The comeback starts now

70

What, you’re not believers?

OK, so let’s hold off on the “There’s no stopping this Rangers juggernaut” stories for at least a little while. Still, here’s the remarkable part: considering how dreadful this team has been at points this year, they’re still only six points out of a playoff spot. And with a player like Marcel Hossa, that’s nothing.

Speaking of “The Great One” (has that nicknamed been used yet?) both John Dellapina and I nearly fell out of our chairs in the press box when we heard the Garden crowd chanting Hossa’s name in the third name. Talk about your Bizarro Rangers moments. What’s next, Marek Malik wearing the alternate captain “A”?

Anyway, a few thoughts:

  • Spoke to Don Maloney tonight in Edmonton, who confirmed that the Rangers were never in the market for a big-ticket free agent.

    “The race for the older veterans to give us a little bump, that was absolutely something we weren’t going to get into,” the Rangers assistant GM said. “We want to keep our young assets and we want to continue to grow our young assets.”

    As for the team going the other way — i.e. dumping Jaromir Jagr — Maloney originally said he couldn’t comment. But then he allowed that the team was willing to listen to offers about any of their players.

    Everyone but Hossa, that is. Actually, I’m making that last part up.

  • Another window into the blissful oblivion of a professional hockey player:

    I walked into the Garden tonight with Ryan Hollweg and Sam Rosen, and we started talking about the 11th hour trades before the deadline. This was around 4:30, and Hollweg said he had gone home and taken a nap, so he said he didn’t know about the Islanders getting Ryan Smyth or the Red Wings snagging Todd Bertuzzi.

    Then Rosen chimed in: “And you know about Dupuis, of course.”

    Hollweg was stunned. “We lost Dupuis?”

    “Yeah, right after the Ward trade,” I said.

    Hollweg double-taked again. “We traded Ward?”

    It must have been some nap. If I was really cruel, I could have told Hollweg he had been traded, too.

    Of course, Hollweg is a bigger man than I am.

  • Paul Mara didn’t arrive at the Garden until minutes before the game ended due to flight problems in Boston. We spoke briefly, but I’ll get into that more tomorrow..

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    70 Comments

    1. Longtimerangerfan on

      That would have been cruel if you had told Holweg that he was traded too…I would have visited you in the IC unit.

    2. NumberOneNothing on

      Malik with the “A”…. lets talk about scary things. get your vertigo back pronto, Shanny.

      on another note, I guess nylander showed Jag’s some of his moves with that spin goal? greeeeeat.

      but hey, henri shut out. I’ll drink to that.

    3. czechthemout!!!!! on

      good win tonite.hossa looks like a man posessed.want to see 15or more from him before i think he’s turned the corner.the king is of course the king.racoonek played like crap,was out of position many times,pock covered up by blocking several shots.rozy not so good tonite.malik,slow and shitty like usual for him.tyutin by far the best dman tonite.girardi steady as always.isbister was a total zero today.no offense no hitting not much jump,looks like he should be watching next game with crapunek from the rafters.immo was good at both ends of the ice,even though some what limited ice time.pp was good when first unit was not on.any of the the following pack players would have been a better call up than isbister,cally,korpkoski,byers.

    4. onecupin67years on

      Hossa played great tonite,maybe he’s blooming into something good.Awful passing on the pp with nylander refusing to shoot,most passes are off the mark to the d or open wingers who then have to tee up the shot, instead of one timers.
      Hossa and meryl steep any resemblence?

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      I’ve got to take a bow for standing by Hossa. Even if he reverts back to his prior form, he’s been so good lately that I have to say it feels good to have said he wasn’t as bad as he ws made out to be.

      Of course, I didn’t think he would score like this, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t think he could. In fact, before last season I told my brother that I thought Hossa could become a consistent 20 goal scorer and possibly crack 20 once or twice. More likely that he can become a consistent 10 goal scorer and occasionally crack 20.

    6. “Hossa and meryl steep any resemblence?”

