When do the Rangers wake up? Better yet, do they wake up?

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Another game, another chance for the Rangers to distance themselves from the horror show that has been the first five games of 2008.

The law of averages say they will play better at some point, if for no other reason than they may be chased out of town if they don’t. The question is if a team that has appeared so fragile of late is prepared for that tonight.

“I think what we’re doing right now is we’re playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win, and I think we’ve got to be able to embrace that,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “It doesn’t matter what the function of your line is or your pair or what point in the game it is, we have to be proactive. We have to play the game on our toes, and that as much as anything is important to us right now.”

Some updates:

<li>Martin Straka is in, and will start out as expected with his usual linemates Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez. Renney said he’s concerned about Straka’s endurance to sustain a full shift, so keep an eye on out to see if he ever stays on the ice too long.

<li>Brendan Shanahan is out, and there’s no chance of an 11th hour change of heart as there was on Tuesday. The plan is to rest the wing tonight in order to return Monday in Pittsburgh.

<li>Scheduling oddity: tonight marks only the second time since 1964 — and the first time since 1995 — that the Rangers are hosting Montreal on a Saturday night.

<li>Brace yourself for a change at defense. Marek Malik is back in, and he’s returning to the side of his old partner Michal Rozsival. Not only that, but Renney is breaking up the Lennon-McCartney pairing of Dan Girardi and Fedor Tyutin so Girardi will play with Marc Staal and Tyutin will with Paul Mara. The coach’s reasoning? To at least briefly shake the defensemen out of their comfort zone.

“It puts everyone’s senses right on the surface,” Renney said. “The idea is to make sure we do stay alert and there is some communication.”

The coach added the pairing switch is likely only to be a quick fix, so expect at least one of those pairings to be restored soon.

<li>Sean Avery isn’t yet day-to-day, but Renney said the wing will skate in the morning skate on Monday just to test out his wrist.

More later…

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33 Comments

  1. Jagr has to be one of the best players on the ice in order to turn this team around.

    Let’s hope this game is a turning point and that the flyers game was the low point.

  2. Rangers have to be the best TEAM on the ice in order to turn this around.
    I’m thinking positive here – but it’s getting harder.
    LET’S GO RANGERS !!

  3. Malik back at first pair D. what a joke. renney is just grasping at straws, but worse, he is messing with the development of his young Dmen. it was HENRIK who had the bad game, so why blame the young Dmen.

    this moron was just looking for an excuse to placate jagr, by putting his buddy back in the saddle.

    the ranger system is clear. kowtow to the stars.

  4. Joe – a little shake-up of lines is in order after the way our D has played lately. Don’t you think? You can’t blame every goal on Lundqvist.

  5. I don’t blame every goal on Lundy. in fact, I am one of his bigger fans. but he had an off night, so don’t pretend renney that the young D were at fault.

  6. and fyi, LINES are not defense pairings. they are different things. a line is a forward line, C-LW-RW

    a defense pair is RD and LD. has nothing to do with the lines.

  7. This is the not only the best way to shake up a TEAM, but the only way to shake it up without a trade. And you probably haven’t seen one because there haven’t been any takers.

    The reasoning behind the shake-up of the D is a good one. How it will play out…well, we’re going to find that out in a few minutes. This is also, in turn, somewhat of a punishment for Toots who has been underperforming, and now it will cost him minutes.

  8. Beer me – very solid posting on the previous thread at approx 3:00 pm. you’re definitely an oasis in this dessert (sp?) of gloom.

  9. By far dawes’s best game as a ranger. I love that line with dubinsky centering dawes and prucha. This is the rangers future, gotta love it.

  10. Could it be that Coach Renney stumbled onto a decent lineup? If memory serves, last year the Rangers started their surge while Shanahan was recovering from his concussion. Like the hustle Moore brings, and the lines look good.

  11. Leafs, Rangers inquire on CuJo’s return

    Darren Dreger

    1/12/2008 6:03:58 PM

    Sources tell TSN both the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers have made last minute inquiries into Curtis Joseph’s plan to return to the NHL.

    New York’s Henrik Lundqvist allowed six goals on 18 shots in a 6-2 Rangers loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.

    Lundqvist has struggled of late going 2-5-2 in his last nine games after impressively recording six shutouts in his first 29 games.

    Toronto’s interest may speak to the uncertainty of Vesa Toskala’s health, or the potential of a Raycroft trade that would make room for Joseph’s veteran presence.

    On Friday, sources said Joseph had narrowed the field to two teams, the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks. However, late calls from the two Eastern Conference clubs has slowed the 40 year olds decision as to where he intends to resume his career but he’s expected to make his decision in the next two days.

    Its believed Flames coach Mike Keenan reached out to Joseph this week to acknowledge the checkered past between he and Joseph was just that, the past.

    In the mid-90’s, Keenan, as general manager of the St Louis Blues orchestrated a number of big-name trades that led to the departure of such Blues fan favorites as Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph.

    Joseph was dealt to Edmonton in 1995, a team who coincidentally expressed great interest in Joseph’s return to the Oilers prior to the start of this season as well.

    Similar to the Flames, the San Jose Sharks are looking for insurance, a veteran presence to take some of the heat off starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, the only NHL goalie to start every game this season.

