Looks good to me


Though Tom Renney still insists that Martin Straka will be a game-time decision, the coach helped the 34-year-old center test out his left shoulder by feathering some one-timers to Straka at mid-ice during the morning skate.

Straka looked good to me, although I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV). But it’s also worth noting that the Rangers tested out some new lines today with Straka taking part (note that Jarkko Immonen would sit if Straka played). They were:


No players were called up from Hartford, so the six defenseman from Saturday remain intact, while a well-rested Henrik Lundqvist will obviously be back in net.

Meanwhile, for today’s audio selection, I pulled aside Matt Cullen to ask about the newest Islander, Ryan Smyth, since the two faced one another in last season’s Stanley Cup finals. (For more on Smyth, here’s a “compelling story on the forward in today’s New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/05/sports/hockey/05smyth.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin).

Here it is (note even more strange techno music playing in the background):

More from the Garden later…

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  1. Colorado Mark on

    Immo out. While I am sure that some will be ticked off, I think that these lines make the most sense. Sure, you could drop Isbister and have Immo center Straka and Prucha, but I have a feeling Isbister is going to have something to prove against his old team. The other lines are good. I really liked the Avery-Cullen-Ortmeyer line. I like Hossa back with Jags and the HBO line dominated when they were on the ice. All the lines have a physical presence (although the Jagr/Hossa combo is more puck protection than physical play).

  2. I hope Isbister understands that the first time someone as much as sneezes on Straka, he has to take action.

  3. DumpJagrDope on

    Isbister makes no sense at all, Immonen is a much better player than Shitbistro.

  4. DumpJagrDope on

    I get it, the dumb motherfuckers now would feel stupid to admit that they made a mistake with Isbister, so they now giving him every chance to score so they can beat themselves on the chest and tell everyone what geniuses they are.

  5. Im not sure exactly what it is Immonen has to do to be deemed worthy of a regular role on this team, but he’s sure done alot more than many who have those roles.

  6. I like these lines better (similar to previous lines used):


    If they put Nylander with Jagr and Hossa, he’s going to pass up shots and try to feed one of them. If he plays with Avery, he’ll be forced to shoot more since Avery goes hard to the net for rebounds/deflections.

    Still though, these combos aren’t terrible.

  7. Peter only Renney & Co might be willing to answer that truthfully. That’s a big reason for Renney to be reassigned, he’s non-desire to play guys from Hartford except as a last option. He prefers vets or guys he has a double standard for.

  8. goalbyPrucha on

    It seems Isbister gets to play instead of Immo due to size. Wanting size for tonight makes sense since the Isles have manhandled us badly the previous 4 games.

  9. I don’t know, if I was going to dress Isbister instead of Immonen, I think I’d have him ride shotgun for JJ on line 1 and tell him if Witt goes after JJ, you kick his a$$ or you’re back in Hartford tomorrow. Right now there’s no deterrent on that first line to keep Witt from taking liberties, which he’s done pretty effectively vs JJ this season. Bottom line though is that JJ has to step up and make them pay on the scoreboard if he wants the crap to stop.

  10. I just hope that the refs call a good game. What I mean by that is not calling bad penalties on the rangers and wat ching the islanders do whatever they want and not getting called for penalties because the games I have recently watched it’s been unbelievable how it appears that the refs have it in for the rangers. The thing that really bothers me is renney just stairs in to space and doesn’t say anything to the refs when these things happen.

  11. Renney has been doing a good job of mixing the line during games. Its part of what brought them back to life in 3rd vs Stl. If they dont work early im sure we will see them jumbled up again.

  12. Sam would you be able to make a serious inquiry about some of the music selections they run? I doubt I’m the only one that would enjoy having some “Authentic NYR Workout EuroTechno” on thier mp3 player.

  13. “Sam would you be able to make a serious inquiry about some of the music selections they run? I doubt I’m the only one that would enjoy having some “Authentic NYR Workout EuroTechnoâ€? on thier mp3 player.”

