The greater of two evils

96

When the Rangers were losing those painful 1-0 games in October and players were saying it was at least better than giving up four of five every night, I figured we’d just have to take their word for it.

Now they’ve gone so far as to prove their own theory. Because they’re right: I am far less impressed with a team that can’t keep the puck out of its own net than one that may have just been a tad disjointed in the offensive zone to start the season.

Here’s the good news: Henrik Lundqvist will surely be better moving forward than he was last night. Here’s the bad news: the Rangers seem so collectively baffled by their performances the last two games, I have a hard time seeing them figuring it all out in time for tonight.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise me.

Some other thoughts:

  • If every skater on the Rangers’ roster played with the same urgency as Petr Prucha, this team wouldn’t be accused of such listless performances the last two games. Of course, if every skater on the Rangers’ roster was as productive with the puck on their stick as Prucha has been, there’d be a whole lot of zeroes on the board as well.

    It has reached a point where Prucha is not just off to a slow start. He is failing to get shots off he used to bury two seasons ago, and while he’s still been good at carrying the puck deep into the zone, he right now doesn’t seem like the fit for the power play. While Ryan Callahan is still looking for his first goal since coming back from a knee injury, the wing at least is proficient at getting the puck on net, which is what this team needs more than anything. I’d like to see him take Prucha’s spot on the man-advantage.

  • It’s funny how as soon as things go south, you pine for any alternative — Mara! Dawes! Jovanoski! — and this is the case after these last two games. I’m not so misguided to think Paul Mara’s return to the lineup is going to reverse the Rangers’ fortunes, but it would at least give the Rangers the opportunity to put Michal Rozsival back with Marc Staal, which was a promising first pair.

    That, of course, would mean Marek Malik would sit, or it would mean Malik could be paired with Mara in a third pairing. Why not? Can things be worse right now?

  • Here’s one way for the Rangers to settle themselves down: Score the first goal. If only it were that simple. But what we’ve seen the last two games is a team that has fallen behind and then tried to do too much in its efforts to get back in the game. That has left too many odd-man situations in their end, and with Lundqvist fighting the puck, the results have been devastating. In other words, the only way to build confidence is to stay in a game as long as possible.
  • Interesting tidbit from last night: You probably recall Dan Girardi’s blind backhand pass out of the corner which led to Toronto’s fourth goal . In my first edition story — i.e. the story I write before I head down to the dressing room — I made sure to point it out as a costly mistake. But then post-game, Brendan Shanahan announced to anyone who would listen that Girardi made the right decision, and that the pass was merely a set play that went awry. I don’t know if it was or not. The consummate team guy, Shanahan has been known to deflect criticism away from his teammates even if they may deserve it. But since I didn’t have room in my final edition story anyway, I made no mention of Girardi’s turnover.

    More later…

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    96 Comments

    1. Sam, Callahan scored on opening night against Florida.

      Straka Lecavalier Jagr
      Drury Gomez Shanahan
      Dawes Dubi Avery
      Callahan Betts Orr

      Rosi Staal
      Tuts Girardi
      Ranger Mara

      ha, keep dreaming

    2. well this prucha situation i hate to say it but i feel he is goin to be traded, what i would do if i was the rangers i would tag him with montoya and make on hell of a blockbuster trade. at the same time i want to say that i feel its unfair what has been happening with prucha, the year he had his 30 goals he was paird with jager i belive correct me if im wrong. since he has been taking off the top line his offense has gone completly down i could be wrong about all this but hey why not put it out there

    3. “While Ryan Callahan is still looking for his first goal of the season”

      Didn’t Callahans score in the first game of the season. Am I missing something, or did I just imagine that?

    4. Just a speed bump Renney?

      More like a friggin’ steamroller.

      Good thing they played two great games against the Isles and Ottawa or we’d all be calling for Renney’s head, or Jagr’s or Gomez’s or Drury’s or Prucha’s or Malik’s or Sather’s or…

    5. Straka Drury Jagr
      Dawes Gomez Shanahan
      Prucha Dubinsky Callahan
      Hossa Betts Orr

      Staal Rosizval
      Tyutin Girardi
      Baranka Mara

    6. It just bothers me that we could be getting caught in that same old trap of trying to ADD another STAR to the team to make the magic happen. The only way I’d want another STAR/Elite guy like Vinnie is if we drop Jagr in the same move. Actually, anything for Ovechkin.

      It’s even more embarrasing to be a Ranger fan when you have a stacked team and can’t score/don’t win. We should have the most terrifying powerplay in the NHL and it’s actually pathetic instead.

    7. The Dubi experiment should be stopped immediately. He’s fast and can dump the puck, but he can’t retrieve it. Straka and Jagr belong together, but they need a center like Gomez or Drury.. park Drury in front of the net for cleanup and let Jagr and Straka do all the passing.

      Girardi has had a couple of bad games, but he’s been exponentially more reliable than Malik has been his whole career. High sticking for a 4 minute minor and then getting Roszival?… Malik is a 2nd or 3rd pair d-man.. ask any Canes or Canucks’ fans.

    8. They got to sit the King tonight. I think he is getting a little to big for his britches. He was visibly upset after being pulled last night and thats good. Come back with Vally and it will light a fire under Hank’s a$$, I just feel that he has become a little cocky and the guy really is amazing and imho the best goalie is the league now but he needs to straighten his head out a little. Also ever since the comment about the team needing to score and all that junk I feel his play has been a little spotty.

