A one game winning streak? Perfect time for another Q-and-A


Due to the combination of server problems, child rearing, child expecting, home renovations, and overall hectic schedule, we haven’t had a Q-and-A in a while.

Well, the Rangers are off today and don’t play until Wednesday, so the timing might be right.


The way it works: submit your questions about the team in the comments section below and I’ll answer the best of them in a post today (or at very worst, tomorrow).

I’m assuming there will be questions about why Tom Renney sticks with Brandon Dubinsky at center for Jaromir Jagr, whether the Rangers have any moves in the works, why they can’t score any goals, and whether I was dropped on my head as a small child.

In the meantime, here’s my story on “yesterday’s dramatic win over the Devils”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071210/SPORTS01/712100359.

Until later..

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  1. Sam – one for Jagr – has he thought about going to see a hypnotist to convince him he doesn’t have to take the perfect shot all the time?

  2. Sam why won’t Renney take Dubinsky off Jagr’s line? WHEN? If he can’t see it’s need, I’m questioning his judgement, personality, insight, fears, ability to change, etc. It’s beyond comprehension to leave Jagr in a slump, and Dubinsky in over his head. It’s the definition of insanity.

  3. Hey Sam,
    Here’s my question:
    As we’ve seen of the course of the season thus far, the Rangers players seem to have bought into Tom Renney’s defense first system. As we all know, there is tremendous pressure on the players to score more goals. In the last few weeks, we saw the Rangers break through a few times, scoring 4 goals in several games and even 5 against the Sens. But what I seem to observe is that, for the most part, when the increase in offense seems to detract somewhat from the defense, and we’ve seen that when the forwards don’t backcheck as much, the defense seems to struggle. So my question is this: Do you expect that the Rangers will continue to focus more on defense, not really worry about scoring a bunch of goals, and continue rather to play stingy defense? It would seem that the type of game that was played against the Debbies last night is more like a playoff game than, say, the type of game Colorado and St. Louis played last night (9-5 score). Wouldn’t it be smart to become even more comfortable in those very low-scoring games than they are already, to try to get themselves accustomed to playoff-type hockey? I know it won’t please the fans nearly as much as scoring 4, 5, or 6 goals a night, but isn’t the team more likely to go further into the playoffs with tight, defensive hockey?

  4. Seamus O Riley on

    Sam, do you think we will see some serious roster changes including:



    I know I am a broken record, but really believe that, right from camp, Dawes beat out Hossa for a spot, and that Malik does not possess the talent to even be on the roster, or even the roster for hartford (passes in front of Lundqvst, slow footed, does not hit, often scored against when he takes a lazy hooking penalty–he keeps the nice +/- in tact because he is either in the box when they score, or on the ice when Jagr scores)

    I could go on, but these two, in particular, I believe, hurt the team. We have some dead weight, even in spite of effort:

    Peter Prucha
    Ryan Hollweg

    I think we have the talent to take their places AND give us some goals….


    will we extend a contract to Avery mid season? I am not a fan of his, but I cannot deny that we do better with him in the lineup. I think if we don’t give him a contract mid-season, he walks after….due to the insults.

    Lastly……….any remote chance that we would trade Jags, while he still has value, hand the team over to North American Shanny? I would LOVE to see him return to Pittsburg, get the nostalgia thing for the fans, and we get………

    Staal in return.

    Hey, I can dream. NY fans are notorious for dreaming!



  5. Sam,

    With all due respect to Brandon Dubinski, I do not feel he is the correct center for Jagr and Straka. I feel he would do much better with a European center. Is there any way the Rangers can package Hossa, Malik and/or a draft pick for a European type center? If so, what is to become of Dubinski?

  6. joejoe – from the prev thread – I wish everyone would agree. But there’s too many boneheads out there that just like to blame the coach. They would complain no matter who’s behind the bench. They’re the same idiots that keep spitting out line combos everyday here.

    Great win behind Captain Shanny last night.

    My xmas wish: Shanny stays for 3 years(till he’s 42), Jagr walks after this year. Shanny the next Rangers (official) captain.

  7. SAM – Has Jagr done any experimenting with different sticks recently since the old one’s were discontinued? Can you find out if there are any ‘unusual’ techniques he’s been trying to get out of this slump?

    Also – Can you ask Tom if he can comment about MacTavishes benching of Torres and Stoll due to their lack of production in EDM, and if he would consider sitting a big name player(JJ) as motivation? (no, Malik is not a big name. just big in stature and salary…doesn’t count)

  8. Sam,

    Why does Renney feel the need to use the Hollweg-Betts-Orr when the Rangers are losing or the game is tied? Last night, if I remember correctly, he had them on the ice for two offensive zone draws with under five minutes left. It is one thing to have this line play when the team is winning but when they are losing or tied, these are the last guys you want on the ice.

  9. Sam – Do you think that Renney is hoping Malik will ask for a trade?.. I would give Santa a big hug if this was so!

  10. David, I’ll answer the question for you. They helped us win the game last night. They helped us end a losing streak. They helped us end a long winning streak for a rival. Why would you question that of all things?

    To further that, the LAST guy I want on the ice at that time of the game is Jagr. IMO.

    Speaking of who was on the ice at what time…what a great 4-man combo of toots/girardi, gomer/shanny for OT.

