If this is it for Jagr


On the night of Jan. 23, 2004, when the Rangers were set to announce that they had traded Anson Carter to Washington for Jaromir Jagr, I got a call from my sports editor asking if I wanted to write about it.

I wasn’t the Rangers beat reporter at the time, but I had been around the team a bit and I was someone who supposedly knew hockey well (emphasis there on “supposedly”), so my editor said I should write an analysis piece breaking down the trade.

My take at the time: bad idea.

This had nothing to do with parting with Carter, a disappointment in his own right while in New York, but a number of other factors. I cited Jagr’s well-documented reputation as a locker room cancer. I talked about how it was just another example of the franchise’s misguided mercenary culture, when the solution seemed to always be another superstar lurking around the corner. Plus, I said, it takes more than one guy to turn a season around.


A few weeks later, while filling in on the beat for Andrew Gross, I was at least proven right about one thing: the 2003-04 Rangers were going nowhere. They had gotten blown out in Jagr’s debut with the team in Ottawa, and spent most of the next few weeks reinforcing the notion that it was time to dismantle the team and begin anew.

And yet in that time, it was also apparent that Jagr wasn’t the brooding diva he had been advertised to be. He was playing well and regularly trading barbs with his new teammates in the locker room. When I talked to him one-on-one, I found him to be engaging and affable, and admittedly thrilled to be in New York.

Fast forward four years, and Jagr might now be just three periods from the end of his tenure here. And should tonight be the end, Rangers fans should take a moment to embrace a player who has restored this franchise back to respectability.

Sure, plenty of other people have played a part in that — Henrik Lundqvist certainly being one, Tom Renney being another. And yes, a swift, second-round exit for the Rangers is hardly what was envisioned last summer. But think about all the other superstars who were brought to New York with championship aspirations — from Mark Messier a second time, to Eric Lindros, to Pavel Bure — and who fell woefully short.

Jagr, meanwhile, has played with purpose in New York, and presided over an era when saying you’re a Rangers fan hasn’t been met with ridicule, but even envy. He has scored big goals, persisted through criticism, and been the face of the franchise not only when things have gone well, but when they’ve gone awry, too.

I read somewhere that Jagr took heat on Canadian television for referencing the end of his career after Game 3. Typical selfish Jagr, the commentators probably said.

Maybe I’m biased, but I didn’t see it that way, nor did I see it when Jagr went to great length yesterday to talk about saving his best hockey for the playoffs. Instead what I saw was a player still trying to summon inspiration in a series that might by now be a foregone conclusion.

It’s funny how more often than not the pundits who criticize Jagr do so from a healthy distance, while the people who are around him on a regular basis quickly come to appreciate his rare brand of wit, emotion, and unspeakable talent. I’d love to tell you that’s because of some grand conspiracy. Instead, it’s because he’s hard not to like.

This is not to say everyone else has been wrong: By nearly all accounts, Jagr deserved the negative rap he got toward the end of his career in Pittsburgh and throughout his stay in Washington. And I’m sure he’s been a challenge at times in New York as well.

But he’s also been the player who has brought the Rangers back from irrelevance, and done so with a full heart.

I didn’t think that was possible four years ago. If this is Jagr’s last day as a Ranger, it seems like the right time for a retraction.

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  1. he has been playing like a horse.

    thank you Jaromir.. Please stay 1 more yr. play in Prague and bring us to the cup. He is often criticized but will never be replaced. he has done it for 16 yrs. 25 + goals 16 or so yrs. he has been a minus player 2 times in his career he is one of the best of all time.

    That is not emotion but fact look at his career, if malkin and CIndy do it for 10 more yrs. then talk to me….

  2. Actually I’ll just post the main quote.

    “So is he coming back? Is he going to Omsk? Was he saying yes, no or maybe?

    A few minutes after concluding his soliloquy, Jagr called me over to his stall.

    “What was that question at the start you asked?” he said, obviously knowing exactly what it was. “Larry, if I knew this was the end, why would I care so much? I would pat [the Penguins] on the back and tell them, ‘Good play . . . good luck.’ Come on.”

    Yesterday, I asked Jagr to tell me that I was wrong.

    He did. I think.”

  3. SAM:

    Great post. I agree with you totally. Jagr has been nothing but an asset to the Rangers. It is a shame that even on this blog many bloggers have ripped Jagr unmercifully – Staal Wart, Salty, Beer Me, stuart … All Jagr does is be the best player on the ice 90% of the time — even as a 36 year old … I think the Rangers are in trouble if they do not resign him.

  4. Great post, Sam. (If he leaves this summer) It’ll be tough to see Jags go but he definitely has brought respectibility back to this franchise. Do you think Shannie will stay for 1 more year?

