“Don’t believe everything you read, guys…”


The Rangers returned from Washington for an open practice and a luncheon with sponsors, and fortunately for them, they did so fresh off two wins. Had the function been staged earlier in the week, you wonder if anyone would have bothered to show up.

But the outlook has changed for your beloved hockey team by virtue of two impressive wins — one against a surging Tampa Bay team, the other in overcoming the crooked engineering at Washington’s Verizon Center. The uneven boards from last night remained a popular topic of conversation with players and especially goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, all of them equally outraged that it could have cost them a win, and grateful that it didn’t.

Naturally one player who didn’t have much of an opinion on the matter was the newest Ranger, Pascal Dupuis, who took part in his first full workout with the team, and said afterward he was happy for a new start in New York.

“Obviously it’s a shock right away but I was expecting it a little bit,” Dupuis said of the Friday trade that brought him in from Minnesota in exchange for Adam Hall. “The last month or so there were rumors of me moving….It’s a new beginning for me, so as a hockey player I’m happier.”

Dupuis said contrary to reports, he had an amicable split with the Wild and coach Jacques Lemaire, and made sure to refute reports that he drew the coach’s ire by walking out of a practice in December. As Dupuis said, he had been given the option to leave by Lemaire, and took the coach up on the offer because he had been sick. Furthermore, two other players left the ice that day as well.

“We came back from a seven-day road trip and I was sick on the road, getting IVs between periods. I lost seven pounds on the road,” he said. “We played at home the next day and at the morning skate, Jacques said, ‘If you guys have had enough, you can take off, or you can stay and we’ll have a good practice.’

“So I was sick. I figured I’d keep my energy to play that night, so I left. Obviously the media made a big deal of it, but it was no big deal in the room. Jacques didn’t mention anything about it. I don’t know who sent that over there.”

Curiously enough, when we told Dupuis that the report of his abruptly leaving practice had been in one of the Twin Cities papers, it was his new teammate Sean Avery — another player who arrived in New York with some unflattering stories around him — felt compelled to chime in.

“Don’t believe everything you read, guys,” he said.

More later…

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  1. Hey Sea- what’s up? ESPN ‘banned’ me b/c I wrote a chronology of Jeter posts- exposing him as someone who thought Hossa should be replaced by AHL players, as someone who wanted Rosey, Jagr and Hank traded, and as someone who said Nylander (who should be traded according to him) and Shanny couldn’t work. Odd? No foul language. No suggestive references. I used his own words to prove him wrong. Oh well. Say hi to the boys for me. I’ve written on ESPN since probably August 05 and have not had any problems. NONE. zero.

  2. Hey Sam, Steve Zipay wrote in Newsday today about an incident between Shanahan and Avery from the 05-06 season. Apparently, Avery kept barking at the Detroit bench and finally Shanny went over to the entire bench and yelled to Avery, “Hey, stop texting me about how you hate your team/coach and that you want to get traded!” Zipay added that the coach turned “beet-red” and Avery “sunk in his bench”

    Does that mean we shouldn’t believe that either?

  3. Against teams like the Canes Dupuis is an excellent fit because of the speed he brings. When we play in Carolina we usually are 2 steps slower that them. With Avery, Dupuis and the COP line who all bring great speed we are right there with the Canes. Hopefully Jags and Hossa continue to play lights out.

  4. I was at the Rangers luncheon that they had today. It was a really cool experience. I got to meet all the players and get all their atographs. And they surprised all of us when Adam Graves, Rod Gilbert, Pete Stemkowski, and Gilles Villemure all showed up as part of the “Rangers Alumni” and signed stuff, too.

    Each table had a Rangers player sitting there. Blair Betts was at our table and he was a really cool, down to earth guy. I spoke to him a lot throughout the day.

    Lundqvist, Hollweg, Shanahan, and Betts were the most easily approachable players. Jagr was pretty quiet and didn’t say much unless you started a conversation with him.

    I met Sam Rosen in the hotel lobby and talked with him for a few minutes…he was so, so nice. Took his time to shake out hands and converse with us, as well as sign autographs.

    I bumped into Henrik as he was leaving and got a picture with him as he was getting his coat. I also saw him outside and he was on his cell with I would assume his girlfriend. I didn’t want to bother him, so I just yelled out “see ya later, Henrik” and he told me to take care.

    Sean Avery was awesome…I saw him as we were leaving, too. I told him we were glad to have him on board.

    I also told Shanahan we need him back next year, in which he just smiled at me and chuckled.

    I got my picture taken with Hollweg, Weekes, Hank, Graves, and Sam Rosen. Glen Sather and the coaching staff was also there at the beginning.

    All in all, it was an amazing experience. Malik was joking around with Hossa for most of the time. Jagr’s line was sooooo long. Most players left while I was leaving, but Jagr stayed and signed anything and everything for everyone who wanted an autograph. He was a class act.

