And now the pendulum swings the other way

85

See if you can detect a pattern here:

The Rangers get pushed around in the playoffs last spring and they decide they need size, so they sign Brendan Shanahan and trade for Adam Hall.

Then the team realizes it’s too slow, so it trades for Sean Avery and sends Hall to Minnesota for Pascal Dupuis.

Then Shanahan and Marcel Hossa get banged up in physical losses to Philadelphia and New Jersey and the Rangers realize they need more size, so they bring up Brad Isbister from Hartford.

Stop me if you’re getting dizzy.

Look, I understand things change, and surely no one could have foreseen potentially losing Shanahan and Hossa in the span of three days. But I suppose this is a definition of “a moving target.”

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier about the Isbister promotion, this looks like insurance if Hossa can’t play tomorrow. And given the nature of last night’s meeting with the Devils, the Rangers would likely rather have a big body like the 6-foot-4, 231-pound Isbister as opposed to a speedy but rather undersized Ryan Callahan.

And if Isbister doesn’t pan out, maybe the Rangers can try to get Hall back before the deadline.

What, you’ve lost your sense of humor?

********************************************************

One other note while we’re debating size versus speed. We all know which category Petr Prucha falls into, and the moments before Zach Parise’s game-winner provided yet another example of the forward driving to the net before getting plastered in front.

I’m not sure there’s a player on the Rangers who goes harder on a regular basis, and yet I’ve found myself wondering if Prucha (generously listed at 175 pounds in the media guide) can expect to have a long career given his style. Or put it another way: of the candidates to sustain a serious concussion this season, Brendan Shanahan wouldn’t have been near the top.

Still, when I asked Prucha today if anyone’s ever suggested he tone it down for the sake of longevity, he shook his head.

“No. Never,” he said. “I just think I’m doing what’s effective for the line where I’m playing. I think I can be effective in front of the net. I’m not the player who’s doing great plays like Jags and Straks. I’m just looking for open spaces in front of the net, and for rebounds and stuff like that.”

Like I said, you can’t help admiring the way he plays. But you can’t help wondering, either.

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85 Comments

  1. Do the names Todd “Heartbeat” Harvey or Tony Granato (to a lesser extent) ring a bell for anyone?

  2. I would play Isbister regardless of if Hossa can play or not. If he can play sit Dupuis … he cannot shake the Devils tight checking.

  3. Why do they need size to play the Devils? Big Scottie Gomez? Giant Jay Pandolfo? Monster Brian Gionta?

    Maybe its because of Killer Parise? Or Huge Rafalski?

    Outside of White is anyone on the team over 200 pounds?

  4. They need big guys to stand in front of the net to mess with Brodeur …

    200 pound guys
    Gomez is 200
    Hale
    Janssen
    Langenbrunner
    Lukowich
    Rasmussen
    Rupp
    Talackson
    White
    Zajac to name a few ….

    This being said, I would not keep Isbister past the Devil game … For Blue Jackets I bring up Callahan or Dawes but for NJ and the fact the Rangers have been getting roughed up all over the ice I use Isbister.

  5. OK so I should have said 210, I was exaggerating. It just sounded like a silly excuse to explain Isbister being recalled. The truth is probably because he’s a vet, and the game is likely to get ugly when the Rangers start losing.

    But even so

    Gomez, Langenbrunner and Zajac are all at 200

    Hale and White are 215. Lukowich and Rasmussen are 205.
    Rupp is their biggest at 225.

  6. Dino Ciccarelli made a living setting up in front of opposing goaltenders and banging in garbage goals. He was listed at 5’10”, 180lbs in his final season, before retiring with total of 1232 NHL games across 19 season.

  7. Sam-Is Prucha really 6 feet tall? Or is that a joke? He doesnt appear to be that tall and if he is shouldnt he put on some weight being a professional hockey player?