  5. Who Needs Lohan (thinking about changing name to Peppery LaPue on

    Well said Sam. Although at times on the ice it seemed like he was not giving his all, you simply cant argue the fact that he helped turn this organization into the winning team they have been for the last 3 seasons.

    Maybe this is the end of the road for him, and maybe not. But any way you slice it, he is a first ballot hall of famer who won 2 cups. He will be considered at least a top 25 and in most cases better than that player when his career is looked back on in the future.

    For me, I will always be a JJ fan. Personally I believe this will be a nice send of for JJ tonight in his last game at the Garden and then in Pittsburgh in Game 5 where hopefully he will get the ovation that he really does deserve. That I see as the fitting end to his NHL career.

  6. repost:

    Is what I heard correct? That no team has ever won 8 straight playoff games? really? I’m surprised if it’s true.

    I would LOVE to see one of the kids break their NHL playoff cherry tonight.


    Sam, I really need to ask you a question to you as a journalist:

    What is really the reason behind that journalist write such stuff about Avery (all the best to him) that he was consciousness not breathing and beeing in a life threatening situations when it is simply not true …I mean I do not want to attack someone special about those stuff because it happens over here as well..

    Why don´t the media to do what they should do to report and write what is really going on, which is their job ! What is the reason behind it just to create kind of fear for everybody around which involved the family of hockey..

    I am admitting that I am rifting one more often with kind of those people. What is really behind the reason to write that stuff. How can you write that kind of stuff even before you have checked if it is really true. You guys can make your living about writing about the sports, which means making your hobby to the job, but why is this happening ???

    hope you come up with an answer…..

    I hope Rangers can win tonight to avoid a sweep and they maybe go to Pittsburgh for game 5 and nobody knows what can happen…

  8. Who Needs Lohan on

    One addition, I think you guys that say that we cant win without him next year are maybe going a bit overboard. We can win without him just like Pittsburgh is winning without him or any of the other 28 teams in the league could win without him. Just saying, lets not go that crazy. Just about every player is replacable to some extent…

  9. “and done so with a full heart.”

    Don’t agree with that.

    Saving your best hockey for the playoffs? BS! Your best hockey should be played everytime you take the garden ice. Is that too much to ask?

    I also don’t see why @ 36 people consider him so old. There’s older players in the league that out-perform him. Sure, not when Jagr decides that he wants to actually TRY. Anything less than 100% every night from your captain is unnacceptable.

  10. Sam,

    Nice job. I’m just a blog-reading, die-hard Rangers Fan – one of millions…

    Still, I’d like to sit down with you and have a beer sometime.


  11. Your best entry yet Sam, very nice.

    Thanks Jags, you were a pleasure to have in NY. However, please do not resign him. He is not the “best player on the ice 90% of the time”, although perhaps he _could_ be, he hasn’t been.

    New direction time.

  12. I appreciate what he has done in cooperation with the 2 people Sam referrenced, but I’ll be glad to see the team move past the Jagr-era.

    Everyone seems to forget that he was the (possibly)only player that had a hard time buying into the system that the rest of the team embraced. The style of play that was successful when he finally bought into it. Your CAPTAIN didn’t want to play the way that his teammates agreed to.

    He’s helped the organization for sure. There’s no doubt. But he’s never given 100% on a regular basis.

    Is it a good message to Dubinsky, or any other youngster, that you should SAVE YOUR BEST HOCKEY for anything!? Is that what his mark on NYR going to be? “Save it”?

  13. Who Needs Lohan on

    That has always been my problem with Jagr. It frustrates me to see him play like this cause it just proves to me that all those other times he wasnt playing as well, was not because he was being well defended or having a “bad night”, it was because he was not giving 100%! That my friends you just cant argue it is a fact.

    “and done so with a full heart” i think more reflects that he truly loves being a NYR. But again as I said above, it just wasnt there 100% of the time.

    Imagine Jagr’s talent combined with a Callahan or Ortmeyer’s heart???? I can, his name is Ovechkin…..

  14. Sam, Thank you for such a great post. I do so hope it is not the end of 68 in rangers blue….he has been a great addition. I am a rangers fan but have followed jagr from day 1 in the nhl…lived in pa when he started in pitt and they were the only games we got. He has been great for the nhl and did a great job putting the rangers back in the spot light. Thank you Jaromir for all you have done for our team….PLEASE GIVE US 1 MORE YEAR.

  15. so whos gonna play tonight in Averys place? and if betts and drury not gonna play who are their replacements????????

  16. There are a couple of things to consider with Jagr’s future from the New York Ranger’s Fan perspective:

    1) Can he be a net positive for the team as the Ranger’s compete for the Stanley Cup next year?
    2) Will his participation as a in the NHL on any other team but the Ranger’s be worth some amount to the team and it’s fans that would need to be considered above and beyond his on ice contributions.

