Big with a capital “B”

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If you read one of my counterparts’ “blog entries from yesterday”:http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/2007/03/montreal_game_even_bigger_than.php he gives you a fairly thorough explanation as to why tonight against the Canadiens is huge. The writer in question is admittedly smarter than I am — be it in areas of hockey or mathematics — but I can concur that tonight has implications beyond two points.

As was the case two days earlier on the Island, a win tonight can simultaneously propel the Rangers closer to their own playoff spot while sucking the life out of their opponent. That was the case to some extent against the Islanders, and it would surely be the case against the Habs, who are treating tonight as nothing short of a playoff game.

Meanwhile, it looks like Rick DiPietro isn’t quite on his death bed, and guess what? You as Rangers fans should be grateful. This team already has a good chance to finish ahead of their arch-rivals. They might as well try to do it without an asterisk.

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132 Comments

  1. that was exactly what i was thinking sam– if the isles dont make the playoffs w/ dipietro out, then that would be the excuse we’d be hearing from the isles fans all summer. better for them to miss it while he’s in so they have no excuse.

  2. Heave Ho! I found a TV and a computer for tonite. I’ve been staying with a friend without either while Potsdam is on break.

    For all of you who follow HS Hockey, I’m student teaching at Salmon River right now (Rye knocked them out of the D2 state playoffs). They have a beautiful hockey facility attached to their school. I got the 5 cent tour today. Hopefully, they’ll let me take a skate on it before the melt the ice next week.

  3. Newsday’s report that the DP recurrence might have been caused by Avery could be true, but flopping around to make saves also can bring on the condition, especially if DP wasn’t fully recovered. Shanny took time to heal and come back. Maybe DP and the Icelanders rushed things.

  4. Oh, I forgot that Avery doesn’t think highly of French guys. That’s why they’re booing him.

  5. it would suck if Ortie is hurt badly. i don’t think anyone wants shitbister back in the lineup

  6. Wow..I really like what I am seeing tonight.
    Disciplined, good passing and smart game thus far-
    A+

  7. the defensive zone play has been outstanding, accept for that powerplay. Pock and Girardi have both played well

  8. I dunno. You all know the typical Islander fan. They’re gonna use it as an excuse anyway. Or they’ll blame Avery and use that as an excuse.

    You can’t reason with the unreasonable.

  9. hanny– “You can’t reason with the unreasonable” …couldnt have said it better myself

  10. Doodie Machetto on

    Interesting stat: 5 of the last 6 Rangers losses have come after they had 2-0 lead.

    I see they’re going for 6 of 7 tonight.

  11. Doodie Machetto on

    Question: Should you pull Lundqvist? with as hot as Lundqvist has been it’s hard to. But without his recent run, I would say unequivocaqlly yes, if for nothing else than to shake the team up.

  12. Doodie Machetto on

    Reunite the Avery-Cullen-Callahan line. Move Shanny to the 1st line and Straka to the third. That Shanahan-Avery-Callahan unit just doesn’t click the way the ACC line did.

  13. Doodie Machetto on

    Roszival is playing an absolute stinker. Worst player on the ice from both teams.

  14. Doodie Machetto on

    Lundqvist is looking VERY shakey now. This game is getting further away from us by the second.

  15. friggin Malik, Lundy makes the save, and that big oaf malik let’s the guy blow right by him for the rebound.

  16. GuitarWizard on

    Lundqvist this period has been horrible. He hasn’t been getting much support, but Henrik has not been in position, which is norm for you. Usually his positioning is what saves them. Not happening tonight.

  17. nice way for the team to say thank you to hank for saving their ass in the past few games by allowing him to get pulled after they fall apart.

  18. Doodie Machetto on

    They’re playing like they did over the weekend. It worked in the 1st period against a lifeless team, just as it had over the weekend. Then when they showed desire, that half ass shit that the Rangers have been doing for almost a week just isn’t cutting it.

  19. czechthemout!!!!! on

    shany needs to sit.there i said what no one else has the nuts to say.and he should take an injured straka with him
    to the rafters.

