From a jubilant MSG Training Center (Updated, 1:30 p.m.)


It is now apparent that the Rangers need to play a hockey game soon, if only to avoid another day of “Do you think you’re ready?”-type questions. Of course, I was asking those questions today as well, and in added wrinkle, I did it with a TV camera in tow (more on that later).

But as I mentioned earlier, the general feel around the dressing room is that if the Rangers could move up Game 1 to tonight, they’d be all for it.

“Can you tell I have a lot of energy?” Brendan Shanahan said. “Wheels up at 2:30!”

Among the minor updates:

  • Jaromir Jagr skated today and was back to his mischievous self. At one point, Colin Stephenson of the Ledger received a phone call in the middle of an interview, and Jagr started mimicking the sound of an imaginary nagging wife asking Colin when he’d be home. Jagr also joked that even if his NHL career may be nearing an end, he may play in a low-level Czech pro league until he’s 50. I don’t doubt for a second that he could.
  • Marcel Hossa again looked sharp in practice, and appears to be set to return to the lineup tomorrow. Tom Renney played it safe by saying Hossa will be re-evaluated tomorrow. But you can count on seeing him alongside Jagr and Michael Nylander on the first line.
  • Good question about playoff beards. Matt Cullen was sporting a scruff, but said he was going to shave before Game 1 and then let himself go (Embarrassing aside: when I was in high school and we made it into the state playoffs, I tried to grow a playoff beard. Never mind the fact that I really couldn’t, and I just looked like I had food on my face.
  • For the second straight day, Karel Rachunek did not skate. Renney said that Rachunek is on schedule to return sometime next week. But obviously the fact that he had to take another day off means a return isn’t imminent.
  • As for my TV experience today, make sure your kids are already in bed if you want to see it. As some of you may know, The Journal News now has a joint venture with RNN (Regional News Network) called “NewsCenter Now”. I’ve already done a few things in which I was the one being interviewed, but this was my first effort as a de facto on-air correspondent. Initial reaction: Oy vey.

    As I told John Giannone earlier, I’m pretty sure his job is safe. The good news is it will be on tomorrow night (between 5 and 7 p.m.) when I’m already in Atlanta. So if you see it and you have an opinion…make sure you keep it to yourself.

    More later…

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    1. Hey Sam! Great job, keep it up.

      here is a technical, probably stupid, question: will the rangers remain in atlanta or come back to ny and return to georgia for game 2?

      if they are stying in atlanta, do the rangers stay in the equivalant of the four seasons or do they prefer a more low-key housing? … i love this background, behind the scenes info…


    2. Kick the tires and light the fires here WE come.

      LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!

      Can’t wait.

    3. I would truly want to see a big step up by Shanny throughout the playoffs, even bigger than his regular season.

    4. That would be good news – cause it certaintly wasn’t b/s when they lost 7 games in a row…I forget who it was, but someone infected the whole team..

    5. Sam:

      With Hossa on 2nd PP unit with Shanahan and Avery, does Cullen get moved back to the point?

      Here’s hoping ….. however, I would like Cullen on point on first powerplay unit but that will never happen … Straka and Rosival will stay there to frustrate the fans ..

    6. great news on hossa, if he can return playing even close to how he was when he got hurt it’ll be a HUGE lift to the team…no offense to brad isbister but i think the top 3 lines and both pp units become better with hossa back. i have a feeling that he’s gonna be a key to the series.

    7. Doodie Machetto on

      Good to see the team is in good spirits.

      I assume the line combos are the same as they’ve been the past couple of games with the only change being Hossa for Isbister? In that case, which 2 of the 4th line wings are likely to dress (really, the choice is Hollweg or Orr)?

      Also, congrats on your TV exposure. I remember reading once about either Howard Cosell or some other early sports reporter the difference between newspapers and television. It was after a baseball game and none of the reporters could get into the lockerroom. Cosell (or whomever I’m confusing him with) managed to get in with his camera crew. When the other reporters asked why he could get in, but they couldn’t, the answer was only one word: “Television.”

