Setting the tone


Just how far off the path the Rangers veered in their trip to Florida, I guess we’ll know soon enough. But when asked about the importance of tonight against the Penguins, Tom Renney said he had a different objective in mind than just two points.

“This is going to sound crazy, but what I want to do tonight is play well,” the coach said. “I want to play a good game. I want us to be competitive. I want us to be intense. I want us to be crisp and sharp. I want our specialty teams to do what they need to do. That always gives us a chance, doesn’t it? I just want to play well and I think the guys do, too.”

There is logic to this, when you think about it. When you lose two games in a row and look pretty miserable in the process, the natural reaction at this critical point in the schedule might be to say that you absolutely have to win the next one.

But as we all know, just saying you need to win or want to win doesn’t necessarily cure what was ailing you in the first place. That’s why you instead focus on simply playing well, and hopes the results come from there.

Meanwhile, some notes:

<li>Sidney Crosby is indeed out with a high ankle sprain, although as recently as a few minutes ago, Renney wasn’t completely sure. The coach has traditionally used his Blair Betts unit to match up against Crosby and he still has that option against Evgeni Malkin’s line. But the coach said he was hoping to avoid as much and just roll his lines normally.

<li>Speaking of Malkin, while Renney had mentioned that (former UNH Wildcat) Ty Conklin should at least be in the conversation about potential MVP candidates, my vote at this stage would probably go to the Russian for his ability to keep the Penguins afloat in Crosby’s absence. Of course, if Alexander Ovechkin can somehow get the Capitals into the playoffs, then I’d have to reconsider. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget Blair Betts. OK, maybe not Blair Betts.

More in a bit….

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  1. Blair Betts for the extra effort award. He needs some recognition for the huge role he plays on this team.

  2. “This is going to sound crazy, but what I want to do tonight is play well…….That always gives us a chance, doesn’t it? ”

    What a *novel* approach. Please explain to me, Tom Renney & supporters, etc… what have you wanted for, oh, the first 73 games of the season?

  3. renney with a built-in pre-excuse if they lose. well, as long as we played well, yada yada

  4. alright enough siht tlak…lets see some business…I got my Isles jersey on and I’m ready to go ;)

    oh snap…didnt know HOSSA was back in the lineup…

  5. jagr with ZERO PP goals in last 26 games . he sucks, plain and simple. eff sather for wanting him back

  6. I voted for Shanahan in the Extra Effort Award because it’s also about “off-ice” work.

    Beer Me! – The problem with your statement about consecutive 40-win seasons is that there are shootout wins now, so it’s likely none of these seasons would have 40 wins without the new rules that don’t allow ties. I guess that also cheapens Lundqvist’s 30-win consecutivity.

  7. It’s amazing how that forward followed Jagr deep into the zone even though there was a defenseman there for Pittsburgh, leaving Avery exposed. I’m surprised that pass from Jagr got through, but it was so obivous to me that he was going to try it. That’s a pretty bad breakdown by the Penguins and great rip by Avery.

  8. 1:0 Avery. Please guys I’m overseas on vacation so I’d appreciate any comments on goals. :)

  9. I think the only way the Rangers can win the division is if we win at least 16 points in the final 10 games, including winning all of the games against Pittsburgh and New Jersey in regulation. Winning the conference probably won’t happen because we don’t play Montreal again, but this is a good start!

  10. I guess I’m glad to have not seen the games over the weekend. It’s like they’re still playing great to me, especially since this is the first game I’ve been able to watch since the last Islanders game. I did forget to put on my 9-0-1 jersey, too!

    Backman looks to have offensive promise, but not enough to cover up his defensive deficiencies. Maybe they could turn him into Strudwick for next season, fill in at forward and defense. I would be interested to see him as a forward, but would rather see him cut or bought out at that high cap number – too expensive to be a Strudwick. I still think Sather doesn’t make that deal if Mara isn’t hurt, so take some solace in that.

  11. Little naties on

    I agree about sather getting backman at the trading dead line, it was because of the injury to mara. I can tell you that the rangers played ok against florida but florida is playing there best hockey of the season. The lightning game was with out a doubt in my mind the worse ranger game of the season. They did not show up at all, except lundqvist. let’s not get to crazy about the first period because the penguins are a very explosive offensive team and could score
    multiple goals in a flash so the rangers still have two periods to go and cannot for a second take a shift off.