    While his numbers were down by both the standards of his pedagree, his minutes, and his salary, they were not bad numbers for a top line forward on an offensively challanged team. Even if he didn’t improve or he regressed slightly, he would have to play until he was 45 before Jagr would drop below top six forward. Every team needs legitimate threats, and he is ours and might not be easy to repleace.

    He is a draw. He is healthy. He had an ok season this year, and has been one of the top players in this years playoffs. If you think that no other NHL team would want to sign him, then your insane. At the right price, every single team will want to sign him, and not just in this league.

    That being said, the Ranger’s have to consider the possibility of having Jagr play for any other team in the easter conference as something to avoid. Chris Drury and Scott Gomez did damage to the Rangers as a franchise, and a large part of their salaries is there to prevent them from wearing another teams colors. The same should apply to Jagr.

    He will probably score his 1600th point in his first game of the season.

    He will score his 1000th assist soon after.

    In at most 3 years of NHL play he will score his 700th goal.

    With 101 points he will pass 1700.

  17. Sam-
    While it is highly unlikely a comeback will ensue, say, by chance, it does happen, as we are all hoping, and we somehow take the series, where does this leave avery for next year? If we win 4 straight against the pens, and maybe even go far in the next round, will this only indicate to sather and the rangers brass that we don’t need avery to survive? I know most of us fans love him and think we need him, as evidenced by the discrepency between our regular season records with and without him, but based off of the stalled talks this season, and sather low-balling him in arbitration, could this be the out that the rangers are looking for to not re-sign him?
    While i hate the ny football giants, it did happen with shockey this year, though he hasn’t been traded yet, and i know we are talking about two completely different people and sports, but avery’s antics must have caught the wrath of sather, throughh private eyes, at least at one point throughout the season.
    I realize that this is all hypothetical, and maybe im completelyy out of touch with these thoughts, but i was just sitting in the airport with nothing to do, waiting for myy las vegas turnaround, and got to thinking about all of this, and decided I had to ask.
    As far as jagr is concerned, he really came through in the end, and I am hoping hee says it isnt so for his career, and comes back for another year. Not sure what Straka or Shanahan are thinking, buut I can’t go for that if we lose all three of our vets, though I don’t think keeping more than one of them is really a plausible option unless we move prucha and maybe someone else.
    Thanks, sorry for the long post, just had a lot on my mind and I have never posted. Let’s go Rangers

  18. Jagr led his team in scoring this year …enough said … maybe your expectations are too much … who outperformed Jagr this year at 36 years of age or older ?? maybe one or two players??? What did Sakic do? … Roenick was reborn but did not lead his team in scoring … Sakic was hurt — that is no excuse – you cannot help your team if you are hurt … Selanne messed up his teams chemistry … Naslund, years younger, was worse … Which player-36 or older performed better than Jagr this year? …

  19. ZG nice post …

    I have heard whispers that if Penguins do not sign Hossa they might be interested in Jagr … hence he will go to a division contender like you surmised could happen … I do not see Jagr going anywhere else other than Pitt or staying with the Blueshirts.

  20. Chris Drury and Scott Gomez damaged the franchise?

    They don’t hand the Cup to a team that has the best looking payroll.

    The cap will go up and we have enough young guys making minimum salaries that we can afford him. Richards contract makes Gomer and Drury’s look like welfare.

    I have a man crush on Jagr (no homo). He’s got a good 3 years left of helping this franchise. Give him what he deserves.

  21. I got a question. What’s playoff intensity? What makes hockey playoffs so magical?

    Isn’t a big chunk of it that EVERYBODY plays that much harder, knowing there’s more at stake, and the whole season and rest on a few games? Doesn’t EVERYBODY in the NHL play harder in the spring than fall and winter?

    So if an older guy mentions it, why is he a bad example, a bad captain, and a detriment to the team?

    Rangers fans need to stay fans, and stop being so g***amn critical over every little thing.

  22. yea would have been nice if he went full tilt a couple more times in the regular season then maybe we could have won our conference.

    i pretty much dont want him back next year and sure we can win without him, but we are gonna need some new goal scorers next year (tho not like jagr was lighting the lamp a lot this year) and i dont think dawes and cally are the answer. or maybe we have a few off years like pitt and finally get some really good young players (besides staal and henrik)

  23. Great piece, Sam, definitely up there with your finest work. I do hope Jagr is here again next year, and I anticipate he will be.

  24. You read it here first, We’re Comin’ Back!!! It our time for history!!! LGR!!!!

  25. Brandon,

    lol on the No homo.

    I think he meant that Drury and Gomez damaged the Rangers before they played for us. Now that they DO play for us, we don’t have to stress facing them, and that in itself is a bonus. FRUNKIS.

