Changing on the fly

97

Maybe Tom Renney put it best when he first met with a group of us after today’s morning skate.

“Don’t ask me about my lineup,” the coach said.

In other words, your guess is as good as his. If you thought a day away from the rink would help “the Rangers recover from the myriad injuries and illnesses trickling through the lineup”:http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061219/SPORTS01/612190374/1046/SPORTS, you’d be wrong. In fact, given the fact that Brendan Shanahan is now officially one of the afflicted, it’s safe to say it’s getting worse. Now struck with the flu as well, the team’s leading goal scorer wasn’t on the ice this morning, and Renney generously put him as a game-time decision for tonight against the Islanders.

Among the others:

  • Michael Nylander is still out with the flu.
  • Marek Malik is definitely out with a groin strain.
  • And despite testing out his sprained knee just now, Matt Cullen still isn’t strong enough to return, either.

    All three of those players will continue to be listed as day-to-day, but in the meantime, the Rangers are calling up Ryan Callahan, their leading scorer in Hartford, to skate tonight. After seeing only minimal minutes in his lone NHL game against the Sabres earlier this month, the 21-year-old wing surely will see more time tonight (especially if Shanahan is out). And the same goes for the recently recalled Thomas Pock, who will take Malik’s place alongside Michal Rozsival tonight.

    Beyond that, Henrik Lundqvist is in goal. And everything else is a mystery.

    Some other thoughts:

  • All things considered, Renney was fairly tactful when talking about Sandis Ozolinsh, who cleared waivers at noon today. The basic gist: that the 34-year-old veteran wasn’t far off, but needed to play more, and the hope is that he can find his game in Hartford. That said, and Renney avoided this last part, don’t count on seeing him in a Rangers uniform again. The Latvian is slated to make $2.75 million this year, which is a lot of money to devote to a defensive liability.
  • What’s wrong with the Rangers? Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. And everywhere, too: in the defensive zone, in the neutral zone, and especially in the offensive zone. You would think it’s not something they’re going to correct as an undermanned unit tonight. But that might actually work to their advantage. The Rangers know they’ll have no choice but to keep it simple if they’re going to have any chance, and that’s been one of their great struggles thus far.

    OK, back with more from the Garden.

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    97 Comments

    1. Hey Sam,

      Any details on this special pregame ceremony? It seems that the Rangers aren’t releasing the details of it.

    2. Alright I lets get ready for 3 in a row :(( Unless some miracle happens and all of the sudden we will find our secondary scoring….

    3. Rangers always have some excuses when they play bad.

      again Orr will play, instead of calling up a prospect or even Isbister.

      Pock will not re-sign with the Rangers next summer.

    4. Sam, do you think it’s possible Immonen will skate with Jagr now that Nylander, Cullen and Shanny (possibly) are all out? I assume at least Straka will move to center again tho.

    5. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      I have to say I love the idea of shaking this team up with rookies. Maybe it will be like last year when Rucinsky and Weekes got hurt so Renney turned to Prucha and Lundqvist? If these guys can put up a goal or even a point and a hearty performance they *MAY stay for more than a game or two.

    6. A NYR fansite := is saying that Slats is looking for a 2nd line center before tonights freeze and is actually considering Nedved (NO!).

    7. Kirill: The only scorein the last few games has been secondary…Jagre Straka and Nylander havnt been doing it…nor has Shanny, its been Cullen, Immo, Kasper and Prucha, and other defensers getting the points, Like Rachunek the other day. Yes JJ still gets assists, but its been mostly the guys who earlier havnt been scoreing. Lets just hope that once the top line starts up again that the others who picked up thier games recently will continue to put up points…if they do this team will be so much better.

    8. Alex: They called up Callahan, and that put the Rangers at the top roster limit…they would need to put somone on the IR in order to call up more. For a game or two Orr is ok to play the 4th line…but once Orts is back he should go. And if Hall has a game like the other night I will be happy, he palyed a good game energy wise. I am sure if the Rangers could they would call up more than Callahan, but there are rules they need to follow.

    9. I’m just surprised they couldn’t prevent the flu of spreading… and right before this terrible weekend I was wondering when we’re finally going to get few of our players injured… now I know…

    10. Patrick Hoffman on

      I am willing to bet the the special pre-game ceremony tonight is to celebrate Brendan Shanahan and Jaromir Jagr reaching the 600-goal plateau.

      Just a guess.

