Notes from a sinking ship


The somber mood in the Rangers dressing room was telling today, but certainly not surprising.

This team is in a bad way, folks. There’s no sugarcoating it. And although Tom Renney threatened lineup changes before Tuesday, the coach stopped short of responding to a question about an answer being found outside the organization.

“I probably shouldn’t comment to be honest with you,” he said. “As you can imagine, I’m pretty fired up right now and I might say something I might regret.”

I asked Jaromir Jagr the same question, and the Captain was equally non-commital.
“I’d give you my opinion but it’s not going to mean much because I don’t know,” he said.

There’s no question the Rangers need something, whether it’s new blood, some players sitting, or maybe a much-needed break. Problem is, they still have two more games before they can catch their breath.

When he spoke after the game, Brendan Shanahan sounded like there had been a death in the family.

“Right now the biggest enemy is ourselves,” Shanahan said. “We repeat the same mistakes and it’s no one else’s fault. You don’t have to be Scotty Bowman to figure out what’s wrong with our team. We beat ourselves. So we have to fix it ourselves, and we can. It’s tough to be positive after a game like this. But it’s not like we’re playing our best hockey and we just can’t win. We’re playing as bad hockey since I’ve been here.”

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  1. I am not interested in making changes just to make the playoffs. The Rangers need to decide the direction of the team for the future. PLEASE, no short term fix that will hurt our future!

  2. “I asked Jaromir Jagr the same question, and the Captain was equally non-commital.
    “I’d give you my opinion but it’s not going to mean much because I don’t know,” he said.”


    “I haven’t got a clue” quoth Jagr

    some captain, eh?

  3. The lack of consistent effort by this team is stunning. Chris minus 14 Drury should be ashamed to cash his checks. When you get to see him on a regular basis you realize that he is not that skilled after all. I would call up Al Montoya to see if a move like that might wake this team up.
    Calling all GM’s. make us an offer we can’t refuse.

  4. Bad enough to see my team lose on national television, but then add Mike Milbury during the intermissions and that’s too much. He’s a idiot. The last person I want to hear about my team is Mike Milbury!

  5. I think that the Rangers should definitely look into potential suiters for Mara, Malik, Jagr, Prucha, Hossa and Straka just to see what the market for them is. I’m not saying to necessarily move them just for the sake of trading them, but it would be stupid for Slats to not at least get a sense of what some of those guys could bring back.

    I know a lot of people are in favor of just trading away Jagr for the hell of it, but I’m not one of those people. Unless we’re getting something significant back to help us, what would be the point? It’s not like dumping Jagr just for the sake of getting rid of him is going to help the team win. As bad as Jagr has been, this team would be so much worse without him. His mere presence alone draws coverage to him and opens up plays for other guys to make.

    I do believe that the Rangers need to get Henrik some help on defense ASAP. Dump Malik and get anything we can for him, but the turnovers and lack of help Hank gets in front of the net is just ridiculous. He’s not going to be perfect every night out and the 2-on-1s and breakaways because of guys who just skate right past our defense is just inexcusable.

    I’m not in favor of firing Renney because I don’t think any other coach would make a difference. What is anyone else going to preach that Renney hasn’t? Eventually the players needs to take responsibility for just playing poorly. We know Renney is an effective coach, but our players just make terrible mistakes that he can’t be held responsible for.

  6. Does anybody else notice or wonder why Renney doesn’t give the Dubinsky line more ice time? For the past 4 or 5 games, they have been the best offensive line on the team, yet, they see less ice time than anyone else. Same happened today, with Renney finally realizing in the third that maybe those guys should play more.

    Along the lines of poor coaching strategy, Rozsival was awful again today but at least managed to stay out of the penalty box. Jagr on the other hand skated like Gordie Howe (at 70-something) but did take another bad penalty. I realize that it wasn’t much of a penalty, but why does it not click in his head that he will always get whistled for those?

    That’s where my coaching strategy comes in. Benching Dubinsky for the first half of the third in yesterday’s game (for taking a Jagr-esque penalty) doesn’t set any sort of example. But maybe if one of his “Star” players was benched, it would spark someone or light a fire under someone or SOMETHING. So what if Jagr would cry about it, all he does now is glide around the ice at 2 mph to the tunes of Joe Micheletti telling me how hard he is skating.

