What’s a few more games when you’ve played this many already?

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Here is one way to eliminate concerns about alienating your backup goaltender: have that backup goaltender pull up lame during sprints, end up in the trainer’s room, and at least for a little while, take away the question of when you plan to play him next.

weekes_0506tor_sundin.jpg

It’s funny how these things happen, although maybe it’s not quite as funny to Kevin Weekes. Seeing how Henrik Lundqvist has now started 11 straight games and appeared in 20 straight, I had already planned on addressing the goaltender’s heavy workload when I showed up at the rink today. With back-to-back games against inferior teams coming up on the weekend, one would assume that Weekes might see his first action in more than a month either Saturday or Sunday. But then came sprints today, when Weekes felt something pop in his quadricep, and Lundqvist realized he might just have to keep on going.

But that, according to Lundqvist, is fine. Like the Devils with Martin Brodeur, the Rangers are playing a defensive-minded enough game that their goaltender’s not being taxed as heavily in games.

“When the team’s playing like this and other teams don’t have as many scoring chances, I don’t feel as tired as I did a couple of games before the break,” he said. “Also, when you’re winning, it feels so much easier, I can tell you that.”

No word yet on the severity of Weekes’ quadricep injury, or what the Rangers would do if he’s unavailable as a backup Thursday against Carolina. Complicating matters is that Al Montoya has been contending with knee injuries down in Hartford and Stephen Valiquette would have to go through waivers, so the Rangers might not have a quick solution.

Speaking of complications…

  • Another flu bug is rolling through the dressing room. It caught Aaron Ward on Sunday, Tom Renney yesterday, and Jaromir Jagr today. Not exactly ideal timing for a team that has almost no margin for error in the next few weeks. But at least the Rangers don’t play until Thursday, and Jagr is expected to be fine by then.
  • Where will Pascal Dupuis fit into the Rangers lineup? How about in Petr Prucha’s spot at left wing alongside Matt Cullen and Jed Ortmeyer. That was where the newest Ranger practiced today, with Prucha back on the fourth line at right wing alongside Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg. Renney said it was a chance to match Dupuis with other speedy forwards, while also getting Prucha back at right wing, where he’s believed to be more comfortable. But I’m imagining that explanation might not suffice with those fans who believe Prucha hasn’t been getting a fair shake all year.
  • In case you missed my boy Josh Thomson’s stellar story on the Rangers’ equipment managers, scroll down to see Josh’s entry, which also features a link to the story and photos.

    OK, more later..

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    115 Comments

    1. That Kevin Weekes news is bad. But the Prucha news really sucks. They really haven’t given him a legit shot. As much as it saddens me to say it, if he’s just going to waste away on the vine then the Rangers should trade him — they’re only lowering his value, his confidence and the team’s karma (see Weekes).

    2. Makes you wonder if there is any truth to the rumored trade of Sakic and Jose Theodore to the Rangers, it would give the Rangers a very high priced back up goalie.

      As for Prucha, the team is going so well right now, how can they change the lineup at all?

    3. Larry Brooks is nuts. Why he wastes his time writing such garbage is beyond my belief. Now hear this Larry: NO WAY IS COLORADO TRADING AWAY JOE SAKIC!! Sakic is the heart and soul of that team. The only way Sakic leaves Colorado is if he asks for a trade like Ray Bourque did. And I don’t see him doing that.

      And I’d like to think that the NYR are not going to trade for a $5.3 million backup that was a one year wonder.

      I’m upset about Prucha back on the 4th line too. He’s looked pretty good the last few games. I’m sure this does wonders for his confidence level.

    4. theyre called “suicides” not wind sprints.
      come on Sam! dont you do a few after every pick-up game?

    5. Actually they’re called “Herbies” in honor of Herb Brooks, but wind sprints are still fairly universal. But I met you halfway and changed them to just sprints.

    6. That’s funny Sam. How accurate is the movie Miracle when he made them do “Herbies” after that scrimmage and kept yelling, “Again”?

    7. renney is full of crap as usual. so he justifies burying prucha on the 4th line by saying that he is being moved back to the right side where he is more comfortable. then would he like to explain to us why after 17 years as a LW, brendan shanahan was shifted to RW so prucha could play the left side?

    8. Mine as well trade Prucha. Look at Pock he isn’t playing for how many games. Good thing Callahan isn’t up otherwise he would be on the 5th line which is the press box.

