Instant karma (Updated with Gomez audio)

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Both Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez tried to downplay it, but it was hard not to notice how comfortable the two appeared with one another on the ice. Officially, Gomez scored one goal in the 30-minute afternoon scrimmage, although another one trickled past Chris Holt that the referees never saw.

And even when not scoring, the line, with Marcel Hossa on the left wing, had possession of the puck for several long stretches in the offensive zone.

It goes back to something I said when signing Gomez and Chris Drury was merely a concept: You notice Gomez a lot more than you do Drury. This isn’t to say one is better than the other. After all, Drury is said to be the better player away from the puck (and as the News’ John Dellapina noted, “Drury can’t play in this scrimmage. It’s meaningless. He only turns it on when it counts.”).

Still, after one practice and scrimmage, it was hard not to be impressed with the Rangers’ newest No. 19 (by the way, I’m shocked the Rangers would let Blair Betts switch to No. 15. So is that to say there will be no retiring of Brad Isbister’s number?).

Meanwhile, continuing our efforts to be truly multimedia, here’s Gomez himself talking about the day, and his first experiences as a Ranger.

Some other highlights from the afternoon:

  • Tom Renney’s explanation for his line combinations today, which also included Drury with Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery: “Just trying what everybody on the planet suggested would be obvious.”
  • So much for the notion this is now a skilled player’s leagues. Sure, Gomez scored a goal today. But so did Colton Orr, Francis Lessard, and Mitch Fritz.
  • The name plate above Henrik Lundqvist’s locker? “Hankenstein”.
  • Maybe Michael Nylander’s departure is still stinging Jagr. I asked the captain about his chemistry with his old center (this in comparison to Gomez). His response:

    “Michael is the kind of guy, he’s going to play his game and doesn’t want to change it much. Even if you talk about it, he changes for a little bit then he goes back to his old style. I don’t blame him. He was good at it. But that’s why we needed to talk all the time.”

    I should add that Jagr was laughing when saying this.

  • The first day for Darius Kasparaitis wasn’t exactly a triumphant one. He may have been quicker, but he also coughed up the puck several times during the scrimmage. Maybe it was first day nerves, but he can’t afford to have a second day like it.

    More later…

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    52 Comments

    1. some things about your favorite coach Hyena

      1. played Betts on 2nd line last season
      2. played Shanahan on PK
      3. he adores Malik and Betts
      4. He cost us the playoffs with several seconds left in game 5 he didn’t put Betts and Ortmeyer on the ice
      5. He hates playing young guys and will go through all alternatives like Isbister, Krog, Ozolinsh, Dupuis, Strudwick, etc. before trying young guys who he often finds not good enough and sends them back as soon as he can.
      6. He kept screwing with Prucha
      7. I don’t know what he sees in Orr, Valiquette and Pock
      8. He doesn’t do PP the way it should be done
      9. In his system almost nobody consistently goes to the net or stands in front of a goalie.
      10. Veterans never get punished for bad plays, only young players get punished.
      11. playoffs before last, he not only played injured Jagr, he also gave him a lot of icetime. He is scared shitless playing without Jagr
      12. As Cullen saids, bottom 2 lines have very short leash offensively
      13. Prucha-Cullen-Callahan line was not scoring, yet he kept playing them together and we lost to Sabres, what a surprise
      14. Rangers were terrible first half of last season, only things saved them was the success of Lundqvist, Avery and Girardi in the 2nd half as well as playing a lot of weak teams with even more problems.
      15. Good coaches reward 3rd and 4th line players with more icetime and PP time, this idiot doesn’t
      16. he pigeonholed Prucha as bad defensively, instead of making him better by letting him kill penalties.
      17. he is too loyal to the vets and too disloyal to rookies.
      18. He doesn’t make the team play more physical
      19. He constantly makes bad on ice decisions and line combos
      20. he forgets to call time out
      21. he overplays some of his top players
      22. he ran Shanahan into the ground
      23. He is easily suckered into screwing up his lineup by using a goon
      24. I still don’t get why Orr played in the playoffs
      25 What a joke of a PR stunt it was to “play” Dawes in the last playoff game
      26. He is constantly outcoached
      27. Bottom line is if there were no injuries last season, we would not have made the playoffs and if it wasn’t for Renney’s stupidity we would have advanced past Sabres.

    2. how could he put orts and betts (whom you hate) on the ice when we iced it and when you ice the puck, you cant change your players… damn, youre an idiot!

