You won’t be needing those


It’s never a good sign when you’re equipment bag is lined up in the hallway outside the dressing room, but that was just the latest indication that Petr Prucha, Ryan Hollweg, Paul Mara and Jason Strudwick will again be on press box duty tonight, as they have been for what now feels like months.

The situation is reminiscent of earlier in the season, when “Henrik Lundqvist owned the goal for the entire month of October”: , and Stephen Valiquette looked like the most irrelevant man this side of the Vice President.

The common thread is how the issue takes on a life of its own the longer it drags on. Tom Renney continued to say those players will be utilized before the season is out — with Mara, he said he anticipated him back in the lineup when he’s physically fit to return — and lucky for him, he hasn’t been forced to do so out of necessity. But at least with Prucha, who scored 52 goals in his first two seasons in the NHL, you wonder if the coach is maximizing all his assets.

“It’s what the circumstances are. I’m not going to BS you and say it’s an easy decision or it’s easy on the guys who are sitting out,” Renney said. “But I tell you what: the nature of the character of those people allows me to at least feel comfortable making that choice.”

And speaking of familiar storylines, there is the subject of the Rangers stronghold of the Devils this season. Renney likes to say the Devils bring out the best in his team, and it’s true it doesn’t take much for the Rangers to get motivated tonight as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, “a random Saturday night game in Tampa”: But there has to be more to it than that. Is it the similarities in the two teams’ style of play? Is it the realization that the Rangers can’t even try to be cute against Martin Brodeur so they actually play a simpler game?

I’m open for theories.

More later….

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  1. Could it be becuase they’re the cross-town rivals who eliminated us from the 2005-’06 play-offs in 4 of the most onesided games in NHL history?

  2. this is a constant with Renney. He is extremely hesitant to make changes…either when his players are “going good” or when he wants to let them “work things out.” Im not saying its good or bad – its just his coaching style.

  3. So my question is, what is Shanahan doing in the lineup that is helping the team win? I haven’t seen him skate hard in at least 3 months… Unless of course he is and he has just gotten so slow that I can’t tell the difference. Prucha should be in the lineup. Straka finally played a good game last night, this hadn’t happened in quite some time, but according to Renney, he must have been going good. I’ve watched every second of every game during their recent streak and the two guys who stood out most to me were Avery and Lundqvist. Avery is but 7 goals away from the team lead after having missed a bunch of games, but why has Avery been the best scorer on this team? He shouldn’t be. During the 4 games prior to last night, they had scored 4 goals, but no change in forwards. The forwards are the lowest scoring bunch in the league, don’t play Prucha though. There is a reason Mark Messier didn’t like Renney in Vancouver; it is that Messier knows what it takes to win and Renney doesn’t.

  4. Callahan is adding energy to the team with his forechecking but he hasn’t done much lately offensively. His goal last night was nothing of his doing, just him going to the net, which is a good thing to be doing. It’s what Prucha always does. I don’t understand why Renney seems to have it out for Prucha. The kid hustles all the time and never gives up on a play. He’s proven he can score and was playing well before his injury. He’s healthy and healed, now let him have his job back.

  5. pretty bad when a 4th liner like mike rupp makes the key PP assist

    piss poor job by straka

  6. WTF, straka just got held and molested on that play. beginning of the PP. someone tell me how that’s not a penalty.

  7. Beer Me! – Those playoff ticket dates on those links would be valid if the Rangers had home ice, but they still might not be right depending on where the Versus and NBC people want to slot them in, along with other Garden events. I’m guessing the site is just putting those there as placeholders.

  8. I am usually negative about these slow starts but I think the Rangers win this game. Just a hunch but they are going to get stronger as it goes on. I don’t care if they played last night.

  9. Ruttster – Mara and Backman would be playing the same side on this team, based on the fact that Backman is playing with Staal and Mara has in the past, unless they changed Staal for Backman’s sake, but I doubt that.

  10. haha, finally the Knicks are given the shit stick, put on MSG2 instead of the Rangers on Friday, as Sam just mentioned. Good looks, MSG!

    phee – The Rangers are already playing stronger.

    Does anyone know why Rupp has been playing center this season for the Devils? It’s the first time I can recall him doing so; seems consistent because I remember him there in the last Devils game I watched.

  11. “phee March 19th, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    WTF, straka just got held and molested on that play. beginning of the PP. someone tell me how that’s not a penalty.”

    I thought the exact same thing, unfortunately it’s the same ol’e refs.

