Why can’t the Rangers beat the Islanders?


The question is already getting old here on the brink of what is only the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams. I don’t root, or at least I don’t root for teams as much as I do stories, but I’ll go on record saying I hope for something to ask tonight other than the obligatory, “What is it about these guys that you can’t solve?”

Granted, I have my theories. While all three Islanders wins so far have been of the one-goal variety, the Rangers have been largely outworked in all three, and that stems from the fact that the Islanders outwork almost every team, but also them knowing they’re going to have to get by on grit and guile against their supposedly more talented rival. So far, even Tom Renney conceded just now, they’ve done that.

Then there is Rick DiPietro. It’s true the Rangers have a knack for making every goaltender they face look like the second coming of Patrick Roy, but with DiPietro, even something as simple as dumping the puck into the zone has been largely counterproductive. While I think Henrik Lundqvist is the superior overall goaltender, he is far inferior to DiPietro when it comes to handling the puck. And when the Rangers wrap the puck hard around the boards and into the Islanders zone, all they’re essentially doing is turning it over.

Renney said the team will try to carry the puck in more against the Islanders tonight, although that, too, can be difficult given how effectively the Islanders clog the zone. Some of you have suggested the diagonal dump-in, which is certainly one good idea. Another is merely a soft chip into the zone. Whatever they do, they need to get the puck deep without giving the Islanders such an easy opportunity to break out.

OK, this concludes today’s edition of chalk talk. As for updates:

  • Regarding my earlier post about Brandon Dubinsky’s knee, he seems to be OK, although he was called into Renney’s office to talk something over a few minutes ago. But he wasn’t limping or wearing a brace of any sort. And Renney said Dubinsky merely has a few aches and pains.
  • I asked Renney about the season-ticket holder event he, Perry Pearn, and Mike Pelino attended on Monday, and he said he enjoyed the give-and-take with fans. Then I asked if the questions he was getting were better than the ones he gets from the media. “Can I plead the fifth?” the coach said. Fine, be that way.
  • Final score from the early game: Jr. Rangers 8, Islanders 3. An omen for later? We shall see….

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    1. I don’t usually like to question Renney’s thought process (I feel he has a great deal of smartiousness) but carrying the puck into their zone against this Isles team will be next to impossible as well, especially on the PP.

      If you watch them… the D-men, plus one forward stack up across the blueline waiting for anyone to try to finesse the puck in there.

      Gonna be tough.

    2. Avery is the key and the spark plug, sucks he is hurt. You all see that stat on MSG? In case you missed it

      with Avery 9 4 1
      with out 4 5 1
      overal 26 10 7

      I hope he is back and 2 weeks.

    3. Doodie Machetto on

      Richard, those stats mean nothing. Look at the with and without Malik stats from last season.

    4. Doodie Machetto on

      It only took us 7 mins and most of a PP for a shot.

      If this keeps up, it’s gonna be a looooooooooooong night.

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      Last night to a shootout, and 3 in 4 nights. We’ve been off for almost a week and we’re moving like the board that they were practicing with last week.

    6. Doodie Machetto on

      Richard, I don’t know it exactly. I just remember that it was similar to the Avery one. They lost a lot of games when Malik wasn’t there.

    7. Where does Mick McGoo (wrong spelling, I know, but he deserves it) come up with these stupid calls? Closing the hand on puck? I didn’t see a replay, but that’s such a strange call. then I don’t see why he needs to conference about the puck over glass call when he’s standing right there. It looked like it had to hit the Isle’s stick. I’ve had a contemptable hatred for this ref ever since a game late in the season against Montreal when we were fighting to make the playoffs (I think in ’04) and he blows the whistle too early when he thinks the Canadiens goalie has the puck but it goes in for a goal for us, so he waves off the goal. Long time to hold a grudge, I know, but he’s a doofus.

      btw, I think the Islanders power play looks a lot worse than ours. Great plays by all involved with the Jagr goal – Staal, Straka, Dubinsky, and Jagr.

    8. DM, right, I remember a while back we were discussing it on the blog when we were talking about Malik’s plus/minus rating and why Rozi’s was 22 less then Harry.

    9. I’m watching the Islanders broadcast since it’s on Yahoo. Where is the elbow by Orr? It was a forearm, to my eyes – pretty clean hit. Four minutes for roughing? Oh please.

