Post-game musings: But my flowery prose!


As a sportswriter who works on deadline, you find yourself writing thousands of words that never see the light of day because of events turning in unexpected directions. That was tonight, when the bulk of a 700-word story was suddenly swept away over the course of a frenetic third period.

Long story short: I, like pretty much everyone else, was prepared to hammer the Rangers for such a listless effort over the first two periods. Granted, there was still plenty to find fault with. But the tenor of the story changed by virtue of how the game ended.

“You learn something from every loss, and this is something we have to keep in the back of our minds that we can come back when we’re in that situation,â€? said forward Jed Ortmeyer. “But we don’t want to be in that situation to begin with, either.â€?

Some more thoughts:

  • Much of what the Rangers mustered at the end could be attributed to the different line combinations that included Michael Nylander between Brendan Shanahan and Marcel Hossa, and Marty Straka between Jaromir Jagr and Petr Prucha. Also, in what almost everyone thinks should be his role anyway, Matt Cullen centered a third line of him, Adam Hall, and Ryan Hollweg.

    All of those combinations revealed some semblance of chemistry, but it remains to be seen whether any of them will be together beyond tonight.

  • Lots of frustration with the missed delay of game penalty that would have been assessed to Chris Phillips for firing a puck over the glass from the defensive zone with 2:55 remaining. “We saw the play develop and where he shot it from,â€? Shanahan said. “The replay showed that it wasn’t really a close call. They made a mistake. They know it.â€?
  • Unpopular opinion of the night: say what you want, but if you don’t think Marcel Hossa has been effective of late, then you’re watching a different game. Without fault? Hardly. But the forward’s gone from invisible earlier in the season to one of the few Rangers who can generate offense completely on his own. And yes, based on the way he played in the third period, he deserved to be one of the six players on the ice to end the game.
  • Where have you gone, Tommy Pock? Wherever you are, expect to be in the lineup on Saturday.

    That’s all for me. More tomorrow….

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    1. ok Sam, Hossa has been better of late and I agree that he looked pretty good working with Nylander and Shanahan, but he sure didn’t handle that pass from Roszival very well at the end did he? He also let his check skate right by him on the first goal, so to me it was some good some bad with him tonight (like the rest of the team btw).

      Also, Phllips shot the puck over the glass, not Neil.

      All my favorites scored tonight: Betts, Hossa and Ward.

      Woo Hoo!!

    2. he also changed the D pairs, Sam. Ward-Malik, Tyutin-Rosival

      but when the music stops, the Rangers still find themselves without a chair. and Renney still has his hotseat.

    3. Sam, I know I also loved some of the fire in the 3rd, but come on, the bad FAR FAR FAR outweighed the good in that game. Renney seems to make Coughlin seem aware and flexible…

      And Jagr? I know, I know…he’s got points. So what? He needs to become way more of a leadership force on the ice when the chips are down AND, at the very least, he needs to reform Nylander.

      Finally, if Shanny’s going to act like the Captain and handle the Captain’s responsibilities, why not just make him the Captain? Or is Jagr’s “C” for “cherrypicker”?

      Agree with you about Hossa. And no, all of you, that doesn’t mean I think he’s Wayne Gretzky. Or even very good. But he’s better than he was — a lot.

    4. “All of those combinations revealed some semblance of chemistry, but it remains to be seen whether any of them will be together beyond tonight. ”

      Hah… Renney changed the combos before the game even ended.

      Straka – Cullen – Jagr
      Prucha – Nylander – Shanny

      That’s what was out there for the last two or so shifts. Great job Renney.

    5. Sam, please ask Renney tomorrow why he won’t give the same long-term patience to other kids in the Ranger system that he has given to Hossa.

    6. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Tyutin was a minus-3 tonight. Very poor play. Aaron Ward’s turning into a bust for this season. And Marcel Hossa is starting to show threads of his big Bro. I’m happy with the “3rd” and “4th” liners (+2 tonight) cause they go out and give 100%. But Nylander and Jagr look horrible out there, Nylander didn’t shoot 3 times he should have. Shanahan looks like the TOI is wearing on him.

      Sit Kaspar, Ward or Tyutin for Pock. Call Callahan up and scare some of these guys. Heck, call callahan and Immo up and sit Nylander and Hall.

