If it ain’t broke….


There’s a dental convention in town down the road from the Garden, so I’m pretty sure the Rangers are the second-biggest attraction on the West Side tonight. Man, I just hope they don’t get out of control. You know how these dentists get.

Anyway, some pre-game thoughts:

  • Another Sunday game against the Sabres, and Tom Renney is rolling out the same lineup as last night’s stirring win over the Penguins, and that includes Henrik Lundqvist, who is starting in net for the fifth straight game, and the ninth in 10 games. Is this a problem? Does Renney risk running down his sophomore goaltender this early in the year? I don’t think so. I think Kevin Weekes got two cracks at Buffalo already and was awful in the first and serviceable in the second; and I think that, at worst, the team gets a day off tomorrow before it meets up with Atlanta on Tuesday.
  • In the “The-team-is-winning-and-we’ve-got-nothing-else-to-dwell-on” department, there continues to be a question of whether the Rangers are relying too heavily on the same four players for their offense while almost everyone has been reduced to ice-fillers. Again, just how serious the concern is depends on your perspective. If the Rangers had just lost three games in a row, I’d say maybe there should be more of a proactive effort to get other players involved. But as of now, as long as the third and fourth lines are still solid defensively, I’m not sure you want to start asking anyone to change how they play. Granted, this could all change in a heartbeat should any of their front-line players get hurt. But until then, you play the hand your dealt.
  • I don’t know this for a fact, but I have to think Renney is going to remind his players that tonight has all the makings of a let-down game. Think about it: back-to-back games; a grueling overtime win on the road last night, the best team in the league as an opponent. Put it another way: if the Rangers crank out two points tonight, I’ll officially be impressed.

    Questions? Thoughts? Concerns?

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    1. i haven’t been one to disagree or question renney’s decisions, but if he continues to put adam hall on the 2nd pp unit i think i’m going to lose it.

      for everyone that complains about hollweg and orts having “hands of stone” i must say that Hall probably has less talent than both of them, or at least hasn’t shown anything to the contrary. everytime he touches the puck it’s as though he has no idea what to do with it. the man looks so awkward and uncomfortable with it that you really question what the rangers see in him to actually put him on that unit.

      he’s completely ineffective by always lining up in the high high slot with two guys right near him and in no passing lane…he doesn’t use his body nearly enough…i can’t think of a single time through all these games that i’ve actually though “wow, hall made a really good play”

      for the love of god get him off the ice and get someone else out there!

      sam, if you have any inside info on Hall or see something that i’ve just been completely missing please let me know b/c the guy is driving me crazy

    2. The tough thing about the Sabres is all 4 of their lines can burn you. ALL of our lines have to watch their p’s and q’s tonight or we will get burned. I’m also concerned about this being game 2 of a back to back.

    3. Prucha needs to be bumped up to the first line, if only for a few shifts a game.

      He was a great clutch scorer last year, and I’d like to see him play with more playmaking talent.

    4. amit funny that Hall had a pretty good year on the PP last year…and its also the fact that he likes to go to the front and try to screen the goali…but yeah…lets put a perimiter guy out here instead

    5. Sa,, any sense that the other Rangers are learning toughness from Shanny, not just being impressed by it? Again and again he sacrifices on clears, etc. but it doesn’t seem to rub off as much as it could. Any thoughts?

    6. pruchas all over the ice in this one. hes playing with some higher energy than ive seen as of late from him, i wouldnt be shocked if he netted a goal in this one.

    7. Inferno with you on PP…he has been FLYING tonight…getting into “his” spots…and maybe its because the line is still learning how to paly together…but it seems that they are really starting to click more and more. CHRIS: i tihnk the team is getting tougher…they are just tough in the way that they dont seem to be affraid to take hits or get their noses dirty..not many player play with the edge that Shanny dose…not that I dont think the Rangers need to get tougher…but its a process, it wont change overnight. The younger players, Betts Ward, Hollweg, Hossa Tyutin all are playing much tougher…it just takes longer when your older…

    8. Inferno…Oh you didnt get the memo from the leauge? They are only to look for sticks in the mid section..nothing else…if they happen to see a high stick or a trip they are alud to call it…but they need to stop all those pesky hookings that create so many problems for the truly skilled palyers LOL

    9. Wildcard, I’m sorry but are you saying that you’ve noticed Hall in front of the net and screening the goalie THIS year?

