The elephant in the room

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Seeing how I had never done this before, one of my greatest concerns heading into this venture was finding enough to write about over the long-grind of an 82 game-season. Here is at least one area where the Rangers haven’t disappointed.

This season has been a lot of things — promising to start, painfully uneven the rest of the way. But it certainly has never been boring, and “yesterday’s finale before the All Star Break was yet another example”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070121/SPORTS01/701210370/1034/SPORTS.

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Whether he was conscious of it or not at the time, “Brendan Shanahan’s words”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/20/shanahan-lets-tear-it-up-and-start-anew/ after a 3-1 loss to Atlanta hinted at a much larger issue than a team not getting enough shots on the power play. It was about the way the team plays the game a whole. It was about the disconnect between one part of the dressing room and another. And, of course, it at least suggested that one player in particular casts too large a shadow over everyone else.

You may recall “a few days ago”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/17/jagr-on-jagr/ I referred to the coexistence between Shanahan and “Jaromir Jagr”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/17/jagr-on-jagr/, saying that despite outward appearances, it’s a partnership that works. Now I’m not so sure. Shanahan clearly wants to play one way. Jagr wants to play another. I still think the two superstars each have the same result in mind. But that’s not to say this isn’t a problem, and potentially a big one.

And that brings me to my next point: on the power play and elsewhere, the Rangers obviously have to decide whether they want to continue to embrace the East-West style favored by their strong European contingent, or whether it needs more of the “gritty, dirty” (read: North American) influence Shanahan called for yesterday. This is hardly a small matter.

But a much bigger matter for the Rangers is exactly *HOW* they arrive at these decisions. If Tom Renney has any hope of salvaging this season, he needs these two players to get on the same page. It’s no longer just about developing a chemistry on the ice. It’s now about avoiding friction everywhere else.

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80 Comments

  1. Longtimerangerfan on

    You’re right, Sam…I too think there are two schools of thought in the Ranger’s dressing room. The Euro way and the North American way. The Euro “pretty” passing isn’t working so why not try to crash the net for the “dirty” goals? I thought Ortmeyer looked good on the limited PP time that he got…why not more?

    About foot speed in the NHL…Luc Robitaille, way too slow to be any good…nuff said!

    Forget the players…let’s get someone in management that knows what the %^&* they’re doing!

  2. Sam which way does Renney want it, he can’t really have it both ways, or can he? He’s the boss, it’s about time he takes that responsiblity on everyday, not just sometimes when they lose. I can’t figure out what he wants because he says everything & contradicts himself, result confusion. North south east west , circle the wagons, perimeter play, grit, physical, go to the net, accountablity, Pock in limbo, Immo discarded, Malik in never neverland & still in the lineup, Shanny without a line, Jagr doing whatever he wants & probably never called out on it,etc I’m dizzy. Renney needs to grow a set to compliment the brains. You need both with some good luck. No wonder this team is where it is, if the leaders don’t agree & lead from the same page, no one can follow.

  3. Sam, interesting take. But ulimately it’s a moot point. The first line will only be effective playing east west. And none of them are going anywhere for at least one more season.

    Frankly, the only reason they haven’t been scoring as much this year is Jagr’s shoulder. His shot just isn’t the same and it’s made for a limp PP unit. The good news is, is that there’s a way to fix the power play by taking shanny off of the Jagr unit and putting prucha there. the second unit could consist of Shanny, Rachunek, Pock, (immonen if they were smart) and Hossa/Ortmeyer or someone that can’t stand in front of the net. This would give Shanny what he wants and would allow Jagr and crew to play the only way they know how to.

    At best, this is a poorly constructed team that needs to keep its eye on the future. If anything, Shanahan is the best chip in the organization at the deadline to improve that future. I would stronly suggest moving him to a Stanley Cup contender for a prospect or a young speedy sniper ala the Doug Weight-Esa Tikannen trade in 94. He could be somebody’s Steve Larmer.

  4. I think Renney uses Shanny to talk for him when it comes to Jagr. It seems that Renney has preached the same philosophy as Shanny since he has been coaching the Rangers. Jagr ripped Renney last year in the papers when Renney suggested the power play should generate more shots if you recall. This year , Renney is on record saying that he prefers a western hockey league style of play , but he has to deal the cards he has been given on this particular Rangers team. Shanny has been Renney’s lobbyist for a more North American style of play it seems. And when you look at the makeup of this roster you would think the 3 lines besides Jagr’s would crash the net more. But the confusion in the game plan comes from
    A Jagr and co. playing too much including power plays, to get the other lines in the flow.
    B. Renney’s game plan is to play zone defense when Jagr and Co are not on the ice which negates any chance of crashing the net because the other 3 lines are sitting back. This in turn allows the Rangers opponents to gain the Ranger blue line with speed and numbers while the Rangers defense collapses on the goalie leaving the oppositions third man high open for great shots in the slot. It is a scary way to play especially when the Rangers defensemen are sub par to start.

  5. While I am a big fan of the North American game, and Shanny (of course), this is a battle that likely will be won by the Euros. The team invested too much in Jagr to allow anything different. Sather picked up all of Jags’ buddies to insure that he doesn’t get pissed off and sulk like he did in Washington. Hell, the only sensible reason that Malik hasn’t been benched or traded is because Jags wants him here. I don’t particularly care for the fact that they are catering to him; I don’t feel that superstars should act like moody children. But Jagr has shown by his play on the ice that he needs to be having fun – Glen saw that the only time that Jagr really stepped up his game in the last 10 years or so was while wearing a Czech uniform, so he picked up as many Czechs as he could afford. C’mon, begging Martin Richter and Karel Rachunek to come back to North America?

    I don’t think that this experiment works. The best teams in the NHL are the ones that combine the two styles – not the ones that lean too much one way or the other. Detroit when they won their recent Cups combined the two, after them, when they played a little more European, they were bounced from the playoffs early after significant regular season success. Bobby Clark tried to build as North American a team as possible and how did that work out for Philly?