    Agreed 100%

  14. I like the lime combos. Anyone who would see Immonen play instead of Isbister tonight is out of their minds. Isbister is needed against the Isles both as an agitating fixture in front of the net (maybe he’ll buy prucha a goal) and as a means to protect straka from impending attacks by the opposition, and generally to stick up for his teammates. Guaranteed this is what Renney has asked of him. With the threat of being axed for future games hanging over his head, I believe that he will do his best to perform these much needed tasks of which he is certainly capable.

  15. Hate to be a doomsayer…but the Isles are coming in with a 7-1-3 record in their last 10 games…and this season have pretty much done everything except steal the Rangers’ girlfriends if you know what I mean. The Rangers are simply not built to be the kind of team that can win on emotion or passion…they have talent on the top end, but that talent rarely if ever plays with emotion. And those who play with passion…sadly are severely lacking in offensive skills. If Henrik stands on his head, if our special teams is at least +1, if the Rangers finally find it in themselves to play like a true New York team at home…then maybe we have a shot. But…I get a horrific feeling that it’s all gonna be over by Thursday. We can keep talking about how the 3rd period in St. Louis might be a springboard…well I don’t buy it because this team entered a long home stand with EXTREMELY winnable games and tanked every one of them, showing not nearly enough passion, fortitude, or even good hockey sense along the way. I’d love for them to turn it around…but I’m a realist. Tonight might just be a massacre…because the Isles know they can KO us by winning tonight.

  16. I’m liking our fourth line lately.

    They aren’t playing much, but Orr is improving and Bett’s physical play seems to be elevated by playing with Hollweg and Orr.

    I hope someone fights Witt tonight, if only to free up Jagr for 5 minutes. Witt seems to be Jagr’s kryptonite, and I don’t understand why, he isn’t that good a defenseman.

  17. Hi Sam,

    Any word on Kaspar’s condition and what actually happened to him on Friday?



  18. Thordic,

    I understand your pessimism. It’s not easy being a Rangers fan.

    But lets say the Rangers do collect 0 points tonight AND Thursday night. I still don’t think that KOs them for the following reasons:

    1. As it stands now, they are 4 points behind Carolina with 3 games in hand. Even if they lose both, that’s still only 2 games behind with 1 in hand. Granted, getting 0 points in these 2 games should be deemed unacceptable and it does make things a lot tougher. But I wouldn’t say it’s a KO.

    2. Has anybody seen the schedules for the other teams? By far, the Rangers have the easiest schedule of them and CAR, MTL, TOR, and BOS.

    Like I said in an earlier post today, 2 points are needed. 3-4 would be excellent.

  19. Rangers Pride on

    Thordic – Witt is Jagr’s kryptonyte is only because Jagr does not enter the zone with enough speed but rather waits for somebody to enter and pass the puck to him. And Witt is lurking right next JJ to knock him down once big guy gets the puck. But if you remember the last game when JJ came in flying into the zone, he skated around Witt like he was traffic cone.

  20. Unfortunately, NJ Mark, the Rangers would probably be better off with a tougher schedule, seeing how they play like crap against most of the bad teams.

  21. Maybe they are due for a letdown tonight??

    Hate to be a doomsayer…but the Isles are coming in with a 7-1-3 record in their last 10 games…and this season have pretty much done everything except steal the Rangers’ girlfriends if you know what I mean.

  22. I’ll find out the music situation, although I think it’s just players rotating their own Ipods on to the general stereo in the fitness room.

    Personally, I’m not a techno guy, but I have become attached to the two songs played at the start of games: “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire followed by “No Way Back” by the Foo Fighters.

    Of course, I also like “New York” by Ryan Adams, which is the song they always play right after the Rangers lose. I always have this image in my head of Ryan Adams walking harmlessly down a Manhattan street and Colton Orr just decking him from behind, for no reason than he attaches him with losing.

