Praising Straka


Because it is apparently our obligation as reporters to throw pure gasoline on the Avery vs. Toronto feud, I will have more on the Rangers resident instigator in tomorrow’s paper and at LoHud. I’ll hold today’s nuggets on Avery until then, so instead I offer you *Jaromir Jagr* and *Scott Gomez’s* insight into why they hope they are clicking better this time around.

My questioning was triggered on the heels of Wednesday’s game. Gomez was talking about how well he and Jagr played and he made a point of praising *Marty Straka.* I thought it was interesting, so I asked Gomez and Jagr about Straka today.

“I think it kind of goes to Marty. We’ve had Marty on the line and he kind of brings another element,” Gomez said. “The guy just works so hard, he does so much in the D zone, so much offensively. At the beginning of the year we didn’t have that. The credit goes to him. I wish I could say it a different way, but he’s been the reason.”

I asked what Straka does specifically and Gomez said: “He does everything. He gets open, he digs the pucks out, he creates offensively. When you see a guy on your line constantly working like that and bringing it, you gotta go. I think the success of our line is because of him.”

Jagr, who has played with Straka forever and who we know has always supported his countryman, almost seemed surprised to hear what Gomez had to say. The captain has always respected Straka so much and he isn’t surprised at how much he can help.

“I’ve played with Marty for a long time,” Jagr said. “He’s got enough patience, enough skill, to hold the puck when we need him to.”

Other items of note:

— *Brendan Shanahan* didn’t practice today. He had a sore hamstring and sat out for precautionary reasons. Renney expects Shanny to play tomorrow in Toronto.

— Predictably, *Nigel Dawes* was on a morning train to Hartford. (I actually don’t know how he got to the home of insurance, but I do know he’s been shipped back to the AHL.) Renney said Dawes can be sent back and forth, which made him an obvious candidate for a demotion, and that he’s currently a little limited because he is a scoring LW still working on his skills as a penalty killer. However, the coach assured that Dawes’ time is near: “It really is only a matter of time,” Renney said. “Whether he secures it in the next couple weeks, months or this year, Nigel Dawes is going to play for the New York Rangers.”

Renney said Dawes kills penalties in Hartford now, so presumably that is with the goal of expanding his game.

— Don’t expect much in the way of lineup changes tomorrow night. The only exception is *Marcel Hossa,* who Renney said is “a consideration for us” because of his defensive play and size. If Hossa plays, I wouldn’t expect to see him anywhere but the fourth line.

— Do yourself a favor and read tomorrow’s story in the paper or online. Should be a fun read. Basically, Jagr said some really nice things about Avery’s skill vs. his role as instigator and then teased him about it when Avery walked by. Only in a hockey dressing room…

About Author


  1. Good stuff Josh, Straka is the dirty worker on that line. He is an underrated player in the NHL. I acutally had the pleasure of meeting him and he is a good human being as well. GO RANGERS!!!!!

  2. GO MARTY!

    Trying to follow the WJC right now. Not 100% sure, but I think Sanguinetti buried one. USA is 3for6 on the PP so far.

  3. Dawes should stay.. The 4th line with cally in the 3rd period played very well the other night…

    Sit orr and play Dawes.. They need more scoring………

  4. hockeymanrangers on

    I see a little bit of Straka in Dubinsky, he works at getting the pucks off the walls and tries to center it. And has pretty good control well being badgered by his opponents. Yea he has a ways to go but I like watching these young players and how they progress over time. Hopefully he stays with us and plays just as good as Straka.

  5. I said from the beginning that Straka would be the key to Gomez and Jagr’s success.. I have an intense dislike of Chara because of the injury!

    Straka had as much to do with Jagr’s success the previous seasons as Nylander, IMO. Nylander controller the puck very well, but Straka was a machine in getting to the right spot and fighting for the puck.

    Add that hard work with Gomez’s speed and precision passing to *hopefully* an 05/06 attitude Jagr, and we’ll have lots of success.

  6. Props to the people on this blog who had already surmised that Straka was the reason for the first line’s recent success.

    I doubt Hossa will be on the fourth line because I don’t think Renney wants to break that up. I’m not sure how I feel about such a line of Hossa – Betts – Callahan because the HBO line has been doing well, but I’m pretty sure replacing Orr with Callahan wouldn’t hurt, and it could only help generate some scoring with someone on that line who can actually score. That would open up a third line of Hossa – Dubinsky – Prucha. I’m for that scenario, since Avery will probably be doing the fighting in this game.