    11. I don’t know what are you guys so exited about. I have not seen Dawes nor Callahan when called up playing so great (Ovechkin, Malkin or Crosby like). Although I would love to eat my own words after tonights game but I don’t think either of these guys are NHL ready. The only guy that I would love to see on Rangers roster is Dubinskiy. He not NHL ready but at least he brings character into the game…

    12. Kirill how the heck could Dawes and Callahan show much when they’re playing three minutes a night? I wonder if Ovechkin was a Ranger would he play more than Hossa? probably not.

    13. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Kirill, god bless any team who has a player that gets going like Ovechkin, Malkin, and Crosby. Those are 1 or 2 per decade players. Even first overall draft picks usually take some NHL adjusting but those 3 are just phenoms. The Rangers know they don’t have that in any of their young players and dont expect that type of performance either.

    14. Kirill : IN limited time Callahan showed he will be an Very good 3rd liner or a good 2nd liner…He didnt quit on any palys…IMHO he looked 100 times better than Dawes…Dawes looked over his head, even on the shift he scored he didnt look good except for the shot…maybe thats the way he looks when he palys, I dont know..but Callahan left me wanting him to stick in the lineup, and I thought he would be the next winger to stick with the Rangers. SO I am excited to see him play tonight…especially if Channy is out….but for some reason I think Shanny plays, but dosnt go out for as many shifts…

    15. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      To add to Wildcard’s comment, Jagr’s been near invisible during his latest 3 performances. His effort level appears to have hit the “I just don’t care” mark. I know the horrid defense makes him disappear more but he only managed 1 shot in both Toronto and in Dallas. He had 8 in NJ, but feel free to jog my memory as I don’t remember any high-quality chances or setups (besides Prucha’s loner).

      Furthermore, (and I’m not sure exactly what this means), Jagr’s taken 1 minor penalty in the last 8 games. I don’t think he’s ever done that as a Ranger. The 2 minutes were last game, so he went 7 games without a penalty. Its really odd.

      Please weigh in on what you think it means — Some maybe that the Rangers have learned what penalties in the new NHL are but given all the penalties in Dallas I doubt that explains it all. I think it means Jagr’s reverting to a timid hockey game. Shy-ing away from any contact, playing softer/weaker than usual in the defensive zone (if thats even possible), and not showing that little bit of Jagr anger/fierceness which rears its head every once in awhile and shows up on paper as a 3 or 4 point night. Playing Lady Bing worthy hockey is just a really odd trend for him.

    16. Wildcard: Wow you are the first person that agreed with me on Dawes!!! I didn’t like that guy at all. Callahan maybe at least he stregth on the puck is Ok and he did lead the rush w/ Holloweg inside Buffalo zone. But Dawes PLEASE how can you let him play for more then 3 minutes per night when every time he gets the puck he gets knocked off of it like bouncing ball. I mean he has speed and maybe a scoring touch but to play in NHL you need strength on the puck and puck control which he obviously lacked. I know he is not big guy but look at Straka, Gionta but they use it their advantage… Maybe Dawes will be ready next year…

    17. True Fans bleed RW&B: I have noticed JJ’s invisibility as well maybe these are posteffect of Hatcher’s elbow???

    18. Jagr himself commented that his one penalty the other night was a bad one. As are all his penalties. Its not like he gets roughing penalties, they’re usually of the lazy hooking variety. So I think its ridiculous to say that he’s checked out because he’s not taking stupid lazy penalties – if anything he’s trying to do too much. Have you noticed that every time Jagr gets near the puck there are 3 guys on him? And teams that don’t focus on him like that, he burns.

      The team has lost the last 2 games 15-3. I know they should be able to score more than 3 goals, but really, it isn’t the goals for column that’s been the problem.

    19. dont even include callahan in with dawes because callahan played 3 minutes TOTAL this season at the nhl level you think you could maybe let him play o i don’t know more than 4 shifts at the nhl level before you start saying “i haven’t seen callahan playing so great”

    20. Yeah, Jagr’s penalties have sucked. His lack of PIM is a good thing, not a reflection on not caring. That, however, may be why he’s not scoring. Though I think he’s just in worse shape than we know. Or, in some ways, I hope that. Maybe Sam has some insight on his shoulder/strength? Or on his captaincy, which seems to get weaker and weaker as the team sucks and Shanny speaks up louder and louder…

      Of course Dawes, Callahan, etc. aren’t Ovechkin or Crosby-like. Get real. We should pray for a Tomas Sandstrom…or, Sam, this one’s for you, a Jan Erixon.

