Light at the end of the tunnel?


I mentioned already that I spent some time with Jed Ortmeyer earlier this week, and “here’s the story that came out of it”:


It’s funny, or actually not so funny, but we’ve seen plenty of Jed over the past few weeks, either at the Training Center or when he’s sitting behind us in the press box at games. For most of that time, he’s seemed upbeat, even jovial. Consider a moment last Sunday, while he was being inundated with autograph requests from fans, and I turned around and thanked him.

“Otherwise they’d all want autographs from me,” I said, trying to keep a straight face.

Ortmeyer laughed. “I can move back a few rows if you want,” he said.

I mention this because for all of his outward playfulness, Ortmeyer admits the past few months since “his pulmonary embolism”: have been some of the toughest of his life. Even if it wasn’t intended, he’s become an outcast among his teammates, unable to practice with them, and often slipping onto the ice to skate on his own after everyone else is done. This week he’s had a chance to skate with Don Maloney’s son, Don, who’s been home from juniors. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of times skating against imaginary opponents.

“You’re just not hands on,” Ortmeyer said. “You’re not in the locker room in between periods when things are going well and everyone’s excited. Or when things are going bad and you feeling adversity and you’re looking at the guy next to you in the eye and you say, ‘I’m going to get it done.’ That kind of stuff. I can’t wait to get back to that.”

Needless to say, the Rangers can’t wait to have him back, either. Of course, he is just a checking forward, someone who added just seven points last season. But Ortmeyer’s persistence in many ways defined what made the Rangers successful in 2005-06, and his absence has underscored what they’ve been missing so far this year.

I’m not supposed to root one way or the other, but you can’t help but want to see a guy like that get back to doing what he does best.

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  1. Thanks Sam. Great Stuff!!! I’m guessing he’s feeling left out because of his condition and being on blood thinners skating with 2 dozen guys and the frequency in which accidents happen during practice!!! I’m sure the rest of the team wants him in that lockerroom just as much as he wants to be there!!!

    And so do the fans. We all took for granted what he did for the team last year. And we’re looking forward to him coming back… and coming back HEALTHY!!!

  2. Nothing but the utmost admiration for the guy. The circumstances surrounding his interaction with the team (or lack thereof) and being on his own creates a situation where he could easily lose motivation and a desire to just bother anymore. However, Jed sounds even more eager to get back into the thick of things and the fans definately miss the energy he brings every night. I hope his recovery goes as smoothly as possible and he can get back on that ice throwing his body around.

  3. Gotta love Orty, just a FANS player….easy to root for the guy….he is from the hockey hotbed of Omaha Nebraska, knows his roll and LOVES playing it. He did stand out last year, becasue the difference from last years team and the previous 7-8 years, were players like Ortmeyer, who gave 110% on EVERY SHIFT….playing for the name on the front not that back….One of my favorite Rangers,, again tough NOT to pull for the kid….and from people who I have spoke to and met Orty, he is in the Adam Graves mold, of always willing to chat and sign an autograph with a SMILE for a fan. Again, TOUGH NOT TO ROOT AND LIKE a guy like that. Great news on Orts and hope he is healthy first, and if so, will be a welcome shor of energy to our 3rd and/or 4th lines…

  4. The team needs guys like these. These are the guys that instill energy into the talented 1st and 2nd lines when the goings get tough. The Ortmeyer/Hollweg, hit first, ask questions later tandem was one of the biggest success stories of last season. My heart goes out to guys like him, I just hope he stays healthy.

  5. True Fans bleed RW&B on

    …don’t forget Ort’s penalty killing work…blocking shots, clearing the puck…he was one of the best PK forwards I watched all of last year.

  6. HockeybasedNYC on

    Of course you can root Sam. He’s Ortmeyer.

    I can’t wait until the first home game where he laces them up and goes out there.

    I truly feel that it will be one of the more special moments in Rangers history, when a 4th line grinder (basically unknown to the NY media, besides the latest news) comes out to a very long standing ovation.

    To the casual hockey and New York sports fan i believe they will be very surprised and taken aback when they see or hear about the reaction in MSG that night – it will be greatly deserved for a great teammate who means so much to this Ranger team.

    Its gonna be a good night, indeed.

  7. the only light at the end of the tunnel for this otganization are the headlights of a train going full speed.

  8. Sam,

    As always, great job at getting the real scoop from the players. Question for you… next to your blog there is a hyperlink for subcribing to this blog… when I click on it it shows me some whacky programming language… what is that?? Is this a malfuncion on my end? And what does a blog subscription mean?


  9. “the only light at the end of the tunnel for this otganization are the headlights of a train going full speed.”

    He was right for once… New York Rangers = a train going full speed and not slowing down.

  10. Vinny- That was funny!

    Terry- I think you will need an RSS reader to subscribe to the blog. If you have a MAC it is built into Safari. If not, you’ll need to get an RSS newsreader.

    My lines when Orts comes back: (Not what I would do, but what I would do knowing certain people will be in the lineup no matter what.)

    Prucha-Cullen Shanahan

    Ozolnish-Rachunek (Insert Pock here!)
    Roszival-Malik (Insert Kasparitis here!)

    Healthy Scratch: Orr

    My moves:
    Recall Kasparitis
    Waive Malik
    Bench Ozo or rachunek
    Waive Hossa
    Recall Immonen and Dawes
    bench Hall

    4th Line: Dawes-Immonen-J.Ward

  11. Terry —
    I wish I knew. I’m not sure what it means, either. But bear in mind, it’s a minor miracle that I can actually post on this thing because I’m somewhat of a technological dunce.

    What’s an RSS reader? Is that an actual person?

  12. “Hollweg-Betts-Ortmeyer would be a great line”

    Hollweg-Helminen-Ortmeyer would be even better.

  13. Thank you Sam for the great article on Jed, it’s sad to hear about how hard it’s been for him but at the same time you gotta love him even more for having such a great attitude and when he’s back with the team I think it will infuse some much needed positive energy and drive in them …

  14. good to hear that Jed is coming back soon. guys like him are so valuable to a team. not just his hustle and PK and grinding on the ice, but also his leadership and attitude off the ice. compare his value in encouraging and exhorting teammates from the bench to a lot of other guys silent, detached disinterest to the action on the ice.

  15. Terry – RSS is real simple syndication. it automatically updates you when the blog is updated. I use myYahoo and it works through there. Just click on the (what is this?) behind the subscribe and it will fill you in.

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