Who is Brad Isbister and why is he on your television screen?


There’s been some debate about the suddenly prominent role Brad Isbister has been playing on the Rangers of late, particularly since it may be at the expense of a younger, more promising player.

First came news that Isbister was not placed on Hartford’s “clear day roster,” meaning he’ll be with the Rangers for the duration of the season; then came Isbister seeing valuable minutes alongside Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander in Saturday’s win against the Blues. Now comes tonight, when Isbister is likely to skate with Petr Prucha and Martin Straka against the Islanders, and it’s apparent that the 29-year-old journeyman has made an impression on Tom Renney.

So what exactly does Renney see in the 6-foot-4, 231-pound Isbister? As I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessarily Isbister’s soft hands.

“He’s a good corner guy. He’s strong. He has no problem with the blue paint, and by the nature of how the Islanders defend us — it’s everybody back, they’re firm in their own end, they’re firm in the corner, they’re firm in front of the net — we have to be able to access those areas and get the puck,” Renney said. “That’s what I see in Brad’s game. That along with the requisite experience at this time of year — that certainly doesn’t hurt.”

While that may sound like Isbister is only days away from donning the captain’s “C,” bear in mind that Renney tempered his assessment of the wing when I asked him about the significance of playing Isbister with a wounded Martin Straka. The coach said that in the “grand scheme of things,” Isbister is probably a fourth-line player on the Rangers, but that the reality of the Rangers current situation has forced them to adjust. In other words, if Brendan Shanahan was healthy, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Isbister at all.

So, in other words, you can blame all of this on Mike Knuble.

Some other updates:

  • Nothing new to report on Straka, but my guess is he’s playing. Of course, I said that Saturday, too. But this time I mean it. Really.
  • Alexei Yashin is out tonight for the Islanders, but after several days skating hard with his teammates, it sounds like he’ll be back for Thursday’s game at the Coliseum.
  • Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant is reporting that Darius Kasparaitis has been granted a personal leave of absence from the Wolf Pack after being taken to the hospital last week.
  • Third jerseys tonight for the Rangers, and you know how I feel about that. I should have asked our crack research at Blog Headquarters to do a breakdown of the Rangers record with their traditional home jerseys as opposed to the third jerseys, but seeing how the crack research staff is me, and I’m a mathematical idiot, we’ll just have to do without

    OK, more later…

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    1. when i saw Isbister playing for Hartford, he was playing well. i think he is a solid AHLer, who knows the ropes there.. thats where he belongs.. as long as we have injuries, and the ‘Pack are winning, no reason to rush/make changes..

      top-10 draft pick here we come!

    2. We should burn those “Lady Liberty” jerseys. I would much rather see them sport the retro 1978 jerseys stolen by the Winnipeg Jets.

      I would also like to see Isbister playing that 4th line role Renny talked about. Put Avery with Straka and Prucha, Hollweg with Cullen and Orty. Then FORECHECK FORECHECK FORECHECK!!!

    3. SAM: thanks for the Isbister follow up…please remind coach Renney that Isbister has failed miserably with 4 other teams…please then ask coach Renney why he thinks Isbister should be on the 2nd line of a team allegedly fighting for a playoff spot, when better options are available…Immonen, Callahan, Dawes…

    4. ThisYearsModel on

      The 4th jerseys are old news and need to go. It is a disgrace that an original 6 team wears anything other than the traditional jerseys. The Bruins Winnie the Pooh jerseys are also disgraceful. If the Liberty jerseys were the regular blue color, or even red, I could support them.

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      i came to post that story but p.w. beat me to it.

      Thank god. Now we don’t have to play them 8 times a year!

    6. Doodie, what does that do to alignment? Does Washington join the Atlantic Division and the Kansas City Penguins join the Southeast? Or maybe they become a Western Conference/Central team, and a team like Columbus joins the East? And then where, Northeast or Atlantic? If Northeast, than does the Atlantic get Boston or Buffalo? This is more than just Pittsburgh loosing a team.

    7. SAM: please remind coach Renney that “requisite experience” means nothing when the player in question stinks…Isbister has “requisite experience” with 4 other teams who saw fit only to release him, even with “requisite experience”…Renney’s decisions are head scratchers…

    8. oh, right, you wouldn’t want to have attractive matchups and opponents to watch. better to have 8 games vs. Columbus. moronic.

    9. I like the 3rd jerseys, why the hate for them just because we can’t remember the last time they actually did a stick salute wearing them?

    10. I would rather see the 8 vs. Pittsburgh, their kids are amazing. But I can’t say 8 vs. say, Boston, would be very bad.

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      I don’t mind watching the excitement of the games, I mind the potential defeats.