      Hossa, Malik, and Betts could be related

      If I was Isbister and really wanted back in NHL I would have been hitting everything that moves, but it is obvious he has no heart or desire because in 3 games he registered 0 hits.

    7. I watched the Messier Edmonton thing. Ranger game on my XM . Mess wasn’t into it like in MSG. He gave Slats a huge hug. The video presentation was superior to the MSG one. It had more history in it. Very moving. The crowd chanted “Mooose!”
      Watching Mark on the video banging players, burning guys with his speed, deeking the goalie down and slipping it through five hole on a breakaway. I could only imagine another Ranger ever being like MESS. The complete package. Its tough not to miss him in MSG.
      Congrats Mark Messier. And thank you for letting me enjoy Ranger hockey with the dignity that only Mess could provide.

    8. Sam I’d like to hear Renney’s reasoning on probably again playing Malik & sitting Pock in the next game. Hossa showed signs last year on offense, so Renney gave him a defensive job most of this year. So now he gets credit by putting him on the 1st line? Alot of the decisions he’s maded this year have been highly questionable. Now Immo is back. Is Renney as confused and insecure as he actions seem to say ?

    9. The Rangers finally ran into a team that cared less about the game than The Rangers. 19 shots for Montreal. I guess our monster grip defensive system worked tonight!
      Seriously, by finally scoring three unanswered goals , the Rangers were able to take control of the game. Penguins on Thursday. I figure the task to be a bit tougher on that night.

    10. any player could be made to look good if they only showed his highlights. I just like to remember him as lazy selfish player who was getting way too much icetime and coughing up the puck anytime someone came near him. Yes I hate these selfish leaders like Messier and Jagr.

    11. It’s good to see one of our young players getting time to shine instead of sitting in Hartford or in the press box like Pock, while guys like Rachunek get over 20 minutes of play a game. Honestly, can Renney be a little more blind? He’s crippling the team’s playoff hopes by playing the Raccoon for a third of each game. We can only afford something around 5 or 6 losses from here on out, so Karel’d better turn his act around.

    12. It looked like Mess whispered something in Slats ear when he hugged him BKLYNBLUE. Maybe he said …”Glenny, you know I can do the GM thing better than you and Donnie.” LOL!

    13. John M any word on retiring Slats suit in Edmonton & raising it to the rafters with him in it with a lit cigar? ;)

    14. here is how unfair it is and has been. Pock played very well, the team won by a shutout, allowing only 19 shots, and yet you all know damn well that Pock will sit out the next game for Mara while the Raccoon gets off skate free once again.

      that old adage of Renney that you don’t mess with a winning lineup only applies to vets, not Pock.

    15. I too nearly fell out of my seat when the Hossa chant started. I had to turn to the person next to me and ask what they were saying.

      Several observations from tonight:

      1. What a complete travesty and joke that Jarko Immonen wound up spending so much of this year in Hartford while Jason Ward, Jason Krog, and even Blair Betts logged huge ice time for the Rangers.Immonen is like Girardi, which is probably what most of the Pack are like: not necessarily flashy, but very fundamentally sound. Immonen is always in the right place, played a big role in Hossa’s second goal, set up Isbister beautifully in the third but he couldn’t convert, and was also just stopped on the doorstep himself. He doesn’t get pushed around alot at all, and is just smart – he knows where to go. He strikes me as one of those guys that very quietly puts up 40-50 points in a year but is so non-flashy you don’t even notice it. Too bad our coach still hasn’t figured it out.

      2. I actially am a fan of Jagr, but please, someone smack him in the head to give him back his confidence. One big thing about his game, and I never watched him closely before he was a Ranger but I always thought of him as being a speedy, flashy player more than a power forward, but I notice that in addition to being fairly slow, he almost never receives the puck in full or even half-stride; he tends to hang out at the side boards right at the blueline, get the puck and then start moving. But because he’s standing there, standing still, the defense can easily tie him up. I think he really needs faster players who can carry the puck into the zone with speed, because once he has the puck and a head of steam on the rush he’s harder to stop. Nylander worked out for awhile because he has great puck control and could always enter the zone, but now his dipsyu doodling is completely out of control.