      Prucha needs to sit and watch. Get Dawes or Moore back up here if need be although if he hasn’t left for the WJC give Anisimov a shot even if it’s at wing. Prucha needs to sit a game and watch just decompress and visualize what he needs to do to stay with the Rangers, otherwise he may need to call some movers..

    9. Sam said “While Ryan Callahan is still looking for his first goal since coming back from a knee injury”

      I dont know where you guys are getting

      steviek3b December 7th, 2007 at 10:10 am
      “While Ryan Callahan is still looking for his first goal of the season”

      Nasty 1 December 7th, 2007 at 10:03 am
      Sam, Callahan scored on opening night against Florida.

    10. Has anybody else noticed that it has been Roszival and NOT Malik who has been awful? Not to say that Malik hasn’t been bad, but defensively he is far more reliable than his linemate… Why does Jagr play more when he plays worse?… Initially I thought Gomez was a mistake and Drury was a good move, now I am switching-But how are they both making more than Dany Heatley?… Hank will be back, he’s in a slump, it happens to everyone… Some have to stop blaming the 3rd and 4th lines for not scoring and ask the question, which five forwards make up 60% of the salary cap? How many goals have each of them scored?

    11. I think Girardi’s pass was a set play as Shanahan said and that it was Drury who blew it. Drury was in front of the net headed toward the corner with Girardi. As the puck goes North, Drury fails to continue his path and the puck goes past him and all the way to the blue line.

      Also – Drury failed to tie the stick up (not sure which goal) on one of the rebound goals. It was not a good night for the Rangers as a team but lets not talk about Prucha as if he could have made a difference on his own.

      Drury has been good in spurts and terrible on the backcheck as rule.

    12. Man this is bad. Why is this team ALWAYS struggling?!! It’s unreal. They have the talent… they can NEVER use it correctly. These last two games have been flat out boring… we’ve clearly (by light years) been the worst team on the ice. It’s not even close!!!

      Usually there’s an answer to the questions/problems… but right now…

      WHERE DO YOU START?

      Front to back this team is abysmal right now. Right from the head coach down to the 4th liners… there is not one silver lining.

      To the opposition… it must look so easy to figure out what they’re giong to do and stopping it is so obvious. It’s a joke. When Jagr is on the ice… go to him… the puck will be… as soon as it gets on Straka or Dubi’s stick… it does. Disgusting.

    13. SAM if you want to get Prucha scoring, he has to also play on Jagr’s line with Straka so they can develop . Just throwing him with them on the PP is being half pregnant. Dubinsky does not belong with Jagr, Renney HAS TO change that NOW!

    14. the problem is not real complicated they have 5 wingers that cannot score for whatever reason. some are inept and some are in slumps..

      when they get avery back, add dawes, and sit hollwegg and some one else.. they they have a legit balanced offense….

      you cannot win with 2 lines and even the 2 lines are not exactly scoring like crazy.

      I have been watching the same guys for 2.5 yrs. refusing to shoot the dmn puck and defering to jagr way to much. I know Jagr is great but they defer too much……..

      SHOOT THE PUCK..

    15. I don’t know… do you give Jagr what he wants (straka as his center and Hossa on the other side). He has no excuses then… excpet for Nylander being a Cap I guess.

    16. Someone on this blog, not two days ago, wrote something like, “It’s difficult to find things to write about when you are in first place.”

      Boy what a difference two games make.

      On the one hand, we are still within a chip shot of being one of the premier teams in the conference.

      On the other hand, if we don’t skate and hustle and hit, and we approach every game on our heels waiting to react, we will get crushed every time. Toronto (and the Canes) dominated us by getting the puck deep, hitting, and outskating us. Sometimes they had 2 and 3 guys in an aggressive forecheck that we could not handle. The Rangers are too nonchalant in their own end.

      The team desperately misses Avery. We have no on-ice leader with any balls when he is not playing.

      Girardi had a bad game. That being said, Malik truly sucks. I am getting tired of saying this. I just don’t know what the F Renney sees that has him keeping this guy on the ice so much. It is a joke. He had more ice time than Staal last night. A laugh.

      Jagr’s game is possessing the puck. What I don’t get is that everytime he touches the puck 2 or 3 guys swarm to him and he cannot get the puck to his linemates or the D? It is so stupid.

      No one was finishing checks last night. No one was aggressively forechecking. I am so tired of the boring 1-2 forecheck where the forwards sit still waiting for the puck to come to them.

      Mara should be in tonight and Malik or Strudwick should be sat.

      I agree with the opinions here that Hank should be given a rest again tonight.

      Renney needs to get the troops going. He has to be the worst motivator in all of hockey. How could he not see after the first period that the Leafs were hitting, skating, and energized? The guy is blind.

    17. It’s amazing what a few hours can change. yesterday there was hardly anything to talk about. Now we’re back to trading 1/2 the organ-i-zation. Sure, I’m on board with most of the moves. But don’t expect too much. And for those of you that keep spitting that diareaha out of your mouth about dealing drury or gomez – go wipe up. you’re retarded. Prucha on the other hand should pack is friggin bags and toss them in malik’s trunk, and pick up hossa on the way to the airport.

