Another day, another pair of wrinkled pants


When and if I get around to writing my autobiography, that would be on the short list of potential titles. (Another possibility: “What I Lack In Intelligence I Make Up For With Above Average Typing Skills”).

Anyway, it’s becoming increasingly clear that my attempts at ironing are not unlike a Sandis Ozolinsh clearing pass: My intentions are good, but the result can still be ugly (The irony, of course, is we both end up in the press box). But I’m here, and will soldier on regardless.

As for real hockey news, not much has changed since we last spoke: Henrik Lundqvist is in net, Jarkko Immonen and Darius Kasparaitis will be among those in front of him, and the Rangers have still gone four straight games without a win. Whether the tide is reversed tonight against the Penguins remains to be seen, but as I said before, one would hope that Immonen’s audition at second line center lasts more than a single game.

A couple of quick pre-game thoughts:

  • A question was raised about Matt Cullen, specifically, why was he replaced at center, and might he be a better fit on the third line. My response: For now, I don’t think so. I think the concern about Cullen as a playmaking center was a valid one, and obviously the Rangers agreed. But I still think of Cullen, who might be the team’s fastest skater, as one of the Rangers top six forwards, and he still generates more opportunities in a single shift than some players do in a game. The other part to consider is that if the Rangers fancy their third line as a defensive shut-down line, then the more offensive-minded Cullen wouldn’t fit there anyway. I know what you’re going to say: What’s an offensive-minded player worth if he’s only scored four goals all year? It’s a fair question, and if Cullen doesn’t click at wing, either, the Rangers might have a problem. But for now, let’s see how he does.
  • I’m not trying to be a Tom Renney apologist when I say you’re all making WAY too much of Renney’s remark about Jarkko Immonen’s foot speed. As I said earlier, it was an innocuous answer to a specific question, and it was preceded by heaps of praise for the prospect as well. Put it another way: if Renney thought poorly of Immonen, then there’s no way he’d be on the second line alongside Brendan Shanahan tonight.
  • Joe Nieuwendyk retires as one of the greatest face-off men of all time, which begs the question: Who is No. 1 on that list? As one of my fellow writers said with a laugh: “It’s not Michael Nylander.”

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    1. Doodie Machetto on

      Who is No. 1 on that list?

      If recent times count, it’s hands down Rod Brind’Amour

    2. Sam, you should also point out that one of the reasons that Cullen was signed was to play the point on the PP, like he did in Caro.

      But, he has not gotten a sniff there, because, remember, in the famous words of co-coach JJ, “shooting from the point is stupid”

    3. except when it’s 5-on-3 and JJ is on the point, then shooting from the point is all-of-a-sudden OK.

    4. dropping cullen down to the #3 center spot makes all the sense in the world…first is the obvious fact that you need to have 4 centers on your team which the rangers haven’t had all year. you bump cullen down to #3 and betts down to #4 suddenly you have 4 real lines and can roll them more evenly, which means less of a need to overplay the top 4.

      and the rangers badly need to find more balanced offense, and 2 guys that were expected to score that aren’t are cullen and prucha. a big factor in them not score is the fact that they must play 2nd and 3rd fiddle to shanahan on that line so they don’t get to shoot as much…so why not drop both down to the 3rd line?? put hall with immonen and shanny and give him the job of doing the ‘dirty work’ for those 2 on the 2nd line. and then let prucha & cullen play on the 3rd line where they face more favorable matchups and prucha becomes the primary sniper on the line.

      chemistry is an unknown factor…but something along the lines of

      hollweg-betts-ortmeyer (when he is ready)

      is far more balanced and a much deeper team on paper than we have seen this year…

      and the need for a shutdown 3rd line isn’t important because renney doesn’t match lines. if he didn’t do it with holik he isn’t gonna do it now. if anything he goes power on power and matches the jagr line against the other teams top line, not a checking unit.

    5. 10 games in the next 17 days. will it be 25 mins. per game for the 4 top scorers every night?

    6. Doodie Machetto on

      dropping cullen down to the #3 center spot makes all the sense in the world

      The third line has been the best defensively, Cullen has been lousy playing defense at center. Therefore, not all the sense in the world.

      By the way, I just saw an MSG network promo commercial that flashes a bunch of MSG events and says the only network shot from the heart of MSG, or something like that. Anyway, what caught my attention is that one of the clips is Richter blowing out his knee when he makes the save by kicking the post. Weird thing to put in there. Keep your eyes peeled.

    7. Hey, what’s up with no one giving Henrik a stick when he lost it the first time tonight? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in that situation?

    8. Doodie Machetto on

      Yes. He looked upset that no one did.

      Just as I was about to type that the first line looks good tonight, Straka takes a BAD penalty.

    9. Doodie Machetto on

      Well, 1-5, but not necessarily at that rhythm. It could be 0-6 and then 2-4.

      Does anyone else get the vibe that John Gianone hates Al Trautwig and Stan Fischler?

    10. It’s okay to make a neutral or even a positive one (horrors) about the coach without prefacing it Sam.

      Just my opinion, but the blog was so much better before the pandering to the comment section crazies. Too bad, you do such a great job updating and breaking stuff. Hope things improve.

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      Anyone notice the use of the goal cam? It was mentioned that it was missing but I’ve seen it a couple of times tonight.

    12. Hey Sam: Don’t iron. Hang them upside-down and use a hand-steamer. Alot faster, better results.

    13. Inferno:
      ^boy. How surprised am I that Kaspar looked like a traffic cone on that Crosby goal.^
      C’mon Inferno…be fair. They *all* looked like traffic cones on that play. all I can say is *yuck*
      I saw 4 Rangers that could have blasted Crosby off the puck with a nasty hit on his way in (legal hit or not), but instead we got 4 “reaches of the stick”. disgusting. I want to use Crosbys head as a speedbag in the worst way.

    14. Sam:
      Joe Nieuwendyk retires as one of the greatest face-off men of all time, which begs the question: Who is No. 1 on that list?

      This is not begging the question. It is raising the question. Google it, or look here:

      This one thing aside (which is a pet peeve of mine, sorry about that), your blog is awesome, and your writing is both information and very amusing! Keep up the awesome work. Don’t change a thing!

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