It was fun while it lasted


So much for the COP line (or POC line, or OCP line — whatever, we never really did iron that one out) leading the Rangers out of their winter doldrums. The trio of Matt Cullen, Jed Ortmeyer, and Petr Prucha will be disbanded tonight against the Red Wings, with Cullen and Prucha instead returning to their spot alongside Brendan Shanahan on the Rangers’ second unit.

For what it’s worth, Tom Renney said he had aspirations of putting that third line back together, but for tonight, he seemed more interested in generating more offense out of Shanahan.

“It’s been a good line. I like the Cullen, Prucha, Ortmeyer line, but I also think it may even serve as a push for Shanny,” Renney said. “We’ll see how it goes. Cully’s a more confident player, as he should be. Peter’s a more confident player, as he should be. And Shanny is Shanny. I think it’s a combination that might actually get us some offense tonight. We’ll see.”

Some other updates:

  • Ortmeyer will in turn inherit Shanahan’s old linemates Marcel Hossa and Blair Betts on the third line. Ryan Hollweg, Jason Krog, and Jason Ward will comprise the fourth.
  • Michal Rozsival returns to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a knee sprain, and will most likely skate alongside Karel Rachunek. In that case, Aaron Ward and Fedor Tyutin would be another pairing, and Dan Girardi and Thomas Pock would be a third. Bryce Lampman is a scratch alongside Colton Orr and Adam Hall.
  • Henrik Lundqvist gets the start in goal, even after taking a Fedor Tyutin shot to the melon just now. “It hurt just a bit,” Lundqvist said. “He didn’t mean it…I hope.”

    With back-to-back games before him, Renney said he hasn’t decided who would start against the Devils tomorrow. My guess, though, was that if Kevin Weekes was going to play in either of those games, it would have been tonight.

  • Renney was pressed today on whether he should consider breaking up the struggling top unit of Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr, and Michael Nylander (and presumably shifting Straka to the center alongside Shanahan). The coach said he’s reluctant to do so because he doesn’t think another wing can mesh well enough with Nylander and Jagr.

    “I don’t see another winger doing what Straka can and what needs to be done off that line,” Renney said. “Those guys do read off each other.”

    The question was then posed about whether disbanding that line even for the short term might help breathe some life into the trio once they’ve reunited. It was a move that seemed to work to great effect last season, and Renney at least allowed it was a possibility.

    “It’s not to say I won’t break it up tonight or in the future as we struggle to get our points. It’s what I believe that combination can do for us. “It’s something we did last year. Maybe I feel a little more desperation to try to get them clicking.”

    OK, more from the Garden later…

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    1. great idea tom, lets disband a line that is actually working to put together a line that didn’t work for the 40 games they were together…just brilliant.

      and being sellers will be much easier to sell to the fans after lundqvist blows out his knees from never getting a night off.

    2. Sam, thanks for update.
      I’m really interested what is going on “upstairs”…
      Any info regarding that?

    3. Why is it so difficult to figure out that breaking up the Jagr line will give you TWO centers with Strakas experience at center.


      Why ware we looking to bring in an old bag center when they never try this combo?

    4. it is amazing so many line experts on this site…

      really do you think the COP is that significant???

    5. At least they are moving Prucha up to get him extra ice time… now please, find him some power play time, and bring callahan up in place of ward…

      jagr nylander straka
      shanny cullen prucha
      hossa krog callahan
      hollweg betts orts.

      those sound a little better to me..

    6. I liked the OCP line as they were speedy. Shanny slows down that line a little bit. Although I agree that both Cullen and Prucha are playing better, I think the reason they were both successful with Ortmeyer is that they weren’t falling over themselves and putting pressure on to set up the 600 goal man. Good to see that Hall is still scratched. As much as I liked seeing all the kids in the lineup, Rozy has his moments of offensive brilliance.

    7. Okay, here’s my rant on what I’ve seen posted the past two days. It’ll be long. Sorry in advance.
      I love how after every loss lately, it’s a Jagr vs. Shanahan debate.
      Jagr is one of the best offensive players in the game.
      Jagr is very strong with the puck, probably one of the best in the game
      Jagr is European.
      Jagr is not Shanahan, but to claim he doesn’t play physically is ridiculous. His game against Forsberg and Chara should lay that to rest. He’s not Nedved.
      Jagr is not a captain like Messier was(No one is a captain like Messier)but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a leader.
      Jagr tells it like it is. Like it or not, (and he knows it) if this team is going to do well, he needs to play the way he can.
      Jagr is not going to be traded (and to suggest we’d be better without him is even more ludicrous).
      Jagr is struggling now (so is Shanahan and everyone else but Lundqvuist).

