Road warriors


The ingredients of a good team are A) they win the games they should win; and B) they occasionally win the games they shouldn’t.

The Rangers have managed the first part during their six of seven stretch at home. And they managed the second last night, prevailing in Toronto with the potentially rusty Stephen Valiquette in net.

Now, before we start slapping a label on this team, let’s at least agree that there have been some encouraging signs of late — from Valiquette’s 32 saves against the Leafs, to the Gordie Howe hat trick by Sean Avery.

Say what you want about Avery — and people say plenty — there is no question the Rangers are a better team with him in the lineup. Some of that is fire or spunk or whatever you want to call it. But the guy can play, too, as evidenced by his brilliant set up of Brendan Shanahan in the second period. I don’t know what he really is — a second-liner or a third-liner or something in between. But another sign of a good team is how a good player can seem great in the right uniform.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, they’ve had plenty of players who’ve gone the other way while in New York — hello, Matt Cullen and seemingly hundreds of others — but with Avery right now, something is clicking.

Meanwhile, on this deserved day off, “check out this video”: from loyal reader Anthony compiling Avery’s efforts last night.

More later..

About Author


  1. They have been stepping up as of late. Besides the game against the Leafs at home, they have been playing great hockey. That 3rd period against the Isles, i blame the refs. They’ve been against NYR it seems. Maybe they dont like Avery and Hollweg, who knows.

    All i know, is Hank needs to rest up and prepare for the next 4 games, all division games. Its gonna be tough.

  2. game in and game out someone on this team steps up…

    Dawes, Prucha, Gomez, Henrik, Jagr, Girardi, Staal, Rozival and last night it was Avery, Hossa and Vally.

    Did Gomez keep his point streak alive with an assist on Shanny’s goal?

  3. I think the most important thing about Avery is his ability to pull attention away from the team and onto him. This is something we much needed, because when everyone is pressuring jagr (like last year when they were losing) Avery brings in some spice to kind of distract everything else going on. He’s a great player, and thats what really makes him attractive

  4. I liked Steve Valiquette when he was LaBarbera’s junior partner in Hartford. Jason put up some remarkable numbers that year, but so did Steve — you could look it up.

    More importantly, Valiquette has demonstrated his ability and willingness to play the (very)subordinate role as Lundavit’s ‘caddy.’ And that’s no mean trick — very very difficult for a pro with pride in himself and wanting to badly to demonstrate he can do the job to be in such a position — Exhibit A: Kevin Weekes who one could readily see was being torn inside despite all he could do (and did do) to be supportive of his senior partner and be a good soldier.

    The last time the Rangers had someone who could fit the bill – being ready when called upon to give a first class performance combined with being able to subvert himself and be supportive, to understand the role he was expected to fill was Glenn Healy.

    If Valiquette can emulate Healy (and on the “supportive side” there’s no doubt at all), the Rangers have equipped themseelves with an esssential ingredieant for a serioud run at the Cup.

  5. Meanwhile, as we stand lowest in goals against average, we are still lowest in goals for average, now with about the same margin to the next best team in each, about .3 of a goal. Hopefully, the Rangers can pick it up offensively before we play again our possibly biggest challenger this year, with a high-powered offense, Ottawa, which is on the first day of Decemeber, in Canada.

  6. Gomez got an assist on both goals last night. In fact, Avery, Shanahan, and Gomez each had a hand in both goals.

  7. thats 5 points now for girardi on the season its funny no one knew who he was going into last season and now he is probably our top defensman

  8. Yup, Girardi is pretty damn solid. I really like that he was not drafted and has been such a reliable player for us.

  9. Girardi, Staal, Tyutin, Rozival, Sauer, Sanguetti and even Mara who is only 28… quite the stable of dman.

    I would still like to see a power play QB on defense, like a Kaberle.

    A much better outlook than Lefebre, Driver, Quintal, Ulanov, Berard, Malahkov, Ward, fill-in miserable UFA signing…

  10. yeah but Kaspir and Rachunek had their good moments for us in the last couple seasons, they were part of the rebuild and the return to respectability… the others were not.

  11. Girardi was not a surprise to anyone who aaw him in Hartford.

    He certainly shouldn’t have been a surprise after he was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team for 2005-06. Following that season he was signed to an NHL contract.)

