And now for far too much information…


Seeing how today was the last day of formal access to the Rangers for four months, my temptation was to dispense this gradually over the next few days. But in the immediate world of the Internet, my guess is that wouldn’t work, and so you get what will probably be the record holder for longest post of the year.

Come to think of it, I’m sure there will be items from break-up day today that will surface in the ensuing days and weeks. But for now, let’s get to the most pressing items.

Oh, before I forget, one clarification from the previous post: the player Tom Renney is referring to at the beginning of the audio clip is Marc Staal.

  • *Shanahan:* Michael Nylander and Brendan Shanahan both talked at length about reasons to come back next year, although with Shanahan, there are the questions of A) whether he’s going to play at all next season; and then B) whether the Rangers want him back in his current role, or at all.

    “My instincts are that I will probably play but it’s something that I’m going to think over and you know, as far as playing and coming here this year and being part of the Rangers, there’s nowhere else I’d rather play,” he said.

    I posed the question to Shanahan about his willingness to accept reduced minutes next season. He joked about insisting he play just as much (“I would demand it,” he said. “I have it in my contract.”). But when pressed, he sounded like he’d be game for anything.

    “To me it’s all about performance,” Shanahan said. “I play the game the coach asks me to play and I do what it takes on that night to help us get a win. And if that means playing 22 minutes or some nights playing 14 minutes, I do whatever I’m asked to do if it’s score goals or kill penalties or whatever.”

    Curiously, while Shanahan said performance should be the ultimate requirement, he did allow that a tie between an experienced player and a younger one should go to youth. The reason this is noteworthy is one of the main reasons the Rangers might be reluctant to re-sign Shanahan is how he might eat into the minutes of younger players. But that’s just speculation on my part.

  • *Ortmeyer:* As for another unrestricted Rangers free agent, Jed Ortmeyer too wants to come back next season. “This is where I have been my whole career. This is my family. I love the staff and city. This is where I want to play,â€? he said.

    It’s unclear where the Rangers stand on Ortmeyer, and since we did not see Glen Sather today, we couldn’t ask him.

    What is clear to me at least is that Ortmeyer brings a lot to the Rangers, both in how he plays and how he conducts himself. He is an energy guy on a team that will always need energy guys. The problem is his is a fourth line spot that could be threatened by a younger, cheaper, player. And if the Rangers are going to lock in Shanahan, Nylander, and maybe even a big ticket free agent, you wonder if it could come at Ortmeyer’s expense.

  • *Off-season signings:* And speaking of free agents, Tom Renney, Sean Avery, and Brendan Shanahan all acknowledged the team’s need for a second line center, with Avery going so far as to single out Scott Gomez.

    “I think Gomez would be, I certainly wouldn’t mind playing with him, that’s for sure,â€? Avery said.â€?That would be big. That’s where the depth comes in. I think that’s the difference. As much as I can handle playing 18 minutes a night, a guy like that is a second line center or first line center, that’s his job. Then you just throw me on the wing to clean up all the dirty stuff.â€?

    Avery wasn’t shy in other areas, and some of it was at his own expense. The left wing, who is a restricted free agent and said he too very much wants to come back, pretty much took the entire blame for the Buffalo series loss.

    “I don’t think I played well enough in the second round. I think that was probably the difference, probably why we’re standing here,” he said. “When you’re in situations where you’re counted on, you’ve got to step up and maybe that’s an age thing and learning how to do it. That’s what I’m going to deal with over the next four months. But on the same point I’m definitely excited at where we went from when I got here to now.

    “It’s not arrogance or anything,” he said. “I just think I was in a situation where I was counted on. I played the minutes where they are. I feel like I should have got a little bit more done. I don’t feel like I was good enough and maybe that’s just how I feel personally. There was pressure for us to win, of course there was. Dealing with it is a learning process.”

  • *Injuries:* Avery will be one of several players who will be tended to in operating rooms in the days and weeks to come, with his left wrist expected to be tended to. Michal Rozsival is likely to have his shoulder and knee cleaned up while Karel Rachunek, who is likely done as a Ranger, will have his knee repaired. The one surprise was that Martin Straka, who had been dealing with a bicep/upper body injury for the last few months, will actually NOT need surgery, which was a departure from what may expected.

    Avery, meanwhile, was asked if his wrist problems were the reason for his struggles. He said no, and this was where he threw his dig at Sidney Crosby and Roberto Luongo.

    “I think that’s just something you battle through,” Avery said. “Those are for guys like Sidney and guys that have to keep themselves in the media, saying they weren’t hurt or they were hurt. I love when guys are done and say they were hurt or they had the flu. Roberto Luongo, reading the Canadian papers, he had the flu now. It’s a big mystery why he was late for overtime. It’s fine. You battle through things.”

