As big as it gets (for January 31)


In an 82-game schedule, I’m reluctant to call anything a BIG GAME until at least March. But this is different. This is indeed a BIG GAME, and contains all the requisite elements of any BIG GAME: anxious-looking players, an anxious-looking coach, throngs of fans waiting outside the Garden in hopes of securing an autograph from their favorite reporters.

OK, I’m obviously making that last one up. But you understand what I’m saying. What more can you ask for? Two Original Six teams tied in the standings, each jockeying for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs. Heck, even I have some butterflies. Or that might just be the leftover jambalaya I had for lunch. Come to think of it, it’s probably that.

Anyway, some updates:

  • With Michal Rozsival out, count on Karel Rachunek assuming most of his countryman’s power play work. Tom Renney allowed that Matt Cullen and others could see some time as well at the point, but as has been the case all year, he’s reluctant to have Cullen and Martin Straka on the backline at the same time, seeing how neither is a defenseman.
  • More from Renney on Ryan Hollweg, who like Rozsival, will be missing his first game of the year: “To me, his game has just slipped a little bit. He’s not the same player with the puck that he needs to be. He does the right things with it when he doesn’t have plays. But the bottom line is you still have to make plays coming out of your end. That along with the fact that he’s really squeezing the stick, I think this really gives him an opportunioty to take a step back.”

    Renney also allowed, as I surmised earlier, that Hollweg’s lack of offensive production has begun to trickle down to other parts of his game. I’m still of the belief that this is a short-term issue. But it’s worth following up on nonetheless.

  • Matt Cullen and Aaron Ward have indeed been given the green light to join their former Carolina Hurricanes teammates for a visit to the White House on Friday. Word is the Commander-in-Chief is planning on pulling the two aside to talk about the Rangers’ defensive zone coverage.

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    1. “throngs of fans waiting outside the Garden in hopes of securing an autograph from their favorite reporters.”

      keep a crayon handy, Sam:)

    2. Doodie Machetto on

      Thanks for the update Sam. I would take your autograph. You’re the best hockey playing UNH graduate in the Garden tonight.

      Maybe those butterflies are just that fish substance arising from its gestation period in your body.

      Good to hear about Ward and Cullen, they deserve the trip, regardless of them no longer being a part of that team.

      It’ll be interesting to see Cullen on the point, although, I can’t imagine him being that effective there. He isn’t the best passer and he certainly doesn’t have a booming shot. But, I haven’t seen it and I’m willing to give it a shot.

      Expect the Jagr line to be a minus tonight with the Rachunek-Malik pairing.

      PS-error: Straka and Cullen are not *defenders*

    3. “ya’ll play that there game on sum frozen stuff huh? saw a itty bit o’dat when I was suppose to be studyin up there in skool”

    4. Sam Renney’s answer on Cullen doesn’t make any sense. He hardly uses a #2 PP unit, so he thinks both of them would have to be on the points for the #1 PP unit. He seems to put 2 D men on when the 2nd unit gets their 20 sec. Sorry but this guy is consistently stubborn, he did this nonsense with playing Ruchinsky on the point & never plaing Sykora there. He can’t really believe this spin he hands out , or he’s dumb. Take your pick the results are the same.

    5. I agree bklynblue. Renney was just on the pre-game show spewing out some contradictory nonsense. everyone knows that Cullen is not on the point because of Jagr, plain and simple.

    6. Doodie Machetto on

      Like I’ve said. I haven’t seen qualities in Cullen as a forward that make me think he would be able to do anything from the point. He can carry the puck in well enough, but from there, I don’t know what he could do especially well.

      I’m still interested in seeing him get a shot. Anything is better than when Malik goes out there.

    7. what, you never watched any of carolina’s playoff games last year?

      it would be wrong to expect Cullen to do great on the point now because he has lost an entire 2/3 of a season without practicing on the point with teammates, and he would have no easy adjustment back there now.

