It’s not much, but it’s something


If only for a brief moment, Brendan Shanahan appeared in the hallway here at the MSG Training Center before ducking into the trainer’s room.

“He’s good,” Tom Renney said with a smile. “He’s going to go in tonight.”

Easy, now. The coach was only joking. Shanahan is still on injured reserve until Sunday, and was only at the rink today to receive treatment on his shoulder (also banged up in the collision with Mike Knuble) from Jim Ramsay. But as even Renney acknowledged, the fact that the 38-year-old wing is even venturing out of his New York apartment is a reason to be encouraged.

“Definitely,” Renney said. “I took encouragement from it the next day when he went for a little walk and grabbed a coffee and some fresh air. So it is encouraging. I’m not familiar enough with this, so we want to err on the side of caution.”

With that in mind, the Rangers are no closer to determining when Shanahan might return, although an appointment with a neurologist tomorrow will likely shed some new light on the subject. But until then, the team will press on tonight without him.

Among the updates:

  • Marcel Hossa skated this morning despite some stiffness in his neck, and is likely to play tonight against the Devils. As I surmised yesterday, the Rangers called up Brad Isbister only as a precaution in case Hossa can’t play. And as Renney said, the team opted for the 6-foot-4, 231-pound Isbister over Ryan Callahan for a reason.

    “Yeah, the activity around the net, the way we’re going to work their D, you don’t get too much off these guys off the rush. So where Ryan can and certainly will contribute to our team that way, it’s a big strong body. So if in fact we lose Hossa, we thought we could replace him.”

    That said, Renney said Isbister would play in Hossa’s place. So if Hossa can go, Isbister would be a scratch alongside Jason Krog and Thomas Pock. Which leads me to my next point…

  • Marek Malik, he of the unexplainably high plus-minus ratio, is back in after declaring his shoulder sprain “playable.” I know where many fans fall on this, but trust me, if you want to be disappointed that Pock isn’t playing, be disappointed that Renney continues to tap Karel Rachunek despite the misadventures of late. That part I still don’t get.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see Jaromir Jagr at left wing tonight as Renney bounces the captain throughout the lineup tonight to get away from Jay Pandolfo. The thinking is that Jagr can protect the puck better playing his natural wing. How big an adjustment will that? According to Renney, Jagr has even claimed he can play center, as he did in Russia. But the coach said he isn’t willing to go down that road yet.

    OK, more later from the Garden…

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    1. Why Rachunek is still in the lineup is beyond my belief. I wish my job paid me as much for mediocre performance.

      Jagr at LW might help, but I doubt it. Look at last game. Rasmussen was all over him as well. Either the Devils will move Pandolfo to RW for tonight, or someone else will shadow him.

      Lets go Rangers!! We need these 2 points tonight!

    2. I think Jagr should have started the season playing left wing. Now don’t flip out just yet. With the weakness in his shoulder he was unable to shoot, nullifying the reason he plays on his off-wing, to have a better shooting lane and angle. Playing on your natural wing makes it easier to be a playmaker as you forehand is facing outwards the middle of the ice while you skate forward, without having to contorte one’s body.

    3. gionta out elias game time decision

      the way to beat the shadow is for the other two clowns to create oddman situations, if straka and hossa or nylander or whoever continue to force the puck to jagr when a man is right on top of him then they are doomed to failure. what they have to do is make some plays with the open ice given to them and only then will they be able to keep the devils honest

    4. If Elias is out again as well, I’d like to think NJ won’t put up more than 1-2 goals again. The trap will be in full force.

      Henrik, we need a shutout so our 1-2 goals past the big baby in net will get us 2 points!

    5. 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?


    6. Are there odds tonite on Avery running Big Baby again? What about Henrik dropping the blocker and glove and showing Janssen who’s the boss? After how chippy the last game was, I’d love to see a bench clearer, I love watching goalies fight!

      We need to see a better forecheck tonight. If that means playing the Betts line and the Cullen line a few more shifts to tire out the defense, than maybe it should be done. Hollweg and Orts create the turnovers, think if someone like Jags was out there to feed in the open. Easy goals.

      Guys like Avery, Orr, and Isbister (if he goes) need to cement there skates right infront of the net. Get under Big Baby’s skin, run him, do whatever is needed to get the puck in the back of the net.

    7. Betts & Dupuis should see the game from the stands , put Krog & Isbister in. The D has become pick among the lesser of 3 evils. I prefer Pock in, but picking between Rachky & Myleak I’d have tell the leak to keep resting.

    8. Lowtide- are the words you’re looking for

      well thought out, innovative and deceptive…

      cuz that’s me, baby!

      no, i’m reposting to see if i can get sam’s attention…

      but while we’re on your metaphor, i can certainly run one line out there, that will both not cause anyone to scramble and fail in its desired goal…

      Fire Renney.

      Short and sweet. Two words. good ole Noun/verb, declarative you as the subject. Renney as the object.

      shall i run that line out there again?

      Fire Renney.

      How about Renney firing Renney?

      While i believe that coagulation has not yet occured, I do have faith the boys will in time…However, quoting the scholar Henry David Thoreau…”Things do not change; we change.” Therefore, whilst at the helm, I feel it is my duty to offer the proper perspective on the team’s current stay-tus. In doing so, i believe that we, as an organization, must, as Thoreau once did, ponder the meaning of life in a romantic sense and squat on 19th century land. Or, if that method to resolving the issue seems illogical, perhaps it is time to take inventory on the wins and losses of this team and perhaps, judge whether the team is falling into an abyss or rather a chasm or are we rejuvenating and rearming ourselves for the next season. Am I the best candidate? Am I the only candidate. While i believe i’m the ideal hybrid of a player’s coach and a personnel expert, perhaps it is time for the organization to determine that our current course of action is amiss….