    21. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      …if i’m not mistaken, the flu they are getting is a stomach-flu. Correct? Sounds like Messier’s research team should get cracking on a second product.

      Well, since 2 people have said it and the non-pollyanna’s are going to go bizerk anyway I have to add in – I didn’t think Dawes was NHL ready either, not yet. Immonen, on the other hand, seemed to fit last year so it only makes sense that he’s getting a chance this year. Callahan’s stint was like a fart in a blizzard, you knew he was around but didn’t get enough of a wiff to know if he’d ever do any real damage. I’d like to see what he does if he gets a real chance.

      Back to Jagr – I know he doesn’t take aggressor type penalties. But i’ve also noticed he’s just not “in the play” anymore. If you’re not in the play you can’t even take a lazy penalty and I think that’s whats happening. Other teams are shadowing him better that he’s trying to catch open ice (even at the cost of missing his defensive coverage, where he normally gets his penalties). Jagr normally gets mad at guys that take the body on him too and retaliates – I haven’t even seen that lately. I just think he’s spending so much time away from the play and that’s just not how he gets points.

    22. From Brooks in today’s paper:
      “I’m not happy with the way the team is playing, but most of all I’m not happy with the way I am playing,” Jagr told The Post after Sunday’s defeat. “If I scored more goals it would help, and maybe we wouldn’t be going through this right now.

      “I can’t feel sorry for myself. That isn’t going to help anyone. I have to do better for my team and my teammates.”

      For what it’s worth, at the game on Sunday, I watched in shock not once, not twice, but three times as Jagr hussled his ass off to try to get back on odd-man rushes. It’s a fairly rare occurance, and suggests to me that his recent slump is just that — a slump — not a matter of him being lazy or not trying/caring.

    23. Jagr over the last few games has been raoobed a few times…heck in one game he had what 11 shots and didnt get a gaol, teams are focusing SO much on JJ and the top line that its aloud the second line to get going some, and the winggers of other teams drop low and leave the Ranger defense open to make plays…hence the reason they have been more involved…I dont think they are playing difrent, the plays are jsut openeing up for them. To me that is a good sign, and JJ will overcome it, thats what makes him a star, and if he dosnt the Ragners palyers will start winning more I am sure, and it will be from help from the other lines.

    24. Wildcard as always is wrong, the one games Dawes got icetime he scored a goal, and had some great scoring chances. Dawes probably was the best players in training camp, and Hossa the worst, but Renney handed him a spot in the lineup anyway, and Dawes got shafted.

    25. Wildcard stop being a shill Jagr has played badly the last week to ten days even he admitted it, So stop being a shill stop with the excuses and go back to washing Sather’s car.

    26. Blueshirts2k6: SO dawes had all these cahnces huh?? LOL thats a JOKE, so bad of a joke its not even that funny. He looked like CRAP except for a shift or two..the gaol he had was COMPLETLY set up by his linemates, he just skated and shot. He did NOTHING ELSE except for one shift ONE SHIFT early in ONE GAME he played with energy, and he did nothing after that in that game. Yo wont convince anyone who isnt biased against every vet player becasue they arnt a kid that Dawes isnt ready for the NHL…ists as simple as that. As for Jagr, yes he hasnt been palying great..but he has had chances…some are talking liek he hasnt been involved at all, but he has been, he has gotten scoreing chances, not as many as before…but I jsut pointed out that he has 11 shots one game and got nothing, over the last few games there are times when he USUALLY would have scored a gaol or two if the goalie didnt make a great save. I DIDNT say he was palying as well as before..so cool down

    27. I am still trying to process the “fart in a blizzard” thing. Is that anything like “pissing in the wind?”

    28. Bob: thats were I am now…dont know how to process that one…but…regarless…I think I will begin to use it…

    29. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Its like something that just doesn’t hang around too long which seems to be a perfect description for Callahan, to date.
      You guys have never heard that?? hahaha.

    30. For you guys slamming Dawes, I’m going to paraphrase from a story that appeared recently in Blueshirt Bulletin. A rival NHL General Manager, referring to Dawes said “if we had him he’d be playing a regular shift for us.â€? So, somebody (with arguably more expertise than you clowns) thinks the guy is ready. I’m sure it won’t convince you though.

    31. Blueshirts2k6: Dawes puck handling sucks and he is a deffensive liability. And with the D like ours we can not have it on a team. We are not saying Dawes is a bad player that will never make NHL. In fact I am sure he will. But with the team that struggles deffensively you can not have this kind of players. And for the record the goal he scored was set up by hie team mates good catch Wildcard.