    9. Bluenot13 what do you mean no patience? Renney says that Pock is learning. May I ask from what sitting in a bench or did he become a cheerleader instead of a hockey player? Just wondering.

    10. Sam, were the PP units the same as in the past couple games? If Prucha remains on the PP, it will soften the blow

    11. I’m not sure about Pock or anyone else, i dont have inside information on what ‘motivates’ either player or coach to make the decisions they’ve made.

      I think you have to have patience. I think rushing or rewarding players for nothing but ‘you’re young and you need icetime’ may be worse in the long run. If they’re hngry for it and committed they’ll be fine. If not, then we don’t want them here anyway.

    12. Here is something bad. Maybe they are watching Lang?

      Scouts from the Atlanta Thrashers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangerswere in attendance at Monday night’s game between the Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings.

      Forsberg’s price is now rumored to be a 1st this draft and another 1st next draft plus a prospect.

    13. “Scouts from the Atlanta Thrashers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangerswere in attendance at Monday night’s game between the Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings.”

      What do all the teams mention above have in common? They’re all Stanley Cup contenders……except for the Rangers. Step away from the light, Glen.

    14. tsalad,

      I think Lang has been the focus of the Rangers interest, so I don’t read that as we were scouting Forsberg.

      I’m willing to give Dupuis a shot, but not at the expense of Prucha on that line. They showed some real chemistry. But at least Hollweg isn’t sitting for Krog. (Haven’t heard him mentioned lately). I just wouldn’t mess with much that is working.

      The right wing thing is ridiculous. He is better suited for LW (according to Prucha Expert “Hockey Rodent”) and played it all last year and this year.

      I would love to play the pond hockey game, but unfortunately, I think the commute would be a little much. I used to play at Beaver Dam (Locust Valley) as a kid.

      Sakic is not going anywhere. He’s a lifer, his kids and family are happy in Colorado, he has won two cups so no need to ask for a trade to a contender.

    15. Or Montreal…

      Eklund’s website, whether you believe him or not has rumors of Prucha being discussed with two teams out west. The two teams he said are Minnesota and the Kings. And he follows it up with The Rangers being interested in Rob Blake.

    16. can i just ask why aaron ward is always the one w/ the flu spreading it to everyone? get that guy away from everyone!

    17. I wouldn’t call Montreal a Cup contender. I’d barely call them a playoff contender at this point. That team has major issues right now, especially in net. I think they are going to slide out of their current position and be on the outside looking in real soon.

    18. Good question, Brian.

      I’ve got to say though, Prucha has got to learn to keep his head up and avoid hits. He’s getting drilled lately and giving some validity to the “too small” argument.

      I really hope it work out for him here in NY. I’d hate to see the guy light it up elsehwere.

    19. I would think Sather and clown car crew would be after Eric Brewer more than Blake. Brewer will be UFA and Blake is owed $6 million for next season. Bad all around.

    20. Doodie Machetto on

      How accurate is the movie Miracle when he made them do “Herbies� after that scrimmage and kept yelling, “Again�?

      I don’t know if that is a serious question or if it is a comment like, Wow, the movie got it right. If it is a serious question, then yes, it was very accurate.

      What about Chris Holt? Would he have to go through waivers?

    21. Did Petr Prucha pee in Tom Renney’s cornflakes or what?!? I can’t believe how he gets treated so poorly. Renney says Prucha doesn’t have to score to stay in the lineup, but when he doesn’t, Prucha either gets benched or sent off to Rangers’ Siberia (aka the fourth line).

      Why not use Dupuis, Cullen and Pruca and put Ortmeyer back with Hollweg and try and catch lightning in the bottle with Betts (or even Krog) as the fourth line center. It isn’t exactly the HMO Line, but it is close.

      As for Lundqvist’s backup, while I doubt Valiqueete would get claimed, the Rangers could dip down to Charlotte for Chris Holt if it is a short-term injury

    22. Doodie,

      That was a serious question. Unfortunately, I was 1 year old when the game was played, so I never really knew much about the 1980 Olympic team until I saw that movie. I wish ABC would put the game on DVD since it was the most influential sporting event in the history of this country.

    23. If Prucha is going to be dealt, Slats better bring back someone of similar age like a Jiri Hudler or Nikolai Zherdev. The last thing the rangers need to do is move a player like Prucha for a veteran rental.