    3. “Tom Renney’s explanation for his line combinations today, which also included Drury with Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery: “Just trying what everybody on the planet suggested would be obvious.â€?”

      obvious would be playing young guys with veterans. What is the point of a veteran Shanahan when he isn’t playing with any rookie?

    4. Lovin that we get multiple posts a day again!

      Thanks for all the great insight sam….very much appreciated.

      You’ve got the best blog around (ALL sports not just Rangers) despite being a magnet for “Rangers fans” who it seems would rather hate the team then enjoy the great exciting season that is about to happen.

    5. “how could he put orts and betts (whom you hate) on the ice when we iced it and when you ice the puck, you cant change your players… damn, youre an idiot!”

      no idiot, they should have been there prior to the icing.

    6. czechthemout!!!!! on

      sam can you plase comment on the play of staal,sauer,dubinsky,AA,bourret?according to bb,sauer stood out more than staal with his physical play.i would be interested in your take on this.

    7. The Sabre’s were far the better team last season, Coach or no coach – thats a ridiculous assessment to say that Renney is the reason we didnt win the cup. We missed the playoffs for 7 years. Renney almost got this team to the conference finals in 2 seasons. Are you kidding? Give credit where it is due, the team respects him and has won under him, shut up and be happy.

    8. Maybe Callahan was just taking the faceoffs for that line, then Straka was moving to center. Was that the case Sam or did Callahan stay pretty much at center? Out of those three, I would most like to have Prucha taking the faceoffs. He did it a lot on power plays two seasons ago and almost every tiem that I noticed him taking one, he won. I can live with Avery on the second line if that will be the third line.

      I think Bourret could make a good campaign for the fourth line; I can see him fitting in well there. If Orr ever gets injured, we have Fritz backing him up in Hartford.

      The key with the salary cap right now is that if we are so close, we cannot even afford to bring up too many players to replace short-term injuries. Someone’s gotta go. We don’t want to have a situation like Buffalo last season, technically (and I think physically, by rule) sending players down to the AHL between NHL gaems, but they’re close to Rochester, so that’s easy; it would be for us too.

      I love how Yenner Mot (RWF for you newbies) posts quotations from Blueshurt Bulletin because he’s not allowed to post over there/his posts get deleted.

    9. “The Sabre’s were far the better team last season, Coach or no coach – thats a ridiculous assessment to say that Renney is the reason we didnt win the cup. We missed the playoffs for 7 years. Renney almost got this team to the conference finals in 2 seasons. Are you kidding? Give credit where it is due, the team respects him and has won under him, shut up and be happy.”

      1. I never said they would win the Cup
      2. Renney didn’t do crap, he just had a much better team, if he was coaching those teams in the past 7 seasons he at most would have made 1 playoff appearence.
      3. He got totally embarrassed by Devils sweeping them, what a joke of coaching that was.
      4. Rangers were a better team in the playoffs than Sabres, but Renney sabotaged everything with his stupidity and lousy coaching.

    10. Doodie Machetto on

      Sam, can you pass along some info on Mark Smith and any other players that were invited to camp?

    11. Hey RFW…does Renney also not look both ways before he crosses the street? Get a grip, it’s the 1st day of camp.

      Renney is a very underated coach, deal with it or go root for someone else.

    12. Re RWF point # 5 – the playing of the Krog’s and Dupuis’ of the world: Years ago, when you dressed 17 skaters plus one goalie you had three regular forward lines so that you could “bury” two spare forwards for PK duty, almost exclusively. And you could sit your fifth D and go with two regular D tandems. Today, dressing six D’s and 12 forwards, as they do, EVERYONE, even the humpty-dumpties, plays a regular shift. Neither Renney nor any other coach in the league has the option of sitting the horrid acquisitions a GM burdens him with.

      And you are right about that, bringing in Ozo, and Kas, and Dupuis, and Strudwick, and Mara and Isbister made Renney’s job about 20% tougher – yet he overcame the GM albatross and got the team into the playoffs, and to round two where it took a gratis power play – pulling the goaltender “Extra-attacker” goal to put Buffalo over the top.

      I say Renney is a helluva lot better coach than his nemesis Sather is as a GM, and the sooner Hartford Jim takes over the front office, the better for this organization. At that point some of Renney’s detractors might find something to like about him.

    13. that is a ridiculous assumption that Sather forced Renney to play the crap instead of young players. I bet it was the other way around when Renney demanded some veteran spare parts like Krog and Isbister because he wasn’t impressed with the rookies.