    Lastly, props to the NBC crew for actually saying what many people should be thinking. Saying that Drury, Gomez, Shanahan, and Jagr are the guys who need to step up, NOT the third and fourth lines. They even went so far as to say that Drury and Shanahan were invisible in this game (100% dead on). For everyone who keeps telling me how Drury has been great, not only is he not scoring, but he is the worst on the team in +/- with a -14. Seriously, last one, Renney allegedly doesn’t play the DDP line because they aren’t good defensively; Prucha +4, Dubinsky -2, Dawes +1.

  7. bs. renney cannot win with a full team of high paid big names, but Julien can beat him twice with strategic moves and a roster with 7 guys out and lots of AHL kids.

    renney did nothing last year either. they were in the same boat until Sean Avery came to the rescue. it had jack to do with anything renney did.

    but he is regularly outfoxed in tactical moves by opposing coaches, as Pierre mcguire pointed out today from the benches.

  8. I think when you look at what’s wrong with this team, the blame goes all around. Henrik needs to clear his mind and get back to his ol’ self. Jagr needs to be Jagr again. Guys like Gomez, Shanny, Drury need to really show up big time for whatever is left of the season.

  9. one thing that has to be taken into consideration though with plus minus figures is that guys who are used in checking roles against the opposing team’s top lines will always get lots of minuses because they are in a defensive role against the best scorers.

    thus, Betts, who does a responsible defensive role, is also a minus player. and so is girardi, -11, who also does a good job.

  10. Adam,

    You don’t trade Jagr “for the hell of it,” you trade him to turn an expiring asset into an asset for next season and beyond.

    Glen Metropolit, a first rounder in 2007, a third rounder in 2007, and a second rounder in 2008 in exchange for Keith Tkachuk. That’s why you trade Jaromir Jagr.

  11. +/- is a useless statistic, which is why it tends to vary so much from year to year. If you want to tell me that I player has never had a minus season in his career or never had a plus season, then fine, color me interested, but otherwise it means little.

  12. Here’s the Rangers in short; the top 6 forwards suck this year except Gomez, and the 4th line can’t score. Henrik’s been good enough (not perfect but who is?) and the defense is only 50% good (Staal, Tyutin, Girardi, the other three are bipolar).

    The bright side; if they’re gonna suck, at least draft the other Staal. There will be some decent FAs next year. I’d stay away from Marian Hossa, but I think Campbell or Naslund can be had. Yes, Naslund is another older player and I don’t endorse him, but somebody has to be there to play with Gomez and Drury and it’s asking too much to expect career years from Dawes, Dubinksy, Callahan, and Anisimov.

  13. “You don’t trade Jagr “for the hell of it,” you trade him to turn an expiring asset into an asset for next season and beyond.

    Glen Metropolit, a first rounder in 2007, a third rounder in 2007, and a second rounder in 2008 in exchange for Keith Tkachuk. That’s why you trade Jaromir Jagr.


    exactly. and also because it removes a sulking negative influence in the leadership dept.

  14. doesn’t anaheim have the oilers #1 pick this year?

    trade for that. that would give the rangers probably 2 picks in the top 10 or 12 of this summer’s draft.

  15. i have never ever ever been a jagr fan but i also have never ripped our captain UNTIL TODAY. He must go he must be sat something has to be done. forget the fact that he doesn’t score when is he going to take the leadership role. i honestly can say if the RANGERS do not take back to back wins over Atlanta they can pack it in. this is so pathetic they are the laughing stock of hockey. i can not even enjoy watching a single second of a ranger game. its actually making me sick.. we can sit here and blame Malik Prucha Henrick renney but the only person that should be blamed is our captain. he needs to wipe that stupid grin off his face and STEP UP take control of the team or they need to ship his ass somewhere else and give the C to another player.

  16. Even though I agreed with Milbury today, he was about 95% correct, as someone else said, because he lost credibility with me when he was talking about how Sather expected Gomex to come in and put up 60-80 points and that he wasn’t on pace for that. Well, he has 45 points in 49 games; looks to be on pace for somewhere in the 70s.

    In the poll, I chose that we need an upgrade at forward. The only problem is that will probably have to just come from our guys playing better because if you trade for someone to improve the team this year (being buyers), that means someone on the third line will either be traded or sent back to Hartford, so that doesn’t make much sense. If they could somehow get a defenseman without giving up one of those three players, without giving up Malik, I would then just place Malik through waivers to see if someone picks him up, then stash him in Hartford. To someone who asked earlier why Pöck is not back in rotation with the big club, it’s because another team would likely pick him up for half of his salary, since he would have to pass through re-entry waivers, possibly the stupidest rule in the current CBA, since it prevents players like that, if they are playing well, from coming back to the NHL during the same season.

