First place on the line tonight


If there are more irrelevant words for November, I’m not sure what they are. As Tom Renney said, the Rangers would love to pass the Flyers in the standings — if not only to defy their own slow start, but also to live up to their own lofty preseason expectations.

That said, if the past two seasons have proven anything — first when the Rangers surged early and crumbled, and then when they did the exact opposite last season — it’s that where you stand a week before Thanksgiving is about as significant as a team’s choice of color in their undershirts.

For what it’s worth, the Rangers are 0-2 when playing the second leg of a back-to-back this season, and both of those games came after wins. These are the type of mindless stats that you’ve come to expect here.

Meanwhile, some news:

  • According to MSG sources, the Rangers will play a couple of games old school style back on Channel 9. This will hopefully grab the attention of the six remaining people in the U.S. who don’t have basic cable. The first of those games is set for a week from Sunday against Dallas.
  • From the Flyers side, the big news centers around forward Simon Gagne, who the team has finally admitted has a concussion after days of dancing around the word as if it were a case of plutonium.
  • Speaking of old school, the Rangers are staying in Philadelphia tonight and will practice tomorrow at the old Spectrum, which is literally across the parking lot from here and looks like it could collapse at any moment.
  • I’m in the process of working on a story about players’ game-day routines, and today my conversation with Ryan Hollweg “turned to his celebrated pre-game dances”: I won’t give away the particulars — the story is still a few weeks away — but there is in fact a method to his madness.

    More in a bit…

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    1. Won’t be seeing Fedoruk this year. He’s playing for Dallas and this week had surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone and so is out indefinitely.

    2. That is the best way to be pumped up for the game ! Ryan you are probably the best dancer in the Rangers`dressing room…

    3. Orr was referring to the Dallas game – he knows where Fedoruk is. I’m disappointed they didn’t pick a game that occurs while I’m at college, since I get WWOR (9) but not MSG.

      Great laser shot by Tyutin! And I believe I saw Jagr down low working the boards with Dubi at one point. Great fight by Orr, as well, even though Cote got back up. Gomez with another point – is that 8 games in a row now? And Girardi made a great play to start it, though only a tertiary assist, so no point registered. The Flyers broadcast is a lot better than people would think; good analysis on that play.

      I can’t believe the people here when we’ve won 7 of 8 or whatever and want to make trades to somehow improve our defense, when we have given up only 11 goals in those 8 games, with 4 coming in the last 2, so only 7 goals in 6 before that. Also, if we trade Prucha, why would we want to take back another NHL roster player? That just creates the same problems. I don’t want to trade Prucha because I know we will be well-served with him here next season, but I do advocate sitting him at this point; he makes some solid plays, but also seems not to be there for much of the time. (I am a Prucha fan, btw)

      Why do people watching the Flyers broadcast have to be subjected to “driving with Eklund?”

      Sam, do you plan on driving to Pittsburgh, as well? That would be a long haul.

    4. in all honesty i dont want straka or maliek back right now.

      i like how these lines are going. they really seem to be starting to gel. just give me back callahan.

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      Prucha can’t buy a goal right now.

      Gomez has been amazing, and avery is starting to prove me wrong about being 2nd line material. Veyr impressive the last couple of days.

      Orr, from the last thread, Crispino makes me want to turn on the mute, the worst voice ever. Cangielosi sucks as a 3rd man, but he calls a good game (I’ve heard him call soccer games).

    6. man some bad calls.. sam and joe get confused sometimes.. they check betts low he gave up the puck 3 strides before…

      the staal penalty hurts….

      they outplayed the flyers bad in the 2nd period and are tied….

      they love to call penalties on avery, goalie interference???really he checked a guy who had a puck near the crease it is his problem if the guy goes into the goal post or goalie????

      the rangers have had numerous chances to add the 3rd goal…

    7. I know five or six people who don’t have cable. They have only one thing in common, a complete hatred of sports.
      Channel 9? Big Whistle, Jim Gordon, me telling my parents that of course I was going to sleep, while I stayed up late with the tiny black and white in my bedroom TV turned way down as I watched games from the west coast. I hope they show old footage; that would be fun.
      Does anyone remember the red light/green light game from LA? Boy, did I not do well at St. Agnes Seminary for Girls the next day.

    8. From my point of view it looks like the league (refs) have it in for the rangers because they did the same type calls against the rangers when the rangers played the islanders for the first time this year. There have been other games two but I’m getting use to it by now.

