For all of Hartford’s charms, Dawes isn’t happy to be there


Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant, who like me lives a dual existence as a golf writer, ran into Nigel Dawes pulling into the Wolf Pack training center today. Needless to say, Dawes was not breaking into show tunes.

“I’m a little surprised,� Dawes told Bruce.. “[The Rangers] said I was going to have to play more consistently and they were going to have to send me to Hartford. It’s definitely disappointing, frustrating. I can think of a lot of words. But I’m here now, have to make the most of it, play well and let things happen. There’s not much I can do but hang in there.�

I’m of the belief that Dawes will be a productive NHLer, and many of you are right, if he was playing in most other organizations, he probably would have been done with the AHL for good by last season. But that is a byproduct of having so much depth at forward. Would you prefer the alternative?

As for Marcel Hossa, as much as you want to be done with him — and certainly he deserves some criticism after last night — the mercurial wing is still a more responsible two-way player than Dawes is at this point. That doesn’t mean he’s a first liner necessarily. But it does mean he has a place on this team — at least for now.


Meanwhile, a quick housecleaning note: I’m taking the next four days off to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family; to paint a bedroom in anticipation of the arrival of our second child next month; and to play some hockey (where, despite Dellapina’s claims to the contrary, I will even backcheck).

Naturally this means I won’t be with the Rangers in Florida, and while I may not be as dilligent with posts over the next few days, I will be sure to check in.

Either way, I’ll be back full-time Sunday for the Dallas game. I’m sure I’ll touch base before then, but just in case, a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there who makes this blog so worthwhile for me.

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  1. Congrats, Sam. Happy Turkey-Day…

    As for Dawes, tough break, but he’ll be back. Nothing like dealing with adversity to show your mental toughness.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Sam,
    and thank you for making this blog something I look forward to checking every day

  3. Sam:

    Congratulations on your impending new arrival. Where do you play hockey? Are you in a league or do you just play in pick-up games? Happy Turkey.

  4. happy thanksgiving sam! too bad i was looking forward to saying hi down here in tampa tomorrow but good luck playing hockey!

  5. czechthemout!!!!! on

    sam-two forward means playing responsibly on defense and scoring.Hossa cannot score!!!We already have betts,oor,hollweg who fit into that category.

  6. Have a wonderful Holiday with your family Sam. After last night, I feel like I was gobsmacked. Thanksgiving makes a nice diversion from hockey.

  7. Graves9 I dont think anyone said Hossa is the next Knuble or Bertuzzi. Except maybe you. Point is you can take him off the 1st line but you don’t give up on a big guy that is defensively responsible and good on the wall– especially when your team is small as it is.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving Sam, Enjoy the time off.

    I feel bad for Dawes because in other organizations it would be Hollweg, Hossa or Orr taking a seat on the bus to Hartford not a roster spot. I don’t mind giving Moore a look see, but not at the expense of Dawes. The kid has more goals than too many of the stars to send him down.

  9. Margaret, please wish my old friends at Rodent’s castle a Happy Thanksgiving from Big Turkey. I’m sure they’ll remember me!!

  10. Matteu– The Rangers are not small. as i walked into class today and my Islander fan friend had hthis huge smile we talked about the game and he was so amazed at how big we actually are. and if you think about it, we are a big team. even young guys like dubi and stall are not weighty but they are BIG and strong with the puck so we are big.

  11. David C some of the forwards are small. Dawes, Prucha, Cally, Avery, Drury, Gomez, Hollweg, Straka are all less than 6′. That is too much for a team with long runs in mind for the playoffs. Many are key components but too much of a certain type player could be a problem. And yes I am aware that they don’t all play the same game.


  12. from the power rankings:

    “Aside from the continued brillance of Henrik Lundqvist, maybe the biggest reason this team won five straight is their “new” look: the Blueshirts are donning jerseys made almost completely of the old material.”

    anyone know what thats about? i thought they just cutoff the shirt tails.

  13. Let me get this straight… we play in Pittsburgh Saturday night, only to fly home to New York for a game against the Isles on Monday, a team who has played four less games than us, and now we get back on a plane for a game in Tampa the night before Thanksgiving, only to turn around and fly home to possibly be with family on Thursday (those Americans I presume).

    This schedule BLOWS!

    This is unfair and there is no way the Rangers should have agreed to this crap. This was the second time the Islanders caught us in a bad situation. The last game it was our 4th in 6 nights and it was the Isles first game in 4 nights and now they caught us after a road trip and barely a days rest from an OT game in pittsburgh where we came back from 2 goals down.

    Eff the Isles, they aren’t anywhere near the team we are and I want to catch em when we’re fresh so we can stick it right up the arse of Witt, Simon and Depietro.

