Time for second guessing


You wouldn’t be fans and I wouldn’t be a reporter if our own doubts didn’t come to surface on occasion. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m still willing to believe what happened in Montreal was an inevitable setback given the level the Rangers were enjoying. But it still may be time to shake things up.

Among the suggestions:

  • *Move Sean Avery back to wing:* Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but I actually had reservations about using Avery at center right from the start. The reasons: for all of Avery’s redeeming qualities — and we all agree there have been many — he may be too reckless for what the Rangers need out of a center. Conversely, being saddled with the defensive responsibilities that come with playing in the middle can detract from Avery’s ability to play on edge, his greatest strength.
  • *Break up the top line and put Michael Nylander with Brendan Shanahan:* We’re also in agreement that the 38-year-old Shanahan hasn’t been stellar in his four games since returning from a concussion. But the guy will still be able to shoot a puck when he’s collecting his pension and drinking prune juice. Giving him a playmaker like Nylander who can assume most of the puck-handling will still utilize his most immediate assets while also allowing him time to get back his legs.
  • *Bring back Brandon Dubinsky to play center:* Granted, this is unlikely. But if you want Avery back at wing, you now need another center. Yes, the most immediate option is Marty Straka, but that’s another player who isn’t 100 percent, so it’s probably not the right time to be asking him to play out of his natural position. Moreover, I thought Dubinsky was impressive in his short time with the team. So even if it’s a short-term solution, it’s an immediate way to provide the team with a jolt.
  • *Bring back David Liffiton to at least to skate with the big club:* It’s looking more and more like Fedor Tyutin will return before the end of the regular season. But there is the good chance he won’t be fully healed, not to mention the prospect that another defenseman could go down as well in what will be five physical remaining games. If there’s a chance the Rangers are going to need Liffiton, then they need to give him time to get acclimated to the speed of the NHL game — even if it’s only in practice.
  • *Move Marek Malik to left wing:* Just making sure you’re paying attention.

    More from practice later..

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    1. I agree with everything except Shanny on the first line (and obviously the Malik thing ;)).

      First off, Strudwick isn’t too bad, but as I saw the last couple of games, he can’t keep up. He’s too slow.
      That said, Liffiton should come and replace him. I know Renney doesn’t want the inexperience on the back line, but the guy is a big presence out there. Against teams like Philly and the Isles, that’s going to be needed.

      Dubinsky should still be here. He played well and is great at faceoffs. Last game the Rangers got burned on a goal because Cullen lost the faceoff in the offensive zone. Dubinsky from what I remember was a great faceoff man in his few games here.

      That said, Shanny shouldn’t be on the first line. He plays a north-south game and Jagr/Nylander play east-west. You can argue that Shanny on the line will force them to change to a more power game, but first of Shanny isn’t sharp enough yet. Second, we’ve all seen how the PP has been playing since Novemberish until Shanny was taken off the first PP line. It just doesn’t work. I think either Callahan or Prucha should be there. Prucha would be my #1 choice since he seems to play well with Jagr and has more experience doing such.

      I guess we won’t know until tomorrow how it’s going to look , huh?

    2. Sam,

      You sound like a blogster! Seriously though, Avery on wing with Shanny and Nylander in the middle forces Michael to play more north south and stops him from over handling the puck. Cullen in the middle with Orty/Callahan and Prucha. Jagr Straka Callahan or Isbister .Keep it that way for pp ‘s with Cullen, Mara, Pock sharing point duty.

      Obviously Avery with anybody at center works ok.. It seems Blair Betts is the clog up for Dubinski unless Dubinski replaces Straka in my opinion.

    3. Blair Betts the clog up? He is a 4th line center, Dubs should be atleast a 2nd liner, I don’t think anyone wants to see Dubinsky playing 5 minutes a night in NY when he can be playing 20+ in hartford…

      Sam any word on whats going on with Kaspar? I know his NHL career is on the brink but what has been going on since his breakdown at practice a few weeks ago in Hartford?

    4. Straka is useless with his injuries and he should be shut down for the remainder of the season. He’s killing us right now.

      I’d put Malik out there on the PP to screen the goalie, replacing Straka. Then enforce fines on anyone who has an open shot but doesn’t shoot.

      Take some money out of their wallets and you’ll see shots coming from the bench. Even Nylander may let one go.

    5. Sam – Agree with you on all points. Even the Malik point. But I think you had a typo in there. He should be moved to “left out” not left wing.

      Interesting rumors about the Pack moving today in the Courant. Glens Falls could use the team, I know that.

    6. Sam:

      Good points … I especially agree with bringing up Dubinsky …

      Here’s another – play Cullen at the point on the power play … with Rosival and Straka not wanting to shoot the first PP is very weak …

    7. I’m thinking the injury Shanny suffered might end up to be a blessing in disguise for him and the Rangers as far as him having more left in the tank than the others. Once he gets his legs back, he’ll be hot.

    8. Malik to the stands is correct.

      He hurts Lundqvst repeatedly…he adds so much work to the goalie it is insane.

      Although Rosi had one of his worst games, he has not been like that game after game;

      Malik has.

      I cannot imagine what has gone through the mind of Tomas Pock watching from the stands as Malik took this huge chunk of ice time this season.

      anyone know what Malik makes and is he under contract for next year? I just cannot picture another year with Renney flipping off NY fans by playing Malik and putting the “A” on his sweater….

    9. ok bud, my friend was looking at this and he pointed out to me that you commented about donald brashear and colton orr. well, lets see, Im pretty sure donald brashear no longer plays for the Flyers nor the Maple Leafs….. he plays in Washington….. get your facts right, guy.