    16. At least with the Dupuis trade, we know Prucha will remain in the lineup when everyone is healthy, with Immonen there, as well. Unless of course Renney decides its better for Immo’s development to keep him in the lineup when Orr plays.

    17. Peter I’m not sure we’ll find out with Renney labeling him as slow & giving him the Dawes Pock treatment. He hands vets and favorites jobs, others he looks to concentrate on perceived faults and punish them for it. He needs to see his own faults and correct them, but he’s a slow learner while being stubborn with excuses.

    18. DJD – I thought you were giving up on the rangers and this blog to give yourself and all of us a break. You have to be the most negative person here by far. Also you should not put Messier (6 cups) and Jagr in the same sentence (Messier is so far better than JJ). If not for Mess, and Leetch, Richter and co people would still be chanting 1940.

    19. A few observations from being at the game tonite:

      Tyutin played very well. He has a great shot and finally started to shoot a bit more. With confidence, he can really be an asset on the point and on the power play. Talent wise, there’s more to him than Roszival who played weak at times tonite. Very indecisive with the puck. Malik also played pretty well tonite and showed he has a decent shot from the blue line.

      Rachunek was sloppy all night/season long and for the life of me, I can’t understand why he plays over Pock, who played okay tonite or why we can’t give Baranka a shot.

      Isbister was soft tonite. Nylander did nothing but skate again in circles. Avery was his tough, gritty usual self.

      Lundqvist wasn’t tested much, but came up huge the few times he was challenged. The Rangers are playing much more disciplined hockey as of late…only 2 penalties tonite.

      It’s funny that I have come to expect the Rangers to beat the better teams in the East (except for the Isles and Devils) over bad teams like Philly. I can;t explain why they only bring it for better teams.

      Lastly, the officiating was sub-par tonite; especially when it came to Jagr. He was tackled and hooked on atleast 3 occasions and it all went unpenalized even though the refs were staring right at the play. These were blatant non calls and the only player on the team that stood up for Jagr after he was tackled once was Matt Cullen; pretty pathetic.

    20. Peter, if Renney had any brains Immonen would be centering 2nd or 3rd line all of last season instead of that useless garbage Rucchin or Betts. But hockey is different here.

    21. It is funny when Tyutin first came to NHL he was shooting to a point where I wished he would pass more, now it seems he hardly ever shoots (thank Jagr and Renney) And he was a great PP guy with a nice shot and passes and keeps the puck in but the idiot coach doesn’t use him on the PP anymore

    22. I ti ssofficial DumpJagrr is insane.

      Messier and Jagr are both selfish blah blah blah!!!!!!!!

      These are 2 of the best players of all time. Messier only won 6 cups..

      Take some ritalin and calm down.

      The Canadian looked terrible tonight. I do not think the Rangers played that well, just the canadiens had no oo,ph….

    23. bklynblue – Renney put Hossa in a defensive role, and he excelled in it. Really learned how to play the puck.

      It’s made him well rounded. I’ve been bashed here for being a Hossa supporter, but how many other Rangers have looked better from one week to the next over the course of the past year? Even if he never turns into more than a 15 goal scorer he’s been entertaining to watch.

      Sam – he’s not The Great One, he’s Mini-Jagr. Same puck control, similar movements, similar size, not quite the same overall package (haha.) Someone at the Hockeybird dubbed him that months ago and it’s stuck pretty well.

    24. Its funny…I like Pock, I do, I hope he is re-signed. But dose everyone notice he is pasicly Poti? He dose use his body a bit more, but tonight he had at LEAST 6 or 7 times were he tried to poke-check the puck instead of playing teh body. How long before he starts to catch crap from the fans for not hitting? I tihnk he is a good defender, and can help on the PP, but for those who think he is some great defensive presence, I would like to se were that is. He dose make mistakes in his own zone, and he dose take chances offensivly. Now he didnt do it as much tonight, but dont be shocked when other teams score because he pinched in at a bad time. I still think he is worth keeping…and next season I would imagine Staal will make the team, and he should push Rachunek out of the lineup. But right now, IMHO teh only reason that Rachunek catches more crap, is that he is palying. IF Pock was in he wouldnt be all that much beter in his own zone….and perhaps a bit less physical.

