Predominant themes


We just had a conference call with Tom Renney since the Rangers were given a well-deserved day off today — ridiculously lucky break or no ridiculously lucky break.


As I said to Josh last night on the podcast, I’m not completely certain that the puck off Daniel Briere’s stick ever crossed the goal line. It was close. Man, it was close. But even if it was out of self-preservation, the officials probably made the right call. Otherwise that “Rangers win story”: I wrote for today’s paper may have been replaced by a referees-drowned-in-nacho-cheese story instead.

I probably shouldn’t make light.

Anyway, nothing major to report. The Rangers obviously feel like they’ve now got a puncher’s chance in this series, although the major challenge will be finding a way to steal a game in what will certainly be a difficult environment in Buffalo.

Among the other topics discussed is the continued misconception that only now is Jaromir Jagr showing signs of motivation — including Bill Clement’s master overstatement, “He’s got the fire in his belly now.” For those of us have been around the team all year, we know that Jagr has been this driven all season. But given his past reputation — some of which is justified, mind you — there seems to be a sense that the Big Fella has only decided to show up this week.

But there’s no disputing that he is here now, and between the Captain and Henrik Lundqvist, you wonder if the Rangers could actually have a chance to pull this thing off.

Either way, it’s certainly interesting.

More later…

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  1. I’d say the Rangers certainly have a chance of advancing to the third round; Buffalo has the home ice advantage but the Rangers have clearly been the better team for almost the entirety of the past three games.

  2. “Fire in his belly” is one of the most overused cliches in sports. Additionally, if I hear one more commentator say, “You talk about (a defenseman, a play, a goal, a cheeseburger)” I will throw a brick at the screen.
    And I love people like Clement talking as though they’ve been watching the Rangers intently all year. Please.

  3. It will be tough in Buffalo. The Sabres played desperately the last 10 minutes of the game which will probably carry over to Fri. The Rangers will have to weather the storm for at least the first period of Fri’s game.

    Sam or anybody, what’s going on with Afinogenov (sp?)? I thought he was one of their best players.

  4. Jagr has trouble on the road, which he himself has admitted. He has publically stated that he is bothered by the boo’ing, which explains why he is boo’d everywhere he goes.

    Game 5 is going to be tough.

    I am still holding out hope that malik will be benched in favor of Pock, and that Pock simply does “stay at home” d-work, clearing the puck, blocking shots.

    I now feel sorry for Malik, having been boo’d at home had to be rough,but it is time for him to stop hurting lundqvst….

    I know you don’t share this opinion, Sam, and I know that you recognize that Malik has made some gawdawful (long guyland) plays—-but I think that if Pock were to just play his game, he would be an improvement over Malik.

    I was also bothered by Avery’s attempt at the empty-netter. Selfish? bone-headed? For whatever reason, you simply do NOT do that….you clear the puck high, over everyone’s head, and let it bounce. When Isbister did it, he was just a bit too hard…..Avery should know better.

    He needs to stay out of the penalty box in Buffalo and play the way we have seen him.

    As far as “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, I think Hollweg needs to sit. Buffalo is too powerful and we need to be very, very disciplined. I enjoyed seeing him hit in the regular season, but we cannot give them 6 power plays and not expect them to score.

    They are going to come out very, very hard Friday night. First blood is going to mean a lot to momentum.

    Seamus o.

  5. back to the non-goal.

    i know that you were having a little morning fun about it
    but the reality is (and i’m just putting it out there for all the Blueshirt haters)

    it was called “no goal” during the play.
    the replay did NOT show the puck clearly passing the Goal Line. it was close, very close, but it looked from the best angle possible, from over the Net, that that approximately an inch to two inches of rubber remained on the Paint.
    simple as that.

    and i’m saying this NOT because i’m a Ranger fan
    but out of fairness
    that the Non-Goal on Tuesday made a lot more sense
    than the Non-Goal from Sunday when there was NO DISTINCT
    kicking motion happening.

  6. Briere said he hoped the no-goal was the right call because the Rachuneck goal was a bad call…Funny.

    Amazing how calm Ruff was in the post-game considering what we saw behind the bench after the call. Smart coach.

    And, yeah, baby. Rangers win. Awesome.

    Friday will be crazy.

  7. JRG…Ruff said after the game that he wanted Maxim to sit back and watch a game. (I laughed; that’s exactly what Renney said when Pock sat a couple games earlier in the season.)

    Ruff said he was frustrated with Afinogenov’s play in the series and that Afinogenov had been frustrated as well, so he needed to take a game in and try to get over the frustration.

    Does that make sense? Hey, maybe not. But he’s the one who said it.