  8. Yes, Prucha is actually 7 feet tall, shoots lighting bolts from his eyes, and fire balls from assshhhh

  9. I have a really random question… Does the Rangers Strength and Conditioning coach (coach?) travel with them to all of the games/go to all of their practices?

  10. Some responses:

    Prucha is probably not 6 feet since I’m 6 feet and he seems slightly shorter than me (I say this, and I also talk about how small Prucha is, and yet I’m also fairly certain he outweighs me. Pathetic, yes, but I don’t have to skate against Zdeno Chara anytime soon).

    Also, Reg Grant, the Rangers strength and conditioning coach is indeed full-time with the team. Based on the preceding paragraph, I should probably be peppering him with more questions.

  11. Theres no way Prucha is 6’0″. I’ve met him at an autograph session and when he stood up, he was barely my height (5’10”)

  12. laurie,

    Don’t forget Pat Verbeek. He was probably only 5-8/190 but he stood in the crease and was impossible to out muscle for a loose puck.

  13. all that matters is that Brad Isbister has been called up from Hartford, and all is well with the New York Rangers.

  14. Verbeek and Prucha were/are slippery types of players.
    They hide well and bounce off people. Sometimes Prucha gets bounced around too hard for his own good-

    I really wonder how he gets right back up after he’s leveled-

  15. Sam, the reason that I ask is that my Grandmother is very good friends with his parents, and they were talking about Shanny last night when they were at dinner, and my Grandmother got very excited (because I am such a big fan), and is trying to get me in touch with his wife, because she said “he works all the time with those hockey boys”, so I just wanted to check if he is full-time with them! haha

  16. Doodie Machetto on

    How about Brian Gionta? He’s tiny and sits in front of the net too.

    But it is inevitable that when you sacrifice your body every game, your career will not be as fruitful as otherwise possible. See Peter Forsberg.

  17. Prucha is 5’9″. I met him about two weeks ago. Just because he’s smaller than some other players it doesn’t mean anything. He’s a still a strong, hard worker and he can use his weight to an advantage, like during the avery-brodeur fight. –Was anybody watching prucha at the back of the net fighting that devil? I think everyone should find a clip of that on you-tube or something and just watch prucha for a sec, it’ll give you a good laugh.

  18. Nigel Dawes is gonna have big time trouble with his size too. Just the fact that he is 5 ft 8 will make him the last guy called up.

    Why doesnt Prucha put on weight? He has no excuse. He has every resource necessary- Trainers, Weight room and all the supplements he could want- and its his job to be in the best shape possible. 15 pounds could be a big difference

  19. Doodie Machetto on

    Via Spector’s Trade Rumours:

    “TKACHUK AND GUERIN TO BE DEALT SOON.

    HADLEYONSPORTS.COM: John Hadley reports Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk have been informed by St. Louis Blues management they will be dealt in the near future.

    Spector’s Note: No word on when or to which club, but we should find out soon enough in the coming days. ”

    Ranger fans everywhere should cross their fingers that it isn’t here.

  20. Yeah I agree, 5’9” sounds correct… I met him too at a Rangers skate (he didn’t have his skates on yet), and he was a little taller than I am (I am around 5’8”). Actually thinking about it, he may be more like 5’10”, but that range of heights are relatively equal.

  21. From reader John M, who’s having trouble posting:

    The Rangers need speed and grit. The Rangers do not have much speed and
    grit. They have alot of ballerina’s who dance in slow motion. The
    drafting and scouting done by the NY Rangers has not produced any speed
    and grit ex Prucha, Orts and Hollweg. WHY?? It is obvious to every one
    who follows hockey that the focus should be on speed and grit. The
    problem is the 2 of the top three Rangers scorers lack speed and
    grit. They must be traded. I don’t need the same old story of the
    Rangers played well enough and compete with NJ. That is total B S. The
    Rangers lose battles all over the ice when they need a goal. Clutch
    play does not exist on the NY Rangers. They have not scored a clutch
    goal all year. Hence the lack of 1 goal wins. Peter states that the
    Rangers problems stem from not showing up every night to play. Well
    Peter, thats the make up of the individual players. That is not the
    responsibility of the coach. The coach can’t make Nylander or Jagr or
    Betts or Straka be more intense. The players either are made of that
    fabric or not.