      Sam, is there any feel from Renney on the best way to help Jagr find his touch again? He seems to be taking the soft and gentle massage-his-ego approach, but it hasn’t worked yet…your thoughts?

    7. So Sam I guess Renney wasn’t upset about the 45 minutes of pathetic Hockey? Malik played one of the worst games a dman could play vs the Isles on Tuesday, and Tyutin was nearly as bad tonight, and imo he’s been somewhat of a dissapointment this year. I wish we could ship Ward and Cullen back to Carolina good god do they suck. I’d say by far the best player for the Rangers was Ortmeyer who created more chances and goals than the sleepwalking Jagr. Nylander probably had his worst game as a Ranger just mindless overhandling of the puck all night long.

    8. Couple of quick hits before turning in:

      Idiot Alert: Thanks to reader Twin for pointing out it was Phillips — which I knew, but obviously failed to write — who shot the puck over the glass.

      Let’s be clear here. The bad indeed far outweighed the good here. I’m just saying it was a different story than what I had written after the second period.

      And blueshirt, you’re right, Nylander was awful.

    9. Prucha – Straka – Jagr
      Hossa – Nylander – Shanahan

      I’d be pretty happy to test out those combinations for a while. Hossa’s making a believer out of me after his play the past few weeks. I wanted him off the team last season but this year he’s showing a lot (that doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score).

    10. Oh yeah, Nylander showed me something new tonight too.. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone come in on an odd man rush and get the puck in the slot, then turn his back to the goal and look around for someone to pass to instead of taking the shot.

    11. While I’m at it, for the bottom six forwards:

      (Callup from Hartford) – Cullen – Ward
      Hollweg – Betts – Ortmeyer

      I really can’t see any reason for Hall to be on the roster at this point.

    12. Doodie Machetto on

      I think if Nylander could have his stat sheet read 0-80-80 he would.

      As for Hossa, I told you! haha, ok, maybe not. But either way, his play is better, certainly enough so that he is definitely not the worst or most useless guy on the ice. Maybe we should give him a break for a little bit and come down on the guys that need it on a nightly basis, like A.Ward, Malik, Kaspar, and Hall.

      I didn’t see the game but it seems Tyutin and Nylander were terrible. Tyutin has been pretty good until the last week or so, so I’m willing to give him a pass on the theory that it’s Ward’s slump starting to affect him.

      I like Patrick’s line combos.

    13. I don’t. Straka is not effective at C, only at LW. and my man Hossa does not belong on the top 6 of any team. also, all the line combos in the world won’t change a slow, soft, old D corps that scares no one but their own fans.

    14. Longtimerangerfan on

      Maybe the Dolans could lure Emile “the cat” Francis out of retirement to be GM and Coach again…he handled those two jobs pretty well when he was here. At least he had competitive teams year in and year out and he used the farm system to bring young players up.

    15. I find it ironic that Coach Renney gets angry at his players lack of intensity. What message does he send to his players when he sits an effective Thomas Pock?

      “If you have a large salary, you needn’t worry about your spot in the lineup. We’ll play you and allow the younger, quicker, more talented player to sit. But I WILL be steaming mad when you don’t perform”….Performance accountablity is the greatest single motivating factor for any team.

    16. Hossa has gotten worse, not better. he scored 10 goals last year. he has 2 this year. he had a 9.52 shooting % last year, it is 2.78 this year. he has more minuses this year, -10 to -6

      and the team is doing worse.

      so, get real folks, he is playing WORSE than he did last year. but he looks better because the players around him are so mediocre this year.

    17. 4Rangers : On teh patience thing…i think he is being OVER patient with the kids…thats why they are still in Hartford, and why Pock keeps getting sat…I think he is patient to a fault…on some things it may work as a plus…but right now its doing no god as far as I can see.

    18. Patrick: I think you leave Ward/Betts/Orts together…tehy did really well and had two goals. I think Holweg/Cullen/(Callahan/Byers) for teh 3rd line would be good. Woudl Liek to get a lok at Byers….but I dontknow if he is ready or not…some say he is, some say a littel more time in the AHL and a few more pounds before he comes up…but a cup of coffee would be OK I would bet.