  12. Little naties on

    “I think the only way the Rangers can win the division is if we win at least 16 points in the final 10 games, including winning all of the games against Pittsburgh and New Jersey in regulation.”

    I would be happy for the rangers to make the playoffs period, forget the division or the conference.

  13. Little naties – Obviously I would be happy with making the playoffs, but i’m just thinking about bigger things. It would probably take 9 wins though, or 8 wins with 2 OT losses.

    They could not make a much easier trivia question. I pretty much knew it was Moore without looking it up, and he played 82 games in 2005-06.

    Ruutu just had a breakaway because the Rangers were changing when the puck wasn’t deep enough in the Pittsburgh zone. Renney looked pissed, for once.

    What do you guys think about Dmitri Kalinin. I feel like I have heard he is decent, but I’m really not sure. He looks like a cheap option, and I wouldn’t want much of the other UFAs. Redden would be good, but cost too much, I’m sure.

  14. Shoe-puck-on-a-string. Sjostrom takes the puck away, then gets the slot to himself to deke and score around Conklin. Now I don’t know what to think.

  15. I would love to see anybody smash Rutuu in to the next hemisphere, I really despise that dude.

  16. tell the truth. that was a terrible giveaway pass by whitney. he just handed the goal to the rangers with a hurried blind pass right into the slot

  17. The Rangers still have too many defensive breakdowns that don’t occur as the result of giveaways. I mean, giveaways happen, so you can’t expect players to be in position if it’s in the defensive zone, but the defensemen are looking bad on plays where the opposing team has the puck for a long enough time where you would figure the Rangers players would know where they should be.

  18. Avery makes me nervous when he tries to carry the puck thru n. zone….Mistakes a plenty!

  19. the rangers defense is playing the same game they did against
    the panthers and lightning.

  20. This team feels too good when things are easy, too down when things are bad, and way too tight when things are up in the air.

  21. longtimerangersfan on

    It’s whoever makes the last mistake loses…hope it’s not the Ranagers.

  22. So I looked up Kalinin myself. He seems to be a good hitter, but no power play man, and certainly has a lot of injuries.
    Campbell would be a good option if we could stay under $5 million on a contract. I thought Hainsey would be good, but apparantly he is soft, though he is a power play man. If the guys we have could hit a little more, I think Hainsey could fit in alright. I wish Renney would try Staal as some sort of power play QB so we know what we have there. Put him together with Girardi, who can cover better defensively. We definitely need Shanahan on the power play because he is not afraid to takes shots, and I’m not sure why Dawes was taken off in favor of Straka.

    For this game, I don’t know what to expect from the third period. I think we need another goal, though.

  23. “I think we need another goal, though.”

    I would say that is a definite, by the way Washington is winning and so are the Flyers at the end of two periods. if the rangers don’t play the rest of these games like it’s do or die they will find themselves out of the playoffs, plain and simple.

  24. longtimerangersfan on

    Spider I agree but I think we need more than one more goal…five or six would be good.

  25. campbell will sign with the sharks. Joe T is one of his best friends, and they are a very good team

  26. Avery blocked a soft shot or pass from Girardi and brought the puck around to the other side to go around Conklin. We should have this game in hand now.

  27. longtime

    New Milford! My brother went to Canterbury School a thousand years ago and was their goalie when they played on that little dinky outdoor rink with the plywoods boards.

  28. where are the fools who said that Avery should be moved off the top line.

    10 goals in the last 15 games. he is clutch near season’s end, both last year and this year

  29. That is the kind of shift I as a ranger fan wants to see, great shift, callahan, straka and drury, LGR’s!!!

  30. look at the hitting by Dubi. the biggest reasons for the Ranger improved play over the last third of the season is the play of Avery and Dubi

  31. longtimerangersfan on

    Can somebody tell me puleeeeessse why they don’t play like this all the time??????

    Bathgate, it’s a beautiful indoor rink now. Spent many, many loooong wonderful hours watching my two kids play hockey there.

  32. rangers are 5-6-2 in the second of back to back games. Hopefully they can make it 6-6-2 after tomorrow, LGR’s.