    8. the rangers are giddy because they are gong to walk into hotlanta grab two w’s and go home AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT

    9. sol rosenberg on

      Buccicross gave a scott ferrell shout out on sportscenter screaming shhhhaaakkkkee iiiiitttt up!!!!!! bucci was interviewed by Howard 100 news. join the revolution…..

      opie and anthony 0.0 ratings in chicago and las vegas….

    10. What channel is that in Jersey? Also how loose is Jagr the guys is acting like he’s in high school, pulling pranks and all. I was so hesitant about this guy being the captain and for most of the season I didn’t question myself, until recently that is. I really hope he keeps this up and get’s his boys on a roll starting tomorrow night. He’s no Messier but he’s our Captain.
      Let’s Go Jagr!
      Let’s Go Rangers!

    11. The biggest keys vs. ATL:

      —No neutral zone turnovers that allow Hossa and Kovalchuk quick counter-attacking bursts. Make them go 200 feet to get a scoring chance

      —Exploit ATL’s lousy special teams

      —Score early on Lehtonen to induce a major case of first-postseason-game jitters

      —Shoot the freaking puck on the power play

      —Muzzle the Verbose One behind the bench

    12. Sam – as someone mentioned in response to your last post, is there any chance that Straka would move back to the first line to center Hossa & Jagr? Even though he’s been good with the second line, that first line was awesome for its short time together.

    13. Brandon —

      My guess would be no, at least to start the series. I think some of the reasoning may have to do with Straka serving as a defensive anchor with Shanny and Avery, and also the fact that both Avery and Shanny can take draws for Straka, who is weak on face-offs.

      That’s my guess to start. But we’ll see if Tom changes his mind.


    14. sol rosenberg on

      sam also that line needs a puck possession playmaker for it to work. nylander is better at that then straka and should draw some attention from defenders allowing jagr and hossa to get into shooting position. they need to try to keep the puck away from jagr until he is in a shooting position. Holik has been able to shut him down when jagr is the the playmaker in the offensive zone.

    15. goalbyPrucha on

      MMessier, I feel good things for Shanny, too. Seems like he’s worked the kinks out from his injury layoff so he should have more in the tank than most.

    16. the PP will tell the tale, putting Prucha & Straka on the #1 unit and Cullen & Calli on the # 2 unit should cause a stir but the #4 line has to come out & protect on the shift after the PP…. Sam how is Lundie’s health, since he’s the key to the playoffs?. And how nervous is Renney, who was unusally admitting his mistakes from last year?

    17. i actually got through on like 12:30 yesterday and i was offered 3 seasts in section 428 row D game 6, it would be good to be in the bulding but the last row might ruin the game, so i declined.

    18. One thing I don’t like is that everyone is writing that the Rangers are going to win the series (no questions asked). I like the way the Rangers have been playing as the under dog. Hope this doesn’t get to their heads and they aren’t putting forth the same effort they have been the past month. Can’t wait for the series to start, way too long of a layoff from the end of the season. Lets go Rangers!!!!!!!!!

    19. a casual observer on

      by the way, it was Aaron Ward who “infected the team” with the flu last time. (that’s why they got rid of him).

    20. any chance of having callahan on the 2nd pp? I think having avery and hossa on there together is a bit much as neither can score consistently

    21. Doodie Machetto on

      “Valliquette as the back up. hmmmmm. Is weekes signed for next year also?”


      The ‘yotes just fired their GM

    22. and doesn’t have a time listed yet, so I’m guessing that is still up in the air.

    23. Malik's laser guided poke check on

      white men that have very little facial hair should check themselves, maybe low testosterone or something.

    24. Doodie Machetto on

      Hey guys. A lot of you know that I post here pretty frequently. Well, some bad news just came my way. Unfortunately, my grandmother was just pronounced to be in a persistant vegitative state. As such, I’m going out to say my goodbyes and deal with her eventual passing. Any kind thoughts/words/prayers would all be greatly appreciated.