    8. WHAT HAPPENED during O Canada? I have never heard it done that badly at the Garden. This game is being broadcast nationally in Canada; the last thing we need to do is disrespect their anthem.

    9. “Renney also allowed, as I surmised earlier, that Hollweg’s lack of offensive production has begun to trickle down to other parts of his game.”

      Well maybe if he got Hollweg more than the occasional sporadic shift, he would be a little more consistant. I havn’t seen much of him the last couple of games, mainly because he is sitting next to Hall and Krog on the pine. That goal Krog scored the other night was all because of Hollweg’s hustle.

    10. Doodie Machetto on

      Dave, after the World junior’s a couple of years ago when they booed our national anthem, I couldn’t give a damn what we do to theirs.

      4Rangers, no I didn’t. What did he do? Shoot? why can’t he do that as a forward? Pass? why can’t he do that as a forward?

      That’s kinda why I’m baffled.

    11. what kind of moron is renney. he has the Betts line playing against the leafs 4th line with Belak. and he had Orr vs. sundin, and of course the penalty comes .

    12. Malikenstein made a decent defensive play in the corner, showing some muscle and clearing the puck. Maybe I don’t need to send a tape of myself from the early 90’s for him to study.

    13. czechthemout!!!!! on

      a good coach has put his players to succeed.watching hossa with betts and shanny is very painfull.and now without any further “adew”bring up callahan!!!!!!

    14. czechthemout!!!!! on

      hossa was our best player in the period.and now without any further”adew”bring up callahan!!!!!

    15. Maybe Malikenstein won’t be back.

      What is wrong with the PK. It has been as bad as the PP.

    16. Doodie Machetto on

      Malik paired with Ward is a disaster. Either Malik is setting them up for one-timers or Ward is one-timing them home!

    17. Can I ask why the Rangers insist on passing to Jagr despite an obvious shooting opportunity? I am a 26 year-old, female, preschool teacher, and it’s plain as day to me. Doesn’t Renney realize that the rest of the league might be on to their little plan?

    18. The Leafs wanted it more. That’s all there is to it. They also bribed the hell out of Marouelli and McCauley. Complaining about the refs is immature, but I thought Toronto got away with murder.

    19. standard one goal loss. sell.

      you guys are whiners.

      newsflash they are not a cup winner but they also are a playoff caliber team…

    20. czechthemout!!!!! on

      what a surprise, a one head pass attempt by krapunek istead of a shot very czech like and pock gets benched for being trapped by that fool.pock will never see the ice i have said all year long .you don’t win in this league with garbage like hossa hall orr krog betts etc.especialy,betts,hossa and krog playing with shany.toronto was missing 3 quality players tonite.and now wwithout any further “adew”bring up callahan!!!!!.

    21. I think I saw Paul Maurrice throw a 10 spot on the ice for the refs. I know Canada is hockey, so we must play with one hand behind our back when we play a canadian team. Toronto should be leading the league with the crap they get away with. Bitchin done!




    23. the problem i have with this loss is that there were 13 minutes left to score another goal in the third, but they didnt. take a look back and see how many 1 goal games the rangers have lost w/out even getting a point in the standings. this really is disgusting to watch night after night to know there is such a slim chance your team can come back. i cant stand it. and to top it off, HORRIBLE officiating tonight. i cant even bring myself to remember all the missed calls cause im so pissed off. if the rangers want any chance to make it to the playoffs, which is looking pretty bad now, they’re going to have to turn it completely around. they should have won this game, or at least gotten a point b./c toronto’s not that great of a team, they were missing some key players, and they played a physical game last night. but leave it to the rangers to totally ignore everything and slump down to join the flyers in frustration and misery.

    24. If Shanahan could hit an open net they would have won this game 3-2. Sorry but you have to take advantage of your oppurtunities especially with Raycroft playin so well.




    26. hey, CTO, didn’t you hear that big company shill Sam Rosen? he went on about how Callahan is “not ready” yet.

      you know, just like Girardi was “not ready” by everyone’s account 3 weeks ago in Hartford.

