Pock again figures to be the odd man out

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Tom Renney lent credence today to something many of us already suspected, that Karel Rachunek’s return to the lineup next week is likely to come at the expense of Thomas Pock.

(Thanks to Ernie Palladino for passing along the latest on this. I was at practice for all of 20 minutes before the dual responsibilities of child-rearing and lawn re-seeding came calling).

“They’re all tough decisions at this time of year,” Renney said. “We want to play the best hockey we can, and if it’s at the expense of a current roster player, so be it. We have a culture here where that player won’t be happy with it. But he will accept it.

This break, Renney said, has been particularly beneficial to Rachunek, to the point that he most likely will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the second round.

“There are some guys who have some credit, some money in the bank. And of course the younger guys have to keep playing well,” Renney said. “In the case of Tommy, he’s a young player who might have to sit out. It’s a matter of who strengthens our team.”

A few thoughts on this:

  • For most of the season I was hardly Rachunek’s biggest fan, often considering him a liability. But there’s no question that his play did improve, coincidentally or not, after the deadline trade of his partner Aaron Ward. In the time directly before he got hurt, when he was paired with Paul Mara, Rachunek was actually quite impressive. Specifically there was the stellar job he did on Sidney Crosby on March 1, and then his hand in both of the Rangers’ third period goals in their come-from-behind win against the Blues on March 3.
  • Pock, meanwhile, has also improved as the season has gone on. If we’re going to talk about big goals, a number of players have pointed to Pock’s crucial late goal against the Bruins on March 24, which helped the Rangers get into overtime, and then win in a shootout. Pock himself readily admitted he was shaky in his first career playoff game against the Thrashers last Thursday. But he showed more confidence as the series carried on, and I thought he was particularly sharp in Game 3. Naturally, the Rangers’ recent re-signing of the Austrian suggests they see him as part of their future.
  • So now the question is: can a player miss a month of action and still be effective? In Brendan Shanahan, we’ve seen a player make only slow progress, to the point where only now does he look like his old self. But in both Fedor Tyutin and Marcel Hossa, both of whom of course had the exact same injury as Rachunek, we’ve seen two players who hardly looked like they skipped a beat.

    If anything, the sheer volume of the above entry proves I need to get a life.

    OK, back to yard work.

    More later…

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    30 Comments

    1. Doodie Machetto on

      Sam, since we have such a long wait before the next round, when you aren’t tied down with home duties, could you possibly try and see if Don Maloney is interested in applying for the GM jobs for either Columbus or Phoenix?

    2. Sam he should leave the money in the bank and gain interest. I wouldn’t change a thing for game 1, it ain’t broke, they won 4 straight. Hollweg & Isbister have $ in the bank too, what does that mean?

    3. I don’t think he’ll be rusty, it’s not like he’s coming into a game situation after rehabing with only 2-3 practices, he’s had about two weeks and will have practices from Mon-Wed with full contact.

    4. How long of a leash do you think Renney will give Rachunek to work with? If he doesn’t look sharp, will Pock be back for game 2 or 3, or will Renney give the blind faith treatment similar to Shanahan (who deserved it)?

    5. Tony Caminiti on

      Renney can do what ever he thinks is best for the team.
      He’s done a GREAT job so far.

      I DON’T CARE WHAT HE DOES – JUST GET US THAT CUP !!!!

    6. Doodie Machetto on

      Sean Hill was suspended for 20 games for violating the substance policy.

      Also, I don’t know if you’re watching the game on NBC, but the refs seem to be TRYING to make the Wings lose. It’s like I’m watching a Rangers game with how bad the officiating is!

    7. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

      DOODIE

      Its Mcreery…..He hates Swedes and Czechs….DET and NYR

      I had a dream NYR traded Lundqvist..Nylander…for Lang..Hasek..Hudler

      When you think about it…its a right trade..they have all the swedes..we have all the czechs…

      Err…playoff nightmares…..this always happens…

    8. From what i have seen all the refs hate Swedes and Czechs.well,you know what, i hate all the refs.

    9. i thought the refs loused up the game a long time ago. i thought the penalty shot was bs and that turned the whole flow of the game around. its obvious detroit has a lot of credibility with the refs or whatever but calgary is nuts. jamie mcclennan is an idiot for what he just did !!! how did he just do that !!!

