Is that progress I detect?

45

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, it is possible for me to envision the moment I can actually walk out of the court room for good. I’m not saying it’s going to happen today. I’m not even expecting it to happen tomorrow. But there are at least the slightest signs that this ordeal may entering its proverbial back stretch.

That, of course, is good news for all of you since it means I will cease using this space to lament my miserable existence. But trust me, part of the reason I do it is because I feel lousy that I’ve been so lacking in valuable information of late.

That said, I do have a few updates:

  • Speaking of progress, word from the Rangers is that Brendan Shanahan is recovering well, but that they don’t expect any major news out of his appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist today. Shanahan, as you know, has already been cleared to ride a stationary bike, leading to questions of when he might actually be able to skate. If there’s anything to report on that front, I’ll obviously let you know. But it sounds like there won’t be anything significant today.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was named the NHL’s first star of the week today. Here’s the release:

    FIRST STAR — HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS

    Lundqvist posted a 3-0-1 record in four games with a 1.43
    goals-against average and .948 save percentage as the Rangers (34-27-8, 76
    points) moved into the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
    Lundqvist posted consecutive victories over the New York Islanders, making
    29 saves in a 2-1 home shootout victory March 5 and 30 stops in a 2-1 win
    at Long Island March 8. He made 20 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss at
    Pittsburgh March 10 and finished the week by stopping 30 of 31 shots and
    both shootout attempts in a 2-1 decision over Carolina March 11. Lundqvist
    is 8-2-4 in his past 14 games, recording a 1.65 GAA and a .935 save
    percentage in that span.

  • Regarding Rangers days off, again, I’m not sure you can blame a team for wanting to step away from the rink for a day — even at this time in the season. Never mind that players were physically worn out after back-to-back overtime games this weekend. But even from a mental perspective, I think it’s vital to their chances to recharge their batteries when they can.

    OK, I’m due back in the jury room shortly. More later…

  • About Author

    45 Comments

    1. the rangers signed tom pyatt to a pro contract. I wonder where he will go. He as 42 goals, 38 assists in 58 games i think this year

    2. Very well deserved, congrats King Henrik! And a well deserved off day for our blueshirts.

    3. Pyatt will play in the OHL playoffs then when his season ends he may play in Hartford.

    4. Sorry this is not on topic. I tried to post this last week under the appropriate thread, but the site was not accepting posts at the time. Glad it’s back.
      ———————————–
      To add to the captain (and alternate C.) discussion. It’s really about intangibles, not talent. I always thought Leetch, however great (and he was) a player and teammate, he was ill-suited as C., seemed like he was carrying a burden and it affected his game.

      On the other hand, I think one the best, though hardly most talented, rangers captains in recent times was #11. No, not Messier, Kelly Kisio, I mean.

      And to all those who thrash Euro players, just remember a good number of them are Captains, named and supported by North American coaches and teammates: Lidstrom, Nordstrom, Forsberg (the last two as recently as 2 wks ago), Naslund, Alfredsson, Koivu, Timmonen, Jokinen, Sundin, etc. [I’m leaving Yashin out of this conversation]

    5. Sam – hang in there with jury duty. :) Thanks for keeping this blog up and running.

    6. Congratulations King Henrik!
      I’m happy Sather signed Pyatt! He’s a good kid.
      Sam, I’m amazed you’re not furious you have to do this jury duty – that must be annoying while Rangers keep winning…

    7. Pyatt – Great sign. And he’s a center too. Let’s hope he got the best of the gene pool(even though I’ve long since called on the Rangers to aquire his big bro). With Dubinsky and now Pyatt, the Rangers future at pivot isn’t looking that grim…

    8. If the Rangers keep up at this pace, we should lock Sam up at the court house for the rest of the season.

    9. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Joey Dag is right. There’s something to be said for the Rangers point streak since Sam’s been deciding whether to lockup some sap and throw-away the key.

      Sam, if your on the Simon case already – I pity you. Tough call!!!

    10. “”Lidstrom, Nordstrom, Forsberg (the last two as recently as 2 wks ago), Naslund, Alfredsson, Koivu, Timmonen, Jokinen, Sundin, etc. “”

      and not one of them has won a goddam thing as captain in the playoffs.

      the stanley Cup winner was Carolina, which had the most north americans in the league last season.

