Florida swing will have some new faces


OK, let’s review what we know based on today’s events:

  • Nigel Dawes was indeed sent down to Hartford despite having the second highest goal total (four) on the team. As was the case last year, when Dawes started in the NHL before being returned to the minors, he still hasn’t made enough progress with his play away from the puck. While Dawes clearly has NHL-caliber offensive skills, the Rangers may be sending him a message that there needs to be more than that for him to stick around.

    “It was more geared toward Nigel understanding the consistency and standard that we have to play at here, especially for a young fella like that who has terrific offensive attributes,” Tom Renney said. “He has to be involved at that part of the game. Having said that, there’s a level of consistency and standard he has to meet off the puck and it happens to a lot of young players. Some guys are up four or five times before they nail it. But I think Nigel Dawes is an NHL player.”

    Just not now…

  • Greg Moore is up again for the third time with the Rangers, only now it looks like he will actually play tomorrow in Tampa Bay at right wing alongside Chris Drury and Petr Prucha. I do think the Rangers want to give Moore a look, and who knows, maybe he impresses. But with Renney classifying Martin Straka and Ryan Callahan both as day-to-day — they each have been cleared for contact — the Moore move is likely a short fix until one of those players comes back.

    Since Callahan and Straka are still dependent on a few more practices, my guess is Sunday at home is possible, but next Thursday against the Islanders is a safer bet.

    As for where those two would fit in, it’s worth noting that Straka took a couple of rushes alongside Jaromir Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky, so don’t be surprised if he slides back in alongside the Big Fella upon his return, leaving a struggling Marcel Hossa to play elsewhere.

  • As I also mentioned earlier, Ivan Baranka is also up and will make the trip to Florida. Whether he plays is dependent on Jason Strudwick, who took a shot in the leg last night and was limping today as a result. Michal Rozsival also skipped practice to rest, but he’ll play tomorrow against the Lightning.
  • Chris Drury is struggling. After 37 goals a season ago, the center has just three so far as a Ranger.

    “When you’re on the ice as much as I play, I think all signs point toward that. You better chip in,” he said. ” I think it’s a little bit of everything.”

    More on this in tomorrow’s paper, but for now, let me say that while Drury’s production has been a disappointment thus far, he remains an invaluable player given everything else he does — killing penalties, winning draws, making plays in the neutral zone. I said this when the Rangers were looking to sign Drury that it would be a mistake to measure him by goals because of his play everywhere else. No question, he needs to score more. But the Rangers would be lucky if he was the most disappointing player on their roster.

    More later…

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    1. Hey Sam,
      Do you think Steve Valiquette gets a start against Florida on friday? If not, when do you think we see the Big Vally do his thing again?

    2. Sam – I think you need to clarify that we next play the Islanders on Thursday, the 29th. When I first read your entry I thought you were saying we play the Islanders again on Thanksgiving.

    3. The gossip blogs are reporting that Avery’s squeeze Mary-Kate Olsen was hospitalized with a kidney infection.

    4. Why doesn’t anyone ask about Hossa’s lack of any offensive game or why he is given a free ride sam?

    5. Anthony (the other one) on

      I was feeling similarly about Drury, until I realized he was third on the team in points, behind only Jagr and Gomez. Surprising, given how quiet he’s been. Maybe he’s not putting the puck in the back of the net, but he does so many other little things… blocking shots, getting back on D, etc. Not worried about him all that much. Goals will come.

      Stan Fischler mentioned something on the intermission report yesterday that caught my attention… he mentioned that Straka would go back to the logical roster spot, alongside Jags and Dubinsky, and that for Callahan, Sather would “start considering trades.”

      Think there’s some merit there? Does someone have to go? And if so, who and what do you want to get back? Defense isn’t a question mark anymore. In fact, with the exception of moving Malik or Mara, I wouldn’t make any changes. But do you move one of the young guys to make room up front? Prucha? Dawes? Hossa? Cally?

      Any thoughts, Sam?