  26. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    “By nearly all accounts, Jagr deserved the negative rap he got toward the end of his career in Pittsburgh”

    Agree with everything you wrote except that above. Pittsburgh criticized him for GETTING INJURED and then things went sour from there. The media jumped on him and then the lemming Penguin fans followed in suit.

    I’d be mad too if a franchise I carried on my back started calling me out for getting injured. Washington, however, has every reason to dislike him.

  27. Whatever happens, I appreciate having had the opportunity to see him these past 4 years & hope to be able to see him in a Ranger uniform in the future as well.
    Despite his bad rep, in the many interviews I have seen & hearing him speak I truly admire & like the man & believe he has been huge in the Rangers turnaround.
    Thank you Jaromir.

  28. Jagr will be a Ranger next season. And I don’t think it’s a close call — Sather will pay him, he loves playing here, his confidence in himself is sky-high now after being down for most of the year, and he’s still got years of first-rate play ahead of him, 36 or no 36.

  29. Jaromir Jagr on

    Oh you make me blush with these nice comments. Like schoolgirl. But we Czechs have a saying “Jsouá zdeá nÄ›jak voln místa na dnes^ní večer Pittsburgh!” which in your English means something like “Pittsburgh has the best team fans in the world and they own you!”

    But really, I am grateful much for compliments. If I could I would buy rounds of Urquell for all. Much kisses!

  30. Sidney Crosby's Mother on


    A few minutes after concluding his soliloquy, Jagr called me over to his stall.

    “What was that question at the start you asked?” he said, obviously knowing exactly what it was. “Larry, if I knew this was the end, why would I care so much? I would pat [the Penguins] on the back and tell them, ‘Good play . . . good luck.’ Come on.”

    Yesterday, I asked Jagr to tell me that I was wrong.

    He did. I think.


  31. “I also don’t see why @ 36 people consider him so old. There’s older players in the league that out-perform him. Sure, not when Jagr decides that he wants to actually TRY. Anything less than 100% every night from your captain is unnacceptable.”

    To be fair, how many of these older players played the same way he did and still does? You can’t knock the guy off the puck. He goes into the corners and just holds the puck while taking a beating from the other teams top defensemen every night. Nothing against guys like Sakic or other older players (none of which I can say did better than Jags), but nobody else does what he does. They put up points but they don’t hold and carry the puck and take a beating every night like he does and has been doing for 16 years. The guy isn’t invincible. Its hard enough to bring it every night and stay healthy when you are 26 years old and in your prime so when you are 36 and skating on a bad groin and hip flexor, its not easy to go out and be 100% your best every game.

    I think you all are taking that comment wrong. He isn’t saying he doesn’t have the heart to play every shift or try hard, hes just saying he has to be smarter about when to really go into the corners and fight for the puck and do all the things he’s doing in the playoffs. If anything it shows him being a better team player because he believes his teammates can also help carry the team in the regular season.

  32. I love how 25 goals impresses the people on this blog.

    25 GOALS. Prucha busted that in his rookie year.

    Big deal Jagr “led the team”, we underacheived all year. Jagr was like the king of the retarded. This is why part of me didn’t want to make the playoffs, it perpetutates the idea that we are in the right direction and that the players we have are going to get us there playing like they have. Obviously not. This team has GOT to move on from Jagr. Some of you Jagr jersey fanboys disgust me. You really want him here coasting through another season throwing off the entire chemistry of the team and putting up 20 goals?

  33. I think there’s a better chance of Jagr coming back than Shanny. Jagr would still be a number 1 or 1A winger next year, while Shanahan will be relegated to the 4th line.

  34. “Chris Drury and Scott Gomez did damage to the Rangers as a franchise, and a large part of their salaries is there to prevent them from wearing another teams colors. The same should apply to Jagr.”

    Dude, please go to another blog…because such stupid statements can’t be tolorated…

  35. “I love how 25 goals impresses the people on this blog.

    25 GOALS. Prucha busted that in his rookie year.

    Big deal Jagr “led the team”, we underacheived all year. Jagr was like the king of the retarded. This is why part of me didn’t want to make the playoffs, it perpetutates the idea that we are in the right direction and that the players we have are going to get us there playing like they have. Obviously not. This team has GOT to move on from Jagr. Some of you Jagr jersey fanboys disgust me. You really want him here coasting through another season throwing off the entire chemistry of the team and putting up 20 goals?”

    I agree that him going would be fine. We would definately barely make the playoffs though just because our team is built around him, although that might be better. Unless we sign a known scorer at wing, then we’d have awhile to wait for one.

    What I do have a problem with is people expecting the guy to play his ass off every game and then be ready for the playoffs. Its just unrealistic since his body is pretty beat up. I’d rather have Jagr playing ok hockey throughout the year and bringing his best when it counts then to play hard early in the season and tail off at the end.