  22. How tall is the pesky Jason Blake?

    He seems to have come in to his own, uses his size well, can pass and shoot.

    If a little guy has speed and uses his size the right way (Martin St. Louis), he can be extremely tough to defend.

  23. Go NYR

    If I was White, I would have started laughing hysterically…Almost like a younger brother trying to beat up his big one.

  24. hahahha I never thought about that… I still am laughing about the fact that Janssen (sp) was like yelling threats at Henrik, it was like “Janssen you aren’t even on the ice, you are not part of this” hahha… and I think that I saw Henrik laughing? haha

  25. Sam-

    Hi there- you do a great job. This is probably the best site to post. ESPN has given up it seems…

    What up, Sea!

    My question to you is –
    we’ve tried the gritty Bobby Holik model. We supposedly got Adam Hall for his north american tenacity et al. We’ve tried that model.

    Now we have the speedy Cullen, Prucha, Dupuis, Avery. Only Avery could you consider a guy who can consistently win battles.

    You think we should actually trade some combo of Jagr/Straks/Nylander?

    Now when i hear you say ‘ballerina,’ i think of the bald swede. Straks is a great player. His hustle, d awareness etc. allow Jagr to sometimes float on the ice and cheat (ever see that?) Jagr and Straka are elite players. Can they do it in a big game? I don’t know. They are champs. but that was a different era, a different team (and what depth- Lemieux, Tocchet, Jagr, Straka, Mullen, Francis, Larry Murphy etc….how about a young Markus Naslund?)

    So – sometimes i feel like we ‘ve run the gamut. I feel like it’s our system that’s flawed more than anything. Sometimes i feel we could add anyone and it wouldn’t matter.

    It comes down to mental toughness…no?

    Why wasn’t Carol trying to get in Parise’s way or whack at the puck….the only way that goes in is by laying your stick out there. sure, it’s a bang-bang play, but you can’t coddle guys forever. Do the Devils make that play? i doubt it ends up behind Broduer…mental toughness. we can’t win close games.

    The x factor is coaching, preparedness and intangibles. To me, what we should be doing now is getting rid of guys who are ???? ‘s for next year. That way, whether we’re buyers or sellers come the 27th, we’re in better shape overall.

    These players should go:

    1. Nylander- free agent
    2. Weekes- free agent
    3. Malik-
    4. Carol- free agent

    I’m sure Detroit would love Nylander, no? A healthy Weekes would have to be valuable as a back up. Two teams that come to mind are Minnesota and Tampa…

    what say you on all this babbling?

    pollmi(ke)

  26. Imagine if Brodeur drilled his head on the crossbar when he put on his act and was out for the season. Avery would be suspended for the season

  27. John M – still on the same kick that we should have given (or still give) 2 prospects or top draft picks for Foppa, Guerin, Tkachuk or some one like that based on your post on Sams previous post. I pray you’re wrong and at worst Sather does a small deal. Remember our number 1 pick is potentially top 10 a lot different than Nashville’s 30th pick overall.

    I’m sure you can find something else to do rather than go to 2 home games in another 1st round sweep if we become sellers.

    As some other poster stated sell Mortimer sell.

  28. Doodie Machetto on

    “Imagine if Brodeur drilled his head on the crossbar when he put on his act and was out for the season.”

    He would have gotten what he deserved.

  29. Go NYR, Prucha has put on weight. He was listed at 160 at the start of last season. There’s nothing to say he won’t continue to add more. But on the other hand, you can’t expect him to put on 25lbs overnight and not have it affect his play. I’m sure we’re not the first people to suggest he put on weight, and I’m betting Reg Grant has him on a reasonable, safe and healthy program to do just that.