    10. Doodie Machetto on

      Do you think that the Calgary coach sent him out there just to do that? That was the first thing that I thought of.

      Then I thought that would be a good way for Weekes to earn himself a new contract.

      I’m just kidding of course(about Weekes, not about the intent from CAL).

    11. another simon swing because buttman, colon, and his refs are clueless on how to control a game, and they are the root cause most of the ugliness when it finally breaks out.

    12. the refs in this game were the problem without a doubt. the inconsistent refereeing in the sport is probably one of the main reasons players get upset and ticked off. mcclennan is not a head case – they were tired of the detroit players running into the goalie all game long and he whacked a detroit player who did it with a minute left to go in the game although what will be played out on the news on tv is that another hockey player went ballistic.

    13. Colorado Mark on

      Seamus- ordinarily I’d agree with you about Malik, but he’s played pretty well lately and he’s probably our most experienced D-man right now.

      Hey, if we play Buffalo, would this be the first time in NHL history that a team (Buffalo) plays two rounds straight without leaving the state? I don’t think the California teams have ever had that happen and I don’t think the Buffalo/Islanders/Rangers trifecta has ever been in place liek that before. It’s like Lafontaine who spent his career with three teams and never had to change license plates.

      Chiming in late on Hollweg-Orr signings. I think these guys are destined to be Press Box aces after this year. They would be good guys to have around and throw in the lineup as well as fill in for injured guys. Better than having a guy like Dawes or Dubinsky sitting up there. I think these guys are important team guys, so I like the signings.

    14. Barry Melrose was just laughing about the Mclennan move on espnews. Laugh away, Barry, just the kind of crap the league needs.

    15. Here is an interesting thought. What about the idea of dressing Pock and Rachunek at the expense of colton orr. Pock can be used on the Fourth line and fill in. While if Rachunek struggles adjusting to game speed you can plug in Pock and double shift Jagr and or Straka on the fourth line.

    16. I dont like it one bit. Makes no sense to me how you can throw a defenseman who has played in a month and just throw him right out there into the fire. He probably has no timing at all and I dont like the move one bit. I say you should ride what got you there. Especially throwing Rachunek out there against either Ottawa or Buffalo. Sorry, this one is questionable

    17. Fruity Cupcake on

      Silly Sam, you are entitled to have a life the same way we do: Before 5:30 and after midnight on game days. Plus you, lucky dog, get paid to watch this game, while we pay to watch the game. And attend practices? Fun! See how nice you have it? (And teenagers were put on this earth specifically for yard work!)

      We love you and we need you.

      (Doodie, nice ATM line! And has anyone seen “Coach Renney” posting here lately? I miss his erudite entries.)

    18. that is pure bs, SAM. Ward played with Tyutin for more than half of the season. Rachunek was pathetic in that time period, and he was NOT playing with Ward, he was paired with Bozo.

    19. Doodie Machetto on

      Cheers Fruity.

      Joe, Ozolinsh is infinitely worse than Ward, so that argument doesn’t really fly either.

      It’s a tough call to make, but I’d say sit Mara over Rachunek.

    20. and for Hollweg, Renney pulled the “ain’t broke, don’t fix” bs, but as soon as Raccoon is back, that goes out the window for Pock. What a two-faced liar renney is.

    21. Pock again figures to be the odd man out…. Renney again figures to be odd man out too.

    22. robbybonfire on

      I would play Pock over Rachunek, assuming Rozival is back, in game 2, then come back in game 3 with Racoon for Pock. Why the Rangers rotate players ONLY according to injuries, as they occur, rather than utilizing their depth to the max, I don’t understand? If they used their depth to their advantage they would suffer FEWER injuries, but no one ever seems to think about that.

      Renney and staff have done an excellent job with about the 12th-best team in the NHL. Why do we need a survey question regarding the job they have done? The team played much better in the second half of the regular season, and played even better than that in round one of the playoffs. That they appear over-matched in round two does not detract from the fine job the coaching staff has done this year. The over-achievement speaks for itself.

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