  36. Who Needs Lohan on

    All right guys, we cant keep focusing on this, we still have a playoff series to win. Our goal should be to force a Game 7 where anything can happen, right? So lets take the most plausible approach to accomplishing that goal….

    We are 4-1 against the Pens this season at Home. SO if we can continue that trend (i know we lost the last home game) all we need to do is win 1 road game to force a game 7. We need to win tonight. Maybe we will take the lets win it for Jagr and Avery approach.

    I honestly believe this is not impossible. Who is with me??????????????????????

  37. “Dude, please go to another blog…because such stupid statements can’t be tolorated…”

    You took his statement the wrong way. He means Gomer and Dru beat us up BEFORE they got here. So we paid them a little extra so they were on our team. Jags could do the same if he goes to Pittsburgh or another division/conference rival.

  38. The reason 0-3 series are impossible is because everyone says they’re impossible.. grrr

  39. jagr has pretty much always been one of my favorite hockey players if not my favorite.
    im pretty bummed to watch what i think we all know is his last game in the nhl.

    part of me desperately wants him to come back next year. the other half thinks its time for the rangers to focus on the north american style of play theyre going to be great at with a team centered around gomez and drury. it marks the end of an era in new york rangers hockey. either way, jagr, in my own opinion has been one hell of a captain and if anything im just disappointed that he didnt win a cup here.

    you had one hell of a career jags. im certainly going to miss you.

    here’s to next year boys.

  40. And who is the 1 person speaking loudest about it being possible……#68 Jaromir Jagr….


  41. Lohan…I can’t tell if you’re joking…

    We threw literally everything we had at PIT on tuesday night and they hardly broke a sweat.

    All I can say is Alex Bourret better be a damn good player because Dupuis has become a real pain in the ass for us.

  42. Jagr will always be my captain, no matter what happens at the end of the year. But yeah, he doesn’t look like a player getting ready to retire to me. I’d bet strongly on a one-year contract that will allow him to open the season with the Rangers in Prague and try one more time to get us deeper into the playoffs.

    He is an incredible player and an incredible person, and it has been an honor and a privilege to have him as a New York Ranger. As Sam said, there are others to thank as well, but going back to that 05-06 season, he is the main catalyst for why this franchise would even be a disappointment going out in the second-round this year. Without him, we’re probably missing the playoffs for the tenth season in a row instead. Thanks to him, we should be a playoff team for many more years to come.

  43. hopefully drury proves me wrong next year and the years after, but it seems to me we are definitely overpaying/overvaluing him at least with this current crop of players. he is a great third line center/pk guy,but that isnt worth 7+ mill a year, espec when he has been mostly a nonfactor this playoffs

  44. The Rangers will win tonight!!!! Jagr will score and Dawes will have the GW.

    We can do this.

  45. I’ll let Staal Wart think about it for a second.

    Signing players from conference rivals is a funky business. Their worth to the team on the ice is one thing, and their worth to the team by NOT PLAYING FOR THE RIVAL is another thing entirely.

    The Rangers tried to sign Elias, and instead, he is going to be a Devil for ever and has a no movement clause.

    They tried to sign Chara, and he will be the Anchor (any use of the word you want) in Boston for a long time as well.

    Gomez was the number one center for the Ranger’s number one rival. Preventing him from skating with the Devil’s had to contribute to going 11-2 against them this year, and that is without his contribution on the ice for the Rangers.

    Buffalo didn’t even make the playoffs.

    Jagr, if he signs for a home town discount like Shanahan, or even at market value like Lundqvist, will be better than that money being spent on another player, new to the team, the city, and what not, while Jagr plays in the eastern conference. If not the Rangers, then it better be out west (unlikely) or on another continent.

  46. Salty,
    I find it ironic that we traded Hall for Dupuis and then traded away Dupuis last year and now the Pens have both of them. Maybe it’s just me.

  47. Sam Weinman,

    Reading this article, I get the impression that you might be a Rangers fan. Are you?

    It would be nice if you were, having to read that McDonalds eating loser Pete Abe, Red Sox and Patriots fan.

  48. Gomez simply needs to be the next Captain of the New York Rangers.

    -He’s been our most consistent and solid player all year. More consistsant than Hank for sure.
    -His playing through rib injury, vs NJD during the homestretch, and coming up MASSIVELY.
    -His showing in the playoffs has been exemplary.

    I know a lot of you will be trading in your Jagr jerseys for #23 jerseys and hoping to throw a C on the shoulder as well … but the truth of the matter is that Drury had a very quiet playoffs, while Gomez’s playing could simply not be ignored.

    Drury has earned his A, but not giving Gomez the C would be a disgrace to the sweater.

  49. NJRangersFan1960 on

    Thanks Sam – fantastic piece of writing. I for one hope Jags comes back next year.

  50. Ah, screw it. What’s the harm in it?

    One win, four times.