    25. It does look as though Hossa has turned the corner. Tonight, he was in the right places at the right times doing the right things. He should have had the first star, IMO. As I’ve said before, he seems to be a player that adapts to his situation in the lineup, which is a valuable thing in a player. Here’s to hoping he continues proving his life-long critics wrong.

      Isbister? Seemed fairly invisible. Maybe Atlanta has more space on their roster.

      Immmonen played well. Hopefully with the departure of Krog, he gets a better chance. I loved the line (think it was on the power play)of Prucha-Immonen-Avery. Tough, talented and with a playmaking pivot. In fact, I liked all the lines tonight, with the exception to Isbister on third. I’d much rather see Dawes hanging on Cullen’s flank with Ortmeyer. Orr-Betts-Hollweg also seems to be a decent find.

    26. list of our prospects that I have pretty much no hope for making it with the Rangers and/or NHL

      Olver
      Helminen
      Beller
      Ryan
      Roche
      Falardeau
      Hillier
      Hunter
      Kozak
      Psurny
      Seymour
      Foote
      Zeliska
      Flatt
      Dornic
      Reese
      Furrer
      Pikkarainen
      Taylor

      Pock, Lampman, and Immonen will leave as free agents soon if they know what’s good for them

    27. DumpJagrDope: While I agree that alot of those guys will likely never lace them up in the NHL, even as an injury callup, how can you write off Seymour who is only 19? Dont want to give him any time to develope? Helminen is in his second year only and he has 55 points in 77 games…and you say no cahnce? I wont even get into the others who are still in juniors and NCAA that are scoreing well…how often have you seen these guys paly that you write them off so early on??

    28. Sam,

      Malik is our best “A” out there. Didn’t you see him sporting it in style last night. Really brought his game to another level.

    29. onecupin67years on

      Sam ,I just read you column 2/28 renney is full of bull bleep for his reason to trade Ward .Ward knows the system ,so lets get a new D and let him learn the system all while “we’re under the gun” jive ,renney spouts .
      No I think theres more to it than this and Ward is the scapegoat. And Montreal wasn’t too good last nite ,they just showed up ,so the fans can’t get too hyped up until 5-6 wins or a 9-1-2 roll comes.

    30. “bklynblue February 28th, 2007 at 12:23 am
      Sam I’d like to hear Renney’s reasoning on probably again playing Malik & sitting Pock in the next game. Hossa showed signs last year on offense, so Renney gave him a defensive job most of this year. So now he gets credit by putting him on the 1st line? Alot of the decisions he’s maded this year have been highly questionable. Now Immo is back. Is Renney as confused and insecure as he actions seem to say ??

      very well said.

    31. The Hossa song was discovered by Darius Kasparitis. That alone makes it awesome, because knowing these makes you ask three questions: Where was he? Who was he with? What was he doing – when he discovered the song?

      My funny idea is that he was chilling in a Russian nightclub with Yashin, Viktor Kozlov, and Vladdy Malakhov when the song was played. The other three naturally ignored it, but Kaspar jumped up and down and fought the DJ to figure out who sings the song.

      ——————–

      I had a scary thought last night. Are you guys ready for the defensive pair of Mara-Rachunek!? Soon enough, they’ll be nicknamed Stay Puff and Stay Puffier.

    32. DumpJagrDope
      February 28th, 2007 at 12:30 am
      any player could be made to look good if they only showed his highlights. I just like to remember him as lazy selfish player who was getting way too much icetime and coughing up the puck anytime someone came near him. Yes I hate these selfish leaders like Messier and Jagr.

      You are officially nuts. Or a Devils fan. Any Ranger fan who knocks Mess should be ashamed of themselves. You choose to remember him as that. I choose to remember him as a 6 time Cup winner and the only person ever to captain 2 different teams to a Cup.