  20. so if Lundy does not stand on his head and give the Rangers unreal .960 save %, they can’t do well.

    that means hand Lundy the Ranger MVP award right now.

  21. How come with the “new rules” you can’t so much as tap a guy with your stick, but it’s perfectly acceptable to have both skates planted in the opposing team’s crease and deflect a shot into the net off your body?

  22. We look worse than the worst team in hockey righth now–Pathetic- and Renney’s an idiot.

    Putting Valiquette in is basically throwing in the towel for the game.

  23. remember the last time they got ridiculously embarassed in canada? disgusting. i really thought those days were behind us, but i guess they want to ensure we have some sort of heart failure before the season’s over.

    anyone notice rosen’s miss-call on malik trying a stuff in on valiquette?

  24. czechthemout!!!!! on

    i was afraid of this when the injured players came back what would happen to the chenistry.i have my answer.

  25. Doodie Machetto on

    It’s not that Lundwvist was playing badly, which he was. It’s just that the whole team seems to have shot its collective load in the 1st period. Meanwhile, Montreal is in top gear.

    Pock is the only defenseman I’ve seen play well tonight. Even Girardi is doing badly.

  26. Why can’t Jagr score on a friggin breakaway..

    Very few guys on this team can finish-

  27. Doodie Machetto on

    New strategy for opposing teams: spot the Rangers two goals, then crush them.

  28. Rosen and Micheletti are actually right about Habs fans wanting a call on every little thing. I went to college up there and went to plenty of games; just because they can wallpaper their locker room with Stanley Cup banners, doesn’t mean their fans have any clue what a penalty is.

  29. great halak greating praised now— see what happens when the rangers dont finish? crappers in net become superstars.

    and dont give me a load of s**t telling me halak is the second coming of hasek or something like that. he’s played the worst teams in the league before tonight and as of tonight, i cant differentiate the rangers from the coyotes.

    and another point of halak not being worthy of a name from tonight: how many other goalies have looked like gods when they play the rangers? i can count nittymaki, hedburg, mcdonald(till the last 2 mins), anyone else…?

    case in point… when the nhl & “barry melrose” pronounce halak as the canadiens leader to the cup, i’ll be throwing bricks towards the tv.

    and the canadiens are not a good club– goaltending is shaky, i personally dont like the coach, they SUCK at 5 on 5 and only score on the PP, which in the ‘new’ nhl is apparently all you need to be in qualifications for the playoffs.

  30. czechthemout!!!!! on

    this is very similar to the toronto game that sent them on their seven game losing streak.

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    Refs are starting to call it tighter because they were starting to lose control. Rangers need to adjust if they don’t want to get blown out.

  32. czechthemout!!!!! on

    they have to this on saturday or the season may be over after all the goo they’ve done.

  33. Come on guys, we saw this coming a mile away. Two crappy wins over the weekend, now we can’t do anything right. If they don’t take down Philly the season is done.

  34. czechthemout!!!!! on

    this is the difference between the devils and us.clarkson just scored on the power play.he played with the first poer play unit.

  35. just wonderful to tank a game like this when the hockey gods were/are helping the rangers out on out of town games.

    florida won over tampa bay, devils have a two goal lead on isles and toronto leads carolina 5-1.

  36. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    I want Guy Carboneau as our coach. Hopefully Habs make the playoffs because they play much better than Rangers, Islanders, etc.

  37. Carbonneau gets treated a lot like Renney. There are a lot of people in Montreal ready to run him out of town after every loss.

  38. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “Carbonneau gets treated a lot like Renney. There are a lot of people in Montreal ready to run him out of town after every loss.”

    it is for different reasons though, they don’t like him because he rolls 4 lines and doesn’t double shift the scoring lines.

  39. And yes, they were MUCH better with Isbister and Dubinsky playing instead of Straka and Shanny. Straka is playing like complete doodoo and Shanny ios not in game shape. And he still hasn’t scored since October.

  40. GuitarWizard on

    John Gee-I’m-A-Moron just posed the question to Stan that I was thinking:

    Do you keep Valiquette or go back to Lundqvist?

    I say put Henrik back. He got shaken, has had some time to think about it and get his focus back on what he has to do.