    Personally, I don’t know why Avery left out Martin Brodeur. At least then he’d have all three Hart Trophy finalists.

  • *Jagr:* Finally, I’ll leave you with words from the Big Fella, who made clear he wanted to see both Nylander and Shanahan back, but whose strongest statement came about himself.

    “I think I can be better than I was last year, or maybe the year before that, you know,” Jaromir Jagr said. “It’s all – if I stay healthy during the season. But I’m going to make sure I’m going to be the best player I’ve ever been.”

    It’s a scary thought, and quite possible given how impressive Jagr was at the end of this season and the playoffs. And if it ends up being true, my guess is they won’t be having break-up day in May next year., but in the middle of June….

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    1. jagr even better? when is opening night? i can hardly wait. i’d love to see shanny back too, but i don’t know if it is the best move for the rangers…at 39, shanny has lost a step in an NHL that is much faster overall. btw, great work this year on the blog….much better than any of the blogs ‘run’ (if you can call it that) by any of the other reporters.

    2. How much would Ortmeyer make that a younger player would be so much cheaper?
      I don’t think he’s coming back because he’s bringing the team to court over his unpaid signing bonus. Dolan doesn’t like stuff like that.

    3. Anthony (Abev) on

      Good job Sam.

      I know Ortmeyer is a fan favorite, but he is very replaceable.

    4. Heard Rangers haven’t even talked to Ortmeyer’s agent, so it doesn’t look good for him to stay, especially since they’ve already signed Orr AND Hollweg. Why, I don’t know. If they sign Nylander, Avery AND Shanahan, there goes a continued youth movement. It’ll be basically the same team, with one or two additions. But can’t play kids 6-8 minutes, so they’ll need to stay in Hartford, if that’s still around.

    5. Today should have been a great day. Albeit a day where our minds vacillated between sheer anxiety and utter joy while we counted down the hours until game seven started. After all we won game five, didn’t we? The clock hit 7:00pm tonight and the reality set in that there was no Rangers Game Night, no 7th and final game…… Two moments and sounds stand out as I type this message. The first is the final seconds in game four, and the “ping” that resonated throughout the Garden as that frozen puck clanged off the pipe into the white netting behind Miller. And the ensuing roar of the Garden faithful that shook the greatest arena in the world. The other was the deafening silence that filled my house after the goal was scored with only 7 .7 seconds left in game five….all but dashing the hope of what just may have been for our beloved Rangers this spring.

      Sam, each day I looked forward to going to the blog and reading about what’s new with the boys. You gave all of us a look into the hearts and minds of the best team in all of sports. And for that, we thank you.

      Enjoy the summer everyone and get ready for what looks to be an incredible ’07 – ’08 season. Go Rangers!

    6. In response to MrPack… Avery is 27, since when is that old? He’s the youth we need, not too young where he has to learn all the ropes and not anywhere near the twilight of his career.

    7. Guys like Hollweg, Betts, and Orr who are signed for next year can still be traded; and probably should be.
      The fact that they ARE signed actually can add to their value and make them more desired.

      We need to get rid of atleast 2 of them. While the 3 of them individually fill in specific needed roles on this team, we need our 4th liners to have SOME offensive skill.

      The 3 of them would not score on a break-away 99 out of 100 times combined. (with Betts being the only score)
      Mangagement really needs to examine the weak spots and fill in ONLY the necessary blanks. We are very close to being serious contenders.

      Thank you Sam and Josh for all the insights and good reads throughout this roller coaster of a season. Please keep ’em coming-

    8. …oh and Sam-

      When it comes to the Rangers, there is no such thing as
      “too much information.”-

      except for players and coaches hygiene, no need to know that :)

      Thanks again!

    9. Thanks Sam. I dont want Gomez, remember the last devil center we got? Ill go the Lafontaine route and take Briere or Drury.

    10. You guys need to go the Rangers Website on the video on demand console to listen to some interviews with Jagr, Shanny, Straka, Henrik, Avery and Tom Renney….

      Have a nice summer everybody….


    11. Sam,

      Thanks for all the great info!

      Can you provide any insight on the Nylander situation that we don’t know already? Larry Brooks’ article today states that Nylander might not return because he will test the open market and get more money. Any truth to this, or is this just Larry Brooks being typical Larry Brooks and writing garbage just to get attention?

    12. NJ Mark:

      Nylander stated he wants to return to the Rangers. In my opinion, unless Sather completely lowballs him, he will be back next year.

    13. If the Rangers are serious about youth, they need Shanny as instructor. Reduced minutes would have really helped him this past season, but Renney burned him out by Christmas, often hitting defenseman-like minutes for him.

      We have some kids ready to step up………………..

