Team in crisis?



I’m not sure what I expected when I showed up at the practice rink this morning, but I figured there would be some overt residual effects from “last night’s dispiriting loss”: to the Islanders. Players dressed in black. Half the roster shipped to Hartford. Some sort of cruel and unusual punishment involving skating drills while listening to ABBA.


How disappointing, then. It wasn’t that last night wasn’t a topic of conversation, because it certainly was. But given the Rangers fairly cavalier attitudes today, maybe they were taking it for what it was: a discouraging showing against an important rival, but still just one game in the early part of the year. Is that palatable to fans? I don’t know. But to rely on the most maddening phrase of the 21st century, “It is what it is.”

With that in mind, a few thoughts:

  • Martin Straka missed practice again today to rest his hamstring. Jaromir Jagr was there, but I never saw him in the locker room afterward. That’s two consecutive days when the Rangers captain hasn’t made himself readily available to the media, and I give him two minutes for not owning up to an important part of his job. To be fair, I never asked to talk to Jagr, and whenever I have in the past, he’s always appeared out one of the back rooms at the Training Center that are off-limits to the media. But compare that to Henrik Lundqvist, who lingered at his locker well after getting shelled last night; and who stayed around again today to answer more questions.
  • Speaking of which, what to make of Lundqvist’s odd request to be taken out of the game last night (this after both Straka and Jagr also begged out of portions of the shootout loss to Buffalo)? To clarify from earlier, the goaltender said it wasn’t an issue of feeling off his game, but of sensing any change might be the kick in the pants the Rangers needed. To an extent, of course, he was right. But there is also the view — however misguided — that in hockey, you want to be in the game no matter what. Then again, goaltenders are a different species. And that’s especially true of European goaltenders. “I’ve seen it happen a lot with European goaltenders,” Tom Renney said. “I’ve seen it very frequently. I’m not saying its right or wrong. I’m just saying its not unusual. I really thought twice about it. I really thought, ‘Let’s battle through. It’s an opportunity, there’s no question about it.” Obviously, Lundqvist changed the coach’s mind, and whether there’s a hangover effect remains to be seen. For what it’s worth, the Rangers “mental skills” coach, John Phelan, re-appeared on the ice today. I wonder if he gets paid overtime.
  • Good news for Rangers fans: Tom Renney believes in his team. Bad news for Rangers fans: Tom Renney believes in his team. Getting back to what I said earlier, if you’re looking for sweeping changes in the lineup, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen (although the coach did allow that Sandis Ozolinsh might be in need of a break). In fact, here’s what Renney said about the team going forward. Cue the inspirational music.

    “I have total faith in this team to get over what happened last night. I have total faith in this team to make the playoffs. I really believe in these guys. I hope I don’t have my head too far up where the sun doesn’t shine. I honestly believe in them, and the reason I can say that is because of the synergy on and off the ice,” Renney said. “I believe that the most important thing going for us is our character and desire to win and do things right. It doesn’t always manifest itself night in and night out, and you guys (the media) do what you have to do to chronicle that. But I believe we’ll right this thing and be a consistent team.”

    So there you have it. See? There’s nothing to worry about….

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    1. Great job, Sam. Glad to see them taking their terrible performances in stride. Have to feel badly for Pock and Kaspar, watching this putrid defensive performance yet not being able to crack the lineup. Shanahan has been a revelation, however that line needs a defensive conscience because they get scored on A LOT. If the Rangers have anyone at Hartford that plays center and can pass the puck, they should be up here centering the second line. Marcel Hossa should be playing in Charlotte.

    2. Understanding that no major shakeup is coming, can we at least get a minor one? While I agree we shouldn’t start pressing panic buttons, I think we need to explore other options.

      Sam, are Kasper and Pock practicing in a tandem or are they trying them out with other potential partners? Also, what about putting Cullen on the point for PPs?

    3. Doodie Machetto on

      Ha, that’s a funny comparison in terms of stubbornness.


      Any word on when Jed Ortmeyer is headed to Hartford to get ready for his season debut? Also, Weekes didn’t exactly play a gem either; what did he say about his performance and about Henrik’s refusal to play?


