This being an off day for the Rangers, I figured I’d take the opportunity to get to some of the most pressing questions that crop up here.
In fact, let me get a few out of the way right now:
As for the Rangers, there’s plenty to discuss. Count on this being a semi-regular feature, unless, of course I run out of things to say. In that case, you’re all on your own.
In the meantime, let’s start with a question from reader Nick.
A: Nick, first you’re giving me too much credit. The Rangers aren’t tipping their hand too much on this one, so I don’t have any specific insight, but I do think something is going to come to a head when Kasparaitis is finished with his conditioning stint. In Hartford, he was awful the other night in a loss at home, and found his way to the bench for the third period. If that’s the case, I can’t imagine he’s going to just slide back into the Rangers lineup. My guess — and again, this is just a guess — is given his salary, waivers are more likely than a trade. It’s a shame because I do believe Kasparaitis provides much more to the Rangers than just hard hits. But most likely because of his groin, something is seriously missing from his game. And I’m not sure he’s going to get it back.
Q: Is there a chance Ozolinsh gets back on first PP unit some time soon? It just looks like Jagr has a big influence on deciding who plays with him on PP1.
A: There is a sense among Rangers fans that Jagr is making up the line combinations, choosing the team meals and warm-up music, and also telling Tom Renney which blazer he should wear with which tie. Easy, now. The guy is important, and I don’t doubt for a second that the team has tried to placate their leading scorer on occasion. But for all of his past history as a diva in Pittsburgh and in Washington, Jagr clearly wants to win, and he surely wants guys who can move the puck up ice on the power play. Which brings us to Ozolinsh, who had an impressive season debut at the Garden yesterday, and as regains confidence, should see more time on the man-advantage in the days to come.
Q: Sam Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I just have to say, I like the third jersey.
And from Inferno:
Q: I LOVE the Rangers 3rd jersey.
A: OK, it’s clear that you all have no taste. I’m kidding. Again, my issue with the Rangers third jersey is I don’t think it compares to the traditional home blue jersey that is one of the best in all of sports. But also, I think it has come to symbolize the years of futility that followed the Rangers Stanley Cup. There aren’t many Original Six teams in hockey. According to my crack research team, in fact, there are six of them (what are the odds?). And that’s something you should be trumpeting at every chance.
Q: Does anyone (Slats, Renney, Maloney, Dolan, Vaclav Havel) have a good reason Malik is still playing? I feel like his still being on the ice is the clue in a twilight zone or M. Night Shyamalan movieÃ¢â‚¬â€No, Rangers fans, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not in the real world anymoreÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
A: Ah yes, the big man. I honestly think he’s a pretty effective player provided THE PUCK IS NOWHERE NEAR HIM. Seriously, Malik is clearly fighting it out there, but getting back to an earlier point, I don’t think it has anything to do with Jagr. Instead, I think Renney is trying to let Malik either definitely play his way out of the lineup, or maybe, help him try to regain some of the confidence that he had last season. It’s easy to say don’t play him, but given his salary ($2.5 million this year), the Rangers have painted themselves into a pretty tight corner. I’m not sure how many takers there are for a player like that. And given the Kasparaitis situation, I can’t imagine putting two players like that on waivers makes much sense (since the team would still be responsible for part of their salaries). That’s not a very satisfying response, I know. But it’s reality.
Q: Nick Fotiu?
A: No, Cliff, and that’s all I need. I can imagine leading him astray with one too many lazy passes in the neutral zone, and then suddenly get a two-hander across the back of my neck. My guy was a lot kinder than that, which is to say, if he was frustrated by playing alongside me, he at least just ripped me behind my back
Keep plugging away, all. The winner gets…well, the winner gets my undying respect.