  11. I feel that Drury should be centering Jagr and Straka, rather than Dubinsky. I think Drury would be a better fit, with his amazing faceoff abilities and also he goes to the net and he also shoots right, which I think we need a right handed shot on that line. Also if we put Dubinsky on the line of Prucha and Callahan that would be a high energy line,also Dubinsky and Callahan played on the same line in Hartford last year and lit it up in the AHL last year.
    Also I think that we should try to trade Malik for something ie a bag of pucks, or put him in the minors, or on recall waivers to see if anyone will pick him up for half the salary. I would like to see Schneider back with the Rangers, but that is a big contract but yet a player I think we need for our struggling Powerplay. What are your thoughts Sam?

  12. Hey Sam,

    Do you think that one of the reason’s Jagr isn’t scoring like old is because he has to share his big minutes with the likes of Gomez, Drury, and Shanny? On top of that Tom Renney is not afraid to role 4 lines, something I have never seen on Broadway. I’m not sure what the numbers are of average ice time but I remember 05-06 the big guy was on the ice what seemed to be like the entire game. Just a thought.

    Also, do you see any difference in the Captain’s mood and demeanor inside the locker room from years past?

  13. longtimerangersfan on

    I’m so sick of Jagr’s long shifts and his “gliding” to the bench for a line change. As far as I’m concerned he’s disgracing the “C” on his sweater.

  14. longtimefan-me too.

    Don’t we all remember Jags saying this was going to be “his best season ever”? really? still think so Jags?

  15. Sam, what do you see as the future for the Malik/Strudwick/Mara circus? Who will be the last two left standing?

  16. hockeymanrangers on

    Sam maybe you can answer this one. But why does is seem like latley the defence shots are getting blocked a lot???
    When was the last time a d-man scored, or got one on net??

  17. Sam whats the status on Avery..? every time someone ask him he says day to day just wondering what the truth is.

  18. Sam,

    Malik has now been a healthy scratch for two games and has publicly voiced his displeasure with the decision. Jason Strudwick has taken his place in the line-up and has played steady stay-at home defense and even joined in the rush on a few occasions (including the game winner in Pittsburgh). Strudwick seems like the ideal teammate on and off the ice and has played great so far this season if not somewhat under the radar of the fans and the press. Has his game improved drastically or does he just fit the system? After all this was a guy playing in the Swiss league last season. Can we expect to see more of Struds and less of Malik as the season continues? What would compel Renney to pull Strudwick for Malik?
    J. Stover

  19. hockeyman – thursday night vs. TOR Toots and Girardi both scored PPG’s.

    btw – SAM, is there a nickname in the locker room for Girardi?

  20. Any idea on what the Rangers plan on doing with Pock? I’d assume they’re more interested in moving him than bringing him back up to New York, but I guess it’s always good to have an NHL-experienced defensemen waiting in the wings (who doesn’t happen to be named Malik) in case of injury.

  21. the moment they call up Pock he is very likely to be picked up on waivers so the rangers would have to pay half his salary this year and maybe next year as well. and i believe he has to clear waivers before they can even trade him

  22. What do all the players think about the drop in scoring? Do they think the goalie’s equipment is too big? The nets too small? Too much trapping going on? Do they think the rinks should be widened? Or, do they think it is all fine? Do they have any real thoughts on how to get the puck through the mass of players between the puck and the goal, i.e. clogging up the shooting lanes?

    Answer me that, Weinman.

  23. Sam,

    Do you ever get the feeling that for the Rangers power play, Renney just throws out his ‘top’ players at random? I know he has been working hard on their defensive system, but their power play system (or lack thereof) is not performing.

    Would you rather have Bobby Grangier, or the heart rate monitor? How about Bobby Grangier wearing the heart rate monitor.

  24. Good questions newman.

    Let’s add to that the change in the jersey’s back to more of the old-school. A coincidence that the season started turning around when they went back?

  25. Hey Sam…

    Related to what Lenn wrote.

    What do you feel was Renney’s reasoning for sending down Dawes? I honestly couldn’t see a big enough hole in the kids game to warrant the demotion.

  26. Sam,

    This question might seem crazy, but what about reacquiring Nylander? Washington is floundering and Mara, Prucha, and Hollweg would match the salary necessary. Is it crazy to think it’s a possibility?

  27. Sam,

    I was wondering about the decline in the play of Rozsival. Is he playing injured? Ive noticed that he looks very, VERY sloppy in the defensive zone, is having lots of trouble handling the puck on the move in the neutral zone, and just looks a step slower than the past few years. Just wondering if theres something to this that we dont know about.

    Also, can we get a PP point man who can keep a puck inside the zone? (actually block a clearing attemp please!) Im aware that asking them (MARA MARA MARA) to hit the net from the blue is not reasonable. I suggest taking Rozsival off the 1st PP unit (where he is afraid to shoot and just gives the puck to jagr EVERY time), and putting him on the second unit, replacing him with girardi or toots.


  28. Sam-Not a big impact question, but something I am really curious about and wonder if you have a feeeling from being around the team

    Realtive to the last few years, Ryan Hollweg hs toned the all out physical play and hitting…Why?

    Is it under the direction of Renney to play a different, smart and more positionally sound game..Or is Holly shying away Because of being on the “list”?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the way the he and 4th line has played..They have played smart, physical (to an extent), very good defensively and have occupied the top lines of other teams…Just curious because Holly gets slammed by alot of people for not being the wrecking ball he used to be..

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