  41. “I want Guy Carboneau as our coach”

    you’re kidding me right? do you not remember the entire locker room meltdown earlier in the year when players admitted they didnt want to play in montreal and maybe it was a mistake for them to be there?

    that team is a complete mental case. complete over-dramatics; maybe its b/c they play where they do, but all i know is, even though others might criticize, i want renney over guy.

  42. czechthemout!!!!! on

    asshole renney get straka off the ice.the kid just took a slap shot and is grimmicing.he can not shoot!!!!!!

  43. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “you’re kidding me right? do you not remember the entire locker room meltdown earlier in the year when players admitted they didnt want to play in montreal and maybe it was a mistake for them to be there? ”

    I only know Samsonov said it was a mistake he signed there.

    “And yes, they were MUCH better with Isbister and Dubinsky playing instead of Straka and Shanny. Straka is playing like complete doodoo and Shanny ios not in game shape. And he still hasn’t scored since October.”

    yep, and this team is lacking speed and energy. lacks hitting, andd crashing the net. Jagr and Nylander can’t finish when given great chances. I can’t even remember the last time Straka scored a goal.

  44. czechthemout!!!!! on

    congradulations cally,for your good play in the second period,you are now on the fourth line.

  45. they responded semi-good in this period. better than the 2nd(but anything can be considered good compared to that)

  46. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “They may have lost, but at least they did not just roll over and die.”

    they did in terms of physical play. Cullen getting smacked on the balls and getting a penalty pretty much summarizes this game.

  47. Score was closer than it should have been, so close that I wonder if this game will teach the Rangers a lesson. They didn’t even belong in the same LEAGUE as the Canadiens after that 2nd period.

  48. montreal fans are responding like they just won the cup. i guess they have nothing better to celebrate, since it was 30 years ago since they actually had enjoyment.

  49. it is going to come right down to the wire. the Rangers, Habs and Tampa have 5 games left, and the Leafs, Canes and Isles have 6 games left and are just a shade back.

  50. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “since it was 30 years ago since they actually had enjoyment.”

    check your facts

  51. “since it was 30 years ago since they actually had enjoyment.�

    check your facts

    it was sarcasm, sorry, i thought it was understandable.

  52. Very dissapointing 2nd period, Jezz… that sucks… how can you blow a game completely in just 2 minutes? Pulling Lundy was stupid again. Renney seems to loose it when team doesn’t play well. Valiquette is just an average goalie. I wonder how King Henrik fells right now…
    Remember – we are the Rangers fans, we HAVE to suffer…
    I knew it’s coming, I just knew it… Now, let’s win 4 or 5 ;) COME ON!!!

    …and MONTREAL S U C K S ! ! ! It is not a soccer game, so shut up there french idiots!

  53. we saw the old rangers tonight, careless plays in the neutral zone, forward not getting back deep, etc.

    better play better on saturday………..

  54. gartner you better leave or you’ll get lumped in. I bet you’re the greatest fan looking down on these other fans.

  55. Renney will cost the Rangers the playoffs. He should have sent Straka home and told him not to come back until next year using Dubinsky instead. Not keeping Liffiton and benching either Malik or Strudwick was another Renney gem. Also breaking up the Avery, Cullen, Callahan line was a big mistake. Putting it all together, Dubinsky, Liffiton and either Malik or Strudwick (until Tyutin comes back) wouldbe better than what we have now.

    Put Shanny with Jagr and Nylander because unlike Straka, Shanny shoots. The ACC line should get just as much PP time as Jagr’s line. Third line would be Dubinsky, Prucha and Ortmeyer while the 4th line remains the same.

    Girardi had his worse game as a Ranger. Why?? Who was his partner?? None other than the pylon Malik. He didn’t help Girardi much at all.

    Renney just admitted on the post game that his team is out of gas. Well Tom, you did that with your terrible coaching.

    Got a chuckle when a reporter asked him about blowing 2 goal leads. Renney firmly said,”We are not going there, we are not going there!!!”

  56. Gartner – not really bandwagoners here. Those who are the biggest critics are just as negative after a win as a loss.
    Especially the one and only guy who changes his signage every week or so (the newest one starts with Malik’s).