    MikeA – I don’t think “the other Staal” (Jordan) is going in the first round because he’s not projected as such a good player as his brothers. So anybody can pick him up in the second round.

    Liza – good post on the last entry. Nice to have you here!

  17. First a disclaimer for anything I say right now…I’ve had an afternoon full of rum’n cokes. No, I am not partial to beer alone. I didn’t read through every comment above to thoroughly, but I see what some of the opinions are. And welcome to a lot of new names.

    Anaheim does have that 1st rounder as someone alluded to above. It would take a ‘good’ player or two to get it obviously, but it could be the best trade we’ve made in a long time if we could pull it off. They have Selanne (most likely) coming back, but not for sure yet. If he doesn’t decide to come back it makes that pick easier to get. I’m thinking Jags & someone to get it. Someone with ‘playoff value’, youth will not help them much for what their purpose is this spring. We would also have to take a salary dump from them as well. A rental coming our way more or less. Can’t speak to a specific player cause I can hardly type at the moment. Anaheim doesn’t need much to contended once again. I still can’t say I see it happening, but we can dream, right?

    Doodie – you said the other day that you didn’t believe that Jags actually has that no-trade clause that espn alluded to. I don’t think so either. I’m pretty sure we would’ve heard about it a while ago. And if he does have it, there’s little chance he’d waive it. I don’t think another cup means as much to him as the ‘benefits’ of living in nyc does.

    Without commenting on what is or isn’t really necessary to right this ship, the 10-game stretch we have to finish up the year will either put us in, or put us out. They were talking today as part of the ‘stellar’ broadcast that NBC puts out that philly, nj, and pitt have won something like 9 or 10 of their last 10 or 12 respectively. I can’t see that .800 to .900 winning % holding on for too long, and it may allow us to stay in the hunt if we can just manage to play .500 hockey until the last 3 weeks. That may be a stretch at this point, but I’m not asking for much, eh.

  18. Sam, you cover golf too right? Lucky you, you’ll still get to cover the Rangers while the rest of the league is stuck in those boring play offs.

    They keep saying that they preach this, preach that. Well, the players are either not listening, or not executing. Both are linked back to the coach. If the players don’t listen to the coach, you get a new one, if the coach can’t motivate their players, you get a new one (He’s not doing his job). I don’t care why, or how, but only when. Renney has reached his limits at helping this team come back into the competitive picture, it’s time to find someone who can put them over the edge. That said, I’m completely stumped as to who can replace him. Any ideas?

    PS: How loud did the Garden cheer when Malik was announced as being scratched? I think it was louder than when he scored the shootout goal, any stories on how he stormed out of the arena or him whining in any interviews?

  19. Sam rumors have been started that there are 2 factions in the locker room. Whether true or not, Renney seems to be clueless or afraid. Sather can’t trade the TEAM, but he can reassign Renney & get Schoenfeld to take over until the end of this titanic cruise. Or he can hire Messier, Leetch, Graves, & Richter to take over for the 4 coaches he has. Do any of those coaches have any pro or semi – pro experience? They have hockey book smarts, but don’t seem to have real on ice in game knowledge that ex-players have.

  20. Messier, Leetch, Graves, and Richter have zero coaching experience between them, and I am pretty certain none of them want the job at this point in their lives. I would try Hartley or maybe Hanlon before any of those.

  21. puh-leeze.

    Hartley and Hanlon are both failed coaches.

    the biggest knock on them is that their teams have played WAY BETTER after they got rid of them.

    and hartley did a terrible job vs the rangers last year

  22. Jagr must go – and if he doesn’t I’d strip the “C” off his sweater so fast his gigantic mullet head would spin.

  23. Doodie Machetto on

    I was at the game today. I was not pleased. Everyone is coming down on Jagr, but on offense, he’s skating. He skates hard. Once they lose the puck though he’s useless.

    But forget him. I think the two most useless guys on the team right now are Straka and Shanahan. Seriously, when was the last time Straka even took a shot!? I used to understand him being on the Point on the PP: he was needed to carry the puck in the zone and we were loading up our one PP line because we had no talented players on the team other than Jagr, Nylander, Straka, and Prucha. Now Gomez is the guy carrying the puck in, and we actually have two lines for the PP, making Straka on the point useless! All it does is remove the threat of a shot from the point, thus removing the threat of our team down low.

    Now Shanahan looked like a spent force. Like he should be retired. On offense and defense, it looked like he didn’t even care. He missed a couple of shifts, I don’t know why, but I hope it was because he was being benched. He was just plain awful.