      Renney buries Dawes all season, and suddenly he is ready for Game 6, 2nd round? what a doofus.

      Malik and Rachunek must —must go……even if we have to eat some of their salary. Addition by subtraction.

    14. Greg in CT on

      Sam, do you, or anybody for that matter, have any more information about the Wolf Pack’s return to Hartford?

      Great job all season!

      Thank you.

    15. I guess this is the last one of these for a while, so I will say again how *amazing* this blog has been. I never liked the word “blog” or the concept really (c’mon 90% of blogs are some teen working themselves off with pointless ramblings)….but when I heard there was a Ranger info site that was updated several times daily I had to check it out and—-wow. Just, very very impressive source of info. Everyone, lets face it: This blog is like having a friend that is “in” with NYR and can share up to the minute info with you right until gametime, and before anyone else hears it.

      Thanks to you too Josh– Sorry we all ragged on you at first, but you really came through as well with heaps of quality information when we were all counting on you. You truly are the Chris Drury of blogs.

      Well done everyone, blogmasters and commenters alike.
      And now I will leave you guys with a little treat for anyone interested.

      PS if anyone is interested in some Acoustic Radiohead (awesome) check out the download link in my username–enjoy the summer folks

    16. Not sure if anyone saw this or not, but there is an article on THN’s website stating that San Jose should and might part ways with Patrick Marleau. He has one year left on his contract at $4.5 million before becoming an UFA.

      I know he didn’d do anything in the Detroit series, but I still think this is someone the Rangers should look at, even more so than Gomez, Briere, and Drury. He’s just as young, much bigger, and has more balance to his game than Gomez. Gomez doesn’t score goals much, but Marleau is a 30 goal scorer who will also set up 40-50. He’d be a perfect 1A center.

      What type of package would we need to get him? I’m sure the cost would be very high.

    17. I was going to say Salty…I’m afraid to click any link with “facial” in the URL @ work.

      Glad to see everyone wants to commit. That fire in the belly is needed, and it’s been missing from this team for a long time.

      In regard to the Blueshirts lineup for 07/08. I don’t care what the Rangers need to do, they need to clear space for permanent roster spots for Callahan and Staal (he will be ready for NHL).

      If they do not secure a free agent signing than they need to work in Dubi or Dawes, give them 3rd line time behind Nyls and Cullen and see if one of them can move up to line 2. (Rangers should roll 3 evenly)

      I think the Rangers should also work in some of the other guys in limited rolls and see if they can earn a spot like Cally and Girardi did this year.

      All in all, having more players than spots is a good thing. It means depth, and it means protection from an injury disaster.

    18. Get rid of Hollweg, Betts and Orr? The three of these guys, along with Orty have a TON of heart on this team. That goes a long way on a team with big names. (It keeps the whole team grounded.)

      You really want a team where all 4 lines are able to break away and roof a puck over the best goalies in the league on a constant basis? Get a clue, dude. No team has that. The only team that COULD have that would be an All-Star team. Christ, even an All-Star team has some grinders that wouldn’t score on a breakaway.

      As for Hartford, the rumor is still that they’ll move to the Aviator complex in Brooklyn.
      Wonder if they’d get permission to call them the Dodgers. Or better yet, since it’s at the Aviator, call them the Brooklyn Jets.

    19. I hope that Nylander’s agent doesn’t make a mess of the whole resigning situation. He was awesome this year, but 3.5 million is plenty for him… especially if the the team wants to resign Shanahan and get one of those premium free agents (Gomez, Drury, etc.). I think it is clear that the team elements were almost there to be a cup contender, but there is only so much cap space to go around and they need a premium first/second line center. Nylander is playing like this because he plays with Jagr… period. If he goes somewhere else to be rich… F him.

    20. I think the Ortmeyer doesn’get get resigned although I love him he’s gonna be the one to go. I think that Shanny will come back for one more year and they’ll tie up Avery with a 3-5 year deal with how much he meant to the team in his short time here. He could be seen as the next Adam Graves type gritty but skilled player in this organization. I don’t think we get Gomez or Drury or Briere. I think you keep the top two lines and fill in Dawes or Dubinsky on the third or fourth line. You have Orr and Hollweg as fillers throughout the year for a physical presence in certain games. I don’t see Rachunek coming back to try to make room for Staal which would eventually turn into that Brian Leetch type quarterback we’ve been missing. Him (Staal) and Mara on a powerplay could remind me of the Leetch and Zubov tandem we had in the mid 90’s. Montoya will come up and see some time as the backup goalie I think but eventually after getting him a few starts he might be traded around the deadline next year for another forward if the offense isn’t there. I like the steps that this team has been taking with Renney. He should stay around for a while because the pride he has made his players have for the game has been incredible and he’s such a likeable guy. I can’t wait till next season. Go Rangers!