  57. Michael Borgo on

    The balloon may be finally bursting after a valiant effort. But I agree – play the kids!!!!!

  58. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “we saw the old rangers tonight, careless plays in the neutral zone, forward not getting back deep, etc.

    better play better on saturday………..”

    no I see that every game, only difference this time was that we were playing against a better team and Lundqvist wasn’t stopping everything

  59. Michael Borgo on

    The biggest mystery this year is how Malik is a plus 20 something. He is the slowest, laziest and crappiest D-man on the team. Please no more Malik in 07/08. Play the kids!!!

  60. Malik's laser guided poke check on

    “Got a chuckle when a reporter asked him about blowing 2 goal leads. Renney firmly said,â€?We are not going there, we are not going there!!!â€?”

    can’t wait for his stupid ass to be fired

  61. “Those who are the biggest critics are just as negative after a win as a loss.”

    Not necessarily true. Nobody was negative after they beat Pittsburgh or Boston or Philly or St. Louis or Carolina. People were negative after this weekend’s two wins because the team played sloppy all around and got away with four points because of Lundqvist. Those of us who were “negative” were simply pointing out that the team was bound to get spanked if they played that way tonight. They did in the second period and were spanked. Thankfully it was just one bad period.

    I understand Renney – I’m sure they’re mentally fatigued and exhausted from having to spend the last month climbing back into a playoff spot. Which is why all those points squandered earlier in the season are an issue. Because you can’t give anyone a break, and guys get hurt, and its really difficult to sustain a playoff intensity for that long. Problem is, this team can’t win with any consistency unless they play like that. They’re not good enough. Especially not with Marty “I cannot shoot, ever” Straka in the lineup along with Michal “I will not shoot” Rosival and Mickael “neither will I” Nylander. and that’s 3/5 of our PP!!

    I can’t fathom they wont win 2 more games, though, and after what happened around the league tonight, that’ll be enough. Beat Philly and the Isles and get a point of off someone else and they’ll be in. But seriously, isn’t it clear that the approach of playing younger, fresher legs who can get the puck deep, hit and create chances is the much better one than the “experieenced veterans whose legs are shot by now” approach?

  62. Peter I was talking more about the poster Malik’s … (keeps changing his signage and a couple of others who no matter what are always negative even in those other games you mention). You can usually tell who they are by not having regular names. Those who use their names are usually very fair in their arguments.

    You’re absolutely right in much of what you post. I think tonight fatigue set in and the urgency was not there since they had a small cushion. Do I like the pass pass pass mode of the pp most nights (no). Do I like a really banged up Straka playing right now (no – but when he’s healthy I do).
    I would much rather see a healthy Dubinsky than a banged up Straka.

    I think The Rangers need more than 2 wins though. Of the 6 teams fighting for the last 3 spots (excl Atl for now) the bottom 3 all have 1 game in hand. We also play the NYI, Tor, Mtl and a loss to any combined with only winning 2 games will definitely not cut it.

    They really needed todays game. Now that this one is history they need probably 7 maybe 8 pts to get in. There will prob be some 3 pt games hurting the cause as well.

  63. I said enough about tonight’s game and decided to listen to a podcast with Bird and Rodent. If you took out the parts where they are in a self praising mode, there wouldn’t be that much else they said. Maybe they’ll include me on their next one to make it interesting.

    Rodent and his crew haven’t mentioned me since Mar 17th, I feel jilted. :)))

    Think there were about 54 references to me in the last 2 months. That’s fantastic since I haven’t posted there since Nov 11th and yet am deemed newsworthy by that crew.

    Maybe we’ll have a party this summer. LMAO!!