    DDP has been excellent. Marc Staal was good except for that time he fell. Tyutin has been lousy for a month. Avery doesn’t belong on the PP. Hank doesn’t have his head in the game. We should find a backup goalie to play for a couple of weeks to let Hank go be with his father and come back with his head in the game.

    Renney is retarded. Multiple times during the game, the Bruins would ice the puck, have their tired skaters out there, and we would come back with HBO for the offensive zone faceoff. WTF!? What is the logic in playing the line that won’t score. I’m convinced Hollweg is totally useless. Dawes and Dubinsky need to start killing penalties so we can get rid of Betts and be ready for when Straka and Shanny are gone.

    I also heard some guys talking at the game that Cherepanov won’t be coming to North America next season, even if it was for the NHL. Anyone capable of getting confirmation of this?

    We’re in trouble boys. Serious trouble.

  24. of these 4 choices,



    fellow czech

    pay check

    Jagr chooses 3 and 4. and he avoids 1 and 2 at all costs

  25. That’s not fair. He’s shown glipses of semi-brilliance, especially in backcheck. He just doesn’t put it through the whole game, or just does it once really well, so he feels like he can take the rest of the game off.

  26. Could it be possible that Tom Renney is this modern day version of Roger Neilson? He can help re-establish your franchise, but to go to the next level and win something important you have to go in another direction? Roger at least won a President’s Trophy at the helm and all Renney has done is win a playoff round so it’s not an exact comparison, but somethings gotta give! The PP just plain stinks. Maybe an assistant coach change can provide a spark to awaken the PP. How about trying something novel like putting Colton Orr or some other big body in front of the opposing goalie and have the others fire pucks at the net – Adam Graves did a pretty good job of that over the years and he wasn’t nearly as big as some bodies out there now!

  27. JJ will not get back Edmonton’s number 1 pick that Anaheim has – Anaheim’s GM is much smarter than that. not even in any combo. if we get back number 1 picks they will be towards the end of the round. and absolutely no Hossa or Jovo.

  28. I’m glad I’m technically challenged…set up the vcr to tape the game and it didn’t work…thank God!!!!!! Was it really as bad as you all say? Even the optimists have turned into pessimists.
    Mike Milbury does suck but earlier in the year he said the same thing about Jagr and it was true then…no heart…doesn’t really try all the time, etc. etc. Oh, almost forgot the big one…sulks when things aren’t going his way.
    I’ve been an advocate of canning Renney for a long time and it seems more of you are coming around now.
    I’ve been a Ranger fan for a long time now and I’m almost embarassed…no, I AM embarassed to admit it.

  29. I was at the game. Tom Renney continued the regular shift of the Betts line until it was too late. The first goal was Henrik’s fault all the way. Short side. The energy line is definately the DDP line. And the coach insists on overusing Betts and Rosival. The clear issue is the style of play the coach insists on trying to get the Rangers to play. It isn’t working. The Rangers have offense. The only problem with this team is that they are being told to play a style that does not utilize the squads speed nor their offensive creativity.

  30. Forget what I said about Tynes. We’re going to the Super Bowl!! But until then, I’ll have to watch six more depressing Rangers games!

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  31. spiderpig – they are depressing. I guess I’m “lucky” to be working like a dog so I won’t see any of the weekday games for a while and weekends are iffy as well.

    congrats to the Giants even though I’m a Jets fan (another losing team like my Rangers).

  32. Yeah, I’m a Jets fan too. Unfortunately I don’t have *any* Giants gear that I can wear tomorrow at school, but maybe I’ll get something next weekend. I’ve got a Jets hat and jersey, but I like both of the football teams from NJ.

  33. I remember a stat re: Jagr at some point in the game that showed after 20 shifts, he only registered one shot on goal.

    At the end of the game after who knows how many shifts, he only had 2 shots on goal. Straka finished with a measly one SOG. Jagr and Straka led all offensemen with 23:01 of ice time. Gomez, who is supposed to be the set up man and passer is the one with 6 SOG’s for the day. (not complaining about Gomez; atleast someone’s shooting the puck)

    But this Jagr-Straka crap is inexcusable. They have become dead weight; Jagr more than Straka. And without a productive Jagr, Straka has no purpose here.

    Really really really really FRUSTRATED!
    End of rant-

  34. DLB- Every fired coach in the league is a failed coach. Hartley won a Stanley cup. Keenan was fired how many times before he came to the Rangers. I like Hanlon, but I agree that I don’t think he is the answer here.

    Messier’s only coaching experience is as an assistant coach for his nephew’s PeeWee team. Any of those four are not ready to jump into this situation.