    24. Doodie Machetto on

      NJMark: Montreal is weak in the net? Are you kidding? I’d say that’s one of the areas they DON’T have trouble. Huet and Aebischer are a great combo. I think it’s probably the 2nd best tandem in the east behind Miller and Biron.

    25. I used to be a big fan of Zherdev, but recent reports have scared me off. His attitude doesn’t sound like it’s so great. Then again, maybe a change of scenery is needed (hopefully like Avery).

    26. Doodie Machetto on

      NJMark, I was pretty young too, but HBO occassionally runs a documentary on it called “Do You Believe In Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team.” It’s very good.

    27. Relax with the Eklund rumors.It’s an e1.In other words,Eklund’s neighbor is the source

      When has he ever been right about the Rangers?

    28. Eklund has Prucha going to the two teams the Rangers have already traded with in the last eight days…gimme a break

    29. Doodie,

      Montreal is 13th in the NHL in GAA. They are 2.81, and the Rangers are right behind them at 2.83. And lately, they’ve looked awful, especially Huet. That team isn’t playing its best hockey right now, and I think the goalies are part of the reason.

      Tandem? Yes, probably 2nd best in the East. But I’ll take Lundqvist, Brodeur, Fleury, Miller, Emery, and Lehtonen over either of those goalies any day of the week. Aebischer is nothing more than a solid backup, and Huet has Jose Theodore written all over him.

      Just my opinion.

    30. I haven’t been one to criticize Renney, but that “more comfortable on the right side” excuse is utter BS. I’m not totally against the line changes, but don’t insult my intelligence with that kind of garbage excuse. Prucha’s played almost exclusively on the left in his time with the Rangers, and looked out of place in a few brief stints he did play on the right.

      Guess who’ll be scratched against teams that Renney feels require a tougher lineup? Putting Prucha on the right wing on the 4th line makes that a no-brainer — it’s just a simple player-for-player substitution, no need to change around any lines.

      I’m beginning to hope they do trade Prucha, if only so the kid goes somewhere where he’ll be given the opportunity to succeed.

    31. The Rangers have shwon a willingness to bring in players with “attitude” problems recently (e.g. Avery and Dupuis – deserved or not). Someetimes it takes a trade to “straighten” out a player. Plus with all of the veterans on the Rangers, perhaps the change would work.

    32. Doodie: Yeah, I saw that documentary on HBO recently too (even though it aired a few years ago I believe). It was excellent.

      tsalad: Thanks for the link!

    33. Doodie Machetto : Have you seen their play lately? Habs can not score and Huet and Abby are like swiss cheese out there… I just hope that Rangers will take advantage of it and move into their spot.

    34. I love the rebuild already. Where are the rookies that Renney was talking about? Didn’t he go “Scout” in Hartford this All Star Break?

    35. To answer a question from earlier, Prucha is still on the first power play unit so I wouldn’t worry too much about him being marginalized. That’s far more important than whether he plays on the third or fourth line. And this might be more a reflection on giving Dupuis a fair look in his first game than it is of Prucha being on the outs.

    36. tsalad: I can tell. Tons of odd stuff on there.

      I’d like to get Game 7 of the East finals from 1994 on DVD (if it’s an MSG broadcast). I have the big Rangers box set that was issued last year, and I can’t stand listening to Gary Thorne butcher the Matteau goal.

    37. just a question for the nhl games going on tonight?

      who do we want to win in toronto/isles?

      they’re 9 & 10th and i figured out that a loss in ot/so for toronto would put toronto and the isles completely tied.

      so anyway, who do we want?

    38. I hate to say it, but probably the Isles. Not even because they are the team in 10th, but because we have more games left against them than we do against Toronto. It would be easier to make up ground against the NYI only because we play them 4 more times.

    39. NJ Mark

      I have bought some of the 1972 Summit Series. Canada and the USSR and has some of the most amazing hockey I have ever seen.

    40. tsalad: I never saw those.

      I might have to order some of the Canada Cup and World Cup games. Particularly, 1987 Canada Cup with Gretzky/Lemieux/Messier and the 1996 Cup with Richter stealing the show.

    41. Meshuggah: Please tell me you are kidding. I can’t count how many times he mispronounced a player’s name. And like I said, he butchered the Matteau call so badly. “No more 1940!”

      Um, Gary, remember that series called the Stanley Cup that is played after the conference finals?