      I see everyone offering there ideas of line combos. You can’t make too many dramatic changes overnight like that. It could lead to an even bigger disaster. but what the hell do i know.

      Doug – – on the topic of rozy/malik. If you recall last season when malik went out with the shoulder inj, rozy was horrible in that span too. Rozy’s an enigma himself. He’s certainly grown on me this year, but the only time he was really playing well(every night) was with staal. I’m sure that’s been ID’d by the stafff and they’ll make changes.

      also – – whoever said it, maybe having prucha watch a couple games IS the answer.

      FRUSTRATED.

    18. Hilarious

      “Prucha on the other hand should pack is friggin bags and toss them in malik’s trunk, and pick up hossa on the way to the airport.”

      I just spit up my soda after reading that for some reason. Ha.

    19. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Thank you, someone who finally sees whats going on – – Malik is bad in his own right, but Rozy is awful! Roszival (whose effort is starting to remind me of Nylander) is lazy to get to loose pucks (including icings), and ALWAYS lets the pass through him. I need not mention his physical play as forwards hit him off of the puck more than vice versa. I too love the fans on here ripping the third and fourth line players. SO, here’s how a few guys size up the last two games, +/-:
      Dubinsky -5
      Straka -5
      Jagr -4
      Roszival -4
      Gomez -2
      Drury -1
      Hossa -1
      Orr -1
      Hollweg 0

      What do you think now? Orr and Hollweg’s jobs are to play the opposing TOP-lines and shut them down, THEY ARE DOING THAT RELATIVELY WELL!!! Not only that, but against Carolina the best offensive pressure was produced by the 4th line! But now look at the other lines, not only are our “top players” struggling to score, but they’re letting goals in at alarming rates.

      Put the blame where it lies.

      “top players” = BIG $$$

    20. True Fans – – Although +/- is often deceiving, the 4th line is the only line that never really ‘calls it in’. They can’t, cause if they do, they sit. I don’t expect them to score. I’m actually surprised they have so many collective points as they do.

    21. a repost but I think it sums everything up

      You know your team is in trouble when your top 10 goal producers are comprised of 3 Defensmen(3,6,7) and Dawes(8) who is now in Hartford.

    22. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      I just realized that -1 for Orr is actually Jagr’s -5, that sneaky SoB (I almost forgot) . LoL – Do you remember when Jagr broke his stick on a PP shot agaginst the Canes and skated (gingerly) back to the bench. The puck went through his feet (right between his legs) and was picked up by a Cane coming from the box and challenged only by Straka. Orr jumped on the ice for Jagr and seconds later that Hurricane player scored. So, consider Jagr -5 too.

    23. people are going off on Rozy but does anyone not realize the fact that Malik is actually making him worse? It’s no coincidence that Rozy was playing out of his mind when Staal was paired with him. Rozy can’t do half the things he did with Staal when with Malik, because he has to worry about covering his own ass when he is with Malik because Malik is so slow, lazy, and inept at doing anything productive. Rozy can’t jump into the play for fear of what will happen with Malik being the only one back. It’s sad when Rozy trusts more in a 20 year old rookie then a league veteran.

    24. I remember it. And jagr said he didn’t know they puck was at his feet. … AFTER HE LOOKED AT IT.
      I hope we don’t resign him and go after a FA this summer. Some “captain”.

    25. Rob – totally. i think most people here realize that. The ones that don’t just want to bitch and moan.

    26. Well said Rob…let me delete what I just was about to post regarding Malik/Rozi…you said it all.

    27. How things change..!!
      Back-to-back losses and its time to rip it up and start again..!!
      Dubi’s had a couple of bad games (maybe a rest is required or swap with Drury for a couple of games on line 3?), Roszival needs to be back with Staal and Malik in the 3rd pair with Mara/Struds or in the press box. Prucha is having a bad run and Henrik’s had a bad couple of games. Other than that we’re 28 games in, 15-11-2 and looking good….

    28. Sorry to say, but I would not call 15-11-2 looking that good. Not at all. It is not down right awful, but all things considered, if this team came to play and stuck to the formula of bodies and shots at the net, we would be a lot better.

    29. Nasty – I’m going to twist your words a tad and turn that into a statement to say that – Renney’s system works. But the players have to stick with it. Shanny has said over and over, when they follow the plan, they win games.

      no?

    30. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Beer Me, I think you’re right. Last year the slump ended with a Brashear vs Shanny heavyweight matchup. But then the Rangers went into another slump in February. I think this slump will end the same way that one did…by way of aquisition, except this time a trade isn’t necessary.

    31. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Rob and Richard S, I respectfully disagree with your opinions. Please see last year’s stats.
      Roszival with 41 points in 80 games +10
      Malik with 21 points in 69 games +32

      Hmmm…the stats from the past two years do not confirm your logic. The flaw extends to their careers before the Rangers where Roszival is a career even and Malik about +70.

    32. When is Cherepanov and Anisimov coming? That’s all I have to say.

      Forget about trading Drury and Gomez, they are playing under the shadow of Jagr right now. Wait until it becomes their team.