    6. graves9 you’re dead on.

      I’ll take it a step further, he’s helped killing power plays and some in the defensive end but beyond that nothing.
      Zero, ziltch, natha…..

      So basically we have a Blair Betts like player on the first line?
      I’m sorry but he is a waste of a roster spot.

      PLEASE lets get rid of this guy.

    7. ThisYearsModel on

      I only have one observation…….Why does Renney not apply the same standard of consistency judgement to Marcel Hossa? He is the one who belongs in Hartford.

    8. i think when everyone is healthy some trades will be made. i dont think the rangers will pick up anyone besides some draft picks.. i think they will make moves to clear up so roster space…

    9. Lets hope last night was just a bad night. It’s bound to happen over the course of a season afew times at least.

      But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t dump the puck in diagonally and have the off wing flying down the ice to get there 1st. The diagonal dump in to avoid DiPi grabbing it and flinging it all the way down. Weird how they didn’t adjust at all. Coaching? Laziness?

      Hopefully they get back to their system (and to winning) tomorrow night in Tampa. Being a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives in Orlando, I’ll be in attendance for my first Ranger game this season.

      Let’s Go Rangers!!!

    10. You guys better watch all the Hossa bashing before people start raving about his “great hands”, “board work”, “puck retrieval” and pretty blonde hair.

      Hossa is an NHL player. But he’s a 4th line NHL player. There isn’t anything wrong with that. I doubt any of us could play on the 4th line in the NHL.

      But lets be realistic. What other team in the NHL has a guy on the 1st line with a whopping ZERO goals 20 or so games in?

    11. A lot of people say “why make trades, we’re winning, we’re in first, yada, yada, yada”.

      Here’s the reason…. Because these players have value right now. When we’re fully healthy our depth is a thought that never surfaces. Scouts of other teams must have realized by now that we’ve managed to gain points in the standings while missing key players. That’s depth. That’s value.

      Sell high – Buy low. We’ve made the right changes in the front office and our own scouts have a lot of talent. I’d surely like to see some picks come back for guys that will probably never get a shot in NY.

    12. ThisYearsModel on

      Something tells me that Nigel Dawes will make his big impression with a different NHL club. Meanwhile, the likes of Hossa and Orr will still be around.

    13. Nothing against Strudsy, but im kinda hoping he doesnt play. Im interested in seeing a farm D man. Although im disapointed its Branka, he looked terrible in pre season, i was hoping Sauer would get the shot. That would be cool to see him.

      I think its a good move though, giving Moore a shot. You mine as well, Dawes is good, but he isnt that great away from the puck.

      As for last night, the PP looked extra pathetic, and looked alot better when Drury was on the point. We need to get it together, we could have tied for fuggin game, but we can barely gain the zone.


      Anyone who wants Drury traded realy is a friggin idiot. And Hossa, wont be on the 1st once Straks comes back,and he’s a valuable player, besides the mistake he made on the PK. That was really his worst game, defensively, of the year. Also, he made a horrible mistake not trying to shoot that puck, it probably would have been blocked, but you still have to take the chance. Everyone played bad, at one point, i forgot Jagr was even playing.

      Staals hit on Comrie was so f’n beautiful, i wish he would have concussed that pr*ck, i hate that guy.

      I still dont understand why Prucha wasnt put on that top line, instead they put Dawes, i didnt like that. Prucha had a better game.

      Either way, NYR neeeds to get a streak going again. Im sick of losing to these fishy assholes.

      And, the Avery double minor. Was that even his stick that hit him?? I never seen Aves stick hit Suttons face, maybe one of you had a better view, but i didnt see anything.

    14. Doodie Machetto on

      “And if so, who and what do you want to get back? ”

      Power forward. A big, strong, power forward. Preferably young, but no older than 32. I have no particular players in mind.