      Shanahan is one of the best Power Forwards in the game.
      Shanahan is a sniper.
      Shanahan is tough and plays hard in all aspects of the game.
      Shanahan is a vocal leader, and a demonstrative one (Fighting Brashear- sacrificing body) but except when he is talking about the refs, is he ever saying anything that isn’t canned or taken out of the pro athlete quote book?
      Shanahan is struggling to score right now.

      Why does it have to be one or the other? They are both towards the end of their careers. They might not have the brilliant on-ice chemistry of a Gretz-Mess, but they are very different players like Gretz and Mess. We need both. Replacing either one with kids is not happening. We might be struggling, but trading all four of our big guns and bringing up the Wolf Pack (as suggested by someone here, I think) would make us worse, not better.

      Hockey is a team sport. You need different types of players. Yes, Nylander is not playing as well as he was earlier, but we want to get rid of our only productive center because he’s a “Euro?” Come on! Hollweg isn’t scoring so get rid of him? Name one team that has all scorers, all checkers, all fighters, all North Americans, All Euros, or all playmakers and was successful.

      There are plenty of things wrong with this team, but these are NOT facts:
      If Shanahan was captain we wouldn’t have problems. (Player Leadership is the last of this teams problems)
      Jagr was dissing Shanny about the ref comments. (He was dissing the league).
      Building a team around a 38 year old Power Forward who has lost his scoring touch is a good idea. (You build around a young player who will be with the team for a while- Lundquist-Staal- and a forward to be named later).
      We are better off without Jagr. (Not even worth responding to!)

      There are plenty of things to complain about, but suggesting that the team be completely overhauled (whether it would work or not) is a joke. It isn’t going to happen, so why do people keep suggesting it like it is a possibility? Jagr is not going to be stripped of the “C” and it wouldn’t make a difference if he were. I want Callahan up here. Immonen should be the 2nd line center until a trade is made (w/ Shanny and Callahan). I’d love to see Dubinsky or Byers or Moore up as well (but they aren’t exactly tearing it up statistically) but are they ready? According to people who watch the Wolf Pack regularly, no.

    8. another winger won’t mesh with nylander and jagr as well…yep you’d hate to risk breaking up that line considering how great they are scoring right now…the top 4 guys are all slumping but god forbid renney tried something different to get those guys going. lets just stay with the same thing…

      we can’t get a new coach fast enough

    9. This dose say it all about Renney…Now I have been a supporter of him in most cases….but this just says it all, “It’s not to say I won’t break it up tonight or in the future as we struggle to get our points.” If you missed it…well look halfway through…and I quote…ahhh. well quote Sams quote anyway ;), “…or in the future as we struggle to get out points” STRUGGLE TO GET OUR POINTS?! he should NEVER be thinking like that. or at least talking like that…he needs to be so confident that he seems lost in his own world when he talks to the media. a coach should never talk about his team like they will continue to struggle…I have never herd a coach like this unless its right before they get fired. Dose anyone else feel just wrong reading the bensc boss talking like that??

    10. Also on the top line…SAM could you ask why he doesn’t move Jagr with Shanny?? yes, another winger might not mesh with JJ and Nylander…but I bet one would with Straka and Nylander. And Jagr can mesh with anyone…he has done it when double shifted.

    11. Colorado Mark:

      The problem is that too many decisions are being made about this year and not the big picture. Shanny and Jagr are on the decline of their careers, as excellent as i agree they are. I agree with the arguments to deal them because the team is not making any noise even if they make the playoffs. This year should be irrelevant if it is a “rebuilding” era as they were selling us. There is no reason that our kids shouldnt be getting experience at this point if they are indeed our future. Teams like Atlanta and Pittsburgh knew how to rebuild, they sacrificed a few years to get everyone seasoned. This organization is always trying to tell us we wouldnt support a rebuild. Last year’s success was a curse because it fooled GS and company into thinking they had more than they did.