    Cherneski, I had forgotten about Pat Verbeek… probably because he always played much bigger than 5’9″!

    It’s funny how within the past week or two Sam and Zipay have suggested the Prucha won’t last long in the NHL because of his size in their blogs, while Dave Maloney and Dellapina have suggested the same in radio interviews. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I might think they’d been coached by the organization to convince fans so there’s less of an uproar when they trade him off for some over-the-hill vet. ;)

  30. czechthemout!!!!! on

    size means nothing if you have no heart,look at adam hall,marek malik,krapunek,.i would rather have guys like avery,tie domi,dino ciccarelli,pat verbeek,george mcphee,than any of the so called big forwards that the rangers have.shtsbister is “big”but plays soft!!! ive’ watched him now in the nhlfor the last ten years.that is why he has never succeeded.he does not use his size and plays too soft.callahan is smaller than shtsbister but plays a much tougher game.and he can also score.

  31. On Prucha being a goal scorer. He sure isn’t a checker. Has he played with anyone who can set him up at EV this season?

  32. czechthemout!!!!! on

    prucha is very underrated by both rangers mgmnt and us fans.don’t forget he had a serious knee injury last year.it takes a good year to fully recover all your strengh.fear not prucha will go on to play another 8-10 years in the league and score another 300 goals,but he will do it with the blues,jd loves him and we have to make the playoffs this year because dolan has to raise ticket prices 10%.and we are going to win the cup this year after we get tkaczuk.

  33. Prucha stole that goal las night. It was still goin in even if he didnt tip it. You really have to credit that one to Avery for his awesome screen. And also Prucha im pretty sure has been listed at 175 since he came up

  34. czechthemout!!!!! on

    no go nyr,that puck was headed sraight for whiny brodeur’s pad.but you are right that avery created that goal.

  35. “Best Hip check on the team is Tyutin.

    I don’t know why he does it so rarely.”

    he also has one of the best shots on the team and almost never uses it. Under a good coach I am sure he would.

  36. Why do we have to make excuses for Prucha? He has lost the rookie season magic, that goal scorers touch, the nack for the garbage goal, all poise he had last year.Its obvious that he is a one year wonder. He is the Kevin Maas of the New York Rangers. He gets numerous chances and finds ways to keep the puck out of the net, whether it be shooting the puck right at the goalie instead of away from him or missing the net or even missing the puck completely. He cant finish, heck sometimes he cant even start. Last year was a magical season for him and the Rangers and that magic appears to have left. If this years Prucha was last years Prucha he would have 30 goals already. That is if he knocked in half of his chances. I have one question- Does his knee injury from 1 year ago make him miss the net? I dont think he could hit water if he fell out of a boat. It is truly mind boggling to see how far he has fallen off. He was truly a one hit wonder

  37. Boy it’s a good thing that Marty McSorley is going to be in Edmonton for the Messier festivities because otherwise those idiots in the front office would be signing him for his “size.”

    What the team needs is a GM who can actually evaluate talent!

  38. If Brian Gionta was property of the New York Rangers, he would still be in Hartford, described by every outlet of the or-GAN-I-zation as being too small to compete at the NHL level. So would Martin St. Louis.

    Free Peter Prucha!

  39. Talafous, you mean like choosing Jessiman over Parise? (Although if you pick Parise, we fans would panic over him being fishstick roe… :-) Poor l’il Nigel Dawes, stuck scoring his big goals in Hartford.

    But come on people! Petr Prucha? Plenty of kids suffer through a sophomore slump, but not many fight through it like this kid has, bless his heart. I’d be loathe to trade him as he’s still got goals in him. We’ll have patience with someone who HASn’t shown his stuff at this level, but throw out this baby with the bath water!?! Ahhh, no.