      Do you even watch the games? I don’t remember Messier coughing up the puck anytime someone came near him. You’re out of your mind.

    33. Doodie Machetto on

      Ignore him, I have.

      I think that the trades that Sather has made during the season this season have been great, especially the ones in the past month. I *love* Avery.

      Not that this makes up for the 7 seasons before it, but I like it.

    34. Doodie,

      No question Sather has done a decent job with the trades he has made the past year. The only one that was bad was Moore for Hall, but he righted that ship yesterday by trading Dupuis for a decent prospect. The Avery trade was fantastic. I wish we had 10 of him. And the Hossa for Murray trade is going to be the ultimate steal if Hossa keeps contributing the way he has as of late.

      But Sather’s overall grade is still TBD. Until we know how his draft picks (Staal, Sanguinetti, Dubinsky, Korpikoski) play out. So far, his draft grade is not good since he took Jessiman over Parise and Getzlaf.

    35. Longtimerangerfan on

      P.W.
      February 28th, 2007 at 7:32 am
      Sam,

      Malik is our best “A� out there. Didn’t you see him sporting it in style last night. Really brought his game to another level.

      Hope you were kidding!!! The “A”, if anything, slowed him down more which isn’t possible, is it? Malikenstein is as slow and lumbering as they come and it’s more apparent now as he is trying to crash the net but the play is usually out of the zone before he can get there.

    36. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Anyone know where that HossaMVP is? That guys a walking Nostradomus I tell ya!!! Hat’s off to him for the screen-name. LOL. I’m being sarcastic, but now everyone sees 81 has the potential to play similarly to Atlanta’s 18.

      Anyone notice how different the whole team looked last night? Very reminiscent of last year -and, when I saw the 4th line out for a second shift early on in the 1st period I was shocked. We haven’t seen that since last year. They just went out and played hockey! Ortmeyer and Cullen had a nice edge to their game. Even colton Orr was skating!!
      Notice how different Jagr looked? He played very similar to the 2 games after the All-Star break. One of my friends wants to start calling him J-Rod (pun), but I hope that doesn’t stick (and that its not true).

      Sather’s dealing Moore – for Hall – for Dupuis – for Burrett and a 3rd rounder, that actually turned out better than I expected!!!

      PS: I’m buying my Avery jersey at the game tomorrow and the Rangers better keep him – he’s good for the team, even though his type don’t usually stick around very long (ref: Ville Niemenin).

    37. Come on Longtime, is there any doubt in your mind that I was being sarcastic? Orty should have been wearing the A. Malikenstein doesn’t even deserve to have the letters for Rangers on the front of his sweater.

    38. Longtimerangerfan on

      DJD you are truly an idiot when you spout the crap that you do about Messier! He is a “once in a lifetime” hockey player who could do it all. Yes he overstayed his time but I imagine it’s tough to call it quits doing the thing that you love most. There was one game when he had ONE hand on Jason Blake’s neck and had him pinned up against the boards. ‘Twas a beautiful sight.

      BTW if you want to see something amusing, go to the fishsticks website and look up the players. Too funny!

    39. Longtimerangerfan on

      P.W.
      February 28th, 2007 at 11:33 am
      Come on Longtime, is there any doubt in your mind that I was being sarcastic? Orty should have been wearing the A. Malikenstein doesn’t even deserve to have the letters for Rangers on the front of his sweater.

      Phew, I was getting worried about you.

    40. Longtimerangerfan on

      NYRich82
      February 28th, 2007 at 11:38 am
      For all of those players that said Hossa should be traded for a bag of pucks…

      Shame on you!

      But why did he get all the time in the world to do anything and others got nothing? Was it the name?

    41. Anybody else worried about the defensive liability of Mara? Isn’t he negative in the plus/minus category?

    42. Because Renney saw something in him. Although, even Renney admitted that what he saw in him was different then what he has/is becoming. I’m just saying that its easy to see someone’s faults, but it takes talent to see their potential.

