And back we go…


Naturally lots of talk today about the Rangers’ need to win at least one game on the road since Games 5 and 7 will be in Buffalo.

There are two theories to consider here:

  • It doesn’t make a lick of difference where they play.
  • It makes all the difference, and the Rangers will have to somehow overcome a hostile crowd and not having the last change to win at HSBC Arena.

    I’m not sure where I stand on this seeing how the Rangers for most of the season were a far better team on the road, to the point that they were faced with an endless string of “Why-aren’t-you-better-at-home” questions.

    The difference since then is that they have learned to use the Garden crowd to their advantage, and at times in the two games at the Garden, Tom Renney was able to get Jaromir Jagr away from the Chris Drury line away and from the defensive pair of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman.

    Translation: winning Game 5 will be difficult. Possible, yes. But difficult.

    Some other updates:

  • If there’s a reason you want this season to continue it’s for the ongoing stand-up routine by Jaromir Jagr. Today’s entry: A very optimistically dressed Steve Zipay asks the Rangers captain if he can name a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Jagr replies, “Barbaro.” Then we tell Jagr that Barbaro is actually dead. Jagr responds, “There’s only one horse. It’s me.” Later I asked Jagr about having to win a game in Buffalo to win the series. “And one here,” he said. “It’s easy. Even a caveman can do it.”
  • Michael Nylander (still fighting the very ominous sounding “flu-like symptoms) missed practice altogether, and Michal Rozsival was only the ice for a few minutes, but both will be fine for tomorrow according to Renney. In Nylander’s absence, Blair Betts filled in on the top line while Jarkko Immonen, recently recalled from Hartford, skated in Betts’ spot. Like I said, the lineup is expected to be the same tomorrow, however.

    OK, more later…

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    1. Jagr should hit a comedy club on open mic night!

      I think the home ice advantage is a very big key to this series. I said when it started that the first team to win a road game in this series would win the series. So far, nothing.

      It shows in Buffalo. Jagr was a one man wrecking crew in the MSG games because Renney was able to match him up against other players on Buffalo. For us to win one in Buffalo, we need 2 things:

      1. Henrik to stand on his head for one game there.
      2. Someone unexpected to score a goal or two to take the pressure off of Jagr/Shanny. Someone like…Sean Avery.

      The first of those 2 is obviously more important.

    2. Wear something over your head NYlander!!!!! Flu like symptoms? It’s 70 degrees out, I don’t understand.
      Anyway, wow you think Jagr is feeling the pressure? Lol. I hope He is the main horse come tomorrow.

      LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. The Czech Republic needs Jaromir Jagr in Moscow…:)
      Update from the worldchamphionships

      Germany leads the Czechs 1-0 after the second period…

    4. ORR kicks Ying Yang on voted Sean Avery as the most Surprising turnout in the playoffs…Something like that.

      Everyone praises Jagr..Saying hes the funniest..Sometimes you dont see it on camera..But i can imagine

      Hopefully we can win tomorrow and fight for the series win at the garden…I would love to see the sabres get eliminated and shut there fans up…Along with Yenner Mot and that other loser who said they hope they get swept..

      Lets go NYR

    5. Brodeur’s act was typically bush league last night. In his comments after the game, he attempted to deflect attention from his own poor play while simultaneously crapping on Emery, NJ’s defensive coverage, and NJ’s offensive push.

    6. Yeah the Rangers need to have another monster game from Hendrik Lundqvist and some goals from someone other than Shanny and Jagr !

      What about Straka, Avery or….Petr Prucha. He had a great chance to open the scoring on Tuesday early in the game but couldn´t deliver…

      I am waiting for a breakout game from him…one more time I pray for live pictures from HSBC Arena on friday night at 1am in the morning….

    7. seeing the highlights from the game out of Moscow…

      we had the better of the play and some good chances to go up even higher than 1-0 against the Czechs….hit the post on a powerplay…oh man, that would be a surprise…

    8. mike scott on

      i think jagr is playing at a real high. i think he would bitch around Pandolfo right now.