  40. Sam,
    I have one particular question about the coaching style of this team. The reason Prucha got asked to play in place of Shanahan was because Renney said he “knew the system.” I may not know that great deal having never played a game of hockey, but i have played soccer and watched enough hockey and sports to know what a “system” means to a team. Can you please define what this means for the Rangers. From watching them this entire season, i have yet to see any clearly defined “system” (And merely trying to get Jagr the puck can’t be the system…or is it?). Thanks again for your hockey knowledge Sam.

  41. Prucha can play. he is small but can move and has a good shot. he is a gamer and is 23. He is tradeable but only for the right players. We have multiple offensive D men in the system, but limited big shut down D men. Staal is a defensive D man but I am not sure if he is a big hitter nad very physical. He maybe will grow into that but he needs to get thicker and stronger…

  42. Prucha is around 5’11 180 I love him, only 2 things I would want him to improve is puck control and his top speed.

  43. so who shouldn’t be traded? Do they other teams look to get rid of most every year ? A player who have to be crazy to play here with the horse trader mentality of most of the fickle fans.

  44. if Prucha is not that good or a 1 year wonder or too small or is going to get hurt ( remember even Shanny gets hurt) or the rest of the nonsense, then no other teams would want him or you’d get dribble for him, Oh the other teams are stupid & the NYR are really run by a genius. Give it a break… Is MESSIER GM yet?

  45. Hey Sam, I notice you doing your homework there!~ Hockeyrodent has mentioned in his rants a couple of times the same thing about Prucha. (:0)

  46. hockeyfights.com is showing it’s anti-Ranger bias too…
    Its got Tuesday nights fight as..
    Voted winner: Colton Orr (89.7%) – Voted rating: 6.8

    ONLY 89.7% !!!!! He knocked Janssen into next week (and they’ve even got a youtube video to prove it!)

  47. Rangers need to do Prucha a service and trade him to a team that will put him in a position to score more.

  48. I wouldn’t trade Prucha for anything until we see what he looks like with another season on one of the top two lines and decent power play time. Prucha might be a bit snakebit this season…but I can’t hardly remember a night where he wasn’t hustling. Kid’s got HEART, which is sorely lacking with this squad. With Straka, Shanny, Nylander & Jagr all outta here within 2 years…I’d want Prucha on my team. He’s got speed, has a good shot that just keeps missing the net lately, and drives to the net without fear. You don’t trade guys like that…because his numbers this year are more a reflection on limited ice time and zero power play time than anything else…And speaking of power play, Sam, someone’s gotta shout out to Renney why he’s decided to allow his power play to revert back to the horrific failure it’s been all season. Roszival should be taken off the point IMMEDIATELY. Forget his puppy dog crush on Jagr…the guy has ZERO hockey instincts. How many times has he taken the puck into the offensive zone and then frozen with fear realizing he has no clue what to do? Reminds me of Eli Manning in the pocket…

  49. We need to see Prucha with a coach that knows what to do with him. Hopefully still on the Rangers.

  50. With Renney guiding the ship…we’re only gonna keep hitting rocks, over and over and over again. Because if there’s one head coach in the NHL who refuses to learn from mistakes made over and over and over again…it’s Tom Renney. Power Play not working? Wait 50 games to fix it. Players passing too much? Wait 50 games to fix it. And then, after a few games, let them go back to doing what they want to do. Tom Renney, I’ve said it before, better enjoy his last head coaching job in the NHL. Not only do we consistently get bad coaches on our team, they don’t coach again in the league!! Exception is Schmuckler…who obviously didn’t want to be here.

  51. Doodie Machetto on

    “He knocked Janssen into next week”

    I’m sorry. I just don’t see that. I see him throwing a bunch of punches landing on Jannsens Shoulder pad and helmet. Orr had bloody knuckles after the fight. You don’t cut your knuckles up on someone’s face; you do it on their equipment.