    Pitt can be beaten. And the Rangers can definitely be the team to do it. The new phrase should be “Just Win Tonight.”

    Why not? If they lose tonight or in 5 or 6, yeah, it’ll be a shame. But if they come back and do make history, I wanna be on the bus the whole way. Maybe it starts tonight, instead of ends.

  51. lohan & salty. Thanks for understanding what I was saying. I’m not saying that everyone has to agree with me, but at least you took my comments the way they were intended. And I knew you’d also understand that ‘leading’ with 25 goals is no accomplishment.

    Johnny – to be clear, I’m not commenting on the most recent quotes. I’m commenting on the situation as a whole.

    And to “out perform” as I referred to, does not mean you have to play someone elses game better than they do. Just play YOUR game better than someone plays theirs. Jags is a goal scorer and an overall point-producer. Everyone had their role on this team, some played it to perfection, some have leeway due to inexperience. Jags did not play his role until he felt he needed to. I’m not going to, but I could probably name 5-10 players 35/36 or older that played their game better than jags played his this season.

    I don’t hate the guy, but I’m not going to cry my heart out, b/c he sure as hell did not give us 100% every night. I don’t know of a way to prove otherwise.

    And Sam talked about (jokingly) about ‘blaming’ Lupol for the matchup. What about Jags? Just 5- 10 more goals from him could have won us games…could have changed the seeding.

  52. dr. ogrodnick on

    Renney will find away to coach us out of any possible victory with his terrible in game management.

    Take Hollweg’s bonehead penalty last game:
    1. Hollweg is not going to score the go ahead goal.
    2. Hollweg has a habit of taking bad penalties, and is on the NHL watch list for it.
    3. Any penalty at that point would kill our momentum, and we were surging.
    4. Both Drury and Betts had been injured at that point, so without our two best penalty killers, our PK would be severely limited. Even more of a reason to keep Hollweg off of the ice.
    5. Down to forwards, we are pretty much reduced to 3 lines. Who is the obvious choice to sit of the remaining dressed forwards? Hollweg.

    A good coach would have realized all of this and used his personel appropriately. Not Tom.

  53. ZG
    May 1st, 2008 at 10:37 am
    I’ll let Staal Wart think about it for a second.

    Lol…its the price I pay for skimming the posts…my bad I’ll eat those words gladly…thanks for the correction…
    on top of that I’m having a “Nasty 1” kind of day and its not pretty…

    Oh and I agree… ZG

  54. “hopefully drury proves me wrong next year and the years after, but it seems to me we are definitely overpaying/overvaluing him at least with this current crop of players. he is a great third line center/pk guy,but that isnt worth 7+ mill a year, espec when he has been mostly a nonfactor this playoffs”


    Everyone is so eager to put their eggs in the Drury Basket. Unfortunately, this guy will _never_ carry this hockey team. I like Drury a lot, he grew on me a lot on the final stretch…. but at $7M he’s eating way too much cap space, and if you disagree with that, I have a feeling you don’t completely understand the salary cap. Drury @ $7M as a 3rd line center makes Matt Cullen @$3M look like the deal of a lifetime.

    My opinion: Drury’s $7M would be much better spent split up between two 30 goal scorers, especially if we are playing team defense… it makes Drury’s “defensive intangiables” less valuable if the whole team is playing in that mindset anyway.

    Chris Drury = $5M, _tops_

    This playoffs proves that.

  55. Salty,

    A very valid point.

    Drury is playing very important rolls for the Rangers, and generally doing a very servicable job. Very good face off man, very good on the power play (ok is more accurate) and exceptional on the penalty kill (though very good works too).

    He was brought in to be a second number one center on this team with Gomez.

    He was brought in before Jagr and Dubinsky fell in man-love.

  56. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    “You really want him here coasting through another season throwing off the entire chemistry of the team and putting up 20 goals?”

    Salty, since when do regular-season stats matter in the playoffs? He said himself he eased on the breaks so they could have a playoff run. And ironically, he’s been playing his best hockey as of late (going back ten games before the end of the regular season).

    Name a UFA RWinger who is going to replace him? Marian Hossa? LOL, please he wants 8 million + a year and a long deal. Most overrated 29 a year goal scorer in the league right now.

    Look at Jagr’s playoff numbers: 12 points, tied for 3rd and only 2 behind the leader, Briere (who probably has some empty netters).

    The guy saves himself for the postseason because he’s smart. Want him to try and score 50 goals and end up like Forsberg? He could have done that a long time ago.

    I don’t see anyone picking up his slack and the young Russian kids won’t be ready anytime soon so sign him to 3 more years. 2 at market value, 1 at home discount but with incentives?

    Shanny is done, so that clears up some cap space, and Straka could be too.