  23. In the Eastern Conference, the Rangers have more goals than ONLY two teams. Jersey and Philly. We need offense.
    In 14 games, miniscule and playing with stone hands 4th line wingers IMMONEN has 1g 5a. On the other hand, ISBISTER, who has now been moved up to top two lines in 5 games has 1 goal. And that was in his first game.

    Faceoffs: Immonen is 13th in the NHL – THIRTEENTH! winning 56% of his faceoffs. In fact, his faceoff win and pass to point vs. St. L. in getting the Rangers started on their comeback. Straka, on the other hand has won 43%.

    When the hell are the people who have access to this a-hole idiot Renney gonna call him on this stuff?

  24. Hey, Sam, here’s a suggestion: Instead of digging into what kind of music these 11th placers play in the locker room, ask Renney why Immonen has to sit for a loser like Isbister. Thank you in advance.

  25. The Isbister/Immonen debate doesn’t go very far when you consider one is used as a center and one is a wing. If you have a problem with Isbister being up instead of Ryan Callahan or another young wing, I’ll give you that.

    But the real issue here is Blair Betts over Immonen, and that has more to do with Betts as a more effective checking center, and his value in face-offs and on the penalty kill. If you don’t agree with that, that’s fine. But that’s the reasoning.

  26. Sam, you took the words right out of my mouth. I don’t have a problem with isbister instead of jarko, jarko hasn’t shown me much lately, and one is a Wing and the other a center. What i dont get is why isbister ahead of callahan?? we’re not scoring goals, so you would think maybe bring the top goal scorer from hartford up here and see if he can provide a spark…I don’t want to hear about isbisters size, he doesn’t play very physical, and callahan has shown some spunk when called up and wasn’t afraid to throw the body!!

    JArko vs betts is no comparison, especially the way betts and our 4th line has been playing…

  27. That is a great reason Sam. Betts is a great PK man, blocks shots, and wins faceoff (though Immo is pretty good at faceoffs too). What I would like to see is Immo at center and Straka at LW if he is ready to go. It is where he has played most of the year, and he is better there than Shitbister is.

  28. Hey sam,
    i just a have quick question, i was watching the wolfpack and phantoms game over the weekend. The phantoms announcers said that the rosters are now frozen. Does that mean that no player is allowed to be sent down or called up? Thanks

  29. Matt —
    I have to check but my understanding is the Rangers have four call-ups between now and the eend of the season, I’m assuming that would include Marc Staal when his junior season is over. But the roster freeze they’re talking about has to do with the Wolf Pack submitting a “clear day roster” for the postseason.

  30. Sam, Straka will be 2nd line center. Sit Isbister and have Immonen center for Straka. He wins faceoffs, backchecks and has offensive skills. Isbister belongs in a beer league. Why does everyone put so much time, sweat and tears into the Rangers, but accept these serial misjudgments by the coach so easily? It’s nuts.

  31. NJ Mark,

    Carolina has fewer games to finish the season but some of those are against tougher opponents.

    Check out HockyRodent for more schedule comparisons.

  32. Good to see Straka is this much closer… even if he doesn’t play tonight, it’s almost a sure bet he’ll be in next game, yeah?…. but what’s the latest on Shanny? Hear anything on him lately? I can’t see these concusion symptoms lasting TOO much longer, no? Hopefully he can get back soon and help us out

  33. Alex Roberts on

    sam i agree with chard. straka flexibility to move to the wing makes the immonen v. isbister question a very real one, not a useless one as you suggest.

    immonen is stronger on faceoffs than straka, and is defensively sound. he should be centering that line with straka on the wing. or centering the third line with cullen on its wing. isbister brings nothing to the table. he blows.

    “Isbister is needed against the Isles both as an agitating fixture in front of the net (maybe he’ll buy prucha a goal) and as a means to protect straka from impending attacks by the opposition, and generally to stick up for his teammates.”