      I’ve noticed him nowhere near that area, and instead find him always in the high slot by the top of the circles

    10. eeaaakkk…I better watch out..Sam is going to reasign me to the minors for spelling and typing work ;)

    11. that was just terrible to watch. the refs basically robbed the rangers of 2 points. let the sabres get away with murder (and a BLATANT moving pick on the game winning goal), and didnt give the rangers ANY leeway in return.

      just awful.

    12. Sam

      Renney say anything about this pathetic reffing? Probably not, as he is too much of a gentleman, but after what we have seen the past 2 nights, come on! These guys have to be kidding letting so much go now. It is bad enough watching on the sattelite. If I paid $150 for my seat and had to watch that, I would really be POed.

    13. I was at the game, and the Refs REALLY robbed the rangers… the goal that they “Dissallowed” was IN… my seats are on goal line, and PUH-LEASE, I am not an idiot, that goal was in. Even the stupid Bufs fans said so. But one funny part of the night? there were a bunch of Buffalo Sabre girls (fans) and they had a “Let’s Go Buff Alo” Sign, and the “Alo” part was backwards, so I yell up to her and go “YO BLONDIE. YOUR SIGN? IT’S BACKWARDS” and I got the whole section laughing at her, it wass pretty funny.

    14. I will give you that the officiating tonight was pure garbage.

      But I also submit that the Rangers played an undisciplined, foolish game and deserved not two points, but none. Cullen and Prucha remain completely ineffective, Cullen’s blind pass across the middle while short-handed (forget getting the puck deep) cost one goal, and Ozolinsh’s astounding stupidity (clear the puck, stupid) cost us another. And if Lundqvist hadn’t stood on his head, we would have lost 6-2.

      And don’t anybody spew me some line about “the Sabres are the best team in the league and the Rangers hung with them.” The Rangers did NOT hang with them tonight. It’s why they got 7 more power plays than we did – they’re young (SIX rookies on that team) and they’re fast and the skated circles around our old. slow defense and team in general. The Sabres are a great example of how an organization SHOULD be run. Their minor league system plays the same system they play up here because that’s where they get all their players from. They’ll be good for years. So will Pitt. And in five years, we’ll be watching Tyutin, Lundqvist, maybe Prucha and a bunch of free agents who are in their prime right now, and hoping Hugh Jessiman turns into something special.

      Sorry guys. I’m actually not nearly this negative in general. But when I watched Ozolinsh make yet another peewee mistake, a switch went off in my head. Or maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

      I thought 3 weeks ago the Rangers “hung with” the Sabres much better. And I don’t want my team to hang with the league’s best. I really can’t see any reason why with the resources available to them, my team can’t BE the league’s best. And I’m tired of settling for less like I’ve done for 37 of my 38 years.

    15. Just so you guys know, Mike Leggo reffed each of our last 2 games (Pittsburgh and Buffalo)

      think its a coincidence the reffing has been so 1-sided the past 2 games.