    42. So uncle Tom wants to put Dupuis on a line with other speedy players,since when was Prucha not speedy?,I see very shortly this or some other drivel becoming the same sort of BS to push Prucha out in the same way as Immonen’s “lack of foot speed”.

    43. Weekes’ career has been an unmitagated disaster play poorly and get hurt has the story of his career. Prucha moved to the 4th line is par the coarse for this franchise.

    44. No it’s a fair question. I would like to think no, and I was told earlier in the year that Prucha was close to untouchable. But you have to wonder how his name keeps coming up.
      And I would think the Rangers would get rid of Prucha before they would trade Staal or even Brandon Dubinsky.

    45. I love Prucha, he works hard and is very talented, but to be completely honest if they were to trade him i would’nt be uttlerly dissapointed as long as they dont trade him for a rental like Guerin or Tzachuk. If they got a good quality Defensemen in return for Prucha, i think Callahan could fill his role.

    46. I know Jane, thats how it starts….then you have a hundred questions the guy has no time to answer.

      Specifics I can understand, but you expect the guy to answer trade rumor questions? Nah….

    47. Right now i’d trade Prucha before i’d trade Korps, Staal, Dubinsky – those are key parts of the future. Prucha could be too, but I think he’s the guy we could ‘afford’ to deal now & in the future.

      But realistically, no team will take Prucha and a pick for a young stud, like a Nathan Horton. It’d have to be a steeper price.

    48. PETR PRUCHA MANIA…All you have to do is mention his name and people go nuts. He is fearless, he is a defensive liability(poor break out passes mostly), he does not skate swiftly, his style lends itself to being plastered regularly, and yet everyone loves him. He is an asset. He is not Rick Middleton (for Ken Hodge).. He will be a serviceable player in this league as long as he does not break down. And that’s a big if… If the right asset presents itself in return, Sather would be silly NOT to move him. All these Bloggers who likely never played much past the Bantam level, and who never were in a position to evaluate talent, see a few nice dekes and a fearless approach and believe the team should be built around him. It does not work that way.

      As far as sitting anybody to play Dupuis, Prucha is really the only candidate. Orr’s physical presence and recent goal will keep him in there, Ortmeyer kills penalties, blocks shots and brings physicality, you can’t sit Hossa can you? SHould Hollweg be in the press box? If Dupuis plays, it’s got to be Prucha that sits, and if Prucha sits, the Power Play 1st unit will need to be modified. That’s it…Maybe Dupuis can produce as much as Prucha and offer greater size and speed. We’ll see..

    49. Bluenote13: Just so that we are clear, I don’t want you to think that I am going to shower Sam with a myriad of questions, it was just a quick one to see what he though. Additionally, I understand that he is low on time, but I would prefer if you did not monitor my questions for content unless you have the answers. Thank you, however, for pointing out that I should be more specific with a question.

    50. Rick.. Orr scores once and he is an asset!!He is an asset against maybe 5 to 7 teams that are big and tough that is it..

      Prucha is a good player who has not been put in a position to suceed this yr…

    51. Am I one of the only few who sees that at times this year when Prucha has had 12+ min that he disapears?? I am not saying that he is a bad player, but at times this year he has looked like a 4th line player. But there are peopl ehere who seem to think that he should be on the top line no matter what he dose or how he plays, and the reason is, he is “young” and by not playing the Rangers are doing the “usual” and “are going to ruin him” or that it means he will be traded. How bout, when he palys good he gets more ice time than when he plays bad…and I seem to notice. The last two games, esspecailly the one before last he poalyed like CRAP..he didnt deserve the 4th line and he was on the 3rd. the last game he did better, but it still wasnt the same Prucha from last year…I also dont buy the “he isnt being used right” Because Orts after not playing or being able to work out as much, and Pock who sits in the stands, seemingly worse than playing less min, both came in, or come in after layoffs, and play well and have an effect on the game. Maybe Prucha will never see 30 goals again…maybe he is a 15 gaol scorer form the 3rd line and the PP and thats all he will ever be. I think its silly to label a player after one season in the NHL….heck some players take 2 or 3 seasons in the NHL to find exactly what type of player they will be. This doesnt mean I want him traded, or think he should be traded, but it dose mean that I will wait to bash the coach for not using him on the top lines untill after I see him more than a season and a half.