    Until Jagr matures to be more than a petulant child who will only play his way, this team is in trouble. Pittsburgh had success with him when he wasn’t the one in charge and Mario’s cult of personality demanded that he play along. Shanahan has a powerful reputation and personality with him but will it be enough??

  6. this is why shanny and jagr should not be playing together AT ALL. they play two completely differet styles its no wonder the powerplay doesn’t work. even on the five on 3’s last year jagr was the shooter and it worked. now no one knows who the shooter is is it jagr or shanny they probably don’t even know. let jagr work the first pp unit and then let shanny be the shooter on the second unit. thats all. i don’t think the problem between these guys is personal i just think they play different games and it shows. they shouldn’t be on the ice together and they know it.

  7. “If Tom Renney has any hope of salvaging this season—and even his job”

    I think Tom Renneys job is safe for the next 2 years after last year

  8. You cannot live and die on the power play. It is important to score goals at even strength if the power play is going to be the deciding factor in games. It means absolutely nothing if you have a great power play if you are not scoring at even strength. The Rangers have to generate more goals from four lines and less from one.

  9. The style of the Rangers powerplay differs between the 2 squads. (Shanhan spends time on both) The 1st squad with Jagr, Straka and Nylander,never get anyone to the net and they look for the rare, perfect passes that sometimes work but usually not. The second squad(Cullen, Hall, Prucha, Ortmeyer) seems as if they have a mission. They get guys in front and throw shots at the net when the oppurtunity presents itself.

    Maybe they need to split the squads up. I think the first thing they should do is get Prucha on the top line of the PP. He spends majority of his time in front of the net and gets rebound goals, but he can also shoot when he gets a chance. 16 of his 30 last year came on the number one powerplay squad.

    Another thing they should do with the second line is thow the big guy Adam hall in front of the net. 10 of his 14 goals last year came on the powerplay. Im pretty sure he was the guy in front of the net.

    Finally maybe the second powerplay squad should get majority of the time on ice. They always get more chances than Jagrs guru.

    Im no hockey genius but these things certainly make sense

  10. switch shanny and prucha and give them equal pp time (the first and second units) it gives the pkers two completely yet dangerous looks and its very hard to adjust in the middle of a kill.

  11. John M- Your statement that the powerplay is not necessary to win is just not true. look at the top teams like Buffalo, New Jersey. They seem to score powerplay goals constantly. If your powerplay is not strong you will not win anything. With the amount of powerplay chances the Rangers have gotten this year, if they had a geat powerplay, they would have 7-10 more wins this year

  12. This is my first time here, awesome site Sam. I see how this Shanahan/Jagr conflict is a problem, but can’t it be good as well? If the first line plays East-West, and the second goes gritty and tough, it could be an asset to exploit weaknesses in teams. If an opponent is better at shutting down East-West, the gritty, tough lines will be better off that game, and vice versa. I’m a fan of the Straka-Nylander-Jagr line and keeping Shanahan and Prucha together. A Hollweg-Cullen-Ortmeyer 3rd line provides toughness and grit, and a Hossa-Betts- ?? line is a good checking line. Aquiring a second line center (Morrison) and a decent D-man (Brewer, Stewert) would help us greatly. Also why not try and bring back Mike York from Philly. He could be had for cheap since he’s not playing that well.

  13. You cannot live and die on the power play. It is important to score goals at even strength if the power play is going to be the deciding factor in games

    GONYR
    It didn’t mean it’s not important. It meant that it is not enough to have just a great power play. Sorry for the confusion.

  14. Hollweg44- Heres the trouble, One line of of Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Betts is enough. You need to get someoffense out of your 2nd and 3rd lines. The way this team is set up (excluding Shanahan) they have 3 fourth lines and that is not a good way to win

  15. True, Shanny and Jagr are two differnt type players and ones that don’t belong on a line together. But that’s not the main sortcomming here. The problem is Renney, for some inexplicable reason, can’t pull the trigger on change and then let it ride. I’ve never seen a coach tinker with the lines worse than he has this season(save for another Ranger great-Coach Ron Low). And if he’s lacking the pieces to establish three solid lines(which he is), then he should be on the horn with Maloney and Slats to get something done about it.

    Speaking from experience, it’s difficult to form any sort of chemistry when your line is different every other day. This is something Renney should have worked out PRE-SEASON, not halfway through. There were glaring problems exposed in the playoffs and rather than fixing them, the team just exacerbated the situation(signing Cullen instead of Sykora; Ward instead of a younger, hard-hitting blueliner, suiting Hall instead of Dom Moore…even ditching Poti seems like its disrupted a certain degree of offense from the blueline). Still no offense on second line, still not enough checking, still no quarterback for the PP. These are problems that could be solve with the addition of two key and quality players(not AHL retreads like Isbister and Krog) and the subtraction of the dead weight.

    Sam – Let me ask you this: does Renney suffer from ‘nice guy’ syndrome or something? I’m getting the impression that he’s affraid to ditch guys from the squad for whatever reason. Clearly, Kasparitis isn’t effective anymore. Niether is Malik. Cullen was never meant for second-line center detail, Ozolinsh should have never came back to the squad and there’s two checking lines on the team that just don’t check. Now there’s an ineffective Jason Krog clogging up the works…and the list goes on. It seems these are fundemetal things that could be cleared up pretty easy by a take-action coach. But instead, he adds insult to injury by bumbling around the same cogs of a broken machine.

  16. Good point Go NYR, but before Hollweg came up he was a decent offensive threat. Playing with a hard working Orty, and a gritty Cullen, maybe that can click and create a 40-50 goal line. 15-20 from Cullen and 10-15 each from Hollweg and Orty isn’t a lot to ask, and I think can be done. With such a strong 1st line, and getting a playmaking center for Shanahan and Prucha, we won’t necessarily need an whole lot of offense from the 3rd and 4th lines. I do agree we have 3 4th lines now, my potential lines provide 2 lines of scoring and 2 lines of defensive offense. As for the powerplay, the Rangers need a lot more shooting, a lot less fancy passing. We could be extremely dangerous with more shots, especially with snipers like Shanny and Jagr ripping shots. Shots from Rachunek, Rosy, Ward and Tjutin are necessary too.

