There is obviously no shortage of topics to discuss in Rangerland, especially in the wake of Pick-gate, which is how I’m describing “the events of overtime last night against Buffalo”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061127/SPORTS01/611270363/1034/SPORTS. Seeing how the team is off today, I figured this would be the ideal time to get to some of your questions.
So fasten your seatbelts, we’re off and running.
Chris, I always used to think too much was made of a player’s “influence in the dressing room,” which is invariably a phrase that came up with describing the likes of Mark Messier. But now I get it. Shanahan is a pro’s pro, and his attitude toward everything from games to practices to dealing with yahoos like me seems to resonate everyday with his teammates. That’s not to say they’re all turning into Shanahan imitators, since other players have different styles and attitudes. But I think players see that if the oldest guy on their roster is throwing his body around like that, they should be doing their part as well.
Incidentally, given the amount of time that passed since the winning goal last night, it’s obvious that Shanahan gave plenty of thought to his comments about the referees, and I think that’s part of his role as well. If a member of the NHL’s competition committee can be as pointed with his words as Shanny was last night, then it’s obviously something the Rangers thought needed to be addressed.
Well, z1ny, you’ve got us. It was only a matter of time. Here’s the deal: Everyday around noon, we meet a man in a dark parking garage who slides an envelope full of cash to our feet. Then he says something like, “Today you’re writing about Marcel Hossa. Make it a good one.” We’re also often told that if we can use phrases like, “the dashingly handsome Glen Sather,” or “the charming and philanthropic James Dolan,” that we’ll be rewarded come Christmas time.
It’s funny, a part of me wishes this were true since it might help me pay for a new pair of skates I’ve been eyeing. The less-dramatic reality is we in the press corps are all terribly unimaginative, and we just happen to stumble on the same ideas at the same time—especially on slow news days.
Good point, Nick. But let me turn that idea around on you. Is it at all possible that the Rangers are winning BECAUSE the secondary players don’t need to worry about scoring? I agree that you need your second and third lines to be more of a threat than they have been. But since the Jagr line is assuming much of the slack on the offensive end, the Rangers’ other forwards are allowed to worry about being more responsible on both ends of the ice.
The only way that will change is either A) teams start targeting the Rangers’ top unit in hopes of shutting them down; or B) Tom Renney starts giving other players—i.e. Matt Cullen and Adam Hall—more time on the power play. Of course, the other variable is injury, but for now, it seems like the Rangers are comfortable with the roles that they have. Maybe the only exception is Hall, whose lack of offense seems to be forcing him to press more than usual, and actually making him play worse. It’s a vicious cycle.
Keeping with that theme….
Fair enough, Andy. In the Rangers’ system, maybe Nigel Dawes is the only potential top three forward, and even he is probably closer to top six. Ryan Callahan has turned a lot of heads so far in Hartford, but it’s safe to say we need a larger sample size from him before we start projecting where he fits in.
Bottom line: The Rangers simply don’t have four players to replace the four players you mentioned above. But no one else does, either. What the Rangers do have is some potential second- and third-line players who can comprise the core of this team for the future, or who could be used as bargaining chips to help lure in more impactful talent.
It’s a lot to think about, I know. For now, I’m just trying to make it to lunch.