Please, ladies, I have a blog to write!

45

Among the reasons my job is not completely unbearable (with all due respect to my beautiful wife): I walked into the MSG Training Center this morning to find the Knicks City Dancers gathered in an adjacent room, preparing for what I presume to be some sort of filmed production.

To be honest, they’ve been pestering me this whole time. But I suppose that comes with the territory in the glamorous world of hockey writing.

Anyway, on to the Rangers, who had a day of off-ice training after “last night’s bagel in Jersey”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070117/SPORTS01/701170395/1034/SPORTS, and who are again immersed in what is becoming a weekly spell of soul searching.

Some updates:

  • As I mentioned earlier, the Rangers made official that they locked up Martin Straka for another year, something the 34-year-old Straka said he was willing to commit to given his strong play thus far this season.

    “I just wanted to go year after year,” said Straka, who is tied for a team-high with 24 goals. “If I don’t play well, then I’m stuck here and they have to be stuck with me. And with my age, you don’t know if you’re going to get hurt. Last year I thought I played OK and they like me and I like being here so I said let’s give it one more try.”

    Now with two-thirds of the Rangers’ top line on board for next season, I asked Straka if this puts extra pressure on Michael Nylander, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, to sign on as well.

    “I hope Michael and Shanny and Tom (Renney) and those guys will be here, too,” he said. “I hope so. I love to play with (Nylander). He’s a great guy and he’s working hard.”

  • Speaking of Nylander, the center was still light-headed the day after being hit hard against the Devils, but is likely to be fine for Saturday against Atlanta.
  • Help on the way? Not exactly. As of now, Renney said he doesn’t anticipate any moves before the All-Star break. More likely is that at least some of the players who were scratched the last two games — Jason Ward, Adam Hall, and Darius Kasparaitis — will return to the lineup, with the obvious hope that they are now newly motivated. “That’s the intent when you do that sort of thing,” the coach said. The question, of course, is who comes out of the lineup, and that part hasn’t been determined.
  • It sounds like the Rangers are going to relent when it comes to Matt Cullen and Aaron Ward joining their former Carolina teammates at the White House, especially since the two won’t even miss a practice. Renney said it’s ultimately his decision — although Glen Sather is “aware of it” — and that he considers it a “pretty important event.” Potential crisis: The outspoken Ward is a loyal Democrat, so in the interest of harmony, maybe he shouldn’t get too much alone time with the Prez.
  • Wondering what Marcel Hossa brings playing on a line with Brendan Shanahan? For one, he knows how to work the stereo. Preparing to work out in the weight room, Shanahan grabbed a CD from his locker (time for an Ipod, Shanny), but needed Hossa to get the whole thing working. You’d think of a veteran like Shanahan as a straight rock-and-roll guy, but it was actually some sort of techno-dance anthem. “Enjoy it,” Marek Malik chimed in. “No. 1 in Europe last year.”

    And on that note, I decided to leave….

  • About Author

    45 Comments

    1. “More likely is that at least some of the players who were scratched the last two games—Jason Ward, Adam Hall, and Darius Kasparaitis—will return to the lineup, with the obvious hope that they are now newly motivated.”

      I knew that is going to happen and I wrote about it earlier.
      I don’t get it – how come they’ll be “newly motivated”. They should be WAIVED or TRADED asap!!! (maybe not Ward).

    2. i read that entry there sam and the first thought that crossed my mind was “god i hate this team”

    3. Sam, are we RANGER fans eagerly awaiting in vain for some “TOUGH” questions to be thrown at Mr. Renny…

      somthing along the lines of….

      What is his thought process of burrying Prucha on the 4th line?

      Why is Arron Ward never held accountible for his lacadaisical play?

      Why do other teamls like the Penguins, Philly, Devils, etc. all have faith in playing their kids?… while all were here is that “OUR” kids are not ready.

      Does he really believe that Krog is better than IMMO?

      I would love to hear questions like this instead of the anecdotal stories of CD’s and IPODS, especially after a loss to a division rival where TOMMY was outcoached once again.

      …im still patiently holding my breath…

    4. Dean —

      That’s fine, but you’re assuming those questions — or at least some of those questions — were not asked today, when they were. But here’s the problem: there’s nothing new to report. We’re getting the same answers to the same questions — specifically about the lack of confidence in youth — that for me to keep posting the answers is to just fill the space with a lot of rhetoric. And judging from many of your comments, you’ve had your fill of that already.