  17. Prucha gets less than 2 mins in the second period yesterday and people still believe Renney knows what he’s doing?

    One of these days Sather and Renney should be held accountable.

  18. let me remind people that Carolina won the new-CBA, new-NHL Stanley Cup, and they did it with a NORTH AMERICAN style of play.

    Weight, Whitney, Staal, Brindamour, Cole, Recchi, Williams, Cullen, Ward, Wesley, Hedican, Commodore, and Cam Ward in goal.

    a North American team all the way.

    as long as Jagr and his posse run the Rangers, they will go nowhere, they will bumble along like they are.

    Renney is making Jagr happy at the expense of team success.

    the fact that Jagr determines the D pair he wants with him 5-on-5, namely his posse Rosival-Malik, shows more than anything that Renney has no intention of taking effective control of the clique problem.

  19. Hossa that’s because it worked most of last year. But Renney hasn’t found a way to deal with last years’ collapse & this years’ .500+ so called team, when .610 was last year with probably less talent, but they were a team. Changing 5 guys affected the chemistry & Renney just being the Professor keeps experimenting rather steering. If he really wants to make the playoffs, he has to become the leader with guts & brains, and lessen the committee rule.

  20. does anyone think that Lou Lam lets Elias tell the Devils how to run their team? you bet he doesn’t. He either plays the Devil system, or he can take a hike.

  21. Anthony (Abev) on

    Maybe this isn’t crashing the net, but I do remember jagr, straka nylander crashing the net.

    Straka’s game winner in Pittsburgh. Jagr batting in a rebound in Phoenix. Nylander feeding Straka(?) from behind the net vs Buffalo.

    These are just off the top of my head. I am not saying it doesn’t happen, but certainly they are capable of it.

    Are we sure these recent comments are mostly out of frustration?

    WTF Shanahan, you had 20+ goals in 40 games and you had nothing to say, now there’s a BIG problem?

  22. there you go again. I’ll just re-post my answer to you.
    …….

    of course, it’s all Shanny’s fault that he has to play with dreck like Betts and Krog at C.

    it’s all Shanny’s fault that Jagr and his Euro-circlers won’t allow a shot from the point on “their� PP, or get in front of the net.

    it’s all Shanny’s fault that young players come up to him for guidance and leadership.

    it’s all Shanny’s fault that Renney has overused him and worn him out.

    Sure, get real.

  23. HOSSA sather can’t shine lou’s shoes as a GM. And he lets Renney do whatever, while Lou would have probably fired him already. Elias is not Jagr, but they probably wouldn’t want him for free if he wouldn’t play their system. 2 different worlds and you can see the results this year, last & the recent past. … SAM… do you really believe Maloney that the NYR have a system and play it , when compared to the devils?

  24. No, it’s not Shanahan’s fault that he has to play with Krog and Betts.
    It’s not his fault that he rarely gets the puck on the PP, but it is his fault that when he does, he shoots it into the 2 defenders standing directly in front of him.
    Even if young players go to him for “guidance and leadership,” that hasn’t helped the Rangers win, has it?
    According to Renney, it IS Shanahan’s fault that he’s overused, since Renney relies on Shanahan to say if he’s tired.

    Now, I do agree that Renney needs to take charge here. But that means not just standing up to Jagr, but to Shanahan too.

  25. “——HOSSA sather can’t shine lou’s shoes as a GM. And he lets Renney do whatever, while Lou would have probably fired him already. Elias is not Jagr, but they probably wouldn’t want him for free if he wouldn’t play their system——-”

    EXACTLY. that is precisely what I am saying.

  26. “”Even if young players go to him for “guidance and leadership,â€? that hasn’t helped the Rangers win, has it?””
    ………

    those young players are either sat out for months, or sent to Hartford. wake up, pal. they have nothing to do with the Ranger failures.
    …………..

    show us ONE member of Shanny’s posse, huh pal? there is NONE. no one was acquired to placate Shanny. unlike Jagr and his entourage of softies.

  27. Time to discband this dysfunctional group. Remember that once the league tightened up last year, the Rangers went south. That is probably what Shanny realizes. At the end of the year, it will come down to choices. Shanahan will not return to this mess if jagr is still here. I suggest that we ask Shanny where he would like to go, same for Jagr and trade them both off before the deadline. I honestly think we would be better off if the season goes south the next month. Try another firesale for kids and picks.

  28. the kids and picks better be better than the last bunch we received at the last fire sale. the people doing the drafting (and the owner) would have to be different for it to make a difference.

  29. you make a lot of good points, Bob. but another firesale is unlikely. Loyal, real fans would buy season tickets to see Future Blue, but corporations and casual fans and looky-loos are enticed by the big names, and that seems to rule the roost in Rangerland.

  30. bklynblue January 21st, 2007 at 6:31 pm
    Hossa that’s because it worked most of last year. But Renney hasn’t found a way to deal with last years’ collapse & this years’ .500+ so called team, when .610 was last year with probably less talent, but they were a team. Changing 5 guys affected the chemistry & Renney just being the Professor keeps experimenting rather steering. If he really wants to make the playoffs, he has to become the leader with guts & brains, and lessen the committee rule.

    bklynblue

    It worked in the soft part of the season last year. When the ice got smaller and the games meant more, the Rangers were exposed. Please don’t use last years regular season as a litmus test. It means absolutely nothing if you cannot turn it up for the important time of the year. If Jagr is hurt as he was in the playoffs, or if he is shadowed while healthy, it is the same result. Which is , no offense away from Jagr. Which equals no shot to win.

  31. Yo –I’m assuming it was a joke when it said I was impying that Shanahan is any sort of cancer. I’ve had several times over that he’s been the exact opposite all season long. What I’m saying is that there needs to be a common ground between the two if in fact there is a disagreement over what the Rangers’ identity should be.

    And as Hollweg44 said, there is something to be said for having one line that plays one style and three lines that play another. That we know can be effective. The problem is when the two contingents meet on the power play, and it’s absolutely ludicrous to not have a sniper like Shanahan with playmakers like Jagr and Nylander in that context.