  12. If the Rangers are able to have the same puck-control they showed in the second half of the period, they’ll be fine tonight. Already you can sense the Devils are not quite as frisky with confidence as they were right out of the gate.

  13. Arggh. (deep breath). I’d like to see the goal replay but wasn’t there 2, going on 3, Strangers diving behind the goal line to attack the Dev with the puck???? Why can’t these guys figure out they can’t score from back there? Clog the middle and at best send 1 guy back to harass. I’m not the quickest cat but these guys keep making the same asinine mistakes. I hope Renney lights these guys up but I know he won’t. He’ll say “keep playing strong boys, crisp passes boys, protect the house boys, yada yada yada”. I’m sorry to be negative fellas, but I want to see some passion from these guys. I loved what I saw toward the end and I still feel like we are going to come out like animals released from a cage for the first time in a month. I would like some other opinions from you guys if you have the time and civility to do so. Thanks for this great blog Sambo. Go Rangers!!!!

  14. Has anyone noticed our PK going down the shi__er recently? Is it Backman or what? It seems like I see 2 Rangers running at the same guy everytime. It’s an obvious lack of communication in my opinion. I know I’m the master of the obvious but why can’t Renney see this. If Backman is the best we’ve got………… God dammit, someone better take out vishnevdick(sp?) lmao. Somebody please take charge.

  15. YESSSS, That’s what this team needs. The true Captain showing the emotion. Wow, these games are a true treat.

  16. If nothing else at least the lightning are beating the sabers 4-1, at the end of two periods.

  17. What a piss poor job on that particular power play coming out of the intermission.. it sounds like a broken record on this blog, but you can’t go that far in the playoffs with that kind of poor execution with the man advantage.

  18. well, buffalo has come all the way back and now lead 5-4, come on rangers, win, win, win.

  19. the point they just got made up for the disaster in montreal a few weeks back…way to go boys

  20. I hate to say this, but we really needed to win this in regulation. Let’s see if we can take that second point, though. NJ in the conference lead by a point over Montreal now.

  21. God, I love the tough Irishman but he is skating with cement skates right now. I say he pulls a Selanne next year. He is wasted by the march. Go Rangers in the SO!!!!!!

  22. Well, for the 2nd game in consecutive nights they finished strong. That’s good. It looked like the Devils were waiting for this game since Saturday.

    If they win the shootout, great. If not, at least they didn’t lose while playing real hockey.

  23. Lundy has beaten Brodeur 6 times this season. and guys here were bitching about him a few weeks ago.

  24. I noticed that they don’t even bother to shadow jagr with Pandolfo like they used to. that shows how washed up jagr is.

  25. Man, my cat just came out from under the bed and smoked a calming cigarette because she was going to take a beating tonight, lol. JK folks. Wow, I’m spent. Can any of us tell playoff hockey is around the corner? Great game and I wish the Rangers played the Devils every night because they go after it. Great win and cheers to all. Go Rangers!!!

  26. 3rd game in 4 nights – they should play Vally, especially since he has owned Philly this season.

  27. the sabers ended up scoring 6 unanswered goals in the third period to beat the lightning 7-4, that shows you how the rangers left there legs, mind and soul back in NY.

  28. The Rangers were definitely the better team for the last 55 minutes of the game, though not by much; it was pretty even. Good, hard-working win.

  29. Great game
    nothing is better then arguing with my customers during a rangers devils game
    HUGE 2 points

  30. tomg – you’re right. Rangers bodies went to “Florida Trip”, not the players…
    I’m sorry but Jagr is awful and he is no Captain. I was saying that all year. I just hope he’s going to play better in Playoffs.

  31. Brodeur, on the Devils’ postgame, shows what a bitter lowlife he truly is —- claiming that Dawes “heeled” his winner; that he meant to go blocker side; that the five hole he found was lucky and unintended; that if Dawes is “honest,” he’ll admit same.


  32. I agree with everyone’s sentiment about Valiquette vs Philly, but should they be putting Lundquist on the shelf for 6 days? He looks pretty sharp right now.

  33. Jagr really does look done, and I’ve always been a fan. He’s not even useful as a decoy anymore. It’s become comical. Anything he does other than register points can be done better by someone else. And he just tries to slow the game down all the time, and still making cross ice passes all the time, which is completely counterintuitive to how the Rangers need to play – get the puck deep, get puck to the net, go to the net.