    27. czechthemout!!!!! on

      the poc line IS THE 3RD LINE make no mistake about that .what that means is that there will be some games where they will help us win.theproblem is our first line is slumping,we have no second line and the third line could not carry the team like it did against boston.and now without further “adew”bring up callahan!!!!!

    28. czechthemout!!!!! on

      sam is a shill.yeah because he is young that is a good reason isn’t it,hossa mvp?and now without any further “adew”bring up callahan!!!!

    29. czechthemout!!!!! on

      hossamvp-where is wildcrad,he has been very quiet know what i think he is really sam sam er wildcrda,this is for without any further”adew”bring up callahan!!!!!

    30. Sitting Hollweg worked out well.

      Orr gets the under 4:42 and no fight.

      Pock is never going to see the ice again after that too many men pim.

      These guys are not making the playoffs.

      Oh and since Sam the scout said Callahan is not ready that’s good enough for me.

    31. Callahan should have a shot here but the problem is we have a glut at wing. We need centers!!

    32. shanny back to detroit for fillpula and a first

      nylander and a ward to nashville for parent and a first

      get that done before noon tomorrow glen no point waiting this team is not playoff material and they BLEW IT tonight. keep marching blair betts out there as the second line center keep doing it lol.

    33. czechthemout!!!!! on

      your right goal.hossa hall jward orr hollweg oh my how do we get rid of such great gifts to hockey?

    34. Jagr said he was going to carry the team. his line looks very ordinary, and he is being neutralized by the same strategy every night. with Witt, Gill, White, Pandolfo, etc. paying close attention to him.

    35. its hysterical that our announcers (sam and joe) already know who’s ready and who isn’t (callahan) and that marc staal will be with the rangers next year. how do they know these things??? ahhh thats right they are SHILLS.

    36. Rangers outplayed the whole first period…and i think they played well most of the game. Missed some golden opportunites which is a damn shame. refs again sucked….but i have to say i havent been glued to my set for a game in a long time this season but i thought this game was really exciting! These are the kinds of games i love to watch and i hope it continues

    37. and you can now forget about the trades or buying. they’re in 10th place, w/ not many games in hand. you can hope & pray for a miracle, but unless something happens to the top nine teams in the conference, the rangers just blew their playoff goodbye, and most likely shanny. you can see shanny’s not enjoying this, is very frustrated and cant seem to get along w/ jaromir or find another player to play with. no doubt in my mind he wont be with us next year. dont get me wrong, i would love for him to stay, but i just dont see it. this was the year. these were the players (offensivly at least) that could take us into the playoffs. what a waste.

      and to add, the majority of the players on this team are third and fourth liners. way to get krog to add to that number. now we have j. ward adn hollweg sitting out when hall? plays? and BTW niceee second line, betts and hossa are getting the job done for shanny.

      and to top it all off, we’re only 2 points ahead of the islanders and light years away from the devils. just screw them. im so sick of arguing w/ retarded isles & devils fans insisting that brodeur & “dp” are the “greatest”. HAH!

    38. oh and also as much as everyone is going to yell about me saying this….i think Malik had a decent game tongiht. Played pretty well.

    39. czechthemout!!!!! on

      yup you are right malik was allstar calliber tonite.and jason krapkrog looked great on the second line in the 3rd too.

    40. at this moment in the bowels of MSG, Stogiepuss is finishing off his cake, rubbing his hands together in glee, and conjuring up trades that he can pull off by dealing Ranger youth.

      like kids for Tkachuk.

      let’s hope not.

    41. czechthemout!!!!! on

      ok guys now for a serious observation.we play tampa sat,det monday,devils tues,and tampa next friday.the moment of truth has arrived these next 4 games could very well determine if we make the playoffs or not.the way i see it they at least need to split them,anything less and they should be sellers at the trade deadline.everyone except THE KING,tyutin,prucha,girardi and the other kids in hartford and beyond should be made available to other teams .

