Panic? You don’t know panic…


The question was raised whether the Rangers are panicking because of their sluggish offense, to which I’ll respond:

Hello? Do you not even remember last season?

Let’s be clear that the Rangers are a lot of things right now — concerned, frustrated, confused. Pick any word. This is a team that’s hardly content. But it’s also a team that is four games over .500 and at least in points, tied for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Moreover, while they’ve certainly had some ugly stretches, they really have had only one complete dud of a game — the loss in Atlanta the third week of the season.

Now compare that to last season, especially midway through the schedule, when the Rangers truly had reason to panic. They were blowing two-goal leads as if it was going out of style. They were falling further and further outside the playoff picture. They had Sandis Ozolinsh at defense.

If memory serves, the absolute low point came on the night they blew a two-goal lead to Detroit and I more or less wrote them off as finished (that was also the night that Sean Avery was literally en route from Los Angeles). But even then, I honestly never detected panic.

The point is that if you don’t panic in February when your team looks like a complete mess, you certainly don’t panic in November when your still winning more times than losing, and you can pinpoint exactly where there’s room for improvement.

This is not to gloss over what are some obvious flaws to this team. But in my view they are the flaws you can rectify. Maybe that starts Thursday against the Islanders. Maybe it’s not until 2008. Either way, the Rangers would have to be a lot worse off for the “p” word to even enter the conversation.

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  1. Repost from last thread:

    We can debate all day and night about what’s wrong with Jagr, but the bottom line is that as long as Renney refuses to send a message by benching him on PP’s, etc, the problem will continue. Ice time should be EARNED by EVERYONE on the team.

    Prucha NEEDS to be on the #1 unit. Every time Renney takes him off, the PP flounders. Happened last year, too, and when Renney put Prucha back on that unit, it went up to #9 or #10 in the NHL.

  2. Well said, Sam!

    Good teams are built from net, out. That’s exactly what this team is doing. I’m actually thrilled that our offense, of all things, is the problem.

    If this team had lousy goaltending and was ignoring defense, that’s when I would start to worry.

  3. Yes, I have been saying that all season. I would rather be not scoring than have shoddy defense and goaltending. The offense will come. Once the PP is clicking we will be fine and in the top tier of the league for the rest of the season.

  4. ok, so they aren’t the worse team in the league, but does anyone see this team as a cup contender? NO! Lets just watch, and have fun with it, but all cup aspirations are out the window.

  5. The pp isn’t just gonna click if he leaves the units as they are now. no one on jagr’s unit wants to shoot, they just want to go for the backdoor tap in goal which looks great when it works but that doesnt happen that often. Drury needs to be in front of the net deflecting shoots from the point (thats what he did so well in Buffalo) and once cally is back at full strength id put him on a unit with gomez and shanny and put prucha on the first unit with drury and jagr. i like avery a lot as a player but he should not be on the powerplay and he really should not be on the 2nd line, unless they go back to prucha-gomez-avery cuz that line looked pretty good for the one game they were together

  6. Straka Drury Jagr
    Avery Gomez Shanny
    Callahan Dubinsky Prucha
    Hossa Betts Orr

    PP units

    Prucha Drury Jagr Straka Tyutin

    Shanahan Gomez Avery Mara Girardi

  7. Jagr’s option (and the now apparent benchmarks he needs to trigger it) has really created an interesting dynamic from a GM’s perspective. He’s always said he wanted to retire after this season. I guess it depends on how well we’re doing at the deadline, but I think there’s a good chance that he’s going to be moved.

  8. id put staal on one of those powerplay units, he has a pretty good shot from the point and id put rosival on the unit without jagr as then he may actually shoot. rosival continues to look bad every game, what is wrong with the guy

  9. Unless we are out of a playoff picture he is not going to be moved. Look at what he did in the payoffs for us last year. He sucked all year and still racked up a bunch of points. He s leading the team in points and he sucks this year. He is going nowhere.

  10. Straka Drury Jagr
    Avery Gomez Shanny
    Callahan Dubinsky Prucha
    Hossa Betts Orr

    PP units

    Prucha Drury Jagr Straka Rosi

    Shanahan Gomez Avery Mara Tyutin

  11. Avery Straka Jagr
    Drury Gomez Shanahan
    Callahan Dubinsky Prucha
    Hossa Betts Orr

    Avery kind of plays well with Jagr, I have seen him look great with him a few times. And again, there is no 1, 2, 3 line. I say try anything at this point.

