Postgame: Joyous Rangers headed to a second straight postseason

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Before I even start here, I must tell a quick story to those of you who think Sam bailed for the greener pasture of Augusta. I received a call from the former Wildcat early in the third period tonight.
*Frank Franklin II/AP*
jagr.jpg
He hadn’t heard a score and wanted to know the Rangers fate. When I told him it was 3-0, I mentioned how Petr Prucha and Jaromir Jagr had scored the first two goals. Then came the following exchange, which came at the urging of a woman who has season tickets next to The Journal News seat over the visiting team’s runway.

*Sam:* “Who scored the third goal?”
*Me:* “Your boy Malik!”

Obviously, he couldn’t believe it, but it was true. And that was right about when you realized the Rangers were headed to the postseason.

That they made it is pretty stunning. I know many of you had written them off when they fell to 12th place in the Eastern Conference — and rightfully so — and to see them clinch last night was a surprise.

You guys can go over the game all you want. My two favorite moments were Prucha’s goal three minutes into the game, which was obviously heaven-sent if you ask Ranger fans, followed by Blair Betts’ tremendous effort to thwart Saku Koivu in the second period with the handle of his broken stick.

So without any more conjecture, I’ll proceed with some quotes.

*Tom Renney —*

On the recent play of Jagr, who became just the second player in NHL history to score 30-plus in 15 consecutive seasons (joining former Ranger Mike Gartner): “He looks fresh. He’s attacking. He’s playing all three zones as well as a guy his size can.”

He then continues to talk about his leadership: “He’s been a real inspiration to his team.”

On Petr Prucha’s goal: “Everyone of us was thrilled when the puck went in, not because we were up 1-0 but because Petr scored it.”

Here’s my favorite quote from him, on whether or not it’s important to finish sixth: “Yeah, it is. We’re going to Pittsburgh to win the game.” And you could tell he was dead serious.

On making the playoffs: “This is just the beginning now. It’s a clean slate for all the teams that start the postseason. We’re just one of them now.”

And this on winning: “This city wants a champion. And we’re going to do everything we can to do that.”

*Henrik Lundqvist —*

On the turnaround: “I thought at the start of the season we had a good team but we didn’t play smart enough. We have a lot of talent but we took a lot of risks, which cost us a couple of points. After Christmas, and especially after the break, we started to play playoff hockey. We played smart, managed the puck better and it started to pay off. We started to take pride in small things and play better hockey.”

On his own play: “We’ve played a lot of games when they help me. Others, I’ve stepped out and helped them. That’s what it’s all about.”

*Jaromir Jagr —*

He talked a lot about how different it is to play with four solid lines, and said it’s new for him but he likes it because he’s been much stronger in the third period of games.

About the turnaround, he added: “Two months ago, I started thinking about it. We just didn’t play the style we needed to play. We just didn’t play the way we needed to win. Lately, we’ve played to win.”

He also credited Avery yet again: “The way I look at it, I would say it was the addition of Sean Avery. We changed the lines around. We put three offensive lines together. He gives our coache a chance to shuffle the players around and still have more than one line with offense.”

*Blair Betts —*

I asked Betts quickly about blocking Koivu’s shot with his broken stick: “It was a desperate move, but I had no other choice.”

*Petr Prucha —*

Lastly, here’s Prucha on whether he thought the team was ever out of it: “No, we didn’t think like that. If you start thinking like you’re not going to make it, you’ll become a loser.”

If you heard him say it, you knew what he was going for. The Rangers couldn’t afford to get down on themselves until they were officially out.

***************************************************

Four more things before I go:

*1. The lovely Elisha Cuthbert was in the house.* Maybe she was good luck. Who knows? But she walked right by me as I stood in front of Section 112 waiting for one of my buddies who was at the game.
*2. Playoff tickets to go on sale on Tuesday at Noon.* You can get them at Ticketmaster on the Rangers website or through Ticketmaster by phone at 212-307-7171.
(UPDATED below, 12:10 a.m.)
*3. Hank probably in net on Saturday.* Renney, after saying the above quote about finishing sixth, said he expects to start Lundqvist in Pittsburgh.
*4. Check out what Carp has to say about Renney and the Rangers.* That’s our columnist Rick Carpiniello, who covered the Rangers for more than 20 years. “Carp wants to tell you that Tom Renney is not the buffoon fans made him out to be.”:http://carp.lohudblogs.com/

Ok, back tomorrow after the skate.