      I have mixed feelings about your article Sam…. nothing against you i assure you, but perhapes you can clearify some things…. I want to know the mood of the locker room. I mean I understand the words of the coach that he feels the team can right itself, and of course we as the fans feel the same way. And I also understand and happy to hear him not wanting to hit the panic button by any means and really shake things up, but what was their demenor today?

      I was hoping to hear that they’d be somewhat pissed about their performance last night, not discouraged, but maybe come out today with a purpose and heart to work out the kinks in their game…. was that evident at all or how did it all seem from your stand point?

    5. Not a time to press panic button??? When is the right time to press it, can somebody tell me please? Islanders are NOT Buffalo Sabres and yet they blow Rangers out. Their best player was out last night Yashin, and they were tired, but somehow they managed BLOW rangers out in a big way. How is it not a time to panic — this team is inconsistent and prone to big defensive mistakes which always end up in our net. Call me a pessimist but right now is the prefect time to panic. Rangers are greatly in need of 2nd line center since we all know our D mistakes will not stop at least maybe will be able to outscore the other teams.

    6. Sam, I was just wondering if something other than conditioning is wrong with Kasper? I just think something else is the reason hes riding pine.

    7. Rob —
      Fair questions. I should say that it wasn’t as if the team was all giggles. They certainly practiced hard, and worked on many of the things that they struggled with last night — i.e. closing gaps on forwards. It’s just, like I said, there have been times this season that I’ve expected there to be some sort of dramatic overhaul and there hasn’t been.
      Granted, the Rangers don’t play again until Thursday so there’s still time to shake things up. But Kasparaitis was still paired with Pock, and Rachunek was still with Ozolinsh, and all the other forward lines were the same as well, so at least for the time being, things might be status quo. Again, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. But it was just an impression I got.

    8. Jonathan Probber on

      My huge reservoir of respect for Tom Renney is starting to drain, albeit slowly. He sounds like he’s descending into Groupthink, hardening his position, shutting out those who may disagree with him and generally steering the train off the rails while the rest of the world looks on with puzzlement and horror.

      I also find it distasteful that he’s starting to gently demonize the media. Major newspapers (and the Journal-News) have relegated hockey to deep inside coverage, so Renney and his coaching colleagues have no business pushing them further away.

      (The Times, shamefully, ran a short game story on the LAST PAGE of today’s Sports section even though this was arguably the most interesting game of the season thus far, involving blood rivals – both in their coverage area. I know football is a big deal around here, but the *very* last page?)

      By the way Sam, not to pressure you, but you’ve clearly become the market leader in Hockey coverage. See if you can keep it up until the golf courses thaw.

    9. Did Tom Renney really say this?

      “I hope I don’t have my head too far up where the sun doesn’t shine.”

      ROFLMAO!!! You can’t make this stuff up!!!

    10. Sam, I wish you could get Renney’s response to this.

      the Rangers have won 13 of 27 games this season, and they have only won 22 of their last 55 games since the Olympics.

      Just what in that record gives him confidence to say,””I have total faith in this team to make the playoffs. I really believe in these guys. I hope I don’t have my head too far up where the sun doesn’t shine. I honestly believe in them, and the reason I can say that is because of the synergy on and off the ice,â€? Renney said.

      I would say that if he thinks that the fans will be satisfied with “synergy”, well then he does have his head where he described.

    11. Renney has said and done some things that really have made me scratch my head this season. Having said that, Renney is not going to come out and say that the season is hopeless either. Just remember that he works for someone too, and we all know who that is.

    12. question. what is the point of keeping Pock, of worrying about losing him to waivers, if they don’t consider him capable enough to play for 2 clowns who are minus machines ?

      that is how the Rangers treat their “youth”, Pock is 25.

    13. you could see yesterday that smart teams are now focusing more on stopping the Jagr line from building up speed thru the neutral zone. let them circle all they want, but don’t let Jagr get the puck on the move, as Witt tried to do. the only time they dominated was on the 4-on-4 when Nolan didn’t have his better defensive players on the ice.

