Avery back skating, Moore up, Malik still in limbo

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And those are just a few of the nuggets from today’s skate.

So let’s start right in:

  • Sean Avery did skate for the first time since his wrist surgery Nov. 29, and not even in the dreaded no-contact yellow jersey, but the left wing is still at least a week away from returning. “I felt good for the first day,” Avery said. “I mean, my hand’s fixed. My strength is OK. There’s just a lot of scar tissue when you have surgery that you have to work through. But I don’t think it’s going to be long.”

    Maybe so, but Tom Renney said Avery still isn’t day-to-day, and that his status will be re-assessed on Sunday, meaning the earliest Avery could return is next Tuesday against the Pens.

    Meanwhile, I believe for the first time in his Rangers tenure, Avery was left borderline speechless, and it was it in response to a question about why he thinks the Rangers record is so much better with him in the lineup than without.

    Avery tried to stammer out something: “I don’t know…that’s a good question. Maybe it’s just the way the moons align..It’s not my place…Some things happen for some reason…I don’t know.”

    This went on for several minutes without much in the way of a coherent answer. So there you have it: probing journalism at its finest.

  • Greg Moore was back on that well-traveled road between Hartford and New York in time for today’s skate, but it doesn’t look like he’ll see action tomorrow in Washington. The Rangers called up Moore because of a tweak to Ryan Callahan’s knee. But Callahan skated and seemed fine, so it’s unlikely his spot in the lineup will be an issue tomorrow.
  • The same might apply to Michal Rozsival, who missed practice with a sore shoulder, but is likely to play tomorrow as well. Marek Malik skated in Rozsival’s place alongside Marc Staal, but when Renney was asked about No. 8 returning to the lineup, the coach offered only a vague response about Malik being one of seven defensemen, and that he’ll return when Renney thinks he’s ready.

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    More later…

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    57 Comments

    1. I’d like to point out (along with the bad ice someone posted about earlier)… what’s the deal with the broken sticks?! it’s reached epidemic level.

      Are lighter sticks that important!!!??? Come one… even when I was playing (1000 years ago)… the wooden Sherwood Featherlite had almost no weight… any Easton aluminum was just as light and damn near never broke.

      I thought Straka’s blocking of shots the other night was incredible and he deserved a standing-o for it, but jeez if his stick stays together he doesn’t HAVE to do what he did. Same for Drury. We’re not even mentioning how many times they break while a player takes a shot (I’ve even seen them break on passes).

      What’s the story?

    2. Sam, how about asking that Avery question of his teammates and then, when they give you the “sandpaper” business, etc., asking them why none of them can do that themselves? They always seem so quick to answer about the spark Avery provides them with, but so slow to step up that element of themselves when when he’s out. Can’t they at least try to be a bit nasty when he’s not in the line-up?

    3. Great question about the sticks. It’s ridiculous, already. Every game I watch, Rangers or not.

    4. I can’t believe that Malik thinks he made his case any better with the comments of the other day.

      He might as well have asked for a trade.

      This sqaud is about team first… even Hank found that out when he made his little comment about Jags being on the ice for shutout ruining goal in Tampa (though he had a point… even Renney said so).

      We may have seen Mailk play his last game in red, white and blue. (that’s if anyone would take him)

    5. Saw Greg Moore play up here (it is COLD up here: http://seamusoriley.blogspot.com/) and he was very popular among teammates, coaching staff, etc. Very responsible two-way player. Smart and instinctive, especially on defense. I don’t know much about how his development has gone in Hartford, but he had a very good reputation up here and a lot of Mainers are rooting for him.

      (I have been exiled from New York to Maine for 5 years now…I gotta make it down to the Garden at least once this year with Mrs. Seamus. She has never been there….a Maine country farm girl; she needs to feel that electricity that ONLY the Garden produces!)

    6. Riche’ December 11th, 2007 at 1:35 pm
      I can’t believe that Malik thinks he made his case any better with the comments of the other day.
      He might as well have asked for a trade.>>>end of quote.