    11. on one of the telecasts last night, they were talking about how there are more empty seats in Det. now than ever. even some fans with tickets are not showing up. in Hockeytown.
      so a reporter sat in different sections and asked the fans what was wrong. and they said that a lot of fans are unhappy because the Wings now are a team with lots of euros, with fancy skating, and circling and fancy passes, and they have no tough guys and the games are sterile and lack emotion and intensity, thus, a lot of fans are fed up.

      sounds familiar.

    12. Colorado Mark on

      We have 3 forwards who match your description, ML, (Jagr, Straka, Nylander) and two defensemen. Our other Euro’s (Prucha, Pock, Tyutin and even our goalie don’t fit your “no emotion” theory. Take away Jagr, Straka and Nylander, and who exactly is our scoring threat? Even if those three aren’t producing, they are the focus of the oppositions defense and free up others to score. I’d like a banger on defense in place of Malik and/or Roszival, and the endless circling on the powerplay is irritating, but despite all that, they are our top three scorers and the Power Play still manages to be 7th in the league. I don’t think Jagr is soft (inconsistent at times, yes) and Straka works harder than anyone. Iunderstand people’s frustrations with Nylander, but he is a servicable player. We have youngsters that could step in and play, but we don’t have rookies who could step in and produce what those three guys can.

    13. Colorado Mark on

      So you think that those European leaders aren’t capable of winning? Forsberg was a more physical player and a more vocal leader than Sakic and they won two cups. I think generalizing is always a bad thing. It is ridiculous to try and label an entire continent’s worth of players as one style of play. There are plenty of North American guys who don’t play the game with emotion or intensity. Many of them played for us back in 2004. Your comments are right in line with others who are under the delusion that you need a team with an entire roster of North American tough guys to be successful. Name one team who didn’t have the finesse guys as well. The trick is finding the right balance. I think Prucha is the third tougest player on our team. How could this be? He’s a “Euro?” Think Deeper.

    14. ,,,unfortunately, the 3 forwards and 2 defensemen in question play half the game…certainly not what I want to watch…

    15. don’t try to give me your nonsense. the actual fans who actually pay for the games were the ones talking in Detroit, not me.

      they see it firsthand every night. they talk to other fans who tell them of their dissatisfaction.

      and the fans in MSG made it very clear yesterday their unhappiness with the circling euros.

      don’t try to muddy the issue by making it about posters or balance or anything else. it is about paying fans not showing up because they don’t like the style of play.

    16. Europeans are not bad.

      Drop passing, curling, spinning, refusing to drive to the net, shoot the puck, get tough when the going gets tough, soft, Euros are bad.

      Drop passing and curling no longer works in the NHL. All is does it give the back checking team more time to catch up to the play. Last season, and this season, the Rangers have success when they take advantage of the new, bigger offensive zones. But they lack the players with the combination of cajones and skills to play in front of the net.

      Prucha and Shanny are the only players he have that can score in the hot zone. Shanny has not had a center all season to get the puck into that zone, and Prucha spent the first 2/3 of the season on the 4th line.

      Nylander, Straka, and even Jagr 90% of the time, try to score from the outside off pretty plays. Even Cullen is an outside attacker who will not penetrate the core of the defense. This does not cut it when the games get tight, especially in today’s game with every team so schooled on defense first.

      That leaves, Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Betts, Isbister (Ward, Krog) to try and create offense where the others fail. This is the problem, none of these guys can score at all and it is killing the balance. Too many 3rd and 4th liners, too many grinders with no scoring skills. Other teams have at least a couple 3rd and 4th line grinders that can score. The Rangers need a guy like Hollweg who can score 12 goals, and an Ortmeyer who can score 12 goals. I’m not sure that if you combine Betts, Orts, Holly, Isbister (Ward, Krog) you get a total of 12 goals. That is pathetic considering how many minutes those guys have sucked up this season.

    17. Off-topic: Did anyone else see a Sportcenter last night that ended with Kenny Mayne suddenly saying “The Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL lent __________ to the ________ of the ECHL, so he’ll be playing in the playoffs” or something like that? It was the most random last sentence a sportscenter I’d ever heard and I thought maybe I’d gone crazy.

      I didn’t catch the names, I was so surprised.