      And if they go to the west, I see Columbus coming east and joining the Atlantic. Kansas City would go to the central and ensure that St. Louis and Chicago don’t make the playoffs for 10 years, not that it would’ve taken much to ensure that.

    12. Doodie Machetto on

      Two other potential scenarios:

      1) having Boston join the Atlantic and Columbus joins the North East

      2) Washington joins the Atlantic and Nashville joins the South East, making it the hardest division in the East, and arguably in the NHL(Pacific is still really strong)

    13. Doodie Machetto on

      id still rather watch. Besides, I can’t get to a radio or listen to the NHL.com feed now anyway. I usually have to rely on the Rangers in 60.

    14. AngelusMortis on

      The boys in blue are looking strong so far, except in the goal column. Hossa played some great D early on to set up Jagr, who did nothing.

    15. haha- since you mentioned it, it looks like “everybody’s new favorite” smyth just took a penalty.

    16. Captain Canada just got a holding penalty. Cullen bumped into DiPietro infront of the net.

      They are playing an extremely gritty, physical, speed filled game. Is this the Rangers or the Sabres? I’m a little confused. They look great right now. All they need to do is convert on the PP.

    17. AngelusMortis on

      Good goal by Paul Mara to put the Isles up 1-0 and let the Rangers momentum slip away.

    18. now im going to have to sit through a shitload of dipietro saves & that one goal during intermission.

    19. and to top it all off, they looked completely dead and out of it on the next shift after the goal- but isnt this how it always winds up? this f**king sucks!

    20. totally outplayed the Isles, but Dipietro’s goaltending and dumb mistakes and poor PP finishing put Rangers behind.

    21. Wow the luckiest team is the NHL those pumpkins from that hole called the nassau coliseum

    22. “he’s (DP) screamin and whinin at me in the crease”

      sean avery is awesome.

    23. “He’s screaming and whining at me in the corners” a quote from Avery about Fishsticks’ goalie Rick DiPietro. Comment sounds very similar to what Avery said about Brodeur whining last time the Rangers played the Devils. I love his spunk and grit!

    24. AngelusMortis on

      Let’s just hope they keep playing like they did the first 17 minutes of the period.

    25. Longtimerangerfan on

      Nylander sucks tonight as well as Rosival. Third jersey sucks…there should be a rule that no original six team should wear them.

    26. i always hope that they would change jerseys in between the periods once, bbut it never has happened- unfortunately.

    27. Doodie Machetto on

      Rejoice third jersey haters: no third jerseys next season.

      It remains to be seen if they will return afterwards.

    28. AngelusMortis on

      Maybe I’m too young to dis-appreciate them, but I really don’t mind the third jerseys.

      Nylander is doing his usual Swede-Skate around the rink. Rozsival doesn’t look like himself. Everyone has a really bad game I guess?

    29. Doodie Machetto on

      A few places, most notably ESPN’s uniwatch. They’re gonna shelve the third jerseys for next season, not just for the Rangers, but for all teams.

      And don’t call it Swede-skating. Forsberg is a Swede and I don’t think anyone would ever accuse him of skating in circles.

    30. Longtimerangerfan on

      Doodie, at least you don’t have to listen to “annoying” Emerick and see the stupid info box that they keep putting on the bottom of the screen just when your’e trying to see what’s going on.

    31. Doodie Machetto on

      I’d take that over nothing any day.

      I think Doc calls a decent game aside from the annoying voice, except when he is covering the Devils and has to lie through his teeth about the game being exciting.

    32. AngelusMortis on

      Ahh, that’s interesting. No third jersey could be worse than the (Mighty) Ducks first one in the mid 90’s. Fans just weren’t ready for a cartoony duck smashing through a sheet of ice.

      Oh, and the Swede-Skating was just a little joke. Although it may not be fair to even slightly compare Forsberg and number 92.

    33. AngelusMortis on

      I enjoy Doc’s commentary over whoever the guy is on HDNet. He’s the most annoying man in hockey commentary, other than Gary Thorne.

    34. Doodie Machetto on

      Don’t worry AM. I’m just a little sensitive to the North American/Euro comparisons, because I think they are ludicrous. I think some players just play finesse and others play bump and grind. I can think of plenty of players from both continents on either side of the game.

    35. Longtimerangerfan on

      They are going to ask Renney about the game so far…why? He doesn’t have a clue.

    36. talk about no clue. that Emrick is the worst. a nerdy, whiny, high-pitched Debbie fan.

    37. i was meaning it so avery would be somewhat of a concern in front of the net, so jagr could have more space.

    38. Doodie Machetto on

      I understand that- but Avery just stood in front of the net and got beat up while they passed the puck around and didn’t shoot.