  33. it was not a good performance by the Pens. I see a lot of their games. It is tough to say how much was the Rangers good play, and how much was Pitt, but they did not play their game at all in this one. the Malkin line and whitney and sydor and conklin were all way off their game among others.

  34. dlb,
    you can say that about the rangers over the weekend also, that’s sports these days, anybody can beat everybody on a given night.

  35. longtimerangersfan on

    tomg, they aren’t too bad after winning the first of the back to back but have never won the second after losing the first.

  36. It looked to me that when the rangers came right back and cored the third goal it took a little out of the penguins and once the fourth goal was scored it took the air out the penguins.

  37. no doubt. it all comes down to desire and working harder than the opponent. from the opening shift the Rangers had more drive and hustle and determination.

  38. Let’s see….

    A few bozos today were saying take Avery off the 1st line. Great idea.

    Others saying Straka sucks and he should be sitting for Prucha. Fantastic call.

    Someone else was saying Callahan has been asleep. Another brilliant one.

    Yet another said Shoe hasn’t done crap for this team. Pure genius.

    Maybe those players are reading the blogs? Who knows.

    But all you friggin naysayers should just eat your damn keyboards.

    I did say that you could tell how these guys would do in the first 5 minutes. That was accurate.

    Solid effort by Malik and Backman.

    What was Tyutin thinking on that one gaffe? Still don’t like how these defenseman stand around looking at the puck and not hammering a body in front of the net? They are just not physical.

    A one game streak is nice. We need to make it 2.


  39. Good effort by the Blueshirts tonight. Some observations on the game:
    Sjostrom was a good pick-up. He’s a very effective forechecker, slightly bigger than Hollweg, and he’s got hands. There’s no way Hollweg makes it 3-2 less than a minute after the Pens tied it.
    In addition to standing up taller in net, Henrik needs to work on his stick-handling. He is clearly one of the worst (if not the worst) stick-handling goalies in the league. Key save though on Malone’s breakaway.
    Backman is finally settling in, but he does not add ANY value to the power play. No comment on the power play – sick of hearing and talking about it.
    For anybody who thinks Conklin should be MVP, give me a break. This guy is an AHL goalie who got on a hot streak and some great offensive support from Malkin & co.
    Dubinsky was a beast tonight – he crushed everything in sight.
    And last but not least, Avery continues to make his point that he is worth a new contract. He makes the occasional foolish neutral zone turnover, but he’s got a nice scoring touch – those 2 goals tonight were awesome.
    Again, a very satisfying win that gives them some breathing room. A win at the “Crock” tomorrow night would be even nicer.

  40. Man, Straka busts his ass.

    Sjostrom over Hollywood any day of the week. Energy, speed and he can put a puck in the net.

    Fun game to watch, frustrating that they can’t maintain for 60, though.

    Let’s Go Rangers.

  41. great game except for part of second.
    cant believe Avery actually heard the RESIGN AVER CHANTS….
    im sure im going to get ripped for this but i really think they can use holwegg im not saying take out sojstrom i actually dont know what they should do but i feel they need a little more hitting especially in front of henrick…

  42. Girardi is an enigma. Tremendously cool, calm & collected feed to Avery on the fourth goal. But he looks absolutely awful at times in his own end and in the neutral zone. Continually beat tonight by J. Staal, minimally physical, and a humongous, completely inexcusable giveaway early in the second that sprung a Pen in alone on Hank.

  43. Other notes — loved how Joe tells us that Drury’s slapper in the third went 85 MPH…only to have Sam (clearly not even beginning to listen to what his partner says) tell us eight seconds later that Drury’s slapper went 85 MPH.

    Also, from the first period, Malik completely lucked out in a one-on-one with Malkin to the left of Hank. Played the puck, put his head down, and somehow retrieved the puck. So what does Joe tell us, “Great play by Malik. Didn’t play the puck and didn’t put his head down!” Unbelievable.

  44. your boy malik on

    Good game tonight – was my last game at the garden in regular season…spoke to Sam about Straka’s poor play prior to tonight’s game and whaddya you know ….Straka answers the bell….boy, it’s so much fun to win….

  45. did not read all the posts os here is my 2 cents.

