Bizarro Rangers


Let’s get this straight, the Rangers get all four goals from defensemen — including the game-winner from Jason Strudwick — and now, according to Dellapina, “they’re set to open next season in Prague”:

Please, one thing at a time. The system can only take so much.

I love the Prague idea, not only because the Czech capital is supposed to be beautiful and it’s a natural for the Rangers, but because maybe that’s the clincher in getting Michal Rozsival to re-sign with the Rangers for next season (not to mention Jaromir Jagr returning for his option year; maybe even UFA Martin Straka, too). It’s becoming more and more apparent that that needs to be a priority.

As for the four Rangers goals last night, bear in mind this is what Tom Renney had in mind last season when he looked at how the Carolina Hurricanes won the first post-lockout Stanley Cup and saw that the best teams had their defensemen consistently joining the play.

Of course, that’s a little bit more difficult when Darius Kasparaitis and Aaron Ward are on your back end. And while Jason Strudwick — Jason Strudwick! — might not fit the template, it shows if even he can find the back of the net, the system can work. The key, of course, is to not get burned at the other end, but with the Rangers forwards committed to coming back, it’s less of a risk.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Strudwick, who we’ve said here before is a great guy, and who actually has been pretty steady for the Rangers all season.

That’s five in a row and sole possession of first place if you’re keeping score at home. Next up, those pesky Islanders.

More later….

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  1. Did anyone notice when the Rangers walked off the ice after the win that Avery was trying to get the attention of a Rangers’ fan (older man, I think) to give him something? Just wondering what this potentially nice gesture was.

  2. i guess thats something they do last year i flew to atlanta for game on sat first row next to rangers bench. My girlfriend and i were probably the most obnoxious people there (considering atlanta fans are not up on the hockey stuff yet) and at the end of the game a security guard came over and said here take this Girardi wants u to have it. and it was his broken stick. we then met him outside there hotel and they all signed it.

    Anyway tomorrows game is huge we have to show that we can beat DP who somehow has amazing games every time he plays us…

  3. As a guy who’s been anti-strudwick from the get-go, I must admitt he’s playing decent hockey. Solid defense at the very least.

  4. Gratuitous smacks at Kaspar are not acceptable. In fact, that should be among the conditions listed below.

  5. Speaking of gratuitous smacks at Kaspar, he owes NY about $400k in taxes, according to today’s NY Post.

  6. Been to Prague a couple times and went to a Sparta hockey game while i was there. The city is absolutely amazing and the game was great. Cheap, good seats; cheap, great beer; excellent hockey. If you go during the season make sure to catch a game live and also, to find a non-tourist bar and watch a game with fans who really love their hockey.

    Also, Jagr owns a sports bar in Prague. Easy to find because it’s called “Jagr’s,” if memory serves.

    Really, an amazing city.

    Go Struds. He has been so solid he might even make Malik expendable. That’s right, I said it.

  7. Doodie Machetto on

    Good thing he’s in Russia!

    I was watching with the game with my girlfriend who, while she feigns interest, doesn’t really know shit about the team. When Dubinsky fought (and took a beating), she asked me why they focused on Strudwick. I explained that he is a veteran guy who usually fights. Then they showed him giving Dubinsky some tips (unsuccessfully!). Anyway, when he scored the game winner, she asked me why I was so excited about who had scored it, and why the whole team looked so unbelievably happy for him, and when I told her his whole back story she “awwed” and said good for him. Yes, good for him. Good job Strudwick.

    Also, let’s not forget the PERFECT pass by Mara to set that one up.

    Sam, very serious question: The defense is working. All 3 pairings have incredible chemistry… even STRUDWICK is scoring. Do they really want to work Malik back in? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Every defenseman has scored since MAlik went down: Strudwick, Mara, Girardi, Tyutin, and Staal all have one. Rozsi has 3, 4 if you count the game Malik went down in, but I don’t know if he scored it before or after Malik went down. Malik has none, and his vaunted plus/minus is 0. Sit his ass down. No?

    Looking forward to the Islanders, they still have four games in hand and only trail by 5 pts. If they beat us on Monday, that’ll put them 3 pts behind with 4 games in hand. So in my opinion, right now, the Isles are the best in the division, but if we win on Monday, I’ll say it’s us.

  8. Just FYI, Prague is awesome. Things are cheap, the women are beautiful, the alcohol is great, and the city is fantastic.