      And we shouldn’t trade anyone unless it is a straight up trade. We have 3 guys staring retirement in the face within 2 years, and at least 5 others who will stare free agency in the face within the same span. Plus, there is always injury (imagine if one more forward had gone down). Keep the talented players, keep the role players, don’t trade them for the sake of trading them.

    15. I say we do anything to get Phaneuf and Tanguay.. they can have anyone but Lundqvist as far as I’m concerned!

    16. What a world we live in when I start agreeing with Orr…Talented Mr….LOL

      But seriously, everyone harping on Hossa should re-read Renney’s comments on Dawes at the top of this page. Hyena talks about consistency of two-way play and that the young guys don’t get it. Hossa gets it. I agree that Hossa is not a first line player. But he is a fantastic PK player and a great defensive position player. Yes he had a shite game last night, but that was one of his first in a long time. Please for the last time, STOP EXPECTING HIM TO BE MARIAN.

      Avery’s high stick, yes I thought originally it was not his stick but then when I looked more closely, it was. Avery was a step over the edge last night, not right on it unfortunately.

      Everyone calling for Renney’s head and the like needs to chill out, have a beer, eat some Turkey, and relax. We just lost one game 2-1 to a team that treats games against us like the Stanley Cup. Relax!

      I am still trying to think about what this team actually needs as a trade? BTW if there is a trade, Mara stays and Malik goes, IMHO. Mara has been playing very solidly. So who would we trade? More importantly, what would we want in return?

      On the Drury thing, guys, 20g into his Ranger career and people are calling for his head. Give me a break! These people were calling for Gomer’s head 10 games ago.

    17. Doodie Machetto on

      They can keep Tanguay. Just what we don’t need, another shrimp LW. As for Phaneuf, he’s currently untouchable, but more importantly, we don’t need more young defensemen. We have a lot of good young defensemen. Say what you will about Slats, but he has stocked us with a stable of solid young defensemen.

    18. doodie – i totally agree with you on the slats building the D. HOWEVER…..if we look closer into the people responsible for scouting and evaluating and being the eyes and ears outside of MSG for slats, you’ll find one Tom Renney.

      this is from the teams website…

      >>Renney spent his first two seasons with New York as Director of Player Personnel, where he oversaw all facets of the team’s amateur scouting operation, while assisting with the professional scouting department. He was promoted to Vice President, Player Development on June 21, 2002. In that position, he managed all facets of the team’s amateur scouting operations, while also assisting with the professional scouting process and player development within the organization. He has also been instrumental in establishing an off-season conditioning and skills camp for several Rangers prospects in Calgary, Alberta and now in New York at the Madison Square Garden Training Center.

    19. So we see that he’s the BEST fit for this team moving forward as he’s been watching these guys play since they were 16/17 years old.

    20. hockeymanrangers on

      Here Here to the Hossa talk, last night against the Islanders both goals had to do with him not doing his job.Hell don’t even worry about getting anything out of him just let hime walk out the door. Keep the young guns that hustle. I really don’t care what Nigel was doing away from the puck, at least he hustles every game and give him a little more time and he will score us some more goals. More than you can say for Hossa.

    21. Why would we make any trades? The only people we would trade are those who don’t really have any value now because they haven’t been scoring – Hossa and Prucha. Hossa will be our backup forward and Strudwick (or Malik?) will be our backup defenseman when everybody is healthy. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      Also, somebody mentioned that Dawes is the only one who can be sent down freely. Dubinsky can also, but you obviously wouldn’t do that right now.

      I guess they called up Baranka because they don’t want to risk losing Liffiton for half-price, but i don’t know why anyone would want him right now.

    22. Doodie Machetto on

      I don’t think anyone is left trying to defend Hossa on the 1st line, is there? I’m just trying to gauge the level of the debate, whether there are still some debating his being on the 1st line, or is everyone pretty much in agreement with one of two positions:

      1) He is a solid defensive player and good penalty killer (last night notwithstanding). He’s big and plays hard along the boards. But he belongs on the 4th line.

      2) He sucks, get rid of him.