  12. Jags is going nowhere, for oh so many reasons, beginning with the fact that he puts asses — corporate or otherwise — in seats.

    But it is disturbing that the Rangers don’t seem able, or Renney can’t affect, more than one thing at a time. It’s as if good offense and team defense or good penalty killing and effective power plays are too much to ask. One would hope an NHL team, with this much experience and “talent” would be able to handle more than one simple mandate (team defense being it right now).

    Spiderpig, I do think it’s frustrating that the Jagr effect is still causing players to hesitate to shoot. That being said, if they miss the net as much as they have, it doesn’t matter.

    And, even if I like Renney and think he’s competent, the coach must lead the way and must find a way to effectively turn his team into more than a one-dimensional group if true success is to come to Broadway. Prucha on the PP is a good, if small, start.

  13. Also, I think the only line that shouldn’t be disturbed right now is any combo of Shanny-Gomez-Avery.

  14. Chris F – Avery and Lundqvist put arses in seats. Jagr isn’t an exciting player anymore. He can’t beat anyone one-on-one.

  15. brklynblue – from the previous thread, i wanted to respond.
    “beer if Renney can’t get Jagr scoring, the NYR will be in trouble, then Renney is in trouble. They will not be successful without Jagr scoring”

    They better be successful without him, cause he COULD have less than 60 games left as a blueshirt.

    tomg – also from the previous thread(to reply to your statement. “You have to start wondering if jagr doesn’t like Renney’s system…”

    jagr broke the rangers scoring record under renney’s system. I cant see your point being valid this time. sorry.

    sorry for responding to these late. this dam ‘working thing’ interferes with my rangers!

  16. Here’s my opinion on jags not producing. Cause I know everyone has been dying to hear it…

    Simply put – I think that the speed/skill of the league is increasing as he is slowing down.

    Just a thought.

    Sam – Can you ask Jags why he’s suckin this year? Can you say it just like that?

  17. all i need to say is this “They had Sandis Ozolinsh at defense.” a great line Sam.
    this is how you know we are ok.. we have defense so we are not at a failure or panic stage YET… if Henrik plays like he did the other night again, then we can think of having issues. hes not supposed to be that bad. the Offense is also not supposed to have 39 shots at 2 goals. terrible, especially when one of the goals was a pass!!

    WE are better than this and it needs to be shown, all a line mix up will do is mess around with their heads and when Renney was doing that earlier in the season all we did was nothing until he stopped messing around. Moving Jagr will not happen so i don’t know why this is even going around in here…

  18. Doodie Machetto on


    Thanks for the great answer to my question, but a simple yes or no would’ve done fine! ;)

    To everyone else: I was thinking about the team’s start to the season and it sounded so familiar. Let me paint the picture:

    Our million dollar forwards are stuck in 1st gear, our defense which everyone counted because it lacked a superstar is counted out, and our goaltender is playing out of his skull and is on pace to have 70 games, career numbers, and a Vezina, and we’re still winning games, albeit close ones, as a result.

    That’s right, we’re last year’s New Jersey Devils.

  19. Doodie Machetto on

    “the Offense is also not supposed to have 39 shots at 2 goals. terrible, especially when one of the goals was a pass!!”

    I agree. The problem all year has been the finishing. We DOMINATED Dallas the entire game, with the exception of three plays. But all of our heavy pressure and nothing to show for it. No one is able to fire it home. Maybe the team needs a hypnotist to fix their scoring problems, like on the Simpsons episode where they had all the pro ballplayers play on the softball team.

  20. Chris F. – I was referring to Sam saying that Renney only uses two lines late. I was saying *if* the three lines are good, use all of them. Even so, he should use three lines in lieu of using just two lines when one of them is doing horribly.

  21. Thank god. 1 of 3 things will happen: He’ll retire, He’ll sign elsewhere, or He’ll resign her for the 3-4 million he’s worth and we can pursue Marian Hossa.

