More than just a big game


My story in today’s paper touches on the “uncertainty surrounding the Rangers”: as they approach the trade deadline. Naturally some players are more nervous than others.

“You try to keep it out of your mind, but it’s always there when you hear another trade rumor,” said defenseman Paul Mara, who was acquired at the deadline last year.

With that in mind, you’d think both today and tomorrow represent an audition of sorts for some players. But it’s doubtful any decisions about specific personnel are being based on what happens this weekend.

What can be crystallized, however, is what a team may or may not need by Tuesday — from a power play quarterback to a shutdown defensemen, to some help up front.

Two wins might convince Glen Sather the team is fine as is. Two losses? Well, that could be another story.


Two more readers chimed in with accounts from Casino Night, including more criticism of Jaromir Jagr.

First there was this from Jill Pankosky:

We also attend Casino Night on Thursday and had a great time.  I agree with the accounts from your other readers.  Strudwick was so friendly we talked with him a few times.  We got Jagr early in the night before his bodyguard came over to the table.  We met him last year at Casino Night and he was in a much better mood last year.  I took his picture with my daughter (I guess we were one of the lucky ones) and as you can see he didn’t stand up.  The best part of our night was Adam Graves.  What an amazing man.  We bought a VIP trip with him next season.  He talked to us for a while and just the nicest man.    Steve Valiguette and his wife are also so nice and fun.  Dawes, Avery, Hollweg (and Hollweg’s girlfriend) all so nice and talked with us for a while.  We had a great time and all the players are so nice and friendly.

But then came this defense of Jagr from reader Cheryl Wilson:

It’s unfortunate that most of the stories that seem to be coming in from the event are painting Jagr in a bad light. I admit that he wasn’t exactly as jovial as he was at last year’s event, but he wasn’t pouting the whole night from my interaction with him. He was extremely friendly and signed a Czech team jersey for me, personalizing it with a wink and a smile as I thanked him for the autograph. I did run into him fairly early in the evening, so I can’t speak for how he was with the other fans, but he was nothing but gracious with me.

Thanks for everyone for their contributions…

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  1. I heard that the lightning are close to an extension with boyle. also heard that a number of teams including the rangers have submitted offers for hossa but right now the sharks seem to be the favorites to land him. beyond that, the only other rumor i’ve heard is malik to the blues for martin rucinsky…I think that trade sucks, personally.

  2. Th only other rumor I heard is straight up: Sam Weinman for Larry Brooks.
    I think we should keep Sam.
    Good in our end & has a good keyboard. Plus we stay under the cap !

  3. longtimerangersfan on

    Tony from AZ
    February 23rd, 2008 at 2:52 pm
    Th only other rumor I heard is straight up: Sam Weinman for Larry Brooks.
    I think we should keep Sam.
    Good in our end & has a good keyboard. Plus we stay under the cap !

    Yeah, they need to sweeten the deal to even consider that trade.

  4. debbies beating Isles 4-2 in 3rd. the thing about the debbies is that no matter who coaches them, they play Lou hockey.

    they don’t just sit back after getting a lead. they play the same way ALL the time. THAT is the reason for the consistency in their performance year after year no matter how many top players like Gomez and rafalski leave. they can do it with minor league Dmen like Mottau.

    but the rangers play different shift to shift depending on whether there are czech players out here, or canadian players , and the PP is different from one group to the other. or the score makes them change the way they are playing.

    THAT is the reason for the up and down inconsistency in the Rangers play.

    there is no Ranger style of play , and that is the fault of Jagr and his posse. they want to freelance THEIR way, and that does not fit in with an organ-eye-zation wide, set style of play from hartford on up.

  5. Maybe the beginning was when the MSG cameras were there, so when Sam & Joe recount their experiences during the game tonight, there will be shots of Jagr unguarded and happy.

  6. has jagr always traveled with a body gaurd to this type of event or is this new this year, maybe he hears the so called fans booing him and yelling shit at him that he feels for his own saftey. Just a thought.

  7. captain scared-y cat on

    it fits right in with jagr’s gutless play on the ice. he expects someone else to protect him. he is the biggest guy out there, but he is such a pansy that he runs and cowers while someone else has to protect him. Shanny does not need someone else to protect him.

  8. I wonder if DiPietro is upset about signing such a long contract with the Islanders. He seems to have a lot of these games where he stops 30-40 shots and still loses. Today he has 40 saves, which sounds great, but the Islanders gave up 44 shots, and only scored two goals. I obviously don’t feel sorry for him because he’s got $4.5 million or whatever it is locked up for the next 15 years, which none of us have.