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57 Comments

  1. Congrats, Rangers fans. You are the most devoted, knowledgable fans there are in sports. Hope you enjoy this.

    Thanks for the good work, Josh. And I’ll see you all in the playoffs.

    Out from Augusta,
    Sam

  2. Thank you Sam and Josh!

    You guys have been an invaluable source for up to the minute information as well as a great place for us all to vent.

    Keep up the great work-

    LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!

  3. Funny, I asked if Avery was still friends with Cuthbert now that he’s no longer on her beloved Kings (after you provided me with that Cribs video, Josh).

    I guess we have an answer.

  4. congrats to Sam and Josh as well… you guys have done a great job. You just feel so much closer to the Rangers when you read this blog. Awesome job guys!

  5. yeah this blog is awesome, definitely feel like i’m right there with the rangers with all the up to the minute updates during practice and locker room talk, etc.

    Here we go NYR!! Let’s go Rangers!

  6. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    I cant wait till the playoffs…Its weird though..this season….to me…..went really quick….I remember hearing about shanny signing here..it feels like a week ago…I just hope rangers kick alot of a** in the post season…Im gonna hit depression mode when the playoffs are over….I dont watch any other sports so ill have nothing to watch…….But i think Tom Renney has done a better job late in the season….But i still dont think hes a good coach..If we never sat out Prucha against the isles then maybe we would of won that game…Espacially seeing as how he tied the game against the isles before we won in the shootout…and the game winning goal in the simon incedent…Its a moronic move…But if we win Saturday then it will all be good….It has been an up and down season..But it ended really well..Were on a 5 game home winning streak…Lets continue that in the playoffs….LETS GO NYR

  7. No doubt that this blog is a godsend to die hard Ranger fans but, please, your colleague Carp is a tool . . . so Renney is all of a Coach RainMan is all of a sedden a genius for managing to squeak this team inot the playoffs when he’s cost them AT LEAST 10 points in the standings with his moronic machinations . . . but I guess Carp gives Coach RainMan high marks for dressing Petr Prucha tonight (turn sarcasm off now)

  8. Okay, what I meant to post was:

    No doubt that this blog is a godsend to die hard Ranger fans but, please, your colleague Carp is a tool . . . so Coach RainMan is all of a sudden a genius for managing to squeak this team into the playoffs when he’s cost them AT LEAST 10 points in the standings with his moronic machinations . . . but I guess Carp gives Coach RainMan high marks for dressing Prucha tonight (turn sarcasm off now)

  9. Callahan had 9 minutes of ice, 2 shifts in the 2nd and 3 in the 3rd, this Renney is some scumbag to not play young guys with a 3 and 2 goal leads. Hopefully they get swept again so the idiot is gone.

    Prucha got less than 11 minutes. Will this reign of terror ever end?

  10. Bob – give me a break (even if they get swept he will still be here). You’re the type that would complain if you won the lottery since then you’d have to pay taxes. If there’s any sweeping done I want to be the Rangers sweeping the other team. I plan on enjoying the playoff run and root hard for the blueshirts.

  11. yeah, shut up bob. anyone else praying for a version of cullen that has better finishing skills?

  12. Just checked out the box again. The ice time was extremely well distributed. Probably the most evenly distributed of any game this entire season. Anyone who is complaining about the distribution of minutes is just doing so for the sake of being controversial.

  13. Not only that, but there was an awful lot of penalty-killing going on in the third, which takes away alot of Callahan’s ice time. I’m just happy the kid gets solid minutes and makes a great contribution. Hopefully we’ll be seeing him in Ranger blue for the next 10 years

  14. all 3 local teams in important games yesterday… and all 3 highlights killed this morning out of our show by people who have no clue what they’re doing. fitting, since we’re the same company that publishes the rag that ran a front page story about the spit heard ’round the world.

  15. onecupin67years on

    Great job Josh, you too Sam ,Sam your mens D league team is 3-0 since your assignment in Augusta ,any comments?

  16. Here is how the exchange REALLY went:

    “He hadn’t heard a score and wanted to know the Rangers fate. When I told him it was 3-0, I mentioned how Petr Prucha and Jaromir Jagr had scored the first two goals. Then came the following exchange, which came at the urging of a woman who has season tickets next to The Journal News seat over the visiting team’s runway.
    Sam: “Who scored the third goal?�
    Me: “Your boy Malik!�

    “Yeah, but for which team?”, Sam asked.

    ’nuff said.

    I was putting the little ones to bed when Malik scored….everyone was laughing. I assumed he bounced the puck off of his enormous forehead for the goal…….

