Rangers though it is always a blue moon.

  21. It has taking a few days for me to calm down and clear my head after watching the rangers play the kings. The more I have read ranger fans comments and columnist I realized the problem with the rangers is they have dead wood and it is time to stop messing around. I don’t have the answers but it is obvious that the rangers need to replace some of there defensemen with younger ones, either through trades or from there farm system.
    I remember watching the rangers preseason games this year and i really like this dubinsky kid. They need to clear a spot on the roster for this kid. I also noticed some other kids also that would be an improvement from what I have seen this seson but I don’t remember there names. If the rangers make these moves I think they will be headed in the right direction. I do know that something is going to happen soon because they cannot continue on the path they are heading.

  22. Dubinsky, Greg Moore, Baranka, Immonen and Pock would be an upgrade over Betts, Hossa, Hall, Malik, and Rozsival.

  23. and I never uttered the word Orr in my post. More things you like to make up. But how do you account for the fact that Buffalo with Peters and Minn. with Boogard are winning so many games without your beloved Hossa?

    And while Orr is not a top-level enforcer, he would show you the meaning of the word “tarred” if he met you.

  24. and if the Rangers had an 18 y.o. defenseman named Orr, as in Bobby, there would still be guys on this blog writing that you can’t rush the kids, mgmt. won’t put up with rookie mistakes, NY fans won’t put up with rookie mistakes, Malik and Roszival are more valuable, etc. blah blah blah…

    you know, the kind of posters who think Hossa should be in the lineup, that Sather & Renney know what’s best, etc.

  25. Hossa right now who will relace him that 1) is ready and 2) wouldnt be helped by some more time in the AHL? I cant think of anyone. Now Immonen in a center position instead of Bettes I am good for…but the winggers the rangers have in the AHL are fairly new to the AHL, let them have their time to develope…they will push Hossa aside eventually…but dont get rid of him JUST to paly a younger guy….that makes no sense. If Hossa starts making mistakes that cost the rngers games, ala Rachunek, Roszival giveaways than I will call for him to be gone…but although he dosnt do anything offensivly, and he dosnt hit alot, he dosnt cost the team anything, he dosnt make many mistakes…so lets lay off one of the few guy on the roster who isnt messing up EVERY NIGHT!

  26. Wildcard,

    I’m sure Dawes could kill penalties as well. Tom Renney is too much of a ##### to try though!

    Im sure Dawes will get his usual 4 minutes tonight!! But at least he’s playing

  27. 4Rangers – I would rather see Pock, Dawes and Immonen playing making rookie mistakes then Malik & Roszival (who should know better) making bone head mistakes!

  28. Angie, No kidding. that is exactly what I have been saying. If you will read my post correctly, you will see that I was satirizing the thoughts of some posters here. one of them starts with a T and one with a W, who just spout the company line, like an employee of the Ranger PR dept.

    They just continue to ignore facts, and obediently follow the b.s. spread by Sather-Renney. They are the pawns that Ranger mgmt. points to in claiming that Ranger fans won’t tolerate a quicker youth rebuild.

  29. Hossa is nice as an extra or as a healthy scratch guy who can play when there is an injury. Same thing for Orr.

  30. 4Ranger – I know you didn’t. But that’s what your implying if you think Dawes is going to fly well with him saddled on his wing, as Sam has outline here(I apologze – somehow I omitted Dawes’ name from that graph). I don’t really understand why you think I have a love for either Renney or Sather, because I certainly don’t.

    As for fighting Orr, I’d consider taking him on after seeing the beating he took. Jeeze, he reminded me of Eric Cairns.

    Sather, IMO, should have been fired after making that York trade, if not for that, then for rushing Danny Blackburn into the league, and if not for that, for trading for Lindros AND Bure instead of starting a rebuild when he first came. And don’t even get me started on the Messier debacle that unfolded on his watch. Renney on the otherhand is a second-year coach who has the luxery of having an extremly good (and lucky) year to fall back on.

    As for Hossa, I’ll reiterate Wildcard’s statements and refer you to what I’ve said in the past. He’s a serviceable wing and one that hasn’t filled the ice with mistakes. If there was a wing ready to take his limited ice time (usually less than 10 minutes), then I’m all ears. Frankly, I don’t see it.

