Post-game musings


Everything you need to know about the Rangers these days could be encapsulated by the sight of Petr Prucha talking in the post-game locker room while blood dripped from his chin. I suppose the good news is he didn’t keel over right then — although the way things are going of late, that probably came later.

Yes, these are bleak times for your Blueshirts, and the reason I know this is because I barely made deadline after their prolonged post-game closed door meeting. The topic du jour? That whatever’s going in with this team in terms of injuries and illnesses is off-limits as an excuse.

“It’s probably better to not even talk about it,� Tom Renney said. “Because if I do, then I explain why and it’s dangerous to do that. I could protect everybody and say all kinds of wonderful things about why this is happening because of that. I’m not going there. No way.�

Fine, then. I’m not saying that’s the only reason they’ve played so woefully of late. But for a team that’s held together by a fairly thin thread, it certainly hasn’t helped.

Anyway, a few quick thoughts:

  • Congratulations to my fellow scribe and the dean of the beat, John Dellapina, who finally heard the three words he had been clamoring for from the Garden faithful: “We want Leetch.” Of course, I didn’t have the heart to tell John that it was Leetch’s agent and five members of the defenseman’s immediate family. But it’s a start…
  • Another game at the Garden, another one-sided loss for the home team. But on the plus side, no brawl. What do you think this is, basketball?
  • I can think of at least one person who should be shipped to Hartford: the goal judge who missed each of the Devils’ last two goals, and hence extended this game another needless 15 minutes. Who’s with me: the goal judge for Pock, straight up?OK, that’s all for me. More tomorrow…
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    1. I tell you what, as much as I lead the fire Renney crowd, I gotta say, im impressed that he doesnt use the flu thing as an excuse.

      but thats about the only thing im impressed with as far as the job hes done this year.

    2. Sam–

      No to Leetch, tell John it’s much too late for Leetch. 10 years ago, maybe but not now.

      Bring up Pock, Baranka and Girardi. They can’t be any worse than what we got now so why not give them a try.

      Another post for you to print out and give to Renney.

      You didn’t give him my last one, did you!!

      I don’t take it personally, :)

    3. What about Sam and Michelletti saying Malik has been playing good!

      Really why don’t they blow out Ozo and give Pock a chance??/ Kaspar looked bad also, really all the D stunk…The Islanders got ride of Zhitnik, the rangers can’t cut Rachunek or Ozo or Kaspar. Really if any of those guys was waived or traded and younger guysPock or F=Girardi given a chance would it really hurt them!!

      Did you see Hossa shank the 1 timer, he stinks. Why do they have Orr on the team I know all these guys love the fighting but really he stinks and cannot skate. give another minor leaguer a chance………..

      Other teams when they see a guy has lost it they get ride of them the Rangers just keep on doing the same sh-t. How many turnovers in there own zone can they have? Aaron Ward had a doozy tonight.. Leetch is over let it go.

    4. hossa didnt shank that one timer, the puck bounced over his stick, due to the low quality of the ice at the garden.

    5. tell Dellapina that when the garden crowd starts chanting the name of a kid in the system like Baranka or Girardi, then I’ll be impressed.

    6. Im not a fan of Girardi, i just dont see his game translating to the NHL level.

      Baranka on the other hand, i just love his game. absolutely love what he brings to the table, he should be up with this team right now.

    7. I don’t know… We want Baranka doesn’t have the same ring to it like We Want Leetch! Then again, We Want Bar-an-ka! We Want Leetch. Actually We Want Baranka sounds pretty good. Fans in the Garden should get working on that.

    8. That is unless I’m pronouncing Baranka’s name wrong. Heck I thought Cliche’s name was pronounced… well, cliche. Instead it’s pronounced as Klish!

    9. Anthony (Abev) on

      Poor goal judge. I always wondered what happens when they blow it.

      More importantly, why was Joe Tolleson late arriving to the party?