    I thought I saw Lundqvst whacking Malik with this stick while the big lug just stood in front of the net, annoying the heck out of Lundqvst.

  17. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    BOB

    Honestly…shut up…..Your flat out a loser for even saying that…go root for the isles or the devils or jump on the bandwagon and root for the sabres if your that annoyed with NYR…

    I mean what NYR fan would hope there fav team gets swept just so there coach gets fired…Who gives a shit what time was given out..if you were watching the same game as i was..then you must have seen the penalties takin in the game…Who cares what ice time he got..NYR won 3 – 1..enough said…..

    Personally…I dont care who coaches this team..as long as NYR wins…thats all i care about….As long as there not making dumb moves like sitting prucha then i dont care….

    BOB…..watch the isles if your that fed up with NYR…i mean the isles got there so called “coach of the year” maybe you’ll like him better…..

  18. Orr, you may not care about the coach and may enjoy the head in the sand mentality, but there are a lot of educated fans who believe that this team is better than it is—-and believe the fault lies with staff.

    Not simply poor coaching decisions costing up precious points, or minutes decisions that seem so illogical,

    but having kids in Hartford ready, all season, while guys who simply cannot score are on the roster.

    It is frustrating to know that we could be so much better than we are.

  19. onecupin67years on

    So what they made the playoffs ,aren’t they supposed ?
    let’s see if they can go more than a round .

  20. Some of you sound like miserable people, haha. Can you do nothing but find ANYTHING to complain about? The Rangers made the playoffs…they’re not SUPPOSED to…they earned it with hard work and (gasp) good coaching. Oh wait, nevermind what does the coach have to do with anything?

  21. anjou – They WERE supposed to make the playoffs and they did so DESPITE numerous bad coaching decisions which cost the team at least 6-8 points this season

  22. Longtimesufferingrangerfan on

    Seamus
    I agree, we should have been assured of a playoff spot a long time ago if the coaching staff (apparently Renney) would just do the OBVIOUSLY right things to help the team to win. Why he continues to play Malikenstein in the pressure situations is waaaaaaay beyond me! Why he sits Prucha is waaaaaay beyond me! Quite frankly, he, Renney, gives me agita! This season has probably taken a couple of years off my life.

    Someone posted that he hoped the Rangers lose so they will fire Renney…that’s just plain STUPID! I hope they go all the way even if it means Renney wins “coach of the year.”

    LET’S GO RANGERS!

  23. anjou,

    they earned a bottom seat becuase of inept coaching and lazy play throughout the first half of the season. If they can win a few rounds in the playoffs that can be overlooked, but this is a team that was built to be a serious contender throughout the season but consistently was disappointing on many levels. Kudos to Renney for not having the team completely collapse, but I give a lot more credit to Lundquist, Avery, Prucha, Girardi, Callahan and during some games Jagr. If he would just leave the lines as they were last nite they have a chance to do well, but I would not be surprised if he tinkers yet again

  24. hockeymanrangers on

    I am very PROUD of the NY RANGERS and proud to be a HUGE FAN OF THEM. They have worked hard to get to this point, and I hope to see them do well in the playoffs. With that said (my opinion) I think we could do better in the coaching department. And if you have read any of my previous post you would know that this is my campaign. RENNY MUST GO. Why?? do you say?? these are some of my thoughts of why Renny must go. Again my opinion: Renny does not have enough faith in his young players coming up. I am not sure why he wouldn’t most of these young players are experianced in the NEW NHL they are quicker, good puck handlers and have a good sence on how to score goals. Renny is way to patient with his veteran players and sits players that should be playing. I don’t think Renny is a terriible coach or we would not be where we are now. But I really think we could have 10 more points and have finished much higher with some better coaching. So I would love to see a new coach next season. Enough said about that lets enjoy where we are now I KNOW I WILL. GO RANGERS YOOO HOOOO.

  25. nothing better than playoff hockey…with henrik in net, anything can happen…
    now the lineup last night, a few good moves by tommy boy…first off, playing petr puck on the third line vs the 4th was LONGGG overdue. ortmeyer (2 Goals) belongs on the 4th line, and with hollweg and betts, is a good energy line…
    as far as lineups go..unless the other team dresses there enforcer (jansen devs), i go with the same lineup as last night, and again sub hossa for isbister…

  26. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    SEAMUS

    Im not parading myself as one of the faithfull renney fans…As far as the coaching situation goes..Everyone needs to leave it alone for the time being..Sather is basically in love with renney..He wont pull a lamourello..With that…Everyone needs to let it go..there in the playoffs…and yes renney and the staff costed them points. with bad moves..management made up for that by getting rid of our “loose ends” which were the ward’s ..hall..ozo..etc.