    14. I don’t think the Rangers are in a good place, or should be relaxed about the slide since last year’s Olympics. And I definitely think that they need to make some drastic moves on D right away. But all this business of supposedly ruining “youth” seems far-fetched. How come no one ever seems to remember that Tyutin, Prucha, Hollweg, and Lundqvist [and Ortmeyer] are “youth”? That’s a significant chunk of a big market team…

      Sam, keep up the good work and please try to call Renney out on his blind faith when you can; the win/losses just seem to indicate obvious trouble in the last 10-12 months…

    15. twin

      That Renney quote is ridiculous and sad.

      As for Pock. Rangers don’t really have any use for kids other than saying they have a bunch.

    16. chris, I will say it for the umpteenth time. Lundy and Prucha ONLY got a chance because of injuries, and their performance, and Hollweg’s hitting, got the fans on their side to such a degree that Renney could not give them the Pock treatment when the vets returned. And Tyutin and Orty were regulars in ’04 before the trades and the lockout.

      There is not one single new kid on the team this year, 3 years after a phased youth rebuild was promised.

    17. I mean Chris you really should have known that. A player ceases to be considered part of the “youth” of the team by securing a spot due to injuries.

      Hollweg made the team and became a useful player, being physical and becoming a crowd favorite in the process so of course that knocks him out too. Maybe if he played poorly and Renney used him anyway that would show a true commitment to youth. ALso, Hollweg played his natural position of center last night, so I think that works against him too.

      I’d ask 4ranger, but I think he’s assembling some not-as-clever-as-he thinks line combinations.

    18. maybe we can get Jeremy Roenick to center a second line of John LeClair and Brendan Shanahan. Then all will be well.

    19. Oh yeah:

      What makes you say that Hollweg’s “natural position” is center? He hasn’t played center as a pro, until this year. He never played center at Hartford and last year he played wing all year. Just b/c he played it in juniors doesn’t mean it’s his “natural” position.

      and Chris:

      Ortmeyer is 28 years old. Youth?

      Also, 4 draft picks make the roster in the 6+ years that Sather has been in charge and this is your evidence that the Rangers do a good job developing young players? Try Buffalo with *17* draft picks having played for them this season, 10 of whom were drafted since 2000 (Sather’s first draft in NYC).

      Oh, I know it’s all Smith’s fault.

    20. oh no, wise-enheimer. if you think Renney-sather are so friggin’ great, then why don’t you write to the Brooks article, which says belatedly what we have said all along.

      and you are just making my point. If those young players Lundy, etc. made the rangers a better team last year, which they certainly did, then wouldn’t more of the same, not less, be the way to go.

    21. Hollweg said he prefers playing wing. Imo he is a better player on the wing as well because he can get involved in the physical play.

    22. Certainly not to equate them socially or politically, but the mindset in upper Rangersdom as exemplified by Renney is reminiscent of the “true believer” faction in Der Fueher’s bunker at the end of WW II.

      For sure there were some resident realists around back then, (but not now, apparently).

      What we’re getting here is the same kind of verbal diarrhea Hitler’s lackeys were feeding him about “victory around the corner” as the Red Army was knocking on the door.

      In his epic book about the fall of Berlin, “The Last Battle,” author Cornelious Ryan wrote that the same contingent regarded the above as a “Wolke Cookoo Land” (“Cloud Cuckoo Land”).

    23. twin, tsalad

      exactly. a body-banging, straight-line skating, good corner-worker who is not a passing specialist, should be playing on the wing where he does the team and himself the most good. Only Renney would take a valuable grinder and try to re-make him into Blair Betts.

    24. It is early in the season, sort of, and it is not time to panic. However, it is a very bad idea to take a “wait and see” attitude. That is basically the do nothing option, which is an option, but in the case of a struggling team, is not a good option. Not when there are many choices available to correct these problems.

      Kasperaitis and Pock are choices that can easily be made here and now before it is time to panic. Line changes (forwards) are even easier to adjust and Hall should not be anywhere near the second line. If Hen-rik has many more of these bombs, he may end up with some serious confidence problems.

      The time is NOW, because it is early, to work these things out and steer the team toward the success that is clearly within reach. I think doing nothing now translates to should-have later. Should have put Kasper back in. Should have given Pock some ice. Should have done something to deal with inconsistent “D”.