  9. Malik in, Strudwick out. One goal doesn’t change that.

    At the very least, Malik should play so he can get his +/- up to it’s usual rediculous level and be traded. You won’t trade Malik if you don’t play him. I don’t want him traded, but hey that’s just me.

    Struds is a great role guy, so he fits the #7 D-man bill very well. Let’s not forget, he’d be out of the league for 3 years if he wasn’t a Rangers pet project.

  10. It is ironic that they got four goals from their dmen considerring all three struggled in their own end. Strudwick was so bad that I was pining for Malik….. shudder. Strudwick looked like he was wearing clown shoes on the Pens third goal. Rozsival had trouble in his zone all night and was pined in his own zone the entire first period. Girardi seemed off all night. The first Pens goal was off a botch by Girardi and he wasn’t his usually crisp self with the puck. The spent the first three weeks not being able to score now they score four with Jagr and Shanny being non factors. It was a great second period after a putrid first. Gomez was flying but his linemates were off all night. Avery had to miss the net in scoring areas at least half a dozen times. Prucha seems to have warmed up the last 3-4 games. I though he played with good spunk. I believe he drew two penalties and the pp goal was due to him being in front. I wish he’d get more pp time, he’s the only one willing to stand in front. I wouldn’t mind him replacing Hossa on the top line. It seems like Hossa gets more lifeless by the day and is dragging Jagr down. Dubi had a good game but looked bad in his fight. Henrik was fairly sharp. The next time Cindy Crosby backchecks will be the first. The Pens have no chance with that defense and goalie at making the playoffs.

  11. SWEET !!!

    Looking foward to seeing Jags in his home town next season.

    And GREAT win for NYR, down 2 – 0….

    I continue to say, you see Boyle, nd Mccabe on the fan ballot, but where the fugg is Rozsival??

    Great job by Strudsy and the rest of the D

    And Gomer got an assist so thats a 9 game streak for him.

  12. graves9 – I’m glad somebody else noticed the shorthanded goal was a mistake by Girardi, since the Rangers announcers weren’t too willing to point it out. With only one defenseman behind him, Girardi should not have given himself up all the way, but let himself have a chance to defend in case he missed the puck, or just back off altogether.

  13. Spiderpi: Dave Maloney who never pulls any punches and always tells the truth on the radio mentioned it.

  14. I don’t care who messed up last night. What I do care about is the simple fact that this team, is getting consistent, significant contributions from every player on every given night. Every team gives up chances, gives up goals, the third goal was scored on a terrible bounce and looked like Struds stepped on the puck.
    Fact of the matter is that on great teams every player chips in and steps up, and that is what is happening with our Rangers. I think they are well on there way as far a chemistry goes however I also think they are going to continue to get better…
    LGR beat fishsticks!

  15. Seriously, we should be on a 10 game winning streak right now, the refs screwed us out of the last fish game, so its timte to bitch these losers around.

    We need to take these friggin division games, were doing great against the Devs, Flyers, and Pens, so far. But we need to beat the Isles. We cant have it like last season, going 4 – 3 – 1 against these cry babie whiners of a team.

    Lets go NYR.

  16. I totally disagree with you, Dunny.

    Strudwick does more for this team than Malik does.

    With Staal showing he’s able to play top minutes already,

    and Rozsival-Staal being a much better pair than Rozy-Malik,

    Tyutin and Girardi untouchable, and Mara-Strudwick playing better than Malik-Mara would because Malik frankly can’t skate, Strudwick SHOULD have the 6th spot, and Malik should be gone.

    For someone who is 6’6″, Malik doesn’t utilize his long reach nearly as much as he should. He should seriously watch some tape of Marc Staal who is 2 inches shorter, but uses his long stick much more and much better than Malik ever did. Malik is SLOWER than Strudwick, doesn’t have a physical side that Strudwick has, doesn’t fight, etc. All he did do was make breakout passes and stand at the blue-line while Jagr boosted his +/-. His giveaways alone should be reason enough for Struds to replace him, but Strudwick has seriously played great hockey since day 1 and Malik doesn’t add anything to the table that Strudwick doesn’t. Staal doesn’t have to shoulder the whole load of Malik’s minutes either. They get divided up between Rozy,Staal,Girardi,Tyutin. Malik has expired.

  17. I agree with Staal=Norris.

    Strudsy isnt amazing, and he does screw up some times. But thats life, and i prefer him over Malik, and im pretty sure, in a way, the rest of NYR does too. Strudsy is a “good guy”, young guys like Dubi, and Staalsy. I hope we trade Harry for a pick or something, if he’s even worth that much.