      Riche, what did Malik say? I didn’t catch his comments.

    7. Seamus,

      I’m not sure where to find the exact quote but it went something like this:

      “I don’t know why I’m benched… I guess I’m the reason for the last game. I guess I’m sitting because I don’t put the puck in the net.”

      Something along those lines.

    8. I remember using Lindros’ 94 era stick.. that thing was so friggin heavy… never snapped like a twig!

    9. The answer to the broken sticks is simple: The composite materials, because they’re so light, aren’t as strong as good-old wood or full aluminum, so they break. It’s a give and take, light-weight & more-breakable vs. heavy-weight & less-breakable. Yet the reason most players now use the composite sticks is simply because they don’t really make wooden sticks any longer, look at Spezza for example. I forget what company it is, but they’re making special wooden sticks solely for Spezza’s use.

    10. I will answer for Avery: When Avery is in the lineup, he is such a distraction (positive in my mind), that he lets everyone else play their game. Only Shanny, who is responsible for reeling him in when he goes nuts, has anything to worry about when Avery is playing. This is also why Avery is a 3rd line player. His body can’t cash the checks his actions are writing. If he could stay healthy (like last year until playoffs) the Rangers will thrive.

      As for the new sticks, I am using them now. Even in roller hockey. The weight difference is incredible. I am still using older Vapor XX, and teammates marvel at the light weight. My slapshot is ridiculous with these things. I completely understand why the NHL guys use them.

    11. cwgatti, for me I preferred the heavy sticks because it gave me an excuse to bulk up to get the big slapper. I prefer the lighter ones for the top-shelf wristers though.

      As for Malik, he needs to take a hint as to why he is booed and why he has been benched.

    12. I don’t know about the rest of the guys sticks, but it’s pretty obvious why Straka’s broke the other night. It was because if Rachuneks BLISTERING slap shots from the point. Straka is lucky he didn’t lose a leg! haha – karl sux.

    13. I have a feeling that most people aren’t even reading between the lines in what Malik said and that it was actually a shot at the offense not being able to score. It’s time to drop this guy like a bad habit. I would like noting more than to see him in another jersey and the likes of Gomez and Callahan buzzing past him with the puck.

    14. It isn’t just lighter weight vs. durability. Without going into a whole physics lesson, shot power is generated by torque. These composite sticks bend way more than wood ones do, therefore they give you a harder more accurate shot. As we all know, the further you bend a straight object, the more stress you put on it’s kickpoint (the point on the shaft that flexes during the shot).

      That being said, I can see why these sticks break during one-timers especially, but to break it off a face-off is just ridiculous. How does a player not test their stick between whistles, before periods, shifts, powerplays and shootouts is what’s truly unacceptable.

    15. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

      The difference in these one-piece composites is also in the entire stick being just one piece. In old composite or metal sticks there was a loss of energy at the transfer between shaft and blade. One piece makes the stick less durable but conserves the energy the player puts into it much better.

      Alot of times players don’t know their stick has been compromised or stressed on a play. It’s similar to a solid wooden bat that gets a fracture – you can’t see it. You can’t bend it. Maybe you can tap it and her a click or something weird. But its not until the bat makes contact with the baseball, or in these cases when the stick makes contact with the puck, someone else’s stick, or somebody, that the stick breaks.

    16. i’ll weigh in on the sticks issue since I see it from both sides. They are much lighter and give players greater velocity on their shots, but they do break easier for players generating that much power.

      Here’s the sad part about me: I only switched to a composite stick this year because I don’t think they have the same feel as the old Sherwood Feather-Lites, and they’re expensive.

      But I on the other hand, never generate enough power to break them. This is one of an endless list of reasons why I write about hockey for a living instead of play it.

      Sam

    17. Salty, the answer to your above post about Lundqvist/Jagr Tampa situation.

      Basically…Henry called out Renney as to the personel that was on the ice for the last 15 seconds of the game. Renney and Henry both did not name names (ahem, Jagr)and Renney said it was his fault that the wrong people were on the ice and I did not do the right thing in Henry’s regard which was not reward him for his great play. Renney let him down basically.