  14. Vogs, the schedule will even out. The rangers and islanders are playing again at msg next week (thursday) and the Islanders are playing Ottawa the night before. The rangers will have had a three day rest.

  15. After watching this team play now for almost a quarter of a season, we do need some more umph! up front.

    watching Petr Prucha dish out the hits is enough to make me ask, where is our hitting? We need to step up the physical play. Moore might have something to do with that move.

  16. Hey Sam –
    Congrats on the pending arrival of your 2nd child and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and you family. Hope it is a enjoyable day.

  17. Doodie Machetto on

    Cliff: Moore and Either Hollweg, Orr, or Hossa.

    My vote is if Struds dresses, Orr sits, and if Struds sits, Hollweg sits. Let’s be honest, Orr can skate a shift without falling down, but he is still useless for anything but fighting. Strudwick can fight and is quick to drop them, making Orr unnecessary on almost all nights.

    Keep Hossa for 4th line and PK duty.

  18. BANISH HOSSA FOREVER. seeing him a rangers uniform makes me want to vomit nonstop. he’s a joke, as is our head coach.

  19. we all know that moore has been tearing it up offensively in hartford this year.

    another fun fact: he’s +14 through 18 games. besides korpikoski (+11), the next best forward is a +4.

    how’s that for defensive responsibility, mr. hossa? your days are numbered.

  20. Hapy Thanksgiving. Good luck with painting, Sam. I’ll be missing most of these next *three* games as I head up to Vermont for some better-than-expected skiing. :-D

    I hope Straka and Callahan can be back on Sunday so the line juggling can finally end and they will be fresh for our next division matchup, against the Isles again. Now that we know Dawes has been sent down and Hossa will likely sit, I think it’s pretty obvious what the lines will look like:
    Straka – Dubinsky – Jagr
    Avery – Gomez – Shanahan
    Prucha – Drury – Callahan
    Hollweg – Betts – Orr
    I just hope Malik can be on the third pairing of defense when he returns.

    Cool story about Montoya, Eliot. I’m glad he sees the value in playing consitantly. I definitely wouldn’t recognize him since I’ve only seen him without his mask on those couple games where he had to be the backup last season and when he fought DP this preseason. Whereabouts in the arena were you?

    Btw, I’m glad Shanny picked up on the fact (in that article) that he’s listed as a LW; I would like some RW eligibility for my fantasy team!

  21. Congratulations, Sam! In honor of the birth of your second child, I will refrain from editorial bitchiness until my own birthday, December 10th, unless, of course, something turns up that’s truly egregious. I hope he/she will share my birthday. Those born that week are sports psychos, loyal, dedicated readers/writers, funny, dead clumsy, and…never know when to leave a party. You won’t have to think about that one for a while, though!
    PS-You make the blog so worthwhile for us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  22. Happy Thanksgiving.

    I’m surprised about Dawes, but then again i hadn’t noticed him much in the last 2 weeks apart from his goal against the Debbies so maybe its just Renney giving him a kick up the arse. I hope we get to see Moore, he’s the Pack’s best player at the moment (according to reports in Blueshirt Bulletin and the Hartford Courant). Unfortunately our live game tonight is Blues v Wings so i’ll have to rely on highlights again..

  23. See, that’s a difference between me and others on the board. I wouldn’t vote for a Philadelphia Flyer for anything except maybe first one into the septic tank. I don’t care what kind of year the guy’s having.

    Happy Turkey Day Sam, thanks for all you do and congratulations on numero dos.

  24. Wanted to address this real quick from yesterday…
    >>“Doodie – would you be upset if he was packaged somewhere at the deadline?�
    Salty asked for what, but I think the better question is with who? I don’t care if they trade Hossa straight up, but who he is traded with concerns me.

  25. posted more, but it got cut-off. dammit.

    wasn’t really looking for specifics. probably a deal to pick up some draft picks(from someone out west)…teams will always give up more at the deadline.

    I’m interested to see if the betts line plays against vinny’s line tonight.


  26. Yuck, i would NEVER vote for a Flyer…Ugh

    I mean Vinny i have no problem with, but if anything vote for Kovalchuk, if your going by how players are playing.

    But everyone should keep voting for Jagr, and Drury. Jagr will make the game, and Drury might actually make it, he’s the 12th highest foward, so if it ended today he should be on there right??

    I stopped voting for Shanny, and Gomer. Doesnt look like there getting enough votes.

    Hank will be the starter, no question.

    Rozsival should be on the fan ballot. Such BS !!

    And will Renney be the assistant coach at the AS game??Im guessing the Sens coach will be head coach.