    But like i said im no fan of enney and this staff and id prefer if he was fired and they brough in Pat Quinn or who ever is available..but the sooner NYR fans realize hes not going anywhere…the better…Unless next season NYR goes on a EDM run which is horrible…god forbid of coarse…then he’ll be canned..but as far as this goes ..renney is here to stay..and i swallowed my pride and dealt with it cause right now i dont give a damn about them all i care about is having these guys like last night in the lineup..and all of you NYR fans can bight my head off for this..but i think isbister should play in the playoffs..im impressed with his play right now..he gets alot of chances and doesnt capitalize but nonetheless hes been able to do what hossa has done for that line..and you know what..when hossa was on that line hossa scored the goals…with issy on the line jagr and nylander..especially jagr..scores…so go ahead say what you want but thats what i think..we dont need a hollweg around anymore cause we got avery..if we want anybody in the lineup..if anything i think Orr ..for the tough games…but That lineup yesterday was the one we need in the playoffs…just put hossa in…and as far as rachunek goes..when we bring him back..ill tell you one thing..next season..malik or rachunek better go..cause i want pock in the lineup…bad…..

    LETS GO NYR

  27. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    Excuse the spelling errors…..Frustration sucks when you gotta use a keyboard

  28. Also a thanks to Sam and Josh, this blog gets me through all my crappy days in the office.

  29. True Fans bleed RW&B on

    Can someone confirm this…The Rangers are 17-4-6 with Sean Avery in the lineup?

    They were on a 3 game losing streak right before his first game and went 5-0-1 immediately after aquiring him?

    I’ve been spewing these stats around but want to confirm.

  30. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    TRUE FANS bleed RW&W

    Those numbers are acurate i think…But i think they were on a 2 game losing streak..then Sean Avery came in during the devils game where they lost in the shootout..But avery is the peice of the puzzle that really brought us to the playoffs…Avery hasnt played playoff hockey so you gotta wonder what he’ll bring to the table…

    LETS GO NYR…and all of you that still have something to complain about NYR…Save it for next season…Just be happy there where they are considering…

  31. Good start for Tutin too. He was on the ice for two first Rangers goals; he kept the game alive at the blue line on the Jagr’s goal. No hits from him though.

  32. Seamus
    you and everyone else on the “youth at all costs bandwagon” keep referring to the lack of AHL players on the roster. “…but having kids in Hartford ready, all season, while guys who simply cannot score are on the roster…” However, you never say who you would have replaced in the current lineup. It is easy to scream for youth without looking at the logistics or adressing the necessary roster moves when bringing these young guys up. This is the best team we can put out on the ice right now. Any further moves would be at cost to the success of the team. You really think one of our current farm guys is going to come in and be able to make the offensive contributions that the players on our first three lines have been making lately? Girardi came onto the team when he was needed and of course has played great, but nobody (yes even the great and all knowing Seamus) could have guessed that he would turn out to be as solid as he is. As for Callahan- he should have been brought up sooner, but he wasn’t. He alone would not have made the difference in the team earlier this season anyway. I’m just glad that he is here now and I hope he sticks around. Please just stop complaining about the roster and just sit back and watch this team continue to play as it has been recently, with contributions up and down the lineup. LET’S GO RANGERS!!!

  33. Orr kicks ying yang
    I don’t remember how much he played, but Avery was on the last Detroit team that won the cup. So even if he doesn’t have much playing experience he’s been around Yzerman and of course Shanny so i think he will be huge in the playoffs. Like Claude Lemeiux huge if they go far.

  34. NYR=NYR
    That posting was from the 4th. As of the 5th a decision was made not to suspend him. Pay that BS no mind.

  35. some miss the point, if a good coach would coach this team, then not only would they have at least 12 more points but they would also have more rookies playing big minutes, they would develop prospects instead of playing the likes of Isbister, Strudwick, Ozolinsh, Krog, etc. The rookies would produce because they would be given good icetime, especially when having a big lead. A good coach would sit/punish Malik or even demand him to be traded. A good coach would rather play a healthy rookie than a banged up ineffective vet. And in the end it would make a huge difference for the future, next season we would have had maybe similar team to Sabres of this season. But as it is now 34 games is the most that any of our rookies got, after that the biggest is 14. I don’t consider Pock as a rookie, nor do I think he is part of the future.