    Sources say Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Ottawa also expressed interest in Joseph, with the Senators a highly attractive fit for the veteran. However, sources say the Senators have not been willing to make a play and unless they come in at the last minute, Joseph will be heading west.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=227157&hubname=nhl

  12. DoodieMachetto on

    I was actually thnking of making the defensive pairs that Renney has made, but a little differently. I would acknowledge how good Girardi and Staal have played and make them the FIRST pair. Tyutin I would punish for having played poorly recently by sliding him with Mara, which would also be a slight reward for Mara, having carried both Strudwick and Malik for most of the season. And Malik and Rozsi would be third.

    Dawes has been impressive tonight, definitely the best he has played since being recalled this go round (his two goal effort vs. the Devils was his best game overall).

    Let’s hope they keep it up. LGR.

  13. that guy who loves the rangers on

    I would love to see CuJo as a Ranger. It has actually been a life-long dream to see him in a Ranger uniform.

  14. Sick, sick head fake by Dawes.

    Like I’ve been saying, this team is nowhere near as bad as their record indicates.

    ;))

  15. DoodieMachetto on

    Oh, and I’m all for Joseph as Henrik’s backup, and I said so randomly a few days ago. He’s a born competitor, and has GREAT playoff numbers, even though he’s never made it to the final show.

    Here’s hoping that they don’t implode in the third.

  16. Idiot #1 Hossa takes a stupid slashing penalty – Idiot #2 Malik stands there like a statue while the Canadian Ruskie scores. Goodbye Henriq shutout.
    Get rid of those 2 idiots!!

  17. Only looking at the box score, it seems like they’re trying to give it away with a couple two-man disadvantages. But I can’t really tell without seeing the game.

    I like the defensive pairings besides having Malik in, but what else can you do? Tyutin definitely needed to be shown less ice time, and I hope this has resulted in Staal seeing power play time with Girardi. If Rozsival keeps scoring, he might cost too much to keep on the Rangers, making Staal and Girardi our potential first pair, but if Sather doesn’t get Rozy back, he will probably overpay for some trash. He will probably try to bring back Rozy to lead the defense, though.

    Wow, somehow Dubinsky, only playing 6:50, has been on the ice for all four of our goals, scoring a +4 rating.

    It’s good to dominate a game on the scoreboard without Avery. What’s with Staal having boarding called against him?

    ARGH – too bad the Canadiens have now scored to break the shutout. Here I was saying Henrik should take a break – so much for that. He seems to have been good.

  18. that makes 8 wins in 25 games. I’m not going to jump for joy until I see that kind of effort 4 or 5 games in a row.

  19. I agree Joe.

    One win doesn’t mean anything. Great to break the losing streak though.

    Let’s go Rangers!!!

    To quote some rock group…
    The kids are alright!

  20. Damn… I just looked at Rangers Review site. Stole my kids are alright line.

    Damn. I guess I’m too slow. No wonder I don’t have my own site.

  21. A few quick notes. Micheletti should be beaten with hammers. Rosen is a jinx and Giannone knows nothing about hockey.

    Back to the Rangers. Great 60 MINUTE game. Everyone contributed. Keep it up in Pittsburgh boys!

  22. Cliff I have to disagree with you on Hossa tonight. I thought he played a good game. He started with a beautiful to Drury…That was pretty!
    He continued to play well the entire game, as did Dubi, Prucha and Dawes. If anyone had a down game it was Staal. He took 2 bad penalties in the opening period, but bounced back and played pretty well the rest of the game. Its fun to watch him learn and develop.

    This was a start. We got a full 55 min of hockey. The team continued to take some bad penalties but the PK should up and played well tonight.
    Gotta admit, I’m now looking forward to Monday night vs Sid and the Pens. Hopefully they will build on the foundation that was layed tonight.

  23. my mind apparently writes faster than my hands type. LOL
    “I think you understand what I’m trying to say.”

  24. Salty, because he said THE WORD. I was annoyed, too. Saying *shutout* is the equivalent of saying Lord Voldemort’s name; you don’t do it, because bad things will happen. (Sam, your kids will come to the Potter books someday. Don’t disdain them. Funny, engaging, and, if you have a knowledge of literature and mythology, as I’m sure you do, you will appreciate that the books are literate as all hell. And if you like them–I have a stepchild, so I know whereof I speak–you will acquire a language that you can share with your kids forever.)
    BTW, Malik played pretty damn well, I thought. And I was not initially happy to see him in the lineup. He seems to have a degree of confidence back.

  25. Why a line is through that sentence, I don’t know. Perhaps because I used Voldemort’s name.

  26. Has anyone told Jagr that gliding with your feet together while hooking at another player’s gloves is not legal? Apparently the countless penalties aren’t enough of a sign.

    But other than that tonight was a solid effort all the way down to the Maliks and Greg Moore’s of the world. Dawes looked good playing with Prucha too. Best question of the year was on a Rangers pre-game the other night in which it was asked why the team has had so much more patience with Callahan compared to Dawes. Who knows, but its very possible that was a mistake.

    Why must this team be reminded to play hard so often? Is that not an understood part of the deal? I love this team, but damn theyre frustrating.

  27. Doodie – Good point about Mara carrying dmen so far this season. He’s not worth $3mil, but he gets a bad rap.

    Pig – “Wow, somehow Dubinsky, only playing 6:50, has been on the ice for all four of our goals, scoring a +4 rating.”

    Nice stat. I eluded to something similar in the past, but referring to Prucha. If you only get 7min of ice, you better make it count. I hate hearing people cry that somone’s not producing cause they’re not getting time, or more specifically PP time. Make the announcers call your name on every shift. Just not for a penalty! I thought Dubs had a great game. Nothing flashy, but positive development.

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