      Immonnen on the other hand is a pretty good all around player who on top of his offensive game does make some good D plays.

      Callahan I have to see more of him. But what I do remember on his first shift he had a great hit on Campbell but for the most part looked a bit lost. And on his second he led an offensive rush into Buffalo zone set up Holloweg for good shot on goal and went after the rebound. He is did not look out of place on that play.

    32. Yea why have Dawes when Hossa and Hall get absolutely nothing done. Dawes a defensive liability on this team don’t make me laugh. Is that why Daes kills pims in Hartford last year and this year? Four of the six d are the defensive liabilities on this team and Jagr not getting off the ice quick enough.

      Tonight Hossa gets 20 mins Hall gets 18 and Callahan gets 1:26.

    33. Callahan had 3 mins in his only NHL game. How can anyone tell what he is capable of doing other than of course what he has done in the AHL.

    34. Twin: thats so funny…casue a rival GM would have just as much inside knowlege as us. Dawes might be palying a regular shift on the Flyers, or another team with no top line players that can score, like Chicago, but for most teams Dawes would be were he is now IN the minors. I am not taking shots at him, I am telling it the way it is, he isnt ready for the NHL, the games he had proved that. I dont even know if Callahan is ready for more than a few shifts, but in his few shifts that one game he showed more to say he shoudl be givein the chance to paly in the NHL for a few games and see hwat he dose with it. Dawes showed he needs more time inthe AHL, not a bad thing at all, some players play 2 or 3 yers before they get into the NHL regularly, I dont think Dawes will not make it, I jsut dont think he should be called up right now, or be in the NHL this season, unless he developes realy quickly…

    35. There is no link to the BB article its in the print version so one as to subscribe to read it and that GM I’m guessing knows more about hockey and evaluating talent than all of us.

    36. tsalad : Becasue in 3 min he was noticible in every shift. Each shift involed a scoreing chance, or energy, or a hit, only a couple of defensive plays, but he had good shifts and you noticed him withough really looking for him. With others, Dawes for instance, that you needed to look for him and sometimes were shocked to know he had been on the ice for 30 or 40 seconds…thats the difrence. Callahan made me want to have him around for a few games, Dawes made me wonder why Immo didnt stick instead of him.

    37. A rival GM would have things like pro scouts working for him and people who get paid to evaluate talent so yea the rival GM knows a lot more than we do about Dawes.

    38. wild

      Callahan is more physical than Dawes that is what I noticed. I never saw dawes on the top two scoring lines which is what he does and where he will play not on the 3rd and 4th line. I thought they both looked like they could play in the short time I got to see them.

    39. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      I agree Wildcard. The AHL/minors – to – NHL transition is really odd. Jason Ward was the MVP, look at him now!! How about Alexander Daigle – he was supposed to be the next coming with the records he set and that huge rookie contract, he never should have left the minors.

      Callahan deserves another look but Dawes will probably finish out with the wolfpack which would be the best thing for him.

    40. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      *finish out the season, that is.

      I think he will get a well-deserved look at next years camp.

    41. kirill and wildcard have to be the same guy. One of you explain to me what the heck Hossa adds to the team? Don’t say he’s a good pker because the guy has been on for more pp goals against than any Rangers forward. As far as Dawes being a defensive liability? Right look at Hossa being -27 as a Rangers there’s a real defensive liabilty. Wildcard yeah Jagr played well against the Flyers and has done nothing the next four games so get a clue.

    42. Re: Dawes story in BB

      There is no link. As you may know, Blueshirt Bulletin is a print publication only and is supported primarily by subscriptions. If you’re not a subscriber, I’d suggest you become one sooner rather than later as I understand they are under a great deal of financial pressure. It really is a great resource with some excellent contributors, including our friend Sam.

      The story appeared in the November 2006 edition, under Steve Zipay’s byline. Perhaps it can be found on the Newsday website but I don’t know. The GM is not identified by name but here’s the verbatim quote from the article:

      “They stood on either side of the red line about ten feet from the boards, with fifteen pucks resting between them, two men with their futures entwined. One was Tom Renney, the Rangers head coach; the other was Nigel Dawes, the rookie prospect who one rival general manager recently said ‘would be playing every night for us.’ Unfortunately, Dawes has not been playing as often as that – limited minutes in only seven of the Rangers first eleven games.”

