Healthy scratch


Well, I am at least. My little guy, on the other hand, is fighting a fever, which will preclude me from getting to the rink today. And to think, he wasn’t even the one who had two helpings of the fish the other night at the Meadowlands.

Anyway, what this means is instead of listening to the Rangers lament their myriad woes, I’ll be relying on the profound wisdom of Dr. Seuss and Bob the Builder to get us through the day (There’s a joke in there somewhere, I’m sure).

But fear not, I’ll be checking in with the team, and will pass along any pressing news (*and here’s one already: Michael Nylander is fine after getting his bell rung against New Jersey, and will play against Atlanta Saturday*).

But in the meantime, a few responses to some questions while the little guy settles in for a nap:

  • *On Jaromir Jagr’s hiatus*: The decision to stay home from the All-Star Game gives the Big Fella not only a chance to rest, but also to work out with weights, something he hasn’t be able to do to any great effect during the season. “I don’t feel strong,” he told me last week. “That’s what’s frustrating me the most. I can’t play the way I play because I’m not strong. The only way to get it back is to work with extra weights, but it’s tough because you’re going to feel weaker for the games. But now the schedule’s getting lighter. We’re going to play more games at home, and have a lot more time. Hopefully by next month I’ll be OK.â€?
  • *On Tom Renney’s mixing up the lines against the Devils*: There seems to be some confusion about the coach’s motivation for jumbling his lines so often against New Jersey. Most of it had to do with getting Jagr away from the Jay Pandolfo line, which is why you saw him jump on in place of Jed Ortmeyer on the third line on occasion. Of course, the other explanation is the Rangers hadn’t scored a goal, and the coach was grasping at any combination that would work, especially for Brendan Shanahan. As for breaking up the top line, this is obviously something that’s been debated at length; and again, the feeling is the Nylander-Straka-Jagr combo is such a proven entity, there is a reluctance to see it dismantled.

    Personally, though, I’d be interested to see a full game of what Renney toyed with against the Bruins, specifically Nylander with Shanahan, with maybe Straka between Jagr and Petr Prucha. For one, playing with Nylander might help Shanahan out of his goal scoring slump; and secondly, it would better utilize Prucha, who was again buried on the fourth line in New Jersey.

    But what do I know? I’m just a guy who’s been playing with toy trucks all morning….

    *UPDATE, 1 p.m.: He’s not a captain here, but that won’t stop Brendan Shanahan from being captain of the Eastern Conference All-Star team next week. Joe Sakic will captain the West squad. Question of the day: Would Shanahan be named captain if Jaromir Jagr was playing in the All-Star game?*

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    1. Doodie Machetto on

      Sam, First of all, best wishes to your son. May he make a speedy recovery (he’s our future Captain, right?).

      Second of all, I totally agree with you about the Bruins lineup. It’s something that I suggested that they do prior to the Devils game, becuase Nylander-Shanahan would possibly produce, and wouldn’t have to deal with the Pandolfo coverage.

      Lastly, “I’ll be relying on the profound wisdom of Dr. Seuss and Bob the Builder to get us through the day.” So Sather and Renney are going to call you at your house?

    2. i agree sam….nylander with shanny and cullen then putting marty w/ jj and prucha could work…i would then go with betts – orts – hossa…ward-orr-hollweg…

      besides the obvious callups, is there any rumblings on this kid Girardi getting a shot?

    3. Sam and Doodie,

      I’m curious why there is such an infatuation from the Blogs and Fans alike for Peter Prucha. His last years production diminished due to his injury, but more importantly to his lack of PP time after the arrival of Sykora. This year Shanahan has received that time. He is frail, yet fearless, not fast North South, but rather quick laterally. His often erratic break out passes make him a defensive liability. Why then the infatuation? It’s obvious the Coach and Management understand his limitations. Even strength scoring is what the team lacks (among other things). His even strength production is limited. Would Nigel Dawes have similar numbers if given similar opportunity? Your thoughts?