    Frankly, what I’d REALLY like to see is a core develop CHEMISTRY in Hartford where they can gain both character and confidence(like they did in Albany for the devils and Adirondack for the Red Wings), then come up and replace the aged vets at the end of this season and into the next. Rushing young players into a league where they can’t compete produces Blackburns, Malhotras. Guys like Dubinsky, Byers, Callahan and the such are just out of juniors. You could make a bit more of an argument for Moore, but not much. Immonen, I feel, should be in MSG, and, given the recent spiral of Betts’ play, might not be far off.

    The real problem with this team for the past seven years has been the revolving door of players. Maybe once Hartford matures, this will end.

  31. again you’re wrong. Blackburn was INJURED, he hurt his shoulder in an offseason weightlifting incident. He was a promising goalie whose career ending had NOTHING to do with being “rushed”. It had entirely to do with a shoulder injury that made it impossible to play any longer.

  32. 1. The real problem is not the signing of the big names the luxury boxes want to see. Those are usually fine. The problem is the signings of the Maliks, Rozsivals, Rachuneks, Quintals, Kamenskys, Ulanovs, Karpas, Rucinskys, Strakas, etc – the guys who are past their prime, second-tier serviceable yet not good or hungry enough NHLers that fill out a roster and block us from ever having to actually develop players. Our young guys are not blocked by the marquee names brought in to placate the masses – they’re blocked by the useless drivel that Glen Sather overpays for, then forces Tom Renney to play at ball costs. These are also the players that become almost instantly reviled by the fans as well.

    2. I would dispute the notion that even the guys who are fan punching bags are among the world’s best. For the last 10 years the Rangers roster has been filled with players who, had they not been signed by the Rangers, would be playing – you guessed it – nowhere.

  33. Wasnt this blog about Weekes ?

    It seems like everyone comments about everything but him..

    Anyway I would have thought Weekes would have been in

    against some of the weaker teams to give him a chance

    or is the Idea that you figure teams like the Ducks and the

    Sabres are to good to have your # 1 goalie burned by ?

    I thought he was protecting Henrik from the power house

    teams last yr before it was decided he was the # 1 …

    Whats the rationale this year?

  34. Maybe Slats should come out and say that Renney will not be fired if he played mostly prospects and did not succeed. Maybe Renney could stop trying to save his ass by playing only vets then!

  35. Blackburn and Malhotra weren’t rushed, they deserved to play, but Rangers screwed up and didn’t properly utilize them. Malhotra is still a very nice player, Blackburn would be one of the top goalies if he didn’t get that unfortunate injury. In fact I think Blackburn had better mental composure and reflexes than Lundqvist.

    As for who can replace Hossa–Greg Moore, he looked fantastic in pre-season

    Peter, I agree on your point #1, and to take it a step further Rangers never go after a marquee name coach, instead choosing unproven trash like Low, Trottier, Renney, Campbell or over-the-hill farts like Sather and Muckler.

  36. If you look at the 3rd and 4th line combos the rangers have iced every game this season – they are built in a highly limiting and non-specific fashion. Tonight is another prime example of mismatched lines…

    3rd line Hollweg, Betts, Hall… (not bad)
    4th line Orr, Ward, Dawes… — SERIOUSLY? If you’re gonna do that just send Dawes to the minors. What a ridiculously bizarre line combo. Something has got to give. That line makes no sense at all!!!!

    FYI… just for argument sake, if that Moore-Hall trade never happens, these would be the lines tonight.

    3rd line: Ward, Betts, Hossa
    4th line: Hollweg, Moore, Orr…

    Okay, still not perfect as Hossa is not the best and Orr would be a place holder for ortmeyer and no Dawes, but at least those lines would make a little more sense. The purpose of these lines would actually be clear and the players would be a little more suited to those roles.

  37. Malhotra is just starting to come around, after being yanked from his junior team, skated a whole season with guys like Gretzky and Leetch, then being bounced between Hartford, Guelph and the Rangers with sparing ice time until he was traded. He’s just now starting to display the talent he did when he skated as a kid. As for Blackburn, sure he screwed his arm by his aggressive workout regimine. And yes, it was a freak accident. But I’d argue the pressure of playing in the NHL as a 19-year-old kid made him push his body a bit harder than his fram could handle at that age. I have no idea how anyone could say either of these guys weren’t rushed. There aren’t 18- and 19-year-olds who can play in this league sucessfully for a good reason.

  38. There are plenty of 18 yearolds that play and have great careers. And those 2 players were ready for NHL at 18 and played very well.

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