    18. Here is what I have never understood about taking shots….

      I have played hockey for 30 yrs…I started when I was in the single digits. I usually play center. I can play wing too. I never have had a big slapshot. Whatever team I have been on, I’ve scored a good bit and set up my share too. In the last 15-20 yrs of my hockey, I end up in teh top 3 in scoring. Maybe I just didn’t age as much as everyone else in the same age group. Who knows? I am not talking pro level hockey, more like club level in college, mid-level hockey leagues in whatever city I have been living in, etc. In any case, my point is this, I maybe have NEVER scored a goal with a slapper. 2% of the goals I have ever scored might have been with a slapper.

      Snap shots, yes. One time snappers, yes. Wrist shots, all the time, upper left, lower right, 5 hole, etc. My wrister is my bread and butter.

      WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL WITH A SLAPPER? Unless you are a defenseman, I see nearly zero use for a slapper. Very occasionally on an off angle, through a screen, a slapper will hit the twine. Even still, a wrister that is well placed through a screen can be just as effective. How many forwards really score a lot of goals with a slapper?

      Wristers and snappers are so much more effective (and, don’t break as many sticks.)

      Thoughts?

    19. Salty,

      That was indeed what I was getting at. The fact that he’s calling out our offense…

      Ridiculous. The guy needs to take a realistic look at what his job is and why nobody thinks he’s any good at it.

      A wise man once said if you feel the whole world is crazy. It may be you whose lost his mind.

      I think it was Ferris Beuller or someone.

    20. Sam,

      Thanks for the insight. I guess my issue is a broken stick has no real use at all because unless you’re a goalie you can’t play with it.

      Therefore, I don’t really see the need for more torque if it comes at the expense of skating around without a stick at all.

      It’s happened so much this year, I’m just shocked they (the players) are still willing to use ‘em.

      Just a thought.

    21. New Newman – I play LW, RD as well as goalie. The big deal about a slapper is (A) Harder to tell where it’s going (a wrister is way easier to read) and (B) it’s obviously moving a lot faster. If you’re comparing a wrist shot from the slot to a slapper from the point, then you’re right. But taking either shot from the same location, you’ll score way more on a slapper if you’re good enough to be able to roof it from the slot.

    22. Doodie Machetto on

      I still use Sherwood Feather Lites. I use the Paul Coffey one that has a curve that is almost a circle. I’ve broken it twice taking a shot. Both times were slapshots, but there’s a reason for that: I am terrible at taking them. Those two times I basically slammed the stick into the ice and snapped it. Hurt my hands, too. But with that Coffey curve, I usually take wristers and can put them pretty much wherever I want if I have a little time to aim.

    23. Riche’… FWIW I wasn’t reffering to you at all, you just reminded me about it. Malik is about to become a serious cancer to this team and we need to slice him out of the picture ASAP. Send him to Philly or Pitt, please.

    24. I think Lundqvst referenced Jagr on the ice and the lack of defensive effort;

      also, Shanny’s comments about the long distance shots and LONG shifts seemed clearly aimed at Jagr.

      They sat talking IN the lockeroom until Midnight, rather than at Smith and W. I don’t want to read too much into it, but didn’t Mess have meetings at the resteraunt? just sounds/seems like these two guys are polar opposites and some team members follow Jagr (Stratka/Gomez) and others (Drury/Gomez/Callahan/rest of the hitters) follow Shanny. I list Gomez on both because he seems to try to please both. When Jagr is on the ice he does not shoot, but passes to Jags. When Shanny’s on the ice, more shots, more crashing of the net.

      Getting Malik off the ice is a help. Next, Hossa.

      But a big issue for us is that we need definition as a team. Our we a North American team? Are we a crash the net, and get dirty Drury Goals kinda team?

      Or, are we perfect passes, round and round, with high levels of skill, and the perfect goal by Jags?