    33. They need to reunite the Staal-Rozsival pair. I know the excuse will be that Malik-Mara pair might not gell or isn’t the swiftest skaters. Let’s not forget the first few months Renney continued to trot out a Rachunek-Ozolinsh pair out instead of calling Girardi up. The Rangers are a better team when Staal plays 20+ minutes. The 4th goal while not a good play by Girardi shouldn’t have ended up in the back of the net. That was another wretched goal Lundqvist let up in a night of wretched goals against. It was an ugly one last night. The Rangers d had all kinds of problems with the slow and plodding Toronto forwards. The other issue was the Rangers forwards other than Callahan and Prucha couldn’t get a good forecheck against a ridiculously immobile defense. Did Straka even play last night? Amazing that an all world player like Jagr is always shut down by the likes of a Hal Gil. Gomez and Drury looked good on the pp but 5 on 5 did nothing. I would sit Lundqvist tonight. He really has struggled vs Atlanta during the regular season. I think with his rebound control issues lately it could be an ugly one.

    34. Graves9 – I noticed the same from straka last night. It just goes to show you how much certain guys mean to the team. When you don’t hear his name, you notice it.

    35. I also think it might be time to start rolling 3 lines and only use the 4th line sparingly. Ryan Hollweg is not an NHL player. he can barely skate and stick handle at the same time. He constantly loses the puck skating by himself when he tries to make a move.

    36. Sam: Why bench Malik … Strudwick needs a break … he has been bad the past 3-5 games … let him sit for a couple of games.

      Also, there is a rumor that Jokinen is on the block – salary for salary – what do you think of a Jokinen for Gomez trade? … Gomez is weak — the Devil system definitely protected him. Get Jokinen in here. Thoughts?

    37. Gomez and Drury are NOT going anywhere. Gomez and Drury are going to be the foundation for years to come with this team. And once Jagr is gone, they are going to dictate how this team plays. Not this eurocrap that doesn’t work in today’s NHL.

    38. Don’t get me wrong. Last two years when Straka Nylander Jagr were a line, it was magical. In the sense where they had amazing chemistry. But Nylander is not here anymore and we are a different team. A team plays a system. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

    39. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Get Jokinen in here in a heart beat! Drury (unless he turns it around) has been missing scoring chances the opposing team puts on a silver platter for him and Gomez is a human turnover.

      Rob L. Hollweg and Betts are the only two players to not be on the ice for a goal against. They are doing their jobs. Giving more ice-time to the top 3 lines (the ones NOT scoring AND also allowing up the goals) is not the answer.

    40. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      *the last 2 games.

      Again, you guys who think Hollweg, Hossa, Prucha, and the 4th line are the problem are trying to put a band-aid on a wound inflicted by a grenade!!!

      Jagr, Straka, Drury, Gomez, and Shanahan don’t have a goal in these two awful losses. Look at their +/-!!! Jagr, Straka (minus 5) and Shanahan don’t even have a point!

      Stop blaming the minions. Not only are the leaders not leading, they’re not even playing!!!

    41. The 4th line has been by far the best line the team has had the last week or so. In fact they’ve been the teams only consistent line all year. The top three lines right now are the problem not the 4th.

    42. the 4th line been the best is because your standard of evluation for them is a joke… again Hollwegg what does he bring to the game??/A few checks.. the guy is weak in both zones..

      if you have 4 lines that can play both ways it makes a world of difference…

    43. Doodie Machetto on

      Wow. A lot to digest.

      Just to respond to some poster up top who had a horrible post:

      “well this prucha situation i hate to say it but i feel he is goin to be traded, what i would do if i was the rangers i would tag him with montoya and make on hell of a blockbuster trade”

      Blockbuster my ass. That would yield almost no return. Nobody wants Montoya until he plays in the NHL, and even then, he’s not worth shit. Biron, a legitamate starter in the NHL, got Philly’s 2nd round pick. What do you think an AHL goaltender is worth?

      “prucha, the year he had his 30 goals he was paird with jager i belive correct me if im wrong”

      Corrected. the only time he was paired with Jagr was on the PP.

      “i could be wrong about all this but hey why not put it out there”

      There’s a quote attributed to Abe Lincoln that I think responds well to this “‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

      Now, turning to more important business.

      First, I think the issue is to evaluate. Then diagnose the problem. Finally, come up with a solution to the problem.

      Let’s look at some of our forwards:

      Jagr, Straka, Shanahan, Drury, Gomez, Prucha.

      What do these guys all have in common? They have all scored 30+ goals in a season at the NHL level, and when a team is thinking offense, should be a guaranteed 20 each. Not to mention that Avery, Callahan, and Dawes are SHOULD be capable of chipping in 20 as well. That’s 9 forwards who should be scoring AT LEAST 20 goals. How many forwards do we have on pace for 20 this year? 2. Now, it can be pointed out in response that Straka cracked 30 only once, almost 10 years ago, and Gomez only cracked 20 or 30 once, and I will respond to both of those. For Straka, he was well on pace for 30 LAST year before he got hurt. He still managed to score 29. For Gomez, he is just two seasons removed from that. And in the year he did score it, it was because he was relied upon to do it (Elias had Hep A for most of the season). So, in theory, if we rely on him to do it, he should be equal to the task. If nothing else, he should be getting a TON of helpers.

      Our defense has been good, with the exception of the past two games. Even yesterday, Tyutin and Girardi managed to score. Someone had mentioned Rozsi being bad defensively, but those problems weren’t so apparant when he was paired with Staal, were they? In fact, when he’s paired with Staal, he’s a much better defenseman (and less likely to take his partner’s stick to the face). Tyutin-Girardi are a solid 2nd pair. And Mara has played well enough for a 3rd pairing defenseman, whether he was paired with Staal or Strudwick. Strudwick is filling a spot.