    9. Typical Brodeur. No surprise. He’s always crapped on Messier too, saying that he was overrated since he wasn’t in the playoffs much after 1997. OK, still, 6 Cups. Only person ever to captain 2 teams to a Cup. So shut the f*** up Marty, you sister-in-law lover. I hope Ottawa blows them out like 6-0 in the swamp the next game.

    10. Jagr is bringing the comedy heat! I think being around other Czechs has helped, and also not being the only name that people know on the team.

      NJ Mark – So you’re saying if it goes to a game 7, the Rangers will defnitely win? That’s not the case for sure.

    11. Just a point of correction here: Tallinder plays with Lydman, not Numminen. Sam got the wrong Finn.


      Unless one of the D is in the box.

    12. Nylander is the Swedish Wayne Gretzky. God help us if he is actually replaced by the great Blair Bettsky.

    13. AngelusMortis on

      Here’s an interesting quote from Shawn Roarke of

      “* CTN doesn’t understand the constant booing of Marek Malik by Ranger fans. He finished a plus-32 this regular season and is plus-6 in the postseason. He also has taken just one penalty in the first seven games. What more could a fan want?”

      I’d say a few less horrific giveaways in the defensive zone, and a hit or two once in a while.

    14. Sam,
      When you’re in Buffalo, check out the Anchor Bar. Best chicken wings in America. Might want to check out Duffs too. Stay away from the Fruit Belt, it is pretty dangerous.

    15. Since someone brought up that “Swedish Gretzky” thing:
      When he came in the league, apparently there were some comparisons.. I have a 93-94 Upper Deck card that’s a comparison of Nylander to Gretzky. I had no idea who Nylander was at the time I got it, since he played for the Hartford Whalers. Now I’ll have to go find it to see what it actually says (hey, it’s spring cleaning time anyway).

    16. everyone talks about how difficult it will be to win in buffalo, but we outplayed them big time in game 2 and should have won if it wasn’t for malik’s turnover and some questionable officiating. the fact that we should be up 3-1 right now doesn’t help us very much…but the fact remains that we proved can outplay them in buffalo.

    17. Oh man I totally agree with Alex and the Anchor Bar post. That place has AMAZING wings….

      oh…and Betts centering the top line might not be too bad… he is quick…good on faceoffs (which would give Jagr or Hossa a good chance for a quick one-timer…and he will help that line on the defensive end of the rink.

    18. Doodie Machetto on

      calhob, I don’t think you remember the experimenting with Betts on higher lines earlier in the season and the unmitigated disaster it was.

    19. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Guys I really didn’t like Jagr earlier in the year, nor did I really think he was fit to be a Captain. But since trading away Aaron waste-of-our-time Ward, I absolutely love Jagr being a Ranger!!! What a difference one arrogant sub-average performing Hurricane defensman can make.

      GO RANGERS!!

    20. what a bad signing wardo was. we ripped the bruins off on that deal. mara is a better team guy!

    21. miss. harass on

      I’ll second that one. And to think the B’s signed AW to help them make it to the playoffs…ha ha ha silly B’s.

    22. On Nyls, according to a paper in Sweden he have had the flu since the day before game 3, was in pretty bad condition after the double OT and was put on IV.

    23. I love Jaromir. Hes got a warped sense of humor like me. Maybe its a czech thing. My mothers side of the family is all czech so i’m half. Tell him i’ll get out the ouija board and see if i can find a jockey for Barbaro! LOL!!

    24. and now we know why there is no criticism of the Rangers when things are bad. the reporters are all buddy buddy with them instead of doing their jobs as neutral observers.

      thanks for the press release from the journal news rangers company man.

    25. suppress de press on

      de press – You are an idiot. It’s called PR, and ALL of the Rangers are schooled on it due to the media attention being so great in NYC.

    26. Yenner Mot

      “would be funnier if he said “so easy, Rozsival/Malik can do itâ€? ….
      good thing he doesn’t know you or he would have said ‘ even a caveman can do it, but not yenner mot’.

    27. not from the newspaper point of view, moron. they, the reporters, are supposed to be reporting facts, not chummying up to players and giving an Entertainment Tonight tabloid hero-worship of those they are supposed to cover.