    18. total malarkey. Avery is a guy who will get in front of the net. and he and Orts and those “grinders” you denigrate draw many penalties that then become ruined by the circle jerks on the PP.

      and those grinders prevent goals, they hit, they wear down the opponents, and they most importantly draw fans and fan support. and I am talking about the real blue collar fans, not the corporate wine sippers.

    19. Chris I heard it too but did not catch the name. But the guy who said it was their hockey guy John Buccicross (sp?) and ESPN hq’s is in Connecticut so that might be why he said it.

    20. Sorry I forgot about Avery.

      He is a guy who can play in the 3rd line and score 12-15 goals.

      However the fact that Orts and Holly play defense is not my point. They need to play defense, hit and draw penalties and still score 12 goals a season. Look around the league, there are a lot of guy who do exactly that. It is not much to ask. Even goods like Sandy McCarthy and Chris Simon score sometimes.

      I like Orts and Holly, and if they were on the 4th line all the time with Betts it would not be an issue. But along with Isbister and the Wards and Krogs, they get way too much ice time to not score at all.

      It is not their fault they are being asked to be better players than they are in the offensive zone. It is Renney’s fault for assuming that he could get production out of them.

      Even Hossa, for most of the season was in that group. He finally found a groove with Jagr, but if not for that, they would have a total of about 10 goals from about five players. That won’t cut it no matter how well they play on defense.

    21. GuitarWizard on

      Chris-

      Hartford loaned both Ryan Constant and Bruce Graham to Charlotte. Both of them have spent most of the season in Charlotte anyway and were only brought up to Hartford 5/6 days ago. Not really any big news.

    22. go ahead, show us 10 teams with 4th line guys who hit, draw penalties and score 12-15 goals each.

      I’m waiting.

      not 3rd liners, but 4th line players.

    23. onetimer – dead on about Kelly Kisio. Guy worked his butt off, led by example. My kind of captain.

      GuitarWizard, thanks. I was more surprised that it was mentioned at all, really. Sportscenter isn’t exactly a great source of hockey coverage…

    24. Kelly Kisio was also the best player the Sharks had in their first 2 expansion seasons.

      as tough as they come in the corners, even though he was small.

    25. A year or so ago I read a piece in the canadian press in which James Patrick recalled as a kid in Winnipeg watching how Bobby Hull, Hedberg, and Nilsson completely changed how north american hockey was played. Today, 30+ years later, I think the Euro vs N.A. is way overplayed. Basically the NHL has the best of both systems, what we’re seeing is really a hybrid system. And increasingly more and more Euro kids are playing in canadian jrs., already exposed much earlier to the smaller rinks, hitting, etc.

      As far as the Red Wings, I bet the fans today at the Joe wouldn’t hesitate for a second to have the fab five back (I mean the russian fabfive, who were so integral to those stanley cup winning teams).

    26. Colorado Mark,

      I don’t think Straka fits into your little profile there. I believe he has been the Rangers catalyst for much of the season. He has played very well all year. I doesn’t skate in circles or anything like that, and the only time he won’t shoot the puck is from the point on the PP, but shooting from that position is not the reason he is there. He is there to skate the puck up through the zone and set things up. He has also been great when they start rotating him to the net from up top. I don’t think it is fair to Marty Straka to group him with those other players.

    27. onetimer, stop trying to speak for fans who have already spoken for themselves. they speak with their feet by staying home, and they spoke to the reporter who asked them. they said they are upset that the red Wings have no tough guy like Darren McCarty, or Probert or Kocur from days gone by. and they said they are fed up with emotionless games by circling euros with fancy plays but little hitting or passion.

      the empty arenas and ratings even lower than before are testament to the truth of what the Det. fans say.

      fab five my fanny. not one fan pined for their return. they wanted another Kocur, or Yzerman, or Shanny.

    28. P.W. –
      I agree, Marty doesn’t fit the profile, but my point was that there isn’t a profile. Jagr can be dominant and drive to the net. Nylander has as well, at times, just not consistent enough. Straka was our most consistent player (effort + production) until he got hurt. He has been half the player since. Roszival infuriates me, as does Malik, most of the time. Every once in a while, they do something spectacular. Their risk doesn’t equal their reward. I’d start with getting rid of those two. I like Nylander, and I feel like i’m the only one. Yes he drives me crazy, but he still manages to produce (no matter who he plays with). Straka and Jags tend to be more streaky. I haven’t looked it up, buy I would bet he scored in more different games than any other player on the team.

