Too early to call?


High on caffeine and life, I drove to to the rink this morning with the intent of asking players how they would grade the Rangers at the halfway mark of the season. I figured every reporter does a mid-season report card of some sort, why not ask members of the team to grade themselves first?


Here’s why: because I’m pretty sure no one wanted to take part. And I actually don’t even know that because I got one question in to Brendan Shanahan, was interrupted by something else, and the whole idea fizzled out altogether.

On the plus side, I still have a lot of clean pages in my notebook.

“I don’t really like that grade stuff,” Shanahan told me. “I think we can be better, I’ll put it that way. But I really still feel like we’re halfway through a job here, so to talk about our successes or failures is incomplete.”

I suppose I could have persisted, but like I said, I was interrupted, and I also started to think maybe Shanahan had a point. I think if all of us graded the Rangers thus far, the marks, based on what was expected of this team, wouldn’t be all that flattering. And if things continue at the current pace, you would certainly have to call this team a disappointment. But there ARE 41 games to go, meaning maybe this team should be judged more on where it ends than where it is.

Of course, if the Rangers end up worse than they’ve already been, the grades would likely resemble those from my junior year of high school, when my parents threatened to sell me to a band of gypsies.

But I digress. Some updates:

  • Fedor Tyutin did not skate this morning because of a troublesome ankle, and will be a game-time decision. With Marek Malik definitely in, Tyutin’s absence would mean Renney would at least avoid the decision over who to bench. But if not, it sounds like Thomas Pock will be out. Renney said that Pock has certainly been getting better, but there are positional concerns with the defenseman that still need to be addressed. Personally, I think Pock’s been good, and in many ways much better than Darius Kasparaitis. But I do think there’s something to the theory that Kasparaitis adds a certain spirit to the locker room that the Rangers need.
  • And then there’s Jarkko Immonen who will be sitting game No. 4. I again asked Renney if there are diminishing returns in sitting the center too long. And the coach answered, quite tersely for him I should add, “Not yet.”
  • If you missed my stunning insights on Blueshirt Bulletin’s 4-on-3 last night, well, you’re probably all the smarter for it. But “here’s the link”: nonetheless.
  • Peter Forsberg is again out for the Flyers. Apparently the groin issue the forward is dealing with is tied into his troublesome foot, which Joe Micheletti tried to explain to me, but I didn’t quite understand. Did I mention I wasn’t a great science student in high school?

    OK, that’s all for now. Back with more later from the Garden.

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    1. Renney is so inept. WHy Immonen and not Ward. Why pock and not rachunek. He will just never ever get it. Sam, why is Renney so clueless?

    2. its such a shame, renney has not been shy for any excuse concerning pock in one way and hossa the other way around. IMO this organizations future with such man in the lead cant bee too bright + look at the rangers roster …

    3. Renney has said it himself he is a teaching coach, so shouldn’t he be in Hartford? NO Jarko, NO Pock, NO REBUILD, No Crap!

    4. We indeed need to trade for a 2nd line center but until then I would rather see Jarko. And after we get one I would still rather see him in the line-up. I thought he brought some fire to the team. As for Pock that should be a no brainer – and I don’t care who sits in his place.

    5. Sam, good job on the 4 on3 — if only the Rangers were so good. And who’s Eklund?

      Did you notice that at least half of the people asking those questions were posters on your blog? Watch out, Brooks, you may not be the most influential writer in the Rangersphere much longer…

      Finally, any way anyone can convince Jagr and his linemates to play more of a north-south game like the one they played against Washington? And how about getting everyone to put it on net?

    6. same old rhetoric from tommy boy…dissecting a young player, now it’s pock positional concerns, jarkos foot speed…this guy is a joke…

      what would rachunek possibly have to do to get benched…be a minus 10…done…make careless passes every game…done…play a passive non contact game….done!
      at least karl has good positional play and foot speed….

      hossa, 39 games 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 pts, minus 9..
      Jarko 11 games, 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 pts, minus 2…

      yet according to tommy boy, hossa is a solid 2 way player?..
      at least he has foot speed!

    7. The only way the young players in the rangers organization will improve there game is to play in the nhl. Playing these players in the minors can only get there game to a certain level and than become stagnant. This is human nature, the more hands on experience they get in the nhl the better they will learn the nhl game and adapt. Lets face it, the nhl is night and day compare to the minor leagues which won’t help the player improve by keeping them there. Sather and his idiots just don’t get it. There are players on the rangers who shouldn’t even be there and we ranger fans know what players I’m talking about. It apperars that renney thinks by playing the veterans is better. It would be if we had a bunch of veterans that were really good and had a chance to win the cup. This team will be lucky to make the playoffs this year forget about the cup. This is the new NHL era which is designed for youth and speed.

    8. Wow.

      PocK DOES have positional issues. He is a forward converted to a D afterall.

      Immonen DOES have speed and quickness limitations. It’s easy to see.

      If you guys weren’t wishing for something so hard you would see it. You are blinded by your desire to declare that a “rebuild” is underway.

    9. for you guys, including me, who want more youth, here’s another nail in the coffin.

      The Rangers just signed Blair Betts to a contract extension.

      So Future Blue at the checking C position, Dubinsky?, just got pushed back even further.

    10. Hey Dan…my post was sarcasm meaning they r total BS!
      How can anyone who is watching the games claim that Pock is the one with positional issues….you can easily make that claim on any member of our defense…

      regarding jarkos foot speed, that is another absurd execuse to find a reason to bench the guy…whatever he lacks in foot speed he makes up with awareness, and smarts…jarko played well when given the opportunity, yet now he finds himself in the press box for no legit reason….

    11. We still have Immonen?

      If I am a Ranger prospect, either on the squad, or in Hartford, or playing with Staal, I would be doing ANYTHING to get myself onto an organization that believes in rebuilding, youth, etc.

      I’ve long given up on Renney………….

      SAM: Why not a contract extension to Shanny?

      He’s done everything, including laying down and playing goal for us….

    12. The best team in our conference, the Sabres, has SIX first year players contributing.

      Have those “rookie” mistakes hurt them? NOPE. Why? They have a good coach (Ruff) and a good staff. We have neither.

      Hey Renney, here’s a forward lineup for you…


      Tommy, notice anything missing? YUP, your boyfriend Marcel.

    13. Sam,
      Late to the party, but I just wanted to say:
      Good job on the 4-on-3!
      I’m glad you were part of it.
      Good stuff.

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