    ARE you kidding me? tough? protection? isbister is a puss. he hasn’t stuck up for his teamates, he hasn’t fought, he doesn’t take the body the way hollweg, ortmeyer, or orr do. and he can’t score.

    he brings zilch to the table.

    anyone who can defend isbister being in this lineup tonight simply does not want to look at the facts on the table.

    there’s this knee jerk desire here to defend the ranger’s moves against critics like chard, seemingly out of blind devotion to the team’s management and coaching. just because you take an opinion different with the one that renney has formulated doesn’t mean you’re not as big of a rangers fan.

    thomas jefferson once said “dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism”

    in fact, he also said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    off with the heads of sather and renney!

  34. Thanks for the link Jay.

    Carolina still has a home and home with NJ, 2 games against Tampa, and one each against San Jose, Atlanta, and Toronto. That’s half of their schedule. A .500 finish by them is very realistic, which would put them at 87 points.

  35. Thanks Alex. You are a true Ranger patriot. And quite an historical intellectual.

  36. How can you justify sitting Imonnen after his performance on Saturday? Jarko is not small. He can handle himself in traffic as he displays each time he wins a faceoff. Isbister can only give the aura of size because he does not play big. Isbister does not play strong along the boards either. Imonnen adds more value each game. Strak plays wing better than center. Lets not forget that the Rangers are 0-4 versus the Isles this year and do not score enough to afford a player like Isbister to take away a playmaker like Imonnen.

  37. Yeah, I’m not too sure why the second line couldn’tve just as easily been Straka Immonen Prucha rather than Isbister as the second line winger…. but heyy LETS GO RANGERS!!!

  38. GuitarWizard on

    Isbister seems content with skating around, not touching the puck or anyone else on the ice and collecting his NHL paycheck.

    Immonen, however, has made things happen when he’s on the ice and put some points on the board.

    I would love to see Avery, Immonen and Prucha together. All three have been into the game making things happen.

  39. Colorado Mark on

    If we were playing any other team except the Isles, I would be pissed at Isbis over Immo(moving Straks to the wing). But I think, for the first game anyway, I’d see what kind of game Isbister would have against his former team. Heck, guys we trade away always have good games against us. There is that extra incentive.

  40. Isbister…Dupuis…Adam Hall…Jason Ward…Jeff Toms…Fedor Federov…Zdeno Ciger…Valiquette…Muzzatti…I’m sure you can all name many, many more…net, net, when opportunity arises in Rangerland, youths stay in Hartford and OPJ (other people’s junk) come to WMFA…developing young players is different here…

    …and, suggesting Isbister is physical in any way shape or form, is comical…

  41. isbister is playing scared. not sure what all those reports were on him being one of the top guys with the pack. He better turn it up 2 notches tonight.

  42. “I’d see what kind of game Isbister would have against his former team.”

    Isbister’s been with Isles, Oilers, Bruins and Coyotes. If he scored vs. his former teams he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

  43. That is indeed some strange techno. I find it hard to picture Jagr groovin to that.

    That said, the main topic of concern here seems to be Isbister on the second line. I mean the guy had 6 shots on saturday to lead the team (yes he was on the 1st line), but I think the ranger staff is taking a good look it him, because he’s here to stay (well at least till the end of the season).

  44. OK, I don’t think the idea of moving Straka to the wing and having Immonen play center is a bad one. So good point on that.

    However, just to be contrary: against a team as physical as the Islanders, do you really want an undersized line of Straka, Prucha, and Immonen? If Isbister is here for his size — and let’s face it, he’s not here for his graceful skating — then obviously Renney thinks those other two need some help in that department, especially if Straka is sore.

    I’ll try to ask about that when we meet below and get back to you.


  45. GuitarWizard on

    I saw Isbister when he played for Albany’s AHL team earlier this year. He was a non-entity then too. Not sure what happened when he went to Hartford, but he did put up some points there.