    One other thing, re: Renney. The coach absolutely errs on the side of being too loyal, or too nice, whatever you want to call it. The coach has an edge, no question. But he is a player’s coach, and he often defers to them as professionals. I think for the most part that’s admirable. The problem is when loyalty is ultimately detrimental.

  32. Having a firesale is not a direction the Rangers will go. Shanahan is needed in this lineup. Not only for his skill, but for his leadership. I see him as the real captain of this team. I don’t think we necessarily need a team of young kids, but we do need a good mixture of hungery vets and kids. If the vets we have now aren’t hungry, I’m all for getting rid of them. Making some deals to get some scoring on the second and third lines will help the 1st line. If there are more scoring threats, teams will move away from the “shadow” on Jagr. In my opinion, the Rangers are 2-3 solid players away from a really good team.

  33. Sam, you said in reference to Renney…

    “The problem is when loyalty is ultimately detrimental.”

    Hasn’t Renney reached that point?

  34. I totally disagree with you, Sam. you can’t have one group going east-west while the rest of the team is going north-south. the results have shown that it won’t work, Shanny has said so, and yet you still seem to be taking the Renney line. he is not loyal to professionals, he is loyal to only one group, the Jagr posse, and that splits team unity.

    they could have enough offense if they broke up the clique, and played all the time like they played after they got behind 5-0 vs. Ottawa.

    they got 4 gritty goals by just crashing the net.

    you have to have the coach saying that THIS is the way we are going to play, and if you don’t crash the net, you sit.

    If he can sit Nylander for taking bad penalties, then he also can sit him or Jagr, or Shanny or anyone for not crashing the net.

    If you reward the net-crashers with more ice time, then you will see more guys getting the message.

  35. I dont think Renney will win with the Rangers. Its not working out. The guy seems to have no general idea of what he is doing. He cant even figure out what the lines should be and ultimately being too lyal can cost you a lot of wins. He constantly says one thing and does another.

    He needs to make the coaches decisions even if it wont sit too well with the players. After all, why would we have a coach if decisions are made by the players.

  36. We haven’t had this kind of leader since Messier! More power to Shanny!

    Two-way, down and dirty hockey. Complete, end to end.

    Put a stop to the fancy passes and pretty “show” that Jagr thinks MSG requires.

    We don’t need Forsberg and his gazillion dollar salary. We need to give youth a chance, and play some seriously hard hockey.

    What does amaze me about the world-talent that is Jagr is his size. It is hard for me to picture someone of his size (who moves so well) to be picked on….Shanny dropped the gloves….

    hey Jagr, give someone who is all over you a Messier-like elbow to the face: take the penalty and you will find guys will be a bit hesitant to be inside your jockstrap while you’re on the ice. You’re 245lbs, man. Use the strength.

    I’m so sick of mediocre hockey. Sub .500 since last year’s Olympic break.

    Please fire renney.
    please give kids a chance.

    Sam, how much influence do the fans have; whether through the MSG crowd, or blogs like this? How much influence is exerted by Brooks and Dellapina???

    I am really curious as to your thoughts….

    as well as your own articles’ influence!

    thanks,

    Seamus O Riley…

    sad that himself has not seen a playoff win in a decade.

  37. I agree with Bob. I would have no problem trading Jagr and trying to build with kids. We are stuck in with a team that doesn’t know if they should play east-west or north-south. Line changes happen too many times a game. In addition, we have too many of the same type players, soft 5th and 6th defensemen and 3rd and 4th line players. Renney desperately wants this team to be a North American, north-south team in the mold of Shanahan, at least thats what I believe. They need to get rid of those extra defensemen – Ozo, Kaspar, Ward (perhaps at the deadline, he has underachieved), Malik. In addition, we need to gut our roster of people like, Jason Ward, Hossa, Orr and Krog. Betts-Ortmeyer and Hollweg are the most vital and best of the bunch, so we should keep them. At the deadline we need a physical defensemen (perhaps Brooks Orpik?) and a 2nd line center (perhaps Brendan Morrison). If not, Renney better keep a keen eye on Hartford and decide who may be a suitable guy to call up. If he doesnt think Immonen has enought foot speed in the NHL, then trade him now when other teams may still find promise in him. AT this point we can look at the Leetch trade and see how it turned out – Kondratiev, who was traded, and Immonen, who Renney wont play and a pick. Maybe it would have been worthwhile to keep Leetch at least for other young defensemen to learn from him.

  38. JOHN M how many goals & assists did Jagr get last year and was it only up to Feb? He was always one of the toughest guys for the opposition to control.It was his team last year, this year he’s supposedly not at 100% & they made the mistake of giving him the C instead keeping 3 A’s or Shanny the C, which he knows deep down but he’s not man enough to admit it. Just what’s really up with him is for Renney to deal with.He’s still scoring but not like last year. But Renney’s not at 100% either for some reasons unknown to me. There are at least 2 sides to this team, and the bad one is playing right now. Until Dolan is gone you’ve got Sather, they both are mainly interested in making the playoffs to raise prices. Maloney & Renney are his front men but he’ll do whatever keeps his boss off his back. They are in the entertainment business first, going for the Cup is secondary. When Renney finally goes with a 1st & 2nd line to balance out the offense even with the guys he has or maybe bringing up Immo, another forward, & a griity tough D man, and getting Malik to go fix his teeth & the rest of himself & out of the lineup, they’re would be a noticeable difference & probably a winning streak without just playing .500 hockey. It’s up to Renney to get it done & get the team to do it. This team has usually been consistently inconsistent, that has to be made unacceptable, & all accountable. I don’t think any NYR fan has a big problem with this team even if they lose, as long as they’re giving close to 100%. Right now they’re lucky to be following the 80-20 rule. Let’s see what happens in the next 5-10 games. GOOD LUCK!