  8. nylanderforpresident on


    The sense here in Buffalo is that the Sabres are sole reason they are losing, that the Rangers have nothing to do with the way the series is going. I heard a caller say that Derek Roy has more skill in his pinkie than most of the Rangers put together. Before coming into this series, I was listening to the local station WGR 550 (You guys should listen some time, it’s actually downright entertaining) and they actually said that the Islanders and Rangers were basically equals in terms of skill level. They seem to think that there is something “wrong” with Buffalo’s game, whether it be confidence or what have you.

    There is soo much pressure here in Buffalo on these guys to win the Stanley Cup, let alone this series. I think last night’s win was obviously important, and due in large part to the Rangers’ system, as well as our unbelievable goaltender. Here in Buffalo they glorify Miller, but basically will not give Henrik any credit.

    This morning was great. I turned on the radio and the second caller actually said “It’s over for Buffalo.” Of course the host went ballistic and stated how he was happy the series is tied b/c now Buffalo will “flip that switch” and demolish the Rangers blah blah blah.

    I guess the point of all of this is that should the Rangers grab an early lead on Friday night, the Sabres will be holding their sticks very tightly, which does not bode well for a team that primarily is a fast-strike, finesse team.

    I’m so proud of the Rangers. As I see it, they deserve to be up 3-1. They’ve outplayed Buffalo in so many periods of the last three games, and a lot of the credit should go to Renney and the coaching staff. I know a lot of fans aren’t too thrilled with Tom, but I think I’d rather have his calm presence behind the bench than Ruff’s tomato-colored head.

    For us fans, this series is like icing on the cake. Taking the Sabres deep with a team that features, Girardi, Tyutin, Callahan, Henrik, and other young talent will only help our cause in the years to come.

    Let’s go Rangers!

  9. Rangers6830 on

    They are always taking digs at Jagr, they don’t know anything anyways he’s been great as a Ranger.

  10. Sam:

    How come no mention on why Blair Betts missed at least the last 5 minutes of the game? Avery and Cullen were taking the important draws when it is usually Betts. Is there an injury?

  11. Two quick things: 1. Callahan was all over the ice last night and clearly the best Ranger (and I was admittedly skeptical of all the pro-Cally hoopla on this board throughout the year). 2. Aside from the turnover on the goal, Tyutin has been our best d-man since coming back from his injury. I don’t know if it’s playing with Girardi, or that he’s finally feeling comfortable, but I think he’s finally playing up to his potential. (Now, if we could only stop Malik from throwing it up the middle. You’d think someone would have taught him that by now…)

  12. No problems with the icings by Avery and Isbister last night. Even though it seemed obvious Avery was aiming for the empty net, an icing in those situations with less than a minute to play isn’t entirely that bad. You completely slow the game down, which plays to the Rangers advantage. It makes it difficult for the Sabres to build any kind of offensive momentum. It also takes about 5 seconds, maybe a lil more, for the defenseman to turn around, accelerate, and go back and touch the puck all the way at the other end of the ice. You do that a couple of times and you have already killed some time.

    The downside to all this is obviously that the same players need to stay on the ice. But Henrik got a couple keys stops and allowed the rangers to change it up. If anybody should know better in this case, its gotta be Henrik. In a close game like that, you simply do not leave your net with less than a minute to play, especially when Buffalo has an extra attacker on. Let your defenseman handle the puck or eat it up in the corner, not the goalie. Certainly got lucky on that one

  13. Can anyone explain to me why Karl Rachunek was on the ice during the non-goal in the last 20 seconds?

  14. Avery seems out of it as well. He needs to deke more on some of his fast breaks instead of a slap shot from 30 feet out.

  15. SAM are there more pictures or video from that camera angle? If that call was on a NYR goal, bettman would have needed the entire NYC police force to get out of MSG.

  16. Does anybody know where you can find a Lundqvist team sweden jersey online? Been looking around alot and i cant seem to find one….

  17. Josh, thanks for info. It doesn’t make sense to me, I would expect him to be back next game…but who knows.

  18. koffy great question. why in the hell was matt cullen taking that faceoff?? avery won 2 in a row, had to leave because he was tired but where the heck was betts?

  19. Lost in the whole video review story is the save that King Henrik made on Vanek to preserve the 2-1 lead earlier in the 3rd period. . . that was absolutely SICK!!!

  20. Defense, Defense, Defense. If the Rangers continue to buy into it, they have a good chance of winning this series. It’s almost worse to try and skate with these guys than it is to give up power plays. I like what I see so far. If we can bury some of these numerous chances…look out.

