Post-game musings

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In the “You Wish Department”, MSG P.A. announcer Joe Tolleson accidentally introduced Marcel Hossa as his brother Marian for tonight’s starting lineup. It’s an honest mistake, really. The two are almost identical players when you think about it — you know, give or take 40 points.

Some quick thoughts:

  • As an addendum to my earlier note about Tom Renney mapping out his goaltending starters at the beginning of each month, it should be mentioned that he doesn’t tell the goaltenders themselves until the day before games — “which is exactly why he’s the head coach,” Kevin Weekes said. But Renney’s reasoning makes sense. You tell someone like Weekes he’s not playing for a week and maybe practice doesn’t seem as important.
  • One other thing about the whole goaltending schedule. Renney said he’s had it in place all year, and has only strayed from it once. One would have to assume he was talking about when Weekes started, and won, back-to-back games against Anaheim and San Jose. If the coach saw that coming a month in advance, he’s a lot smarter than I give him credit for.
  • My Marcel Hossa cracks aside, the line of Hossa, Blair Betts, and Jason Ward was actually pretty good tonight, especially in the first period. I’m not saying you can expect a lot of goals out of them. But to be clear, they don’t expect it, either. When I was asking Betts about whether Weekes is just as tough to score on as Lundqvist in practice, the center offered a painfully honest response. “For a guy like me, they’re all hard to score on,” he said. I feel your pain, buddy…

    Plenty more to discuss, but that’s all for now. The Rangers are off tomorrow, but shoot me some questions and I’ll try to respond to them.

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    22 Comments

    1. Good game but, again, too many missed opportunities to score. If the Rangers could seal the deal on a mere one open net shot a night, they (and I) wouldn’t have to be so stressed out at the end…

      Otherwise, pretty good game I thought. Hope Kasper gets a little better and quicker because as Renney seems to acknowledge he does seem to add something unique to the chemistry. And he always seems to be the first man to congratulate the goalie and the team after the game. Maybe he’s just so happy to be there.

      I’d like to see a little more fire from Immonen, who seems a bit tame, as if he isn’t playing for his life. But maybe that’s a misperception on my part.

      Sam, you spoken to Ozo since he’s been riding the pine?

    2. Sam,
      Can you ask Renney why, despite trying other things to get Cullen going has not tried to put him on the point for the PP, where he was so effective for the Cup Champs?

    3. Speaking of PA announcers, isn’t the guy that was the garden’s PA announcer now doing the PA in New Jersey?

    4. How you doin Sam.

      Anyway, doesnt it bother you that Renney basis his goalie decision off a little chart he creates? I mean now we realize why Lundqvist doesnt get some of the games he’s supposed to get after great wins. This is just another reason why Tom Renney is really not a coach but an illusion. If you or anyone says, “well Tom Renney got us into the playoffs last year”, my answer is…”Wrong, Jagr and Lundqvist with the help of a passionate and hungry team got us into the playoffs last year”. Renney just stood behind the bench and did what Jagr told him to do.

      Now why is it that Brodeur play the majority of the games, Richter played the majority of the games and yet we still have to plug Weekes in there. Lundqvist is a big boy, he can handle the pressure.

    5. Hey Sam,

      I went to the game tonight. It was a great game, but got scary for a bit in the third after the Panthers scored. Funny thing is I met Jason Ward on the train ride home up to Westchester. Man, is Jason nice and very humble. I had my Rangers Ortmeyer jersey on and my sister had her Lundqvist jersey on. I really think that you cannot discount the contributions of the 3rd and 4th lines to this team. It gives them a real identity, even if they dont contribute too much on the score sheet. I have to give Renney credit, the checking line of Ward-Betts-Hossa has been excellent since it has been formed. I think the line gave Hossa a sense of purpose and a niche. He has done well on the PK too. Speaking of the PK, Betts and Ward have been great on it this year, even chipping in some shorties here and there. I liked the 4th line tonight with Hollweg-Prucha-Hall. They all hit a lot, especially Prucha, and produced some decent chances. You can see that Prucha really wants to contribute and score. I can’t wait until Jed comes back into the lineup. I think he will add to that 3rd and 4th line grit and help on the PK. The only question is who will sit when that time comes. I think that Hall should sit and Jed should be reunited with Hollweg. Sam, what are your thoughts on Ortmeyer coming back? DO you think he will add a lot to the lineup? Talk to me about those 3rd and 4th line guys and who you think will be the odd man out in coming week. Thanks.