    43. If Mara can keep the puck out of his own net, he’ll be a welcome addition compared to Ward. I think he will definitely help the PP. Sorry Rozy, but you can’t shoot from the point. And I don’t want to hear that Jagr tells him not to shoot, so save it DJD.

    44. They should really keep more stats, like how many times a puck goes in off of you into your own net. Or how many times your giveaways lead to a goal.

    45. oh man… that Ryan Hollweg story is great. Poor kid must have taken a like 5 hour nap, and missed it all! And why in the world is there an “A” on Malik’s jersey? I think that they may have put it on the wrong jersey… I mean why not JED ORTMEYER (my fav) or someone else on the 3rd/4th lines…

    46. Longtimerangerfan on

      NYRich82
      February 28th, 2007 at 12:00 pm
      They should really keep more stats, like how many times a puck goes in off of you into your own net. Or how many times your giveaways lead to a goal.

      At the top of that list would be Malikenstein, Ward and Rosival.

    47. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      If you read the BlueshirtBulletin blog a few days ago it hints at Jagr’s captaincy being through a dictatorship (commands) as opposed to a more democratic leadership (receiving input from other players) so I for one would not be surprised if Jagr hints to Roszival that shooting from the point is the last option. Afterall, we haven’t seen much of Cullen or Rachunek back there – right?

      About Mara’s +/-…he has always played on really poor defensive teams…so I guess he’ll fit perfectly on the Rangers!!! LOL

    48. I still think Ward is more defensively sound than Mara.
      So basically we are taking a step backwerds?

      How many 3 period leads do we have to blow before we realize what is missing is stready defense?

    49. Does anyone know, definitively, if we gave up or received a 3rd rounder in the Dupuis deal? I’ve seen it listed both ways. Not that it matters, that sounds like a steal.

      I’ve always liked Hossa and thought he played solid defensive minded hockey for us all through the beginning of the year and I love his emergence as an offensive threat. But how about he has a whole season as a consistent player, in either version, before we assess him?

      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: +/- is a useless stat.

      And wait, did Renney say Jagr has had a better season defensively? That’s a joke, right?

    50. Hey guys just FYI Hossa seemed to play well in International tournaments whenever he would play on the same line with his older brother. Maybe it is a JJ’s tutoring that pays off in offensive zone..

    51. Hey guys just FYI Hossa seemed to play well in International tournaments whenever he would play on the same line with his older brother. Maybe it is a JJ’s tutoring that pays off in offensive zone..

    52. Doodie Machetto on

      stf, yes, he also gave up a third rounder, but Bourret was a 1st round pick the same year as Marc Staal. I would gladly give up Dominic “no hands” Moore and a 3rd for a 1st rounder who can score. Especially considering what a weak draft pool there is this year and considering what a strong draft pool there was that year.

    53. ” There was one game when he had ONE hand on Jason Blake’s neck and had him pinned up against the boards. ‘Twas a beautiful sight.”

      was Purinton trying to poke out Orr’s eye a beautiful sight as well?

      The reason I remember Messier only as an old fart is because I got into hocke in 1996. And I hate him for coming back for 3 years with the Rangers. He was playing like crap.

    54. “Helminen is in his second year only ”

      in his 3rd year and Rangers have zero interest in him.

    55. READ ON ANOTHER WEBSITE WHERE MARA “EMPHASIZES” THAT DESPITE HIS SIZE HE’S MORE OF AN OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN.
      SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER POTI TO ME; ALTHOUGH HE’S NEVER
      BEEN QUITE AS GOOD.

    56. The defense next season could be much improved if Mara turns out to be a good pickup. I don’t see him being overly physical, but if he’s more mobile than Ward and can score on the PP then I would say it’s a step up.

      Mara, Girardi, Tyutin, Staal (hopefully), Pock and Rosival with Rachunek and Baranka if he can make the jump.

      If Staal can step in an play 20 minutes a night and be the solid, stay home defenseman he is projected to be he can play with Mara and that pair, along with Tyutin and Girardi could be a decent foursome.

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