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While we were talking to Matt Cullen in the hallway outside the teams’ dressing rooms just now, his former linemate Petr Prucha walked by.

“Don’t score on us tonight, please,” Prucha said.

“Oh, OK,” Cullen said with a smile.


And to think, at this point last year, no one was overly concerned about Matt Cullen scoring on them. Although he finished with a respectable 41 points, Cullen struggled through the early part of last season, for a variety of reasons: the adjustment to New York, a new system, the well-documented decision by Tom Renney to not use him on the point on the power play.

“Everything happened so fast. The summer before we won the Cup, both of my brothers got married, we had a baby, and all of a sudden I was here playing,” Cullen said. “It took me half the season to get adjusted — to everything: living here, playing in the new system, playing with new guys. And then we had a good shot of making a good playoff run. And then it was over and I was back (in Carolina). I have good memories of here, but not many because it happened so fast.”

The question was raised whether Cullen saw the handwriting on the wall when the Rangers made their big July 1 signings of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. The answer, he said, was yes. But then no. Cullen said he was convinced he was gone that day, only to be assured by his agent, who was given the impression the Rangers were going to hold on to him.

“Then two days later I got the phone call I was coming back here,” Cullen said.

It might have been for the best, for all parties involved: The Rangers have placed their faith in Brandon Dubinsky; the Hurricanes have a rejuvenated Cullen, where yes, he’s back playing the point on the power play; and Zipay and I just picked him up off waivers for our fantasy team.

In fact, at one point I was tempted to put Cullen through a brief physical to see if we should insert him in the lineup, but I thought better. Although he is in the lineup….


In other news, Jaromir Jagr was joking just now about his high glove side goal against Martin Gerber on Saturday, and specifically, why he doesn’t take that shot more often.

“It wouldn’t be fair to everyone else,” the Captain said. “It would be too easy.”

Maybe it’s more complicated than that. If you go back to the goals Jagr scored in 2005-06 (this “YouTube clip gives some pretty good examples”:, you’ll see an inordinate amount came from the very spot he’s scored his last two goals — between the top of the circle and the half boards

Only recently has Jagr returned to taking such shots after enduring through a 2006-07 season in which his shoulder was still weak from injury, and he didn’t have confidence in ripping it.

“I think initially last year there was a strength issue and an issue of whether or not he felt comfortable getting the shot off,” Tom Renney said. “I think I made a comment last year that him shooting at 50 percent is better than most healthy.”

And now, of course, Jagr is back completely healthy, and beginning to see that shot is worth his while. I’m not sure that’s unfair to everyone else. But it might not be welcome news.

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  1. Doodie Machetto on

    “And to think, at this point last year, no one was overly concerned about Matt Cullen scoring on them. ”


  2. Jesus, 16 seconds left and we get scored on. I love how the Rangers decided to give away ALL the momentum going into the intermission. Sickening.

  3. That video reminds me why I miss JD so much.

    Not much to be said for that first 20 minutes. Carolina knows the Rangers weakness, and that’s speed and puck pressure.

  4. Anemic first half. Exactly why none of the Rangers are “off the hook.”

    And, again, a last minute goal. These Rangers are still not disciplined enough, nor can they play a whole game. Frustrating.

    Hopefully they explode on this PP and go on from there…

  5. C’mon Jags. That sucked. This team seems to think if they bust their butts and have a dominant period or a good game, it means they will always be dominant or good. They need to maintain that incredibly high energy and effort at ALL TIMES.


  6. This sort of letdown has been occuring much too often lately with this team… not a good effort tonight by the boys.

    I’m very disappointed in the “Garden Faithful” who boo more than they cheer for their team. Eff the fans! You know when the team is 10 games under .500 and we don’t have a great bunch of guys on the team do you boo your team. Shut the Eff up you aholes!

    I’m so sick of these jerks who feel like they can boo an then cheer when the team does well.

  7. Terrible showing tonight,
    what the hell is up with these sticks, I don’t care how light they are, they suck! Not that a goal by JJ at that stage of the game would have changed anything but it would have avoided a shutout, had it gone in. I can’t believe that the players are still using them.
    My mind is blown.
    Bobby Holik is good for one thing… he still uses a good wood stick and guess what… IT DOESN’T BREAK!!!

  8. I tried to post this the other night, but alas the site was down…sort of like our scoring.

    So now since we are back on the equipment talk, I have a little to add. Yes Reebok (technically adidas) owns CCM, Koho, Jofa – however the products are still made by the respective companies – that is why you will still see CCM, etc, logos out there along with the Rbk and the vector symbol.

    Jagr is not a Reebok endorsed athlete and therefore is by no means contracted to wear (endorse) its products, other than the NHL official apparel, unless he choses to. Notice he still wears his Bauer skates…an endorsed athlete would not be able to wear competitors products at all. But a stick is another deal. There are many Reebok endorsed athletes that wear the Rbk skates and performance apparel, but still use an Easton stick with visible logos. Therefore even if Jagr was with Rbk, he could still use the Easton stick.

    The glove issue could simply be similar to deals in the NFL: only certain athletic companies are officially allowed to showcase their cleats (more importantly LOGOs) on-field. For quites sometime those teams were Nike & Rbk. Just before the start of the season, Under Armour was designated as an “authorized supplier” of branded footwear. Athletes are allowed to wear whatever they want, but if the manufacturer is not NFL “authorized” the player must cover the logo and branding identifiers with tape. (Next time look at all the cleats and notice how many have tape on them.) So if the gloves are not authorized by the NHL, than possibly Bettman requests a logo of the league’s official sponsor be used to make nice…?

    Either way I agree with Sloot,and all the players, the sticks should NOT be breaking.

  9. vogs – agree 1000% re some of the Garden fans. I was near 2 of the more obnoxious fans who it seemed don’t like any of the Rangers. One looked like he never played a sport in his life. Just a big time loser that unfortunately has access to many games.

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