      Hossa, Betts, Hollweg, Orr are all role players, and, if limited to their roles, should never have more than 13 minutes of ice a night (unless a significant portion is killing penalties).

      Diagnosis: The offense isn’t working. I know that this isn’t exactly a breakthrough, but the thing is we have to figure out WHY it isn’t working. I am reminded of a scene from the movie Swingers, where Vince Vaughan and Sue are trying to tell Jon Favreau how to pick up a woman. And they tell him he’s like a big bear with the sharp claws and big teeth and woman is like a little bunny. Well, our forwards are the big bear and a goal is the little bunny. With all of this we don’t know how to kill the bunny!

      Clearly, the issue is coaching. It’s like Renney picks three guys, puts them together, and tell them to figure it out. He should be telling THEM to figure it out. He should tell THEM what to do. Straka-Gomez-Jagr should work. Why doesn’t it work? Because Renney couldn’t get them to go with one plan. Let’s think about Nylander’s role in Straka-Nylander-Jagr: Hold the puck until Jagr or Straka is open for a good shot. You’re telling me that Gomez can’t do that? I would argue that Gomez is just as good of a passer as well: look at the two back door passes he set up last night on the PP. That’s just ONE example; there are many others.

      Solution: Fire Renney. Give Jim Schoenfeld the head coaching job.

    44. Nylander was a much better stick handler than Gomez. Gomez is quicker, but Nylander is far and away the better stick handler.

      Anyway, here is my idea for lines.
      Prucha – Straka – Jagr \\ Maybe Jagr will wake up if he’s playing with 2 of his countrymen and maybe Prucha will wake his ass up if he plays with Jagr

      Drury – Gomez – Shanny \\ These three are money on the PP, try them at ES

      Hossa – Dubinsky – Callahan \\ Cally and Dubi will probably work very well together. Put Avery in Hossa’s spot when he returns.

      Hollweg – Betts – Orr \\ The current fourth line, when Avery returns, either sit Hossa or swap Hossa with one of the wings.

      Rozsival – Staal
      Tyutin – Girardi
      Mara – Malik

    45. Doodie Machetto on

      “Not this eurocrap that doesn’t work in today’s NHL.”

      I don’t see Ilya Kovalchuk crashing the net, yet somehow he leads the league in goals.

      And you point out that Straka-Nylander-Jagr were “magical” but they played the archetypical “eurocrap” style, did they not?

      And Look at Heatley-Spezza-Alfredssen. Almost everyone of their goals is a highlight reel string of passing. They aren’t scoring north-south goals either, and last time I checked, Spezza and Heatley are North American.

      I hate all of this Euro/North-American bullshit.

    46. Doodie – you thouroughly just dissapointed me. I thought you were going to come up with a solution. What a cop-out.

      1) Schoenfeld already turned down the job once.

      2) Renney needs to teach these guys how to score goals? Didn’t you state that they had already been productive in there careers without him?

      3) I have a meeting to go to. Come up with a real solution. I think you have it in you.

    47. Doodie Machetto on

      “Nylander was a much better stick handler than Gomez. Gomez is quicker, but Nylander is far and away the better stick handler”

      Nylander is a better stickhandler, but Gomez isn’t a slouch. His speed should more than make up for not being as good with the stick. Nylander would spin, Gomez can just go somewhere else.

    48. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Gomez cannot hold onto the puck, Doodie. He can’t – he’s Matt Cullen with a sprinkling of stick-handling ability. But, once he gets into the offensive zone he turns it over – watch his powerplay penetration, its usually awful.

      I give you his passing ability is about equal to Nylander but the difference (and it is HUGE) is the ability to hold onto the puck for Straka and Jagr to get open – and then make the pass. Can’t finish the second part (pass) if you can’t complete the prior task (puck possession).

    49. Doodie…you are so money and you don’t even know it. That is what Beer Me! is saying….

      And I have to say, I am getting tired of everyone putting their lines together on this blog. Next time Sather wants some suggestions, I am sure he is looking on this blog (that is if he doesn’t get, “URL unavailable” messages popping up.)

    50. It worked last year, with those three players. Kovalchuk shoots the puck from EVERYWHERE on the ice. He is a shoot first player. And he has people crashing the net. I meant that that line the last two years was magical in terms of all 3 players clicked. And speaking of Kovalchuk, what good are all of his goals if his team is not winning. Atlanta is better than they were, but still are not a good club. Relax Cochese.

    51. they are not firing a coach that has led them 2 the playoffs the last 2 yrs and should do that againthis yr. with a roster of many many young players.

      they need to drop this 4th line nonsense(suit them against Philly like teams only) and try to get more production from callahan, prucha, dawes, avery, etc.

      I will leave the line combo’s to the coaches..

      also on Malik I until now have not understood the dislike for him but I am finally seeing it.. the highsticking penalites last night.. 1 penalty and 1 to roszival’s face, the lack of using his body etc, probably outweigh hi outlet pass.

      I play with strudwick, mara, and malik and figure that out but put staal back with roszival ans=d see how that works..

      the rangers have alot of talent and many options(dawes, and others) to make changes without making a big trade which is not happening…..