      That sound about right? (For the record, I subscribe to the first position, and think Orr should go if Struds stays in the lineup).

    23. Just a quick story I thought you all, including Sam, would enjoy hearing. Im a season ticket holder and the seats have either been mine or my fathers for the last 26 years. Last night, just after the national anthem three guys walk into my section and sit down in the row right in front of me. They all look exactly alike and are clearly brothers. I know I recognize them but cant figure out from where….and then it hits me, its Al Montoya. I look at the guy next to me and Im like “Thats Al Montoya.” No one recognized him and no believed me, saying everythign from “what would he be doing here” to “youre an idiot.” Well I knew it was him, so I pulled out my blackberry, googled Al Montoya and pulled up his picture and passed it around…it was pretty cool.

      So after the first period I lean over, hand him a pen and ask him to sign my ticket. He signed my ticket, “Al Montoya #29″ and was really nice about it. Just then, the two guys hes with get up and walk out leaving Al sitting there by himself. So I decided to sit down next to him and chat him up a little. He couldnt have been nicer. We talked about the game(he said he was very interested to find out what got marc staal all riled up ot throw a punch like that), we talked about his alma matter and their football sturggles, we talked about the young guys on the team and the possibility of Nigel hitting the pine once Callahan and Straka got healthy, and then I asked him how he felt about being the starter in Hartford as opposed to the backup here. He smiled and said…”I wanna play, and I dont know how Id feel sitting and not playing for weeks at a time….but everyday in the NHL is a great day and thats always been my dream.” I thought it was a very honest answer.

      However, theres another reason Im sharing this story with you, and I hope someone can get to the bottom of this. I asked Al what brought him to the game, and he told me that his brothers had never been to a game and were in NYC and since Hartofrd had the night off, he got them tickets. However in the middle of the second period, two garden ushers came up to him and he got up and left and didnt come back for 45 minutes. He missed the enitre second period and the beginning of the third. When he came back he was holding a big envelope and when he sat down, he opened the envelope and pulled out two X-rays and showed them to his brothers. I was wondering if you(Sam) could look into this. Was he at the garden because theres something wrong with him? Is something been bothering him and the rangers wanted Jim Ramsey to check it out?
      Anyways, the kid was terrific and very charismatic, and I wanted to share that with you guys.

    24. Doodie – My thoughts on Hossa, in a nutshell, is that he’s great defensive 4th liner who can contribute absolutely zero on the scorehseet. If you’re that type of player, you need to bust it every night because if your aren’t Jagr (who can do nothing defensively, but at times control the offense) then you’re worthless on the ice. If he can’t negate a defensive lapse with even a sniff of offense, he’s an empty sweater.

    25. ok. so there’s at least one person here that I can see eye to eye with on the Hossa story.

      Doodie – would you be upset if he was packaged somewhere at the deadline?

    26. Hossa is not playing like a first line player and maybe needs a dominant Jagr to succeed. But he has enough game that it’s not worth giving up on him. He’s 6’3 230 and works the boards well. The team is small. I don’t think a trade is necessary right now but if so would much sooner one of the little guys. Hossa is 26– Mike Knuble didn’t score 20 goals until he was 30, and Bertuzzi didn’t have his big season until he was 26.

    27. Hossa has been on Jagr’s wing for a total of 32 games now, almost half a season. He has 0 goals this year. Does anyone here doubt the Prucha would have around 30 points if he played a half season with Jagr?

    28. Let’s get one thing straight: Renney is the only person on the NHL who thinks Hossa belongs in the NHL. On a team that could actually score (Montreal), he hardly ever cracked the lineup.