  46. Although, I would even move Hollweg to the 2nd line to play with Immo and Straka before I’d start Isbister.

  47. Renney is an asshole, I find myself almost wanting the team to lose just so renney gets fired. I mean i am a die hard fan and i do not understand most decisions this guy makes. It defies logic. He is loyal to guys he knows from the past just like jason ward and jason krog. We saw how well that worked out. Immonen should be playing, no ifs ands or buts. Same goes for pock. It is such a shame it took an injuries for pock to even get a chance. Every kid we bring up never gets a chance with renney. Dawes, Callahan, Immonen, Hossa, Prucha. He buries these guys on a fourth line with colton orr and plays them 7 minutes a game… maybe. How do you expect them to show anything. What would jagr do with those linemates and limited ice time. Not much. Renney sets a tone with this team that a lack of physicality is ok. It shows in their play. If a more fiery coach was brought in like perhaps a Schoenfeld the team would most likely play tougher. Look at Lindy ruff in buffalo, he gets danny briere and max afinogenev to throw the body. Attitude reflects leadership, and leadership is sorely lacking on this team but moreso from the head coach than the captains or anyone else. Captains lead by example and Jagr plays hard everygame, same goes for straka and Shanny. The C is overrated. It does not take a C to lead. Wayne Gretzky never wore the C for the Rangers, does that mean he did not lead. Of course not.

    Renney Needs to go for this team to have a chance to succeed. We have the talent to do it, we do not have the attitude.

  48. SAM: if Isbister doesn’t hit and Immonen doesn’t hit, then wouldn’t you want the better hockey player, or the player with greater upside?…that, my friend, is Immonen…

  49. The funniest thing about this blog are the “fans” undying devotion to a slow, meandering center named Immonen with all of his one goal. He just isn’t that good and certainly doesn’t deserve the accolades reaped upon him by the “fans” here who are only doing it, I’m convinced, because he’s young. The “youth fanatics” are hysterical. They make no sense, but they are funny.

  50. DumpJagrDope on

    “The Isbister/Immonen debate doesn’t go very far when you consider one is used as a center and one is a wing. If you have a problem with Isbister being up instead of Ryan Callahan or another young wing, I’ll give you that.

    But the real issue here is Blair Betts over Immonen, and that has more to do with Betts as a more effective checking center, and his value in face-offs and on the penalty kill. If you don’t agree with that, that’s fine. But that’s the reasoning.”

    huh? Straka can play wing.

  51. DumpJagrDope on

    Isbister puke is getting more chance to succeed than Dawes, Callahan and Immonen all put together

  52. Longtimerangerfan on


    I agree 100%. Renney must go, period. Your other points are well taken too.

  53. Immonen can’t do too much more then what he has to prove he deserves to be a regular in the line up. For the argument that Isbister, will bring more size to the line up just doesn’t add up. Even if he is bigger then Immo, he doesn’t bring the physical edge…We have the physical edge we need with Orr, Hollweg and Avery.


    We could have even put Cullen with Straka and Prucha. Hopefully next season Immonen will get the shot he deserves. If we could find a replacement for Renney, I wouldn’t miss him. He hasn’t made the right decisions this season as he did last. What happened to Jagr on the point for the PP?

  54. What exactly has Immonen proved? That Dale Purinton is a faster skater then the mighty Jarko???

  55. DumpJagrDope on

    Sam, why don’t you research what kind of music successful teams like Devils, Sabres, Ducks, Sharks, Islanders, etc listen to?

  56. GuitarWizard on


    What has Immonen been given the chance to prove? In the few and far between times he’s been in the lineup he’s been given little time on the ice.

    I think most people are saying he should be given a chance over Isbister who has proven nothing in all the time that he has been given.

    In the last few games, Immonen has far outplayed Isbister when he has been given the ice time.

  57. DumpJagrDope on

    “What exactly has Immonen proved? That Dale Purinton is a faster skater then the mighty Jarko???”

    no he proved Renney and you are both idiots

  58. While I want to see the youth get ice time maybe Isbister is the safer play here…he’s got over 400 NHL games under his belt compared to Immo’s what 20? I’m not saying that Immo has made many terrible mistakes but we can’t afford any at this stage. I would def. rather see Isbister maybe on the 3rd line instead of the 2nd.