    52. newman the sad thing is Renney doesn’t know who to put with who especially with Jagr & Straka. But I doubt he reads considering how much he talks. NO TIME! ;-)

    53. Beer Me! if you want the real solution to the problem it is to trade Jagr. This entire offense centers around everyone trying to get him the puck. Take Jagr out of the picture and the Rangers become more of a team with interchangeable parts. Drury could then move to 1st line center and everything else would fall into place.

      I realize trading Jagr isn’t going to happen but I think the team would benefit greatly from it.

    54. And if you understood my post you would see that I mean all three players had to know how to play that style. We don’t have three that can play it well this year, thus, it doesn’t work. I am sick of a lot of bullshit too, but take a valium and relax before you start picking arguments on here.

    55. Doodie Machetto on

      Beer Me!

      “2) Renney needs to teach these guys how to score goals? ”

      Yes and no. What I was pointing out is that they are capable finishers, but when they are all doing their own things, no one is getting the chances that they like.

      It’s Renney’s job to get them on the same page, for him to come up with lines that have very high potentials on paper, and then make them work in reality, even if they are crappy at first. That’s what coaching is. He needs to come up with things that have high celings and make them reach those ceilings, even if at the start of the process they have low floors

      Instead, he’s been doing it backwards. He’s been picking three guys who start off in reality showing some hint of being good together, but being really limited potentially on paper. He’s starting with high floors, but moving towards low ceilings. That’s just not how it’s done.

      As for Schoenfeld, my hands are tied by the fact that we’re in season. We can’t take any coaches or assistant coaches from other teams during the season.

    56. Bob Hartley would whip this team into shape in about 3 seconds.

      Gomez is just as good as Nylander, but Nylander plays a puck possession game while Gomez is better off the rush.

    57. Doodie Machetto on

      “once he gets into the offensive zone he turns it over – watch his powerplay penetration, its usually awful.”

      That I have noticed, but I know why. He skates in alone. He gets into the zone and is by himself against 4 defenders. Of course he turns it over. So would Nylander if he went in 1 on 4. I’m talking about once presence is established in the zone. He can hold the puck if he keeps his legs moving, and at the least, draw penalties.

    58. That play Girardi made last night was exactly the same as one Malik made v. Buffalo last playoffs. Malik missed Nylander last year, and Girardi missed Straka last night. So there may be some truth to Shanny;s comments. . . . .

      By the way, when Malik did it, I told anyone who would listen that it wasn’t his fault. Let’s see how the fans perceive Girardi’s turnover. . . .

    59. I’m sorry. All these long analyses and sell-offs and new lines and call-ups and blah blah blah. What this team needs to do is simple: play harder. They lose so often when they simply don’t play with aggression or ferocity, which is why they win when Avery is in the lineup and lose when he is not. If the other players could get their freaking emotions into their legs, they would win. The Rangers don’t need an overhaul, they need a bitch slap. And that is the only reason I will fault Renney, who doesn’t (at least publicly) seem able to motivate them.

      Oh, and I do think it’s clear that on matter what he says, Lundqvist is human and needs to be rested, against his will, every so often. He’s not Brodeur or Fuhr yet.

    60. Doodie Machetto on

      “Bob Hartley would whip this team into shape in about 3 seconds”

      He couldn’t even control his team during last year’s playoffs (remember Kovalchuk’s complete meltdown?) or at the start of this season. He’s a lousy choice.

      “Gomez is just as good as Nylander, but Nylander plays a puck possession game while Gomez is better off the rush.”

      Exactly right, and exactly my point. It’s Renney’s job to get Gomez to play a possession game. He’s young, he’s talented, and he’s certainly capable of doing that. Yes, it would be rough at first, but when it finally starts to click, it will be better than going “you, you, and you. Not working? ok then, you, you, and you.”

      There’s no offensive system, just him picking combinations of the guys who were adequate with each other the quickest. No investment in coming up with some killer combinations, just a patchwork job. You’re like a big bear man!

      As for potential coaches, if you’re willing to try someone who hasn’t been a head coach in the NHL, Brent Peterson of the Nashville Predators should be near the top of your list. If you want a former coach that isn’t coaching right now, I’d say Jacques Demers, or even Barry Melrose (kidding!).

    61. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Doodie, while I agree with you that Gomez’s failure lies in his rushes 1 on 4, it also points out why Jagr is probably the WORST compliment for him. The reason Jagr and Nylander worked was because they played such a heavy east-west game that it drew double-team coverage on one or both of them leaving other people open or at least giving them time to get free. Jagr plays just as much a North-South game as Gomez plays an East-West game. Jagr’s not going to play a north-south crash the net game (Renney tried it with Shanny last year, it failed). And Gomez couldn’t adapt to an East-West game which I don’t even think he can play (as you said, he plays best on the rush). Therefore, by your own reasoning, I don’t believe they are a good compliment at all.

    62. Rob L – totally. Nothing further to discuss on that front. Unfortunately its a long shot.

      Doodie – I understand what you’re saying, but I still don’t buy it. Nothing personal. I don’t expect to agree with everyone all the time. We’ll just have to disagree on this one. And we all know that mid-season changes to the coaching staff won’t happen. That is unless we don’t win again before xmas! haha

      Newman – please keep reminding everyone that noone cares about their line combos. post that everyday!