    9. Doodie Machetto on

      It’s Avery, he makes us targets.

      Why wouldn’t Straka be skating if it was only his finger that got hurt?

    10. damnit i joe’s mistakes are contagious.

      he said that sabers havent been the same offensively since briere and gomez left.

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      Ah, I see now.

      I was thinking as I was “PRUUUUUUUUUU”-ing at my television, we have a lot of UUUUUUUUUU players. Drury, Prucha, Dubinsky, and Tyutin. That’s a lot of guys!

    12. I will take that win and be happy about it. The Flyers are a good team. And they have not lost at home all season. So I will take the shootout win. Yes our power play could have won this for us, but it didn’t. We picked up another two points and I am not going to look at too many negatives here. You can’t really ask for much more on the second night of back to backs.

      P.S. Hossa is definitely not a complete loser and I thought he had a pretty strong game. I am as frustrated as anyone that the guy is not scoring goals, but defensively he played another strong game, played the boards well, and threw some nice hits. I will take that over not noticing him on the ice at all.

    13. i dont know about pathetic yes they probably should have won in regulation. but lets remeber how our season started off. also thats another road win. I only have one question WHY HOSSA in the shootout??

    14. Jonathan Probber on

      If it’s truly old school, they’ll need to disinter Win Elliot and Jim Gordon. And maybe Marv Albert, who broke my heart when he admitted years ago he really didn’t like hockey that much.

    15. Hossa’s great in the shootout, he scored against the Leafs on Saturday and he made many goalies look silly last year with his slick backhand move.

    16. I like how the scoring is being spread through the entire lineup. I also think the Jagr, Dubi, Hossa line is starting to play great. Hossa will come around and he has been anything but a liability on the ice.
      It was a great game!

    17. And another Ranger steps up to get the win, just like last night when it was Dubi, Dawes and Staal… tonight it’s Shanny, Toots and Pruchs.

      Every night it is someone different… I love it!

      Henrik was fighting the puck all night and we still get the win.

      I like this team… second best team in the East next to Ottawa. And get ready Ottawa, cuz the Rangers are only getting better.

    18. Can someone please tell me what Hollweg adds to this team? We’ve got a fighter (Orr), and an agitator (Avery), along with two secondary fighters (Strudwick; Avery). Hollweg is just taking up space. Needs to be replaced by . . . anyone. Callahan?

    19. NYCE –
      Same memories here… I can still hear the Big Whistle imploring “Shoot the puck, Barry” on WOR – channel 9.

      I think he’s 92 now – so I don’t know if he’s well enough to attend a game. It would be a blast to see him

      Rangers should at least invite some of the members of those late 70s/80s teams – Barry Beck, Nick Fotiu, Gresh, Ron Duguay, Espo, JD (well, he’s a little busy). Heck, it would be great to see Eddie Giacomin, Brad Park, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hatfield too.

      I still remember Giacomin being traded to the Red Wings, and getting a standing O his first game back at the Garden.

    20. I barely remember the WOR 9 games, i was a little too young, but those commercials where it was all dark and then it would show like a locker room light up with hockey player silhouettes and say “The Rangers are coming!” scared me in the mid-80s.

      The first full season I watched was 89-90 but I remember two things about the channel 9 games; Bruce Beck and the horrible cheezy “New York” road jerseys. Oh yeah, and a lot of guys had big mustaches in those days and it seemed like the Rangers couldn’t get a real top tier player as their best guys were Sandstrom, Kissio, etc. Ah how times have changed for the better.

    21. Sandstrom was the man LOL, I was just about to turn 9 when him and Granato ere traded and I was confused at the time..I knew they weren’t scoring, but Nicholls had better pure numbers.

      Kissio was a good captain before Messier. The 89-90 team always will have a place in my heart as it was the first full season I watched and for coming from behind and winning the division, it’s a shame they couldn’t go further in the playoffs thanks to John Druce and poor Leetch’s ankle injury in Toronto. I remember they were pretty good against both Boston and Edmonton that year.

    22. Hossa is in the shootout cause he’s damn good. Even though he’s 1 for 3, on all 3 shots, he’s beaten the goaltender, but 2 of the them went wide. He is our new Nylander, and when he is up, i have the same confidence, expecting him to score, like i did when Nyls was here.

      Anyway, great win, Hank again brilliant in the shootout, and Shanny was there to save us.