  39. Sam,

    Have you heard any rumors that Sather and/or Maloney are working the phones to find a 2nd line ceter or a defenseman? ANy names you may have heard bandied about? My favorite targets include Brendan Morrison, Brooks Orpik, I’ve heard Ryan Malone maybe as a wing. I’m not keen on Forsberg at all, or Guerin, Tkachuk. Brewer intrigues me though. Heard anything through the grapevine? It’s the All-Star break so news will be dead for a week, so entertain us with some trade rumors. Thanks.

  40. Anthony (Abev) on

    GO NYR:

    Just in case we are keeping score – The Devils are 9th in NHL on PP% and BUF is 24th.

    The Devils and Sabres are 19th and 20th in total PP goals.

    But don’t forget about that Bruin Juggernaut PP – they are 4th in the NHL on PP %.

  41. I agree, no to the older players: Forsberg, Guerin, Tkachuk, Ruchinski. Malone would be good if he can get going, and where would he play? Maybe third line with Cullen and Hossa? We more desparately need a solid number 2 center, and another top 4 defender. Morrison, York if he can get back to last year’s form, or even maybe Craig Conroy.

  42. I also just read that we were looking into a trade for Todd Bertuzzi? I don’t know how credible the report was, but I really don’t like the idea. Unless we give up Hall or J. Ward, we would be giving up too much. Plus it takes away salary and roster space from other, non-injury prone, younger, better players.

  43. SAM W “But he is a player’s coach, and he often defers to them as professionals.” Who does Shanahan want on his line for the next 5-10 games from the guys here or in Hartford? I can’t figure out if he’s been even asked, or if he won’t answer, or what the real story is. Do you know, or does Renney or Shanahan know ? ( or only the shadow knows? )

  44. Anybody notice during the telecast of yesterdays game when during a commercial break the camera was on Don Maloney and caught him slamming down his laptop disgustedly, picking it up and taking off. Wonder what that was about?

    Schoenfeld probably told him Dawes, Immonen, Dubinsky, Girardi, Baranka, Callahan and Lessard are ready for the big time.

  45. Sam you siad

    The coach has an edge, no question. But he is a player’s coach, and he often defers to them as professionals. I think for the most part that’s admirable. The problem is when loyalty is ultimately detrimental.

    True but only with the vets. The kids he can’t or won’t coach and that is one of the reasons this team is where they are right now.

    Renney is not and has not been consistent in his treatment of players. What message does that send to the identity of the team? Its a big failure on renney’s part imo.

  46. the problem, imo, is not that they have conflicting ideas of how to play, the problem is that we have 3 4th lines and don’t have anyone capable of playing shanahan’s way.

    if we actually had 2nd and 3rd line talent instead of 8 4th liners taking turns playing with shanahan, then you could let them both play their own style. and could set it up so the 1st unit and the 2nd unit playing completely different styles which would make us much harder to defend and match against because we can play the game both ways.

    but thats not possible because the brain trust has assembled a team full of ahlers.

  47. “the camera was on Don Maloney and caught him slamming down his laptop disgustedly, picking it up and taking off. Wonder what that was about?”
    ….

    maybe his favorite porn site was down.

  48. HossaMVP

    “those young players are either sat out for months, or sent to Hartford. wake up, pal. they have nothing to do with the Ranger failures.”

    If those young players that you referenced are no longer with the team, why even bring up the point? I assumed you were talking about the young players who actually play, such as Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Ward, Lundqvist, Betts, Prucha, and Tyutin (and now Pock, though he fits into your “sat for months” category).
    …………..

    “show us ONE member of Shanny’s posse, huh pal? there is NONE. no one was acquired to placate Shanny. unlike Jagr and his entourage of softies.”

    Shanahan doesn’t have nearly the reputation that Jagr has, in terms of (for lack of a better term) diva-like behavior, so it surprises me that you think he needs to be “placated.” And I honestly doubt that he has any detractors among the veteran players already on this team, especially since in interviews they all go out of their way to praise him. Also, I don’t think Straka and Prucha, who are definitely in Jagr’s “posse,” are soft. Malik…well, that’s another story.
    I don’t have a problem with the way the Straka-Nylander-Jagr line plays. For the most part, they get their job done. With the exception of the Ottawa game, the other lines, with their “crash the net” style, haven’t been getting the job done. Blame the coaching all you want (and I REALLY agree with you on that one), but bashing the three players who have produced consistently is ridiculous.

  49. I agree when tsalad said “The problem is when loyalty is ultimately detrimental.” You can be a players coach but you must have their respect where when push comes to shove the player is willing to try something new or adapt to changes. Jagr, Nylander, Malik and Roszival are given leeway, either because Renney is loyal to them, or based on their performance last year or based on the contract they have. At this point in the season, Renney needs to “grow a set” as someone said and try something new. The best I have seen this team work is the game against Ottawa when going into the 3rd period, the players all bought in and actually threw the puck on the net. Although they didnt win, it is what they need to do to be successful, both 5-on-5 and on the PP. If Jagr, Nylander or Roszival do not shoot the puck, especially on the PP, sit their asses on the bench. Either play some people on the PP who will hustle and shoot on net or call up some AHL kids. Maybe someone like DUbinsky would put the puck on net or Callahan. These guys know the opportunity it would be and would follow the coach’s instructions. Or as mentioned earlier, play Hollweg or Ortmeyer on the power play, in turn, because at least they put in the effort and put the puck on the net. I think an earlier reader had a good idea, maybe put hollweg or ortmeyer in front of the net on the PP. The last time we had that was when Adam Graves played for the Rangers. Since then, this team has never put a body in front of the net. Now is the time to try.
    Something has got to give. I would rather have Shanahan here for a year or 2 more, than Jagr and a bunch of Europeans who don’t shoot the puck and are physically incapable of holding their own.