    29. Anthony (Abev) on

      Elliot – cool story. No disrespect, but you would have little chance of getting an answer to the second part of your story when you post it publicly :)

    30. Doodie Machetto on

      Prucha, Hossa used to be very irresponsible defensively. His being good at defense is a fairly new thing, hence why he couldn’t crack the MTL lineup. Also, you say he’s been on Jagr’s wing for 32 games, but that’s not true either. He didn’t get on Jagr’s wing this season until some games had been played, and he was there for 11 last season. He had 8 goals on Jagr’s wing, as opposed to 0, which you implied. You’re twisting the numbers to support your conclusions. Put all of the numbers out there if you want to use numbers, not just the ones that are convenient. That said, he doesn’t belong on the first line.

      “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.

    31. Lmao you heard it here first Hossa in the next Mike Knuble or Bertuzzi. Funny thing is Knuble never got top six minutes till he was 30.

    32. Doodie – Everyone on MTL is defensively irresponsible (have you check the +/- of guys like Kovalev and Souray?).

      Also, I don’t think you really paid attention to what I wrote. I said he’s been on Jagr’s wing for 32 games They’ve played 21 this year and 11 last year. So give or take a game or 2 where Hossa was injured/scratched. Then I said he has zero goals this year, which is true. So out of 21 games the Rangers played this year, lets say it was Prucha on Jagr’s wing rather than Hossa…The point I’m making is:Do you believe Prucha could not muster a single, solitary goal with those minutes?

      Come on now. Give in. Hossa gets pabied left and right by management and isn’t getting it done. Prucha gets bounced line to line and still manages 50+NHL goals.

    33. Hey Prucha27…you saying this:

      “if your aren’t Jagr (who can do nothing defensively, but at times control the offense)”

      causes me to think you don’t watch the rangers actually play. Besides the last two games, Jagr has been a great two-way player this year, backchecking more than I’ve ever seen him. You can’t knock Jagrs game in any aspect this year IMO.

      And as for Hossa, no Tom Renney is probably not the only coach in the NHL that thinks he is a NHLer. As New Newman said before…you should just dont expect him to be his brother, but I feel he is a very solid player.

      I was a big advocate of having him on the first line till now. Hes shown that the combo of Jagr Dubs and himself isn’t scoring. I think its now time to try another winger, but not because Hossa is the worst player in the NHL. It’s because it simply isn’t clicking right now. I very much want Hossa on this team playing defense and on occasion shooting in the shootout.

    34. Jonas – Showing flashes of a backcheck for 20 games doesn’t negate a career of drifting in the D zone. Jagr will never be a Selke contender. Rather than nit pick, you should get a feel for the spirit of the post, which is that Jagr could get away with taking a shift off, because he can easily dominate a shift and score. Hossa can’t take a shift off of defense, because he can’t make up for it in any other way.

    35. Doodie,
      I for one am no longer supporting Hossa on the top line.
      I’ve always been a Hossa fan and supporter, but at this point, he’s just not doing his job, not offensively anyway.

    36. joejoe – and you think if everyone gets healthy that situation will stay that way (meaning all are healthy). I don’t see one of the 23 roster players being traded for picks at this pt. teams need depth. Whether it’s Malik, Dawes, Hossa – all have contributed at times and will do so in the future. Some like Malik will be gone soon enough as he is a free agent after this yr. And like others have said how many small forwards can we have. But if one is traded it should be for a player capable of helping us this yr. We can use a big forward who can score etc. And a good d man. at the least I’d expect us to trade for these type players at the deadline.

    37. Prucha27…ok I can see your point. At the same time though I feel one bad game from Hossa doesnt negate the rest of the seasons solid play.

      As for Jagr, I just have an issue with people saying the same old thing about a player, instead of what the player is currently. You can say its only 20 games, but to me the fact Jagr has fully bought into Renney’s system is huge. I just think he deserves some respect/credit for that, and your comment about it bothered me. The man is doing everything you could ask this year (the game where he broke his teeth says it all) and yet the same tired old knocks on him are still being said when currently they’re not valid.

    38. Is Thomas Pock such a bad defenseman that the Rangers would rather play the less-experienced Ivan Baranka over him? I don’t understand why Renney prefers Strudwick over Pock. From what I saw, Pock was just as good as Mara.

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