      Has any sober person ever chanted “we want leetch”?

      The Madden dive was almost as good as the Sean Avery dive. Did anyone hear him yell “cannonball”!

      Sam this is some of my best stuff, feel free to use it royalty free.

    10. Anthony:
      ^The Madden dive was almost as good as the Sean Avery dive. Did anyone hear him yell “cannonball�!^
      It was also almost as good as Colin Whites dive on the Prucha trip…how did *both* of his feet end up as high as Petr Prucha’s face again? I still cant believe they missed that one, they had the nerve to give him a penalty when his nose had just been cut off.

      By the way,…can anyone tell me why the Rangers can never win important division contests?

    11. After the game tonight I was walking out underneath, while glenn sather was walking in. Someone yells at him nice job Slats team looks good and he thought it was me and said, “If you want to talk to me ask and we can talk man to man, don’t yell at me.” I said i would love to talk to you glen but I did not yell at you. Among the highlights from our conversation… me telling him how the team is poorly coached and often lacks hustle, how the fans are getting disheartened by watching the same veterans make the same mistakes night after night, and how i can not stand when we change five on a dump in and give the team a free breakout. His answers to me were the kids are not ready yet and that he would love for me to sit down with him so he could teach me about hockey. All in all though, i respect that he took the time to talk to me.

    12. in ’04 he was such a pariah in NY that he dared not even show his face at a Ranger charity function because the fans wanted to lynch him. he would not appear on any American sports news interviews, only in Canada. and Dolan had to go on Mike & Mad dog, who seldom ever talk hockey, and get grilled as to why he wouldn’t fire sather when he had fired the knick guy at the time. and all Dolan could say in sather’s defense was “I know he hasn’t done a good job, but I LIKE HIM.”

    13. Stuart : the puck went right over Hossa stick…but I am sure every palyer you liek would have magicly found a way to hit the puck even though it bounced…that happens to all players from time to time. But did you see Hossa shft after shift hold the puck in the O zone, even once being knocked down and keeping control from his knees? I bet most Hossa haters dont think that is anything useful to the team. DEFENSE: Yeah tehy all sucked wind tonight…but I wonder how many have the flu, Ward was sick again, Tyutin was the other night…I cant imagine that helps, especially at the end of periods, and if they got stuck out ona longer shift. MALIK: as of late he HAS played much better, he is a big part of the PK and that was BAD tonight after he was out. I think for all the good he did during that winning streak the only thing people remember is the first 5 games of the season. I say get pock back up, but SAM do you know or can you find out, once they interupt a conditioning stint, can they just restart it again, or is there a limit to hoe many times he can go back anf forth. Because if there is limit, I would say leave him till he has a game or two more at least. Dont want him to come back not ready to play bigger min and than get smoked against the NHL players.

    14. I still love the Leetch chant, I know you all have said multiple times that he is too old. But I will still take him over Bozo at 2.5 million. Besides, I think as fans we do owe him some debt of gratitude for what he did for the organization and community.

    15. Jon : you bring up a point about the ice, there was a point, I think at the end of teh 2nd when NO ONE could get control of the puck right at teh blueline, it kept bouncing over sticks and sticking to teh ice, or getting caught in snow…I was wondering why the ce was so bad…than it dawned on me…teh Rangers need a new home…with a new ice system…I know there is talk of one, but I dont know if that talk has ended or if its still in palning.

    16. Okay, as someone who generally feels the need not to panic and scream for heads, let’s not kid ourselves non-haters, the Rangers have sucked. Even in the wins many things have sucked. Renney needs help and so do the players. Flu bug my butt, the talent and grit are just not there. Oh, and the speed. Man, does our D needs some youth.

      Something must change.

      Thankfully, the team goes on…

    17. the ice is so bad because MSG is used to host the knicks. you can get by with all the other stuff that goes on, but the knicks playing just about every time the rangers are on the road really leads to crappy ice at home. you get used to it though, think of it as a home field advantage, if everyone else is used to pristine ice, and have to come here and try playing on slush, then you definitely have the advantage over them since youre used to it.

