Betts again questionable?

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*UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Tom Renney said Blair Betts was only receiving treatment today, and that he expects the center to play tomorrow.*

Maybe the question mark there is redundant. I don’t know. What I do know is that while Blair Betts was seen working out in the fitness area here at the Training Center, he did not skate again today.

Normally that might not mean much, but given that the lines appeared to be reconfigured in the fourth line center’s absence, the Rangers might be preparing to play Game 3 without him.

In the new lines, the former COP line of Matt Cullen, Petr Prucha, and Jed Ortmeyer (promoted from the third line) was reunited while Ryan Callahan skated with Ryan Hollweg and Brad Isbister. Ortmeyer said he wasn’t sure if that was the line that would be together tomorrow, and since we haven’t met with Tom Renney yet, I haven’t had a chance to ask the coach.

*Renney said flipping Ortmeyer and Callahan was something he was looking at, but that the lines were largely out of whack because of Betts’ absence. I suppose we’ll see tomorrow.*

In other news:

  • Karel Rachunek worked in a bit with Paul Mara, but he will not skate tomorrow. “We discussed it,” the defenseman said. “But we need one more practice and we’ll go from there.”
  • Give reader Seamus credit for his interpretation of Hollweg’s absence from the lineup, since the theory of Hollweg perhaps taking too many penalties was echoed by a few others as well. Either way, if Betts doesn’t go tomorrow, Hollweg would be back in for Game 3, and might be anyway.
  • A predominant theme at practice today was to protect against a false sense of security given the 2-0 lead. Here’s Jed Ortmeyer talking about that, as well as what he expects at the Garden tomorrow.

    More in a bit….

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    73 Comments

    1. The Prucha line was playing well with Callahan, why put Orts on there, his offense is just woeful. Callahan hasn’t looked bad at all. Again Renney assuming he will play poorly or be a liability out there

    2. I would bring up Dubinsky or Immonen (and I’m not a big fan of him) if Betts can’t go. With games 3 and 4 back to back we don’t need a 4th line playing 5 minutes each which I think would be the case with a line centered by Hollweg.

    3. I wouldn’t want to see Hollweg play center. That would negate the purpose of having him in the lineup. He will not be able to hit as much, and his forcheck would be held back. He would be much more effective playing the wing.

    4. I lover Orts on PK hate him even strength. He has had too many opportunities this year and failed to put the puck in the net.

      …But going forward, don’t change anything unless you have to.

    5. Sam good to see you home and dry!, well home at least.

      I like the thought of up Immonen to play on the 4th line, but I think I’d put Isbister-Orts-Hollywood for the 4th line. I guess thats why I’m not coaching. Anyway….

      LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!

    6. According to Dellapina, Lehtonen is going to play game three for the thrashers. And there’s some back story on why they switched goalies in the first place.

    7. Kari starting Game 3 per John Dellapina’s blog. Is Hartley nuts after the way Hedberg played? I am shocked by that one. We need to jump on them tomorrow night in the first 6-7 minutes.

    8. Orts for Cally sucks. Though Cally hasn’t been as good lately as he was, in my humble…

    9. Tyutin came back just in time. He got 2 assists on both goals Rangers scored in game two and I think 2 assists in game one. I hope he continues playing like this.

    10. If Lehtonen is back in, I am calling Hartley nuts only because he can’t commit to one player.

      But Lehtonen is the better choice for Atlanta. Hedberg bites. He was playing way over his head Saturday. Personally, I hope Hedberg plays. Better for us.

      Hollweg should play only if he is LW. He’s not nearly effective at C for the same reasons PW said. And Callahan and Ortmeyer better not flip flop. We need Callahan with Cullen and Prucha so we can have one other line with a chance to produce. Keep the offensively inept guys together.