    16. Hey Sam,
      When are we going to get some secondary scoring? If this team was losing, we would would be hearing a lot more about players like Prucha, Cullen, Hossa, and Hall not producing. I like the play of Cullen and Prucha, but they need to becpome some sort of scoring threat. Hossa has been OK lately and I can accept he will never score more than an odd goal here or there. At least he has been working hard lately and as a penalty killer he has found a niche. Right now I would give anything to reverse the Moore for Hall trade. Hall is a big guy who doesn’t use his body enough to make room for himself to score goals. Moore was not a great scorer but scored at least as much as Hall and put in superior effort. If Shanny, Jagr, Nylander and Straka either fade or get injured during the second half of the season, we are in trouble. If I am Sather I am looking for someone out there who may get duped into the same thing we did in regards to Hall. We need some more scoring from our 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines. Cullen was signed to a nice contract but only has 11 points so far and Prucha isnt that far behind. I understand Prucha doesnt play PP now with Shanny here, but he needs to be able to produce 5-on-5. What re your thoughts, Sam? And by the way, Tyutin has supplanted Kaspar on defense, younger, tougher and do you see those hip-checks he throws regularly? He learned that from Kaspar and is now fulfilling that role. Speaking of Kaspar is he going to be waived or what?


    17. Sam, is the officiating reviewed by the league every game, or sporadically? These last two were not worthy of the Peewee league at Chelsea Piers. Blatant fouls under their noses, not called, including one that led to the Buffalo winning goal.

    18. Jane Stanton: well my seat was in front of the TV…puck NEVER crossed the line on Halls shot…was close…but not in. Peter…how can you say Cullen is completely inafective?? He had some of the best movement of the puck all game…ALSO they had 7 less PP than the highest scoreing team int he NHL, and only gave up 2 gaosl in regulation and one in OT when the play should have been dead due to a penalty…so they DEFINALTY stayed with Buff…it went to OT, it was 2-2 the rangers had good chances, were in the game even when it was 2-0…dont talk about not being int he game…the first meatingthe rangers wernt in, but they had a chance to win this one, jsut as much a chance as the Sabers, AND the sabers got away with murder…difrent game i the refs called it properly…

    19. Oh…and the 6 rookies on the team is becasue of what di they sday…5 regulars injured or something…Buf di NOT go into the season with 6 rooks in the lineup..and those rooks have very liitle to do with the win tonight..and on the PP time thing…if the refs called it right, with those 3 BIG non calls, the sabers only have 4 more PPs than the rangers, and ther were two other non calls that were really close so maybe sabers REALLY only deserved 2 more PP than the rangers…lets not say the rangers were out of it by using the number of PPs right after you say the refs were bad…

    20. Geez Buffalo has 6 rookies in the lineup and they are the best team in the east. I would be happy with 1 rookie but I get Ozo and others.

      Immonen had 2 more goals tonight after 2 last night including the OT winner tonight. I think his demise was a bit premature.

    21. tsalad: Also of those 6 rookies…one a defender..didnt see a sigle shift in the 1st…and I dont know if he ever saw the ice…so really, they were using 5…and of those only 1 or 2 were in the linup on opening night I tihnk…from what the announcers were saying early on. If the rangers have 2 defensman injured you will see at least on rook in there..and If a wingger is iunjured you will see a rook there as well most likely…so lets all not look at teh umber of young players Buff has…

    22. The puck never crossed the line, there is no doubt whatsoever about that if you review the tv footage. There were other bad calls though, and it could have gone either way… but ultimately I think we can be happy with one point from this game. The Rangers took way too many penalties, and had a lot of sloppy passes (again) out of the defensive zone. Nevertheless, they fought hard and it was basically a good effort.

    23. Whatever

      Doesn’t matter why the rookies are in the lineup for Buffalo. They are and they are winning with them.

    24. Prucha needs to be bumped up to the first line, if only for a few shifts a game.

      He was a great clutch scorer last year, and I’d like to see him play with more playmaking talent.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      I agree. BUT. Coach Renney’s double standard struck again in the third tonight when he benched Prucha after an Offensive zone turnover. No benchings for Malik 2 penalties, numerous turnovers tonight or Ozilinsh for another defensive zone mistake that actually led directly to a Sabre goal.
      Thanks Coach Renney for holding your teams fans in the highest regard again! On a night where the offense was tough to come by, the Coach decides to bench the offense. Great move Coach Tom. I Whole Heartedly Disagree with your coaching technique.
      And by the way, Sam, can you ask the coach why Pock , who adds more offense vs the Sabres was sitting in place of Orr???
      What the hell is going on??