    25. the season is 1/3 over. it’s not too early. Panic would be trading Staal for another over-the-hill veteran. Making lineup changes is not panic. calling up and playing some youth is not panic. it is good judgment.

    26. BoreRanger…you’re putting us all to sleep. We all know that this team hasn’t done a good job with drafting, developing players…I’m saying you make up silly standards to judge a team by. When the next young player comes up and sticks (and I would hope it’s sooner than later)you’ll come up with another excuse why that also wouldn’t be true player development.

    27. JAY: When a coach won’t even entertain a defensive change after 10-15 games of watching Ozo-Rachunek fumble the puck, do their pilon act and make HL wish he was back in Sweden, it’s definitely time to make a change. A coaching change. And I don’t even think that will help, considering Sather and Dolan are still calling the shots. We’ll probably end up with Pat Quinn. The nightmare continues.

      MARK: I was thinking Baghdad Bob, but you’re analogy is pretty funny.

    28. OH YEAH: You hit the nail right on the head. Maybe we should try to trade for some solid youth to meet our needs.. Like, fer instance, a rushing, scoring d-man like Zidlicky. Or a big, 20 goal guy who can go into the corners and get the puck for Shanny and Prucha. Say, Umberger.

    29. hey wise-acre. you just made my point again.

      you wrote, “”We all know that this team hasn’t done a good job with drafting, developing players…”””

      exactly what I have been posting. and if you don’t like it, if it bores you to hear the truth, well there are sycophant boards like rodent and bird to keep you occupied. because I don’t see tsalad, twin, chardkerm, lenny, peter, pemoco, etc. or even Sam saying that they are bored with this board.

    30. Should have waived/bought out Ozolinsh. Never should have signed Rachunek (unless there was a deal in place to send him elsewhere). Never should have re-signed Roszival when there were lots of other options (in-house and UFA) available.

      yep, lots of “should haves” and “never should haves” around this team (and I just focused on the defense).

    31. Yeah, nice big word there.

      By the way, I’m sure sam loves it when people tell other posters to not come back to the blog. Anyway, peace out, keep blowing the whistle on the scandal that is the new york rangers.

      Chardkerm – you’re a clever one as well.

    32. if this board bores you, as you say, why linger? Nobody said you couldn’t come back. I said there are other boards more amenable to mgmt. defenders. But it is laughable for someone who has seldom posted on this board, or offered anything to the discussion, to all of a sudden appear, and say that he is bored with the “rangers don’t develop youth properly” same ol’ song. well, apparently with the brooks article, and Sam’s current columns, that song is becoming more popular.

    33. Look, my point was, you set it up so they never can do anything right and that someone who disagrees with you is a toady. That doen’t make for much in the way of discussion.

      Oh Yeah! out!

    34. did you all hear that Henrik’s identical twin, Joel, was recalled from Dallas’ Stars farm team and is now playing for them and possibly in the game vs. the Rangers? Pretty cool, huh?

    35. Oh Yeah,

      At least here you don’t get banned when you have an opposing view like the Rodent/Bird site. It’s just boring to you because you don’t want to hear it, afraid it will burst your delusional bubble. Get over it

      Say hi to Rodent and Bird and tell them and their disciples to read this blog. They might learn something, and you too.

    36. sam please from the fans next time you see tom renney just ask him these three questions please just do it i promise you they can’t fire you for it. word it any way you like just please ask them.

      tom do you think its time to maybe integrate some of the quality kids you have down in hartford to maybe jumpstart this group a little bit?

      tom it is obvious by the way you are rolling lines that you are at least a center short. do you think jarkko immonen or brandon dubinsky could be the answer?

      tom do you think this team misses that edge darius kasparitis brings to the rink everyday? ivan baranka is having a stellar year in hartford could he be someone you guys take a look at sooner rather than later?

      those three questions sir i beg of you we deserve answers to simple questions like these from management. im serious as one of your biggest supporters give the fans what they want and ask this MORON these questions.

    37. one more question if your feeling brave ask him

      Tom, for a team in year two of what you guys clearly suggest is a rebuilding team, why isn’t there one rookie on the roster considering the dynamic camps so many of the young prospects had in october?