      Wildcard, you can’t be serious if you really think that a rival GM has no more insight into player strengths and weaknesses than we do on this board. Yes, it could have been the Flyers or the Islanders, but does it really matter who it was? The point is that another organization thinks this guy is an NHL player. Will you go to no end to make excuses for Renney and the rest of this management team?

    43. tsalad: Of course rival GM knows more then we do that is why he is GM in the first place. But the question is which team he is GM of? Since teams like Philly, Chicago and maybe St’ Louis which are short on scoring forwards might have interest in him. But the question is who do you drop to put Dawes on 1st or 2nd line? Straka? Prucha? Cullen? Even if you choose Cullen wouldn’t you agree that Prucha is a better fit to play on a 2nd line then Dawes? We are all set on 1st and 2nd line what we need is 3rd and 4th line scoring. But to play on these lines he has to be deffensive player first and scoring will go on top of that…

    44. Doodie Machetto on

      “A rival GM would have things like pro scouts working for him and people who get paid to evaluate talent so yea the rival GM knows a lot more than we do about Dawes.”

      I like how you’re double arguing- by saying that a GM has so much more hockey knowledge and talent-evalutation, but then when it comes to Sather, you call him an idiot who knows nothing and can’t spot any talent. Which is it, do GMs know something or do they not?

      Look at teams like Philly, who is right now essentially an AHL team with Simon Gagne, Chicago, St. Louis, Florida, Vancouver, Phoenix, Boston, Calgary, and Edmonton who at forward are about as deep as spit on the ground. An offensive guy like Dawes can really help them out. So it makes perfect sense that he would be in their lineups ASAP.

      We have 8 guys who have had regular time in the top 6 forwards spots. 9 If you count Ward’s last game. Callahan is called up before Dawes because of huge AHL season, which knocks Dawes down another notch on the depth chart. Where do you see this regular spot for Dawes as an offensive player? Even assuming he should play above Hossa, think about this for a second.

      Straka, Jagr, Shanny, Prucha, Cullen, and Callahan are all definitely above him in the depth chart at wing. That’s 6. 4th line duties for an offensive player? And then you have to figure there has to be a spot for Ortmeyer on that line when he returns. Assuming Hollweg stays at center, that means you’ll have Dawes getting 4th line duty over either Hall or Ward. It’s better that he just keep working at his game in Hartford.

    45. Blueshirts2k6: Hossa will probably be headed for Hartford once Ortmeyer gets back. But for now yes he is a pretty good PKer simply because we have no one else to do it!

    46. doodie

      For the last time I have never called Sather an idiot. Stop looking for an argument. What I see is Sather’s record and failure with the Rangers. Year after year of the same crap and the same pathetic results. I think he is a bad GM.

      However Any GM even Sather knows more about talent than all of us combined. However sather’s track record sure doesn’t guarentee ntee any sort of success. By that i mean the coach, trades, being able to deveolp players something Sather has shown he’s not very good at with the Rangers. etc.

    47. Ron Low, Trottier hiring himself firing himself not making the playoffs. That is the slather is know for his past failures. You see it otherwise fine by me. To me optimism isn’t a plan.

    48. Doodie Machetto on

      tsald: fair enough, I’ll retract the Sather comment. What about my argument re: Dawes?

    49. I knew it was a waste of time to post that story with this bunch. Yeah, “jase” Zipay’s a little dramatic — he’s a professional journalist for pete’s sake. Doodie, Kirill, Wildcard and all the rest: of course it could be a GM from one of the poorer teams. But you guys miss the point completely. An NHL GM thinks Dawes is a regular NHL player. He didn’t say top 6 or top 9 or top 12, he said that he’d be in the lineup every night for his team. Personally, I would have started the season with a 2nd line of Prucha, Immonen and Shanny and a 3rd line of Dawes, Cullen and Hall. Hossa, Orr and JWard wouldn’t have made my team or would be the healthy scratches, and Betts would have been my fourth line center with Hollweg on the left and Ortmeyer on the right (until his embolism). With this lineup you could really find out if Immonen and Dawes are the real thing or not and it would reward a couple of young guys who did well at camp. But it’s not how things are done in Rangerland.

    50. Lets see since Hossa averages 11 mins of ice per game I would replace him with Dawes. I’m not sold on the iron clad D of the Betts Ward Hossa line. Look at Hossa’s plus minus. I would have Cullen and Betts with Dawes on that line. Prucha Shanny and Immonen on the 2nd and Ward who if he’s good enough to center the top line can do it on the 4th line, with Hollweg and Ortmeyer.