    Is anyone voting for the All Star game. Where can i go to vote?? If anyone has a link, id appreciate it. Thanks.

  18. can’t understand wanting to trade one of our 7 dmen for a pick. you have to know injuries will continue to happen. what then. trade a good forward for a dman? Pock and some of the other dmen are subject to recall waivers and are not an option. Baranka and Sauer? I would think that the team will trade for 1 more dman at the deadline. Meanwhile malik was doing ok from the time he sat with good cause to the time he got injured.

  19. It would be ridiculous to trade anyone from this squad, unless the return was something ludicrously lopsided. I mean, within the span of two weeks, Callahan, Avery, Straka and Malik all went down. Fortunately, the team was deep enough to compensate without loosing as much as a step. Right now, the worst case scenerio for an all-healthy team is to have a few guys ride pine when they’re deserving of NHL ice. Those guys, IMO would be Orr, Strudwick, Hollweg, Dawes and Hossa in just about that order.

    Struds’ solid play on defense makes him a lot more valuable for the team, but doesn’t come close to unseating any of the other d-men, including Malik. Straka most likely shoves Hossa back to fourth, while Callahan will mean a toss-up between Dawes and Prucha, unless there’s an off-chance Renney decides to go for a more offensive-minded fourth line, like Hossa-Betts-Dawes…Another intersting thought would be to move Straka to the center, kick Hossa to wing with JJ, bench Betts and have a fourth like Hollweg-Dubinsky-Dawes…I don’t know…the possibilities are limitless really. The bottom line: this team is DEEP.

  20. Nice win. Things finally starting to click.

    Girardi might have been at fault at the onset of that 2 on 1 leading to the shorthanded goal but look at the replay. Rosy was the D covering on the 2 on 1 and in those situations you always take the shot or the pass, you don’t play both. Crosby was coming in at a wide angle, the shot was clearly picked up by Hank, Rosy sat in the middle taking up space and the puck raced right by him onto the other guy’s stick then into the back of the net.

    Now granted it was a 2 on 1 against the best player in the league, but Rosy shoulda been on the guy getting the pass. Rosy was to blame as much as anyone.

    In fact, I was talking to someone about Rosy the #1 bonehead of the first period. He redeemed himself. He has been our most offensive defenseman and our worst defensive defenseman at the same time. He and Malik are the biggest defensive liabilities.

    But I nitpick. We played well. The first period was the worst in maybe 10 games, but the 2nd and 3rd were good efforts.

    Jason Strudwick….who knew?

    Is it all for naught if we can’t take down the Fishsticks?

  21. SAM-

    What happened to Bobby Granger this year?
    Who else are we gonna laugh at during commercial breaks?

  22. Avery Man Crush on

    great question a psychic. i miss granger. if i had one guess i would say he is currently in rehab.

  23. Doodie Machetto on

    I hated Granger. I’m glad they ditched him.

    Want a fun exercise? Think of who is on the team right now, and who was on the team this time last year. Some of the now missing players (and I am probably missing a couple):

    Kaspar, Nylander, Cullen, Ozo, Rachunek, Hall, Ortmeyer, Ward, Ward, Weekes, and Pock (in the press box).

    Their replacements:

    Avery, Valiquette, Gomez, Drury, Girardi, Callahan, Staal, Mara, Strudwick.

    The funny thing is, the team last year wasn’t that different from the year before that, and within a year, it’s like an entirely new team.

    SP: Isles only have 4 in hand. We’ve played 20, they’ve played 16.

  24. pretty much a bad game but we won. As for next year would like jagr and avery back but we have to let the youth come up. they will learn and adapt over the season and they bring an energy level to the game. I think the team would still be a serious contender and will help itself in the long run by letting dawes, cherepanov and whoever else will be ready for next year. There are two stud d-men in sauer and sanguietti for next year also. the latter probaly needs a year in hartford though. So as much as i like straka and rosi I think we could part with them next year. And you have to consider the cap and we need lunquist and avery signed.

  25. Doodie – my bad. I was looking at the points column instead, lol.

    I think by this time last year Dawes may have been sent down. He only played eight games, but was a scratch for a few more.

  26. Prague is a great place – some really nice sights to see and some good restaurants. If anyone is going i can point you in the direction of a couple.
    Am off there in January with the wife and some friends too – can they bring the game forward 8 months?