  57. 3 yrs for jagr is to much 2 yrs max…

    Zipay says Strudwick in/Backman out

    Koripokosi(however it is spelled in) for Betts(out 2 weeks)

    Drury will go…

    I hope Prucha in and Hollwegg out…

  58. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    I’d also like to point out other reasons for Jagr’s scoring decline aside from saving himself for the playoffs

    1 – Loss of Nylander, his usual center. How long did it take Drury and Gomez to get adjusted? Jagr and Dubinsky worked the quickest but that was after he was called up.

    2 – Renney took forever many games to finally figure out his lines, including his top line which includes Jagr.

    3 – He is on a team that struggled to score and went through many slumps.

  59. Salty — what a stretch … comparing Prucha of 2 years ago to Jagr … WEAK DEFENSE … Prucha can’t even crack the lineup …

  60. Dr. Ogrodnick… I’m curious to know what role Renney played in Henrik Lunquvist letting in 5 SOFT goals on 17 shots.

    You probably think he should’ve started Vallie. HA

  61. hollweig shouldnt even be in the lineup tonight and prucha definitely should be

  62. Good job Sam. I personally have mixed feelings about Jagr. He played as if uninterested most of the season and then turned into a monster during the playoffs. Not the way a Captain should be leading his team, plus he’s not getting any younger. If they re-sign him I’d like to see another Ranger wearing the “C” nest year.

  63. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    Jagr also lead the team in points :0 He is not the problem and has been the best player when it matters–in the playoffs.

  64. and he has been the best player – led the team in points – when it did not matter – the regular season …

  65. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    shut your hole Cliff

    OMG he saved himself for the postseason so he isn’t dead weight like Shanny right now waaaaah strip him of his C waaaaah!

  66. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    Hey Koffy — he also leads the team in ponts — in the postseason — oh wow look at that what

  67. “You have to understand, there are a million people who can criticize me for whatever reason, but if you look at hockey history, how many players stay at the same kind of level at my age for 80 games?” Jagr, who turned 36 in January, wanted to know. “It’s not that you don’t want to, of course I wish I could play every game like the playoffs, but it is impossible to stay at that level for 20 years.

    “People remember you at that level, and even though you still produce, they are going to say you don’t have it anymore. Even the greatest players – Wayne Gretzky – did he get 200 points at age 36? But you do it once and people expect the same. It’s impossible.”

    From Brooks’s article, quoting Jagr. Make with it what you will. I already know what I think…

  68. Cliff is clearly Clifford the Big Red Dog from the children’s book .

    I love the “playing unintersted” line, as in you can tell when someone is giving less effort — unless you have a post graduate degree in pyschology, I doubt you can mak those kinds of assessments.

    Now we’re judging players on body language and facial expressions instead of ability.

    If you played sports, you know that you turn it up another level in the playoffs. It’s the added extra adrenalin. The great ones have it.

    Plus, the “C” is merely symbolic. Jagr is the captain of the team. It doesnt mean he needs to go into the locker room and deliver anecdotal cliche’s like a Messier, we have other guys for that. He leads with his play. And that has been evident from the day he put the jersey on.

    Stripping guys of the “C”, that’s great for morale. Skys the limit after a move like that.

  69. Who Needs Lohan on

    Salty….I was actually being serious….kinda!
    I mean the series isnt over til the 4th game is won so lets stop talking about next year. We have an entire summer to do that right? So win your two home games and win one road game. Its doable right? I just dont want to talk about this like its over til its over. Do you hear Doodie’s mom singing?

  70. Jock Sniffer Rocco on

    Hey fellas, we are having a GMHL tourney at Chelsea Piers from May 24th- June 30th, a Gay Mens Hockey League, BillyNYC has the applications, we are accepting applicants, a 75.00 fee is necessary for rental equiptment. Six teams will be formed, a champion will be crowned, and we are having a banquet night at Leonardi,s on Christopher Street afterwards. If you are interested, we will provide an E-Mail address later.

  71. no way, Sam. you had it right the first time. what kind of selfish player, let alone captain, negotiates with the GM of another team to bolt his teammates at the beginning of the playoffs? no one but the selfish pouter would do that.

    good riddance to the me-first, selfish, greedy jerk

  72. Been a longtime lurker, but can’t help saying something amidst this Jagr bashing and some of these seemingly out-of-touch with reality comments.

    The fact that the phrase “win without Jagr” is even being mentioned is pretty funny. Do you not know the roster of this team? Yes it’s great to see young players being developed and looking good, but the startling gap in age range between the young kids and old vets on our team has to be cause for alarm. Jagr and Shanahan are two of the top three goal scorers on our team and people are calling for both of them to be out. Hate to say it but Straka will probably be gone too. Of course it’s nice to have strong depth at center, but our next best play is a playmaker/assist specialist. Can anyone on here honestly say that a winning Rangers team will have Scott Gomez on the top line passing the puck to Sean Avery/Ryan Callahan/Nigel Dawes/Sjo? and actually expecting to win games?