    51. doodie

      There you go Dawes on the 3rd line where he may be able to add some offense which is something the 3rd line doesn’t do. So its not top six but its still getting quality ice time and experience.

    52. Doodie Machetto on

      Twin: Yes, the season should have been started like that. In fact, I thought that’s what the roster would look like going into the preseason. When Renney chose otherwise, I wasn’t happy, but I thought I would give the lineup a chance. Some of the guys worked out, some didn’t, including Hall, who I originally wanted on the third line, but now I want him in a jersey that doesn’t say Rangers on the front (Hartford or some other team, I don’t care which).

      Knowing what we know now about the team’s depth at offense and defense on the wing, is there really a space for Dawes in the lineup? See my post above for that argument.

      Here’s an addendum to that post also. Assume Cullen slides back to center. Lineup could look something like this:

      Straka-Nylander-Jagr
      Prucha-Immonen-Shanahan
      Dawes-Cullen-Callahan
      Hollweg-Betts-Ortmeyer

      So now we’ve found a spot for Dawes in the lineup. But that third line is TERRIBLE defensively. Not to mention the PK would suffer without Ward, a great PK guy, in the lineup. Ward’s defensive value would get him a roster spot in that third line over Callahan or Dawes. And we already know that Callahan is above Dawes now in the depth chart, so again, Dawes would go.

    53. Doodie Machetto on

      Dawes will not get a roster spot over Callahan- so if you want Dawes in the lineup, you’ve got to have Callahan first.

    54. Doodie Machetto on

      “Dawes will not get a roster spot over Callahan- so if you want Dawes in the lineup, you’ve got to have Callahan first”

      That was in response to tsalad’s line combos.

    55. Dawes on 3rd line against the top line line of the opposing team? I don’t know really … I may agree with you guys our “checking” line is not the best in NHL but it will do for now if they will continue to play like they did against Tampa and Carolina.

      Here is what TSN.ca says about Dawes:

      Assets: Possesses tremendous hands and goal-scoring acumen. Works extremely hard to get into prime scoring position. Is extremely industrious.

      Flaws: Must prove he can withstand the pounding of the pro game, since he’s slight in stature (5-8, 170 pounds). Needs improvement in his play without the puck.

      Career potential: Top six winger.

    56. For those of you who think Dawes is a defensive liability, here’s coach Renney quoted from the same article:

      “As an offensive-type player, the most important thing is for him to be sound defensively and not give up anything. From what I’ve seen, he gets it.”

    57. Just cause he gets it dosnt mean he is good at it yet..he knows what he neeeds to do, now he needs to implament it. as for +/- its a horrid stat…if the line dosnt score than it looks worse…do you REALLY think that Jagr is that much better defensivly that Hossa??? Cause he leads teh team in +/- it isnt a good stat IMHO and I dont look to it to often

    58. +/- isn’t an important stat? Interesting. Why do you say that? Well, if you happen to be able to use excel and have some education in statistics, you can demonstrate that a teams plus minus rating is actually the most closely related stat to winning. You might want to keep a closer eye on +/-, cause its not just about how defensively strong a player is, its how effective the player is at generating a team advantage at even strength. Generate even strength advantage, you score more power play goals, take fewer penalties, and win more games. Play poorly at even stregth, and the opposite happens. Jagr is better defensively than any player on the rangers, because he just so happens to be on the ice for his +/- more goals for than goals against, and that is a meaningful point.

    59. Hmm. Lots of things to comment on:

      On Jagr- He has not played as well the past couple of weeks. My explanations: (NOT excuses)
      He is a bit snakebit (missed several good chances)
      Has been playing with Jason Ward instead of Nylander for three of the past 6 games.
      His shot looks more like October than November. A setback?
      He has more people on him whenever he has the puck.
      It’s not because he doesn’t care, in my opinion.

      On Dawes: I’m not convinced by comments about the kid isn’t ready. Dawes did struggle at times, but how much of thatwas because he didn’t have the confidence that his coach had confidence in him? I disagree that he didn’t look good on most of his shifts. I saw him hustle and he created some offense. I would love to see him play with some more offensive players. Should he play over Hossa? I think so. Could he play the role Hossa has played? Abosulutely not. As mucha s I am not convinced that Hossa is worth keeping around, he has played his role as a defensive specialist quite adequately. Dawes is a lot of things, but he doesn’t have the tools to finish that particular job.