      I don’t coach the team, and as much as I or anyone else can raise certain concerns — which we do on a regular basis — this organization has made pretty clear already that it’s not going to bend to public sentiment. That’s not to say we’ll stop asking, because we won’t. But when you hear the same answers over and over, you occasionally look for some new ground to cover.

      But I do understand your frustration.
      Sam

    5. QUICK SOMEBODY GET THIS GUY SOME OXYGEN!!!

      for whatever reason the media that follows nhl teams never seem to be as tough or care as much as the media that follows other pro sports teams. i mean tom coughlin has been harrassed for weeks now. cashman, torre, minaya all get plenty of heat. and lets not even get into isaih thomas who has been crucified a million times over. but when it comes to hockey the reporters ask nothing i don’t know why but thats just the way it is. like i said earlier to sam when he gave us that sugar coated krog story instead of going after what we really wanted to hear. all the reporters are doing blogs now sam’s by far is the best, but christ ask renney a REAL question every once and awhile. here’s one. “tom why would you put a guy like blair betts with a perennial goal scorer like brendan shanahan, when its obvious that betts isn’t a playmaker” or “tom why in a one goal game would you play marty straka only 14minutes and jagr only 9 minutes through two periods” how bout “tom why is petr prucha on a fourth line with ryan hollweg who does not have a point all year and colton orr when prucha’s a goal scorer in need of a set up man”

    6. and i shouldn’t say you guys ask nothing thats not fair but we’re all frustrated and looking for answers to questions that we all talk about all day but don’t seem to get us anywhere

    7. You know, to offer more than just a joke in Sam’s defense, let’s try to understand that Sam’s ability to bring us information and report on things is largely contingent on him having good relationships with the coaches and players. And having briefly been in his position before, I’ll be the first to admit that you absolutely want those people to like you, for both personal and professional reasons. Not to mention, most of them, if you get them PO’ed, they’ll never talk to you and you’ll lose your job.

      I understand we’d all like to take Sather and Renney to task. But all of them have beasically gone on record as saying they don’t feel the kids are ready to play and would rather play what we have. All of us strongly disagree. But that’s a matter of opinion. What do people expect, that Sam’s going to get into a long debate with Renney the way we do on this forum? Why would Renney feel obligated to further discuss the matter with a beat writer? Do people want Renney to say “yeah, those ine combos were pretty boneheaded”? Obviously they were, the team lost and genereated no offense. Why does the guy need to admit it.

      HOnestly, its a privilege to have the ear of a beat writer – as an old member of the NYTRF we always pined for Diamos to come by so we could ask him stuff. You guys all have Sa,’s ear every freaking day. Treat it like the privilege it is.

    8. Sam,

      With all due respect. I never heard any of the questions I or Kovy27 posted, or the answers to those questions for that matter. I understand there is a fine line you have to walk or you will get nothing. I also greatly appreciate the job you do with the blog… ITS THE BEST AROUND by far, BUT, like kovy27 said, the likes of Coughlin and Torre and Thomas as well are grilled constantly… anyway, I menat no disrespect because you do an incredible job. I just want somebody to put Mr. Renny on the hot seat. How bout getting TOMMY to agree to a half hour session to an online questioning (via this blog) by the fans???

    9. Leave Sammy alone. I’m sure he asks the same questions we do. He wouldn’t be doing his job otherwise. It’s not up to the Rangers who becomes a hockey writer, it’s up to the paper. And if the reporter’s not asking the right questions, the paper finds another one that will.

      Remember, this is Renney. He changes lines in the middle of a huge momentum swing. You really think he’s gonna admit to the media he’s a moron?

      BTW… Ol’ Aaron’s a loyal lib? Even more reason to get rid of the douchenozzle.

    10. [PETER]

      [You know, to offer more than just a joke in Sam’s defense, let’s try to understand that Sam’s ability to bring us information and report on things is largely contingent on him having good relationships with the coaches and players. And having briefly been in his position before, I’ll be the first to admit that you absolutely want those people to like you, for both personal and professional reasons. Not to mention, most of them, if you get them PO’ed, they’ll never talk to you and you’ll lose your job.

      I understand we’d all like to take Sather and Renney to task. But all of them have beasically gone on record as saying they don’t feel the kids are ready to play and would rather play what we have. All of us strongly disagree. But that’s a matter of opinion. What do people expect, that Sam’s going to get into a long debate with Renney the way we do on this forum? Why would Renney feel obligated to further discuss the matter with a beat writer? Do people want Renney to say “yeah, those ine combos were pretty boneheaded�? Obviously they were, the team lost and genereated no offense. Why does the guy need to admit it.