    38. Kovy27, and everyone for that matter —
      Let’s be clear on something because I know this comes up a lot on this blog. We ask Tom these questions, in some capacity, pretty much every day. We ask him why Pock isn’t playing, why Kasparaitis isn’t playing, whether Callahan or whoever should play from Hartford. If there’s ever a reason we DON’T ask it is because Tom, for all his positive qualities, has become fairly adept at giving the answer he wants: something along the lines of that he considers those changes every day, and is continuing to consider them.

      Now, there are two options to consider with answer like these: one, he’s telling the truth, and is really considering them; or two, his hands are tied by factors outside his control and he’s being vague for a reason.

      As frustrating as that might be for all of you, bear in mind that it’s not always easy for us to always get the answers we want. Now, I’m admittedly new at this, and I’m beginning to learn there is more than one way to squeeze information out of the team. But just understand that what a coach really thinks and what he says to the media might not always be the same thing.


    39. understood sam but in this new world of 24/7 news and all these blogs popping up (ny beat writers completely jumped on your bandwagon by the way) you guys have the opportunity to ask direct questions like these and get answers and have the ability to post what these morons are saying word for word no? i mean i truely believe that other than yourself alot of guys in the media wouldn’t know brandon dubinsky if he ripped a slapshot at his mother. i guess what im saying is if you have the ability to get face to face with these guys is there really a harm in saying “hey why didn’t you do this or why did you do this” i mean the football coaches are second guessed and put on the spot why aren’t these clowns. renney is just being impossible this season 4 losses in a row and he’s just considering things? thats not good enough. of course if im speaking out of line here i understand that you could get in trouble and if thats the case than of course we wouldn’t want that but i’d really love to see your blog one day with maybe one of those questions and right after it an ANSWER thatnks for taking this into consideration.

    40. Doodie Machetto on

      I don’t really have time to post much and won’t for the next couple of weeks, but one thing caught my eye as I was reading through that I had to comment on:

      “Should have waived/bought out Ozolinsh.”

      Why? 14 pts in 19 games last season, by far the highest point production among any of our defensemen. That deserves another shot. Now, what he has done with said shot is a different story altogether. But giving him a chance wasn’t a mistake.

      I’ll be in now and again, but not to discuss ad nauseum which rookies should be playing.

      Cheers all.

    41. how bout his playoff meltdown, knee recontruction, drunk driving charge, and rehab stint as reasons to have cut this guy from our organization. imo he embarrassed the sweater numerous times since he’s been here and that should have been enough. i never thought in a million years he’d be back on the ice everynight this year for us after what he did.

    42. Doodie Machetto on

      1) Playoff meltdown was team-wide- so that’s not a reason to keep him from getting a shot, unless you wanted to buy out the entire team.

      2) Surgery doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a shot. I suppose we shouldn’t have given Jagr a shot this season either.

      3) Drunk driving has nothing to do with on-ice performance. I think Fleury is a good example of that.

      4) Punishing a guy for going to rehab to get better? I’d say that’s pretty lousy also.

      A defenseman who was on pace for more than 30 pts in a season is something that the Rangers DESPERATELY needed last season. He deserved the shot.

    43. drunk driving has something to do with YOUR JOB and make no mistake as a pro what you do on and off the ice is important. giving him a pass for that is a joke. fleury by the way playing men’s league hockey in scotland not a good example. playoff meltdown was team wide but no one no one was as bad as ozo end of story. and now we’re comparing ozo to jagr because both had surgeries??? give me a break. one was coming off one of his best seasons ever. the other just got out of detox after being booed off msg ice. this is silly

    44. Sam wise,…

      With regard to you asking Renney the “Tough” questions, did you ever have the nerve to look him straight in the eye after he deflects your questions and say…”cmon, Tom, you and me both know you just dodged the question, can you answer me for real this time?”

      Call him out on it ,…at least once…Please!?

      Interviews are useless unless you get the real scoop. Hearing the coaches say the same “yadda, yadda, blah, blah” every time gets on your nerves after a while. Whats so difficult about speaking the truth? why does he have to spew BS all the time,…does he think we cant see right through him?

    45. “lennynyr: Oh Yeah,
      At least here you don’t get banned when you have an opposing view like the Rodent/Bird site.”

