What to watch for: Capital edition


In this time of upheaval in our nation’s capital, I suppose anything can happen, and here’s one possibility: a letodwn by the Rangers tonight against Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals.

Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. It has all the necessary ingredients: the second game of a back-to-back; a night after a big win over an impressive opponent; an inferior foe tonight. Put it another way: for whatever the reason, I liked the Rangers chances a lot more last night than I do tonight against the ho-hum Caps.

But maybe I’ll be wrong. There’s a first for everything (and by that I mean it will be the first time this hour that I’ll be wrong. Actually that’s not true, either).

A couple of other things to consider:

  • The King refuses to relinquish the throne: Henrik Lundqvist goes again tonight, and with that I suppose we officially have a trend. It looks like Tom Renney will ride the hot goalie all year, and given the sophomore’s play of late, I suppose that’s not a bad thing. Plus, the Rangers have two days off after tonight.
  • Fedor Tyutin: All year long we’ve been saying the Rangers don’t have a true No. 1 defenseman, and I still think that’s true. But the Russian’s play of late makes it easier to envision him in that role down the road. Plus, I think he’s pretty funny in that new MSG commercial. So you know, if the hockey doesn’t work out…..
  • Colton Orr: I see the Rangers’ enforcer has been a subject of much debate here, but get used to him. He goes again tonight, and it looks more and more like Nigel Dawes is headed out of town. I will say that Orr did look pretty decent last night against Atlanta, to the point where maybe I’ll have to stop prefacing every mention of his name with the phrase “Rangers’ enforcer”. Maybe it’ll be “Rangers’ prolific goal scorer.” OK, probably not….

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    1. nice job by Ozolinsh.

      Capitals are really fun to watch, unlike boring ass Rangers.

      Orr is proving that he can’t fight.

    2. The rangers look tired,which is understandable and they seem to struggle against young fast skating teams which isn’t a good combination.

    3. Yeah, they’re slow, and sloppy. Too many giveaways and penalties. Hopefully they’ll get it together in the 2nd period.

    4. The rangers once again are playing down to their opponents. ive got first period thoughts over at rangersreview.com

    5. I hope I’m wrong but shanny wasn’t out on the power play with cullen and prucha, hall was out playing on the line. I hope he didn’t get hurt.

    6. You know, despite the score, and the obvious “we played one of our best games of the season last night against one of the better teams in the East last night, so cut us some slack,” as a goaltender myself, Im really enjoying this game. Always enjoy seeing Kolzig do well, his loyalty to the Caps and his work with autistic children is something to be admired.

    7. where are all the Rangers fanboys and Renney supporters when we are losing? I forgot, they are probably crying themselves to sleep now.

    8. Vinny Pooh,
      I notice that your comments are always negative and it appears to me that you are not a ranger fan. I know you want to come out of the closet and tell us. Are you a islander fan, common, you can tell us ranger fans.

    9. I am a fan of energetic, hard hitting entertaining hockey. I am a fan of having a logical and fair coach who loves to develop young players and trusts them in all situations.

    10. Rangers back to earth. did not play well until it was too late. Tues. vs. NJ. will it be the uptempo Rangers of last night, or the Bozo Rangers of tonight?

    11. well, I guess you should be a new jersey devils fan because that isn’t what Sather and his boys are about.

    12. Hey, at least Orr tried that one move to stuff the puck in the net. Right on.

      I hope Ortmeyer’s feeling better.

      Nothing was more hilarious than to hear the Caps annoucners say “and that move was against tough Malik, he’s a hard guy to beat…” Oh, were it only true.

    13. Hey Vinny pooh,
      it’s kind of ironic that you said “energetic, hard hitting” because that is also the kind of hockey I have wanted the rangers to develop for years but not likely under Sather. I bleed true blue but I am not a big fan of Sather and maloney. I still will be a ranger fan none the less and the rangers can’t win every game. They have won and gotten alot of points since the west coast trip so lets calm down.

    14. Lets remain calm but lets also acknolwledge that this team has a pathetic defense corps, is poorly managed in terms of ice time and personnel decisions, and onceagain not going anywhere in the playoffs if they make it.

    15. incidentally, Scott Morrison ,on HNIC hot stove, said that Rangers were still trying to package a trade including Prucha.

      What is Sather’s problem? he gets a young kid who hustles and scores, and he wants to get rid of him for another vet Dman.

      oh boy, now Hossa can move up to the second line. Renney is just dying to make that happen.

