What to watch for: Steel City edition

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It’s scary to think that the Pittsburgh team that torched the Rangers for six goals last month was playing WITHOUT rookie Evgeni Malkin. True, the Penguins have cooled off since then — their loss last night to Buffalo was their sixth in seven games — but you still always get the sense that it’s only a matter of time before this awesome collection of talent is back clicking.

Meanwhile, a couple of other things to look out for tonight:

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  • No. 600: What better place for Jaromir Jagr to reach the goal-scoring milestone than in the city where he won two Stanley Cups? Of course, for the ultimate slice of nostalgia, you would need the full mullet (Seriously, can we talk about this hair for a second? What drives men to such extreme measures? Or better yet, at what point did Jagr get his hair cut, look in the mirror and say, “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for!”?)
  • Matchups: Tom Renney has said he’s almost confident enough with his defense where he can throw any of the pairings out against any line. That at least sounds pretty good. But between Sidney Crosby and Malkin, tonight would seem to put that thinking to the test. The same goes for the forward lines. Does Renney start using his third or fourth lines against the opposing team’s top units? Eventually he will. It’s just a matter of whether he does it with any regularity this early in the season.
  • Pock-checked: We probably won’t know whether Thomas Pock will be in the lineup in place of Adam Hall until after warm-ups. But if he does play, how does he fare? And is it a good thing if he plays well? For a player who still seems to have a future as a Rangers’ top-six defenseman, you wonder if a stint playing out of position risks throwing him off track.

    Of course, Pock could also see the ice for about 30 seconds all night, at which point, it really doesn’t matter…

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    30 Comments

    1. many good points, Sam.

      I wonder, if the Pens keep losing, will Renney tell Therien to convert Crosby and Malkin to Dmen.?

    2. Good one 4Rangers.

      On a more serious note, how long will Pock play forward? I am think 1-2 mins for the entire game.

    3. 4Rangers, the play with Bozo was nothing like Betts. Betts had about 4 to 5 seconds before anyone could get near to him before he had to make a play. Bozo was just trying to clear the puck from the front of the net. He made the right play trying to elevate the puck into the glass so as not to get a straight ricochet, unfortunately he just did it too high. Im not going to hold that over him.

    4. I have to admit that I am probably getting to critical but I am starting to get to the point of frustration as a ranger fan.
      I watched them not make the playoffs for seven years under Sather and company and than I was pleasantly surprise last year even though I was skeptical and this year I do not feel like the team is getting better.

    5. he took the risk of putting his team down 2 men, so it was a poor gamble, even though he didn’t have as much time.

    6. No, i dont agree with that statement at all Tom, I think the problem is this team gets going when Jagr gets going. His effort sort of reverberates through the team. And similarly when Jagr dogs it, its like the other guys have carte blanche to dog it too.

    7. This is a big problem with the rangers. sather goes out and gets Jagr cheap at the end of the year before the strike at a discount rate. The next year there is no hockey season and than sather goes out and brings to the rangers Jagr’s buddies to make him feel comfortable and than brings more veterans to try and win now with Jagr. The rangers will not go to the youth movement as long as Jagr is a ranger so this is what we have to look forward to for the next few years.

    8. Why do you think they got swept last year. The reason was because jagr got hurt in the first game in the playoffs and the rangers were done without jagr.

    9. I’ve been watching the devils and islanders and from what i see those two teams play as a team with 4 lines going through the game. Than you add pittsburg to the mix and I think these teams are better presently than the rangers. It’s a long season so anything could happen but I think the rangers could be in trouble. I hope I’m wrong. we’ll see where the rangers are at by christmas. I stated a few weeks ago i thought this team might not make the playoffs and don’t be surprised if that comes true.

    10. Sather hasn’t really changed his method of madness either, this year he brought in at least 4 free agents which has been his MO since he has been here as GM, how can you have a youth movement when you keep bringing in free agents, god only knows his trades aren’t any good either.

    11. Why can’t the Rangers put a man in front of the crease on the power play and get some damn shots? And why do they miss the net on so many shots?

      What a disappointing game. Personally, I think the Ozo clearing penalty was not so bad, just unfortunate. But some of the rest of those were just awful. Slow skating…

      Saving grace: Tyutin.

    12. Very disappointing effort tonight. They weren’t particularly sharp. Jagr is either still injured or he’s just plain disinterested. Very uninspired effort. On the bright side, Tyutin’s really stepping it up with his hitting. He’s getting better and better.

    13. the effort level was not there tonight, period, end of story. particularly from jagr who just dogged it. he didnt do a f***ing thing out there tonight, and as far as i am concerned should have been benched after the second period.

    14. Flyers make the playoffs umpteen years in a row, then get off to rare bad start and Clarke and Hitchcock get bounced. Rangers make the playoffs for only first time in Sather regime, are swept out, then get off to disappointing start this season, with no improvement in sight, bad TOI decisions, the Hossa joke, Malik (in #1 defensive pair) registering only NINE shots in the first 20 games, a mostly AHL defensive corps, rookies being mistreated as usual, etc, etc. and Sather and Renney still collect a paycheck.

      What the eff is wrong with this picture?

    15. The problem with this picture is that nothing has changed. The rangers making the playoffs last year was nothing more than a smoke screen. The only thing that has changed is the rangers are a little better with there special teams because of the signing of shanahan, other than that it’s the same crap. I don’t remember which person made this statement on this blog but at the time I thought they were crazy but the more I thought about it and think about what the rangers are about I think this person wasn’t that crazy after all. This person said the rangers should trade Jagr for young prospects. if you think about it if the rangers were serious about the youth movement than that is what they should do, trade jagr. The rangers will be nothing but a one dimensional team (jagr) and continue to have veteran players to make jagr happy having him think the rangers are trying to win for him. Jagr doesn’t have alot of years left in his career. I think Jagr is what’s holding the rangers back the more I think about it.

    16. Y’mean, just like Messier did for about 3 years? Seems to be a huge connection to the Messier Era Two and Jagr Era One…GLEN SATHER THE ARROGANT ENABLER.

    17. I think Jags has such a bad rep as a brat that not too many teams would really want to pay for him, or give up too much youth. There’s just too much history of him not showing up for work. Like last night.

    18. seriously Jagr sucks and that is why he gets booed in Washington and Pittsburgh, they just hate his guts. He is selfish beyond selfish. He only cares about himself and maybe a few of his buddies, the rest of the team should either sit and watch him play or fetch him the puck and cover up for him defensively.

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