    19. Renneypissed : you must not be wathcing teh games..and jsut reading the box score….Hossa numbers are not a good indication of his play. He showed tonight that on an offensive line he at least knows what to do. Even some of the biggest Hossa haters ahve noticed his paly has gotten better…and also…even if the rest of the team is doing worse so he looks better, dosnt that mean he dsnt regress with the rest of teh team…and that counts for something as well IMHO. ALL: TYUTIN is going to have some bad games…he is still young, but he is having less and less of them. A.WARD, might not be great defensivly, but at elast he is physical. Kasper and Malik are just to slow…Kasper makes Ward look fast…He shoudl sit for Pock, even before Malik…but I want them both out of the lineup, so call up Baranka and waive Kasper…and Malik for that matter…

    20. HossaMVP : I agree that Hossa dosnt really belong on the top 6…I have said it before. However…with the state the rangers are in, I dont think it really Matters…He did well there tonight, and teh entire team performed well with the lines I say Keep Prucha/Straka/Jagr (JMP JuMP line?) the Hossa/Nylander/Shanny, Hollweg/Cullen/Hall (or a callup) and Ward/Betts/Orts together…unless a trade is made this team dosnt have teh proper players for teh top two lines anyway…mayb as well let a kid in Hossa have a shot…maybe he will surprise even his supporters like myself.

    21. It was great to see Malik out there with 1:27 left in the game, as we are pulling our goaltender.
      Yes, a solid d-man we can count on when the game is at its feverish pitch.

      You guys just don’t understand Renney’s brilliance.

    22. how bad has things gotten?

      we’re actually discussing how Blossa is not AS bad as he has been??

      Why are we even discussing him? How many teams have already given up on him?

      He had his best Ranger play last year in the playoffs where he did not stink as badly as others. I am not sure if this is the best of all compliments.

      Renny must go.

      Malik must go.

      call-ups must begin….

      waivers must begin in earnest…….

    23. Seamus: Hossa had 10 games for Montreal in 2001-02, than in 02-03 he had 34 games, in 03-04 he had 15 games. In those 59 games he had 19 points. Taking in account that his first 10 games he was a AHL rookie as well as an NHL rookie…and the canadians are teh only team to have had him untill he was traded to teh Rangers, I wouldnt say anyone has given up on him. He is still young…not as young as others…but still young and developing. The reason he is being discused is that he scored a goal, and he is playing better, while a big chunk of teh team is doing worse…so he is brough up…from shock or some i told you so’s who knows…but IMHO having a young palyer starting to do better is something worth talking about, and its a good thing…even if he isnt liked all that much by most.

    24. “we’re actually discussing how Blossa is not AS bad as he has been??

      Why are we even discussing him? How many teams have already given up on him?”


      Which, arguably, is one less than has given up on Immonen.
      Doesn’t stop people here from demanding he get top line minutes.

    25. Seamus : Malik being out at the end of the game made me cus at Renney a second time last night…first time was when he put teh Straka/Nylander/jagr line back together for a shift…pissed me off. Malik should NEVER be out in any important situations…he should be used Like Kasper as a warm body to give other D a rest.

    26. Beamer: good catch…notice how young palyers, of nearly teh same age, get treated difrently by the “fans” They say that they would be OK with a young palyers mistakes becasue at least tehy can get better and learn from them…but when Hossa makes a mistake its ” bench him” or “trade him” or “waive him” cause he messed up and he isnt worth the Ragners time….but Immo, or Dawes make mistakes its ” they need more top line min to do tehir thing” I am not saying that Dawes wont be better than Hossa, but at least be consistant with the stuff. Oh and another comparison..Hall gets 6 or 7 in and he is proveing he cant play and sucks…when Dawes gets 5 or 6 min of playing time and dose nothing, its Renneys fault that he didnt get more time thats why he didnt show anything….why such a difrence?? I dont get it…I would think that if a young palyer is ont h ice its a good thing. Better thna having vets filling out the 3rd and 4th lines…

    27. last i checked Renney doesnt put the puck in the net or play lazy defense. he preaches team defense, he doesnt do the skating. the bigger question, and i pose this to you Sam, has Renney lost this team? Last year they all bought into the team concept, this year it seems that when they play as a team they play great but for some reason they forget for a while(first 2 periods last night) and play horribly. Whats the deal with that? players that need to be dumped IMO: Ward, Hall, & Hossa. Rather have a young 3rd line learning the NHL then a bunch of never will be’s.