    16. 4Rangers,
      Ill believe it when I see it. Id be downright shocked if the rangers move prucha, not unless they get back someone like niedermeyer or pronger.

      I still think the rangers need a 2nd line center.

    17. Morrison said that they were after Derek Morris of Coyotes. He’s a big disappointment, both in Calgary before, and now in Phoenix. He’s no improvement. I’d rather see Pock play than give up Prucha for another journeyman.

    18. Yuck, that would be a terrible trade.
      Give it to sather, generally his trades are one sided for us (on paper)

    19. It wouldn’t surprise me of any trade sather makes. I still don’t like the moore trade for hall and the ville Nieminen trade indirectly for Ozolinsh. I would love to replace Rachunek, malik and Ozolinsh on defense but that is a pipe dream. Ozolinsh is slow and wash up, rachunek is small and can’t seem to break the habbit of hooking and taking penalties and what can i say about Malik, not much, just watch him play, it’s nauseating to watch. I know Kasper played well while he was here over the years and part of last year but he is done also. I do have to give sather some credit for drafting tyutin, hollweg and prucha and lundqvist.

    20. Personally, I’ve made several comments on this blog before that I am not a Sather fan. The only thing he seems to do well is take vacations and golf.

    21. I agree, Tom G, I would like to replace those 3 also, with 3 Beukebooms, but it is a pipedream. on the wash. postgame, Craig Laughlin, who used to play for them, said that the Caps strategy was to get physical, to punish the Ranger soft Dmen, and that it worked.

      I agree. it did work. only Ward and Tyutin will hit back. The other 4, the frightened 4 as I call them, get pushed around every night, and just turn the other cheek.

    22. Hey Vinny Pooh,
      This is probably before your time but the best ranger enfourcer as far as I’m concern since I became a ranger fan was Nicky Fotiu. I guarantee Nicky would have beat down on Donald Brashear.

    23. The only reason why I didn’t mention Rosival is because he has played better lately and he is the only decent offensive defensemen we have.

    24. I know nobody cares but i remember a game where it took place in the 80’s and the raqngers were playing the LA kings in LA and back than there were no rules about brawling and a brawl broke out and for some reason the rangers had one less player on the bench than LA did and there were a pile of bodies at center ice while there were two king players moving in on one ranger player and they surrounded him on the side boards and all of a sudden I saw a plain close man reach over the boards and with one hand grab one of the two kings player and violently kept banging this player against the boards and it was Nicky Fotiu. He even up that score to say the least. That was old time hockey.

    25. Orr has been awesome. He needs a few fights under his belt, shake off some rust and get back into form. That’s difficult in today’s NHL. He looks remarkably like Adam Graves. Anyway, I love him, he’s doing a great job in his role on the 4th line. I except nothing more and nothing less of him. He’s exactly what this team needs. Now we need some toughness on D. We have the softest group of defensemen in the NHL, it is almost ugly to watch. Other teams come flying into the Rangers zone with so much speed because they know there’s no Jovanovksi, or McLaren, or Phaneuf back there that could make them pay with a vicious hit. Heck, they know NOBODY is back there that is going to make them pay with A hit. They really need to get a solid, physical defenseman. I’m not talking about a fighter type like Purinton, but someone who will throw the body. If he can fight, even better, but that’s not the issue.

    26. I don’t get why everyone’s so keen on crucifying Rachunek. He’s actually shown significant improvement since Renney benched him. Tonight’s penalty was the first he’s taken in the 6 games he’s played since. And at 6’2″, 220lbs, I’d hardly call him small. He’s also picked up 2 points and been a +2 since his benching. If you’re going to criticize him, at least come up with some valid complaints. The way I see it, he’s young (only 2 years older than everyone’s wet dream Tomas Pock), relatively inexpensive, and a solid 4-6 defenseman. Certainly not the worst of the problems on defense.

    27. On the Prucha stuff, I have read in a few places that Prucha is what other teams are trying to get and thats what is killing the trades because teh Ragners ask for so muchin return. Prucha, well noone for that matter, should be untradeable, not that i want to see jsut anyone moved…but if a team is wiling to give up a studd defender and a high pick for Prucha than the Rangers woudl be stupid not to take the trade…but thats not going to happen, so I dont think we need to worry about PP being moved for a Morris…maybe..MAYBE Immonenn for Morris and a pick, that would be the most I could see the Rangers giving up and only if it was a 1st or 2nd rounder. But i also dont see the rangers gunning to hard for Morris…maybe they inquired about who was availible and he is, thats why thehy are RUMORS, somone takes a lttle info and makes up the rest of the story, the biger it souns teh more it spreads.