  7. Interesting comments by Gomez because I thought the Rangers scoring trouble on Sunday night against Ottawa was because Straka was having an off game. He was pretty invisible. I really wish Straka would take the shot when he has it instead of looking to pass to Jagr.

    It’s ironic that Straka himself said “shoot the puck” himslef whist observing the Rangers from above the press box when he was injured. He passes up a shot from the top of the left circle Sunday night on the powerplay against Ottawa. Marty should take his own advice.

  8. Under no circumstances should Hossa be in the lineup against the tough and gritty Leafs. If Renney sits Hollweg or Orr for that stiff it will be a joke. Cally showed some signs of life vs Carolina he offers alot more than Renney’s soulmate Hossa does.

  9. I’ll say that again. Callahan has to go for conditioning to Hartford. He’s way off now. I’ll put Hossa there anyway because I think Renney would not break 4th line.

  10. Excellent post Josh – I always say to everyone Straka is the most over-looked player on the team…all you have to do is watch him for a full game – he skates harder than anyone on the team (although Gomez is up there) and he’s just an overall classy guy. Hope he decides to stay around next year.

  11. czechthemout!!!!! on


    callahan showed more and did more in his breif time here than hossa has in three years and he deserves the chance to
    play himself into shape here.Look at the last game,you can plainly see his game is coming around.

  12. Rangers need 10 more players like Avery, with better size, of course. They need 0 more players like Hossa.

  13. This team needs another banger. A soft spoken team guy, someone who won’t demand the spotlight like Jagr or Avery, someone who won’t rock the boat.

    I don’t know who that is, but SOmeone who can make this team a bit more tougher.

    I too am glad Straka is back with the team after being injured, he’s certainly made that line click. but all in all, Gomez is playing out of his mind.

    Now it’s Drury’s turn.

  14. “This team needs another banger. A soft spoken team guy, someone who won’t demand the spotlight like Jagr or Avery, someone who won’t rock the boat.”

    Dane Byers is a year or two off. :)

  15. Josh – great call on Straka. he’s a very valuable player to our organization. I remember in pre season Drury also praised Straka. Hopefully he’ll be here next yr as well.

  16. Mike A – it is true what you say…and there are more guys to fill more roles as the players that are up now move into other spots in the next few years. Our team is being built from the bottom up. It’ll take some time, but we’re already 2 1/2 years into the process.

  17. Straka has an incredible work ethic and a lot of heart. His broken wrist on that Chara shot and then he continued fight but I’m sick as crap and I just realized staring at this screen makes my head hurt.

  18. Fruity Cupcake on

    Nice job, Josh. Readers love a cliffhanger! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s story. And Sam, if you’re lurking, hope your wife’s holding up ok!

  19. is anyone else not oddly looking forward to tomorrow night’s game more than a lot of other ones? hockey night in canada, tucker mouthing off; it already has the feeling of hatred going in, and yes a lot of canadian ppl are saying in their blogs that they are going to boo the american anthem b/c of avery’s comments about toronto. make sense…no, but they’re saying it.

    if renney sits either hollywood or orr tomorrow night it’s just a terrible move. everyone knows the game is going to be chippy going in, and the HBO line has played quite well recently.

    i definitely agree that callahan is not the player he was last year and that maybe a wake up call that he doesn’t have a secure spot on the roster may be what he needs. he’s improved but still has a way to go…maybe a trip to hartford will do that.

    straka always was underrated and continues to be. he skates hard every night and forechecks, but more importantly gets back and helps out in the defensive zone (unlike our captain).

    gonna be quite the barn burner tomorrow night, looking forward…

  20. what does everyone make of these trade rumors with colombus for vborny, foote or klesla? multiplayer deal from what i gather. looks like they want prucha plus more. maybe we offload malik and hossa too.

  21. From Dellapina’s blog:

    According to those close to the situation in Columbus, the Blue Jackets are neither hot for Petr Prucha nor particularly interested in acquiring a winger. They need centers and probably would be more interested in Brandon Dubinsky, though the Rangers have no interest in trading the strapping youngster

  22. Czech, on BB you responded to Godot as follows:

    “My rampage against Hossa was for comparison sake.All I said was that Callahan in his brief time with the team has show and done more for them than Hossa has in three years!!