      I think we need an answer and need it quick.

    25. Prucha27….that makes sense. I guess the point I always question anyone’s ability as a forward to get off a slapper in time to avoid it being blocked. It’s much easier to make a quick deke one way or the other and fire a quick wrister or snapper. Look at Shanny’s goal against the Devs the other night. Also, when was the last goal Jags scored, other than a PP, that was a slapper? (Actually, asking when the last time Jags scored is a sore subject here, maybe I should use another example.)

      I have a hard time recalling too many slappers that Messier scored. He was deadly coming down the off wing and hitting the far corner and sneaking shots past people, but I don’t remember him sniping them with a slapper.

      Basically, other than the PP, I see little excess benefit to a big slapper.

    26. One thing I forgot to mention about the composites is that it is a lot easier to handle the puck as well. Some guys say nothing is better than wood sticks for stick handling but I disagree. I play defense (mostly) and poke checking is much easier.

    27. Seamus – I think we all touched on this recently. It was more directed towards the ‘euro-style’ though. Both are effective, but not at the same time! haha

      I’m completely impartial to which style. They are both entertaining. But, yes, we need to pick one. And it’s an easy choice as soon as we hear our last whistle this season. I really think that Jags will hang’em up.

    28. Salty,

      No big deal. It gave me a chance to clarify anyway.

      Agreed about keeping Mailk off the ice, out of the locker room and as far away from the rest of the guys as possible.

      I was actually hoping that he would come back from the injury (or one of the other benchings) with a good attitude (a smarter head on his shoulders) and a hard working ethic… but it looks like the opposite has happened.

    29. I’m currently using a Easton Z bubble shaft with a Sheerwood Axion 1050 blade Coffey pattern curve. I’ve had numerous one piece sticks that either lose there whip and feel or snap. Not to mention the fact that i really can’t afford them. I just went back to playing with my zbubble recently and i find i can feel the puck a little better than with my CCM Vector. But thats just me, i had great luck with the Mission M-1 when it came out.

    30. ORR
      True. Malik has crap trade value because of his salary. Montoya, Prucha, Pock for Liles? Then we just call Dawes up and we’re good.

    31. so now people are bashing Malik about his attitude while sitting. Talk about scapegoating. He’s sitting (so those boo birds be happy you got your way) and said one small thing a few days ago. leave the guy be – he’ll be gone soon enough. I’d rather discuss players that actually matter.

    32. As bad as Malik has been and lets face it, he stinks. He will always be on the highlght reel as scoring one of the greatest goals in Ranger’s history.I’ll never forget the shootout goal agenst the Caps.

    33. Beer me,

      good point; I’ll take whatever works too!

      I am not a big fan of waiting out the year in limbo though. We do have a very highly talented team and a great mix of youth and vets with a top goalie. We have a few holes that might be filled. If these guys can get it together…..well, you know.

    34. Doodie Machetto on

      Ruttster, the Ducks couldn’t find a taker for Bryzgalov, the Pens couldn’t find one for Recchi, trust me, nobody is going to take Malik.

    35. “They always seem so quick to answer about the spark Avery provides them with, but so slow to step up that element of themselves when when he’s out. Can’t they at least try to be a bit nasty when he’s not in the line-up?”

      1. Do you really expect any of the wussy Euros to do this? Can you see Jagr, Straka, Prucha, Rosival, Hossa, Tyutin, etc. being aggressive like Avery? Aggresive Euro players are few and far between.

      2. Hollweg, Orr, and Strudwick can mix it up if necessary. So can Dubinsky but he’s still got a lot to learn about this part of the business.

    36. Has anybody noticed Rosival has been AWFUL since the Malik benching (-8) … Play Malik, sit Strudwick …

      Also, why can’t Moore play? Many guys can sit. Hollweg 0 goals, 0 fights. Hossa 1 goal … the list continues.

      Any word on Gomez for Jokinen and another contract?

