He’s baaaack….


Just when Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival had found their groove as the Rangers’ top defensive pairing, that pesky third wheel Marek Malik had to intervene.

Actually, blame this one on Paul Mara, who ended up spraining his shoulder on the hit from Trent Hunter last night and is almost certainly out tomorrow against the Senators. That leaves Tom Renney with a most unenviable choice: break up the promising duo of Staal and Rozsival, or slide Malik in alongside Jason Strudwick for the most combustible pairing this side of Karel Rachunek and Sandis Ozolinsh.

Renney looks like he’ll be going with the former, meaning Malik and Rozsival, a mainstay of the previous two seasons, will be back together; while Staal will take Mara’s spot with Strudwick. For Malik, it will be his first appearance since injuring his rib Nov. 1 against Washington.

“I was going out of my mind not playing,” Malik said of his absence from the lineup.

I’m not sure fans had the same reaction.

More later…

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  1. You can count on us losing then. Staal has shown increasingly that he is a TOP PAIR d-man. Malik is not a TOP PAIR d-man. He’s a stay at home d-man, as is Struds.

    If Malik wants to move the damn puck, then wait for him or struds to secure the puck, then he can pass to Gomez so Gomer can use his speed to get into the other zone.

    Malik was NOT a top pair dman in Vancouver OR Carolina. +/- is useless.

  2. Strudwick is a horror show defensively…just about the only thing he does well is make an outlet pass, which is also Malik’s strength. To pair those two together would be suicide. It makes a lot more sense to put Staal next to Strudwick, even though Struds doesn’t have an NHL skillset.

  3. Why not let malik slide to 3rd d pairing and put branka in w/ him? i hate breaking up staal and rozy, thats our future top pair right there with tyutin-girardi a close 2nd

  4. Doodie Machetto on

    Here’s the bonus: Strudwick will be playnig out of position too, as Staal will play the left side. OH BOY!

  5. actually, I think struds needs a rest.. he wasn’t signed to play 60+ games… put Baranka with Malik as a third pair (giving Malik 3rd pair minutes since he has to get back in the groove).

  6. Why not just pair Malik with Strudwick and then keep them off the ice as much as possible?

    This move seems to hurt Staal more than help the team. I’d much rather a future good NHL player get more time on the ice than relegate him to babysitter to a not-very-good emergency defenseman.

  7. Doodie Machetto on

    Poor Pock. If he could’ve stayed on the NHL roster until November, he would’ve had some playing time by now for sure.

  8. Like Sam said, a pairing of Malik and Strudwick would be an absolute mess. Renney’s hands are really tied here. Malik has a familiarity with Rozsival and they work well together. This isn’t the worst thing in the world to have Malik with Rozie and Staal with Struds/Mara. We’ll be fine.

  9. ::Paging Thomas Pock:: ::Paging Thomas Pock:: ::Clean Up Needed Aisle 5::

    Ottawa’s slumping……
    Rangers are crashing the net…
    Final Score Tomorrow: Rangers 4 Senators 2

  10. Sam, (or anyone else who may have an answer) this is a bit off topic but I missed the last Q & A session.

    I’ve noticed that after every win, Shanny punches Hank in the jaw (not hard or anything duh). It’s like he shoots a little uppercut or a jab at him instead of giving him the usual pat on the head/hug gimmick.

    Just thought it was funny. Any idea where that came from?

    Thanks in advance.

    – Riche’

    P.S. I know, I know… I need to get a life. :)

  11. something i don’t think anyone touched on here today….

    Nice to see Dubinsky throwing the body. But someone should tell him that Straka just got back in the lineup – – DON’T HIT HIM!

    That was amusing for sure.

  12. Sam,

    Your flirting with fans is truly deplorable. You know well that Malik is a solid D, yet you knowingly play along those who knows very little about the game.

    Welcome back, Marek. I am looking forward to your strong performance Sat. Please score a few to shut up our fools. The goals is all they care…

  13. Doodie Machetto on

    “But someone should tell him that Straka just got back in the lineup – – DON’T HIT HIM!”

    Ha, I thought the same thing, and in looking at the highlights on NHL.com, Straka was down for a while!

    Here’s a question no one has asked: When Mara comes back, do you go with Malik-Mara and Rozsi-Staal, or do you make the pairings we started the season with? I think Malik-Mara is a pairing that should be given a shot because of how well Rozsi-Staal worked.

    Man, Mara couldn’t make it another minute! That would’ve been his last shift of the game for sure too!

    Oh, I remembered the other play where Strudwick was terrible: the almost goal where Sillinger was celebrating. Totally lost.

  14. I know I’m a freak also but I think Jagr is using his old KOHO gloves, but since that company doesnt technically exost anymore I think the equipment guys slapped on a makeshift RBK emblem on there…anyone notice that?