  9. Spider,

    I would think it would wear him down to have games like that and lose. Just like it would wear down a team to have thirty-forty shots and lose. But yea, hard to feel bad for folks making millions.

  10. “Dubinsky the boxer”
    by Kaspar

    Last year at Hartford this nutty kid keeps hitting me in practice like a pest “C’mon Kaspar teach me to fight” he pokes at me with his stick; so I punch him right in the cocoanutski and he topples down..every day though he keeps hitting me and every day I knock him out, but he gets up with a big smile on his teenage face; eyes spinning in circles.

    Finally one day I figure I’ll let him throw some punches, I let him throw like 10…I think one of them glanced my hair, but I say “Ok,Ok you win”…later that night in swinging Hershey PA the kid scores two goals but wouldn’t you know I hear him on phone all night; telling his friends and family “guess what? today I beat up Kaspar”

    This September Kommandant Renney keeps this bugga-eater on team and then in a meeting he tells me “You’re being cut Kaspar” I say “why?” he says “I can’t have a defenseman on team that gets beat up by Brandon Dubinsky” ….Sather hands me bus ticket to Hartford, then lights a cigar.. and two assistant coaches sit there laughing at me…yea even that one in charge of Rangers “glorious” powerplay..

    Next year I play for Islanders and when I catch that Dubinsky kid I will go Luke Richardson on him.

  11. Hockeyman Rangers #2 on


  12. Doodie Machetto on

    Kaspar, that’s a great story. You can take solace in the fact that armed with the confidence of his “win” in fighting you, he has gotten his ass kicked several times in the NHL.

  13. Even though the announcers didn’t mention it, I think Malik actually hit somebody to force a turnover and start a rush before that Avery holding penalty.

  14. Doodie Machetto on

    I have to say that I REALLY like Gomez on the PK. When he gets more comfortable with it, I can see him getting a lot of shorthanded goals.

  15. how bout whining about the officails???

    gomes got tripped without a doubt and turned the puck over in there own zone 2 minutes into the game but no call.. how was that not a penalty. The Kaleta hit on Mara was late way late, no call.

  16. yea i was wondering why staal was taking shifts with malik, tyutin, and rosival towards the end of the period, i forgot mara took that big hit earlier

  17. Hockeyman Rangers #2 on

    Ok how many of you saw Jagr watch the Buf player score that last goal, instead of challenging him??? it certianly looked like he could have but i am not 100% sure.

  18. You go, Dubi. Nice pass, Rosi.

    Meanwhile, the PP sucks as always.

    And nothing is more painful than these Buffalo announcers on Center Ice. Nothing.

  19. Hockeyman Rangers #2 on

    I swear I saw it again, Jags actually stick handling and going around some players. OH MY GOD!!!!!

  20. I’ve got nothing to support this, but man does Hank seem like a player who has let the NYC life break his hockey focus.

  21. CML… our weak D is a whole OTHER story… But Hank needs to make saves as well. Otherwise we have an “ordinary” goalie. With our D… that’s not good enough.

  22. GO RANGERS! To be honest, I think the Rangers play better when they are forced to make the plays, instead of just sitting on a lead (like Montreal). I’m relieved to see the Rangers playing well now, and I hope that they just remember that there’s still a whole other period coming up!

  23. Craig, then what goaltender for the Rangers would be worth the money? There is no goalie that the Rangers have that deserves the money more than Hank. Vally is good but not good enough to be #1. Montoya is dreadful now. Zaba needs more experience. Holt is doing well, but that doesn’t say much because he’s on the farm team’s farm team. Be reasonable. Every goaltender has their bad moments, but overall Hank is a good goalie.

  24. How come we can’t see *Staal* and Rozsival on the power play backline with Mara out? There’s a reason Tyutin was taken off of the power play. I thought Staal was supposed to be working on the second power play unit until he came down with the flu; I guess he really missed an opportunity there.

    So now you are all wanting to have had Valiquette in this game?

    I was wondering why Sam was saying *Blake MacArthur* instead of *Clarke*. He did it at least twice.

    Glad to hear they will be showing some of *Casino Night*! I knew they would be but was getting wrestless not seeing it yet.

  25. Martha, I think we must be watching 2 different games. While they’re getting chances… they’re also equally as sloppy. Let them tighten up the D, and then I’ll agree w/ ya.