      With Jagr the team looks terrible anyway. And pretty soon the Caps wont be paying half of that 8mil.

    12. This whole team needs to be overhauled and Shanahan and Jagr need to be dealt if we have any chance at a future.

    13. SAM can you check Renney’s pulse, he must be meditating his mantra too much. What is he so afraid of in trying to change or keep the same for 5 games at a clip. He sounds pretty confused & his actions & lack of some prove it.

    14. Doodie Machetto on

      Rob S, who did Atlanta or Pittsburgh get “seasoned?”

      Atlanta is a team of other team’s players with Kovalchuk and Lehtonen being the only native Thrashers that are worth a damn.

      Pittsburgh’s talent is superstar draft picks (Crosby, Malkin, et al.) and free agent pickups (Recchi, Gonchar).

      What patience did they have except doing poorly at a very lucky time to get superstars in the draft?

      CM, I agree with almost all of what you said.

    15. Doodie Machetto on

      I like how everyone is saying “trade Jagr or the future is finished” because he’s only 10th in points. If he was first like last year, we would be 1st in the division and everyone would be on his jock.

      Give the guy a break, every team in the WORLD would KILL to have him, and you just want to trade him away for nothing.

    16. Sam, You said you thought they put Cullen and Prucha with Shanahan to get more offense from Brendan, but in reality if he hit half of the chances he has had, he would be leading the league in goals

    17. Colorado Mark:

      Just to add to Rob S’s comments.

      The problem with Ranger’s management has been that they don’t consistently look at the team with an eye toward “who will be here when we are ready to challenge for a cup”. Ask yourself this question. “Is Jagr still going to be here when the Rangers are ready to contend for a cup?”.

      For me, the answer is no and it has been for over 12 months. The Rangers had resurrected his trade value last year and could have dealt him before the trade deadline in 2006 for a boatload of young talent. They chose not to. After his injury and play this year he won’t bring back nearly as much even if they do decide to trade him this year.

      This team needs to be gutted in the worst way. It needs another round of Vet for Youth trades where they bring back young, talented, two-way players. I would like to see them deal Jagr, Shanny, Nylander, Straka, A Ward, Malik and Kaspar. They should be able to bring back at least 1 or 2 young, top 6 potential forwards by dealing that group of Vets.

      Make a strong run at Gomez in the offseason, bring up Dubinsky, Callahan, Dawes, etc. next season and you are well on your way to turning this thing around. Next season you could have Gomez, Dubinsky, Cullen and Betts up the middle. Prucha, Callahan plus whatever you got back in traded players in your top 6 forwards. If they wanted to add a FA to that so be it. That leaves you with HOLLY, ORTS, HOSSA, etc. fighting it out for the bottom 4 spots. They have a lot of young depth at D. Lets see them play.

      My target for a solid playoff run is 2 to 3 years. Who are the players that will still be here and able to contribute at that point??? That is how they need to be thinking….

    18. Doodie Machetto on

      Go NYR- that’s absolutely true.

      Let’s not forget that Prucha and Cullen won’t have half the chances they had when playing with Ortmeyer too.

    19. Agree, Doodie. To have that kind of player Jagr is and to pay him just $4M a year is just a bargain. He’s not playing at his usual level right know – we all know that but give him a break, he had a serious injury last season and he’s still 10th in points in the league! He’s not the problem, I guess the biggest problem in our top-line is Nylander who’s becoming “caricature” of himself (good point in todays Post’s article), I don’t see any flame in him for long time already. Straka has some flu issues recently, Jagr’s not at his 100% and there is Nylander circling instead of passing plus sloppy Malik and not-consistent Rozsival. Do you still think it’s all Jagr’s fault top-line is not producing? Come on. Other thing – Shanahan – he’s not finding the net and it’s not because of whom he plays with. He’s got scoring chances but he’s missing. The problem of 2nd line is Shanny. He’s got to find his way to the goal. That’s it.