    39. Avery Blasts Brodeur on

      that was not a dive on Avery
      I am gonna put my foot through my TV

      How many bogus goals can the rangers possibly give up.
      DP needs to stop whining.

      Anyone see purse boy Poti slap Avery
      what a bi_ _ _!!

    40. AngelusMortis on

      How many shots are we going to get with no goal? Current count is 29. Now someone just missed a partially open net.

    41. AngelusMortis on

      Nice save by Zednik in the crease. The boys in blue NEED a goal on the upcoming PP.

    42. Longtimerangerfan on

      Someone really clocked Isbister behind the Islander net…hope it wakes the pansy up.

    43. Why dont they ever run that play where Marty Straka sneaks in the left side and Jags crosses it and they score?

    44. Doodie Machetto on

      Leetchy- don’t forget the 2 that Nylander blew the other day when he started celebrating both times without scoring.

    45. Why don’t they run that play where Nylander does a triple lutz?

      Oh yeah, that’s every game!!!

    46. so the rangers more or less played like the same as in the first, but still a one goal deficit. but eh, they’re playing really well, that counts, right? this has to be the most frustrating team to watch. i cant stand it.

    47. Isbister made a nice play there towards the end of the period. They came out very flat at the beginning, but then picked it up. They need to keep crashing the net and getting DiPusseitro adgitated.

    48. Longtimerangerfan on

      Blue, I think it’s a triple toe loop…OMG they have done everything but score…nice pass by Malikenstein. Nice rush by Isbister…but no cigar. Where’s Slats when you need him?

    49. Doodie Machetto on

      Same story for every team against the Rangers- mediocre goaltenders become gods. See also, Antero Nittymaki.

    50. AM- dont praise dipietro, he’s just as much of a whiner & piece of crap as marty. and if it hadnt been for some open net misses, that would not be the score of the game.

      also, the PP has looked AWFUL.

    51. isles have to be one of the slowest teams in the league. the puck has been in their end over 80% of the time, yet their rope-a-dope style and good goaltending have them in the lead.

    52. Longtimerangerfan on

      I can’t even sit down to watch…blood pressure too high…must call 911…no strength…help!

    53. AngelusMortis on

      “Why dont they ever run that play where Marty Straka sneaks in the left side and Jags crosses it and they score?”

      Sounds like my strategy on NHL ’07.

      “this has to be the most frustrating team to watch. i cant stand it.”

      There have only been a couple of blown opportunities, and that kind of thing happens to every single team every single game. They’ve played an overall great game – 36 shots through two is not bad at all. It’s not totally their fault that this is frustrating for their fans. Look across ice from Lundy to see the root of our frustration.

    54. im really sick of hearing what a great coach teddy nolan is. why doesnt he just go buy the team some egg rolls & kill himself for being part of a disgusting organ-eye-zation.

    55. AngelusMortis on

      “AM- dont praise dipietro, he’s just as much of a whiner & piece of crap as marty.”

      Maybe so, but I’m rational and know when a player, even in a Fishstick uniform, is having an awesome game. It would be ignorant to say that DiPietro isn’t playing well.

      I wouldn’t call it “praising” either…I’d call it…observation.

    56. Doodie Machetto on

      egg rolls? wtf are you talking about?

      And nolan IS a good coach. He’s turned the Islanders, who were the joke of the offseason around the league, into a playoff team.

      What happened to Hossa?

    57. AngelusMortis on

      “im really sick of hearing what a great coach teddy nolan is. why doesnt he just go buy the team some egg rolls & kill himself for being part of a disgusting organ-eye-zation.”

      That’s it. The answer to our frustrations against the Isles is Nolan and the team not having egg rolls. Insightful post, “dis-ir-regardless” of the player from which you took your name.

      Anyone watching the game on Versus see how red Blake’s face was? It looked like he’d been hanging upside down for 6 hours.

    58. AngelusMortis on

      Hossa looked like he took a bit of a hook or tripped up and hurt his hand, though I’m probably wrong. The camera turned away from him after he passed the puck, so I couldn’t see well. Hopefully he gets back in this one and keeps his late-season surge going.

    59. Eddy Olcyk just said Janssens wasn’t a dirty player. What a load of steamy horseshit.

      I do believe it should be required all players wear some kind of mouthguard, though. That would prevent a lot of concussions.

    60. czechthemout!!!!! on

      when the rangers need a goal who you gonna call?SHITSBISTER AND HIS EXPIERIENCE THAT WHO.

    61. Nylander was awarded a 9.9 by all the judges here at TS Ma for the triple toe loop/synchronized skating/ice dancing…

    62. czechthemout!!!!! on

      “requisit experience”-ha hA ha ha ha what a dick head renney is.the real requisit on this team is goals.