    28. Does anyone know what the exact exchange between the guys in the booth and Pierre Macguire was when Pierre went into the whole “Swedish Wayne Gretzky” bit this past weekend? I almost fell out of my chair when I heard it, but I can’t remember the exact wording to toss it up as an away message.

    29. de press —

      You’re right. It is my job to report the facts. If you think I’ve fallen short of that either here or in my newspaper stories, then I’m sorry to hear it.

      But if you think that the sports world is so gravely serious that I can’t pass along something I and others might find humorous, then I’ll just stick to telling you who scored the goals.

    30. no, Sam, my point is that we readers cannot trust the bias of any reporter who hero-worships players or coaches. then gaffes by Malik, or Jagr or anybody is colored by the too-chummy relationship or awestruck fawning that enters into the press coverage.

    31. I wouldn’t trust that reporter, either. But I’d like to know where thinking a guy is funny, or even thinking he’s playing well, constitutes hero worship. And for the record, go ahead and read my story about Game 2, and the ensuing blog. I don’t portray Malik’s giveaway as anything other than what it was — an egregious mistake.

    32. Sam, when you refer to Jagr several times a week as “the Big Fella”, that is hero-worship. that leads me to not trust anything you write about Jagr. that is one example.

    33. de press get lost, I love hearing about Jagr’s jokes and such. Let them have fun. I forgot they are supposed to be miserable reporters who aren’t allowed to report anything that the fans would like. Instead they always have to be serious. They are around the players all season and are like their coworkers in a way, but they aren’t allowed to be friendly with them.

    34. de press do you have question you would like answered? Then ask Sam nicely and maybe he’ll get you an answer.

    35. then let the Journal news send their entertainment page reporter to give you the chuckles and oprah-stuff.

      You may, but I don’t trust any beat reporter who is too chummy with a player or a coach.

    36. I am not just referring to Sam. I am also talking about Zipay, Dellapina, or any other Ranger beat reporter.

    37. de press do like talking to or answering questions from people you don’t like or trust? …. Sam would get alot of ‘ no comment’ answers.

    38. and I notice how the angry supporters want to “suppress” free speech, and silence critics. that says plenty about them.

    39. de press have you been out in the sun too long? Talk all you want, but say something or ask something, rather than just critizing reporters. Shoot the messenger.

    40. Alright last response on this, although it obviously has struck a nerve with me, and I do think it’s a worthwhile debate:

      First off, this is a blog, which by definition is a less formal forum than the newspaper. I would never refer to Jagr as “the Big Fella” in a newspaper story. I do in my blog because he’s 250 pounds, he has an oversized personality, and he is in a hundred other ways, the biggest presence on the Rangers. It’s sarcasm. Nothing more.

      Second off, yes, a lot of us who cover the Rangers have a good relationship with Jagr — in part because he’s an easy guy to get along with, but also because it’s in our best interest to be able to get comments from the Rangers captain and star player on a regular basis. But having a good relationship with him hasn’t stopped him from always being the first guy whose locker we hover over when the Rangers lose. And it hasn’t stopped me from asking or writing about his unwillingness to participate in shootouts; or his lack of productivity through the mid part of the season.

      You can choose to believe what you want. But I guarantee what I write about Jagr or anyone else on this team is based only on what is true and what is fair.

      Having said all that, I actually appreciate you bringing this up.


    41. de press, I just want to remind you this is simply a blog for Rangers fans. Things like “the Big Fella” don’t make it into the paper. The people here are Rangers fans and that is simply a name we use when refering to Jags. This is a place for us to get inside info on the team we love from the guys who are behind the scenes. If I saw any of that in their stories, which are supposed to be objective, I would have a problem. But on a blog full of Rangers fans, it is perfectly alright, and expected to a degree. You need to remember that beat reporters develop a special bond with the players that they are unable to express in the story. We want to know what these players are really like, and that is exactly what Sam, Zipay, Del, and all the others provide.

    42. Sam

      we had the same thought at the same time!

      on another note, I was only 9 in 1994, but this playoff season has reminded me a lot of the playoffs in ’94. Rangers sweep in the first round, and now in the second round have a 2OT win, 2-2 series, and it may go 7. Then, on the other side of the bracket, you have Vancouver playing pretty good and disciplined hockey. Am I crazy, or do you see the parallel?