    I’ll have to look up Jagr’s bar – i didn’t visit it last time.
    On another note – just watched Dubi vs Ruutu, the kid’s got some balls – and didn’t lose us a PP either. I noticed the announcer was saying he’s been training with Orr and Struds since Richardson put him on his ass. Seems to be working…

  27. Seamus O Riley on

    how’s Malik’s injury coming along? nice and slow recovery…very slow. needs to heal up 110%. out indefinetely.

  28. Who’s up on the gossip? Heard that Avery may be back with Cuthbert. Sure, now that he’s on fire, she’s comin back!

  29. I don’t think we’ve heard confirmation about Jagr’s cap number next season. If it is a performance-based option, then it should only count half, I would guess. If it is a team option, it would make more sense for it to fully count against the Rangers’ cap.

  30. I am going to the game tonight. Let’s take the puck and shove it right up their ass. Let’s go Rangers!!!

  31. Spiderpig, then…um… no. Gomez = 7.3m hit.. Drury = 7m hit.. if double, then Jagr = 8.36m… NO! We HAVE to sign Lundqvist to AT LEAST 6.5+..

  32. One smal thing: Does anyone know why the game is listed at 4pm on Time Warner Cable Center Ice, but the programming doesn’t begin until 430? It’s making me nervous, as I have to DVR the game.

    How’s Pock doing?

  33. Doodie Machetto on

    SP: I was on the fence about Dawes for that exact reason.

    Pavel, I think they’re gonna lock up Henrik for 6 or lower actually as part of him getting the 4.25 this year and filing him for arbitration so that it can’t be done again.

    As for JJ, he should come back for another year, and so should Rozsival. I REALLY like the Roszi-Staal pair and I said at the beginning of the season that they should have been paired together. (if you say it fast, it almost sounds like Rozsival: see? it’s fate!). As for Jagr, even though he has had a slow start, he is still one of the premier players in the game and tell me you don’t like how Dubinsky has been playing on his line.

    Besides, for as many young D-men that we have in the pipeline, we don’t have many superstar forwards. The closest thing we have is Cherepanov, and he is far from a sure thing, which is why he dropped as far as he did in the draft. Bringing back JJ for one more year is a good idea.

    Look at the other contracts we can jettison to help pay for things:

    Shanahan, Straka, Malik, Strudwick, and Mara. Combined cap hit for those players: 14.6 million.

  34. “Heard that Avery may be back with Cuthbert. Sure, now that he’s on fire, she’s comin back!”

    Sean knows the score, believe me. He will give her a few more tummy pancakes and drop her like gloves with Darcy. Sean is legitimately coming to a prime and I doubt he is the kind of guy who lets a chick mosey on back when he’s got the likes of an Olsen under his desk.

  35. Who in their right mind would rather have an Olsen twin over Elisha Cuthbert? If she is running back to him, and he had any brains, he’d welcome her with open arms (and a little extra….)

    Doodie – that story about your g/f was funny because that was exactly what happened w/ my g/f on saturday night. She only roots for the Rangers because I do and was very curious about my reaction when Strudsy scored. My reaction was more hysterical laughter than pure excitement though. Still, I was happy and explained why it was so incredible.

  36. Doodie Machetto on

    Cheers nyrblue2. The thing is she knows a decent bit about hockey as a sport because her dad is a big memorabilia collector. The unlucky thing for me is that she hasn’t watched hockey with her dad since she was a little girl, so she knows nothing about the current team.

  37. At least there’s some background there. I had to “train” mine from scratch, lol. Although she does have some curious obsession with Mark Messier. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I don’t really understand why considering she didn’t know what hockey was until a couple years ago.

    We traveled down from Albany to go to an NYR-NYI game last year (the one where DP made like 50 saves) and she bought one of those Messier retirement night t-shirts (with the “C” on the front and Cup silhouette on the back). Hey, I could do worse, right?

  38. We will need a superstar winger once Jagr leaves. Prucha hasn’t done squat, and Dawes can’t pass for his life.. we have players who are doing good in Hartford, but nothing at the NHL level yet.

    If we want to be a long-time contender, I say that if Jagr does not improve (he’s on pace for 18 goals!), then trade him out west. I love Jagr, but I love the Rangers more.

  39. UkRanger, Jagr´s bar is at Wenzel´s square ! It is just great place with a big scoreboard with TV screens hanging from the roof….

    I was in there a number of times, great place, great food, great entertainment….

    probably going to the games in September….

    I watched games there at Sparta Arena and at Sazka Arena during the lockout and it was just fantastic as Jagr played a couple of games for his home town team of Kladno….

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