  22. The Rangers were 13-10-1 last year with 27 points at this time last year. This year they’re 13-9-2 with 28 points not much of a difference there, Last year at this time the defense and the goaltending was beyond putrid. Lundqvist was going through his worst stretch of his young career and Renney was throwing clowns like Ozolinsh, Rachunek and a broken down Kaspar out there. The team also couldn’t get much scoring out of guys not named Shanny or Straka early on. This year outside of a couple of games the goaltending has been magnifecent and the team has played good defense.The pp has been a disgrace flatout a disggrace and the offense has been a complete and utter embarassement. I have never seen a Rangers team be so weak on the forecheck and in the offensive zone. It hasn’t helped that Marcel Hossa has averaged 18 minutes a game, so far this year and has brought down every player he’s played with down to his level. It hasn’t helped that Jagr has had little to no chemistry with any of the centers. It hasn’t helped that Gomez and Drury have struggled mightily. The young dmen are starting to struggle to specifically Girardi. I hope Callahan can add some jam and scoring but he alone won’t fix what ills the team neither will the solid Straka at least not on his own.

  23. Prucha not getting pp time has cause him to regress. I mean 80% of his goals have been on the pp. Does Renney really think he’ll light up the net playing ten minutes and night and being subjected to having Marcel Hossa as a linemate?

  24. Sam,
    Can you see if there is any valididty to this interview from a czech newspaper…

    Interviewer: Larry Brooks wrote that NYR should not begin next season in Prague because it is not clear that you will be in the line up. Do you know it?
    Jagr: I don’t care.

    Interviewer: Teams usually negotiate contracts with their best players some time in advance. Have they talked to you already?
    Jagr:No, at all..

    Interviewer: Can you imagine not playing for NYR next season?
    Jagr: Sure.

    Interviewer: At the same time, you always relish being here.
    Jagr: If they do not want me here what can I do? Clean bins?

    Interviewer: But you allways advocate for NYR game in Prague.
    Jagr: It is true. But I don´t know what is happening now. And, maybe, NYR won´t have any czech player in the team.

    Interviewer: In this case it has no sense to invite the most expensive team to Czech republic.
    Jagr: We will see.

    Interviewer: If you do not agree with NYR for next season would you come back to Kladno? Or Oms? Would you go somewhere else in NHL?
    Jagr:I don´t know what I will do. I am not going mad if I do not stay in NYR.

    Interviewer: You are captain, the main star of NYR. Rangers was after the lock out Jags team. Is it still true?
    Jagr: I don’t think. Not now. When I do not have success I am loosing this position. But it is normal.

    Interviewer: So it is not like in PIT where you go on ice whenever you wanted?
    Jagr: That time is far away!

    Interviewer: In recent games you looked harassed. Renney, with Straka out, was trying to find players for your line with difficulties?
    Jagr: You know, I lost Nylander in summer. Stracena was 15 games out. It is not fun. I don´t want to complain, but with player we bought I did not have chemistry:-( We invested a lot of money to centers but I play in the line with kid who came from farm.

    Interviewer: But Brandon Dubinsky is not the right center for you, is he?
    Jagr: He is good guy. I am not angry with him, he is trying. Hats off.

    Interviewer: I saw you several times taping with stick on the ice in good position to receive a pass from him. But nothing came…
    Jagr: We can´t do nothing with it. When I got angry it would be even worse. I like him, I know he is trying very much to do maximum.

    Interviewer: Why it was not clicking with Gomez?
    Jagr: Hard to say.

    Interviewer: Because he wants the puck as you?
    Jagr: It would have been good but not as expected. For him it will be better to play with Shanny. He is true scorer he does not want the puck in the middle zone. I want it. We play with Gomez very similar style of play.

    Interviewer: Why it was not clicking with Drury?
    Jagr: We did not play together very much, 4 games or so. Then we tryed it with Dubi it was good.

    Interviewer: Were you happy when Straka came back?
    Jagr: You bet! I don´t care if I score goal. I have the right taste for game. Straca waits for me, give it to me back. We understand each other on the ice. At once we have more chances. When he steped in on Friday for the first time and did not finish because of the stretched muscle I though that I have a heart attack!

    Interviewer: In the last weeks you do not shoot very much. Why?
    Jagr: But I did not have good chances.

    Interviewer: Sometimes yes.
    Jagr: When?

    Interviewer: On Florida you came from wing and came behind the net. In PP you pass from „your“ position on the right circle…
    Jagr: OK… When you are not having a lot of chances you lose your insticts. It takes some time to come back.