    43. de press just sounds like yenner mot to me. The Jagr hatred gave him away. If its not him its his evil twin. I guess he can’t find anything else to complain about. And just who do you think you are to try to tell Sam how to do his job anyway?He gets alot of that on here and thats BS. Some people like to joke around and have fun .This is about hockey not world politics no need to take it so seriously. You sound like you’ll only be happy to see them bashing the players. Like i said sounds like yenner mot.

    44. and I appreciate your response, Sam. You are correct that this is a blog, giving you more latitude. But I still do not trust the reporting of anyone who gets too chummy and worshipful of those he covers.

      I am glad that at least my comments have raised some legitimate points, that you consider the debate worthwhile, and I will let you get back to your duties. thanks.

    45. Barbara it could be tirf who disappeared in the meadowlands or meadowbrook pkwy. I don’t think it’s Yenner, he’s probably having his cookies & milk now.

    46. P.W. wasn;t vancouver down 3-1 in second round in 1994 too? Or was that third round?

    47. bklynblue- you could be right,but they sound almost the same. You think Yenner is having his cookies and milk? I would think some one with his disposition mostly ate sauerkraut.

    48. I’m not sure, but I’ll definitley be freaked out if we have another 2OT game where Rozy gets the game winner. I’m just waiting for someone to start screaming MATTEAU!!! MATTEAU!!! MATTEAU!!!


    49. Sam – keep doing what you’re doing. I have actually read your stories online, as well, when you link to them, and the tone is written as such that it could be any AP writer who is just writing a recap, which is a complement to say it is neutral. The updates here are greatly appreciated and you pretty much know how to keep most of us happy, save for some who think you should post immediately after you get information about something. So P.W., good post, and I pretty much agree with you there.

      I don’t think depressing is Yenner Mot because Sam would probably know based on his email address, unless of course he changed it. He did bring up a good point for those who don’t read Sam’s newspaper articles, which he may not have.

      I visited that Sabres “wehateyourteam” website, and it pretty much stinks and is low class.

      It’s definitely gonna be on the 2nd-3rd lines to score if Jagr’s line can’t seem to break through against their defensive matchup. I don’t hold out hope for the 4th line finding that touch. I think their good work was glorified by the fact that they played much less than the line they were against.

    50. Doodie Machetto on

      P.W.- Rangers disposed of Washington in 5 games in the second round in 1994.

      Something that just hit me: Why was Betts playing on the 1st line today, while Immo was on the 4th? It was a great chance for Jarkko to get some practice time with some talented players, and at the same time you wouldn’t be splitting up Betts’ line and therefore, you would have been giving him more useful practice. Immonen needs to sell himself better. The Finnish Wayne Gretzky.

    51. bklynblue – very funny comment re the cookies and milk. Good thing I was not eating or drinking at the time – I would have lost it all I laughed so hard. I don’t think its Yenner either does not seem to be his style. Could be the guy claiming to be a Ranger fan who wanted us out in a sweep. I think it’s a fan of a team out of the playoffs either Islanders (Captain Ego) or a Canadian team from Quebec.

      Sam – you amaze me how you keep your cool around undeserved criticism.

    52. doodie that question might be answered tomorrow if Nylander can’t go. Sam could ask Renney his reasoning on that , Jarko would have been better to replace Nylander for practice, especially since the 4th line needs to practice together.

    53. Sam
      Is it true that Garth Snow has fired Ted Nolan and replaced him with Butch Harmon? (Hey Yenner Mot – that’s Tiger’s old coach)

    54. Mike – As far as I can remember from the Game 3 telecast, they were talking about Malik’s bonehead pass up the middle. Then Pierre brought up a time when Nylander did that when he was young (I forget what league, I think NHL), and his coach scolded him for it. Then Nylander justified it by saying, “But I’m the Swedish Wayne Gretzky!” I’m not sure what Pierre’s involvement in this was. Maybe just heard about it later; I think he said on the broadcast. Someone with the game taped or DVRed should be able to fill in the rest.