      I know it’s more fun to complain, and i do get frustrated, but all I have to do is think back from 1998-2004 and I’m grateful for three things:

      1. A team that can outwork the other team. Maybe only a few games they’ve done it for 60 minutes, but the past two seasons I have been much more entertained.

      2. The farm system has developed to the point where we have the youngest team in the AHL, filled with actual Ranger prospects, challenging for the title.

      3. A superstar goaltender with charisma that makes you feel we can win every game.

      4. (Bonus) Ryan Hollweg/Jed Ortmeyer/Sean Avery (and maybe even Orr)- Three guys who I can watch every game and know I’m going to get fire and intensity. Sure, they’d be useless if we didn’t have scorers, but they are always fun to watch.

    29. in a recent interview with a MSG employee—who went off record—–if the Rangers do not make the playoffs, Renney is history.

      If the above is true, does this cause anyone mixed feelings?

      on another front, the thought of Tytutin (sic) Baranka, Staal, Girardi on defense gives me a good feeling. 4 young defenseman that might all play next year if our philosophy turns more to youth. With Lundqvst politely asking that Malik stop scoring goals against him, and assuming that the other 2 defensemen will not include Malik, our defense could look pretty bright in front of Lundqvst/Montoya (if Mon. is not used as trade bait).

      anyone? Chris, do you think this is reality?

    30. seamus i dont think there is space for baranka and staal or more like i dont think sather will think there is space. As of now the only potential opening on d is if we don’t resign rachunek and I guess if Girardi doesn’t make the team. The odds are this team won’t look that much different next year

    31. I don’t know… They were pretty high on Staal that last two years. It wouldn’t surprise me if he starts the year with the team. I think Roscival (sp?) and Girardi are staying — Malik’s up in the air, Rachunek, Mara, and Pock have a chance to stick around. But it wouldn’t surpise me if either Staal and/or Baranka is in the lineup to start next season.

    32. SEAMUS where did you read…”in a recent interview with a MSG employee—who went off record——if the Rangers do not make the playoffs, Renney is history”…?

    33. Don’t get me wrong, I want Staal in the lineup, but Rosival, Mara, and Malik are all locked in for next year as is Toots. It would be great if they traded Rosival and Malik and didn’t resign Rachunek but when has Sather done anything so obvious. But I can already see the comments from Maloney and Sather that Staal just wasn’t ready or he needs time to adapt to the speed of the pro game. I hope I am wrong, but that would mean that Ranger management was truly changing which I will believe it when I see it

    34. I think if Staal is as strong or stronger than he was last camp, he will be on the squad. The only reason he did not go to Hartford this season was to protect him from exposure to waivers throughout this season. He will be a year older and stronger and will likely be included from the start of next season.

      Pock or Rachuneck may be gone.

    35. I agree with Jay about Staal making the big squad…Rachunek and Pock are both RFA…I would guess that Rachunek doesn’t get resigned…I dont know anything about how RFA works but Pock made 600K this season so maybe they will resign him…or maybe we’ll see Baranka

      Malik-Rosy
      Tyutin-Girardi
      Mara-Staal

      Pock or Baranka as 7th

    36. Colorado Mark on

      Jay- Staal was not eligible to go to Hartford. He either played in the NHL or he played Junior. The NHL has an agreement with Junior clubs so they don’t steal their best players and put them in the minors. Next year he could play in Hartford. Also, young players are not subjected to waiver rules. That is for older, experienced pros to protect them from waiver yo-yo moves, like we used to do to PJ Stock. It will be interesting to see what happens to him. Some think he will go to Hartford after his team is eliminated, others think he will go right to the Rangers. His camp this year was not as strong as the camp before. From all accounts he is having an okay year, not as dominating as the previous one (same with his WJC showing).

    37. Colorado Mark

      Totally agree. Not sure on some of that contract stuff. I was recalling that if they added him to the roster, he may have made some trips to Harford throughout the season that MAY have required passing through waivers. Rather than run that risk, and because he was not eligible to play in Harford, they had no choice but to send him back to Junior.

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