    Or when elected as an AHL All-Star Game starter in 2006-07 (which he never got a chance to participate in as he was called up by the Raners a few days before it).

    He was also lauded by Schoenfeld (who know a bit about what it takes to be an NHL defenseman) and said he had what it takes.

  12. Sanguinetti, Tyutin, Staal, Girardi, Mara(maybe), Rozsival(maybe)…2008-2009 Defense Average Age 23. Throw in Sauer here or there it comes down 22. A great solid top 4 for a lot of years. Gonna mortgage the house for a nice pair of ‘seasons’


  13. Sam you need to talk to Sather about Avery. He has to resign him.Does Sather talk to you guys? It’s rare to see any quotes .

  14. Mara on last yr. of a big contract he will not be back next yr. they will use the $ more judicously..

    d next yr. tyutin, girardi, stall, and 3 ???????????..

    Roszival if he wants big $$$ say goodbye.. Malik contract done also…

  15. Don’t forget Rumun Ndur (had to look up the right spelling of his first name; I thought it was Roman).

    Nasty 1 – Gomez was originally given the assist that Girardi got; they changed it for some reason.

    Mara has been showing me something; I would take him back at half the salary only, though. If Rozsival doesn’t start picking up his game, I don’t want him back for upwards of $5 million, but let’s see if he can continue to play with Staal and make a good pair. Bright days lie ahead either way!

  16. Roszival will never be worth $5 mill. he is a good player but not a #1 difference maker… he needs to shoot more…

  17. We may have two $5 mil. men in Girardi and Tyuts! LOL
    oh and don’t forget Staal, then Sauer…
    I can believe I’m saying this but, the Rangers are soon going to be known for their defence.

    I specifically remember just a few weeks ago that the team was imploding and everyone was in PANIC mode. All I have to say is that this team right now is IMO starting to gel. You can see it, chemistry is starting to form.
    Now I’m not saying the Rangers are completely out of the woods but… put this many quality players together, surrounding a good core of young players and a goalie who’s game is sooo solid, what we are witnessing is the building of a team that will be good for a long time.

  18. Yup, and I said all of this in the beginning of the season when we were not playing very well. Hank on his game? Check. Team playing solid defense? Check. Team finally scoring some goals? Check. Penalty Kill? Check. Power play where it should be? No. Once the power play really really clicks I think we will be one of the most dominant teams in the league.

  19. Some of you people on this blog have good energy but you must love the taste of your own feet when you stick your foot in your mouth (countless times since day 1)!

    Who said Shanahan (leading goal scorer on the team now) was washed up, since his concussion he is not the same, he sucks?

    Who said Gomez was a bust? (If you watch him closely, almost every time he carries it up the ice he calculates to the inch, where everyone is and where they will be when he gets there so he can skate by them with the puck…it is incredible to watch!)

    Who said Avery does more harm than good? (The guy is on his game when he is fighting people and getting them to retaliate!)

    Who said signing Drury was a terrible move?

    Patience young Jedis….and don’t be so negative the second we stumble for a second. It is a marathon not a sprint!

    By the end of the year, Marc Staal will be our #1 defenseman. Girardi and Tyutin nipping at his heels for that honor too. Mara is getting better bit by bit. Rosy and Malik remain OK offensively but our biggest liabilities in our own zone!

    Glad the team has some rest now. And soooo glad I have the Rangers to watch instead of waiting for disappointment with the Giants!

  20. It is so funny to see players complain about Avery. They call him classless and whatever. He says things on the ice to get players off their game. It is ON THE ICE. It is all part of his plan to get them off their game. Christ, we are grown men. DEAL WITH IT! If you can’t deal with what another person says to you it is your problem. He doesn’t play dirty and cheap shot people, he just plays mind games to get people off their game and does it better than any player in the league. I say good for him. The Rangers are a much much different and better team with him on it. Lock him up. To a contract I mean, not behind bars, ha.

  21. And Newman, I agree 100% with everything you just said. I have also been saying the same things since the beginning of the season.

  22. There’s no doubt Gomez played a good game against the Leafs, his first elite-level game this year. Time will tell if that’s the real Gomez. Let’s hope.

    The team is coming together and the backline looks promising for years to come.

Leave A Reply