    28. Sam

      “I, like pretty much everyone else, was prepared to hammer the Rangers for such a listless effort over the first two periods.”

      and why shouldn’t you still hammer the rangers for the listless effort over the first two periods?? renney also focused on the positive of the comeback. and that imo the a perfect of example of why ranger fans should have zero hope that things will ever get better.

      how can you applaud effort to rally back and then completely ignore the things that made the comeback necessary in the first place? if the rangers showed up for the first 40 minutes maybe they wouldn’t have been down 5-0 in the first place. and this isn’t the exception game, its the norm for this team to wait until the game is over to show up. and they should be doubly ripped for showing no emotion out of the gate after renney’s tirade last game.

      another pathetic effort and we are getting sunshine blown up our behinds because the team decide they would show up for 10:00 of a 60:00 game.

    29. please don’t make me laugh with talk about the missed call on the delay of game penalty. people act like that is what cost us the game…of course it had nothing to do with not showing up till the 3rd period…

      and does anyone honestly think that with the game on the line late in the 3rd the rangers pp would have come thru?? we all know what would have happened, it would have taken 1:30 to get setup and then if lucky we would get 2 shots on goal.

      blaming the ref and making excuses just deflects blame from the real problem cause we all know that they wouldn’t have scored on the pp anyway.

    30. I thought it was ironic that the line combos that Renney stumbled upon in the third were probably the best ones he’s come up with all season. Telling that it was an act of desperation on his part that finally moved Cullen to the third line and Betts to the fourth line, where they belong and where they both did a good job.

      I know that Straka is not the answer at center, but since Renney doesn’t have any faith in Immonen, I’d rather see Straka and Nylander at 1-2 center than Nylander-Cullen.

      It will be interesting to see what the next steps are with this group.

    31. Wildcard,

      that was 5 years ago….think…..what has he done in 5 years? the few games he was in, apparently wasn’t enough to make a dent. He really isn’t a youngster and he is not going to be his brother.

      We have, however, some “younger” players that NEED a shot. Hell, I thought Staal had a good camp and should have, in the least, played in Hartford. Did another year where he plays against 16 year olds really help him?? *(his own brother is on the team).

      Callahan gets no minutes, Immonen looked good but is gone. Dawes had no shot.

      And, (here is where the controversy begins) we have power forwards who are FAILING out of Hartford…..Jessiman, Moore (I think Moore looked really good in camp)…because they are not being utilized properly in Hartford. We need a power forward and we seem hell-bent on NOT developing one. I don’t want another 35 year old millionaire. Give SHANNY a contract extension (if he will take it) but beyond that, LET’S give our kids a chance.

      I know that Hossa has NOT been as bad as he has been, but send him to Hartford, let him get 21 minutes a game on the top line and see if he can become a real scorer. Meanwhile, give some of these kids a chance. What Renney has done to Pock through the first half of the season is criminal. We ruin careers. That Malik is even playing is scary! What about what happened to Kasperminus? He disappears down in Hartford, we are given a news blackout, yet rumors persist that he discouraged the young players down there saying, “you have no shot at the NHL unless you get out of this showmanship organization”.

      I would rather win “boring” 1-0 devils defensive hockey, than lose wild “theatrical” 5-4 hockey.

      I think most New York fans would agree. Dolan believes we need entertainment. Jagr admitted that much last month.

      We need some dramatic changes. I had SUCH HOPE in the fire sale of March 2004….I really thought we were going to be one of the youngest NHL teams, no matter how much we lost; but would be building for a future. So, what happens? Rachunek? Malik? how many millions?? Kids get sent down. career AHL players take over, in their mid to upper 20’s. Other teams use their Staals, why can’t we use ours?

      I am very discouraged with this team because we may have some pieces of a puzzle that we aren’t even TRYING to fit in…………………………

      I would have had OLD out of shape Brian Leetch play over hook-taking, slow footed, pass in front of net Malik. Hell, I’d rather have my grammie out there with a stick….and she’s been dead since 1990. She’s do at least as much as Malik.