    Interviewer: Do you miss self-confidence?
    Jagr: Of course. I need to play “my game“. I am not going to shoot the puck on boards, I am not good at it. When I receive the pass quickly and I am on the other side of the ring. I felt like in elevator. Up, down!

    Interviewer: Sooner when you did not score golas you were mad. Did you take it worse than now?
    Jagr: Maybe. But that time it was quicker to go back to good shape. I was more go-ahead. I did not see anything else than scoring a goal. Now I am in more calm.

    Interviewer: Is it easier for you when NYR is winning?
    Jagr: Sure. I have more time to come back.

    Interviewer: But NYR is not playing very interesting hockey. You have the worst GPP.
    Jagr: You are not going to win anything with open style now. You need to have good goalie and play from behind. Otherwise you come to play-off and you are finished there.

    Interviewer: Do you have any defensive role in this system?
    Jagr: No no. At all.

    Interviewer: But sometimes you appear in your defensive zone, in places where you were not used to be.
    Jagr: You know, we did not score goals… You must have some discernment.

    Interviewer: Chris Chelios says that coach took away the freedom from hockey. With tactics. Agree?
    Jagr: Team from 80s would have no chance now. Nobody came back, nobody has strong power. Now it is very dificult to. Coaches prepare perfectly the team for a game… I do not go there very much but I see how long guys are sitting on the meetings. They know exactly what to do. Team works as a machine.

  25. Remember King Lundqvist only signed a one year for less money to stay. The Rangers may be saving money in the piggybank by opting out of the Jagr contract to free up some dough for a long term Lundqvist contract extenstion. They may choose to re-sign Jagr to yearly contracts from here on because he has hinted on retirement.

  26. Here is when the Rangers will start scoring…when Renney is gone! Please stop with the ‘Renney this, Renney that.’ It is all apparent that Tom can NOT run a team of superstars. How hard is the simple concept of putting a man in front of the net? Put Orr, Hollweg, or Avery in front of the net on the PP. Deflections, screening, abuse (taken and given)…just like Graves did in years past.

    Renney can not run this team and I wish people would stop the praise he’s given. I love the NYR and Renney is a good guy but not to run this team.

  27. d-man. who do you want behind the bench. tell us all and more importantly slats who is the guy who is going to coach these “superstars” to a cup? “superstars”?? what?

  28. Renney is trying to develop his team to consistently follow a system. I think that some players agree to adopt his style, while others are impatient, or require the freedom to take the puck when they wish.

  29. Renney is trying to develop his team to consistently follow a system. I think that some players agree to adopt his style, while others are impatient, or require the freedom to take the puck when they wish. The team has fallen apart because the players are not on the same page. COMMUNICATION. Should not be entirely Renney’s fault.

  30. madcat – totally. And that player just had his team option yanked out of his contract.

    the system has been successful so far and we are still building this team into a long-term contender.

  31. A few things:

    1) On the Dallas game and Lundqvist and Jagr….The problem, and I think Richard S. touched on it, is that no one wants to call out Jagr. First you had Renney saying, “I had the wrong personnel on the ice. My fault.” Then you had Dave Maloney going through the replay saying, “There you see Tyutin went to the puck in the corner and then the FORWARD went into the corner with one hand on the stick and no body behind it….that is a poor effort.” So there you have it. Renney could have said, “I should not have had Jagr out there.” Maloney could have said, “Poor effort by Jagr, he was not attacking the puck.”

    This is the crux of the issue surrounding Jagr if you ask me. It goes from upper management to the announcers to his teammates. No one in the upper echelon will call him out and everyone on the ice will defer to him at all chances (either in interviews (Lundy)) or on the ice carrying the puck and dishing it to him (Gomer, Rosy, Malik, etc.)

    I sense a lame duck in Jagr, esp after the stories on his contract. My bet, he is retiring after this season so he doesn’t really give a flying F. If we could get a stud offenseman for him, I would do it in a second. Getzlaf for Jagr?