      The refs, once again, try to steal it from us and give it to the Flyers, but we manage to take it back. Someone needs to call out these refs, because 3 times in a row, there were bogus calls. Its almost like they were trying to get the fans into the game. Its so pathetic, i cant stand it. Every call in our favor, are calls we work hard for, but like i said last time, we have not been getting any breaks. The Staal, Tyutin, and Avery penalty, was a ridiculous set of calls, that didnt make sense calling.

      Orr continues to be a Flyer killer. Go NYR

    23. Prucha scored a key goal. That was a laser and a great screen by Drury. First goal in 17g for Pru….about F-ing time. He did play well. But he shoulda scored on Biron with that flurry in the 1st or 2nd or whenever that was.

      Shanny is the man. Anyone who has been harping on Shanny on this blog now needs to give him 5-10 games of “no harping.” The guy had a slow start but has come on like gangbusters. And what a frickin laser in the shootout!

      Anyone see Rosy fan on that pass out of the zone? The guy is a walking (or skating) disaster in our own end.

      Nice win. Hank again is a stonewall in the SO. And, Hossa beat Biron on the move and just fanned on the shot.

      Avery call was total BS. He checked the guy in the low slot and the guy couldn’t stay balanced and flew into the goal. How is that Avery’s fault? Someone please answer that.

    24. I loved the Orr vs Cote fight last night. Orr killed him, he might have split his ear open because Cote was bleeding. Cote did good but the decision does go to Orr. I wasn’t paying much attention but Cote ever come back to play?

      That was a great game last night. I don’t think Biron even saw Shanny’s laser shootout shot. All in all, it was an awesome and exciting game.

    25. How the @#$% was Staal’s beautiful pokecheck in the 2nd a tripping penalty!!!?????

      Avery’s was a horrendous call too… but that Staal deal PROVES beyond a shadow of doubt that the refs are completely bias.


      It’s tainted refing, pure and simple.

    26. Speed SkatORR

      He came back, but only had like 2 or 3 shifts, and Orr challenged him again, but Cote went to the bench.

      I like Rozi, but take him off the PP please. Put him on the second unit where he can shoot. I dont blame Jags, but when Jags is n the ice, Rozi feels more confident with his shot then his own. Understandable, but still he has an underrated shot. He isnt the best puck mover in the world. My PP lines would be…

      Prucha – Gomez – Jagr
      Girardi – Tyutin

      Shanahan – Drury – Avery
      Staal – Roszival

      Put Rozi on the second unit, then he will shoot the puck, and also Staal will rip it. Mara is meant for the PP, with that shot of his, but he is making bad plays on the PP, and Hank has been saving us, because weve been giving up a shit load of short handed chances.

      Eh, either way hopefully NYR beats the Pens.

    27. hey if channel 9 is good enough for yankee baseball, it might also be good for the rangers, also espn, monday night football, plays on channel 9 or 11 when the the local teams are on…so i guess there are still more than 6 people without cable.

    28. I was ragging on Shanahan, but he’s turning it on at the right time. The PP lines Renney had out were retarded. He needs to keep the #2 line together on the PP. I’d go with:

      Prucha – Dubinsky – Jagr
      Staal – Rozsival

      Avery – Gomez – Shanahan
      Drury – Tyutin/Mara (whoever is going good that night)

    29. hockeymanrangers on

      Ok, where the heck is Sammy, we need a current post. He is probably sleeping last nights win off. Well it’s time to wake up Mr. Weinman, I was at the game last night and had a 2 1/2 hour drive home after the game and I am up.

      Very cool game to be at last night, I get to one game a year and I picked a good one. Even though I had to put up with the very friendly Philly fans (yea right) I wasn’t so sure I was going to make it out of the rest room at one point.

    30. the call on Avery was BS but unfortunatlly thats just the beginning of what the refs are going to do to him this year. We all keep focusing on Averys antics but how about his assist he sets up so many plays.

    31. Doodie Machetto on

      See what happens when you change the PP when it was already working? It turns in a big Goose-egg.

      Right now, I would rate the Rangers 5th in the Conference. Ottawa, Montreal, Carolina, Islanders, us.

      And if you say that we’re better than the Islanders, you’re wrong. Right now, they’ve beaten us twice. If we win Monday against them I’ll say that the balance has shifted, but if they win again, I don’t know how anyone could say that we’re better than them if we’re close in the standings (which we currently are: we’re 5 pts ahead, but they’ve got 4 games in hand).

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