  27. Orr…the fans are selecting the starters only, not the entire team. So Drury being 12th on the list means he would have to move up to 3rd on the forward list to make the team.

  28. Sam enjoy the time off. I check this page numerous times during the day for the latest Blueshirt info. Happy Thankgiving to all from 407.

  29. Top 3 starting fowards, i meant.

    Looks like we’ll all have to postpone the re match with Orr and Fedoruk. He was sent down to the AHL, and cleared waivers. Eh to bad. But probably Orr and Winchester will go at it.

    Orr hasnt been fighting much, and i dont like that. This is Renney, once again, trying to get players off there game. He did it to Hollweg, tried to convince him he can be more offensive, and then he tried that, didnt do well, and stopped hitting, now Orr is trying to stick to his D game, which i have no problem with, but he is barely fighting.

    Eh, either way, im looking foward to seeing Moore tonight, and maybe Baranka. We need to get on a streak again.

    I wanna see Rozi score, but also some friggin fowards.

  30. Fruity Cupcake on

    I’d doubt that our Americans—Drury, Gomez, Mara, Callahan, Hollweg and Dubinsky—are flying home one day for the holiday, especially when “home” can be Alaska or California. Perhaps the young Drury family is visiting Florida for the long weekend. Or maybe they celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on October 8!

    ANYhoooch, wishing everyone a happy, safe and delicious Thanksgiving! Sam, enjoy this time with your growing family. Is it true that it’ll be “Jaromir” if it’s a boy and “Straka” if it’s a girl :-)

  31. Orr, the league and the coaching staff pick the rest of the All Stars. Hank and probably Jagr should make it. They may also take Shanahan because this might be his last year.

  32. First, props out to you Sam. We just had our 2nd about a 6 weeks ago. Get your sleep man! One kid was hard for the unknown factor. Two is hard only for the demand on your time. (We talked about this last time I saw you at MSG I think.)

    Second, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Third, Spiderpig, sadly I hear rain expected for T-Giving Day but I would like a full report of the conditions up in VT please. I am up there Dec 14th for the wkend and the fingers are crossed.

    4th, Potvin Sucks! (as do any and all Islanders, past present future).


  33. I am a bit surprised about Dawes… but I guess seeing what our other options are makes sense… especially early in the season.

    I’ll be at the game tonight… anyone know what number Moore wears? I could do it by process of elimination but I’m not sure how far back I’ll be sitting.

    Sam, congrats on some well deserved time off, and of course the little one on the way!!! I love the blog and, as I’ve said before, you and Josh do a great job. Keep up the good work and have a great holiday.

    To everyone else on this blog:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I for one am thankful for the fact that I’m a Rangers fan… they’re finally looking like a contender again, and there are a ton of other rabid fans out there who want to talk Rangers hockey ALL THE TIME!!!

    Thanks folks!

    – Riche’

    P.S. I’m also thankful for the hockey package on cable so I can watch Our beloved Blueshirts way down here in “America’s wang. Uh… I believe they prefer the Sunshine State.”

  34. Does anyone think it a good idea to let Jagr go when his contract is up then try and pursue Marian Gaborik in two years if he’s not re-signed by the Wild? He plays in a defensive system and is still getting 30 goals a year. He would be a lock for our top line, a great asset on the PP and shootouts, and his skill and speed would be allowed to thrive in a more open Eastern Conference. Most experts think he’s capable of 50 goals in the right system. Any thoughts?

  35. Bure – I would love Gaborik. A few thoughts on it…

    – I think Jags is headed for retirement anyway, no need to pursue.
    – Gaborik is a decent fit for us b/c we have the depth when he misses his annual 20 games per year.
    – Salary will be controllable due to above.
    – He’ll be under 30.
    – We could have the right system for him.
    – When jags/straks/HOSSA/MALIK are gone, we will have to balance our North American / European players.

    Why it may not be necessary…Cherepanov may be friggin nasty in 2 years.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about on an otherwise pointless/boring day at the office.

  36. Im surprised that people are surprised that Dawes is in Hartford. You can see this coming by a mile. Dawes has 4 goals, and Cally has 1, but Cally has a better 2 way game, which is what Renney mentioned. He’ll get the spot next season, and now we’ll get to see how he reacts to this. He better tear up the AHL out of pure anger, and get ready for an injury, or next season. Cause he’s gonna have to fix the flaws of his game.

    Is Chery coming to the US next season or 09 – 010 ??

  37. From Wikipedia….

    “Cherepanov currently has 2 years remaining on his contract with Omsk, and it is not known for certain when he will play in the NHL.”

    Anyone’s guess … I guess.

  38. Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you acquire expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with additional info? It is extremely useful for me.

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