We’re on to our third installment, which proves either a) I am dedicated and thorough, or b) I have too much time on my hands today. You decide.
But as you do, let’s keep going…
What do you feel was Renneyâ€™s reasoning for sending down Nigel Dawes? I honestly couldnâ€™t see a big enough hole in the kid’s game to warrant the demotion.—Jayman
It’s funny, Jayman, but I was one of Dawes’ biggest supporters earlier this season, and on several occasions even said to anyone who would listen, “There’s no way they can send this guy back down.”
What happened in between, in my eyes at least, is that Dawes’ game began to dip. It wasn’t anything glaring, and I wouldn’t go so far to say there are “holes” in his game. But in a sense, Dawes is the equivalent of a sixth man in basketball who comes in the game and gives his team an immediate spark, but doesn’t quite have the consistency to be a starter.
That’s Dawes when it comes to his travels between Hartford and New York. And if you had to explain his inconsistency, it might be something as simple as this: when he first came up and was popped into the lineup, you noticed him a lot. Then you noticed him less. Then you noticed him even less.
And that’s just offensively, which is far and away his strength. Throw in the need for some refinement away from the puck, and the Rangers decided he still needed some seasoning in the minors.
Whether that was the right move or not is open for debate. The other argument you could make is that Dawes could get that seasoning here, even if he wasn’t playing every day. But it might be more palatable to everyone involved to have a guy playing on a regular basis in Hartford than shuffling him and out of the lineup here.
Either way, I would expect to see Dawes back in New York at some point this season.
Sam, do you ever get the feeling that for the Rangers power play, Renney just throws out his â€˜topâ€™ 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.—Jarret
All conversation about the Rangers needing to improve their power play reminds me of that moment in “Slap Shot”—otherwise known as the greatest cinematic creation of our time—when some drunk guy goes up to Reg Dunlop and says something to the effect of, “You guys gotta stop losing.”
In other words, no kidding.
What’s wrong with the power play?
Heck, what isn’t?
The Rangers have a difficult time setting up in the zone, they have a difficult time staying in the zone, and they have a difficult time getting a shot off once they’re in the zone and they’ve stayed there. Other than that, it’s a pretty good power play.
What I can tell you is the Rangers do work on it, and they do have a system which I think they follow to a fault (did anyone else catch the headscratching moment yesterday when the Rangers retreated behind their own net and then wait an eternity for Scott Gomez to swoop back to carry the puck up ice?).
I’ve already gone on record saying I’d like to see Ryan Callahan replace Petr Prucha on the Jaromir Jagr unit because Callahan at least can get shots off and to the net. And I wouldn’t mind seeing Chris Drury back on one of the points since he has the vision and the shot to make plays.
But even with all that, the power play is one of those things will likely start clicking again, and no one will be able to explain it.
Can you discuss your thoughts on the future of Al Montoya. Is he our biggest trade chip as we make a run this spring? Is he insurance in case Hank gets hurt? Is he a top ten pick who we are leaving to toil in the minors?—Elliot
There all kinds of rumors about Al Montoya going somewhere soon—the most recent one says Colorado—and they come with a reason. After all, why would the Rangers hold on to a No. 1 draft pick goalie when they clearly have their franchise goalie for the next decade?
My guess is they don’t, or at least they don’t once the team locks in Henrik Lundqvist to a long-term deal some time after the first of the year. To move Montoya before then would give Lundqvist and agent Don Meehan even more bargaining leverage—i.e. “You need us even more now”—but after that, I’d have to think the Rangers get serious about entertaining offers for him. If they haven’t already.
OK, folks that’s all for now. Perhaps more in a bit…