    55. I thought when I heard that story that Nylander was joking. It was a wise-ass comment, playing on the reputation, wasn’t it? It’s pretty hard to believe anyone would seriously refer to themselves in the same world as Gretzky, even if some press had. But – THANKFULLY – we could ask Sam: Is Nylander funny? Got any examples?

      Sam, your patience and class is impressive, as always. I, for one, love hearing the jokes,etc., and don’t confuse them with being partial or an ass kisser or anything like that.

      Depress, if you don’t know that life, and journalism, is more complex than totally partial or totally impartial, and that even reporters and their subjects have a relationship, then you’re either ignorant, young, or both. Grow up. Sam does a great and fair job.

    56. Anyone else watching the Vancouver Anaheim game? Well the announcer (not sure who it is but one of the schmuchs they have broadcasting on versus) says “so thanks to a non call goal the Sabres Rangers series is tied at two; game four to be played Sun.” Boy did that make my blood boil. Anything to deligitimize the Rangers as a team, and emphasize that the Rangers are only where they are because of a non-call. Fuckin’ bullshit!!! Do you think for one second that if it were Buffalo who won that game because of the exaact same situation that the broadcaster would have previewed Sundays matchup the same way except to make Buffalo sound like they don’t deserve to be up 3 to 1. I think not. That was their preview to Sundays game…I shit you not! I’m so pissed right now. Goddamned biased media. Let’s Kick their motherfucking asses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!!

      p.s. Sorry about the language. I usually don’t post like this but I am just too enraged to contain myself.

    57. When I heard the Swedish Gretzky story the first time last season, I remember it coming off as him saying it to make people chuckle. He definitely isn’t pigheaded.

      If Betts plays top line center we’re cooked.

      It is probably going to take 3 extremely strong games for us to take this series. Decreasing the effectivness of the line that scores the lion’s share of their goals isn’t going to give them a good shot of winning.

    58. I rarely ever eat cookies. I think that is something Big Fella likes, being a 250 pound gorilla that he is.

    59. Anaheim Vancouver just about to go into 2nd OT-

      These games are really keeping me up late these days.

    60. yea I hear ya Blue. I gotta get up at 6 tomorrow. Good game though. Did you hear what I was angered about earlier? I know I responded rather harshly, but it really got to me. Even if you weren’t watching when the “infraction” occurred, I’m curious as to how you perceived my post.

    61. GB

      I fully agree and can relate to your anger at those boneheads on Versus. They have their heads way up their asses.
      Funny how the moron at Versus said something like, ” thanks to a non call goal, the series is tied at 2″ while the idiot doesn’t even take in to account the fact that even if the goal counted, it wouldn;t have been automatic defeat for the Rangers; it would have simply gone in to overtime. He also didn’t care to mention how the Rangers clearly got the short end a few days earlier on Rachunek’s non-goal.

      That said, I try my hardest not to curse on this blog, since it offends certain people (not me) and Sam dislikes it. Like you, I have been guilty of the offense a few times out of shear anger and being caught in a moment of rage.

    62. Reginald Dunlop on

      I would guess moving Betts to the first line to get his feet moving more………..sometimes when with 4th line he glides and then out of position in Defensive zone, not in between net and his man…….if thats the case then excellent coaching move in practice…………

    63. GB

      When we wipe up those Greasy Buffalo Wings after 6 games, the versus crew and other sports MSM won’t have any excuses left to delegitimize the Rangers-

      They simply underestimated us, made predictions from ATL onward that never turned out and feel too dumb about it to admit they were wrong. So they simply bash us to make themselves feel knowledgable and relevant-

      F THEM!!!

    64. Blue
      Thanks for the vindication. In hindsight I would and should have posted a cleaner rant. Although I really don’t understand how writing “f*ck” is any better than writing the actual word. As for the game tonitht…the result was bound to happen. While mostly outclassed Vancouver made this a pretty close game (series) by sticking to their system and playing pretty soundly. Gotta give ’em credit for that. In fact although Vancouver was drastically outshot in this game, the actual scoring chances were close.

    65. ’twas a good series and a good game.