    52. Speed and Scoring touch kills in the NHL Rick. And Orr, does not posses either. Prucha may get knocked off his feet quite a bit. But you cannot teach the ability of having a nose for the net. When you are a gifted NHL LEVEL goal scorer, Luc Robitailles, comes to mind, you are way more valuable than a thug.Which is what Colton Orr is. Orr is a necessary component to a team. But not as important as a Player with Peter Pruchas skills. Blair Betts should sit for Dupuis.

    53. To rick and w’card

      If Prucha was completely useless in all facets of his game except for an ability to score on the power play — and of course he isn’t — he would still be an enormous asset to this team. With a decent power play over the past two and a half months, the Rangers would have at least seven more points.

      I understand your point about him, and I admit he is not the second coming of Rocket Richard. But guys who score goals on the power play — something he has shown he can do when given first team minutes there — are a very precious commodity in the NHL. And the fact he plays so hard and with such fearlessness makes him a player you trade with great reluctance.

    54. I think that people over react to the handling of young players. There are other NHL teams who have had young players move around the lineup, 4th line, out of the lineup, right to the top line…but the fans of the Rangers seem to forget that…Young players dont always stick in the “Obvious” spot they “should” be in from the getgo. He spent a HUDGE chunk of last year on the 3rd line…but even when he has been on the 3rd line this season some people get all upset. Its not like he was a top 6 guy for most of last year. Now he is back on the top PP unit, and I dont think he will be on the 4th line the entire rest of the season. I would be he ends up on the 3rd line again. After Renney was ripped apart for the lines he set for the last two games, and after ALL the people who said those lines wouldnt work were proved wrong, dont you think for at least one game you could back off to see if this all works out??

    55. I still say he should NOT be traded…at the worst I tihnk he becomes a 3rd line/PP guy that can really help the team…

    56. the reason Prucha disappears for 12+ minutes a game is because he’s been playing on the 4th line, which basically includes sitting next to Tom Renney and Perry Pern on the bench, chatting up Jim Ramsay

    57. Doodie Machetto on

      Huet has been a little leaky his last 4 or 5 games, but look at his numbers over the season. Very solid. I would easily take him over both Fluery(not in the longterm, but for right now) and Lehtonen. And if Lundy hadn’t picked up his play like he has, I would’ve taken him over the King as well.

      Does anyone know if Chris Holt would have to go through waivers? If not, I’m thinking he’s the backup.

    58. czechthemout!!!!! on

      i also don’t want him traded,but if they can get a kid like horton for him as part of a package then i say do it.we do not have a young player with horton’s ability.plus i also think his upside is tremndous because he has not played with much of a supporting cast.

    59. If you want the inside scoop on the 1980 Olympic team, pick up a copy of “The Boys of Winter” by Wayne Coffey. It’s an easy read and it provides more insight on each of the players than Miracle could. It almost reads like a companion piece to the movie. For someone who was in college in upstate NY when the Miracle on Ice occurred (actually in Lake Placid the first week of the games so missed the hockey excitement), the book and movie are terrific.

      I also ordered the DVD of the “Miracle” game from that website that tsalad linked. The quality isn’t the greatest, but I still get goosebumps when I watch it. Dryden and Al Michaels provide a great call.

    60. Guys, Prucha is not good enough at this point of his career to be on the top line. Why? Because thats JAGR’S line and Jagr always goes against the top defensive players in the league. He is successful because he can create his own plays. Prucha cannot do that, he needs someone to pass him the puck, exactly like Shanny. Prucha could do what Shanny is doing on a line with Avery and Nylander but the fact of the matter is Shanny is better than Prucha, he is bigger, has a better shot and has seniority. The third line was a nice fit for him, but Renney wants to see if Dupuis can be better. Whats the harm in that? Prucha will still get PP time with JJ,Straks and Nylander. Hes not that great 5-5 anyway.

    61. so why is Prucha’s name always coming up if he’s not that good? The other GM’s are dumb, or they see a player with talent & alot more upside that could be developed by a good coach?

    62. I’m sorry, did someone just include Orr’s goal as a reason to keep playing him? Hilarious. But I agree that shaking up the lineup makes me nervous, too. Let’s hope Dupuis makes it worthwhile.

      Why does Chris Holt being 22 stop him from backing up Henrik? On the goaltending note, didn’t Weekes have one great playoff run and some good years? Why do I feel like he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for a solid career?