      HOnestly, its a privilege to have the ear of a beat writer – as an old member of the NYTRF we always pined for Diamos to come by so we could ask him stuff. You guys all have Sa,’s ear every freaking day. Treat it like the privilege it is.]

      …DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME,I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING SAID BY PETER AND DONT BLAME SAM ONE BIT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DO WANT RENNY AND CO. TO BE TAKEN TO TASK MORE OFTEN!!!

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      “for whatever reason the media that follows nhl teams never seem to be as tough or care as much as the media that follows other pro sports teams. i mean tom coughlin has been harrassed for weeks now. cashman, torre, minaya all get plenty of heat. and lets not even get into isaih thomas who has been crucified a million times over”

      Money and viewership. Plain and simple. There are national reporters following those teams because they are followed by more fans. That’s why you see them in the news more often, because you don’t have to sniff out beat writers like Sam to learn anything about them.

      They are hounded more often because they, and their teams, are paid MUCH more money than the Rangers and its coaching staff. When the Rangers’ payroll was in the upper stratosphere, look at all of the coaching changes that were made. Now that there’s a cap and it isn’t through the roof, it’s OK to turn in a subpar season because Dolan is still making TONS of money. A 60 million dollar difference in payroll tends to have that affect.

      Sam, I think you have done a superb job this season and continue to do so. With any luck, you’ll start to match those golf writing awards with hockey ones.

    12. Doodie Machetto on

      BTW Sam, “Please ladies, I have a Blog to write?” How about your wife? You’ve got those priorities mixed up. (I’m kidding of course; we’re obviously much more important.)

    13. Kovy27 —

      Let me respond to you and everyone else’s question, and then I have to bow out for a bit to do some other work:

      First off, I admit that there have been times when I’m not as tough as I can or should be, and that’s something I’ve worked on every day. Part of that is inexperience, but I do work every day to get a better grasp of what this team is thinking. And when I still don’t get it, I try to say as much.

      But ideally what you want is for us to ask the questions that you pose, for the team to mull over their response, and then say, “You know what? You’re right.” It hasn’t worked out that way, otherwise Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen would still be here and Marek Malik would be busing tables at Applebee’s.

      I still think those questions have to be asked, and the team should be called out for any inconsistency and hypocrisy, otherwise the media isn’t doing its job. And for you guys to call me out when I’m not being tough enough or whatever is your job as readers.

      What I’ve always said about this blog is that it makes me pay attention to things I might not have paid much mind to before, and that’s honestly a credit to the readers here. I am still going to be light-hearted because that’s who I am, and this is still hockey and not life and death.

      But I do take the passions of the fans seriously, and I never want to disregard that.

      Sam

    14. and that sam is why you are the best. listen i always say this but nothing we post here is personal attack on you. i always say you are our voice and ears. its great to have that because we as hockey fans have never had it before. this blogging thing is a very new but very real device of communication these days and these coaches are going to have to be prepared for it. right now you are the leading blogger in the media for the new york rangers. better than the post, daily news you name it. the journal news has never been considered with those papers. but in just a few months you’ve made it the first stop for ranger fans every day. im not taking you to task here but very much like you said AND IM GLAD THAT YOU GET IT YOU REALLY DO, we need you to dig a bit more and get those DIRECT questions in. if renney wants to put a line together in public mind you of hossa betts shanahan we as the public and paying customers have the right to know WHY he chose to do that. thats all

    15. Sam,

      The only reason the kids are not ready is because we are in Slats Cup run mode. If there was a true rebuild going on the kids are not assumed ready or not ready, they are tested for extended periods of time to see which reality pans out.

      I have seen nothing like this posed to Renney as of yet.

    16. Sam, if Malik carries the dishes with the same clumsy, wreckless disregard as he carries the puck, Mr. Malik wouldnt last very long at Applebees unless of course a bunch of idiots run the Applebees just like a bunch of idiots run the Rangers

    17. Let’s not start to misunderstand the role of Sam and this blog. He goes out of his way to include us in his job, and to let us see more of the Ranger world than we normally get to. He doesn’t work for us and doesn’t owe us anything, whether it’s the impressively updated posts or the consistently dignified responses to our often unreasonable, repetitive or plain stupid questions. To even suggest that Sam risk alienating himself from the people he works around because we think we’ve somehow stumbled on ideas and questions that people that do this for a living haven’t already thought of, asked, been refused an answer to and then asked again a week later, is ridiculous and insulting.