    11. renney needs to be kicked in the head if he breaks up the prucha/cullen/callahan line. that combo is a million times better than any other combo we’ve seen all year for that line. with those 3 together that is a 2nd line so with the lines we’ve been using you basically have 1, 1a, 2 and 4.

      that new 4th line would be worthless and would be lucky to see 6:00 minutes without a center and if you replace prucha or cally with jed that line becomes another 4th line.

      this turns us from a 4 line team into a 2 line team…this is just flatout idiotic to mess with the top 3 lines.

    12. A few thoughts –

      I can see Renney’s thinking in switching Callahan to the fourth line because he has been more of a hitter lately, but there is so suitable replacement on the third line unless they were to call somebody up. It should definitely not be Orts because Cullen serves the same defensive purpose.

      Protecting the 2-0 lead should be the predominant theme seeing how well the Rangers did with 2-0 leads in the last few months of the regular season.

      It is definitely the right move to go back to Lehtonen, seeing how it was stupid to switch him out in the first place. The two goals the Rangers scored were based on Hedberg doing a dance with the puck and not being to handle it properly, although the first one was just plain odd.

    13. the first goal was a real fluke, can’t really blame Hedberg on that one, 99 times out of 100 that puck just goes behind the net

    14. Hollweg does not take needless penalties. he occasionally takes penalties of over-aggressiveness, but those are good penalties, that is what you want.

      needless penalties, SAM, are the hooking and holding penlties of the lazy variety that Malik and Jagr have taken all year. just look at who has the most minor penalties on the Rangers this season for hooking and holding.

    15. I was happy with the play of the top 3 lines during Games 1 & 2. There’s no need to mess with those. I hope Renney is really just juggling lines because of Bett’s absence as Sam mentioned.

      Just replace Orr with Hollweg and we are set.

    16. it is the height of hypocrisy to say that Avery draws penalties, but when Hollweg draws penalties, including majors and suspensions on opponents, well that does not count. bs. he DRAWS PPs FOR the Rangers as well.

    17. if fans expect Sean Avery to be able to survive uninjured through 4 rounds without help on the hitting front, they are nuts.

      Avery needs Hollweg in there to give him some help on the hitting front. to keep the Dmen from just running Avery all night game after game,. there has to be some counter to that, and Hollweg doing some hitting of their Dmen is the answer to taking some of the load off Avery.

    18. The issues are as follows: Betts potentially too banged up. Orr being basically useless (and under utilized when he is in there). Pock a bit shaky on D.

      The way I see it, the 4th line has issues as does our 6th defenseman.

      On the D: Apparently Rachy is too sore to play just yet. Fine. Pock didn’t play great, but he can survive another game. I mean if we were 1-1 or down 2-0, we might need to risk a Rachy re-injury, but we are up 2-0. I think Pock should stay for another game and we just hope he steps up.

      On the 4th line: Betts gives us a lot of undervalued assets like PK, faceoffs, forechecking, shot blocking. Who gives us that if he can’t go? Does Isbister? Maybe. Hollweg? Sorry, but no. Unless someone can convince me that Izzy can fulfill half those qualities, I think we need Dubinsky or Immonen. I certainly don’t see Hollweg bringing THOSE qualities. And forget about Orr. I still can’t figure out why Renney is dressing him and then NOT using him on the last shift to punch Tkachuk or Mellanhead in the face.

      Taking Callahan away from Cully and Pru is just dumb. They have done nothing but play good, hard nosed, fast paced hockey. The first 3 lines are solid and I say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

      Renney needs to decide what he wants out of the 4th line. But to consider moving hands of stone Ortmeyer into any role other than PK, shot blocking, or forechecking/backchecking and towards line #3 is just assinine. But Renney has done dumber things….

      Getting pumped for tomorrow night!!

    19. Why flip Orts and Callahan? It makes no sense. Orts has very little offensive ability. I dont see why you would put callahan on the 4th line.

    20. Renney could be decoying the trash since they probably read all these practice reports. He also has to go thru his professor mental gyrations.