      Finally, I’ve thought all year that throwing questions at Sam was one of the best parts of this blog. We all know he won’t answer the ones he can’t handle, either out of lack of time or info.

    63. Doodie Machetto on

      Chris, no one said being 22 stops him, CTO was answering me whether he would have to go through waivers.

      Thanks for the info CTO. If Montoya’s knees are a no-go, Holt will be in NY.

    64. To Stuart and John M……Prucha isn’t useless. And he isn’t Colton Orr either. Like it or not, fighting has its’ place in this game, and Colton Orr is the only Ranger that is large enough to fill that role. Sure Ryan Hollweg is willing but not able. Several different Rangers can fill Prucha’s shoes, perhaps not as well, perhaps better. Nobody else can provide the pugilistic skills Orr does. Is Orr a great fighter? Not really, but he is a heavyweight, and every team needs one, so that Donald Brashear et al don’t try to demolish your skill guys. Pruchas HAS been given a chance to succeed this year. He has NOT been given the same Power Play time that he received last year that’s all.

      As far as sitting Blair Betts, yeah I know he seems to have lost a step or two over the grind of the season, but he is still your checking center that takes a lot of defensive zone draws and kills penalties. IF you’re going to play Dupuis, Prucha is the guy who sits. Since Dupuis scored 20 goals in a VERY defensive oriented scheme in Minnesota, maybe he can replicate Prucha’s offensive production, in a larger, better skating capacity..Maybe..

    65. I would trade Prucha and Dawes for Horton. We always have too many small guys up front. It’s still a hitting game in the eastern conf. and I can’t stand seeing our guys getting knocked all over the place!

    66. unbelievable.

      i am watching the isles play the worst game of the year against toronto, but w/ 2 seconds remaining, its going into ot.

      just greattt. u can really rely on those teams when u need to right? just like the devils on sunday.

      and the only reason why toronto isnt beating them on the scoreboard is b/c they cant put a freaken puck past the net.

      i hate the islanders.

    67. I hear ya, these 3 point games are absolutely killer. We need to start passing teams like Tor and the Isles in order to get into the top 8. HUGE game at Carolina thursday that if we could leave with 2 points we have two games we SHOULD win at home. Could be a big 6 points comnig up or a dissapointing weekend.

    68. Doodie Machetto on

      Holt is the starting(I’m pretty sure) goalie for the Checkers. He’s ok, definitely not NHL material yet, although, I would take him over an injured goalie(Weekes and apparantly Montoya) anyday.

    69. Rick

      Orr is necessary is what I wrote. Betts does nothing to make an impact. He neither checks well or scores. He creates zero offense. AND NO GREAT DEFENSE. Betts is not important. He does not have a LOCK at checking center and should sit and Dupuis plays.
      Prucha’s not sitting because he can put the puck in the net. His offensive potential every game puts him 5 spots higher than Blair Betts on the Ranger depth chart. In my opinion of course.

      For that matter.. I’ll trade Blair Betts for Bill Guerin, or Rob Blake,or Brian Smolinski, or Adrian Acouin, or Paul Mara. But no GM wants Blair Betts. They want Prucha. Gee, I wonder why? LOL!!!

    70. John M…I am NOT a great Blair Betts fan. Truth be told, I believe Petr Prucha is a much better player than Betts. But that isn’t the point. A Hockey Team is like a recipe, and in any recipe you can’t have too much of any one thing. There has to be the right mix. Prucha is a nice player. That’s all. I coached a kid when he was 15 and 16, his name is Mike Komisarek, plays for the Canadians now. Was less talented than several other players we had, but he was 6-4 230 lbs. Truth is that he would always be more marketable than a 5-11 175 skill forward. The Rangers as constituted need more grit and size than what Prucha offers. They have guys that can do what he does, and they have plenty of skill players on the roster and in the pipeline. What also harms Prucha is that he lacks a 5th gear in acceleration. If he had those extra three steps, trust me, he would be untouchable…

    71. In my opinion, Dupuis fits in Blair Betts’s role much better than Prucha’s. Furthermore, to take Prucha out, you not only mess up the third line, but you also mess up one of the PP units. If Betts sits, Dupuis just slides into his slot, which makes much less of an impact on the team.