    Cherapanov is not coming over to the US next year, and will not be suddenly becoming a superstar scoring winger on the first line of the Rangers for at least two years even if we get supremely lucky. I’m sorry but there has been no player in Hartford who has shown superstar skill. Our best player there is PA Parenteau or however u spell his name, and he’s projected as a career AHL’er. Korpikowski, Anisimov and Byers have looked good at times in Hartford, but there is zero chance they step in and lead the team next year and we can only hope that they might be able to at some time in the future. This team has a frightening dearth of top end talent in the wings, and surely none that look to be able to score more than 20 goals in a season anytime soon.

    Who do you people honestly think with Jagr, Shanny and Straka gone is going to be scoring goals for our team? Hossa? Malone?? Ryder??? You question Jagr’s leadership and declining skills and those are the people we are choosing from to replace him? that’s scary.

    Some of you try and talk about more of a North/South score by committee team, but ignoring all other glaring weaknesses, we simply don’t even have the defense to do this. Staal looks great as a shutdown, defenseman, but the guy had 2 goals and 10 total points playing an entire year. Bobby Sang’s couldn’t even stay in the Hartford lineup for an entire AHL series in which they lost 4 games to 1 in the first round. The guy needs at least a season if not more in the AHL and even with that to expect him to come right in and quarterback an NHL powerplay and consistently score goals from the blue line when he hasn’t ever even shown anything yet at the AHL LEVEL! It’s safe to say Tyutin has reached his plateau after another poor showing in the playoffs. The guy is simply not big enough to be a physical defender, not fast enough to rush and carry the puck up ice, and not offensively skilled enough to contribute effectively in that department. Rosival simply is not a #1 defender. For some reason people throw out Saur’s (sp?) name or Baranka as if they are going to come in and help the Rangers D, again, they have done nothing in the AHL except look decent and passable for the AHL and get injured all the time, seriously, how many games have the pack played in the last 2 or 3 seasons, and how many of those games have both of those guys actually not been injured at the same time?

    While I am proud that our franchise is building solid depth from within, and a core is developing that will be great for moving our franchise into the future, to dismiss Jagr and wish him off this team is insane. The man is our team, like it or not. Ask any player in the league who scares them on the Rangers, and you want to honestly tell me 99% of them will not say Jagr? He is our player who makes the other team plan their game around him. He is a living legend of hockey and one of the top 10 greatest players of all time. Watch the man with the puck on his stick, he cannot be stopped, he is a beast. It is absolutely pathetic to suggest that the young players are going to somehow start to believe they shouldn’t try during the regular season because according to all our uneducated eyes, Jagr doesn’t. These guys are professional hockey players playing in the top professional league in the world, and lucky enough to be playing with a true legend of the game, who has put this team on his back and truly they would not be here in the second round of the playoffs, and not have even been competitive in these games with the penguins if it wasn’t for him. Jagr is a God.

    sorry for the extended rant
    keep the faith Rangers in 7

  73. Im interested in the Gay mens hockey tourney, Billynyc and Jorek want to sign up also, as we will have plenty of time on our hands after tonight. Hey hey hey…

  74. like others, I’m a long time reader who rarely posts. Its amazing how people criticize Jagr. He’s impossible to move off of the puck, the young players idolize him, the old players respect him, and he’s the best player on the team.

    Who do you replace him with? seriously. what is the next best option?

    Don’t you all remember the years before Jagr when there were no playoffs.

  75. Rangers6830 on

    :( One of the best things you’ve written on this blog Sam but you are totally making me sad. The Rangers must bring our Captain back. Thank you Jaromir for everything you have done for this organization, please stay.

  76. cAN i SIGN UP FOR THE GAY hockey tourney that Tony from AZ IS EMAILING EVERYONE ABOUT? How do I get this information, are the Rangers involved, AFTER TONIGHT of course. Do I have to fly, as since 2001, I am scared to. Wonder why. Anyways, Tony, great party the other night at the “East Side Club E 56 sTREET.

  77. Has anyone been to islanders blogs lately, Tony From AZ is telling fans there about this site, expect a lot of crazy hicks coming here soon, Thanks Tony, ass hole.

  78. This is my first time posting here ever but i gotta say that was great what you said about Jagr, Sam. he has all the respect in the world from me. I was only 6 when the rangers won the cup and 9 when they made they last made the playoffs before the drought, so i dont remember those days as clealy as i will the jagr era of the rangers. He is my generation’s version of messier so it was a pleasure to watch him. Its a shame if the rangers lost tonight and jagr didnt bring the cup to NY. It really looked liked he wanted nothing else but to win in NY.

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