      Chris F – I’ll have to agree that they need a little more motivation. But lets try to look a little more at the (ahem) captain, and less at the coaching staff.

      Which brings me to another point – Pearn runs the PP, Pelino the D. So when you talk about PP lines….direct the bashing to Pearn, not Renney.

      I always defend Renney – for lots of reasons. But he can take a page out of MacTavishes book on this one.

      http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=224606&hubname=

    63. Doodie – I’ll add one more good/available coach out there. Pat Burns.

      That’s not to be taken as ‘I want a new coach’.

    64. Doodie Machetto on

      Beer Me! – what specifically don’t you agree with?

      As for Pat Burns, he quit coaching because he has cancer. Otherwise, he would still be coaching the Devils.

      “The reason Jagr and Nylander worked was because they played such a heavy east-west game that it drew double-team coverage on one or both of them leaving other people open or at least giving them time to get free.”

      But you agreed with me that Gomez going in draws FOUR defenders. I’ve seen him do this with Shanahan, where he’ll gain the zone and then just play the puck into open space on the wing. This will play even more to Jagr’s strength because he can just hang by the blue line and wait for Gomer to gain the zone.

      And yes, I think Gomez plays best off the rush, but whose strengths do you think it is best to play to, Gomez’s or Jagr’s? Gomez can adapt to Jagr’s style, and it’s Renney’s job to get him to do it.

    65. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      Shanahan is a North-South player. Jagr isn’t, he doesn’t rush the zone unless he has the puck and even then its usually a little dance at the blueline. Every N American style player who has been tried with Jagr has failed (Shanny, Gomez, and even Avery when he’s filled in at wing – always offsides).

      I respect your opinion and I think its a good idea, but at this point I don’t believe Jagr would listen to Renney or be all too happy with Gomez on his line. We all know who really makes the lines for this team too…68

    66. Doodie Machetto on

      True Fans, if you’ll notice, I’m not suggesting that Jagr change anything. I know he won’t. I’m suggesting that Gomez bend to Jagr.

    67. I don’t agree that Renney is the reason the team’s not scoring. I think it’s the players. More specifically, Jagr.
      Also, I saw a week or so ago that Burns(y) is near healthy and would like to return. There was a weak rumor about going back to the Leafs.

      If I hear him say “what can you do?” after another loss – I’m going to have a jagr jersey burning party! You’re the “captain”. You need to do better than that. The players deserve more from their captain.

      And so many of you guys that keep spitting out these different line combos…I have a feeling if the one’s you’re proposing were the current lines….you’d want something else anyway! Just an observation.

      SAM – – we need an update! Who’s starting in net? Is Malik on waivers yet?

    68. Im not saying this because i dont like Malik, but his 4 minut penalty was moronic, the play was completely frozen, at least to me it seemed like the puck was under, or in control of Hank, and he tried to lift Bells stick, i mean talk about the worst kind of luck. Then he Simonizes his own teamate, and rips Rozi’s face apart.

      The thing i hate about this team, is after the 4 – 0 loss, and a 6 – 2 loss, they dont even do anything, no big hits, no punches thrown, where the hell are there balls, i mean Cally challenged Steen, and Dubi was getting on everyones nerves, but still. I wanted to see in the final seconds, anyone just take a run at someone and give them a beatdown. I can care less if any of you think thats classless, every other team does it, why not NYR. I wanted to see Hollweg take a cheap shot at that hit and run artist Bell, baaad.

      Never the less, now we have to deal with another cheap shot artist, Exelby. Awesome ! I hope Hollweg throws an elbow at his friggin head like he did in 05 – 06, lol, Jags loved it, i really miss that Hollweg.

    69. Newsflash they are not trading Jagr, so solutions to there problems that include him being traded are laughable…

    70. Zipay indicates Valley in net tonight.

      re trading JJ – how about him Malik, Hossa, Montoya and Jessiman for Sid the Kid and Malkin.

    71. Jagr has 1.5 yrs left at most.. they are not trading him.. edmonton was retooling the rangers are going for it.. 3 of there top 5 scores are over 35)jagr, straka, and shanny)…

      they are not trading jagr, there is a cap in place it was not when gretzky was taded..

      no chance in hell…..

    72. Lauren – Zip of newsday is in atl. I don’t think Sam travels out of the division – probably a costs issue.

    73. Seamus O Riley on

      bottom line: the defense is much worse with Malik in the lineup. It is not just his lack of ability, it is also the pairings….I simply cannot believe Renney can be as stupid as to take off Staal and Rosi just to accomidate malikenstein.

      Actually, I cannot believe he is even in the NHL. The minutes he gets baffles me. Even calling for him to be in the 3rd pair is destructive.

      What is Strudwick? A defenseman? A winger? He is good at neither, though he works hard. We HAVE a defensive corp and we don’t need Malik and Strudwick (though when asleep, Struds will still be bettr than Malik).

      Bring up Baranka. Give ANYONE a chance over Malik. Stop limiting Staal’s minutes. This kid is really coming along.

      We have to solve the Jagr v Shanny thing ASAP or we will be looking at an early exit from the playoffs.

    74. Seamus O Riley on

      talk about Renney’s idiocy:

      What is with his love affair with Hossa? Does Hossa have to go from February 2007 to February 2008 WITHOUT A SINGLE GOAL FOR SOMEONE TO REALIZE THAT HE IS NOT A NHL PLAYER?