    9. Geez, I wish they would bench Rachunek or better yet shoot him out of a cannon at center ice as pre game festivities. i’m sick of watching him put pucks in our own net. other end dummy.

      good news about shanahan. anything is good at this point when he’s around the rink this soon.

      keep up the great work sam!

    10. Avery Blasts Brodeur on

      formerly Malik Must GO

      Can someone give me one reason why Rachunek is playing? Is it contarct? Loyalty?

      I don’t see a reason.

    11. I was thinking that Rachunek was being showcased for a trade for a while, but I think that after the last couple of games, it may be backfiring. The only plus Rachunek has is his offensive ability. I would rather have a Girardi that prevents goals and gets the puck up to the forwards to score over a defenseman who can chip in goals but his defensive game is lacking.

    12. Maybe Rachunek has an incriminating picture of Sather and/or Renney. Why else would he be in the lineup every single night?

    13. Hollweg44: Tsss… I heard Rachuneck is being showcased, Edmonton is willing to give us a bag of pucks and jersey signed by Ryan Smith for him :))))

    14. poll firing Renney could be a start but they’d still have sather. the only logical move is, MESSIER GM. Yet?

    15. Rachunek is in there because Renney and sather don’t know what they are doing. One playoff rd in 7 years under sather.

    16. Rob Blake has a no trade clause.He has a house on Manhattan Beach.Blake is not leaving LA to come east

    17. Marty's whine cellar on

      If anybody gets in my crease tonight I’m going to…

      flop like a fish…

      and cry like a baby…

      whaaa! whaaa!

    18. Martin Brodeur on

      My mama wanted to call me Mary cause I always liked to play with dolls nad wear pretty dersses.

    19. Rachunek’s offensive skill has really been on display as of late. Look at all the goals he’s been scoring, and for both teams!

      I’d rather see young guys playing than these old fools. Sit Malik and Raccon, play Pock and Liffiton or whoever else we have. I’d rather see Straka back on D, he has been caught on after the PP a few times and played well back there.

    20. Is it just me, or is it painful to watch the Devils play? It is so frustrating watching that stinking trap of theirs, so I know it must be even more frustrating to play against. When the Rangers aren’t playing, the only other games I’ll usually watch are Buffalo or Pittsburgh because they are exciting. If the NHL really wants more scoring and more fans they should make trapping an illegal defense. This would do much more for the game than phantom hooking penalties, which on some nights make special teams the only real factor. End-to-end action is much more exciting than never-ending powerplays. Anyway, screw the Devils, GO RANGERS!!!!! Avery: hammer Brodeur, Orr: hammer Janssen !!!

    21. Stop crying and beat these bastards! I’d say if we don’t beat Devils tonight we’re not making Playoffs.

    22. What a great fight for Colton Orr. I was yelling at my TV for Janssen to end up in the hospital after threatening Lundqvist. Hope he gets clocked again tonight.

    23. Been reading the blog since the season began (nice work Sam !!!) but I’m a rookie at posting.
      I thought (as a season ticket holder since the 60’s) that I’d bring up a topic that’s not directly related to tonight’s rematch while we wait for the puck to drop.
      I have two seats in section 131 that go for $68. per tix. I got my playoff invoice in the mail yesterday and I’d like to pass along the prices for this year’s home playoff games (if we actually make it) in the “new fan-friendly NHL”.
      1st round: $100. (per seat per game)
      2nd round: $120.
      3rd round: $136.
      No mention yet of Finals prices (I know…it’s a pipe dream) but you can probably start your guesses at about $175.
      I forgot to mention the $25. shipping fee to send 2 booklets with 12 tickets in each….very weighty stuff.
      Look forward to hearing any comments.
      I enjoy reading most of the postings…very informative and even more passionate.

    24. Avery could be a real big part of our team next year….he could help set a tone that hasn’t sounded in MSG since mark messier’s elbow went north.

      Perhaps Messier could return and take the elbow to Renney’s head and knock some sense into him, or do we just keep watching Malik-Rachunek sabatoge what remains of our season in ruins?

    25. how about this trade

      Jagr, Rachunek and Betts to Sharks for Bernier, Nieminen, Bell and 2nd rounder

    26. we can sit here and try to figure stuff out but the reality is that if jagr doesn’t pick it up we are done. the good thing about that is that renney will hand over his job and we might get a coach who has the guts to deal with issues rather than sugar coat them.

    27. Poll -a-mine
      Well done. Having a little fun to mask this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.. knowing where this season is headed, and half-way hoping for a loss so as to put the sham to bed and become sellers and reload for next year and beyond.

    28. the commish 52 post about playoff ticket prices shows why Dolan will not let them be sellers at the deadline.

      he wants that playoff revenue.

      if they don’t win tonight, it may be a moot point.

    29. I don’t know why Renney doesn’t just leave Pock alone. They are going to loose this guy mentally and maybe phsically if they don’t play this right. He should be a regular D-man. He moves the puck, has a good accurate shot on net and is probably the best in the D zone.

      When the Avery trade happened, I knew some things about him, but concentrated on his penalty minutes. Never got to see him as much as I have in his first few games. If he keeps playing at this level, he was a steal.

    30. that trade proposal is the worst thing i’ve seen in my entire life. you should have to write on a blackboard. “I WILL NOT MAKE UP STUPID TRADE RUMORS REGARDING JAGR AGAIN FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE. 2 Thousand times.

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