OK, since there are already a bunch of questions and I have a tendency to be a bit — ahem — long-winded, we’ll break this into multiple parts.
Try to keep up, because we’re going to move fast….
Sam, why wonâ€™t Renney take Dubinsky off Jagrâ€™s line? WHEN? If he canâ€™t see itâ€™s need, Iâ€™m questioning his judgement, personality, insight, fears, ability to change, etc. Itâ€™s beyond comprehension to leave Jagr in a slump, and Dubinsky in over his head. Itâ€™s the definition of insanity. — bklynblue
First my own question: Am I only the one who sees the irony in the fact that the same people who have been clamoring for Tom Renney to PLAY THE KIDS have now been blasting the coach for putting a kid in such a prominent role?
Look, I’m not sure if Brandon Dubinsky is the right center for Jaromir Jagr for the long term. I know I love the way he skates. I love his work down low in the areas where Jagr likes to set up, and love the fact that he is generally unfazed as a rookie playing alongside a future Hall of Famer (We asked Dubinsky last week if and when it ever hits him that Jagr is his linemate. He said only when he gets phone calls from his buddies back home who say things like, “Dude, that’s so sweet…”).
All that being said, Dubinsky has a tendency to hang on the puck too long, doesn’t always see the right play quick enough, and in recent games had been burned in the defensive zone. Add that to the fact that Chris Drury is the more poised player and is deserving of more prominent ice time, and my guess is Renney will likely make that switch at some point in the near future.
But if Renney doesn’t — or if he doesn’t do it soon — I still see the benefit in keeping Dubinsky with Jagr because the duo is only getting to get better. And even if it’s taking more time than anyone would like, it’s still worthwhile in the interest of developing Dubinsky for the future. And like I said before, I was always under the impression that’s something fans wanted.
But, while we’re on the topic of the Captain…
Why doesnâ€™t Jagr shoot more? Heâ€™s on his way to a career worst in shot totals. — PruBlue25
Actually, this was a question from a bunch of you, but Pru asked it most concisely.
Ah, the tortured psyche of the Captain. That’s not a blog post. It’s a dissertation.
There is no question Jagr is frustrated with his lack of scoring so far, and one needs to only look at his slow parade back to the bench after shifts as proof. But let’s be clear his lack of shots is not because he isn’t trying.
Those of us who cover the Rangers are fortunate in that our press box seats above the Zamboni door at the Garden gives a unique view of the ice — especially in the first and third period when the Rangers are shooting on our side. And what you see is there are rarely any worthwhile shooting lanes. That’s true for defensemen like Michal Rozsival, but especially for Jagr, who often curls out from behind the net and is quickly smothered by the opponent. Everyone is clogging the area in front of goalies (as one player said recenly, one of the reasons players are throwing themselves in front of shots with abandon is because blocked shots are now a valued statistic), so even when Jagr attempts a shot, it seems more like half of them never get to the goalie.
But the other part is that whole Jagr philosophy that a half-hearted shot attempt is just a turnover to the other team. And he’s not off base. Think about it: If players are clogging the areas in front of goalies, shooters are forced to pick at corners, limiting their room for error. If they miss, the puck caroms off the boards and usually sends opponents the other way.
So what’s the solution in Jagr’s eyes? Hold on to the puck, work it around, and look for a better shot. And from there, the vicious cycle continues…
I’m updating as I go. More in a bit….