  50. Hey, why does Renney never make an attempt to match lines? I mean give me a break. Obviously Jagr cant handle being matched against Pandolfo or Chara or Witt. Maybe a change on the fly or something. Come on, Tom, really. ANd why did we pick up Jason Krog? I mean this is like back in the day when we picked up Brent Fedyck, ROb DiMaio, Tim Sweeney or Jeff Toms and played them on the 1st or 2nd lines. This is ridiculous. WHy even pick up Krog, just recall Dubinsky or a Hartford player if you are going to do that. Or make a trade, Sather. I mean really. By the way, did anyone else read that Mike York may be available? I always liked him and he may be able to be had for a crappy draft pick or one of our extra defensemen or forwards. If so, how about these lines:

    Straka-Nylander-Jagr
    Prucha-YORK-Shanahan
    Ortmeyer-Cullen-Hollweg
    Ward-Betts-Hossa

  51. Nick – AHMEN…I’m an ardent supporter of the York Theory, namely that the guy’s been misused all season long and that were he in the proper environment(the Garden, where fans loved him), he’s be an offensive threat again. I’m also thinking his playmaking skills would make him an ideal pivot for Prucha and Shanny(although I’ve heard several times he’s better suited at wing). My guess is Philthy would part with him for the mid-round pick they gave to the Isles, seeing as though it’s rumored he’ll be waived..as per your lines, I’d slide Hossa to wing and Hollweg to center, then bump Cullen over to wing on Betts’ line. Think Ort-Holl-Hossa would kick ass…

    Admittedly, I’m not as optimistic about this team or Renney as I was three months ago, but the people calling for a liquidation are off their rocker. This team is two aquisitions away from being a force, IMO. First: a bonafide second-line center…and second: either a powerplay quarterback or a bonecrushing blueliner(Kommisarek or Barker type). The soup doesn’t taste quite right, but it sure as hell ain’t burnt.

    Renney needs to take a harder approach toward getting rid of guys who have outlived their usefulness with the team and replace with either guys that are in the system or young and proven talents elsewhere(not “maybes” like Hall or aging vets like Forsburg). Would be nice to see one of FLA’s young centers moved here(Olezs, Weiss or Horton), as it would be to see CHI’s Brent Seabrook. True, these names would cost. But who cares about paying for young, good talent. It’s well worth loosing some of the bodies in Hartford, which will have a whole new crop comming in next season(Staal, Cliche, Dupont, Pyatt and Russell to name a few). So for guys like Dawes, Immonen, Helminen, Falardeau, Lampman and a few others, next seasons probably the end of the line if they don’t get the call from MSG.

  52. but forget outside players, Renney is supposedly going to Hartford to watch them during the break. it is time to start breaking them in for next year.

    the guys who came up thru the ranger system are Henrik, Tyutin, Pock, Prucha, Hollweg, Ortmeyer. these are guys who most people want to keep. So why not get the answer from the same place, namely ranger kids.
    give Dubinsky some experience, and Callahan to start with.

    I would try this…

    Prucha-Straka-Jagr
    Cullen-Nylander-Shanny
    Hossa-Dubinsky-Callahan
    Hollweg-Betts-Orty

  53. leetch3 is right on the money. You people need to stop blaming Jagr. He’s still amongst the best players in the league. When you jave a player like that, you need to put him in a position to succeed. Putting Straka and Nylander with him when that line has been amongst the NHL elite all year is a no-brainer. Do I think its ridiculous that Jagr requests Malik and Rozival play with him? Yes. Do I thinki he’d be much better off playing with, say Brian Leetch of 5 years ago? Yes, and Im sure he does, too. But given the defense corps we have, you’re really just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The management has failed miserably to find a way to put Prucha and Shanahan in a position to succeed. Both are the same type of player in many ways – both go hard after the puck, both think shoot first, neither are playmakers, they’re snipers. But the Rangers have only Immonen and Dubinsky in the system, and for some reason, rather than allow them to step in and develop confidence by feeding those two guys like guppies, they’ve decided to see if and dreck they can find anywhere, from inside or outside the system. Naturally it hasn’t worked.

    See I dont read as much into Shanny’s comments. The PP doesn’t need a complete overhaul. It needs Pock to replace Rosival at the point and bomb away once in awhile. At this point, I would read into Shanahan’s comments exactly what he says: the Rangers are too predictable. The ooposition KNOWS Rosival is NEVER shooting from the point. We need someone there who can pot a few goals or unleash a solid pill to keep everyone honest. Its not that complicated.

    I think there should be NO controversy over this issue at all. Plain and simple: Sather assembled 4 forwards who can score, a whole slew of fourth-liners and seven defensemen of whom 5 are no better than #5 or 6’s. It’s not the Jagr line’s fault – if they weren’t playing we’d be worse than Philly. If Immonen and Dubinsky arent good enough to play in the NHL, then its Sather’s fault for drafting/trading for them. If they are, then its his and Renney’s fault for not playing them.

    And if we’re not giving Immonen or Dubi a chance, Id love to have Mike York back, since in my mind he never should have been traded and should have been our second line center for the last 4 seasons anyway. He loved playing here too, I’ll bet all the dealing has worn on his mind and coming back here would do the kid some good. Hell, even if he turns out to be a third line center, he’d do great with Cullen and Ortmeyer.

  54. tell that to the fans in Pitt. and Wash. that Jagr isn’t a pouting diva. Hossa has it right.

    and it is his insistence that he have the posse comatose D pair with him because he does not want to have the puck dumped in, or shot from the point. THAT is why the rangers have Malik.

    Isn’t it interesting that the fans in towns of his former teams don’t boo Shanny, but they do boo Jagr.

  55. The rangers don’t hit.They get hit ,prucha gets knocked down countless times a game ,jagr gets hit ,etc.There’s a lack retribution vs.the rangers’ opponets and the league knows it,hit the rangers scorers and the rangers will fold . Sather won’t clean house and have the possibility of missing the playoffs and losing $$$$ for Dolan .He’ll play his cards and hope for the best ,but I wouldn’t be surprised if a coaching change was made and Renney gets buried in the Ranger system somewhere.

  56. and where is his posse when they get hit. hiding somewhere. Shanny has to step in and fight for Jagr because his czech mates are cowering in fear. where is his big buddy Malik or rosival?

  57. czechthemout!!!!! on

    i am glad to see most of you now are on the same page as i have been since the start of the season.this team has 3 fourth lines and 4 #6 defensmen.until that changes,tey will never win a damn thing.