  21. What’s up with Briere’s voice.
    Deb Kaufman sounds more like a man then he does !

  22. turcottelives on

    A couple things. First of all, and i say this with utmost agnoy, we all know it was a goal, and there WAS conclusive video evidence. It is amazing that everyone is adopting the “its probably under his pad” view based on the overhead. That’s clearly not what happened. What happened is when the puck hit Henrik’s pad, it flipped up, flush with the pad. We know this based on the photo/video from the left defense vantage point. With this in mind, reviewing the tape, there is the frame where the puck is flat on the ice and about a cenimeter is still on the line. It is the next frame, where savvy analysts believe the puck is under the pad, but you can actually see the puck, vertically pressed up against lundqvists pad, and clearly over the line. Everyone in the war room in Toronto should be fired this summer. Two HUGE blown calls in two games.
    Also, as to the ” now playing with fire in his belly” comment, Jagr is playing a much different game than he was from Oct-Feb. Whether it was the shoulder, or whatever, this is the Hart Trophy candidate we’re seeing again. While we saw it sporadically through the season, every game now he is making plays through sheer will, and playing like a man possessed. He makes plays that remind me of Leetch’s last full season with the blueshirts, when he won two games against the islanders by himself.

  23. Where's Bure? on

    Would you fill the vacant position in Toronto, turcotte? You apparently have the required gift of second sight by seeing something they didn’t.

  24. I think the main reason for Our success in the last 3 games though We only Won two, is that We are stopping Buffalo at the blueline and not allowing them speed through the neutral zone. Also when the sabbies dump the puck in, Our D-men are getting it out and up the ice quickly.
    Girardi and Tyutin have been amazing and hope they stay that way. With a few good up and coming prospects on that blueline, I love Our future.
    If Girardi was up all year He would be a candidate for the Calder trophy.
    -Why is it when We play well, We never get credit. It is always “Oh, the Sabbies are not playing well”. No What is happening is that They have run into a team that is not in awe of them and are not allowing them any time to gather speed. Let them keep doubting us, I like it.
    LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Josh — Maybe Rachunek was there because the Rangers couldn’t make a change due to consecutive icings.

  26. Does anyone have an idea as to why the NHL would separate games 4 and 5 with a full 3 day break in a best of seven series?

  27. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    NYR played a great game last night…They really dominated defensively and waited for the mistakes..Which was made by Miller and the D man…and of coarse dont forget cullens great pass with 2 guys next to him i belive…Shannys goal was great but dont forget…Izzy drew that penalty…So good job by him….

    This is a good lineup right now…Its way better then Hollweg there so this shouldnt change…

  28. turcottelives on

    I suppose it would depend on the pay ;). And I’d probably be fired after a season for wearing out the video equipment watching replays of tyutin hip checks.

  29. Jags knows this may be his last real chance at a cup.
    He is totally pumped and giving it everything he’s got.

    Shanny really came up huge last night.
    Granted, he is not near 100%, but I take his
    70% over many others 100% any day. He continues to
    come through in the clutch with great hockey instinct and his experience and leadership is invaluable in the playoffs.

    Shanny should be here to stay as long as he wants-

  30. Blue,

    It’s a 2 day break, not three. And scheduling has just as much to do with arena availiablity than anything else.

  31. Jagr is pumped and playing with more passion. So is the entire team. Thats why we are in the second round tied at 2 games with Buffalo.

    It is a team effort and everyone has stepped it up.

  32. One of the things that I have noticed about the Sabres is that they don’t give much respect to the Rangers. The Rangers understand who they’re playing, yet the Sabres don’t seem to want to give the Rangers any credit for anything, and to be honest, I think it’s hurting the Sabres.

    The Rangers know they’re in a place where nobody thought they would be, except for maybe themselves, and it’s given them something to rally around.

    The Sabres think they’re the greatest team in the world. The way they talk about themselves is as if they’d won multiple Cups in the last few years. The Devils I can understand, they’ve won the Cups, and they’re as arrogant as they come, but Buffalo? Who’s won a Cup in that team? Drury?

    It’s very subtle, but that’s the feeling I get from them. Maybe if they were affraid of the Rangers they might play better.

  33. Sam – since I was at the game I was not focused on Betts missing so much time at the end (well I was wondering why Isbister was out there but did not put 2 and 2 together). Koffy was the one who pointed this out above at 12:38 PM.
    I know he was banged up in the last series so is it injury related and if so any guesses on where and extent?

  34. Stas – icings are acceptable when you have no other choice. Certainly Avery could have skated it out orchipped it out rather than go for the homerun. A defensive zone faceoff when you can’t change lines is not the best option.

    BTW – Jagr was a monster yesterday – several nice hits. Playoffs hockey in May at the Garden gotta love it.

  35. New Newman on

    On the Shanny thing….I think he is not throwing the body around so much because he is much more valuable creating plays, making smart defensive plays, and moving the puck. Yes he could throw more body checks, but remember he just had a concussion and I don’t think needs to hit people as much to make an impact nor is it the best use of him. So my guess is he is playing smart and not throwing his body into situations because his energy is better spent elsewhere. The guy has a bunch of goals this postseason. I love him and Straka as a PK unit. Shanny has been invaluable.

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