    63. Doodie Machetto on

      Let’s start a pool, who will score first:

      Hollweg, Orr, Isbister, Ortmeyer, Betts, Callahan.

      I say maybe Ortmeyer and Betts get one this season.

    64. i was implying that all of a sudden nolan became god for doing the same thing renney did last year- granted renney had better players, but he still showed the league what he was capable of. now b/c the fishsticks were able to buy a spot in the playoffs( by that i mean smyth & bergeron) nolan is amazing. its total bullsh*t.

    65. im going w/ callahan with a goal in the NHL, b/c all the others couldnt buy a goal, its pathetic.

    66. Doodie Machetto on

      The funny thing is I think Callahan might get one before Orr or Isbister.

    67. GuitarWizard on

      Now let’s keep playing the rest of the game, instead of giving up like usual…

    68. Doodie Machetto on

      Oh boy. Time for Lampman to show why he’s been passed over by 2 of his teammates in getting to the NHL.

    69. Well, Orty got the first penalty. Odds were even money on Orr (at least from that list)

    70. AngelusMortis on

      Whoever Ortmeyer “cross-checked” deserves an Academy Award for that performance.

    71. GuitarWizard on

      Rangers are playing with emotion. This is what we should have been seeing all year.

    72. Is this a Power Play. Obviously not because the Rangers are both shooting the puck and keeping it in the zone.

    73. they deserve this game.. stop the whining…

      they deserve it.. Hossa is out, what is the story???

    74. wow this is getting crazy, only the rangers can dominate this much and still not put the puck in the net

    75. Doodie Machetto on

      Posts aren’t even counted as a shot, so Betts is still on the list.

      Although I did like him and Ortmeyer most from the list.

    76. doesnt this remind you of the game against the devils in which they had a PP in OT and couldnt score?

    77. AngelusMortis on

      Lundy should take up Roy’s old habit of talking to the posts…the right one just made a great save.

    78. DumpJagrDope on

      “Betts hit a post, that’s almost a goal.”

      I didn’t see the replay but it looked like it was in, hit the middle bar and went out

    79. Longtimerangerfan on

      Makes you wonder where they would be now if they had played like this the other four games.

    80. now you know how malik avoids minuses. the post or his teammates save his ass as he lets guys go by him.

    81. I was just thinking, why not run the PP like they had been running the shifts for the last 16 minutes??

    82. Doodie Machetto on

      tired maybe. Alternatively, he could be in the zone. The puck could be the size of a beach ball to him and he could stop it all night.

    83. Longtimerangerfan on

      Renney should have left the Jagr line out for the whole PP…maybe they could have gotten a shot on goal then.

    84. AngelusMortis on

      5 more minutes in this one. If this ends in a shootout, it will be an insult to both goalies’ performances.

    85. can i say im a little relieved that they got at least a point?

      but also will be distraut if they lose this game even with 70 something shots.

    86. Doodie Machetto on

      My my, how times have changed.

      People are actually WORRIED about Hossa!

      I am sure glad I stood by my guy.

    87. Satan is stoned, now he can go find Sadam (hopefully someone out there watches south park)

    88. Listen to the cheering of the people in the stands
      Twenty Thousand hockey bugs and each a Ranger fan!
      It’s plain as day to see
      They want a victory!
      All together now strike up the band!

      Just keep your stick on that puck
      And don’t lay down on your luck;
      That’s the Rangers’ Victory Song!
      Get through the enemy’s goal
      With all your heart and your soul;
      That’s the Rangers’ Victory Song!

      You’ve got to fight, Rangers fight
      With a grin on your chin!
      Tonight is the night
      So get in there and win!

      This game is worth any price;
      Go out and put it on ice
      That’s the Rangers’ Victory Song!

    89. what do they do with marcel out, they wont put jarkko in becuase marcel is not a center

    90. they don’t have a choice, no one else is on the active roster. either bring up Callahan, or skate Straka at wing and Jarkko at center

    91. Longtimerangerfan on

      DP had a lot of luck this game…he had his back to the puck a couple of times that were soooooo close to going in.

    92. On the other hand, 57 SOG and only one score? DiPietro has had a good season, but he’s not THAT great. C’mon, Rangers, you have to get some more goals.

    93. Really missed Shanny in a game like tonight….Ricky D played off his head. What a great game

    94. I totally agree with you on the third jersey record thing. I have been saying that for years. Our win record wearing those can’t be more than 25 wins in 10 years of wearing them. We always lose in them, yesterday was just an aberration. Maybe we’ll win the cup next year because there won’t be any third jerseys to wear.

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