  26. Spider I don’t know… I was hoping Rozi d man on one PP and Staal the dman on the other.

    and Tyutin and Malik should not be on the ice together its not a good situation…

  27. exactly, CML.

    not one of those goals against was Lundy’s fault.

    put Weekes back in the ranger net, and then see where they would have finished the last 3 seasons.

  28. Doodie Machetto on

    Actually, that first one was a bit of a softy. Screen or not, you need to stop a simple wrist shot fro the point.

    As for who deserves the money, the issue isn’t that he doesn’t deserve big money, it’s that he doesn’t deserve THAT much money. He is the 2nd highest paid in the league. Is he 2nd best? Absolutely not. He’s not even 2nd best in the division! And where was the hometown discount?

  29. Doodie Machetto on

    On the bright side, they’re doing OK considering that they have played almost all of the game with 5 defensemen.

    Unfortunate that Orr was healthy today, because we could really have used Strudwick right now.

  30. every goalie knows you make yourself as big as possible in net. hank plays so deep, crouches, and gets beat top shelf game after game. it’s boring. i cannot believe this is continuing. game after game he lets in one or two bad goals and he’s done it again today. it’s really upsetting. and sad.

  31. bull, every time a Det shot goes in with Holmstrom screening the goalie it’s the goalie’s fault, huh. bull

    the softie was the dawes goal, a soft fading away wrister that Miller saw all the way and was way off his angle.

  32. I’ve noticed Sam has said “hit the linesman” four times during this game, and I think three r all four of them have been bad for the Sabres.

  33. While Lundqvist has been making many great saves, I can’t help but wonder when he’s finally going to allow a Sabres goal tonight…..

  34. Wow, Florida just scored to tie Philly with 3.7 seconds left! Hopefully the Panthers can now come away with the win and drive Philadelphia deeper into oblivion with 10 straight losses.

  35. Doodie Machetto on

    I am saying that he is behind DP, yes. There’s more to being a goaltender than making saves. DP’s stickhandling skills are very valuable. Hank is dreadful with the puck. I cringe whenever he comes out of the net. There save percentages are identical, except DP has faced 200 more shots.

    This is kind of a silly argument, but it is something else to be considered: who went to the all star game this season?

  36. YAY! This was a must win game and we won!!! I’m going to tomorrow night’s game and I hope tonight’s win carries over into tomorrow’s game :)

  37. Doodie, and what goaltender choked at the Olympics… DP or Hank? And you know very well who won gold.

  38. Doodie – That’s a good point. Brodeur _and_ DiPietro went to the All-Star Game this season. DiPietro’s stickhandling “skills” also make his fans nervous sometimes because he can get a little too aggressive. Lundqvist has definitely improved that area of his game during his NHL career, maybe just by handling the puck less.

    Good win tonight, and as I type this, Jokinen drills in a power play goal to win the game for the Panthers. So they had a very hard-fought game as well tonight, but do have to travel less distance to get to New York, probably by bus for them. My jersey is 6-0-2 in recent weeks!

  39. If only the OTHER Florida hockey club can help us out tonight against those “Wicked pissah” Bruins…

  40. I watch big Ranger win online….have HNIC on CBC on TV….second time this week I watch Leclaire the goalie on Columbus…Either he is having a singularly great week or….he is the best goalie in NHL right now….he is stoning Habs…unbelievable

  41. Kaspar – Leclaire is pretty good. I’m surprised the Jackets don’t have a better record, but he has been injured a bit, and they have had to play their backup Norrena too much, who was better last season.

  42. That was a hell of a keep-in by Steve Montador *(who?)* to keep the play alive for the Panthers to be able to tie it. You’ve gotta take a look at that when the highlights go up online.

  43. Eklund is the only one i see talkig about McCabe coming here.

    So it means he’s definitely not-

  44. Ecklund

    McCabe rumours

    Islanders (e3)Flyers (e2) Rangers (e2) Cleveland Indians (e1)and Harlem Globetrotters (e1)

  45. cw

    I apologize and take that back

    Spector also just stated…

    ” Morrison reports Fletcher has also spoken with McCabe, and it’s believed the NY Rangers may be interested. Morrison also wondered if the Philadelphia Flyer might be interested as they’d attempted to land Tomas Kaberle earlier in the week. Fletcher told Friedman earlier in the broadcast that McCabe was talking with his family and would get back to Fletcher in due course.”