  35. And also, I am not defending Jagr’s play. But I have not seen evidence that he is sulking or mailing it in. That’s an easy way of targeting him, and he did demand to be traded in Pitt and Washington. But since he has been a Ranger he has not shown that side of him. Not scoring goals and being frustrated is not “sulking”.

    If anyone still thinks that changing a captain is going to make any difference in this team, you are delusional. Mess was a great captain when he was on top of his game. Even with all his great leadership skills, he couldn’t get a dysfunctional team behind him in his last few years (and unlike Jagr, he did pretty much coast through his last few years- so much for leading by example).

    And if our captain has to lead by example (and by scoring) is going to be able to live up to that? Gomez? He’s not a captain type? Drury? No production. Shanny? He looks like Messier and was ten times more invisible than Jagr lately. Who else?

    I think this team needs to trade for a nasty D-man. I don’t care who gets traded. I think Jags might have a No-trade contract, but he is on record saying he would give it up if asked because he doesn’t want to play somewhere he is not wanted. The problem is that I think the team that trades for him is responsible for the full salary, not the sweet “caps pay half” deal we have. The NBC guys talked about the fact that he makes 8 million as if the Rangers got that whole cap hit. Totally not the case. Jagr is still a bargain salary wise.

    I think the team has lost a little confidence, especially in Lundy. He needs to start stealing games. Yeah, we haven’t scored, but Lundy never gave up goals like the first one.

  36. ORR- (From the last post)

    Don’t hold your breath for Bobby Sanguinetti. You can’t “call up” a player from Juniors. He won’t be eligible to join the Rangers until his team is eliminated from the playoffs (or after regulation if his team doesn’t qualify).

  37. Bring back Kasparitis….

    i dont care if hes worse than Malik..

    at least we’d have someone that can throw a big check

    every once in a while….

    I think i’d enjoy seeing that ..

  38. What was up with not calling too many men on the ice on the bruins when they blew the whistle after noticing it? I was at the game so I didn’t get an explanation from my boy Emerick as to why that isn’t a penalty. The Rangers sure seem to have been called for it a lot recently.

  39. I have to say I was really bummed about the squandered potential of this team, but you know, a Super Bowl appearance sure helps take the mind of off other, crappier NYC franchises.

    Hopefully the Rangers get their stuff in order and make a run, a la last season.

  40. Time to start dishing out ice time in proportion to performance. Dubi/Prucha/Dawes line should become the #1 line and PP unit (20+ mins a night) and the others should be left the scraps until they start scoring regularly (with the exception of Gomez who is our most regular scorer – perhaps because he gets 5 shots in a night?). It might even serve to recharge the batteries of Shanny, Jagr etc..

    Something needs to change to energize the team – maybe a trade, maybe a new coach or assistant coach. The players need to take a long hard look at themself over the 5-days off during the all-star game.

  41. Jagr is not the problem even though he’s better than what he’s been producing. Drury, Shanahan, Avery, and Straka are the disaster right now , along with the D.

  42. It pisses me off to new levels that they’re too scared of bonus incentives to promote Montoya and why did they break up the Shannahan/Drury/Gomez PP unit because it actually worked.

    Also once again; you want a good PP, park someone’s derrier in front of the net and have him deflect shots. Callahan who is doing just fine in Hartford is VERY good at that. Dawes should get PP time as well, and please stop using the 4th line so much, that’s playing not to lose rather than winning.

  43. were going to the show oh oh
    were going to the show oh oh

    (god i wish this was the rangers)

  44. From The Post today “I feel good enough to play,” Shanahan said. “I don’t know how much of my game was physical not being able to skate, or like all of us, just being lost out there.

    The Rangers seem to not know where each other are going to be on the ice. Or the other teams have figured out Renney and have adapted whereas Renney has not.

    I thought I hadn’t seen Shanny out there in the 3rd for a few shifts.

    Let’s criticize Renney a bit more shall we?

    The Rangers work the puck down in the Boston zone for a few seconds and the refs give the Rangers a power play (hooking on Hnidy). Jagr had been out on the ice to draw the penalty and now the 2 minutes of pp time. Renney keeps the Jagr line on the ice for the full 2 minutes of pp time in which they generate nothing!

    Now I’ll give you this. Tim Thomas was pretty darn good yesterday, he made at least 2 saves that should have been goals, and at least one of those shots were generated from Dubinsky’s line.

    The officials are horrendous. Just phantom calls left and right every game. Bettman has hurt this game to the point where I don’t watch other teams play any more. And watching the Rangers play is bad enough.

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