    20. Vic : I agree in part…but to trade all the vets is dangerous…you wont get a good vet to sign with this team after every top player is gone. I say Jagr and Nylander go if you want to do that, Malik, Roszival or Ward…but keep one of Roszival and Ward. Than you Have Straka still, and you could resign Shanny if he is willing. That way there are a couple of vets. Than you add in the youth, and IF a guy like Gomez wants to sign, the Rangers COULD trade Nylander to a team that needs a 2nd line center to set up some wingers. Im not saying I don’t totally agree, but I think there needs to be a safety net…all rookies will not be a team that will challenge in the playoffs in a couple of years, they wont even get a sniff for a couple of years without someone to lead the team…and Cullen should be that guy. Also Straka will probably only play out his contract next season, so he is a good stop gap for one season.

    21. Wildcard:

      If I am trading that group of Vets I want to land 1 or 2 young, top 6 forwards that can play a good, physical, two-way game. I don’t want rookies back. I want a few 25ish aged players with NHL experience.

      I would keep both Cullen and Rosival. As for a fear of being able to bring in FAs, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If we were in Columbus that might be an issue but not in NY where players can make a boatload of money living in the media mecca of the world.

      As for Straka, I really like him but he doesn’t fit in this team’s long range plans. Also, he has to be one of the most attractive vets (if not the most) for a team looking for a fast, responsible, second line player. I think teams like Anaheim and San Jose would be extremely interested in him.

    22. Doodie Machetto on

      Go NYR, I agree again. I think Straka realizes that his point production will never even come close to what it is while he’s playing with Jagr, and to a lesser extent Nylander. I also think he likes being on such a Czech heavy team, and if Jagr ever heads back to the CR, Straka would probably follow.

    23. If every team in the world would KILL to get Jagr, I think the Rangers wouldn’t be trading him away for NOTHING.

    24. there was a story in BB on Shjanny a while back & his #’s were almost identical to last year including the hot & cold streaks.

    25. Doodie Machetto on

      They could not get anything in return for him that would equal his worth. Someone is saying 1 or 2 top six potential forwards? That’s ridiculous! There are no prospects or combination of prospects that equals his value. The only ones that do are already established stars in the NHL.

    26. hey, Col. Mark, or doodie or whoever you are, you can put away your Ranger PR dept. talking points, your I love Renney/Hossa/Jagr bumper stickers, and your Cablevision defending b.s.

      the Ranger kids will have to wait for a cold day in hell before Col. doodie will ever consider them ready or want them on the Rangers.

    27. I think Jagr is a truly amazing talent and I hope he stays on the Rangers and they figure out to not run everything through him or around him. But I don’t agree that any team would KILL to have him.

      He’s older, possibly crippled, and, most importantly, he has become the center of negative issues for all of the teams he’s played on since Mario. I suspect he’s like a TO — most teams would be tempted but most would probably stay away.

      Could be I’m flat wrong, of course. Guess it doesn’t matter. He’s not ever being traded. Ever.

      Yeah, I said it in an earlier post and a lot of others have, too. Shanny needs to start finishing again. Obviously easier said than done, but he’s getting chances.

      And, please, someone change the freaking “pattycake” power play…

    28. As Ben Franklin (or was it Einstein?) said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ”

      Good work Renney, congratulations – you are certifiably nuts.

    29. Doodie Machetto on

      His salary is 4 million dollars. Where else are you going to get one of the best players in the NHL for that price (unless he’s on an entry level contract). No where. Eevery team would kill for that bang for the buck.

    30. where else are you going to get a Prince Pout who 2 teams were desperate to get rid of?

      what he doesn’t say is that the other $3+ mill. is being paid by Wash. Caps who were so fed up with Jagr that they are paying that much annually to be rid of him.

      and he has led the Rangers to 11th place and falling. bravo.

    31. I’m a pretty patient guy…but I have gave up my expectations of a 6-8 seed after the Rangers lost to the Leafs. It wasn’t the way they lost so much as the actual loss that convinced me that we have a team that is not good enough at many levels.

      The Tampa Bay loss just reinforced the direction the team is heading, and the inability or unwillingness (whichever it may be) for Renney to do anything about it just compounds my disappointment on this season.

      They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Renney once again will wheel out the struggling top line, the struggling first unit power play…give them a ton of ice time and somehow expect the game result to be different.

      I seldom agree with certain columnists, but one thing that I do agree with is that Renney showed a lot more imagination last year than he is showing this year…and with the way that Jagr (lack of desire and energy), Shanahan (can he actually hit the net), may or may not be related to the amount of overuse these two have had.