      Yes, my CAPS are yelling!

      Man, it is awful to watch Hossa and Malik. Two really bad players that Renney sabotages the team just to show his loyalty.

      Renney may be a nice guy, but he is not tough enough to be a coach in the NHL and bring a team to the Cup. If we were having a losing streak on the west coast, he would have them rollerblading together, chasing blondes.

    75. Doodie –

      Hartley’s team fell apart because there were many players on that team (Kovalchuk case in point) that had never been to the playoffs. The core of this team has been through 3 playoff series together. Atlanta was a laughing stock until Hartley got there.

      You’re also way off on Gomez. You can’t force a player to stop doing all the things that made him successful in order to mesh with another player. They either mesh, or they don’t. I’d like to see Prucha on a line with Gomez and Straka. That’d be a poor mans version of the Gomez/Elias/Gionta line. Straka plays a similar style to Elias (not as talented, though he works harder) and Prucha could play Gionta’s role (go to the net hard and dig for the rebounds, screen the goalie etc.

      Look every other combo has been tried. I’d even try an Avery/Drury/Jagr line. Just start throwing crap together and see what sticks. It can’t get worse than it is now.

    76. Seamus O Riley on

      True Fans Bleed RW&B December 7th, 2007 at 3:13 pm
      Shanahan is a North-South player. Jagr isn’t, he doesn’t rush the zone unless he has the puck and even then its usually a little dance at the blueline. Every N American style player who has been tried with Jagr has failed (Shanny, Gomez, and even Avery when he’s filled in at wing – always offsides).
      I respect your opinion and I think its a good idea, but at this point I don’t believe Jagr would listen to Renney or be all too happy with Gomez on his line. We all know who really makes the lines for this team too…68>>>

      Good post, TrueFansBleed.

      Well said.

    77. Seamus O Riley on

      stuart December 7th, 2007 at 2:08 pm

      also on Malik I until now have not understood the dislike for him but I am finally seeing it.. the highsticking penalites last night.. 1 penalty and 1 to roszival’s face, the lack of using his body etc, probably outweigh hi outlet pass.>>

      Stuart, how many games have you watched? you cannot go by listening to the shills..you have to watch Malik, stand around like a doofus, and REPEATEDLY back away from a hit, and clear the puck RIGHT IN FRONT OF LUNDQVST. RARELY will the announcers say anything negative. They even went as far, this year, as questioning why the fans (who ultimately pay their salaries) would boo Malik.

      NY fans are sophisticated. More watch without sound than these idiots realize.

      Malik takes lazy penalties and often goals are scored when he is in the box. Doesn’t bother his +- stat at all.

      He is not even an AHL player.

      Watch him tonight —if not benched—-forget the announcers and just watch this guy avoid hits, avoid being hit, and watch what he does with the puck; over and over and over. Watch the looks from Lundqvst. You’ll see that a broken or unplugged vacuum cleaner would do a better job out there than Malik, who, by the way, is 6’5″ and plays worse than my grandmother, godresthersoul, worm food for 7 years now.

      Just forget Joe Mich and WATCH Malik

    78. Lines of (1)Hossa, Straka, Jagr- (2) Drury, Gomez, Shanny, (3) Kid line of Prucka, Dubinsky & Callahan & (4) of the course the checking line of Hollweg, Betts & Orr might be worth a try until Avery comes back. The team let the Ottawa game go to their heads. They haven’t checked, hit or played with any passion since. Jagr unfortunately drives this team. Too much to say

    79. Orr was the only noticeable player on the ice last night. He and he alone turned the first period around, he took a shiner for the team. I can not believe I’m saying this but our Orr was the best player on the ice last night.
      The other thing I can’t stand to say is maybe Jagr has to go. I know it won’t happen.
      And why are the lines built around Jagr? What the hell has Jagr done? He won a few Cups with the Pens… and since then what?
      I know he’s a great player and I really do like this team but I’m starting to wonder.
      I say build the team around Staal, Dubinski, Callahan and Hank. Maybe its time to start putting the piece around the young players and not the young players around the “stars”.
      PS. These are definitely comments born of frustration!
      If they win tonight and beat the Devs on Sunday everything will be peachy in Rangerland again

    80. I’ll be the first to admit that Hossa’s scoring skills are non-existent (right now, at least) but I give him credit in that he busts his ass on almost every shift. And that’s something I would like to say about more of the team. Maybe that doesn’t make him an NHL player because results matter in the pros, but it makes me like him as a Ranger and understand why he gets opportunities from the staff.

    81. staal b=dubinsky, callihan, are not ready to build around..

      the team is going thru a tough stretch.. the changes that need to be are minor; bench malik or strudwick or both…

      bench hollwegg and hossa or others;; bring up dawes and play avery when he is back..

      the most I see is 4 different players in the lineup from last night and that is not that that significant..

      really no strudwick or malik, add mara and put staal with roszival…add avery and dawes 2 guys who can skate and score and sit hollwegg(does nothing well except an occasional hit) and sit hossa or Orr..This adds 2 guys who can score an occasional goal.

      then they have a deep team………..

    82. Terrific job right here. I seriously enjoyed what you had to say. Keep heading because you surely bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Nicely, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see far more of this from you.

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