    21. Even though I think the COP line is great, the RPM line needs to stay together for now. Ryan, Petr and Matt are playing great together.

      And in Betts can’t go, let Hollweg take the faceoffs (if he is better than Ortie, I honestly don’t know) and then move into the wing and allow Ortie to cover the center position defensivley. I believe he has a similar skill set to Betts and would be just as affective. This would be the same as the second line using Avery and Shanny to take faceoffs and Marty playing center defensivley.

    22. bklnyblue comes up with a good point…the fact that blogs are everywhere these days…there has to be some chess being played with the media and the like. i mean for all we know, hollweg could have been sorta banged up in the last game against pittsburgh and was being rested as a result.

    23. c’mon you guys, didn’t you read Carpiniello’s column? Renney’s a genius and the rest of us are the idiots. Whatever lineup Tom decides on, I’m sure it is the best one to lead us to victory!

      ;-)

    24. RPM line needs to stay the same ….. Moving Callahan is stupid …

      Do you replace Orr with Hollweg ? or do you stay status quo after taking a 2-0 lead … if Betts can’t go bring up Dubinsky … is there a reason why they cannot bring him up?

      I personally think Orr should sit but also can be superstitious in leaving well enough alone …

    25. try reading, pf. I never said that Hollweg was offensively comparable to Avery. I said that Avery needs help in the hitting dept,. so that the whole load is not on his shoulders, so that he does not get injured. I said NOTHING about scoring, period. I was COMPLIMENTING Avery.

      Hollweg is a role player, and that role is needed to help neutralize the atl hitting.

      Avery is a complete player, and I never compared the abilities of the 2, except for their ability to draw penalties and to create PPs for the rangers thru their aggressive play.

    26. Rg – the best way to avoid injuries vs Atl is to win the next 2 games. Yes Hollweg can draw some penalties vs Atl but is also known for not using his head (ie the hits from behind that draw 5 minutes). I think Orr is also playing to avoid the wrath of Dolan vs Renney./ Sather. The Atlanta thug plays about the same amt of time as Orr so in effect its a wash and Orr serves as an insurance policy.

    27. fighting has nothing to do with the injuries, and neither does the score. just look at the sj sharks, they had 2 players injured in 2 games by Nashville cheap shot hits. and if Avery gets hurt the same way, you and renney can then answer as to why you wanted to let atl run wild with no response.

    28. Rg, I agree with you about the type of penalties Hollweg, Malik and Jagr all take. Malik just scares me…I don’t think he is even a NHL defenseman. When Jagr is down and sulking, he hooks. He is flying right now.

      I think that Hollweg is very agressive and this team CANNOT afford to take any penalties at all. Atlanta has been trying to get us to retaliate and we haven’t. I don’t think dancing Hollweg can control himself when he gets rolling. During the season, I did like some of his smashing penalties, retaliation for teammates, but NOT in the playoffs. Let Atlanta do that for two more games and let us get some rest for 2nd round.

      But as to the season, I think Rg is correct…………………..

    29. you’re wrong, brooklyn. the refs did call it, with game mis. and suspension, but the only way to prevent it is to have your own weapon as a deterrent.

    30. “I thought we handled it well,” Tom Renney said. “They’re the home team and they have to make a statement and they certainly tried to do that on the heels of a great group of fans that helped them. I think we’re resilient enough to deal with that. I think we also have resources available to us to play an even more physical game than we did.”

    31. Rg it’s not so easy to deter idiots, most times it’s after the fact. there are plenty of players trying to make their mark with intent to injure. Hollweg and Orr can only respond in kind, they can’t stop a guy from running Jagr or anyone really. They can do an eye for an eye, or pummel a guy, but Jagr or whoever could still be injured. The playoffs are rougher than the regular season, but Renney has chosen the high road of making the other team pay for their actions by beating them rather than joining them .If it were the regular season Orr should be kicking 2 guys rear each game. I think the trash might change their game plan, because the hitting has not gotten it done for them.