    They also gave giftbags on the way out…one of them had a 50 Greatest Moments of MSG DVD and framed picture, and another hand the Rangers yearbook, lanyard, t-shirt, and some other stuff.

  5. Whoa Rags, that sounds pretty cool. What was this whole shebang for anyway?
    So Jagr was really a good guy. Thats good to know. Did you say anything to him?

  6. I said “how’s it going?” to Jagr and he didn’t respond or even look up when he was signing my picture, lol. He didn’t say much to you unless you really started a conversation with him. A parent asked him if she could get a picture with her kid, though, and Jagr said yes, but security said that the kid couldn’t come behind the table that they were signing stuff, and Jagr said it was OK and took the picture with him anyway. I thought that was really nice of him. He signed everything, but just didn’t converse much, other than when he’d speak with his own teammates.

    I got a bunch of Rangers to sign my hat, too. Lundqvist, Hollweg, Roszival, Rachunek…and Jason Krog, lol.

    The function was called The Annual Partners Day, in which MSG affiliates and advertising sponsors got invited to it. After the Rangers were done practicing, they also let fans come onto the ice and take part in an open skate with Graves, Gilbert, Stemkowski, and Villemure while the players were getting changed to go over to the hotel for lunch. I didn’t bring my skates, unfortunately, but Rod Gilbert told me that next year to bring my skates and he would skate with me and give me hockey lessons, haha.

    The food they had was great…Betts and I both enjoyed the brownies they had for desert.

  7. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Where’s HossaMVP been these days?

    Not only is his boy playing some good hockey (like he’s done for more than 4-5 weeks) but now he’s producing on the PP and 5-on-5 points, drawing penalties, still playing a responsible two-way game, and even helping Jagr get on the scorecard!! Huh, and many didnt’ think it was possible.

    Don’t expect a goal per/game from him, but Hossa has the hands and the size to be effective…I’d guess as much as 80% a Marion which is still one fine hockey player.

  8. Great story Rags, they sound like nice guys. Now if they can only play as well as they treat the fans off ice, we’ll have a winner.

    Hossa won’t produce for long, he never has. I hope I’m wrong and he gets 20 goals the rest of the way but long term, the Rangers are better off with one of Callahan, Prucha, Dupuis or Dawes there

  9. Glen Sather and the entire coaching staff was there at the beginning, but they left earlier than the players did. I didn’t get a chance to meet any of the coaching staff.

    Sam Rosen said that Miccheletti would have been there, too, but he had to cover the Devils game on NBC today.

    Also, after the practice was over, Hossa was gave out some hockey sticks to people in the crowd…I didn’t get one, but it was still pretty cool.

    Betts said that the team flew back to New York last night and he got home after 1 AM. He also said that they’ll probably fly down to Carolina a few days early since there’s a possibility of a snowstorm.

    I congratulated him on his contract extension, and he said thanks and that it’s a load off of his mind. He was really cool.

  10. Hey Pol, glad you’re here. Some intelligent stuff here….very little juvenile stuff and Sam is right IN the Garden so it is some great reporting…

    Jete’s was not open-minded about anything….just liked to argue….not enjoyable. I love to discuss Ranger issues with an open mind…I have learned a lot.

    the Sports Illustrated article really helped. I do think that Sather’s hands are more tied than I had previously thought…


    Do you see any major moves by the deadline???

  11. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Lenny, I agree about Prucha or Callahan being better suited for that position. But, someone in the Rangers org. doesn’t have trust in those players. I think they’ll both make a HUGE splash when they see time (if not for the Rangers,someone else) but in the meantime Hossa has been able to fill in, and quite well.

    Hossa’s a better puck carrier also, that’s one thing I have to say. He and Nylander do a great job in puck-control which is how you setup your shooters (Pruch’s, Shanny, even straka and Jagr now – since he doesn’t have as much confidence as last year).

  12. I see pascal taking orr’s spot on thursday vs carolina since they don’t have a heavyweight. With Avery in lineup, and renney new found clue, the team now seems to be tougher, more balanced, and playing with more determination.
    One other move I can see Renney doing is breaking up with COP line and flipping orts and pascal.

  13. czechthemout!!!!! on

    i am one person who has ripped hossa as much or even more than hossamvp.i am also man enough to give him his credit when it is do.he has been exceptional the last three games.if he can keep it going he will shut up all his critics including me and hossamvp.whether or nothe does that remains to be seen.

  14. czechthemout!!!!! on

    on a side note,it was reported on wfan that the ragers were talking to florida about nathan horton,a player i would love the rangers to get.they are looking for prucha and montoya,plus another prospect wich i thinnk is too much.