      Luongo really was brilliant most of the series and kept it closer than it should have been-

    66. Joe
      Gee…thanks for the info. I guess I was just looking so much forward to the game at the Garden that I had a brain fart. MSG is gonna be rockin’. I assure you that my quote from “that versus guy” is mostly accurate. If you just substitute Fri. for Sun. you have the gyst of what was said. The correction was really not necessary however, as I know perfectly well that there is a game tomorrow. In fact waiting will as usual prove insufferable. Although, I will admit that you are a better fan than I, as you not only know the day of the game, but you have it down to the very hour.

    67. GB – not better fan but I just saw that it was 1 AM and did quick math (I was going to just estimate 20 hours at 1st). Wasn’t trying to be a wise guy in correcting you. sorry if it came off that way.

    68. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

      I seriously would love to punch that idiot Beninati…the one who does all the Vs NYR games vs BUF…

      He acts like a complete jerk off…Like when Hank was getting his equipment repaired…He says “Wow im surprised the refs are giving him ALL this time”…and “it took him right before the 2nd period to realize theres something wrong with his equipment”

      Then the other A holes with the Goal no Goal thing….I hate Vs and all these losers who are making it seem like NYR doesnt diserve to be here…Im trying to not let it get to me but when that piece of dirt caps announcer utters any word from his mouth…i wanna just hunt him down and just give him one punch in the face…also Yenner MOT and that other moron who said he hoped NYR got swept…

      Also Beninati said during a caps game that Laraque TKO’d Orr…..Funny…they both ended up on the ice when the fight was over…and Laraque drew blood…Hardly a loss for Orr….He never misses a chance to Sh*t on NYR…as do mostly everyone..

      If NYR beats BUF….The whole league will probably find SOME excuse to hide the shame…

      Sometimes its tough watching hockey….It supposed to be relaxing…but on the other hand sometimes i wanna take hammer and smash the tv…

      Dont mind me….Im just preping for the NYR vs BUF game….


    69. Jarko Immonen was skating on the 4th line for two reasons:

      1. The Rangers needed to practice with a full complement of players. With Nylander out, he was the only pure Center to fill in.

      2. He skated on the 4th line because he is lousy. How can Jagr & Hossa get through a practice if they have to practice with a guy that doesn’t even belong in the same league? Orts & Izzy won’t be hurt by practicing with Imo.

    70. cwgatti Jarko was the top center in Hartford feeding Dawes & Bouret, and Callihan when he was there. The NYR won 5 in a row with him as 2nd line center. He doesn’t belong like Pock, Girardi, Callihan, etc. He will be in the NHL, it just probably won’t be with the NYR. He’s god good 2 way center with good vision, and he knows how to play and do his job. He just has to work on his foot speed, which hopefully he will do in the off season with a good skating coach. The King still has a coach. Immo has skill and potential, he just needs a chance like any other rookie. If he was given the same opportunity and patience some of the other players have been given over the last 2 years in the NHL, then you’d be able to say whether he belongs or not. Unless you know more than the scouts and his coaches. Maybe you should get a job with the team. Then again with you maybe no rookies would get a real chance.

    71. ORR kicks Ying Yang,

      Don’t let Beninati get to you. He’s as ignorant about the sport as the Washington Crapitals’ fans. Nobody down here knows a thing about hockey, except for the people who are transplanted from other parts of the country (which make up about 90% of the population). Going to a Caps game is a lovely experience, hearing fans cheer and boo and just pretend to understand why they’re doing it.

    72. DC JOE

      Been to 5 Caps games this year and I know exactly what you mean.

      I tried striking up some hockey talk with “die hard” caps fans and they knew absolutely nada about hockey-

    73. Yeah the Swedish Wayne Gretzky comment seemed totally like a joke on Nylander’s part but I was curious for the exact wording.. How Pierre set up the story because it really cracked me up.

      The basic outline of the Pierre’s little anecdote was that Nylander, while playing for the Macguire-coached Hartford Whalers, made a terrible giveaway in his own end of the ice. Apparently the turnover was on a pass much like the one he had just attempted toward the slot in the Buffalo game.

      Upon his return to the bench, Pierre chided him for the pass and Nylander’s reply was “but coach I’m the Swedish Wayne Gretzky!”

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