    28. Speaking of defenseman, Rangers prosped Dan Girardi picked up 5, count em, 5 assists in last nights wolfpack game.

    29. “I am a fan of energetic, hard hitting entertaining hockey. I am a fan of having a logical and fair coach who loves to develop young players and trusts them in all situations.”

      So you’re a Buffalo fan, Vinny Pooh. Why be ashamed to admit it, they’re doing okay right now.

      What the Rangers have is two lines that can put the puck in the net, decent PP and decent PK, an improving blue-chip goalie, and too many chicken-livers on defence plus a fake player Hossa and no one in charge with the brains or guts to forge a complete roster. Can’t say it’s not entertaining if you like impending tragedies. I hope Kasper is fit to play so he bump someone.

    30. idov: I hate to have to keep defending a player like this..but Hossa is FAR from a fake player! He is an important aprt of the rangers PK wich was 7 for 7 last night, and did good the night before…he plays his role on the team, dose what the coaches ask of hmi. Why is it that noone is smart enough to se waht he brings to the team. Thje Rangers dont have anyone who can replace him in the lineup…and dont say Dawes, cause he cant do the job Hossa dose, Hossa and Sawes are two difrent types of palyers, Hossa can deal with playing only a few min a period…Dawes needs top line min to do anything worth anything at all…and you rip the D but the biggest problem is the lack of foot speed…bringing Kasper back wont help that…NOW saying that I want Kasper back in the lineup, but at the expense of Malik, and I would liek to see a trade made to bring a physicle defnder who can skate…or at least draft one…

    31. OMG… Hossa brings something?

      First off he is not that important a part of the PK, Hollweg could do that job if given the chance.

      How could anyone not be smart enough to see that Hossa brings NOTHING to the team….. He’s not some defensive stalwart as “wildcard” here would like us to believe… the guy is ZERO on everything. In his last 46 NHL games he is 0g 0a 0pts and a massive minus-24. Yet he still plays.

    32. I like Hollweg, but no way do I want him on the #1 PK unit. I dont want to see A) defensive lapses at the point, which coverage has become more vital in the larger offensive zone, and B) 1 man advantages suddenly become 2 man advantages. Its the exact reason Anze Kopitr and Alexander Frolov spend more time on the PK in Los Angeles (referenced because theyre my second team and wher Im from) than Sean Avery. It’s analagous.

    33. David G,
      Last year Hollweg was a penalty killer with moore centering and ortmeyer and hollweg as the wingers and they were excellent. Unfortunately Sather broke that up when he traded moore for hall.

    34. Adam hall is way underutilized on the PK, he could easily absorb the minutes hossa puts up there.

    35. Tom G-

      Yes, the game you are refering to is from the rangers-kings 1981 playoff series, game three i believe. the brawl was at the end of the first period and it started with ed hospodar, maloney, barry beck, and chris kostopoulos (among others) mixing it up with marcel dionne, jay wells, rick chartraw. after many years of being regarded as a passive and timid team (which truthfully they were) the rangers came out and really roughed up the kings in this series. hospodar was a huge part of this action constantly going after dionne and suckering the kings starting goalie mario lessard. fotiu was not dressed for the game and after kostopoulos fought jp kelly (and worked him over), the kings third string goalie paul pageau (who was also not dressed) grabbed kostopoulos over the short glass. eddie johnstone saw this and came to intervene but the camera then cut away. when the camera returns to the get together by the boards, fotiu has made his way down to ice level and then attacks pageau. i have this on tape.

    36. hey Gil, we didn’t say Rachunek is small. We say that he is SOFT. We are still waiting for his first REAL bodycheck. the guy was a soft part of the Ottawa team for years that was known all over the NHL as What?–let’s all say it together—Soft pansies, who were beaten year after year by the Leafs in the playoffs not because they didn’t have more talent, but because they could be easily pushed around, just as Raccoon-neck gets pushed around every night here.

    37. To add to 4ranger’s comments about Rachunek from what I have seen he also chases the guy with the puck and because he constantly chases the guy with the puck he leaves himself out of position most of the time and because he does this he than hooks the player with the puck and takes penalties. I know he is playing under the new rules for the first time but my opinion is he hooks like every player hooks because there out of position chasing the puck carrier. The same players that get caught hooking who played last year know the rules but hook because there chasing the puck carrier and not using the fundamental which is to not play the puck but take the puck carrier out by body checking him off the puck.

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