    2) The PP is an issue. Drury, Avery, Shanny need to clog the front of the net, screen the goalie, and deflect shots while Mara, Staal, Tyutin, and/or Rosy take slappers. But right now the team is spreading out to the half boards and behind the net because Renney and/or Jagr like this style. It is not working. That is apparent. Boy do they miss Cullen on the point. Oh wait a sec, that IS working in Carolina, Cullen never got the chance to make that work here in NYC. I wonder why? Oh right, it’s because of Renney and Jagr. So there you have it. I like Renney. I think he does a good job. But with his head up Jagr’s butt, we won’t likely see a change in that PP any time soon, despite all the players saying, “It’s getting better.” What’s getting better? We were able to penetrate into the zone last game versus getting completely stood up at the blueline the last game. Oh yeah, that is imporvement. What a joke!

    3) All that being said, we have a good core of a team. We are playing OK hockey. I do feel we are starting to gel more as the season progresses. We were 9-1 in our last 10 a few games ago and everyone here was ready for the Cup. We stumbled a little over the last few and now everyone is calling for a house cleaning. We need to relax and stay the course. I have faith.


  32. Renney is not the problem on this team. Seems like the entire season has been trying to figure out who will play with Jagr. Maybe taking Jagr out of the equation will allow the team to gel. Slats should see if there is any interest.

  33. Thing to keep in mind….

    I think that signing Drury and Gomez were building blocks for the future, 6-7 years out. Not necessrarily immediate line mates for Jags. We will see where this opting out of his contract goes. Jagr seems like the type that when he is playing well, he is happy. So, if the Rangers can find the right player to center his line, and he starts scoring, then he may want to play another year….and bang!!!!….one year contract next year with the Blueshirts. Otherwise, if he continues on the path of a career worst, then I think we might see talks of retirement again in the headlines.

  34. I just want to comment on that “article” in a Czech newspaper….Believe only half of what you see, a quarter of what you hear, and none of what you read. That story sounds so made up….Maybe the guy from Toronto wrote the article? The article sounds like total BS.

  35. Newman & Rob L. – refreshing to hear others with the same views.

    I think we need to bail on figuring out who to play as Jagr’s centerman. Worry about the guys who give a crap and WANT to play right now.

    I’d love to get something for Jags before he walks in June. As long as it’s out west.

  36. Good Post Newman, I must say I agree with almost everything you say. The one thing is when Jagr IS producing, you can’t really argue with it.

  37. This was taken from Eklund, although I don’t read too much into what is posted on that site…..

    Jagr Rumours, Habs and Marleau… Abbreviated Talkcast today at 4:30pmFriday @ 2:26 PM ET | Comments (307)
    Just talked to a source who told me that once again the Oilers and Jagr are being linked together. Apparently the asking is too high, but “has come down enough over the last two weeks to make some sense.

  38. Graves9 – It isn’t just Hossa who is bad to play with JJ. Do you really think Dubinsky is the answer. I cringed when I saw Straka pass to him on the 2 on 1.

    Dman – you must be kidding or smoking some good stuff re Orr or Hollweg on the pp. Hollweg should not be in the NHL and you want him on the pp. And Orr is a very good fighter but how does that help the pp.

    Newman – and the Ducks or any other team will trade good youth for JJ why?

  39. Well a team with potential to get to the Cup this year and just needing one more proven veteran to do it might consider it. In past history a lot of big name players were moved to provide that last attempt at a spark. Do I think it works? No, not really. Last year Tkachuk to Atlanta did nothing and Bertuzzi to the Red Wings did the same. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t shop Jagr to a 4th or 5th place team looking to get the edge. Anaheim missing Niedermeyer and Selanne, sitting there with 26 pts, it’s a thought. I heard Patrick Marleau is on the blocks. Again, it’s a thought. Yes, Getzlaf just signed a contract and is a stud (prob too rich a price verus Jagr), but you just don’t know. Now in reference to the Eklund story above, why the Oilers would want Jagr, that I could not answer in 100 tries.

  40. BTW I know Marleau is a Shark. But they are in the same spot as the Ducks currently in this regard.

  41. Newman – in the unlikely event the Rangers tried to trade JJ – the other team would offer draft picks even a number 1 but a number 1 in the last 5 picks of that 1st round is not as good as a clearly very good or great young player who has established himself. And no team will give up that type of player for JJ. I agree with you on Edm that makes absolutely vo sense. Besides they’ve already given Anaheim a jewel in their number 1 pick this yr.

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