    32. czechthemout!!!!! on

      renney misses the good old days of having two 4th lines on the ice.thats why he is flipping orts with cally.i said that renney at some point during the playoffs would cost the rangers,i hope that i’am wrong.this team wins in spite of him,not because of him.

    33. Has anyone ever told Renney that a good Offense makes for a good Defense? Everyone keeps saying the reason why the Thrashers have more hits than the Rangers is that the Rangers have had the puck more often. Get rid of Callahan from your lineup and watch that change. Yes, did not play much in game 2, but remember there were 12 penalties for both teams, and that he doesn’t play special teams at all. That means he was going to be on the ice 1/4 of 36 minutes. Can’t do much with that.

      I agree with the readers that think bringing up Dubinsky would be a good idea. He brings enthusiasm and grit which is what you want out of your 4th line. Let Orts and Hollweg play with him, and let them forecheck and bang. That’s your better option.

      WHY BREAK UP TWO LINES TO FIX ONE?????????

    34. When you read most of the posts on here you would think we were down 2-0 not up 2-0. Are you guys ever happy? If Ryan Hollweg plays and takes dumb penalties and we lose the game people who are sceaming for him to play will be sceaming for him to be benched for the rest of the playoffs,and saying what an idiot Renney was to play him. I love Ryan but he gets carried away some times so i understand why hes not playing with the way they call the games and all.

      Some one refered to Carpiniello’s column that said Renney is a genius and the rest of us are idiots.Well no,Renney is
      the coach and the rest of us are not,and since we are up
      2-0 i would say he has made the right decisions so far. At least save the complaining until we lose.

    35. you’re wrong again. if Hollweg runs Exelby a few times, he will not be throwing nearly as many hits on Avery. if you don’t wear down their hitters and put them on their heels, they have carte blanche to run your guys all night.

      the Thrashers have changed tactics several times already. in the first game, Tkachuk ignored Avery’s taunts, in game 2 he responded. they changed goalies, they changed lines, with Holik switching with belanger, they tried different things. but they are not losing because of their hitting, that has been their best attribute. they are losing because Hossa is a lazy dog who does not care and is a playoff flop going back to his ott. days.

    36. Ortmeyer kills every line he is one with skilled offensive players. Kepp Callahan on the 3rd line RENNEY!!

    37. Rg so why are the NYR winning? I never knew Hollweg was their savior, He can’t even go on the PK. It seems everyone is making much ado about nothing. If they were losing , it be a different story.

    38. LET'S GO RANGERS on

      If they do switch up lines, any chance that Renney will try to pair Shanahan and Cullen?

    39. “If Ryan Hollweg plays and takes dumb penalties and we lose the game…”

      Since when is Ryan Hollweg synonimous with dumb penalties? And if he does take a couple of over-exuberant runs and ends up in the penalty box, at least he crushes someone and makes them think twice next time they touch the puck. Now, Mr. Malik, he takes not only dumb penalties but also penalties of slow-footedness and laziness. And no one on the opposition pays the price as they do when Hollweg runs someone.

    40. Rg – Hollweg is going to take out Holik and Exelby and the others – Sutton etc? If he’s that good maybe he s/b playing – especially if he does it w/o taking on the 5 minute penalties he’s noted for taking.

      Or we can just win the next 2 days and rest up for a week. As others have said if we take out their best players and they take out ours – ours would still be injured if we advance to the 2nd rd.

      Czech – don’t be so sure that Renney is going to change the lineup so soon. Betts might have just been resting his injured parts and if he plays tomorrow it would prob be the same lineup.

    41. Sam,

      Hope the basement is somewhat dry (I’ve been doing non-stop flood/storm coverage for about 36 hours now. ugh.)

      Question: What’s up with Staal? I read in one paper that he’s coming to NY to play after his junior season is over. But I’ve heard in the past that he’s going to Hartford when his season is done. So what’s going on here?