    6. Lundy obviously can’t always handle the pressure, seeing as how he pulled himself last week, had a problem with migraines and grinding his teeth, and fell off last year. Very few goalies can play Brodeur number games and not get injured. Again, that happened to Lundy last year after the Olympics. Faulting Renney for getting Kevin some p.t. and giving Lundqvist some rest seems foolish to me. And Weekes played great tonight, so how can that be bad?

      Renney may not be a great or even good coach, but this doesn’t seem to me to be the facet to pick on.

    7. I Miss Steve Rucchin on

      Sold my tickets to the game tonight to recoup some of the cost of the package. When I go to the games, they lose. When I sell my tickets, they win. I have the power.

      Anyway… power play looked real good from what I see (watching Ranges in 60 cuz I missed the real game at work). Lots of puck movement and not just puck movement, the players were moving too. It’s like they read the blogs.

    8. Newman: its funy you say that…did you know that San Jose rotates goalies??? yeah…even after a shutout they have doen it this year…Its not Just Renney that dose that…he knows who he wants to start, it was back to back…yeah lets let Lundqvist paly it, and if he wins like Weekes did what than? WHen dose he rest? In Philly against a division rival? or against Dallas who is a good team? it was back to back, before the season starts jsut about ever coach sasys one guy plays the first of back to backs, the other guy plays the second…man, some people just WANT to complain about Renney…and his decision was the right one…look at the result…not an illusion..a win behind SOLID goaltending.

    9. Any thoughts on Immonen? More specifically any thoughts from the coaching staff on how he has played this week?

    10. Richter played 72 games once. He played 68 games twice. He never played more than 61 games in any of his other 11 seasons. Lundqvist is on pace to play 63 (23 of 30 starts).

      Weekes started the 2nd night of a back to back against one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. If you aren’t going to play your backup in that situation, when are you?

    11. Rosival and Weekes played their best games of the year. Rachunek and Hall were the worst. Rachunek lacks the strength to knock guys off the puck and Hall played a listless game. This guy is not working out.

      When you are worse than Hossa, you are really in trouble. Kept the puck in Florida’s end most of the time. Actually, Hossa, Betts and Ward played well together. Immonen played a steady game and seems to know where he should be on the ice. Glad Renney is finally giving him a chance.

      Not playing Pock and not benching Rachunek is a puzzle to me. Only thing that explains it to me is Glen Sather politics.

      The lone Florida goal was the fault of A. Ward and Hall. Hall didn’t cover the trailer who scored and Ward didn’t hit the guy who passed to the uncovered trailer but instead just reached out weakly with his stick to try and block the pass which was a lazy play.

    12. ****CORRECTION****

      Rosival and Weekes played their best games of the year. Rachunek and Hall were the worst. Rachunek lacks the strength to knock guys off the puck and Hall played a listless game. This guy is not working out.

      When you are worse than Hossa, you are really in trouble. -Kept the puck in Florida’s end most of the time.- Actually, Hossa, Betts and Ward played well together. Kept the puck in Florida’s end most of the time. Immonen played a steady game and seems to know where he should be on the ice. Glad Renney is finally giving him a chance.

      Not playing Pock and not benching Rachunek is a puzzle to me. Only thing that explains it to me is Glen Sather politics.

      The lone Florida goal was the fault of A. Ward and Hall. Hall didn’t cover the trailer who scored and Ward didn’t hit the guy who passed to the uncovered trailer but instead just reached out weakly with his stick to try and block the pass which was a lazy play.

    13. Does anybody else think that the first unit on the power play should be split up? I was sitting there at the game last night and Shanny, Jagr, Nylander, and Straka come out. I was thinking, wow, they could be unstopable. BUT NOW they don’t score. Once they go off the ice, Cullen, Hall, and Prucha hop on. These three couldn’t score a goal if they paid for it. I understand they need to contribute, but why not spit it up?

      Call me crazy, but that’s my two cents.

    14. Sam, do you think it’s just a coincedence that since Ozo has been out of the lineup, they are playing more as a team or is it just me????