      And I, for one, like the anecdotes. I find it infinitely more interesting to know what life is like in the Rangers “back room” than I do to read, for the trillionth time, why Renney claims the youth “aren’t ready.” The guy obviously has no answers or they would play out on the ice, not in the press room.

    18. Maybe if the architect and resident genius Glen Sather ever gave an interview people like Sam they could ask Sather “Glen when you were in Edmonton you said with the Rangers money you could win every year” What happened? Or why is it in the past 16 years you have had one winning season? Or why Malik to a three year deal? Or why no kids but Sather makes himself invisible. When was the last time Sather gave an interview?

    19. Doodie Machetto on

      “Sam, if Malik carries the dishes with the same clumsy, wreckless disregard as he carries the puck, Mr. Malik wouldnt last very long at Applebees unless of course a bunch of idiots run the Applebees just like a bunch of idiots run the Rangers”

      Having gone to several Applebees, I can assure you that Maleak would definitely be able to last there. If nothing else, he could provide them with a bunch of Rangers paraphernalia to add to their walls.

    20. Doodie Machetto on

      No flair is the crap they wear. At Chotchkie’s the *minimum* is 15 pieces, but they want you to express yourself how you wish.

    21. its funny that sam gets it but you don’t chris. the POINT of this blog and the POINT of writing for a newspaper is to have the PUBLIC READ IT. so in a way sam does “work for us”. its crazy that he takes threads like these as constructive criticism to better himself as a rangers beat writer yet you get offended by it.

    22. Sam:

      I’ve been a journalist for 23 years, and while it’s great technology affords you a relationship with your readers that would have been impossible when I was a young reporter, you can’t let them affect the way you cover the team.

      Very few have any idea at all what your job entails and very few know anything substantial about hockey. Just because some anonymous guy on an internet board says that Renney or Sather or Hossa suck or that the players in Hartford would do better than the guys on the team doesn’t make it so. And, as I’m sure you know, it isn’t your job to lobby for changes on the team.

    23. OK, I’ll defend Chris since he defended me.
      I do work for you in the sense that if I don’t have readers, I probably don’t have a job. But there is a filter there. It can’t just be me asking every question that you want me to ask since I have my own viewpoint, and so do my editors.
      At the same time, this blog and these comments help us see what’s important to fans, and it helps us to pursue stories and topics that are relevant.
      It’s all very confusing.
      Short answer: you’re both right.

    24. Kovy: give yourself a little less credit. You’re not actually helping Sam do his job better. He knows to ask hard questions when he can and when they’re not repetitive and when he might actually get an answer. Unlike most of the posters here, he doesn’t (and shouldn’t) spend his time trying to prove that he could do a better job than the management by getting up in their grill about subjects again and again and again. And do you really think your questions aren’t ones people like Sam, Brooks and Dellapina (not to mention Renney and the people in-house) never think of themselves? Do you actually think saying Sam should dig deeper is helpful? What a joke.

      As for working for us, yes, being a reporter is a civic responsibility and carries the weight of commercial responsibility. But still, this is Sam’s blog, not his articles, and it’s about the NY Rangers, not the White House.

      Not that the White House shouldn’t also have dancers…

    25. ok chris your right then i guess we have no right to want answers after losing to ANOTHER division rival which looked to me like it was all on the coach and his poor decisions. instead of shanny’s musical tastes maybe after the isles smoke us again in a few weeks we can show up the next day and read about nylanders favorite food? :)

      again sam you know that im just bustin your balls keep up the good work just like dean said if you can dig a bit deeper we’d greatly appreciate it thanks buddy

    26. I thought Coach Tomfoolery was the #1 star for the Devs last night. Prucha on the 4th line? Hossa and Betts on the the second line totally neutralizing Shanny. Some clown named Jason Krog being allowed in the arena forget about putting on a jersey. I thought Lundqvist abnd Pock were terrific other than them nobody showed much. Sam I bet Pock sits Saturday for Kaspar.