  36. also a good coach would not play Orr so much, rather develop rookie like Byers or Jessiman. And Jagr’s line wouldn’t be triple shifted each game and would average at least 2 minutes less(which would make them more effective and fresh).

  37. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    BOB

    Nonetheless…for a NYR fan to wish another sweep is absolutely pathetic….they won yesterday and they’ve been winning this whole month..Like i said before..TR isnt going anywhere so for the time being everyone needs to live with it..at least until next season…

  38. Bob wrote:

    Bob April 6th, 2007 at 1:53 am
    Callahan had 9 minutes of ice, 2 shifts in the 2nd and 3 in the 3rd, this Renney is some scumbag to not play young guys with a 3 and 2 goal leads. Hopefully they get swept again so the idiot is gone.
    Prucha got less than 11 minutes. Will this reign of terror ever end?>>

    end of quote

    Bob, you are a true fan and very knowledgable. For a fan like yourself, winning is not the end all. You want to see consistency, and wins that can translate into more wins. Cutting the ice time of two young players is foolish, whether we win or lose. By playing them more, and building their confidence and experience, we not only win in the short term, but win in the long term.

    You are not one of those fans who bitch win or lose. I appreciate your sentiments, but can only tell you that with Renney, we are on thin ice; at all times.

    People said last year, shut up and be happy you made the playoffs. No it was not enough. not with the young talent we had in Hartford that COULD have played NOT with the talent MISUSED by Renney….no not satisfied.

  39. The ice time was extremely well distributed. Probably the most evenly distributed of any game this entire season. Anyone who is complaining about the distribution of minutes is just doing so for the sake of being controversial. Renney rolled four lines and limited the ice time of Jagr and co. Expect this trend to continue as it is necessary for the continued success of the team, especially going into the playoffs.

  40. so Seamus You want them to be swept too?

    As others have stated there is a lot not to like about Renney but unless they pull a Philly or Edm next yr he will still be here. Go through the roster there is a pretty good mix of youth in now (not earlier when Ward x 2, Ozo, Kaspar, Hall etc were taking up time. Look at a guy like Avery – he is not much older than the poster boys for the youth Pock and Immonen but ifs never talked about in a “youthful building block way” here.

    So losing 1st rd or even worse getting swept and even worse than that rooting for that to happen is not at all the way to go.

  41. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    BOB…..SEAMUS

    If you wanna bash the staff..the ice time..what ever else….Then what ever its your opinion and your entitled to it..But to go as far as saying you hope they get swept is embarrising…NYR fans complain about alot..but to go that far is just to far..hate renney all you want but any NYR fan who says they hope there team gets swept obviously is not a true fan of the team and the game….Enough said

  42. If they don’t win a Cup, (and I doubt they will with a captain like Jagr and a coach like Renney), then they might as well get swept.

    I will still enjoy the playoffs with or without the Rangers.

  43. If Renney must go then I guess Peter Laviolette must go to, right? Wins a Stanley Cup, misses the playoffs, but he should go according to the lunacy on this board.

    Oh wait, they lost Cullen and Ward, that must be the reason why they didn’t make the playoffs… or there must be some reason.

    I assume Craig McTavish should be fired as well.

    Heck, Claud Julien’s team won the Atlantic division and he got fired… Renney must go!

    Let’s Go Renney and Let’s Go Rangers..all you haters take a walk.

  44. playoffs is not as important as properly managing the roster, icetime, line combos, prospects, equal accountability, no double standards or coach’s pets.

    Renney failed at all of these.

    and it is very hard not to make the playoffs with such a team and especially healthy Lundqvist, but Renney almost managed to miss the playoffs.

  45. so Bob – if the only validation is winning the cup then my suggestion for you is to give it up. I certainly want more cups but you have to enjoy the ride and certain other seasons besides 94′ we had a heck of a ride.

  46. If some of you guys were as “hockey smart” as you thought you were you would be working in the NHL not bitching and moaning on a hockey blog.

  47. Fruity Cupcake on

    Each of us holds divergent opinions on how the Rangers can be successful, yet we all (save one) only want the continued success of the team. Having said that, no team in NHL history has produced an eighty-win season, so there’s a good chance that if Jack Adams himself was resurrected, we might not have a better record! We have our passion in common. Can’t we all try to respect each other’s opinions a little more?

    Have a lovely holiday weekend, Ranger fans! Here’s to two points in Pittsburgh and the six spot!!!

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