    MALIK is important to this team, sounds sick but true. He was there best D man in there own zone tonight.

    the rangers gave up 2 bad goals, some line change. Straka did play well tonight, it has been a while.

    good 1st and 3rd period the giveaways in the 2nd were terrible.

    good win

  46. Finally, to all the pseudo-Einsteins who pitched a fit at Sather’s apparent refusal to pull the trigger on Avery for Bernier?

    1) What Avery brings to the Rangers — an agitator who can skate, has hands, can pass, can score, and can change a game’s momentum by both his play and his attitude — is simply a rarer NHL commodity than that which is brought to the table by a potential, as yet unproven power forward. In fact, a veru solid argument could be made that a straight-up trade today for someone like Jeff Carter (whose play over the past month has been Essence-of-Power-Forward-Itself) might posssibly be a net-negative for the NYR for reasons I will discuss below.

    2) All of which doesn’t mean that Carter will not continue to kick ass, or that Bernier will not develop into a very fine player. But what it does mean is that right now and very likely for the next three years Avery is the more valuable guy —- for this team.

    3) Which leads to my final point: Avery thrives playing on Broadway. How many guys can you say that about that are actually IDed as game-changers who have come thru here in the past thirty years? To me this is the great intangible that must be taken into account when assessing Avery’s worth. He brings it in big games and he loves being in New York. That is a huge, huge asset in his bag of tricks that Carter or Bernier or the next sure-thing-power-forward simply show no guarantees of possessing.

  47. stuart

    On Malik? If I’m scouting the Rangers, what I’d tell my team is to hit him hard in the first two shifts of the game when he’s retrieving the puck in his own end…..and watch him disappear. Pittsburgh didn’t throw a body check that mattered down low all game.

    Malik is fool’s glitter. Not the total spaz that many on this blog insist he is, but a guy whom a good opposing coach will utterly nullify by the first TV timeout of the night.

  48. Bathgate I do not deny what you say about hitting Malik and I definitely is true for Backman but tonight the Pens did not deliver.

    the rangers are one wierd team, they really play well against good teams but do not against poor teams..

    If they bring there A game they can compete with all eastern teams..

    the line change ws beyond bad…

  49. For my comments on the game, see Newmans 8:46 post.

    salty – re: stats & wins. I’ve had many many discussions about this with fans of all sports. The bottom line on it, is that there’s nothing you can do about the changes. Just the same with the equipment. The old-school goalies would have had much longer careers and compiled tons of stats if they were better protected. But the game changes. The OT mess really sux too. So sure, maybe the 40 wins are inflated due to the elimination of ties. But the changes to the game and technology-enhanced equipment will always be a part of it.

    bathgate – 100% on Girardi man. I love’em, but it always seems that his mistakes are glaring.

    Good performance at home. With the exception of a 2nd period hiccup, a good effort. I can’t believe Malik was our best dman last night.

  50. “the rangers are one wierd team, they really play well against good teams but do not against poor teams.”

    stu – while you can’t disagree with that. I’ll just say that it’s a good thing the poor(er) teams don’t make the playoffs.


    It looks as though Rick DiPietro’s season is over.

    Sources tell TSN the New York Islander goaltender has a right hip problem that is going to require surgery. The decision was made after DiPietro underwent an MRI today.

    It’s expected the surgery could be performed as early as Wednesday.

  52. For my forth and final comment of the early a.m.

    Here’s a link to the current standings. I’ll direct your attention to the divisional standings towards the bottom, and more specifically to the record vs. the division. Not even close. Make of it whatever you want.

  53. Adding on to Beer’s comment on the standings,

    Rangers have the best inter-division and inter-conference record of any team in the league (aside from Detroit vs the West):
    37-19-7 vs EAST overall
    16-6-1 vs Atlantic
    21-13-6 vs Southeast and Northeast

    Looking at the remaining 9 games, another 9-10 pts should get us the 6 seed at the least. Would not mind a matchup vs Carolina at all. Then again, Washington is sneaking up right behind them. Honestly, who gives a sh*t who the Rangers play in the first round? Just win no matter what.

  54. Can the Rangers forbid Hank from trying to play the puck EVER!!! How many goals do we have to watch Hank give it away or miscommunicate with the defenseman before he realizes that he should just stay in the crease.