      Lenney/Bigturkey,…dont worry,…give it time, I’m sure you’ll get banned here too.

      By the way, you got banned from Hockeybird too? Remember after your fight with Rodent you were praising Bird for having the stones to let you voice your opinion on his board?…so much for that. Pretty soon you will be saying the same thing about Sam.

      I cant fault you for getting pissed, I find it pretty frustrating too (the team). Believe it or not, some people are interensed in what you have to say…so let your comments fly, but try to hold back (just a little) so you dont get banned here too!

    46. Anthony (Abev) on

      Plebian if Sam or any reporter “called him out on it” I think there might be some dirty looks and maybe some words that begin with F then maybe Sam’s only scoop will be what he sees at a game b/c the coach wont give him anything.

      Forget about Pock, unless 2 defensemen get hurt you wont see him. Especially not after the refusual of the minor league assignment.

      Sam, in case you didnt see it yet, Joel Lundqvist was called up the the Dallas Stars. Hopefully he stays long enough so Herik can stone him when the NYR visits Dallas next week. :)

    47. Anthony,
      I know…its just wishfull thinking.

      And I know I should “forget about Pock”
      What I want to know is why…a legitimate reason, not a runaround. Im not the only one who is sick of at least half of the current defensive corps. How many games was Ozolinsh given to “Find his game”? and Pock gets what? like 2 or something? and one of those as a forward? What a joke.

    48. the organization does not have a 2nd line center (unless you count Nylander who is playing 1st line) at the NHL or AHL level. None of the youth can give the Rangers what we all hope for at the position. I hope they don’t panic and trade youth or draftpicks for 1 30+ year old 2nd line center (but fear the worst). I do think Prucha s/b moved back to the 2nd line and that the 3rd pair d s/b replaced (if for no other reason that I’m sick of hearing that 25 yr old Pock is the 2nd coming).

      As an aside Sam please ask LB if he still predicts the Rangers for the cup in 2007.

    49. Plebeian,

      Difference is here there is a wide berth of tolerance for different opinions. You are right though, I though Bird’s board had a chance but I was wrong.

      Just found the atmosphere at Rodent’s and Bird’s non receptive to a train of thought that differs with the majority. Other boards, like here and proboards, to name a couple have a whole different venue.

      I think I was the only one on both those boards to blast Renney and the Ranger organization. Here, if you are reading the comments here, you can probably count at least ten who are as upset or even more upset at Ranger management.

      According to your line of thinking, that means at least ten of us, and probably more, will be banned and you’ll be here almost all alone.

      Why don’t you listen and learn from realistic Ranger fans what’s going on, you might learn something.

      And we’ll see about Sam. Think you’ll blow that one too.

    50. Wow, I’d love to pose a comment but all the comments i’d propose have all been mentioned. However, I’m with the fans who are frustrated with the team thus far. I have witnessed an inconsistent team that does not have the leadership to create one. Renney’s stubborn style of coaching is getting frustrating. He’s not holding people accountable for, he’s not allowing youth (and talent which is available to him) in the lineup who could be helping this team for years down the line. And he’s not even good at running his basic 4 lines. He lacks creativity and vision for what this franchise can accomplish and is holding them back from their full potential for this season and seasons ahead. IMHO, they are preparing nothing for the future of this team…

    51. in sports strengh up the middle is vital. Aside from goalie I think the center position is the most important and that is where the Rangers are lacking. During the offseason that should be their priority signing. I felt no confidence in anyone scoring last night other than the 1st line and Shanny and like others have said playing those guys 25 minutes / game is not a good thing.

    52. hey guys, i see there’s a lot of opinion about D and nothing about F. Just can’t believe you guys blaming D for everything that Rangers team is not. Open your eyes, F line is below NHL average. Ok, jagr and shanny are big, but that is not enough. You need fast, skillful and defensively solid 2nd and 3rd line in new NHL and Rangers just don’t have it!

    53. Lennynyr,

      Whoa, settle down Beavis.