    42. Jen,

      Man did that Low bomb out off the coast… I’m a meteorologist in Kansas. I’ll assume you’re either the same… or, a reporter.

      Sorry kids… didnt mean to post non-ranger related material.

    43. How is Tampa Bay in deep trouble now? They were tied at end of 2, leading early in third.

    44. GO NYR

      No, I got your point. It’s just if you were maybe referring to the Devils of 2002-2003 you mighta have had an argument. But being tied with these Devils late in a game at home these days is absolutely nothing to fear — Brodeur is simply not what he was.

    45. No, apparently you did not or you were not watching the game. The Devils were swarming. Holmqvist really bailed em out

    46. Islanders fans have to be the worst fans in the league. Absolute disgrace to hockey. Lowlife scums throwing crap on the ice. It’s one thing to do that during a stoppage, but it’s STUPID to do that during play.

      What a night, loser Devils and Fishsticks both lose. A Rangers win tomorrow would be perfect.

      LETS GO RANGERS!!

    47. Go NYR

      I was watching the game. You are apparently a hysteric. Deep trouble to you is clearly a lot different from what deep trouble is to me.

    48. NJ Mark – Islanders fans were also yelling not so nice things during a moment of silence for the people killed in Virginia today, and were yelling insults at the woman singing the national anthem. The throwing of full water bottles and beer bottles was just the icing on the cake.

    49. Leave it to the fishieheads to be so classless that even their own annoying announcers call them classless.

    50. ORR Kicks Ying Yang on

      Barbara H

      Your absolutely 100% right….Its annoying..Were winning right now..and Hollweg is known to make some bad decisions with his hits..Some times he does get carried away..Colton Orr cant do anything with the ice time he gets…but you need other guys to step up and hit..Like Tyutin is playing really good…But he needs to unleash one of his hip checks on someone..like kovalchuk…he tries to go one on one …make him pay for it..

      I like how NYR isnt taking reaction penalties..or trying to get revenge..There playing smart…hey we have a chance at sweeping this team on Wed….If we can do that it would be perfect…But if we lose tomorrow then i guarantee the majority of people in here will say “if hollweg was in then maybe we woulda won”

      I like Hollywood….but he has taken dumb penalties..and if you guys are thinking about the hollweg from this season..then your thinking about the one who doesnt hit as much as he did…and has gotten a few 4 minute minors…Renney puts it in his head like he can be like Darcy Tucker…But Hollweg doesnt have a great shot…His only goal of the season was a 2 on none with the best player on the team…Jags

      But….as far as Tom Renney goes…yea hes made bad decisions….but werent you all saying “watch that moron Renney put shitbister in the playoffs”…hes done quite the opposite..also hes stuck by Cally and hes part of the lineup and now..you can officially say hes part of next years team…so cut Renney some slack..even though hes been bad alot of the times this season…Were up 2 – 0…and we were a team everyone said werent gonna make the playoffs back when we were 11th…Quit thinkin about next year…quit thinking about whos in the lineup…just think about how well were doing so far and hope we can do even better and hopefully win the cup…….hopefully

      ……….LETS GO NYR……….

    51. I’m sure Renney wants to win as much or more than most. The reality is they were close to not making the playoffs, but they did. Now there up 2-0, they have to win 2 of 5 to get to the next round. After that it’s uncharted ice. To be a NYR fan becomes a waiting game for something to go wrong or complain about, tough group. This is the time of the year to just try & enjoy, and take it as it comes, roller coaster style.

    52. sol rosenberg on

      +1 on bklynblue’s statement. looks like some things are going right for the rangers tho. tampa might beat NJ, which would pit Tampa vs buffalo and NYR vs Ott/Pitt. We lost the season series to both Ott and Pitt, but they were close games.

    53. Hollwegg-like Avery-might actually draw penalties. He just has to make sure he doesn’t hit from behind.

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