  64. It’s simply not possible that the Rangers need to win 4 out of 5 to get in. 5 or 6 points will do it. As of right now, we’re 1 point up on Montreal and Tampa and 3 up on everyone else. That means that if the Rangers win 2 more games, they’ll be 7 points up on the bottom three teams, and 5 up on Montreal and Tampa. So in order for the Rangers to win 2 of their remaining games, get four points, and not make the playoffs, Montreal would have to go 3-2, Tampa would also need to go at least 3-2, and then one of the bottom three would have to go 4-2. If Tampa and Montreal fail to win 3 of their last 5, then neither of them can beat the Rangers for a spot. Which would mean that the Isles, Toronto and Canes would ALL have to go 4-2 for the Rangers (and then Tampa and Montreal) to be out.

    Bottom line is you’re right 2 wins makes it questionable. I think 6 points and they are definitely in. 7 or 8 gets them the 6th seed.

  65. They could have won that game even with that stinker of a 2nd period, but the luck ran out tonite with alot of other things.

  66. The team turned around when they played with an edge. Make fun of Isbister if you want to but he did provide a possession element in the offensive zone down low that Jagr and Nylander lack. Straka is not nearly 100% so how can he play as fiercely as needed? Same thing with Shanahan. I’ve said this recently and I’ll say it again..

    Put either Isbister or Ortmeyer with Jagr and Nylander
    Play Avery Cullen and Callahan together
    Put Straka between Shanahan and Prucha, AND BE SURE TO PLAY THEM MAINLY IN SPECIAL TEAM SITUATIONS OR FOR OFFENSIVE ZONE DRAWS
    Keep Hollweg Betts and Orr together

    These adjustments would keep the puck out of the defensive zone. There is no better defense than a puck possession offense. It’s sad when the fans can see what’s needed and the ‘Braintrust’ can’t….

  67. “They might as well try to do it without an asterisk.”

    Sam – hopefully you don’t really believe that last line. Would other teams have asterisks because the Rangers missed Shanahan for a dozen games? Or that Tyutin, Hossa, and Rachunek have been out with MCLs? I don’t think anyone would be supporting that theory, but why with DiPietro? I think its nonsense.

    Injuries are part of the game, no matter who it is.

  68. Malik and Roszival are still too slow. The problem is that Roszival is offensive minded and when he gets caught up ice he has no chance of getting back. Malik knows he is slow and generally is behind the play, but he too takes offensive risks. Its called risk vs. reward people, deal with it.

  69. Doodie

    “there’s a lot of talk about how bad Malik is. Roszival was MUCH worse.”

    Last night that was true. Hope they are gone next season.

  70. The rangers to me tonight looked like a tired team. They have played alot of games in the past few weeks like it was the playoffs, it takes it’s toll. The team now has a few days off, hopefully they can re-energize themselves, go in to philly and take care of business.

  71. Rangers Pride on

    Yeah right…. I just do not see them beating Toronto pardon my pessimism. This is where we lose 5 straight and do not make the playoffs. Hey it was fun while it lasted! Shanny can not skate, Jagr and Nylander can not buy a goal, Straka (One armed Bandit). Welcome your favorite handicapped team. Hooray!!!

  72. Longtimesufferingrangerfan on

    Renney will continue to play the “sick, lame and lazy” to spite the fans…that’s the only reason I can think of why he does it. This could be a banner year for the Rangers but the “braintrust” won’t let it happen. I feel bad for the players who have played their hearts out but get undermined by the Ranger “brass”.

  73. Longtimesufferingrangerfan on

    Incidentally, I would rather see Valiquette as back-up rather than Weekes. He played decently last night coming in cold to a pressure cooker.

  74. Longtimesufferingrangerfan on

    Kasparaitis Back

    Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis rejoined the Pack for the first time since being hospitalized March 2. “It was personal things, some emotional stuff,” Kasparaitis said. “It was scary, but I’m good now.”

    Kasparaitis, recovering from lingering problems from offseason groin surgery, hasn’t played since Feb. 9.

    “Players are usually here for the team, but we’re here for Darius and his needs, to help him find his game and mental state,” Schoenfeld said. “If he’s not able to go the rest of this year, at least he’ll have a head start for next season.” … The Pack signed wing Kenny Roche to an amateur tryout contract. Roche, 23, a third-round pick in 2003, just completed a four-year career at Boston University, where he had 12 goals and 17 assists in 37 games this season.

    Contact Bruce Berlet at

    bberlet@courant.com.

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