Unhealthy (and healthy) scratches

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If the alternative was to be a healthy team with a wounded pride because they’re already out of the playoff race, the Rangers will surely take their reality: one of a decidedly unhealthy team that is still just two points out of a playoff spot.

With that in mind, the assortment of ill-timed injuries (including “Brendan Shanahan’s uncertain condition”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070308/SPORTS01/703080349/1108) is the focus around the Rangers heading into tonight’s re-match on Strong Island.

There are two ways to look at the team’s current dilemma: they are either cursed to have lost so many key players at such a crucial point in the season; or they were lucky to have spent so much of the year relatively healthy, and they should be kicking themselves for not making more of it.

Either way, I’m not sure you can fold up the tent just yet, and here’s why: be it last season when they were picked to finish dead last, or this season when they seemed to be well off the playoff pace, the Rangers have played some of their best hockey when the expectations have been lowest. The opposite is true as well, that they’ve been mediocre when they’re supposed to flourish. Fortunately now, with the likes of Shanny, Tyutin, and Hossa on the sldelines, the bar can’t be set very high.

Man. And I thought golfers were head cases….

Meanwhile, a brief word about my situation: it’s looking more and more like you’ll be in the capable hands of Andrew Gross today and tonight because of my ongoing civic duty in Westchester County Court. If I get out at a decent hour, I might try to fly down to the Coliseum in time for the opening face-off. Otherwise, I’ll be relying on Sam and Joe on the TV (and maybe Kenny and Dave on the radio) to get me through the night.

There’s nothing like being in the press box and breathing the musty air of an ice rink, so this is absolutely killing me. But far more important people than I have to endure jury duty, too, so maybe it’s time I stop complaining about it….

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22 Comments

  1. In response to DVF or whatever it is:

    How can you know they won’t be stars for them if you never give them a shot? Immonen could have been a very capable second line center all season and Pock could easily have been better than Rachunek. Callahan and dawes could have contributed offensively as well. Prucha could have been give consistent power play time and a chance to play in overtime. Callahan and Dawes may be more Sather’s doing (everything could be for all we know) but Renney has been stubborn all year in his even strength and powerplay lines, so I for one am not pleased we are within two points of the playoffs. Rosival looks terrible on the powerplay, he has all year yet he stays. It would be one thing if a bunch of kids were given a chance to grow with the big club, but that hasn’t happened. Instead we are gonna sneak into the playoffs or just miss the playoffs like all but one of Sather’s years resulting in a mediocre draft pick who will languish in the minors.

  2. As I said on Monday, lets kick the snot out of them!! We need to comeout like a bunch of CRAZZZZZZED DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Sam- good luck with your civic duties- I hope you make it down there. If not, you may best be served watching the broadcast but listening to Kenny & Dave ;).
    Can you shed any light as to why Renney would play Dubinsky over Immonen in such a huge tilt? I’ve been eager to see Dubinsky play, but Immonen, whose game IMO is solid, seems to be a more logical choice based on NHL experience, no?
    Interesting side note: Teddy Nolan was runner-up to Bryan Trottier for the Ranger coaching job back in the dark days.

  4. Immonen produces points every time he gets a chance to play. He’s a good passer, is defensively and positionally sound, and has smarts. What does he have to do to win a spot – 2nd line center – where there is no other serious contender on the team’s roster?

    This is just one more example of the many inane decisions made by Renney over the course of the season.

    It’s not the personnel on this team that is the problem. The coach is a boat anchor. With a real coach, we’d be comfortably in the playoff picture.

    “…and that’s that.”.

  5. Lowtide 10,

    Dubinsky is a MUCH more physical presence. I think that’s what Renney is banking on against a physical Islanders team. Especially in a rivalry game like this one. Immo has the softer hands, but Dubi has the grit.

  6. Dubinsky to me seems like a more physical version of Scott Gomez, or a poor man’s Forsberg. Immonen is like Jason allison at the end of his career. I think the Rangers want to emphasize team speed and a good forecheck, i.e., Avery, Hossa, Ortmeyer, Hollweg, etc. Thats why Immonen isnt playing, nor will he ever.
    Part of why I am not surprised about Renney mentioning Jessiman. Callahan is a more polished Prucha, and they’ll wait til they are out of the race or til next year to play him.

    I have my best feeling watching this team this year currently, after getting rid of all the dead wood in Hall, Ward, etc. You could see as soon as they got avery that they wanted a more uptempo game. They couldnt rely on their time like it was constructed last year (1 first line, 3 third lines), they actually had to build a more well rounded forward lineup.

    As to the dmen, i have no real problem with Malik and Rosival, other than that Rosival is super hesitant to do anything offensively. hes the opposite of Racoon, only if the two could be combined into one. Girardi is steady and unspectacular. Tyutin is too inconsistent defensively. I was worried Mara would be another version of Poti, but hes not as much of a spaz and more responsible defensively. Pock is crap, thats why he doesnt play. No physical presence, bad instincts. Only redeeming characteristic about him is offensive skills. Next years d men will be:
    Staal, Girardi, Tyutin, Malik, Rosival, Mara, unless they trade someone, or Staal appears not ready.

    Don’t be surprised if Dubinsky makes a big impression tonite.