  55. From todays article “But it wasn’t until Avery’s second goal that the Rangers could feel secure. Left alone in front after Pittsburgh’s mammoth defenseman Hal Gill was drawn to Jagr, Avery calmly collected the puck in front and fired it past Avery” Notice any problems?

  56. Rob L – We all sound like broken records with the puck handling thing. Good call on that, b/c it did give them the scoring chance….again.

    I think the only way to get him to stop is to play a loop of the video and sit him down ‘A Clockwork Orange’ style.


  58. Yeah, the visual is what it’s al aboot.

    Hey – who was it that asked the question last week about the ‘fastest to 100 wins’ for a goalie?? Some raised the question. I know it was in nhl history terms, but still a cool stat. And congrats to Hank.

  59. Hey Salty….Define “parity” for me please.

    No team in the East is that good. (Maybe even in the whole league?) We played OK last night and handled the Pens pretty well. Tonight is another test.

    But when we are on our game, I will take all comers in a 7 game series.

  60. And btw, Prucha and Hollweg are never getting back in this lineup at this pace….sorry.

  61. it hopefully has been put in Lundqvist’s new contract that he can’t handle the puck until Allaire gives him the green light. The problem is that contract starts next season. He needs to recognize his weaknesses, and work on them in the off season.

  62. I hate to Pee on everyone’s Avery Barbecue, but he needs to forget trying to curl at the blueline a la Great One. He might have scored 2 last night (due to overprotection of Jags), but he almost gave the opposition 3–most noteworthy the breakaway when it was 3-2 in which Hank came up big. Don’t get me wrong. He is a solid player with a lot of skill, but brothers, don’t get caught up in the mystique. We will see if he learns tonight when against a Devils team one must dump and run or as Doc puts it, “Pitchforks.”

  63. Speaking of Avery. Did you guys catch Sam or Joe, don’t remember which, saying that Jags told Avery to ‘slow down’ on the rush? That’s probably the best advice Jags has given anyone since being a Ranger. I heard they almost renamed it ‘Avery-sides’ instead of ‘off-sides’ at one point this year.

  64. Also…his post game interview with Trautwig. Jags’ crack about getting “$10mil”. Good stuff.

  65. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    It was a great game to be at, with exception of the first 4 minutes of the second period, and I’m glad they were able to pull away and get a W.

    Sjostrom looks pretty good, even playing with 28 and 15.
    The offense hustled most of their shifts. I would liked to have seen more from Shanny, Dubi, and maybe even Jagr. It was nice to see Straka take a couple chances and try to produce some offense (eventually leading to a goal).
    Malik actually played pretty well. But the defense, as a whole, was again quite bad.

    Did Hank face 2 or 3 breakaways? Someone earlier pointed it out, but I don’t understand why Penguins buzz around near the Rangers net without getting pounded to the ice or knocked off the puck. On the Lundqvist puck mis-handle you’ll notice Tyutin and Girardi BOTH just looking around figuring out who to cover while Staal and Hossa go in for the kill. Too many unforced errors, too much lax d-zone coverage, and too many dumb cross-ice passes attempted deep in the Rangers zone. Who’s coaching this defense? Why are they getting worse and not better through the year? At the start of the season, they played quite solidly…now you watch a game and cringe.

    This team needs to rely on Lundqvist, not use him as a crutch…I hope they improve soon.

  66. Sjostroms arrival ended the Ranger career of Ryan Hollweg. and that’s a good thing!!

  67. Rob L.

    I have always been a huge Hollweg fan – but I think you are right. Sjostrom is as fast, strong on the puck and has way more scoring ability. Also, he is less likely to put the team down a man.

  68. posts by bathgate about Avery and Malik right on on both counts.

    Avery is the most dynamic catalyst player the Rangers have had in many years. I mean, come on, the fans used to call Todd Harvey the heart and soul player, and he was a slow skater who had about half of Avery’s skill. and they did not win games anywhere near the pace of 43-19 or whatever it is now with Avery.

    timay, get a clue

    and bathgate is right about malik too. all you have to do is hit him in the corner and he shies away from contact and coughs up the puck. the Pens missed Laraque last night because the rangers and orr and Dubi were taking advantage of the Pens physically

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