      What I was trying to say was that I am in complete agreement with you in regards to Renney and the Organization. If being critical of the organization will get you banned from this blog, then I certainly would be banned as well (I am not very vocal about it, but I definitly feel as you do). And I was even trying to say that your comments and perspective are too valuable to lose, so don’t go getting yourself booted (especially for someting as trivial as bad language, or something like that) Thats all,…see?…me friend!

      Quote: “Why don’t you listen and learn from realistic Ranger fans what’s going on, you might learn something.” … man…harsh!

      Quote: “And we’ll see about Sam. Think you’ll blow that one too”
      ???… Im not even sure what this means, but Im sure you meant something unpleasant. …wheres the love?

    54. Doodie Machetto on

      “the organization does not have a 2nd line center (unless you count Nylander who is playing 1st line) at the NHL or AHL level.”

      I’ve said that several times, well over a month ago.

    55. One thing that worries me about LeClair is (the report says) his salary would only be $670k for the remainder of the year, would this tempt Sather to acquire him? I hope not, the answer has to come from Hartford. We have to show that younger guys (Callahan, Dubinsky, Dawes, Moore, Immonen, Korpikoski, Baranka) will be the first to be called up when the Blueshirts need a player and that the front office aren’t going to dive in and get another veteran for his “presence” or “leadership”.
      As for the D, Mr Renney has to sit Bozo and the Raccoon and play Kaspar and Pock for the next 2 games before things go from bad to worse. Someone check them both for splinters before they suit up though..!!

    56. Plebeian,

      OK, let’s start fresh on this blog.


      You are right. The only forwards showing any offensive ability are Jagr, Straka, Nylander and Shanahan. Cullen and Hall have been big disappointments, Prucha has regressed and the rest of them are fringe NHLers although I like the hitting by Hollweg as long as he keeps away from cheap penalties. So it isn’t a question of whether it’s the D or the F, it’s both. The F gets a “D” and the D gets an “F”.

    57. Doodie Machetto on

      LeClair passed through re-entyr waivers untouched before anyone on this forum even began to mention the interest by the Rangers.

      The Rangers didn’t have any interest. Agents and GMs usually throw the Rangers’ name out there to help create interest in other teams. Pittsburgh was hoping that Philly would pick him up out of nostalgia, or Chicago would do it to bolster their injury decimated lineup.

    58. I have liked what I have seen in the newspapers recently about Ozo and Rachunek getting some time off the ice.

      There is no way Kaspir and Pock can be worse than Ozo and Rachunek. Ozo hardly ever pinches to keep the puck in at the point and they both seem to be playing back on their heels recently, some time off might allow them to reevaluate their game.

      Callahan looked like he should have stayed with the team and gotten playing time and Renney should have given Prucha a few nights off to regroup and relax. Having Prucha in the shootout against Buffalo was ridiculus.

      Rangers need a center and I would take either Neiwendyke from Florida or Comrie from Phoenix if either can be had.

    59. We have a center in Hartford who led the entire team in points during the preseason. Yes, including the “big guns”. That guy is Immonen, who would have been a perfect fit on a second line with Dawes and Prucha.

      With Immonen, who is a great passer, to feed him, Prucha would have been heading to another 30 goal season. Cullen is not a good passer – he shouldn’t be 2nd line center – so Prucha has to go get the puck, then try to do something with it.

      And Dawes was never given a fair shot here. He’s a lot more talented than we have been led to believe by Professor Renney.

      Renney has held this team back and is the main reason we are not solidly in first place. A guy like Schoenfeld is the ticket.

    60. Baron – check Immonen’s stats, he’s having a tough time down in Hartford this season with a -14, but I agree with you he did have a good second half of preseason, but I thought Dubinsky had a better camp and he needs more time in the AHL.

      The problem I have with Renney is he should have already played Kaspir and Pock more than he has. Dawes should have gotten 10 games to prove his worth, Callahan should have gotten more time. He plays the same guys game in and game out on the PP instead of making changes. Now what is the next move for Immonen? He has no trade value at all and has not gotten a chance at the NHL level, so he’s development has stopped.

      I was watching the Isles game and they have Sillinger and Simon out on the PP and other teams have different PP units. Renney will keep Jagr and Shanahan out there for the full 2 minutes, what kind of message does this send to the rest of the team?

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