    Expect Scott Gomez in a NYR uniform next year. Say goodbye to Nylander. Shanny will be back for sure. Weeks gone too, hopefully with Montoya up to create a super duo, ala, Richter and Vanbiesbruck. Thats all i got, ive been reading for weeks but this is my first post, finally had to pitch my two cents in.

    Ive been excited about Dubinsky since reading about his AHL playoffs last season….

  7. also forgot to mention looking at Pavel Datsyuk, who is also an ufa. Dont touch Briere or Drury, both are gonna be wayyy overpaid.

  8. Colorado Mark on

    I don’t think Immonen is currently on the roster (according to Blueshirt Bulletin)so the point is moot. If they played him the other night without sending him down, then he would have counted as one of four callups (Not sure if Isbister does already). I think they are trying to get a good look at as many players as possible before making a decision on who they want up for the stretch drive. It’s the only positive of the injuries. Dubsinsky is just the type of in your face player that the Rangers need against the Islanders.

    As I’ve said, Renney deserves criticism. He has at times shortened his bench at the expense of young players. But I don’t think it is correct in stating that he will bury Dubinsky if he makes a mistake. Last year he always left young players in, even in crucial situations. This year he’s even played Girardi in overtime.

    People were whining about Renney’s “projects” and how he continues to play guys who don’t deserve it. Well he proved us wrong in Hossa’s case.

    DJD- I’m not Doodie. Doodie- Remember the guy who dropped the Hitler/Pedo references in regards to Renney? That was Vinny Pooh, who is also Dump. He’s one of those who likes to hide behind multiple aliases and yet he accuses others of the same.

  9. Dale Tallon of the Blackhawks stated yesterday on In The Slot, on XM Radio that the Hawks are going to follow tha Penguins youth model going forward. Good for the Hawks.

  10. dubinsky doesn’t play like gomez at all. so don’t look for a guy that can skate like gomez. what you will see is a big centerman that can dangle will go to the net hard and make some pretty slick plays. he really reminds me of a poor man’s lecavalier but he also comes off the walls like marcel hossa and jagr do. i don’t know if he’ll be able to do that against nhl dmen at this point in his career but with a bit more strength he’ll be able to use that part of his game to his advantage. personally i think he’ll play a safe game today, stick up for his teammates if he has to, give the puck to straka alot and win faceoffs. he’ll be fine. one of my favorite kids in the system without a doubt. very tricky shot too look for that he gets his stick in the right angle around dmen alot very smart and gets off some good shots.

  11. Colorado Mark on

    John,

    So the Hawks are going to intentionally tank for 5 years in a row and pick up 3 1st overall picks and 2 others in the top 5,whine about a new arena, get a gift franchise player thrown in their laps and then mvoe to Kansas City? I know, that’s not what you (or the Hawks) meant, but I am tired of hearing about Pitt’s Youth Model. Their model can’t be duplicated because of the above. The Hawks have been losing for years, but haven’t sucked enough to get the blue chip 1st overall pick. The league has sucked up to Mario all along and their treatment of their fans is a disgrace. Sure they have a great team now, and I’d be happy to put up with years of crappier teams than even we’ve seen if it meant having what they have now. But now it looks like Mario wasn’t sending out a crappy product night after night for five years so the Pens could turn around their franchise. The plan all along was to build up assets to sell or move the team to a more profitable market. Nothing wrong with that from a business perspective, but they lied to their fans. The best “Youth” model in the NHL is the Sabres. The Pens success can not be copied.

  12. DumpJagrDope on

    Adam,

    You really should re consider…..also what did Lupita say about Saturday?

  13. Dear DumpJagrDope on

    I’m really trying, but money is an issue…I haven’t spoken to Norbert about Lupita yet, but I will soon.

  14. Excellent post Colorado Mark. I couldn’t agree with you more. I like how the Sabres built their team.

  15. Listening to Kenny and Dave is certainly better than Sam and Joe. The only problem is that sometimes there is a time delay on live radio which puts everything out of sync….as if we weren’t out of sync enough already with injuries.

  16. if those Penguin kids were drafted by the Rangers, they would bury them in Hartford unless an injury occurred to such great luminaries as Isbister and Krog.

  17. Andy-
    I hope Dubinsky has good game. I posted that question after reading Schoenfeld’s pep talk to Dubinsky. But if what Colorado Mark is saying holds true regarding the call-ups, then it makes sense, as well as his ability to play physically. My concern is that he’s able to be physical in the minors with his size, but he’s going up against some men tonight- a couple of which are chippy f*bag’s.
    As long we get the W tonight….

  18. If Dubinsky plays, and plays hard, the Rangers will win. That is my prediction. It has been written, so let it be done.

    One of the fellas need to take out Brendan Witt. Not on a dirty play, but get him to drop the gloves. Orr being the best candidate. I don’t think Avery or even Hollweg could handle him. No offense to the Rangers, I’ve just watched Witt over the years and know what he is capable of, and he will get Jagr off his game unless someone takes care of him.

    Let’s Go Rangers! 2 points!

  19. why did Dubinsky score only 30 points in 58 games this season? I expected a lot more from him.

  20. Colorado Mark– Totally agree with you about the Penguins. They were my favorite team for along time until they traded Jagr using the backrupcy as an excuse. It was all just to finish last for a few years so they could get #1 picks mainly Sidney Crosby. I’ve hated them ever since .Business is business but they lied to all their fans. Like I’ve said before its all about the money. Theres no friends and no loyalty were money is concerned.

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