    21. Hanny

      I said to get rid of atleast 2 of them.
      There are other guys in Hartford and on the market that
      also have heart, defensive ability and can actually shoot the puck (e.g. Joel Lundqvist on Dallas)

      We need to open up roster spots for guys like that.
      If guys like Hollweg and Orr are scratched for most of the playoffs, then they really shouldn’t be signed.
      I think you’re the one that needs to get a clue.

    22. Rangers6830 on

      Jagr even more determined, even better next year? I can’t wait for the season to start again! I’m going to miss his great quotes during the offseason.
      I don’t mind Shanny coming back but I do think at a lesser role, so he doesn’t wear down at the end of the season. I’m not sure if it was just because of the concussion but he never really was the same from his hot start, even before he got hurt.

    23. Thanks for reporting this season with passion.
      Cant wait till next season, this has become my favorite ranger news site to follow everything going on (when wordpress is running smooth! hehe)

    24. This absoulty the best Ranger site there ever was. Thanks sam and Josh for a Great year.

    25. Will be upset if essentially the same team is back again as with everyone a year older (espec shanny, straka and nylander) i don’t see them doing any better. bottom line is we need to cut the deadweight on this team that is jed, hollweig, rachunek and malik at the very least. if we could id trade cullen b/c as fast as he is, he has almost zero offensive talent (shooting and passing just isnt there) and he is clogging up the center position. i say this because dubinsky would prob be good to start at third line center but you cant have cullen be your 2nd line center. as far as shanny goes, if you could really play him only 10 minutes a game on the third or fourth line id say fine but just as in messier in the past, the odds are that would not happen. also he looked bad before the concussion and even worse afterwards, so i just think time is catching up to him. wouldnt mind seeing gomez here but also could be smarter to wait for 08 when iginla, thorton and marleau are all free agents.

      good work on the blog, sure helped me get through the days

    26. I defintiely think the Rangers should pass on Gomez, Briere, and Drury. We’re going to have to break the bank for all of them, and I don’t look at any of those guys as being elite. Next summer, Heatley, Hossa, Thornton, Marleau, and Iginla are all scheduled to be UFAs (according to THN). I don’t know if they’ll all be available, but I’d rather any one of those guys compared to the current crop of FAs. I say bring back a very similar roster to this year, perhaps adding one or two 2nd tier FAs, and filling the rest with prospects. Then make your big splash next summer.

      If Shanny comes back for one more year, we have the possibility of replacing him with Hossa or Heatley if we have the cap room.

    27. NJ Mark – the other Hossa totally disappears in the playoffs as we saw this year. If we can get Drury or even Gomez this team can be scary good next yr. Maybe even 16 playoff wins.

      I know a couple of people talked Marleau. Why would we give up whatever they would want in terms of young assets when there are good free agents that would cost $ yes but we would still keep the young assets.

    28. LI Joe,

      Hossa wouldn’t sacre me off next year because of one bad playoff season. Atlanta stunk, he had no support on that team. Besides, he can only get better in the playoffs next year, right?

      I’d rather Marleau because he’s better. I don’t want any ex-Devils, and I think Gomez is overrated anyway. Between Briere/Drury, one will stay in Buffalo and one will go. Drury scares me because, while he’s clutch, he isn’t the most skilled player in the league. And Briere is an injury risk.

      I’d rather Marleau than all 3. But I don’t think we have what it takes to get a deal done anyway unless Staal was included, and NO WAY do I want them to go that route.

    29. NJ Mark – Hossa was never good in the playoffs with Ottawa either. he has a very poor track record in the playoffs every time he has “played”.

      Drury is a lot better than his numbers. He is a winner and as clutch as clutch can be. He has an amazing desire to win going all the way back to little league. And he costs $ yes but not the package in addition to $ that Marleau would cost.

    30. Sam,

      Enough of the BS on Ortmeyer. He is bad. He blocks shots and plays some penalty kill. Fine. But in the offensive half of the ice he is useless. I mean, zero skills in the offensive zone. If the Rangers are going to compete in the Final Four next year, they need more from their 4th line. Ortmeyer just does not cut it. No way. Heart as big as a car, hands of stone though. He has to go. Nice guy and all, but not a real guy you fear out there on the ice.

      Shanny will be OK, but he needs a reduced role. I feel like he will be the Messier-in-his-twilight type player but without the “I am God” attitude that Mess carried with him. Glad he was able to talk about the potentially reduced role. In fact, I could see Shanny taking more PK time in place of someone like Ortmeyer. We could always use Shanny’s shot on the PP too.

      BTW are we sure Souray is going to LA this offseason? That would be a huge addition to the blueline.

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