      Enjoy the playoffs, and let’s go Rangers.

    25. Doodie Mchetteo,

      sorry about your grammie. Tough time to deal with things like that. I hope the playoffs provide a good diversion for you and your family. Prayers with you, Seamie

    26. Sorry to hear that Doodie. My best wishes to you and your family during this tough time. There are only a few thinks higher on the scale of importance than Rangers Playoff Hockey, and at the top of that list is family.

    27. onionekanobi on

      Anyone hear about a supposed scuffle between Avery and Orr? I’ve heard rumors of suspension and a big press conference. This has really gotten me concerned it’s gonna be a rough few games without them. I’ve seen this mentioned on a couple of other blogs and now i’m starting to worry.

    28. Doodie-Sorry to here about your grandmother. These things are always tough to deal with. Just be there for your family thats all you can do.

    29. Doodie – very sorry to hear that – there is never enough words to say to try to console you or your family. But she will live in your hearts and memories. My family still talks about my grandfather and its more than 22 yrs ago. Godspeed to all you.

    30. Malik's laser guided poke check on

      “Hey guys. A lot of you know that I post here pretty frequently. Well, some bad news just came my way. Unfortunately, my grandmother was just pronounced to be in a persistant vegitative state. As such, I’m going out to say my goodbyes and deal with her eventual passing. Any kind thoughts/words/prayers would all be greatly appreciated.

      Enjoy the playoffs, and let’s go Rangers.”

      looks like you are not too heart broken by it. Hospitals in USA kill off old people, that is a fact. Don’t put old people in the hospitals if you want them to live.

    31. Malik,s laser-if you don’t have anything nice to say why did you say anything? Why are you such a dick all the time?

    32. Malik's laser guided poke check on

      Barbara, you little whore, learn the difference between a comma and an Apostrophe.

    33. What an a-hole one and four above me. Doodie – I just lost my grandma this year on a day after my birthday, and even though I didn’t particularly like her, I was still sad when she was gone, especially since she kept my grandpa company. I hope you and your family can help each other out and remember the good times like I did, and get back to your happy time with the Rangers.

    34. Barbara – don’t bother with him. comsider the source. of course that’s easy to say since I am baited at times from his “words of wisdom”.

    35. Malik's laser guided poke check on

      LI Joe, dearest of all my friends. why do you hurt my feelings this way?

    36. Malik, you insensitive prick, each new sentence begins with a capital letter. So, don’t criticize people if you make the same mistakes.

      Sam, ban this dick.

    37. Malik's laser guided poke check up your ass on

      calhob, who are you again? To me you are garbage, I wipe my feet on your face and take shit in your mouth.

    38. LI Joe-Your right i should just ignore him,but with some of the ignorant things he says its hard to. About three years ago my mom died,and i was always sure it was because her doctor was a moron or just didn’t care. So he kind of struck a nerve.

    39. Good, you are 50% for capitalization in the beginning of sentences in your last post. Keep up the good work sport! We are all rooting for you.

    40. Can you believe this? In New Jersey, Tom Gulitti writes Devils playoff ticket sales “were going so poorly that the team has been scrambling the past two days to put together discount plans.� Full- and partial-season-ticket holders received information on the plans, which included offering $60 upper-level seats to Lightning-Devils Games One and Two for $45 with a special discount code (Bergen RECORD, 4/11).

    41. I loved seeing Crosby whine about his kicking goal not being counted. I didn’t think he really tried to kick it until I saw the “reverse angle,” but even so, it should not have been a goal because Armstrong steamed into Emery after his shot, which I believe should be goalie interference. I’m not sure if it matters that the puck was in the crease, though. The “no goal” was probably just a make-up call for the refs missing the interference.

    42. Fernandez was injured for awhile, during which time Backstrom took over as a very good and hot goalie. Fernandez came back to play a couple games but go injured again. I don’t believe he is injured now, but the Wild are still understandably riding Backstrom for the playoffs.