    37. How well do brian gionta and marty St. louis play defense agiainst big 6′ 2″ opposing forwards? I don’t recall them making big defensive stops or checking the daylites out of opponents. Instead thier respective teams give them the support to go out and use their plentiful speed and offensive skills for the good of their teams. Tell me why only the Rangers hold bad an emerging sniper like nigel Dawes with lame excuses abvout defense, when he unquestionably outskills at 22 the offensive prowess of most of the current crop of 12 Ranger forwards??

    38. for the guys who were running to Renney defense when I mentioned Immonen. Look again at who was called up today, G Moore instead of Dawes. And I’ll hear Dawes can’t play D. I wonder who said that? As well as the guy is too slow. Renney is the coach, he doesn’t walk on water nor is he infallible. No he doesn’t deserve to be fired, for the jumping to conclusions crowd. But he has a double standard, & a criteria for players that is questionable. If he had the next Jagr, he’d be giving him the Dawes treatment. Being a fan doesn’t mean blind loyalty & repeating what he says like a parrot. Dawes should have been called up, and he’s not working on his 2 way game in Hartford, so that’s a waste of a scorer.

    39. Doodie Machetto on

      Akayama, because those top tier players are supported by the more defensively responsible depth forwards.

      I’d like to point out that your St. Louis example is a double-edge sword. He had a hard time cracking into the league fulltime until he was 24 or 25, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because he needed to round out his game a little bit.

    40. Akayama-
      see the earlier posts for your concern about dawes. while he shows promise, he wasn’t quite refined in playing away from the puck and in the defensive zone and rather than have him take up a spot and play sporadically in the NHL they wanted to get him some good time in with Hartford. rest assure, he’ll be back.

      Also, i don’t know if anyone has brought this up at all, and i love the kid, but does anyone else notice that for some reason Staal can’t hit the net with a shot?? He had one snap shot from the left point that was gorgeous but just can’t seem to get the puck near the net. i don’t think he’s the answer to our point man on the power play problem until he fixes this.

    41. “1. Do you really expect any of the wussy Euros to do this? Can you see Jagr, Straka, Prucha, Rosival, Hossa, Tyutin, etc. being aggressive like Avery? Aggresive Euro players are few and far between.”

      Wow, talk about stereotyping. So many things wrong with this post. First off, I think it’s hard pressed to call any of those guys “wussy”. Prucha throws his body around with a reckless abandon. Straka isn’t very physical, but he sacrifices his body and I rarely see him shy away from a hit. Jagr and Hossa are big guys who dominate along the boards, anad again, I don’t see them being wussy. It’s a flat out stereotype. Today we have Ovechkin and other euro guys who can be “sandpaper” (Ruutu, Lundquist’s brother, Sundin, Chara, Tollefson, Ohlund, Holik, Antropov, Niklas Hagman, etc.) Plus Tyutin isn’t exactly a “Wussy” player. You could say that a lot of our players don’t play the way Avery does. Drury and Gomez don’t exactly punish the opposition. Shanahan isn’t as keen at going into the corners as he used to be.

      Bottom line, There aren’t as many players like Avery in the NHL today. I don’t think the fact that a player is born in Europe means he is automatically allowed to be labeled “Wussy”.

    42. G2D2,

      Tell it to Esa Tikkanen. Or Darius K.

      And, more relevantly, I think Toots is half-way to being a nasty player and a mini-Darius. So, yeah I do think some Euros could step it up. That North America-Europe thing is way overrated…

    43. Doodie Machetto on

      I’m glad to see some other people trying to break down the stereotypes.I can’t stand when they call Euros wussies and North Americans tough guys. plenty of the opposite on both sides.

    44. bklynblue – Oh I wasn’t defending renney. I was bashing Immonen and those who thought and evidently still think that he is anything to write home about. All 30 teams in the NHL think otherwise. That’s why he’s in Europe where he belongs. The NHL is supposed to be for the best (and yes I know there are exceptions in Hossa and Malik but 3 wrongs don’t make a right).

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