    Demorlaizing loss for the Devils, great play by Cally and Drury – that line was fantastic all night (because they relentlessly got the puck deep, got the puck to the net, took the body and went to the net). Nigel Dawes’ shootout moves are so incredible that until I see them on the slow motion replay, I have no idea how the puck went in the net.

  34. Brodeur is a whiner and has no class at all. Just like Prucha’s shootout goal on him at the Garden was ” not a great shot or anything, just lucky.” No Marty, Prucha’s shootout goal and Dawes’ shootout goal tonight were things of beauty that no goaltender would have stopped, and you should have the class to admit that. A lucky goal or one you could blame yourself for would be the one Matteau banked in off your stick on a wraparound 14 years ago. Loser.

  35. It’s sad because I think they’ve both been good Rangers, but watching Shanny and Jags struggle this badly is brutal.

  36. I did notice when dawes scored, the rented mule shook his head and turned and gave dawes a look, if that is why than he is a sore loser because if you watch the replay dawes faked like he was going to shoot stick side and than slid the puck between the mule’s (jack a##’s) legs.

  37. I might get killed for this but I’ve been saying this for 15 years. Marty Brodeur will never, and I mean never, say I was beaten. He is the king of all excuses and that doesn’t mean he isn’t the best GK I’ve seen. He makes himself look silly with his hot headed comments. That F the world attitude is probably what makes him such an unreal GK but it’s always someone else’s fault. He sounds like a politician caught with, well you know. Marty, you played a great game, give a little credit sometime. Anyway, See you fellas next time. Go Rangers!!!

  38. You could say quite a few of Brodeur’s saves have been “lucky”, but I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate someone making that statement about him.

    Waahhhh! I played the best I could, but still lost…waaahhh!

  39. it’s not only that. if you listen to a debbies game, Chico the freako ALWAYS says that every goal went in off a skate or a screen. He NEVER blames Brodeur for ANYTHING. marty and chico are more like groucho and harpo

  40. Here is fun little game I play during Devil games with kiddie Kaspars…I tell them to keep track of all the times Emrick says “save Brodeur!!” at the end of game they report 46…then final shot totals are announced and its 28..They cry “what happened?” i tell them that they are not paying attention in math class

  41. Brodeur is a WHINNER! That is all. And these fake, unprofessional FSN tv guys are just TERRIBLE, I mean I couldn’t be a Devils fan just because of these guys, they STINK big time, they’re a lot worse than VS. WHINNER, WHINNER, MARTY WHINNER 6-0 6-0 6-0!!! This is RANGERS REVENGE!

  42. UpstateRanger on

    Happy for Callahan.
    And, glad Hank earned some of his $ tonight.
    Crush the Flyers!

  43. Dawes *owns* Brodeur this year… there is *zero* debate there.

    *Brodeur, on the Devils’ postgame, shows what a bitter lowlife he truly is——claiming that Dawes “heeled” his winner; that he meant to go blocker side; that the five hole he found was lucky and unintended; that if Dawes is “honest,” he’ll admit same.*

    I’ve got to see/hear this… that is precious… our Rookie has owned you all year

  44. Chico Resch’s love for Marty is so disgusting that I cannot imagine him as color man in the booth without stroking himself all the time as Doc screams about 100 different ways the Devils can “get it deep.”

  45. Is there a chance that Valiquette starts both games against Philadelphia? Probably not, but I would start him in the second one because the road teams have been doing better in these matchups recently, so Valiquette could help turn that around. Plus, he hasn’t had a chance to start at home this season.

  46. Hahahahahaha, Dawes “heeled it”! That’s great stuff. I guess Marrrrrrtttyyyyy is just refusing to admit that he froze like a statue while a rookie 5-holed him and stole a point from his team.

    Tonight was an interesting game. Normally when the Rangers aren’t creating chances and Sam and Joe blather on about “staying patient” I wanna scream. But it held true tonight. They didn’t over commit, they were smart when they pinched (Girardi’s pinch was HUGE leading to the goal) and Drury showed why we gave him that contract.

    Always a satisfying win against the Devils, no matter how it comes. Momentum seems to be back with the Blueshirts. Exciting game ahead on Friday night. These next two workdays are gonna feel like FOREVER!

  47. Here’s an interesting thought: does Hollweg get waived/sent to the minors when Mara comes back because Mara has to come off of IR, and we are at the roster limit of 23 players?

  48. Ha ha ha… yeah… Dawes is not ready for the NHL… :)
    Honestly, Hollweg is going to Hartford, no doubt. Well deserved :)

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