    15. I know its small potatoes, but Joe’s gotta get the right Hossa when the poor guy finally gets to start a game, having his name called. Not like its gonna happen often.

      It’s MARCEL, damn Joe, taking Sundays off this year???

      Also its Staal, not Stall (while i’m on my high horse ;o)

    16. I would TRY this for the two powerplay units: (but we have one of the best percentages in the league, so I understand not wanting to do it!)

      Unit 1
      Straka- Prucha- Jagr
      Tyutin- Roszival

      Unit 2
      Shanny-Nylander-Hall
      Cullen-Rachunek (I’d go POCK, but this is based on who plays)

      This gives us a major shooter on each line (Shanny and Jags), a set up man on each (Straks and Nylander), A Shot from the point (Cullen and Rozy) a guy good around the net (Hall and Prucha- Different elements). I think this would give us two excellent units.

    17. Agree with those who think the Cullen/Hall/Prucha group is a poor choice for a #2 power play. No good puckhandlers in that group.

      Mark — I’m ok in general with your groups. Of course, I’d rather see Pock playing and on the power play (in place of Rachunek). I’ve seen him often in the AHL playing point and the guy is a very good passer with a decent shot. But if he’s not going to play, then I guess I prefer your pairings.

      However, in fairness, the #1 power play unit is not a problem so I’m not sure I’d advocate breaking that up. A more moderate change would be to have Cullen play the point on the #2 unit with Rachunek (or Pock or Tyutin) and have Immonen center Prucha and Hall up front (and hope that those two guys remember how to score). Immonen has shown me at least that he is a better puckhandler than any of the other possible centers for pp unit 2.

    18. I Miss Steve Rucchin, I hear you there. I have missed 3 games this year, and all wins! Unfortunately I missed yesterdays game because I came down with a fever, so at least you got your money back.

      I’m so excited that we are stringing together wins. I think the “3rd line” is one of the biggest difference makers. In fact, the way they have been clicking they are IMO our second best line. Cullen and Shanny play well but I’m not seeing any chemistry. Besides, why does a #1 checking line have to be our 3rd line overall?

    19. “Sam, do you think it’s just a coincedence that since Ozo has been out of the lineup, they are playing more as a team or is it just me????”

      I completely agree. Not only that, but Orr not playing also makes a difference. I recall that the Rangers liked having Orr in the lineup. Now that he’s been scratched, do they really mind not having his “presence” since they’re winning? Or are they happy with the current lineup?

    20. Doodie Machetto on

      “A more moderate change would be to have Cullen play the point on the #2 unit with Rachunek (or Pock or Tyutin) and have Immonen center Prucha and Hall up front”

      That’s my suggestion as well. I wouldn’t include Rachunek though; Toots or Pock only. And if Hall continues to be a dud, I actually would be interested in giving Hollweg a shot up there. I think he has some good hands that he doesn’t get a chance to show enough. He reminds me a lot of Darcy Tucker.

      As for the guy who mentioned Richter, what happened to him when he was starting so many games? Oh right, he blew out both of his knees and got a concussion that ultimately ended his career.

      I’d love to see a goalie rotation closer to that of San Jose, Anaheim, Montreal, or Buffalo. Not on their exact split, because the disparity in talent between our two goalies is slightly greater than theirs, but I would like seeing Weekes start between 27-30 games. Aside from the rust game against Buffalo, he’s been pretty solid and only getting better. The game last night wasn’t just the best of his year; it was his best in New York, period.

      Betts-Hossa-Ward is really getting better every single game.

      How many goals do we think Hullen will score this year, 60? 70? He is seriously cursed. Move him to the 4th line wing and give Prucha a chance with Immo.

      A.Ward has played sloppily and unmotivated the past 3 or 4 games. I hope he snaps out of it, because while Rozsi was slumping, Ward was our best d-man. Rozsi has hit his stride though and is playing great. Last night was definitely his best night of the year, like Weekes. It may have been his best in NY too, but probably not.

      “The two are almost identical players when you think about it—you know, give or take 40 points.”

      Man, how I wish it was take. During the Lockout, they both played for Mora IK in the SEL and both had 18 goals. The only thing is Marcel did it in 48, and Marian did in half that (24). Oops.

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