    14. Hankenstein? lol what’s that?
      I can’t wait for hockey to start. I love Jagr quotes so keep those up Sam. Let’s go Rangers! :)

    15. Doodie Machetto on

      “Like Dump from the ESPN message boards”

      I have never been to those boards, but if you’re abbreviating Dump for “DumpJagrDope”, then it’s the same guy, and pretty funny that you caught that across boards.

    16. Jessica Prucha ( I Wish ) on

      I kinda agree with Right Wing Fascist on his Tom Renney comments. You’ll probably tear my head off but i do think he’s right.

    17. “I have never been to those boards, but if you’re abbreviating Dump for “DumpJagrDopeâ€?, then it’s the same guy, and pretty funny that you caught that across boards.”

      I posted as Dump as a tribute to Dump, who was a poster on Outside the Garden where he was constantly banned. I was posting as WinterIsComing and was banned as well by mental midget Fish.

    18. Jessica Prucha ( I Wish ) on

      Why cant Messier be the Rangers coach, or someone like that. It just doesnt feel right, with Tom coaching. My biggest problem is the way he mistreats Prucha. Petr didnt even have that bad of a season. He didnt diserve to get kicked down to the 4th line, that really ticked me off.

    19. Thank you, Sam, for your coverage of training camp. I loved the Gomez interview and all of the insider info! If you can add more interviews like the Gomez one throughout training camp that would be great! Once again, thank you for your coverage. As a true blue fan, I appreciate the hard work you do covering our team. Looking forward to more updates. Thanks alot.

      Nick

    20. Some responses:

      Yes, I saw Drury in the new jersey. To be honest, it’s not that big of a deal, and I didn’t even notice it until someone said, “Hey, that’s the new jersey.” All it is is a little tighter fitting. Drury, for the record, said he liked the way it felt.

      Meanwhile, some comments on players: for the second year in a row, I’m extremely impressed by Brandon Dubinsky, although now he looks even stronger on the puck. If the job is between him and Anisimov, consider Dubi the early leader (in my eyes, at least).

      Ditto for Bourret. He looks strong and has some edge to his game, which means, unlike some other guys, he’s the type of energy player you could justify keeping in New York even if he’s not logging major minutes. I don’t think that’s going to happen just yet, but we’ll see.

      Continuing my life-long bias against all defensemen, I barely paid attention to Marc Staal today. One play that stood out, however, was him trying to squeeze past Jaromir Jagr in a tight spot along the boards, which merits some props purely because most guys would just cough up the puck in a similar situation.

      More assessments tomorrow…

    21. Who else here is so dumb as to think the coach dictates to the GM, who HIRED the coach? Step right up.

    22. There is only one with many names & wrong opinions who thinks he’s right without real proof. He’s a left wing looney that hates most things including the NYR. He complains all day , everyday about anything. Only he knows what’s best, everyone else is braindead among as many names as this genius has thought up. ‘I pity the fool ‘. He’s a self inflicting pain lover stuck in his own mental prison. He comes here to cry out for help because he can’t help himself. He gets zero enjoyment being a NYR fan, so he comes here to be a party pooper. He/she whatever it is needs to go back to that place they visited & live there & pray for help. To respect no one including yourself is a deadend. …That’ll be $150 please ;-)

    23. “There is only one with many names & wrong opinions who thinks he’s right without real proof. He’s a left wing looney that hates most things including the NYR. He complains all day , everyday about anything. Only he knows what’s best, everyone else is braindead among as many names as this genius has thought up. ‘I pity the fool ’. He’s a self inflicting pain lover stuck in his own mental prison. He comes here to cry out for help because he can’t help himself. He gets zero enjoyment being a NYR fan, so he comes here to be a party pooper. He/she whatever it is needs to go back to that place they visited & live there & pray for help. To respect no one including yourself is a deadend. …That’ll be $150 please ;-)”

      this is hilarious, first he makes all those assumptions about me, then he starts to doubt himself and can’t decide what gender I am. If you like his act, he can be found raving mad in select public transportation. He is the one claiming that he can see the future, you will easily recognize him by a peculiar stench of piss.

    24. HMM I glad you have a sense of humor and can laugh. Can you spare a dime? ;-) BNow lighten up and try to enjoy hockey instead of whinning, nothing is perfect.

    25. What a strange thread, considering how exciting all of this sounds – the new lines, instant chemistry, Sam ignoring Marc Staal and all defensemen (poor Kasp). I am all for a good beating and ‘screw Renney’ but ‘Come On Folks’, when was the last time the rest of the NHL has referred to the NYR as a Cup Contender and meant it? Good thoughts people! Law of Attraction? The Secret?