    4. Rick —
      Maybe Prucha is not going to have many 30-goal seasons like last year, and I agree, he’s a bit all over the place.
      But I think he’s another one of those guys who is far more effective playing with better players than being a third or fourth-line mucker, especially given the defensive liability side you just mentioned.
      I’ll put it another way: either put him in a position to succeed, or maybe the Rangers should consider dealing him.

    5. Prucha is certainly not the type of player who can produce on his own. He needs some one to distribute the puck to him. What about Prucha with Nylander and Shanahan and then put Jagr with Straka and Cullen. Perhaps Cullen and Straka’s speed could open up some time and space for Jagr to make plays. Plus, both Cullen and Straka are defensively responsible, so Jagr could take more offensive risks. Then a line of Betts with Ward and Hossa and finally Krog with Hollweg and Ortmeyer. Hollweg and Ortmeyer have shown chemistry together as have Ward and Betts. I don’t understand why they aren’t played together. Hall should be dealt if the Rangers can find a taker. I think the Rangers need to make a deal just to shake things up a bit. This win a few, lose a few, is getting very tiring!

    6. prucha straka jagr
      dawes nylander shanahan
      hossa cullen orty
      hollweg betts orr/hall (as per KOVY27)

      …ive been begging for these line combos all year… i got excited when he planned on using them against boston, but after one period TOMMY’s xxxxx shriveld up and he went back to the well… he never gave them a chance to gell and they werent playing bad at all….

      i wanted this because when wilson coached the caps to the finals, he made a comment about not worrying about the chemistry of a full line, but more so of pairs of players. i think thats genius really…. for instance you worry about keeping straka and jagr together with an interchangable wing, then you put nylander, a player who is great at holding onto the puck,whith shanny, who knows how to get into a good shooting postion quickly.

      ..those lines are actually pretty formadable when compared to the rest of the league… 2 playmaking centers… 2 bonafide sniping power forwards on the top end. a speedy 3rd line with power off the wall (HOSSA) and a banging, energy filled 4th line… its plain as day… to me at least

    7. …oh and for the record… i also feel those top 2 lines should be our 2 power play units…. Keanen subscibed to this philosophy and he never practiced the power play during the season on any team he coached but always was in the top 5 in the league with power play percentages!

    8. great point about nylander going to the second line i wrote the same thing this morning on its got to be done. however i wouldn’t put cullen with them id bring up dawes. he’s the most polished winger at hartford and its time to at least give him a shot on a top 2 line with a playmaker like nylander. you then can slot cullen as the third line center and put him with hossa and orty if you want and then betts to the fourth line with hollweg and orr/ward/hall/santa claus etc

    9. wow!!! …havnt been called DEANER in years… thanks for bringing back a ton of memories brotta!!!

    10. Doodie Machetto on

      One of the team’s problems this years is not being physical and tough enough. Bringing in Five foot nothing Dawes will only make the problem worse. Prucha, Straka, and Dawes- 3 of our top six would be little shrimps.

      Sam, I agree with your assessment of Prucha, and I think that

      “But I think he’s another one of those guys who is far more effective playing with better players than being a third or fourth-line mucker, especially given the defensive liability side you just mentioned.
      I’ll put it another way: either put him in a position to succeed, or maybe the Rangers should consider dealing him.”

      should be said of Immonen as well.

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      Oh and I think Shanny would still have been captain, they usually give it to the biggest veteran

    12. I heard that Malik was going to be a last minute addition and perhaps named captain?

      Is this just another internet rumour?