    43. Anyone notice how tight these games are being called….Wow this is ridiculous.
      We’re used to it though.

      LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!

      20 hrs FANS!!!!!!!

    44. center ice showed none of the games today and arent showing any tomorrow…total bs. looks like im going to be listening to internet radio instead of watching

    45. nakedjoe

      Center Ice is showing 2 games today

      San Jose- Nashville (awesome game, almost end of 1st overtime)



    46. yea..its my bad. they dont show it on the guide, but they are airing them. i was just checking the guide. thanks for the heads up.

    47. from sudburywolves website – they swept the 2nd rd

      “Captain Marc Staal has led the way and is playing like a man on a mission. In what will likely be his final season in junior hockey, Staal is determined to go out on top. He leads the Wolves with a +12 rating and is controlling all aspects of the game”.

    48. anytime…
      check out the 2nd OT of San Jose vs. Nashville

      Awesome game..Nashville scored 2 goals to tie it up with
      under a minute to go in regulation.

      These guys are tired and Nabokov was standing on his head the 1st OT-

    49. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

      Jeez i enjoyed watching OTT destroy PIT

      Crosby is a whiner….he cried like a little girl when they called off his goal

      I hope they get swept..that would be nice

      This DAL vs VAN game is good but i prefer ANA vs MIN or the friggin SJS vs NSH game that is going to double OT right now…

      Lets go NYR..Im a wee bit nervous…But i hope we make ATL wish they never wanted to Verse us.

    50. These games so far are very high scoring, surprisingly-

      Except for the Minnesota vs. Anaheim game which only 1 period was played so far.

    51. I’m watching Vancouver/Dallas on CBC. What a game so far. 4-4 going into OT. A couple of bad bounces beat Turco. Henrik’s bro is playing well, keeping it deep on the forecheck.

    52. Still watching Vancouver/Dallas. They’re in the 2nd OT now. The Canuks killed off a 5-3. Dallas has gotten away with more than a few that should have been called, which is suprising since the game is in Vancouver. Gotta love these broadcasts on CBC. They do a great job covering games.

    53. The 2nd OT is now over. Dallas put some pressure on in the last minute, but couldn’t put one home. Vancouver is playing down two forwards and it is starting to show. Bieksa is playing great for them. Lundqvist has had a pretty eventful night for Dallas along with Zubov and Boucher. Turco and Luongo have both been great in goal. The pace has obviously slowed down and I don’t see an end in sight. This game may be still going when all of you wake up in the morning.

    54. DanTheRangerFan on

      Sorry to hear the news doodie..My thoughts are with you and your family. If everyone pays no attention to maliks laser guided poke check he will go away just like the other pests that float in. Dont give any attention to his miserable posts…Lets Go Rangers 07

    55. DanTheRangerFan on

      I dont see this game ending anytime soon…Talk about a match-up. Some good hockey here!

    56. This game is NUTS. A bunch of people have left already. The guys on CBC are keeping count of beer cups a fan has stacked behind the bench.

    57. Malik's laser guided poke check up your ass on

      Ken Hitchcock sounds like he might fall asleep in mid sentence. He is probably now regretting the decision to do these games.

    58. Malik's laser guided poke check up your ass on

      they need to put shootouts in the playoffs. shootouts are more fair than sudden death.

    59. I have to agree with what everyone has said all day, you ARE a moron! How can you allow a playoff game to end with the results of such an arbitrary act like a series of penalty shots? That is NOT hockey, it is crap. The only way to have a winner in a playoff game is to continue playing. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know hockey, they just think they do. No true fan of the sport would want a playoff game to end with some piece of crap spectacle.

    60. Malik's laser guided poke check up your ass on

      how can you allow a game to end on the 1st goal scored? That is dumb, think about it.

    61. 2500 Detroit Red Wings season ticket holders said “no thanks” to playoff tickets.

      NHL interest is falling off in “Hockeytown”.

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