      Sam, not to be redundant – thank God you’re off golf for now (no offense) and now providing excellent coverage. I linked you to my site as one of the few damn good resources for training camp information. Thanks for being there.

      The Dark Ranger

    26. for the know it alls that don’t know from BB..”Renney still wants to look at a few other guys in that spot. “Scouting him in junior, he spent a great deal of time as a centericeman,” Renney said of Callahan.”

    27. Did everyone get their ticket fix this morning?
      The main sections that are available are 349 and 401 for some reason. That is back corner where opponent shoots twice.

      As promised, Leetch night was NOT available at all.
      Best seats I got were to a couple of Isles, Devils, Philly games at MSG in sect 349…pretty sad.

      Funny how at Verizon Center in D.C., I was able to get tixx to both Rangers games there 5 rows off the ice at blue line from TM. (Works out that i’m in D.C. half the week)

    28. I’m on there now and not seeing ANY tix besides preseason which I’m not gonna pony up for

      I could have sworn it started at 11, f me.

    29. Sorry Salty.

      There’s this one reputable guy on EBAY that has good Rangers seats for many games in Sect 331 Aisle.

      Some of his auctions are fixed and he allwos on some to submit your best offer.
      He was very reasonable with me earlier. Got some games under face (assuming ticketmaster surcharges)

      Here is the link to all his Rangers games.

      http://search.stores.ebay.com/MIGHTY-MOUSE-TICKETS_rangers_W0QQfciZQ2d1QQfclZ3QQfsnZMIGHTYQ20MOUSEQ20TICKETSQQfsooZ1QQfsopZ1QQsaselZ139395172QQsofpZ0

    30. “for the know it alls that don’t know from BB..â€?Renney still wants to look at a few other guys in that spot. “Scouting him in junior, he spent a great deal of time as a centericeman,â€? Renney said of Callahan.â€?”

      I don’t believe a word that comes out of Renney’s mouth. And be realistic, even if he did scout Callahan, how many games did he scout him for? I say no more than 3. So yes, if Callahan spent 1 game as a center, maybe Hyena assumed he can play center. But the bottom line is a center has to be a very good playmaker, and neither Callahan, nor Cullen, nor Betts are good playmakers. What is the point of having a center that has no ability to feed his wingers?

    31. For all of you that did not get tickets today, fear not. The Rangers have expanded their season ticket holders “ticket exchange program” to include all season ticket holders. That basically means that any and all season ticket holders who have seats they’ll be unable to use can post them on the Ranger site/ticketmaster for sale up to 2 hours before faceoff. Last year this service was limited to only the club seats. The bad news is that because of recent changes in NY State laws, people can sell those tickets for as high above face value as they’d like. Still, most people, like me, just want their money back if they can’t go. I would think that over the next several weeks and throughout the year very good seats will be available to everyone if you’re diligent about it.

    32. HMM did Renney say he personally scouted him? How do you think they drafted him, by seeing only 3 games? Get off the nonsense when you haven’t a clue except to be a selective skeptic. Like you know what Callihan is capable of. You didn’t even know he played center. Now your stating he has NO ability to feed his wingers. You continue to try to make your opinions facts with little to zero proof. Enjoy complaining because you won’t enjoy this season either. You should ask Sam to take you to meet Renney face to face, or stand outside MSG & tell him what you think you know and what you think of him.

    33. I saw Gomez skate with Pandolfo up here in Boston last month on this cool new rink they both are part owners of. It’s a miniature rink deisgned to hone quick movements and stickhandling, etc. It was brand new so they had an open house and the two of them were on the ice skating with a few AHL’ers demonstrating. It was pretty cool.

      Heres the link to the rink they are part owners of:

      http://microicecenters.com/

    34. HMM I can be a critic, but that doesn’t make me right. Renney’s style is not mine, but his results can’t be denied. Saying they could have gone further w/o him is assuming they would have made it to the playoffs w/o him. The players like him. If they flounder I’ll point out what I think is wrong. You as I have said before are obviously a young kid who’s wet behind the ears trying to be a maven. Learn to know what you can change . I was there when the fans got on Renney & the NYR with the chant “SHOOT THE PUCK”. Booing is only one way to express yourself, it’s usually not the best way. All you do is boo and boo hoo. Now go pound your chest in the mirror and tell yourself how smart & brave you are. When do you want to meet so I can see you tell Renney to his face all the names you call him? Let’s see how smart & brave you really are.

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