    25. the rangers really need a 2nd line center.

      cullen is definately a better 3rd line center (or 2nd line wing) and is playing out of position.

    26. John M: One of those penalties on Malik was weak…and he otherwise palyed a rerally good game…Prucha didnt just turn the puck over once, he turned it over by trying to do to much or bad passes 3 or 4 times…he had all types of energy in the first, but that he stopped thinking, I dont know whats up with him, but he isnt the smae player as last year, and its NOT renney who is doing it, its Prucha who needs to figure it out…or maybe last year WAS a one time thing, and this is the reall PP, if thats the case than while his value is up trade him, but I personaly dont think thats hte case…i think the NHL knows about him and he is having a hard time adjusting to it…

    27. Inferno

      I really think Prucha should get a look at 2nd line center. He is shifty and passes the puck light years better than anyone else who is available. In todays NHL Prucha would thrive in the slot. He also comes back on every shift busting his butt to play D. Prucha’s size makes him more adept to center instead of the wing. A simple adjustment like moving Cullen to wing and Prucha to center may be all thats needed.
      Lets face it. If Gionta the mini rat can survive at center in todays NHL, Prucha is a no brainer!!

    28. hey Tsalad…imagine if Pock had made that blunder. Renney would have benched him so fast…oh, that’s right, Renney already benched him before he could make any mistakes.

    29. Peter Prucha needs to fire home a few PP goals to get some confidence. Whyb would the world suddenly end if Renney decided, say, for one PP to throw Prucha out there with Shanny and Nylander with Cullen and Rozsival on the points, and bomb away for once. Would that kill anyone?

    30. 4Rangers Your so right.

      Ozo used to be high risk and high reward now its just all high risk. He should sit as he is doing little that other young players couldn’t do. Except they might actually get better.

      Last four games for the Pack

      Callahan 6-2-8pts
      Immonen 5-1-6 pts.

    31. I hate to tell you John M, but Gionta does NOT play center. He plays RW, and has all along in his NHL career. the center is Gomez.

    32. Wldcard.

      You fail to mention Prucha’s center this year is Cullen. Who basically refuses to pass the puck on most shifts and never scores, never mucks enough,and take too many lazy type penalties.
      My beef is with the double standard. The defense made many many more mistakes tonight than Prucha. and to make it worse, Renney rplaces him with Adam Hall. What a joke man. Why not put Jagr on that line when he starts double shifting him? God forbid Renney would try that.
      To be fair, I’m a bit mad right now for Renney taking it out on Prucha.

    33. Sam,
      the worry with these four players scoring all the goals has to do with their age. Shanahan (37), Jagr (34), Nylander (34), Straka (33)…what young players do we have coming up to one day replace them down the line? Buffalo does a great job at replenishing their team with new young fresh players and much like the Penguins, will continue to be good for years ahead.

    34. 4Rangers
      Oh does he?? And he STILL stands in front of the net like a center on every shift? I guess thats what throws me off. Anyway, whether it’s Gionta, Savard, Briere, St Louis, do I have to continue? I think Prucha would be a great 2nd line center anyhow.


      Prucha played on the 5 on 3 pp tonight in the first and fired about 4 shots on goal. He looked right at home in front of the net.

    35. No he wouldn’t. the center has to cover defensively down low in the Ranger end, and that is not Prucha’s strength, trying to battle Gomez, Forsberg, Briere, Thornton, Lecavalier, etc. behind the Ranger net.

    36. the Rangers have beaten almost every good team they have played, except Buffalo..

      they beat Anaheim, SJ, Debbies twice, Atl., Canes, Tampa, Tor., etc.

      Only 3 losses to Sabres, and 1 to Nashville, vs. teams in the top 16 in the league.

      So, 1 game left vs sabres on Fri.

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