  59. DumpJagrDope
    “What exactly has Immonen proved? That Dale Purinton is a faster skater then the mighty Jarko???�

    no he proved Renney and you are both idiots

    Wow. I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight. A “youth fanatic” as verbally abused me. I’ll try to get over it.

  60. senior citizen discount on

    “”The “youth fanaticsâ€? are hysterical. They make no sense, but they are funny.””

    NO, it’s just the opposite. the vets at all costs fanatics are hysterical. they make no sense, and they are not funny.

    see krog, isbister, bozo, ward,ward, etc. etc.

  61. DumpJagrDope on

    “That’s an awesome song. Don’t hate. I want the name!”

    which song?

  62. Sam, thanks in advance for checking out what music the guys run, I’d love as much info as you can get, as far as who listens to what….I know this is not priority, but something cool you might be able to draw from some of the guys if they manage a W tonight….

    thanks bud,
    (I remember you covering us guys in Mamaroneck back in ’99, congrats on the nice moves)

  63. The stats don’t lie. Immonen has played in 14 games this year, averaged only 10 minutes/game, and has 1G, 5A for 6 points. Over the course of 65 games that cmes out to roughly 28 points, which puts him right about on the same clip as Matt Cullen and Prucha. And he spent at least half the time playing on the fourth line with linemates who couldn’t put the puck in the ocean. I don’t like him because he’s young, although that fact means he’ll get better; I like him because he’s good. every game he makes at least one play that either sets up a goal (like winning the faceoff and drawing two Blues two him, getting the puck back to Mara who fed Rachunek for a wideopen wrister at the opposite circle) or stops a major scoring opportunity for the opposition. If Renney wants Isbister’s size tonight, fine. I don’t think Jarkko is at a point where not playing him will actually cost the Rangers the game. But I think that down the road this is a player who needs to be evaluated and given a real shot playing top line minutes.

    Pock, on the other hand, I don’t see in this team’s future, because I don’t think he’s that good. Maybe as a #7 defenseman, but that’s it/.

  64. DumpJagrDope on

    just calculated it and over a full season if Immonen averages 15 minutes a game he would get about 52 points.

  65. what brand of toilet paper do the Rangers use? it must be Charmin, cause they are so soft.

    and with so may vets, I thought they would listen to ragtime or the waltz

  66. Dressing Isbister is really just another sign of how clueless Renney is about what this team’s problem is. THEY CAN’T SCORE!!!!! But instead of addressing these issues…he ignores them. Just like he ignores JJ’s PP unit which has all but destroyed this team over the past 2 weeks after they went back to making pretty passes like they were playing pond hockey with their friends. “Hey, watch this…”

    Said it before, I’ll say it again…Tom Renney is simply not fit to coach in the NHL. And only Glen Sather was dumb enough to put him in that position. You’d think with experience he’d get better by accident. The ol’ “A blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then” rule.

    But, instead, Renney has gotten worse and worse and worse. His team has become a league-wide laughingstock…they get pushed around to a degree that’s bordering on masochistic. In fact, I would not be surprised if part of the reason the refs refuse to give them ANY calls is the fact that the Rangers are so damn passive.

    Enjoy the carnage tonight folks…

  67. If I were in charge of coaching I’d tell Isbister to kill every Islander on the ice! Otherwise – trip back to Hartford.

  68. this site is simply an area for all the local coaching talent to bitch and moan about Renny. It gets old fast…

    The posts are so negative and whining it is crazy..

  69. I have realized that over the course of creating a relationship with real estate owners, you’ll be able to come to understand that, in every single real estate transaction, a percentage is paid. Eventually, FSBO sellers never “save” the commission payment. Rather, they struggle to win the commission simply by doing a agent’s job. In doing this, they devote their money and also time to carry out, as best they’re able to, the duties of an representative. Those tasks include displaying the home through marketing, offering the home to all buyers, developing a sense of buyer urgency in order to trigger an offer, booking home inspections, taking on qualification assessments with the financial institution, supervising maintenance tasks, and facilitating the closing.

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