    18. I tihnk calling for frenneys head is not to far off, but noone else will do beter AND teach te young palyers that ARE around, and more young palyers will be around as th team moves past this year. Renney is a teaching coach, and i think thats why he is there in teh first palce…along with the fact that he was already with the team in another capacity. Maybe next season, or the season after he shoudl be replaced, depending on what coaches are availible out there…of maybe a “call up” f the Staff in Hartford. But for now Renney is doing a decent job of keeping teh Rangers near teh top of teh east…and after years of being kept near the top of teh draft board I will hold off calling for his head. Ranger fans say they are patient, and wl wait for kids to devlope properly, PROPERLY, but they wont. I am willing to wathc some vets, who actuly want to play and win, in Jagr, Cullen, Ward, Nylander and Straka, along with Roszival and Malik, these guys mught not always be the best on the ice at everything, but you cant say tehy arnt playing hard and trying to be the best they can be on the ice most games and most shifts. Its not liek pre lockout when the Rangers had many vets hwo didnt seem to ever put 100% in. These vets are helping teh Ragners regain some of the lost respect around the NHL, teams go into games with teh Ragners knowing they have to paly good to win. Now with a young netminder who will be good for years, and a D that is going to get yonuger, starting already with Tyutin, soon to have Pock most likely, and Staal, maybe Baranka, and the others who are still in Juniors or on Hartfords roster. There are some winggers with tallent in Hartford as well as Juniors and over seas. Lets not forget Jan Marek who is one of the leaders in Russia for scoreing. He hasnt come across the Pond, but if tehre isnt room for hmi in the lineup he can fetch something in trade, and he is a bit older than the other prospects. I think the Rangers are moveing in the right direction. Waiting for the young guys to froce their way in, and they are getting closer to doing that. In fact the Ragngers MAY have the great “problem” of having to many palyers to fill the 3rd/4th line rols and a few 2nd line roles. In that way they can trade a couple alongf with picks and move up in one of the next couple of drafts and maybe snag a 1st line center, or wing to replace one of the vets in af ew seasons. SO many think that because the ragners have vetsin the lineup that they dont want to use ids…well during the offseason how amny kids did everyone really think were ready?? 1…2?? And the only position I was upset about was D, I was upset there were so many vets than Rachunek added or staying. Ward was gotten for his physicality, and that was needed…but now some vet D need to be moved…Malik, Ozo and Kasper are my picks…than let Pock in, along with maybe one other kid from hartford…but anyway, lets all step away from the edge, this team is a million miles away from were it was pre lockout, and we should be happy for that.

    19. Sam, please tell Mr Renney he has cost me 2 nights sleep!!
      Twice this weekend i had the chance to watch the blueshirts live on TV, and twice i had to sit and watch as the team was blown away by a hungrier and more determined team.

      Let me at this point mention, i am in England…my wife is pregnant, so watching a Ranger game means staying up till 3am, then being woken at 5-6am when the little fella starts kicking!!!….not a fun weekend Mr Renney, time for a few Vets to sit in the stands(or in some cases a taxi out of town) and some youngsters inject a bit of pace and passion to the team.

    20. hey guys stop whining about your team. its slow, yeah, but what do you want. NY always wants superstars, so you’ve got them, only they’re too well fed. new nhl is all but about old slow superstars. its tough on D too. just watch what happens to any D when Crosby or Ove are flying on ice. no matter how good D is against them.

      few thoughts on D – i just watched the game and cant agree on Ozo. i think he played well. nice movement and passing. how good he looked when he played with Tytin. all he needs is to play up in a setup where F replace him when he rushes in. And he needs more time on PP. hey, Rozisval is good, but he isnt a PP man. its a joke. it looks more like jagr just wants less skilled man on PP so he can pass to straka and back.

      i’m latvian, like ozo, so its subjective, of course.