    13. The line combos listed in this thread are perfect but Renney the clown would have none of that. He needs his safe No-Thumb-Bums© spread throughout the lineup in assinine spots (AKA Betts w/ Shanny)

    14. If Jagr was going, I don’t think Shanahan would be there, thus making Jagr the veteran and Captain.

    15. prucha straka jagr
      dawes nylander shanahan
      hossa cullen orty
      hollweg betts orr/hall
      almost…. i like the top 2 lines but id like to see this….

      prucha straka jagr
      dawes nylander shanahan
      hossa Immonen Cullen
      hollweg Orts Orr

      i think this gives us 3 legit scoring lines. hossa is good at puck possession, cullen can find open ice, Immo is a good passer. i def think they could create some offense. and all 3 are good defensively. I like betts, ward and company…but how many 4th line checking forwards do we need?

    16. Doodie Machetto on

      Sam, Joel Lundqvist notched his first NHL goal in Dallas’ win over Calgary. You think you can get a quote from Henrik about it?

    17. lil midget
      : your lines wont work well…you want a true center on the 4th line…the top two lines are good…but this is how IMHO it would work best.


      That puts a halfway decent faceoff person on each line…the first being the weakest for the faceoffs. It puts a sniper (or two) type on each of the top two lines, Hossa and Ward have had decent yeras, I would rather have Ward in than Hall or ORR, and Cullens speed is best suited for the 3rd line spot. The 4th line of Hollweg and orts will bring lots of energy, and a defensive thought process with Orts and Betts, and it wouldnt shock me to see their energy get a few points if they were left together for a string of 10 or 15 games. Or even on your lines…just replace ORR with Betts…or dosnt do anything most nights…he ahs one good game and than 3 bad ones. I thought he was going to have a better year, more hitting and stuff since he lost 20 pounds, but it hasnt shown up. They need a Laraque type, who actuly pots some dirt gaols, and can skate when the need arises on the top line for a shift or two….I wonder if Sather even tryied to get him at any point…

    18. Oh…and on teh “C” thing…I think if Shanny and Jagr got here at teh same time…no question SHANNY would be the C…I think its a combo of rewarding Jagr for palying hard last year, and leading the team, being the face of the team and all, and Shanny was new this year, I dont think HE would have wanted the C being new, and I dont think anyone in the Rangers ORG, Jagr or anyone else, thinks that Shanny wouldnt have made a great captain.

    19. Folks, don’t even bother putting Immonen or Dawes or any AHL kid into your hypothetical lineups. Renney is never going to do it. And that’s that.

    20. I agree with twin. It has gotten too late in the season for Renney to play kids and barring injuries it won’t happen. Of course that is really how it happened last season for Prucha and others.

      Trades for vets and the hope by Renney and Sather they can get into the playoffs while a season is wasted because no kid really got any experience except Pock if he continues to play.

    21. Doodie Machetto on

      tsalad: injuries won’t do anything because we have so many healthy scratches that can jump in.

    22. Sam, best wishes to your little one. Hope he feels better. Love the Dr. Seuss graphic. How often does one get to see that on a hockey blog?

      Secondly, in regards to your question. . .It is my understanding that the player with the most seniority is the one named captain of the team. So I would guess that Shanahan would have been named whether Jagr was there or not.

    23. it is just baloney to pretend that there will be many spots open for kids next season.

      these players are signed for next season…

      Jagr, Straka, Nylander, Cullen, Betts, Krog,

      Rosival, Malik, Ward, Tyutin, Kasparaitis

      and these players are RFA (restricted)…

      Prucha, Hollweg, Orr, Hossa, Rachunek, Hall

      and these are the UFAs…

      Shanny, Weekes, Ortmeyer, JWard

      and Shanny will certainly be brought back and the others are maybes

    24. Isn’t Pock a free agent, too?

      If they’re going to scratch Pock on D, how about a line of Prucha-Cullen-Pock?

    25. Doodie Machetto on

      tsalad: I understood, I was pointing out that an injury here or there won’t do anything as we sit two forwards and a defenseman every night.

    26. if pock doesn’t end up with 80 total nhl games played by the end of this year (including play off) he’ll be UFA too.

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