  46. More from Spector about McCabe

    ” A more interesting development is McCabe, for if he’s going to talk with his family that might suggest he’s on the verge of accepting a trade. He’s been long linked to the NY Islanders because of his wife’s family connection on Long Island, but the Rangers might prove a tempting destination.”

  47. Would you guys rather have McCabe or Kaberle? I would rather have Kaberle because I think he will provide better value based on his contract, at $4.25 million per season, $1.5 million less than McCabe, and they are both signed through 2011, though Kaberle probably won’t provide as much toughness. It might make Kaberle harder to get because of his cheaper salary, but I think a deal would be the same for either.

  48. kaberle isnt going anywhere he refuses to waive his no trade clause otherwise he would be on the flyers right now

  49. I would take Kaberle over McCabe anyday.

    I think he has way more upside, handles the puck better, is better defensively and is younger.

    But it’s a moot point.
    He’s going nowhere-

  50. Ah, I wasn’t sure about him. That sucks that McCabe is the only option. His game has definitely declined recently. If he was a free agent after this season I would want him, but he;s being payed too much for too many years.

  51. Quantifying Time: How much is Avery’s 5 goals in 5 games streak impacting the course of his negotiations with Sather?

    Look, I get all the people who say you can’t pay him $3.5 a year etc etc etc…..

    But this guy was born to play in NY and you have to retain him. The record of this team when he’s in the line-up is an irrefutable barometer of his value.

  52. I agree about value of Avery..everything is not about goals scored…guy plays an all around game….stands up for teammates…rushes the net…makes smart passes…has tremendous speed and…he’s one big PIA

  53. [“We could use an impact player,” Rangers general manager Glen Sather said. “We need someone to play with Jagr and help him get out of this. He’s still got a lot of hockey left in him. He just needs someone to help him.”

    Sather is trying to make a trade before Tuesday’s NHL deadline, and the No. 1 target on his shopping list?

    Mats Sundin, captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.]

    First of all, if we do get Sundin, his salary is 5.5MILLION — Are you kidding me? There is NO WAY we can afford him. Second, why are we still shopping for forwards? We need defensemen. I hope this is a joke.

  54. Yeah well McCabe’s cap hit is 5.75 million and he isn’t even good.

    I’d rather see us get Sundin through a deal with Malik + and bring up a guy like Baranka.

    We still need a tough stand up D-man, but who is really available at this point?

  55. We don’t NEED a center per se.

    But if Sather’s goal is to really get Jagr going again, Sundin would not be a bad option.

    Drury can always play wing-

  56. apparently McCabe is talking to his family over the weekend to see if you should waive his no trade clause, so hopefully we will find out something by tomorrow night

  57. Ao I’m up late flipping channels and see Wusconsin and Minnesota playing hockey on The Big Ten Network. Does anybody know why Minnesota has an Olypmic size rink? I mean, besides the fact that they can draw international tourneys, but why do college games take place there? I find it a bit odd. Do they just have it for the tournament benefits?

  58. Glen should just give JD a call and work out something for Barrett Jackman – tough and young (27 yrs old), only 2.2 per. He would clear out folks in front of Henrik’s crease. Not sure who NYR would send, maybe Malik or Prucha?

  59. Chris F,

    I also wonder about Hank and the NYC night life; as I did with Shanny last season (after his injury) and this season. It was my question when Avery first came here, as well, though he seems to be keeping his production high.

    Shanny is what he is, and he is old. No one is going to talk him out of anything, but Lundqvst is young and if he is out partying in NYC and his play continues to be sub-lundqvst, I am sure that someone can get back to him and get him eating, drinking, and breathing hockey again.

    He is being paid THE NUMBER ONE goalie money in the league. He is not the number one goalie in the league, but SOMEBODY would have thrown this money at him eventually, so Sather did what he had to do.

    Last year when Shanny was in “recovery”, the NY Post had pictures of him out, all hours of the night, dancing on stage. I don’t recall any doctor prescribing that for a concussion of a 38 year old hockey player.

    I think this is Shanny’s last season. Production down, questions about his hands, etc. It often seems that with the elite level hockey players that ONE season can be the difference between greatness and marketable decline. Larry Brooks wrote about it, and then apologized and retracted. I still agree with him.

    I hope someone gets a hold of Lundqvst and settles him down. I don’t think we can have Ron Dugay chat with him, however.