    21. Pauls : I find that Roszival CAN shoot from the point…but I think the Ragners set up Their PP for NOT shooting from teh point. People call for a PP point man that shoots..well they have tehm IF the rangers decide they want to play that game. As of right now they dont paly that game. I think the BIGGEST problem is the D can shoot they jsut have a hard time getting it through all the legs…than the puck comes out of the zone. at least when J or someone down low shoots there is a chance of stopping a rush the other way. Also, teh Ragners have a top 10 PP withough the big point shot…and Roszival dose a good job of getting puck and feeding to an open palyer…so for teh Rangers PP he is good. Not that I wouldnt mind seing some shots fromt he point…but I think it has less to do with teh point men tha it dose with JJ and SHanny being tehir best shooting from the top of the circles.

    22. i agree on the style, its european passing to play for empty netter (ideally). its cool when it works and when game is tight or rangers have a lead, but when the team is behind, this tends to be ineffective. no confidence or otherwise, but in my opinion, nYR are not getting effective coaching. whenever i get a chance to watch the game i’m disappointed to see how little response can Rangers provide to what is really happening on ice. looks bad, no intensity, no plan changes to start pushing at 200%. i’m always like, eh, must have watched Montreal or Nashville game instead!

    23. Perhaps it’s the angle from watching the game on television, but it seemed to me there was a lack of back-checking during last night’s game. On the goal where Tyutin tried to keep the puck in the offensive zone, I counted three devils on the rush versus Aaron Ward, who was really hopeless at that point. In the replay, I saw two Rangers about four steps behind, which is entirely too far for that play. If the defense is going to join the rush and be part of a mobile offense, then someone needs to be a voracious back-checker.

      And the penalty kill? Non-exsistent. Every penalty, it seemed as though the Devils just needed to hold the puck in the zone for 20 seconds and rip off a shot to score. I don’t know which was worse, the PK or the PP. Both were equally horrid.

      As for the lines, I’m still not exactly sure what Renney was doing with Ward as the first-line center. I know Straka isn’t that good at center, but he’s a better alternative than Ward. Nevertheless, Prucha’s play should be enough to keep him on the ice from now on.

      And Colton Orr? The only way he should be getting seven minutes of ice time in the NHL is if either he’s possessed by the spirit of his ex-Bruin doppleganger or if his team is on the winning end of a blowout.Otherwise, it’s a quick fight and off the ice, Colton. He should be the one in Hartford learning how to play like Hollweg does in the lineup, if that’s even possible.

      As for the call-ups, I would have been on the horn to Hartford either the minute Cullen went down or after the fifth goal versus the Leafs. Dressing seven blueliners among this pourous crew isn’t exactly the right message to be sent to these guys. Here’s the right messgae: Ozolinsh on a plane to anywhere that will take him, with Kaspar and Malik getting this message in their mailbox: you’lll be joining him unless this defense bucks up quickly.

      Leetch: I’ve always been a proponent of bringing him back, provided its in a much diminished capacity. The role I’d pen him into is now occupied by Ozolinsh. Were two blueliners to be moved, I’d argue for a Leetch-Pock combo to replace. I’m not of the feeling that either Baranka or Girardi are ready for the show.

    24. Renney’s defensive system doesn’t work. Renney’s lack of offensive tact is hurting the Rangers. Renney’s inability to change his game plan is troublesome. Renney’s lack of an answer to fix the issues is directly attributed to his getting to his limit as an NHL coach.

    25. Is it April yet??? Wow this game reminded me of a plaoffs last year. This lacks the will to win – no passion whatsoever. the only lines are 3 and 4th lines – they don’t score goals but I can see that they are trying to create something. JJ is playing terrible – when he is on top of his game he is unstoppable but lately I don’t see that from him. The past 2 games are the indication – as soon as our goaltenders are not able to steal games for us we get blown out. In the first our D was ok, but after the 1st they just fell apart. Rangers need chages now:
      1. Possibly new coach
      2. Bring up some young players to add energy to this team- the energy level now is so low they look like team from the retirment home.