    72. John, just wait and see…I’ve not seen that much of Dupuis.. What I have seen is that he can skate, and kill penalties and apparently by looking at his career totals, score a few goals. I also think the Rangers like Hollweg on the wing, and if you take Betts out of the lineup, you have to shift Hollweg to 4th line center. Renney said earlier today that he put Dupuis with Cullen and Ortmeyer because they can all really skate(what does that tell you?). The last two games the third line has had no offenseive production whatsoever. Prucha had a ‘gift’ assist on Roszival’s first goal, when the rebound deflected off Prucha to Roszival- who proceeded to one time it. Come to think of it that line has done nothing since Boston…Wait and see…

    73. I understand your point but, the truth is, you can’t sacrifice potential offense for more defense. The Rangers have a hard enough time scoring as it is, and the fact that Dupuis is known to be a good defensive forward, as well as a possible goal scorer, makes it obvious that he is an upgrade for Betts, rather than Prucha.

    74. Montoya’s knee sprain isn’t that bad, but he just returned to practice Monday and might not be able to play until after this weekend. Holt doesn’t have to clear waivers, but he has been inconsistent, which is why Alex Westlund was called up from Charlotte to back up Valiquette while Montoya is out. But if Weekes can’t even back up Thursday, Rangers might have to call up Holt because Montoya won’t be ready and they could lose Valiquette to waivers. That’s why former Rangers prospect Jason LaBarbera, a candidate for a second AHL MVP, is stuck in Manchester. He could be claimed for about $150,000 at this stage of the season. It’s a ridiculous rule that has to be changed.

    75. On Orr and his ability to fight…if there is a game comeing up that he can sit, and probably should, its teh one agaisnt the Canes…they dont fight…its against team rules. SO for this game to be the one were Orr sits is a smart move. I also bet that we see 4 lines rolling, Betts gets decent ice time being the defesive zone faceoff guy, and Prucha I bet will get some shifts here and there after PK time….for Shanny, or Dupis after they go on the PK but the line may still go out, or at elast the center on the next shift…so that may open up a shift or two for Prucha. We will see, but I am not worried that Prucha is going to sit on the 4th line the rest of the year.

    76. If Dupuis doesn’t play too well in his first games, he could be the one that sits when Orr comes into the lineup. It’s not like it will make the trade that big of a loss because Hall wasn’t playing much or well anyway.

    77. WILD it’s also against the rules for the NYR to fight, both coaches, like their great commissioner, are trying to eliminate from the game.They all need to watch the tape from the Wash game when Shanny took on their ‘goon’, who was just resigned for next year. ……If Prucha was put in Hossa’s spot on the #1 line, he’d probably create offensive similar to last year.Bury him on the 4th line he’ll produce similarly to what Hossa produced when he was on the 3rd or 4th line.It’s what happens to ingredients in a changed recipe, less sugar more lemons. It only took Renney 50 games to break up the #1 line to eliminate the need to go out & get a #2 center & improve the offense, and expose the real need, better defensemen. Getting Avery helped, but when a coach doesn’t take off his blinders for 50 games you get results like the picking on Prucha because he’s been misused. Just like not really having 2 PP units with real shared time. Coaches can make or break players,teams, and themselves.

    78. bklynblue : Reneny has NEVER said the team can’t fight. I was talking about an ACTUAL team rule…not just some made up thing that fans say because they don’t like the team’s style. Renney lets them fight…but he doesn’t encourage it. There is a big difference…what they are doing in Carolina is criminal IMHO…telling them no fighting…its like asking the rest of the NHL to go after the star players there. On Prucha, it’s as much him as Renney…or maybe even more. Even when Hossa was playing the 4th line role, you knew he was on the ice, he would do some good things. There have been times this season when Prucha looked totally lost…and its not just here and there…he has been having a crappy year…that happens to young player…even if they are given the most ice time on a team. I don’t for one second think that he is done, or that he will never be a 30 goal scorer again…I mean he may not be, but I think he is a 20-25 goal scorer from the 3rd line and PP at least. SO he has had a bad year, hopefully he is professional and mature enough to get past it, either this year or next. I don’t want to see him moved at all. But I am not blinded to the fact that he isn’t playing that great this year. At some points I was shocked he didn’t get benched more…or sat into he stands. There is nothing wrong with that, especially for a young player…IMHO he should be sent to Hartford for 5-10 games to get his confidence back, it would be good for him I think…he is still young and things like that IF he takes them properly can get him back on track.