    42. the best thing that could happen for ranger youth is that they don’t make the playoffs. then there will be a couple more openings for kids than if they squeak in and lose in round 1.

    43. Kids. Sam said none are ready. Good enough for me and most Ranger fans.

      Krog on the second line to “provide offense” another Sam quote tonight.

      Unbelievable absolute crap.

    44. Ranger Fan in Wisconsin on

      Giving up only 1.33 goals per game in the last 6 games but only able to win (Bruins, Flyers, and Bruins) 3 of the games. Should have won all 6 only giving up 1.33 goals per game!!

    45. It is very difficult to win a 3d period if you are the Rangers because the coaches are bad line matchers.Malik plays 60 per cent of the second half of the 3d and adds absolutely no pressure on offense. He was guilty of leaving the offensive point continuously when the Rangers needed to score to tie!!

      You can’t compete if the wrong team is playing. Blame the refs all you want. It’s not going to change the results of the last 5 Ranger home games.


    46. Sam …Renney is blowing this season along with sather. They got a gift with Shanny & continue to treat him poorly when it comes to linemates. More guys have to be waived or traded, & bring up kids like Callihan, Immo, Dawes, Baranka, Byers, whomever; until a good deal can be made, not a desparate one especially for problem players. Chemistry is key.

    47. I see great chemistry with Forsberg. He passes, shoots, hits, and skates north south. He gets into the high percentage areas much like Sundin and forces his way in when it isn’t available.
      Although oft hurt, he is still better than all our pivots combined. And he wants to play man.

    48. sam

      “In an 82-game schedule, I’m reluctant to call anything a BIG GAME until at least March.”

      last i checked every game was worth 2 point and win in october counts 2 points the same as a win in january and the same as a win in april. just because more focus is put on the games down the stretch that doesn’t make the games more important.

      last year everyone pointed toward the 5 game losing streak at the end of the season as the great collapse and the reason we lost the division and obviously that was a big factor, but the REAL place we lost the division wasn’t in those last 5 games, it was back in october, november and december when we dropped 12 points in the standings to teams like the caps, pens and blackhawks (ie the worst in the league). you beat those garbage teams in october/november and you then cruise to the division title and don’t have to even worry about it in april. but we made those games must wins by failing to get the job done earlier.

    49. John M what’s the price & what’s the chances Forsberg can play the next 30 + games w/o getting hurt? Both don’t appear to be good.

    50. leetch3 the laffs kicked their butt 9-2, they went into a 7 game skid, and this is their answer. They all forgot the Washington game. This fish still stinks from the head.

    51. czechthemout!!!!! : Your right…the next what is it, 8 to 10 days will set the tone…if the Ragners are not in the 7th spot or the 8th spot by a few points, the season is likely to end up with the rangers on the outside looking in.

    52. HossaMVP: were there people saying Giradi wasn’t ready? I only remember people saying they didn’t know, and that they thought Lampman or Baranka might be more ready…but I don’t even think the Rangers said much about him…I guess that’s the guys who are lucky…the ones who aren’t talked about much.

    53. tsalad: the scary thing is…that Krog actually dose provide more offense than Betts….that’s the problem with this team…at least at center. If Dubinski is ready, he should be up, and or Immo should be back up…If Cullen isnt goign to be on the 2nd line, not even Renney has an excuse anymore. Immo has more offense even when he isn’t giving 100% than Betts dose.

    54. get off it and start reading the words from Forsberg’s own mouth.

      Flyers, Forsberg maintain status quo
      January 30
      Philadelphia Daily News: “The much-anticipated meeting between Peter Forsberg and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has come and gone, and not one thing has changed. Forsberg is still not comfortable with the condition of his right foot, does not feel as if he is playing well, and will not talk to the Flyers about signing a new contract or accepting a trade until he is.”

      so get off it with the Forsberg crap. he still can’t skate properly with his bad foot, PERIOD !!

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