  58. czechthemout!!!!! on

    4rangers-hence my posting name cto.i want most of these wus czechs the hell of this team.i would only keep prucha and maybe straka.jagr can go to hell with the rest of his posse.by the way,how many cups did jagr win without mario?zilch.

  59. cto, at the very least I want to see the team run as a team, not a special dispensation carved out for certain guys by country of origin.

    there is no earthly reason that Rosival and Malik have to play together, or why they have to play with jagr.

  60. czechthemout!!!!! on

    11th place .i only hope that they finish poorly because that isthe only way you will get your wish .dolan might actualy fire sather and the gang because alot of people thought they were going to be good this year.

  61. there is no chance that Sather will be fired. in ’04 he was a complete pariah in NY, he dared not even show his face, and yet Dolan said at the time that he would not fire Sather under any circumstances. Dolan loves Sather.

    Renney might be kicked back to his player personnel job if things continue to go south, but that is about all the change you will see.

  62. czechthemout: That’s a bit unfair of a criticism. True, Jagr’s no Messier-esque leader, but his play on those teams was nothing short of spectacular(two 100+ point seasons). And I’m not really sure why JJ is the brunt of increasingly critical comments, when he’s on pace for another 100 points this year. I mean, nothing against Shanny, but he’s been no great shakes lately…one goal five points in the last month…nobody’s jumping on his case. As for Jagr, he might not be having as good of a season as last year, but hell, he’s still one of the best players in the NHL. He’s revived and continues to propel Straka and Nylander’s career and kept Roszival in the NHL. He can’t carry the whole team though. And whenever he doesn’t, people chime in about how he’s crafted this soft-euroteam and whines all the time. Truth is, Jagr hasn’t bitched at all. And it’s not like he’s sitting on Sather’s shoulder, telling him who to trade for or sign.

  63. “”And whenever he doesn’t, people chime in about how he’s crafted this soft-euroteam and whines all the time. Truth is, Jagr hasn’t bitched at all. And it’s not like he’s sitting on Sather’s shoulder, telling him who to trade for or sign.””

    what a complete load of malarkey that is.

    they added his posse to KEEP HIM from pouting, so he had EVERYTHING to do with it.

    the soft Euro group they have is all about him.

    tell the fans in Pitt. and Wash. that he doesn’t pout and whine.

    he called Sather “Glennie” the other day. does that sound to you like a normal arms-length player-mgr. relationship.

  64. I’ve wanted, since the season started just about, a complete separation of Shanny from Jags…. I thought we might have the personel at the begining of the season to pull off 2 solid lines that would be hard to tell which was better… and basically roll the two lines out for the PP giving them equal ice time/deciding during the game which is more effective and maybe giving that line the better TOI….. either way works.

    Now I think going after Shane Doan is our very best bet to fully achieve this equally leathal offensive tandem

    First line: Euro-line
    Straka Nylander Jagr
    PP add-on: Hossa sliding Straka back to the point with Roszival

    Second line: North American-line
    Doan Cullen Shanny
    PP add-on: Prucha since he’s more of a get the rebound around the net guy to score anyway (or Hall since that’s what he’s supposed to be but hasn’t this year and we’ll probably be trading either him or Prucha anyway for Doan) sliding Shanny or Cullen to the point with Pock (the guy has a good shot from the point)

    Third line/Checking-line
    Ward Betts Ortmeyer
    Put these guys out against the other teams top unit, and watch them ruin their day…. or maybe no one remembers the third period against the Sens and how they scored half of those goals in the comeback

    Fourth line/Wait….these guys CAN score-line
    Hossa Krog Prucha
    Krog did seem like he had some set up ability the other night… Give these guys a good amount of ice time in the rotation, and watch them produce (shockingly enough)

    You may be asking yourself…. No Hollweg?…. maybe no one noticed that we have Doan now…. Hollweg is almost as expandable as Orr is if this team were able to land this guy, but I would like Renny to play him (Hollweg) instead of Ward if we were playing a more physical team… turning the third line into the HBO line… like HMO, but this line isn’t included in our basic cable plan

    Orr is useless… let him rot or get rid of him… I don’t care

  65. let’s have a separation in the stands too. the Euro fans can sit in their own section. and they can have their own concession stand too. maybe even separate water fountains.

    I guess Phoenix is just going to hand Doan over for free. what a deal.

  66. I’ve seen enough of the euro way of playing hockey and I don’t like it. All I see the Jagr line do is skate in circ les, most of the time going backwards and at times making one pass to many and giving up the puck which leads to a scoring oppurtunity for the opposing team. I know this won’t happen but I said it in the beginning of the year and it won’t happen but I think the rangers are beeter off getting rid of jagr and his buddies and go in a different direction. It is what ti is and it isn’t going to get better so under dolan’s ownership will continue to be a failure.

  67. SAM I think I have the answer to my own question, Shanny would never ask or demand to have anyone on his line. He’s a team player who defers to the coach.He probably wouldn’t even answer the question except maybe behind closed doors with Renney.

  68. 4Rangers: Okay, Let’s see the ‘soft euroteam’ in your eyes…It starts with Nylander as a pivot and Straka as a winger. Then Roszival on the blueline with Malik. That’s four out of the five top scorers on the Rangers to date, if you haven’t. recently looked at the stats. They’ve also scored 63 of the teams goals this season, compared to a whoping 74 by 21 GUYS ON THE REST OF THE TEAM (without Shanny and Pruch, another ‘soft euro’ this goes to 40 goals between 19 players). Okay…where does it go from there? Second line, THE TRUE DISASTER ON THIS TEAM, has had a revolving door of players, the only czech among them being PRUCHA, chuck Hossa and Immonen as the other “Euro” as you call it that have skated there. Truth is, Line 2 has played, as you say, ‘the North American brand’ of hockey and hasn’t done diddly squat. By the way, I’m loving Hall’s ‘North American’ style of play. Him and Cullen have really opened eyes right? And while we’re talking about the softee wuss euros, let’s gang up on Tyutin, who we all know hasn’t been a hitting machine this year(emphasis on sarcasm).