    79. Also…I think the Day of the goon should be over…I love fighting, but the goons of today’s game have been almost useless otherwise….it seems back in the day the guys who fought would also score the cup winning goal, and it wasn’t a fluke when they did. Guys like Shanny, but who fought more and scored just a bit less. I think that is the type of fighter the NHL needs…not meatheads Brashear, or Worell, Rocky Thompson, and other wonderful “players” like that.

    80. Happy Valentines Day to all the Fighters and Goons!

      Fighting belongs in the NHL. Period. I think all against fighting in the NHL should watch a different hockey league that doesn’t have fighting. Because it’s obvious the NHL is not for the non fighting crowd. There is plenty of hockey to watch in other leagues around the world with no fighting. Enjoy those non fighting leagues and stop trying to dilute the NHL Game non fight crowd.

    81. Wild how do you know what Renney has said or hasn’t said besides what you read or hear in an interview? What have his actions & team done in reference to fighting? Are you the mold in the locker room or hiding under the coaches desk? … how would you like Orr to become a good hockey player when he only plays 2-5 minutes or sits in the sky? Thanks for your opinions but don’t state them as facts.

    82. John M : I agree fighting SHOULD be in the NHL…just not the mindless goons that are good for nothing else. I think there are goons who could learn to play…or rather start playing, I just think the guys who do nothing on the ice, can barley skate, and are knuckle draggers should be fazed out as soon as possible….and replace them with guys who can score that will also drop the gloves. I don’t mean 20 or 30 goal scores, but the 10-15 goals per year guys on the 3rd/4th lines. I in NO WAY want fighting gone…

    83. bklynblue : Renney has said that he is ok with the rough stuff…but yeah…I would imagine he’s full of crap just to make the fans happy…it seems he is really worried about what the fans think of his decision doesn’t it. It’s not an opinion…it seems the facts to me. Do you REALLY think that Shanny would go against the coach’s wishes?? Or Hollweg a few times this year and ORR and nothing was ever said by Renney. Come on…I know you don’t like the guy…but that is kinda reaching a bit to far isn’t it? I watch allot of hockey games…and I don’t see that the Rangers are to far off the mark when it comes to fights…I mean fights that are actually for something other than to knuckle draggers just trying to prove their worth…

    84. And just to help with my point…in case you don’t think its true…Colton Orr has 10 Major penalties this season…one of witch I think came from the cross check to the head on Ovechkin. IN any case…the “beloved” Camm Jannsen from across the river has 9 majors…Oh and the league leader in majors this season…IAN LAPERRIERE from the Avs…with 14 Majors…And Hollweg…He has 11 Majors…so that’s 21 majors between them…and a I know 2 or 3 are from other things…but lets not go and pretend that Renney has made a rule against fighting…Throw in Shannys fight…that’s 22 total Majors for the Rangers…at LEAST 15 are from fighting…I think more than that if I remember how many other majors were handed out…its not like this team never fights…I know its not always at the proper time…but look at the numbers…

    85. Renney has been playing bizarre practice combos all season, and why not? When almost every team the Rangers face have been line matching to shut down Jagr, why not keep them guess with your practice line ups? Don’t make it so easy for them.

      If he plays Prucha on the fourth line RW during the actual game, THEN I think that’s the time for all the above hysteria.

    86. Isa : Good point…in fact…didnt Renney have Prucha on the 4th line in pratice befor one of the last two games and everyone got all upset…and Krog as the 2nd line center as well…well Krog didnt even play. SO I am thinking we have to see what Renney really wants to do…that or he enjoys reading the debates and tirades on this board as well as others.

    87. guess no one cares that dupuis is not a center never has been and betts is therfore he cannot take his place.

    88. Hey! How about Renney sits himself out for a few games!

      “My players presented me with a document which delineated that it would be proactive for the team if I were to use the next games going forward to reexamine my overall strategy with respect to player usage.”

      “The optimum vantage point for this introspection would be from the stands, where I can go over the points presented to me in the aforesaid document. They have prepared a number of questions as well as video for me to peruse.”

      “Therefore I will be ceding the coaching duties over the next foreseeable period to my assistant coaches, Pearn and Pelino. I’m sure that by due diligence on my part, I will return with a renewed vigor and an improved comprehension of the duties of a coach in the National Hockey League.”

      Translation:
      “Shanahan came into my office and said that if I mess with this lineup any more he’s going to put out my lights permanently.”

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