    26. Wildcard You know nothing about Hockey nobody could coach better than Renney? Lmao! I say anybody could do that even a trained chimp. All that Renney could teach anyone is to love Hossa.

    27. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that Barnaka’s and Girardi’s potential as far as the NHL is still to be determined.

      But, I think it’s reasonable to say that they’re at the top of the Pack’s defensive corps but have gotten there by virtue of doing well against AHL competition (and everyone knows there’s a light-year seperating the “A” from the NHL).

      Now, the question is, “when should they be tested?”

      Some post that they’re not ready, others that they are, others that they can’t be worse than two of the Rangers’ regular defensemen.

      Whatever – the above could be debated endlessly.

      But what can’t be debated is that there’s a limited amount of time (until the end of this season) remaining during which both can be shuttled between New York and Hartford without waivers (going or coming).

      What more can be determined about their NHL futures in the AHL?

      Now’s the time to test them to get an idea where they’re headed.

      Now’d the time for the Rangers to finally renounce a policy of “it’s all about now and to hell with tomorrow.”

      As we’ve seen it that accomplishes, at the very best is for the club to become a playoff pretender.

      Buffalo bit the bullet and it’s paying off. Pittsburgh didn’t have to with Crosby and Malkin – they were ready immediately.

      The last player the Rangers acquired a player who made a direct, non-stop jump to the big club was Brian Leetch. (And he was drafted, IN THE EIGHTIES BY CRAIG PATRICK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!)

      Look what’s happened to Pock.

      And they brought Dawes up who’s also immune to a waiver claim and essentially didn’t use him! (Unless those few appeances, mostly on a checking line, for about three minutes a game, in a very limited number of games, counts as giving this offensively-oriented forward a fair shot.)

      The braintrust doesn’t think the can crack our lineup of Norris Trophy-level defensemen so he stagnates. They can’t send him down (in the regular sense) because he’s subject to waivers and someone will grab him.

      But, it’s obvious they don’t think he’s NHL-ready, so what happens next?

      What’s frightening is that what will happen next is the acquisition of another Bruce Driver, Dave Karpa. Zdeno Ciger, Kevin Hatcher, Tom Poti, Igor Ulanov etc. etc. etc.

      I know the response – “Hey, we have young players – look at Prucha, look at Lundqvist!”

      True (but they’ve also populated the third and fourth lines with them – the non-scoring types who are unable to pickup the slack when the either of the first two lines is negated by good checkers or when our post-thirties run out of gas because of over-use).

      Yeah, yeah, “We’re after the Stanley Cup; we won’t be satisfied with anything less.”

      Chasing the Stanley Cup like a gerbil running continuously on one of those circular treadmill-like wheels, but going nowhere.

      Yeah, and it’s posts like this by posters like me who are responsible for debacles such as the ones last two nights because we’re not “sufficiently supportive” and “too negative”.

    28. Inferno:

      You say that Girardi’s game doesn’t translate well to the NHL. I’d be interested in more specifically what you don’t like about his game. Having seen him a couple of dozen times in person, I’d say his sound positioning and safe decisions with the puck would translate very well, especially on a team with a defense that’s devoid of those qualities.

    29. Girardi’s game doesn’t translate well to the NHL.xxxxxxx

      How would you scout Marek Malik and Michal Rosival? Honestly. Whats your scouting view after watching them for 1 1/2 seasons?

    30. Girardi and Baranks have played well in Hartford. On most teams when a D is needed they bring up the players playing well on the farm but not with the Rangers we just switch pairings and they still stink. Time to do something with the D and Baranka and girardi are better ideas than rolling out the guys who seem to have problems playing D.

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