    I’d argue that the REAL problem is that the CHECKING LINE (and their accompanying defensemen) AINT DOING ITS JOB. Who are those guys? Ward(s), Betts, Hall, Orr, now Cullen, Krog(and yes, euros Kasparitis and Rachuneck)…I hesitate to be critical of Hollweg and Ortmeyer, as they’re the only two that seem to be doing their job out there.

    Overall, I think this argument in general, is a bunch of malarky. The whole team isn’t soft and euro, it’s just soft. And it has nothing to do with the first line that IS doing their job and scoring. It’s up to the rest of the squad to do thiers and stop goals and lay hits, plus add an iota of offensive support out there to pick up the slack when Jagr slumps(as all players do). Right now, that’s simply not happening. Shanny isn’t scoring at even strength, Prucha’s not scoring and the rest of the team can’t put together more than 40 goals combined. So it’s simple for other teams to shut one line down and coast to the net when the other three are…better yet, under the aformention circumstances, it’s easy just to tire one line, when it’s the only one Renney has any faith of scoring goals.

  69. Doodie Machetto on

    I don’t buy the whole “European” and “North American” ways of thinking. I can think of plenty of European players who play a north-south game. I can also think of plenty of North American players that play East-West. It just so happens that our European players prefer the East-West, and our North Americans prefer North-South.

    To be honest, I don’t even think all of our Euros like East-West. I think Straka actually prefers North-South. Sometimes he’ll carry the puck from his zone all the way into the offensive zone and drive to the net (remember the takeaway turned drive to the net game winner superplay?). But he can’t do that all of the time because he understands that his linemates are two of the biggest East-West advocates you’ll find anywhere. He can’t always drive to the net by himself because he knows they (Nylander and Jagr) won’t be right with him, meaning that if it’s anything beyond 1 on 1, he’s just going to turn it over. He is playing their style which makes them effective as a unit-when they can get themselves going.

    I think East-West can work on the PP too, but only if they occassionally drive to the net to keep the defenders honest. It worked throughout the beginning of the season when our PP was hot and operating at a 20% rate, but since they’ve settled into that style and don’t mix it up, defenses expect it and cheat. They need to start driving to the net in order to keep the defense honest so that the East-West style will be effective. Shanahan was right when he said that they were scouted and didn’t disappoint. Also, Jagr’s shot not being the weapon it was also GREATLY weakens the PP.

    But as I said, it just so happens that we have European players that will play East-West, and our North Americans play North-South, but it is not a “European” or “North American” thing.

  70. tdchi is so full of it. all he talks about is scoring. of course, keeping the puck out of the net he conveniently leaves out. he leaves out the DEFENSEMen who are so soft and he also leaves out the number of goals scored AGAINST his heroes.

    22 of the last 36 even strength goals against the Rangers have been scored against the Jagr 5. including the 2 soft pansies that Jagr demands be on D for him.

    a typical ostrich.

  71. Possibly Sam or one of those commenting has video of a (good) game or two from last year
    because I was just thinking about the Jagr situation earlier this week…….in the sense that we know he’s concerned about his shoulder and feels that his shot isn’t as powerful (or maybe even as sharp in location) as it’s been in the past.
    Still, he had a lot of assists last year, which makes me wonder what is that went right last year versus this year.
    I know that he’s being targeted more, but he had to have been a target last year as well. I mean, he’s Jaromir (freekin’) Jagr!!!!

    Are his linemates doing something? Is he doing something different this year? I’m thinking about it almost in terms of a batter who needs to change just a little in his stance or grip on the bat to get back to his perfect homerun swing.

    Last year, the East-West style could, occasionally, be frustrating but it was much less so because it was much more consistent in scoring, and helping the team win.

    As for the coaching, I’m terribly perplexed by Renny not radically changing up the power play many many games ago, especially if Jagr wasn’t have the SNAP of his shot, which he did last year. I’m surprised that he stayed with Adam Hall for so long or, at the very least, didn’t use Hall in front of the net (or even Colton Orr!! just have a big body causing some commotion in front of the goalie. I don’t think we’d had that since Adam Graves. How pathetic is it that we haven’t!!)

    I watch other game and I see much more passionate playing. The players are skating and hitting and shooting with an intensity that one seems to find on the Rangers during a short five minute period when the team is behind on the scoreboard. It’s as if they’re too kind to have a killer instinct. I watch other teams play and I see a swarming mentality in the offensive zone, particularly the power play, and action that’s locked in (most times) at high speed. I don’t see it often enough here, and I can’t understand why?!?!?!?!?!

  72. Oh yeah joe, I’m full of it. That’s why ol’ softee Jagr and his linemates all have positive +/-…Let me gues your retort..”thats a BS stat that doesn’t mean anything…” Yeah. Right. And it’s funny how the eurosofts are the only guys save for Ortmeyer(who incidentally is the only guy on the bottom three lines that’s not deserved of criticism) that are in the positive right now.

    As for the ‘soft D’ which one are you talking about? Do tell. Is it Tyutin? Last I checked he’s laying out hits. Rachuneck? The same. Oh, I guess then you want Pock to sit, cause he’s a “soft euro” who’s got his head up Renney’s bum. Your nuts dude.

    Two guys are missing from this squad, a bonecrushing blueliner and a second-line center. You can blame Jagr all you want, but he’s not the problem right now. If he’s got any influence, it’s on his line, meaning Straks and Nylander. D pairings often don’t change with forwards anyway.

    I’m no big Jagr fan, but guys like you are way to hard on the guy, just because he’s not scoring four goals a night and laying out hits like he was Jeff Beukeboom.

  73. Seamus, you’re dead on. Make the game simple, get people who care and play your butt off every game. I’m tired of the pacifist Rangers, when Shanahan went to bat fighting Brashear it was his way of saying his team was a bunch of pansies. Sorry to all those who question a a guy like Shanahan, but you’re on the wrong track.

  74. This is about the medical establishment trying to fix everything with a pill. Psychiatrists are no longer trained to do therapy. Instead they charge $150 for a 15 minute appointment that is focused on medication management. WBR LeoP

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