    I KNOW Jagr switched back tp the actual KOHO’s from his other RBK’s earlier in the season when he first started slumping… but I think someone probably called him out on it and they had to alter the gloves to say RBK or something, does Jags have a contract with Reebok? Seems like a lot of his gear is rbk. (helmet/”gloves”/stick/pants)

  15. To touch on Cuch and Riche’s comments …

    I think calling up Thomas Pock and letting Strudwick sit is a good idea. I like Pock, I guess, like Nigel .. he needs to be consistent to stay up here. Let’s hope they can keep the momentum going. Keyword is HOPE!

    After the shootout win against Toronto, I noticed that he gave Valiquette an uppercut, then the next game, he uppercut Lundqvist and every game that I have watched on TV .. Shanny has punched them after every win! LOL

    I think it’s funny because Shanny is such a team player that he is just that close to his team mates. Only Shanny can get away with stuff like that! Just don’t hurt them Shanny! LOL

  16. I don’t care that they want Malik with Rozsival or what it means combo wise. I just care that it means Staal won’t get as much ice time. If they do that, I hope to see Staal getting some PP time.

  17. Salty, I don’t know if Jagr and RBK are tied together, but he clearly prefers the equipment because he used to be covered with Jofa and Koho. CCM owns Jofa and Koho and CCM, themselves, are owned by Reebok. Aside from CCM all the equipment is exclusively tagged with the “RBK” logo now. He also used to have Graf skates, but switched last year to Nike Bauer. Nike themselves have dumped Bauer recently, that’s why you see Staal and Dubinsky wearing helmets tagged “Bauer” instead of “Nike Bauer”.

    All this leads to this conclusion: I’m a dork.

  18. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    I hate to say it, again, but Roszival was awful last night. 2-3 bad turnovers plus he was the one he put the force behind Blair Betts stick to propel that puck in the net rather than clearing it or holding it against Hank. Rozy is just awful defensively and as well as Staal has played, he’s compensated with pitiful defense. I’m not sure what the answer is but I hope they get a legitimate top-pair defensman next year and pair them with Staal.

  19. How long is Mara out for? I don’t mind having the pairings be what they were at the begining of the season…when he comes back.

  20. Ummm.. I may be in the minority here, but I don’t know how it’s Malik’s fault that Strudwick is a borderline AHL’er let alone NHL’er..

    In a Malik-Strudwick pairing, obviously, to anyone who has a clue anyways, Struds is the weak link.

    I’m not out to get Strudwick, he’s seems like a swell guy and all, but do people honestly think Strudwick is the better option over Malik? If so… Wow..

  21. Theme song for last night …

    My boyfriend’s back .. referring to Martin Straka! LOL Boy, were the Islanders in trouble! :)

    Tomorrow’s song ..

    Guess who’s back, back again! Ma-lik’s back .. to defend! Or not! LOL

    Sorry, I am just being silly!

  22. Pock will not be recalled. If claimed he’ll cost us 1/2 his salary vs the cap for this yr and next and that’s to play for another team. And at that price I think he would be claimed.

  23. LI Joe: Would that scenario still occur even if he was recalled due to an injured d-man? So he can get picked up even if he’s the last healthy dman available?

  24. RE: Equipment Companies

    “All this leads to this conclusion: I’m a dork.”

    Absolutely not, its cool that you know all that stuff, I wasn’t exactly sure who bought who besides Nike/Bauer. However, are you saying that Nike has “dropped bauer” meaning Bauer will be it’s own entity again? If so that has got to be very very recent as at the beginning of this season they were still together. I would however love to see Nike and Bauer seperate again…. they each have aspects of gear that I like, but not so much since they’ve been together.

  25. Pavel – other injuries have no bearing so he is still subject to recall waivers. Since his contract goes into next season as well at the beginning of the yr of the 08-09 season he can make the team if he’s good enough without going through recall waivers.

  26. you are all wrong. jagr is using Doctor’s gloves, which are not allowed in the NHL. They slapped reebok logos on them, scraped off the silk screens on the gloves and now they are allowed.

    he is using an easton synergy stick painted like a rbk sickick

    do your homework

  27. Good question Pavel – but I don’t think it matters. I believe that he would have to clear re-entry waivers. and we all (should) know that there’s not a chance. Even though 1/2 of his salary is $340k-something, that’s the last thing we need to be on the hook for.

    “Just don’t hurt them Shanny! LOL” – Shanny put Avery out. too late for warnings!