      So now we face the final 30 games, with the Rangers almost guaranteed to miss the playoffs and still we see no change…I wonder if Jim Dolan still thinks the Rangers fans should be happy with the way the team is playing.

    32. Dolan doesn’t give a crap about Ranger fans. If people stopped paying to see them then he would.

    33. Doodie:

      You vastly overrate Jagr’s value.

      Jagr is a one dimensional player at best. When you boil all that Jagr brings to the table down its simplest form you find these positives and negatives.

      Jagr can shoot (when his shoulder is healthy)
      Jagr can pass

      Jagr plays no defense of any kind
      Jagr doesn’t hustle or play with intensity without the puck
      Jagr doesn’t forecheck
      Jagr doesn’t backcheck
      Jagr is weak on the puck
      Jagr is a turnover machine

      As has been said here and on other forums, if Jagr isn’t putting up at least 2 points a night he is a net negative to his team. People complained that Kovalev was as dangerous to his own team as to his opponent. Jagr makes Kovalev look good.

    34. as long as corporations buy tickets Dolan is happy. and the big name players are brought in to appeal to them. and those corporations are the least caring Ranger fans, as the empty rinkside seats in the camera range show every night.

    35. salad –

      Why have a bad feeling about tonight? I mean, are you worried the roof of MSG is going to cave in? What could possibly happen? At this point, we all completely expect them to drop these next two games. So what is the bad feeling about?

    36. Peter

      That they just roll over and don’t even compete tonight. Losing is a given now but not even trying is what I have a bad feeling about.

    37. Adding balanced commentary to a discussion should hardly be considered “Ranger PR”. “Jagoff”, your comments are as accurate as your handle is juvenile.

      “where else are you going to get a Prince Pout who 2 teams were desperate to get rid of?”

      Prince Pout. There are two spokesman for the team. Jagr and Shanny. Give me a specific example of a time that Jags pouted in the press, or how Shanahans comments can’t be considered the same “pouting”. Yes two teams got rid of him. Pitt did so for financial reasons and because Patrick didn’t want to trade him to the Rangers. Yeah, Jagr pouted in Washington, but his numbers were still good.

      “what he doesn’t say is that the other $3+ mill. is being paid by Wash. Caps who were so fed up with Jagr that they are paying that much annually to be rid of him.”

      Did I, or Doodie, ever deny that Washington is paying half his salary? That’s the point. He is a bargain for his salary. You think this team can’t score now? It would be worse with him gone. That’s all I’m saying.

      “and he has led the Rangers to 11th place and falling. bravo.”

      Yes, Jagr is soley responsible for the teams mediocrity.

      I am not saying I think there aren’t problems in Ranger Land. I am just saying that jagr is a bargain for what we are paying him and he is not going anywhere.

    38. my lines for next year

      straka nylander jagr
      prucha gomez shanny
      orts cullen callahan
      hollweg betts dawes

      rozy malik
      ward tutyin
      staal girardi

      henrik / montoya

      i think the rangers make the big signing of gomez…we give staal and callahan spots on the big club…i still don’t see where dubinsky cracks the lineup…we’re gonna resign nylander, we have cullen, we have betts, and we sign gomez…i like staal on the 3rd line next yr…callahan with cullen and orts could be a solid checking line…makes you think they should give this line a shot this year…hossa will not be resigned despite renney throwing a hisfit…j. ward will be gone, as will pock who clearly is not liked by tommy boy…hall will be dealt for a bag of pucks…finally weekes will be gone, giving montoya 25/30 starts and hopefully pushing henry a bit, and increasing his trade value! next years team has a shot to have a bunch of young guys…

    39. if you think Gomez would sign with a loser like Sather so he could be demoted to the 2nd line and play on a 11th place team, think again.

      He will stay in NJ. Lou knows how to finagle with the cap.

    40. wildcard/doodie/col mark

      which split personality am I talking to.

      “mouthpeice (sic) for stupid”

      no, wildcard, you have that title all sewn up.

    41. GOODBYE CLICHE. Sather is at it again.

      Avery is a better player than Ward. but he is a bad attitude problem.

    42. The Los Angeles Kings have traded centre Sean Avery and junior prospect John Seymour to the New York Rangers for right winger Jason Ward along with prospects Marc-Andre Cliche and Jan Marek.

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