    27. Unfortunately, we’d probably be better off getting everyone we know to buy Pock or Prucha (or Dubisnky) jerseys by the hundreds. Dolan might see those sales figures and decide we should play them — or at least not trade them away…

    28. I HOPE PUCK IS NOT THE CASUALTY BUT YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT. I THOUGHT BY A GREAT DISTANCE PUCK WAS THE BEST DEFENSEMEN LAST NIGHT, HE REALLY IMPRESSED ME. I ALSO WAS IMPRESSED WITH THE FACT THAT BETTS IS NOT THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND LINE CENTER, AND THERE IS NOT ONE ON THE ROSTER. JARKO, WHILE I NORMALLY WOULD AGREE WITH TAKING IT SLOW WITH YOUNG PLAYERS, WOULD BE A BETTER FIT ON THAT LINE. MAYBE BRENDEN S IS NOT INTERESTED IN HIM FOR THAT JOB, THOUGH THAT SEEMS UNLIKE HIS CHARACTER TO SAY THAT. IF NOT JARKO PUT PRUCHA THERE, I KNOW HE IS ALSO A SCORER BUT HE DOES CREATE ALOT OF CHANCES WITH HIS PURE HUSSLE. BRENDAN IS NOT OPPOSED TO SCORING ON KNOCK IN, REBOUNDS, AND SCORING IN TRAFFIC. BUT ANYTHING IS BETTER THEN WATCHING BETTS PASS IT BEHIND BRENDAN AND HOSSA ON THE RUSH LAST NIGHT.

    29. chris i now know how and why we still have marcel hossa your theory on dolan wanting to play pock,prucha, dubinsky if we all went out and bought their jerseys.

      dolan thinking outloud

      hmm every one went out and bought prucha jerseys this year. if we keep him then they wont have a reason to go buy new jerseys!!! glen get that prucha kid out of there we need to market new players get those new skin tight jerseys out there!!!! get rid of prucha go get me that crosby kid everyone is talkin about.

      glen-um he’s not available jim.
      dolan pulling up the yahoo stats- well how about this hossa kid he’s tearing it up got like the second most points in the league his jerseys would fly off the shelf go get him!!
      glen slyly knowing his boss is a moron-o yah thats um a real good idea jim i’ll have him by tomorrow morning
      dolan-glen thats why you are the best in the business send one of those new hossa jeserys to my kid he’ll love it.

      and scene

    30. SAM just tell A Ward Churchill’s words” if you’re 20 and not a liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you’re 40 and not a conservative, you don’t have a brain.”

    31. In regard to the new skin tight Jerseys by Reebok, anyone have a link with pics of them??? Im thinking theyre gonna be just like the synthetic NBA ball

    32. Potential crisis: The outspoken Ward is a loyal Democrat, so in the interest of harmony, maybe he shouldn’t get too much alone time with the Prez.

      I thought it was okay to fight with the president so long as you toss your gloves off.

    33. quote: “Just because some anonymous guy on an internet board says that Renney or Sather or Hossa suck or that the players in Hartford would do better than the guys on the team doesn’t make it so. And, as I’m sure you know, it isn’t your job to lobby for changes on the team.”

      thank you Peter, Chris, and pf for the first reasonable (and readable) posts in a while here. Sam you’re much too diplomatic. Occasionally take a stand, please, for godssake. It’s your blog.

      Actually I enjoyed the tidbits about the lockerroom music, about your conversations with Jagr (which of course can be taken just the opposite: he’s a complainer, a pouter, whiner, etc., I’m not saying he is, just it’s the flip side of his honesty).

      So, what this reader finds worthwhile are tidbits and insights like those, ones totally offlimits to your readership. Now just please answer my questions regarding the accuracy of reported height and why scratched players are identified as such already at practice (rather than after) through their green jerseys.

      thanks.

    34. true that just because it’s posted here doesn’t make it so…

      but numbers don’t lie and the stats say Hossa should be waived and the standings say that Sather & Renney are not steering this team in the right direction.

    35. In quasi defense of sam (hell I’ve played it against him enough).

      The blog is part of his job. I don’t know if he gets paid extra for it, but presumably he may not maintain the Rangers beat if he was screwing it all up. It is a testament to him and you that it has been successful and that people like it. (There, everyone all happy now).

      That said when you go home and talk to your parents/siblings/spouse do you talk every day about the toll booth you went through or the commute and how fast you were going at exit 10? No, you pass the same thing day after day and nothing changes. I believe that during much of the interview/quote time that Sam filters out to his articles and blog there are other reporters around at least some of the time. I expect like Sam said that many questions are repeatedly asked, but getting the same answer every day, they get tired of reporting/blogging about it. Given they get stonewalled on many of the questions they ask, they try and find new or other angles to report about.

      When these Giants/Jets coaches do get asked these questions post game or during the week, they have a week between games to get battered, but they too stonewall with answers all the time. Perhaps because they are on TV you see it, but even those reporters can only sustain readership on the same things that aren’t changing so many times without losing that readership. That said, a four game losing streak in football is a month or more, in hockey it can be a week that doesn’t give much time to work anything new into the system and less to practice.

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