    10. Yeah, Orr didn’t do very much when he was mobbed, plus, who calls roughing for a hit? If it was elbowing (which it wasn’t) call it, but that was a copout. Which moron ref missed Simon throwing fierce punches in there?

    11. I want to be able to go in to a third period with the lead with confidence, but I just don’t feel that way about this team yet. Anyone else share my worries? I predicted a 4-2 Ranger win and I really hope I am right.

    12. Doodie Machetto on

      Strudwick needs to go. Strudwick-Mara just isn’t working.

      Maybe Renney should try Malik-Mara

    13. Doodie Machetto on

      The Isles’ wear from the past four days is starting to show. We’re really outworking them now.

    14. Eh, Nasty didn’t post it before the game, but I guess we’ll have to trust him.

      Bad luck for Mara, looked like he slipped. I don’t think there’s any way we see Malik with Strudwick, though. I think it would be best for the team to put Malik back with Rozsival if Mara is out.


      That first line is scary if they skate like that. WOW

      LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!

    16. Doodie Machetto on

      Yeah, you have to thnk that it’s gonna be Rozsi-Malik, and Staal-Strudwick

      Shame for both Mara and Staal.

    17. On a totally and completely unrelated note, Bryant Gumbel is unbearable as an announcer on the NFL Network. I don’t think any other play-by-play man has been so unsure about anything in any major sport. How many times can he say the word “appear” in one broadcast. When I get a chance to watch a whole game (when the Rangers aren’t on), I’ll be sure to keep a tally.


      Unfortunately, what is bad for Staal’s development will be good for the team, because you can’t have two near-pilons playing defense at the same time.

    18. It’s a pretty good game, but Favre got hurt, and Rodgers is doing better, threw his first TD pass. For some reason, the Packers kept trying to throw deep with Favre and failing and eventually he got hit as he threw for an INT and elbow injury. At college I get a fairly localized cable provider, so I have NFL and Versus, NFL was just added around the beginning of this calendar year. I’ve given up on Gumbel, watching the game on mute, listening to music, haha.

    19. Wow, the Rangers looked good. It was great to see Jagr’s line skating so well and the team being fierce even without Avery. Struds had a great game, too bad about Mara.

      Sam (or whomever), a few questions:

      1 – Why are the Rangers so bad in minutes after goals and at the start/end of periods? They seem emotionally undisciplined. Have the coaches ever addressed that directly?

      2 – Why don’t the Rangers use time outs more often? It seems as if there’s some unwritten rule in hockey that time outs are only for last minute man advantages (or for sissies). I know Renney’s used them otherwise a bit, but tonight after the 5-on-3 in the first, why not give your guys a rest and a chance to re-focus on the original game? I know it worked out just fine, but that’s only an example.

      3 – When the heck was the last time a Ranger scored a hat trick? My memory’s failing me and I assume someone on here probably knows off-hand.


    20. Of course I did, DM. Very funny. But I agree with Chris. There are too many cutaways now, and half of them are stupid. They need to go back to the way Stewie was in the early episodes with random rants and long words and little devices.

    21. DUBINSKY is what I think a NY Ranger player should be. He represents the Crest on the front of his sweater with a game that is what I would call as 1.Strong on his skates. 2.Commanding the end boards.3. Toughness in the slot. 4. The willingness to play it rough for his team when needed.5 Never forgets his defensive responsibilities.

    22. Adam and his apple on

      sam im just curious did any of the players mention the crowd affecting the game at all? because i was in section 404 and damn it was rowdy!!, a lot of DP sucks chants, i think they got to him, hes so weak wilting under the intense ranger crowd! it was awesome to be a part of, it was awesome in the 3rd period an islander fan wearin a DP jerz right near me startin havin words with this rangers fan meathead, and then some other rangers fans got up and had words with him as well, next thing i know the security guard is closin in and he tells the islanders fan to sit the hell down hahahaha gotta love homer security!!!!

      few more things, i love the way our lines are shaping up, having straka and callahan back is so clutch, they totally planned having avery play through the pain until those 2 got back, good planning by the braintrust, IMhumbleO i think the rangers missed callahan more than many rangers fans think,

      fearless prediction, doobie is gonna be one hell of a player!!! im lovin what i see from that kid, he is our number one center regardless that jagr is on his line, how do you like them apples?

    23. Adam – I think you’re getting way ahead of things to think Dubi is our best center. Not with Drury and Gomez here – sorry.

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