    10. Totally unrelated question, but with the seasons coming to an end for some junior players, i was wondering if anyone had opinions or scouting on the some guys and whether they had a chance of succeeding, either right now in the ahl or next season in the nhl:
      Tom Pyatt
      Eric Hunter
      Michael Sauer
      Brodie Dupont (who seems to be the best of all of our center prospects besides Dubinsky)
      Ryan Russell
      Ryan Hillier
      Bobby Sanguinetti
      Billy Ryan
      Dalyn Flatt
      Ken Roche

      The only guy i reall know about is Staal, but seems like people here have the inside track on everything rangers so fire away….

    11. Dave – Whos Donald…if your refering to brash…lol didnt you see orrzie fight him 3 times this year..and shanny fought him as well…how can you forget that..

    12. Ian – try blueshirt bulletin also with that question. they really follow the junior and college guys. see link on the right of this blog.

    13. Thanks. I will definately but i was wondering if anyone here had opinions either way since this is the most knowledgeable place for all things rangers.

    14. eastcoastsportsfans.com on

      Yes on Avery.

      Yes on Ballerina92.

      Yes on Dubi for the 4th line.

      No to cement feet Liffiton.

      When Malik is playing like a meat head move him to the outhouse.

      Onearmedbandit82 can center Jagr.

    15. I posted this on the last blog, so I will repeat cuz I never know who looks at what or goes back and reads old ones….

      Jags plays better with a big body as his 3d linemate (like Hossa). Keep him with Sonja Henne Nylander and put either Isbister or Avery on his line. That gives the opposing team 2 big bodies to have to focus on. Straka and Prucha are too light and small to really be a force with that line. Assume Avery with Jags then the 2nd line should be Shanny Straka and Callahan. 3d Cullen Orts Prucha. 4th HBO.

      Malik sucks. A liability.

      Dubinsky, I like him. He does lack some polish though. Rangers just signed Betts to a new deal (he is a great shot blocker, penalty killer, and good face off guy) so I don’t see Dubinsky taking his spot. I can’t see them calling him up for the last week and the playoffs. He is part of the future though, I think and hope!

      Dave….Big Donald? You mean Donald Duck or Donald Brashear of the Capitals or Donald Trump? Put down the bong.

      Also, Sheldon Souray should be our #1 offseason objective.

      Last thing…I said this yesterday I think…my sources say Straka needs surgery in the offseason….how strong and effective can he really be?

    16. Souray is going to sign in California.
      He’s reconciled with his wife (She’s preggers ) and they are in escrow on a house out here. I know, because it’s my buddy’s house. (nice place!)

      That’s why Sj didn’t bother making an offer- he’ll be available for the right number of zeros.

      Ranger should pursue Timonen in the off season.

    17. I’d agree on the Souray thing except word is he’s already booked to the Kings.

      As for our prospects (don’t forget this is coming from the guy who said the Avery trade was a good one and now how many writers are calling it the best trade at the deadline):

      Tom Pyatt – Ready for the AHL right now no problem, but if Dubi can’t find time with the big league team, he can’t either.

      Bobby Sanguinetti – Would love to see what this kid could bring for us sooner rather than later. He’s got the offensive ability that the Rangers D lacks, but I’d bet we don’t see him til 08-09.

      Ken Roche – I know this kid well from my days around Hockey East. He’s a solid player, but I’m not sure he has NHL talent. He could use a couple years of AHL seasoning and then possibly take over as a 3rd or 4th line NHL center.

    18. robbybonfire on

      You should be the Rangers GM, because your recommendations of upgrading Liffiton and Dubinsky are exactly what Sather is NOT about, as he holds on to the downside Straka’s and Nylander’s of the world until they are SSA eligible. No guts to go with talented kids who are ready is why the Rangers are light years behind Pittsburgh, for one, and guess which of those two franchises will beat the other to winning another Stanley Cup?

      While Pittsburgh goes with its terrific array of kids, the Rangers have the Staals and the Sanguinetti’s on hold until they turn 25, while Sather continues to bring the Krog’s and teh Strudwick’s, and the Dupuis-types in here, while inviting Ozolinsh types back for more embarrassing play! Do not get optimistic about the Rangers playoff chances so long as Sather is around, he is a fossil from the original six dark ages, and they will NEVER fire him, even if he goes ANOTHER decade without so much as the team winning a single post-season series.

      Straka not 100 per cent is not the story for this team – Sather at about 25 per cent maximum of brain cell capacity IS the ongoing story. And no one can cancel its run.

    19. Colorado Mark on

      Robby- I understand your point, but enough with the dang Pittsburgh comparisons. They are playing kids now because they have finished dead last for practically a decade and have the league kissing up to Mario as well and giving them Sid the Kid. If you think we have prospects like Malkin, Crosby or Staal (we have a defensive version) you’re crazy. Those guys are pretty rare. It’s not like we passed up those guys in the draft or are burying them in the minors. As I’ve said before, Anaheim and Buffalo are good examples of teams that have consistently developed their kids. Our program right now features a lot of young players and we have gotten younger since the start of the season. Our farm team is the youngest in the league and is challenging. Sure, Malik, Rozy, Straka and Nylander aren’t ideal, but it’s not like the Penguins have only kids (Recchi, Roberts, etc.) If we had traded for Roberts at the deadline we would crucify Sather.

    20. Colorado Mark on

      Staal was not ready this year. Sanguinetti is hardly ready for the NHL. You are mistaken thinking our prospects are on par with top 5 picks.

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