    The Bottom line that you just can’t seem to grasp is that Marcel Hossa sucks!I am not intersted in hearing your response about his so called defensive prowess or his work along the boards al of wich can be done by a dime a dozen scrubs that ply their trade all throught the ahl and the fourth lines and press boxes along the nhl.I will continue to bash Hossa for as long as he remains and under achieving flop who takes the place of more deserving players like Dawes.I will also continue to bash a coach who continued up until recently,force feeding this bumb of a player despite the fact that he does nothing on the ice except take the puck into the corners away from a scoring chance!You Godot,have no clue about hockey but post well written and concise comments that you think give you some air of credability,but in reality,you have absolutley zero knowledge of the game!”

    Since I agreed not to post there, I’ll respond here. First of all you are right on the money with your anti-Hossa view. He is a waste of lineup space. But I disagree about Callahan. He is nowhere near the player he was last season so a conditioning assignment might just be the thing for him to get his game back. I really believe the knee injury he is recovering from is the problem and at the lesser pace in the AHL, might just be the intermediate step needed to get him back 100%. An injury like that is also a mental problem similar to being gun shy when hit by a pitch in baseball.

    Prucha is another choice but think he has to be waived so that’s a no-no. Renney blew this one big time.

  23. Drury and prucha so far has been a flop…. If the rangers are thinking clearly they should be looking into shipping these guys out in a trade.

  24. If Columbus is interested in a center, wouldn’t Hossa be a candidate for this possible trade between the organizations. I mean Hossa did center Jagr for some time, and although didn’t do what we expected him to, maybe Columbus saw something. Either way I wouldn’t miss him if Columbus wants him.

  25. I think Drury has a no-trade clause, or Gomez does, or both.

    But I am under the assumption Drury does and therefore he’s not going anywhere. I thought he played real well last game, his best game in a while, so hopefully he’ll get his game going soon just like Gomer has gotten his game going.

    If I’m Toronto, I’m concerned with one thing, 2 points tonight. Not beating up Sean Avery, not putting Belak on the ice against Orr, getting two points. Toronto had a great start to the season and has come back down to earth, so they should be concerned with what they need to do to make the postseason.

    The Rangers need to duplicate the Carolina game, I would love to get 4 points out of this weekend.

  26. Lenny

    I might be with you on the Callahan thing. We have too many players, Prucha, Dubinksy, Callahan, Hollweg, Betts, Shanahan and Drury who aren’t making an impact game in and game out.

    At least with Shanny there’s the intimidation factor and he can drop the gloves. But with the other players, there is only negatives on the scoresheet, not good.

    Renney has got to find a way to get something out of these guys, or else get Dawes back in the lineup, a guy who does bring points to each game he plays.

  27. How you doing Vogs, hope all is well.

    I liked the Drury/Gomez signings. Gomez is playing his best hockey. Drury may be pressing a bit but I remember him as an outstanding 2nd half player and we are approaching that.

    Drury does a lot more than just score, great on PK, blocks shots, wins faceoffs. He’ll be fine, just needs to relax and play his game.

    Trade proposal from me: Columbus needs a center, send them Betts. Moore can be bought up to fill that spot. Younger, stronger with some touch for scoring. Think Columbus would part with Kiesla for Betts? We’ll even give them Hossa.

    Betts makes 615K for the next two seasons then is a UFA. Think Columbus can carry that. Kiesla makes 1.050M 1.450M 1.650M and 2.250M, this season and the next three. Becomes a UFA at the end of the 2010 season. Then release Malik and/or Hossa. That should free up some cap space for the additional 1M for this trade. Sather should pitch this one to Columbus to see if they bite.

  28. Lenny:

    I don’t see how Columbus would want Blair Betts. He brings nothing to the table scoring wise. I am not ready to part with Blair Betts unless he fetches us someting of real value.

    Moore and Byers can wait another season, but I like Betts. Right now I don’t think we need to lose these guys yet.

    We need a banger. And depending on who the banger is will dictate who we give up.

    I hope you had a good holiday and I hope 2008 is good for you Lenny. I miss Rangers training camp in Vermont. Maybe someday soon I’ll make it to another one.

    This year, it;s dinner at Keens in Manhattan.

Leave A Reply