  15. seriously though, what is nathan horton going to bring to this club that out weighs what montoya, prucha and another prospect could bring?

    its a stupid deal that shoouldnt happen.

    the thing the rangers need most is a strong offensive d-man which no one is giving up

  16. as much as i love prucha this is a trade I can them making. Norton has 18 goals this year, plays center, and is young and plays a strong game. You just get that feeling management isn’t that crazy about petr. However, if the team contunues there hot string i dont see them making any moves. I do agree, the biggest team this team needs is on the blueline. more than an offensive D man, i would like to see the club get an intimidating D man.

  17. Rags– Great story, really thanks for sharing.
    It’s always cool to get a perspective on players off the ice.

  18. Hey Rags,

    When you bumped into Henrik, did Kasper check you and say “nobody bumps into our goalie!!!” ????

    Well, considering he’s down in Hartford, I’ll take that as a no. Anyhow, first-time poster, long-time ranger fan. LOVE this blog. Keep up the stellar work Sam

  19. “Hey Rags,

    When you bumped into Henrik, did Kasper check you and say “nobody bumps into our goalie!!!â€? ????”

    Lol…I was ALMOST going to walk up to Henrik and say “how you doin’?” like he does in the MSG commercial, but decided not to.

    Lundqvist was stylin’ and profilin’ in his pimpin’ suit today. When I saw him outside, he had on a scarf, long coat, and sunglasses. Also, I never noticed this before but his feet are ridiculously HUGE. He’s gotta be close to a size 20 shoe size. He got bugged for pics and autographs so much, but like I said…everyone there signed anything you asked them to.

    Tyutin is also a pretty big guy in person…never came across as being that big on TV.

    I have to say, though, that everyone there seemed to be in pretty good spirits. I know they would have probably wanted to catch up on sleep because of all the traveling they did in the last 48 hours, but I give them credit…they all showed up and were extremely nice and polite to every single fan. It was so funny seeing all the little kids running around the place getting everyone’s autograph.

  20. RAGS,

    Excellent stuff. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    In regards to Hossa, he’s looked like Marian out there lately! OK, maybe not. But he is playing very well. He’s using his size to his advantage, and chipping in more offensively. It’s amazing what confidence does to a guy. I was not a big fan of his for a long while, but if he keeps playing like this, it will be hard to sit/trade him.

    Sam: If the NYR leave ahead of the anticipated snowstorm, you going to go down early too…and give us dedicated fans updates?

  21. Lenny,

    Actually I was a “lurker” on the AOL boards. But they’ve gone to crap in the last few years. This board is like a breath of fresh air.


    You know what they say about goalies with big feet right??? They make big saves…… or something.


    There’s no doubt we need a guy like Horton up the middle, but…. this team’s real need is a “Sheldon Souray” or “Phillip Boucher” kind of d-man. Can we clone one of the two please??? ;-) I just feel like Prucha, if used right, is a keeper. But with Dupuis coming in… I wonder how much that changes the role he plays. We shall see.

  22. Craig, Blueshirt Bulletin is a good board too. Both Sam’s board and BB’s board interface with the Ranger personnel and provide a conduit that was not available in the past.

    Actually a few blogs out there have an interface to Ranger personnel but these two seem to provide more updates.

    Bird’s board and Rodent’s board aren’t worth your time. Proboards is another good site, composed of NYT castoffs.

  23. I know people are huge prucha fans, but I drool at the thought of getting Horton. (The Horton’s been seen in a couple of places, BTW.) I think the Rangers have done a good job of building quality depth in the organization, and some of that talent is starting to trickle in. The consensus seems to be that only Staal, Dubinsky, Korpikoski, Tyutin, Lundqvist, and the likes of Anisimov, Sanguinetti and Sauer are considered near untouchable. That’s a good, solid group of players to build around going forward. If the Rangers could add a potential stud like Horton to that group, even at the cost of Montoya andprucha, I’d be thrilled. I’m not sure if this is a deal that gets done by the trade deadline, (although, with the acquisitions of Avery and Dupuis, plus the meteoric rise of Callahan; and don’t look now, but both Ryan Hillier and Tomas Zaborsky are having excellent 2nd halves on their respective junior teams), plus, perhaps Hossa finally finding his niche with Straka and Jagr, Prucha becomes VERY tradable for the right player – in this case Horton. BTW, there’s also talk that not only are the Rangers pushing hard for Horton, (who supposedly wants out of Florida very badly), but, they are also looking at Zherdev. I know Zherdev comes with some baggage, but, if Sather/Maloney could add both Horton AND Zherdev, (at the right place, of course), a system who’s only flaw is the lack of top end talent suddenly doesn’t lack top end talent.

  24. Doodie Machetto on

    RAGS, that’s a great story. It’s frequently said that hockey has the best fans, but the other side of that coin is that we have the best players.

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