      Callahan is going to do well. I think he will get plenty of time tonight. I’d go (If Shanny is out) Straka-Ward-Jagr, Prucha-Immonen-Callahan, Hollweg-Betts-Hossa, Hall and Orr as spare parts.

    60. Doodie Machetto on

      Yeah, +/- is pretty misleading. It could make someone think that Marek Malik is solid defensively.

      I’m not saying Dawes is bad. I think he is a good player who will develop into a solid 2nd line winger. I’m just looking at the reality of the situation. With how good Callahan has been in the AHL, Dawes is too far down the depth chart to be given a spot in the lineup that is above the 4th line, and he deserves better than 4th line minutes if he is going to keep developing.

    61. twin, tsalad, and others of your ilk, why do you waste your time with wildcard? you are not going to convince whoever he/she is.
      e
      “cause a rival GM would have just as much inside knowlege as us.”

      Making a statement like that should disqualify the quality of anything that person says in the future until he or sh explicity retracts that statement. plain and simple.

      Wildcard, i dont post here much, because i can’t stand reading people like you – you remind me of the writers who continue to defend the bush administration – no matter how much logic, rationality, or facts you’re faced with that run counter to what you’re saying, you march on, gun in hand, defending the indefensible.

      Firstly, I congratulate you on your loyalty; Glen Sather should be glad to have stubborness like yours as an ally.

      Secondly, I will say this, and only this to you ever (unless of course you retract that statement and start your self on the path to redemption): If you think that you know just as much and have as much insight as another GM when it comes to the prospects of our organization then you are, flatly, an idiot. More than an idiot, in fact. You defy what it means to comprehend. You bring new meaning to the word thickheaded. Need I go on? There are numerous factors I could list, but are glaringly obvious and would insult my keyboard to type them out, which would show you that not only do GM’s know a lot more than you about our prospects, but also that you don’t know what the F$#K you are talking about when it comes to concept of running a successful business. Three words only: long – term – growth.

    62. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      OK, Jagr IS NOT “better defensively than any player on the rangers” – thats ludicrous. He has a good +/- simply because he scores ALOT. He’s probably been on for more goals against than many of the Rangers but he’s got great enough offensive skills to make up for that…and some!!

      The problem with +/- (to elaborate on Wildcard’s post) isn’t that its innacurate but often mis-leading. Most players have a role on their team. The third and fourth line’s role is to shut other teams top line down. Ideally, you’d like to have an even +/- or a slightly modest + as it says you scored more goals as a third line than the top line playing against you did. How difficult is that? How many third lines playing against Jagr will come out on the upside?? Very very few. As you see with our top line, they do score alot of goals so coming out even as a third line isn’t easy at all. However, coming out positive while playing on playoff-bound team’s first line is quite a bit easier as you play against guys (conversely) who aren’t that offensively talented but are being sent out to shut you down. That assumes, of course, that you are a talented first line and when you’re playing on a line that works as cohesively as Jagr, Straka, and Nylander its even easier.

    63. doodie

      To me callahan and dawes are not behind or ahead of one another on any depth chart. By your thinking a month ago callahan would have been ahead of Immonen on any depth chart. If you want to see callahan ahead of Dawes fine by me but I don’t. i se dawes as a more gifted offensive player than Callahan. Time may prove otherwise and I’m willing unlike most to play them and find out.

      A ridiculous statement; so if you want Dawes in the lineup, you’ve got to have Callahan first. Sure.

    64. Patrick Hoffman on

      Here is the game preview I did for http://www.hockeybuzz.com As an aspiring hockey writer, please feel free to comment and offer helpful suggestions:

      As the New York Rangers (18-12-4) get ready to take on the New York Islanders (16-12-3) tonight at Madison Square Garden in their second meeting of the season, Tom Renney will have a lot of thinking to do as he prepares his lineup for tonight’s matchup.

      Rangers beat writer Sam Weinman reported that centers Matt Cullen (sprained knee) and Michael Nylander (flu) and defenseman Marek Malik (groin strain), all listed as day-to-day, will not be in the lineup tonight To make matters worse, Brendan Shanahan also may not be able to play tonight as he is currently fighting the flu. Not exactly good karma before the Rangers take on a team that beat them 7-4 back on December 3rd.

      Recently called up defenseman Tomas Pock will take Malik’s spot and pair up with Michal Rozsival. The team also called up Ryan Callahan, who is expected to get a bit more ice time with the team than he did back on December 1st against the Buffalo Sabres.

      Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be the man between the pipes for the Blueshirts, as he looks to get some revenge on a team that torched him for four goals in the first period of their last meeting.