    Ok my only question today is, Why do we have to be the only team tomorrow (well other than the Sens) with a afternoon game??? I plan on being out deer hunting all day unless of coarse I happen to kill early. Then I might be able to catch at least some of the game while butchering. If I miss this game it will be the first entire game I will have missed, I have seen at least some of every game so far.

  29. Yeah Salty as someone who’s played hockey for 15 years I keep up with the reliable companies and who have been “cheapened” over the years.

    Apparently Nike sold Bauer off b/c they weren’t making money. I forgot where I saw it…I think it was in the Boston Globe (randomly).

  30. Bill, Agree on the gloves although earlier in the year and a few years back they were labeled Koho, either way they’re all owned by RBK.

    How do you know about the stick?

  31. 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?

  32. Doodie Machetto on

    “I’m not out to get Strudwick, he’s seems like a swell guy and all, but do people honestly think Strudwick is the better option over Malik? ”

    No, no one does. However, if Malik were a competent defenseman, there would be no problem pairing him with Strudwick.

    As for injury, I know that there is some sort of emergency callup provision that keeps a player from avoiding waivers, but I have no idea what it is. I remember last season some team got to use it, but like I said, I really can’t remember it. Either way, with a defenseman as a healthy scratch, I don’t think we would qualify for it, nor do I think that they would choose Pock over Malik or Strudwick at this point.

  33. agreed Doodie..I think I’d rather have Malik out there than Strudwick. The only problem I have is Staal being moved back to the 3rd pair.

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

  35. Doodie Machetto on

    If I’m Artem Anisimov, I would be working like crazy on the defensive part of the game, because with how well Dubinsky is playing (1st line center or not), the only way I would crack the lineup, is by replacing Blair Betts.

  36. Whilst that is possible we could also see Drury on the wing on either of the top two lines, particularly from next season leaving the 3rd line center open…

  37. It’s good to have options; they’ll find room for Anisimov somehow. Remember, Straka and Shanny won’t be here too many more years, and with Gomez/Drury/Lundquvist/hopefully Roszival taking up like $29 million of cap space, they’ll find a way to get AA in there.

    Rangers fans NOT missing Callahan? Are you crazy?! He’s a relentless sparkplug and does it all. I really think he’s gonna be a 20-goal scorer and maybe more and definitely the Rangers 2nd line RW. Real good guy too, made my 8-year-old cousin very happy by personalizing an autograph etc.

  38. I love all you guys pickin on the defense. The fact of the matter remains WE HAVE THE BEST GA IN THE LEAGUE, STOP RIPPING YOUR F$%#ING TEAM!!
    We have a solid defense corp. Have there been bad plays, YES! name one team would hasn’t had bad moments on defense.
    thats right there are none!
    stop being Monday morning quarterbacks, grow up, and enjoy the work in progress!!
    If we had the best defense in the league you’d still be upset and acting like the sky was falling…
    Oh yeah we DO have the best D in the league.
    Please STFU!

  39. Doodie Machetto on

    “Oh yeah we DO have the best D in the league.”

    Nope. We have the best GOALTENDER in the league. If it weren’t for Hank, our GA would be MUCH higher. Think about how many times Hank, or even Valiquette for that matter, makes a highlight reel save in a game (not counting the game against Dallas).

    Here’s a question: do you sign Hank up for a crazy long deal (not 15 years like DP, but 8 or 9?). I mean, if DP keeps improving the way he has, Wang is gonna look awfully smart for years 4-9 of his contract where is only 4.5 million. Its those later years when skills are likely to decline that will be pesky. So say you can ink up Hank to a 9 year deal at like 6 or even 7 mil. I mean, Kipper just signed one for just under 6 per for 6 years, and he isn’t as young as Hank.

    My point is, yeah, the first few years would blow, but when goaltenders that aren’t as good as him start getting paid like him, that’s when it’ll seem amazing.

  40. longtimerangersfan on

    He’s baaaack….


  41. SkatOrr –

    I think the whole Shanny/Henke thing is adorable. I was very girly when saw that and giggled.

  42. hockeymanrangers on

    Thank god the blog is back, I am thinking we have a disgrunteld non Ranger fan raising havak with the blog. Sam I noticed the NY Jets lohudblogs site was working what the heck is going on with the MUCH MORE IMPORTANT RANGER BLOG??? I hope we are back for good now.
    Even though I was not able to see the game Saturday, when I saw the score I was totaly ecstatic with the win. Lets continue to roll tonight.

  43. Just when Staal and Rozsival started to get confortable Marek Malik has to come back. It’s not that Malik is a bad defensemen but hes not a #1 guy. Staal has the potentail and Rozsival is the #1 guy on this team. Staal has much more offensive ability and so far the defense have been contributing jsut as much as the forwards on the offensive side of things. Keep Staal with Rozsival and find somewhere else to put Malik.

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