  60. No reason to bring the NYC nightlife into question here. We all go out and party, we’re all humans. Once you’re at work, regardless of whether you’re one of the top goaltenders in the NHL or sitting in front of a PC, your job is to perform. Henrik has been through a lot this season, with the contract talks and his father. Again, we’re all human beings here, even though we think of these guys as machines on the ice. They have emotions too.
    I think after this season (too late to change styles at this point), Henrik needs to sit with Tom and Benoit and take a long look at his style. Henrik needs to be ‘bigger’ in net, and not drop as quickly to his knees. Of all the goals scored on Lundqvist, how many are top-shelf? All 3 last night were, and about 90% of the rest of his GA are. Let’s face it, the league has adjusted to his style and all opposing teams are reminded to shoot at the top corners. It’s time Henrik adjusts to this league-wide memo and take away those top corners. Again, too late to change this season, but why not work on it in the off-season? His current style is just fine too, as last I checked, he’s still in the top 5 of GAA in the East, top 11 in NHL (his 2.37 GAA is not far behind Hasek’s league-leading 2.07 GAA).
    In addition, I think we as fans got spoiled by the Henrik of the rookie season. He was awesome, and seemed to stop everything. Why? The league had no idea who he was. Fast forward 2 years, and EVERYONE knows where to shoot. Time for Henrik to ‘adjust’ his style in the off-season and surprise the league again.

  61. Seamus,

    I think u got that wrong. The “Shanny and the Tranny” episode was before his concussion. He was out w/ Avery and other Rangers that night. I remember because as Shanny’s harshest critic, I monitor his behavior. And that was one night when he was just having a little fun. It might have been someone’s birthday.

  62. Anyone know if Mara is in tonight or if we are calling someone up, or if Struds is going to be back in? Last night was a gut check win. Hank was good when he had to be and Avery was Johnny on the spot. Kotalik was doing his absolute best Malik impression on that give away. I did see Malik take the body a bit the last few games. I wonder if he is only doing it because he knows he is probably going to be traded.

  63. not definite word but:
    “NO MORE O’ MARA: The Rangers lost DPaul Mara to a presumed concussion and facial cuts when he was hit high and borderline late by Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta 3:12 into the game. They went with five defensemen the rest of the game.”

    from nydailynews

  64. McCabe is Toronto’s WORST defenseman, so it figures Sather is interested. Acquiring Sundin would make the Rangers a buyer – this team should be selling old junk, not bringing more in at penthouse prices.

  65. agravaine – I was looking for that link. Thanks for keeping it in mind. hilarious too.

    I was hammered last night watching the game so I honestly can’t comment on too many details. One thing that I was happy to see was that Staal, dubi & avery all went after Kaleta after he ran Mara.

    Looks like Mara just took himself off the block. Or I should say that Kaleta took Mara off the trading block. Kinda glad. I’d like to see him resign for less. If he is willing of course.

    Kaspar – You shouldn’t have let dubi win that fight. You gave him false confidence.

    Kaberle over McCabe anyday. McCabe is always friggin hurt. One thing about McCabe though. Brian Leetch said that that McCabe is ‘the best’ defenseman he’s ever played with. That may be totally true. B/c when you’re one of the greatest to ever play, you normally don’t play with anyone that’s even close. But I’d be surprised to see either in NY. I just don’t think slats has it in him. And if he does, I’m afraid the price it too high.

  66. Big game tonight vs Florida. A win can propel the Rangers past Boston to stand alone in 6th place. This would put them several points behind Montreal and Pittsburgh.
    GO RANGERS!!!!

  67. Re: Game in Buffalo, Ranger turnovers, particularly Jags & Stall, could have had far greater impact if Sabre goldtending were up to par. Boy , Dubinsky just keeps on getting better. What a keeper

  68. So does anyone know why University of Minnesota has that Olympic-sized hockey rink?

    That’s too bad about Mara. Despite his flaws, he was still a defenseman who will shoot and hit.

    Yeah, game on FSN tonight. At least it’s not MSG2.

  69. Trades for McCabe and for Sundin would be the dumbest trades to pull. I actually thought Malik played a pretty good game last night. He actually took the body on a few occasions…I had to blink twice but I did see it.
    Dubinski just becoming a phenominal player.
    As far as a player to help Jagr, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the reunion of Dubi with Jagr has changed the entire play of that line. They seem to be unstoppable. SATHER LOOK NO FURTHER, THE PLAYER FOR JAGR IS ALREADY ON YOUR TEAM, YOU BIG DOPE!!

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