      Stan Fishsticks: let it go. We don’t care about the between the legs goal Malik scored. It was fun while it lasted but we have DEFENSIVE responsible hockey to worry about; not showmanship.

      This is not a circus. Well, yes it is……Just look at Starbury and the fiasco that is the Knicks. Sexual harassment, in fighting, moody point man declares himself to be the best in the league and then gets 5 points and 5 assists……………………

      then they go and steal a John Denver song and broadcast MSG-NY ad naseum.

      Sam, can’t you make it all go away? Can’t we have some real hard nose hockey with promising youngsters mixed with wise veterans like Shanny and Jags? Can’t we have an old-fashioned coach who makes them skate after poor games, rather than hand-holding team bicycle rides along the blue Pacific ocean chanting, “we will win…we will win”. Newage Renney crapola. We need some Shanny-glove dropping, crash the net, defenseman make ’em pay kinda hockey.

      No more shows.

    32. Not sure this will be a popular post.

      It may really be a lack of “Cup-quality” leadership that is missing from this team. Sure there are faults with certain players and there are players who are better than others and there is plenty of young talent ready to go. But all teams struggle with this chemistry and development process during a season like the Rangers are having.

      Jagr is a very big part of this problem – not his skill or shoulder injury. He is the problem because he is at his best when he can focus entirely on the playing aspect of his game. He should not be the Captain. Not on this team. His role should not be captain and he should not be burdened with those added expectations. They only diminish his abilty to make plays and score goals (and play defensively when needed). His relationship with Renney may also have a negative impact on his ability to communicate with the rest of the team like “The Captain” was able. Renney treats him differently. Renney allows him a great flexibility and the other players can see that.

      Renney sees (though he could be wrong) a team that can go deep into the playoffs. We saw last night the firepower they have – 4 goals in 7:00 minutes of play against Ottawa.
      The leader also needs to bring out that 7 minutes of play for every game – not just the coach. “The Captain” made his team belive they could win and it was obvious that he made them believe by expecting performance of a certain level and he made them understand that anything short of that would not translate to winning.

      Jagr is not getting that part done. I see some sort of disconnect between what Renney wants and what Jagr follows through on. Anyone else see that?

      I do not claim to have the answer – this is just my observation based on the last few ups and downs including the latest win/loss streaks.

      I’m really not faulting Jagr either. I think he should just focus on playing. He is better off in that role.

    33. Twin, Renney shook up the lines because Al the tie told him that Brett Hull said that Cullen can’t give Shanny the puck and should be taken off his line.

      Also said,”What is Adam Hall doing on the powerplay??” So Renney made that move too.

    34. Seamus – Staal could not play in Hartford this yr it was either the NHL or juniors. Re the fire sale – the Rangers got very little value out of that sale with much of what they got proven worthless already.

    35. I just love it when a guy says these 3 third line guys are the problem, but don’t blame Renney, he doesn’t skate. No, but HE KEEPS THOSE GUYS ON THE TEAM. Just read Sam’s article where Renney says that Sather and Maloney must convince HIM to make any changes. He says he likes his team, and feels they can go a long way. RENNEY is the guy who is defending the Wards and Hossas and Halls of the world. so anyone absolving him of responsibility for the mess is a lil’ fool.

    36. Incident on 33rd Street on

      Hossa, great goal. Too bad that he Patty-cake hit on Eaves didn’t stick, and Eaves kept on going to score the first goal of the game.

    37. I have to disagree strongly with your characterization of Hossa’s ability to generate offense. If you mean he can hold the puck in the offensive zone, then we agree, but if you mean he can actually generate a scoring chance, then I’d like to point out a couple of things that I see.

      When Hossa has the puck on his stick, he tends to be looking down. This means that almost every chance that he generates is going to have to come off his own stick, because he’s not looking for his team mates.

      His lack of speed with the stick also is an issue. He takes a long time to do anything with the puck and generally sees his shots blocked, deflected or the puck simply taken away from him.

      He uses his body to shield the puck when he has it, which is good…but seldom do you see him use his strength and size to do anything away from the puck or on defense.

      Ultimately one or two good plays by Hossa does nothing in my mind to outweigh all the things that he does poorly. He’s like fools gold, he looks like he might develop into something, but ultimately he’s just another Rico Fata or Jozef Balej.

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