    The last punch which appears at full speed to knock Jannsens down didn’t even connect! Watch it slowly and you’ll see Jannsens ducks it, but goes down because he loses his balance(which is a different type of credit to Colton Orr, but not KO credit) He just got tangled and fell.

    Did Orr win? Yes. He controlled the fight and kept Jannsens from throwing more than 3 decent shots. Kudos to the good grip he got at the beginning of the fight. Did he knock him into the next week? Not even close.

    I’d say the total number of clean shots landed were 3, maybe 4 for Orr, and 2 for Jannsens. But all 5 or 6 of those were not KO shots.

    Knocking someone into next week is what Orr did to Boulton earlier in the season.

  52. Doodie Machetto on

    Chris, Muckler never coached again, he took the GM position in Ottawa. Technically, Sather just vacted to focus on the GM position (rightly so, no GM/coach has ever made the playoffs). Also, Colin Campbell got a much better job too.

    Keenan would be our exception to the rule.

  53. Chris

    I keep wondering why the coaching situation is like this year in and year out.

    If any city should have the best coaches, it should be NY.
    Why can’t we get a Peter Laviolette or a Barry Trotz?

    Why do the Islander always seem to get good coaching and the Rangers continue to hire unexperienced and uncharismatic crap?

  54. Doodie “You don’t cut your knuckles up on someone’s face; ”

    You don’t? Have you ever hit someone?

  55. Reginald Dunlop on

    Amazing how little you people know about the game…….. I guess that’s why you blog on the NHL and are not actually in the NHL

  56. “If I was White, I would have started laughing hysterically…Almost like a younger brother trying to beat up his big one.”

    maybe you are underestimateing Prucha’s size and strength. They been feeding him lots protein for over a year.

  57. I’ve hung out at places with Prucha before, he is probably 5’10 & a half, maybe 5’11.

    “Come on we need players with heart!”

    Ugh, every year as a Ranger fan we’ve heard this, even in 94. It’ll never stop.

  58. Doodie Machetto on

    “Doodie “You don’t cut your knuckles up on someone’s face; â€?

    You don’t? Have you ever hit someone?”

    Yeah. You don’t cut your hands on their face. You could HURT your hand(broken bones, etc.), but you don’t cut it. You’re much more likely to cut their face, long before you cut your hand.

  59. Prucha is the Kevin Maas of the rangers. Sure he is. Again who has he played with at EV who can set him up?

    He’s having a sophomore slump but he’s not going to wash himself out of the NHL.

  60. As for why the Rangers have bad coaches you can blame the incompetent GM for those. Unless one playoff rd in seven years is your idea of success. Rangers had Tortarella but didn’t keep him.

  61. prucha’s on pace for 20 goals this season. thats hardly a bust of a year, considering he hasn’t been on a top two line and he hasn’t played on the powerplay up until 2 weeks ago. pretty sure have of his goals last year were on the powerplay. take away the powerplay and take away half of his goals. So 20 goals is actually pretty darn good considering. I think the kid is perfect as a third line winger and powerplay guy he’ll pot you 20-25 goals a year and give you feisty competitive game every night. will he survive? thats the question

  62. “Tortarella sucks too. He’s just a more vocal Renney.”

    If Tampa had our goalie they would be a lot better

  63. Doodie Machetto on

    Torts would, but that doesn’t make him a good coach. He has a few great superstars on his team and a weak division. Tampa Bay and the Rangers to me are very similar, except they have a great defenseman(Dan Boyle) and no goaltending, and we have great goaltending and no defenseman. Other than that the teams are identical, and both coaches suck.

  64. Sure Torts sucks. The guy has won a cup and his team is in the playoffs while Renney’s isn’t yet they have about the same talent.

    Renney blows as a coach at least Torts gives a shit.

  65. oh yea TB is 9 pts up on the Rangers but Renney is as good as Tortarella. Don’t know what your talking about.

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