      This will be a tough game for the Broadway Blues, who are currently in the midst of a two-game losing streak and are still looking to find some balanced scoring. They will certainly need that tonight if they want to beat an Islanders team that shutout the up-and-coming Atlanta Thrashers this past Saturday night by a score of 6-0.

      For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail me at patrickhoffm@gmail.com

    65. Dawes killed pims last year in Hartford and he does it this year as well. Seems to be a bit more polished on the D side than people want to admit. But hey those are just facts don’t let those get in the way.

    66. Doodie Machetto on

      “By your thinking a month ago callahan would have been ahead of Immonen on any depth chart.”

      No, they play different positions. Callahan is ahead of Dawes on the WING depth chart. Management has made clear that they are choosing Callahan over Dawes by calling up Callahan, not Dawes, to play tonight. So therefore, looking at the reality of the situation, in order to fit Dawes into the lineup, you’re going to have to fit Callahan in there first, thus making my statement entirely true.

    67. doodie

      Maybe Callahan is slated to play the 4th line something he may be better at than Dawes. Ever think of a possible scenario other than the one you have already made your mind up on? On my team I play Dawes and maybe play Callahan. Sorry if that upsets your applecart but that is the way I see it. You see it otherwise fine by me.

      The only thing true about your staement is that is how you want to do it.

    68. Doodie Machetto on

      tsalad: for someone who is always so concerned with “the facts”, I can’t believe you are missing this.

      I’m not talking about my hypothetical team and roster selections. I’m talking about the decisions that the Rangers have made regarding who they want to see play on the big club. They had the option tonight, and once a few weeks ago, to call up one winger instead of the other, and on both occassions, they chose Callahan. Therefore, the team views Callahan as it’s first choice out of the farm system when a winger is needed. Therefore, in order for Dawes to be selected, Callahan will have to have already been selected, because the team has committed to Callahan over Dawes. That’s a fact.

    69. Doodie Machetto on

      “Therefore, the team views Callahan as it’s first choice out of the farm system when a winger is needed.”

      I meant to qualify that with the statement: Therefore, as of right now, the team…

    70. are the Rangers having team dinners at taco bell? Lundqvist is out with the flu as well

      Twin – Don’t be so nasty

    71. I was talking about my hypothetical team. Callahan has played 1 game and dawes has played 6 this year. Not enough by far. Very happy Callahan gets the call up as I wish both Callahan and dawes would be playing over Hossa in Dawes case. On my my hypothetical team Dawes plays in front of Callahan.

    72. If Shanny is out, this becomes a REAL test of Jagr’s leadership. because with 2 bad losses in a row, a flu and injury decimated lineup, and a few young guys hopefully getting a real chance tonight, will Jagr show the way with a dominating performance, or will he pout if things go bad early.

      I think this is a very important measuring stick game. will the Rangers give a gutty performance, even if they lose a close one, or will they fold under pressure.

    73. zg : TEAM Plus Minus is imporant, it showes if a team scores more than gets scored against…but as others have pointed out, the third lines job is to stop the other teams top line…that RAIRLY happens, usually you try to reduce the damage done by the top line of another team.

    74. TSalad- Hey, I don’t think you were addressing me about Dawes defense, but I think Penalty Killing and playing the part Hossa has played are a bit different. Dawes would be a dynamic penalty Killer becuase of his speed and hockey sense. I think He’d probably get a few shorties as well (no pun intended). But the grinding play along the boards that even Hossa detractors must admit he is good at, is never going to be Dawes’ game. Can he be defensive on a third line? Yeah, I think so. Just a different type than Hossa, with a lot more offensive upside.

    75. Doodie Machetto on

      Yes, it was. I’m more concerned with working within the system that I know won’t be changed, such as Marek Malik not ever being waived or traded, despite the fact that I wish he would be.

      Part of that system is the preference of Callahan to Dawes.

    76. Colorado Mark

      No I was pointing out that Dawes is more defensively sound then he was given credit for. You make good points on Hossa along the walls, I just feel Dawes would add some offense and some upside. Something Hossa doesn’t have imo. Just different opinions.

    77. colorado mark and other Jagr had more attention on him last year than this year cause of Shanny so that a poor excuse imo.

    78. kirill Hossa’s going nowhere his spot is safer than anyone’s, Renney loves him. Colorado Mark my 80 year old grandmother could do a better job than the gutless, and brainless Marcel Hossa on the third line.

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