As Rangers disperse for summer, questions abound


We’re still in the middle of break up day here, but a couple of quick notes:

<li>Jaromir Jagr said he was still undecided about the future, but he did add a new wrinkle in saying that he dislikes change, and that staying with the Rangers is his first choice.

“First I am going to talk to the Rangers,” Jagr said. “That’s No. 1 option for me. I don’t like to change. I feel very comfortable here, with all the people around this organization who are nice to me. They give me a chance to show everybody I still can play hockey. Everybody doubt me when I was playing in Washington for whatever reason. The Rangers gave me a chance and believed in me. All the trainers, everybody around, are so nice to me and so good to me. All I have to do is concentrate on hockey.”

But Jagr, who’s never been a free agent before, also said he was intrigued by the idea of finding out his worth on the open market. Jagr added that he doesn’t have a standing deal in place with his old team in Omsk, but that he will likely talk to them.

<li>Brendan Shanahan is also on the fence, but he said he did think he can still play in the NHL next year, and quite honestly, didn’t sound like he was ready to retire. The Rangers are still his first choice. Shanahan also said the knee injury sustained in January had residual affects for the rest of the season.

<li>Martin Straka said he’s definitely not done playing hockey, but not sure where. He admitted Jagr’s decision will have a significant impact on his own.

<li>Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden), Brandon Dubinsky (USA), and Fedor Tyutin (Russia) will all represent their respective countries in the World Championships in Halifax and Quebec. Dubinsky was shipping out today. Lundqvist, who had some soreness in his knees from a hit in Game 4, expects to play for Sweden on Thursday.

<li>Sean Avery will start his internship at Vogue on Monday. Nigel Dawes joked he’s going to Newsweek.

More later..

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  1. If Jagr and Shanny REALLY want to play then they should sign mid-season to be easier on the cap. This team needs change or it will be the same disappointing year after another.

  2. Many thanks, Sam, it’s been a pleasure sharing the season with you. (And now, I suppose, I’ll have more time to work…sigh)

  3. If Shanny resigns as anything other than a 4th line winger than we are in trouble.

  4. Tony from AZ on

    I hope Nigel shaved. Man, he was scary looking in that beard !
    Bet he got stopped at the airport

  5. Tony from AZ on

    Pavel – BINGO !
    Keep the same core guys will have the same result.
    This team needs a new face, this is a golden opportunity to reshape the team. I think we have 8-9 UFA. Nows the time to fill the holes we need. Starting with a bad ass, power playing defenseman. Anybody know a bad ass defenseman available ??

  6. Tony from AZ- Don La Greca mentioned on his NHL Live show today (12-2pm EST) on XM Radio & NHL NETWORK TV that possibly Sather swings a deal with Edmonton for Sheldon Souray once his shoulder mends…Its not a rumor but more of something he that Don was throwing out there as a good deal for both teams.

  7. Tony from AZ on

    Liqiud, who do we give up for Souray ?
    Please, not the kids, think they’ll take Hollwig or Prucha ?

  8. Sam,
    please convince Avery that he MUST start a blog now. Can you imagine what it’ll be like for him on Monday when he goes to work in the office?! And, being Sean Avery, how he could write about his impressions, the people he meets there etc. I think I just came up with a perfect name for his blog: “Being Sean Avery”!

  9. If Shanahan is on the team next year we’re f’ed. Rangers must stop being the NHL’s elephant graveyard.

  10. If Avery starts a blog about his internship, i give him 2 weeks before he writes something that gets him s!@tcanned. It’s one thing to rag on brodeur, it’s another thing to write about a coworker in a blog.

    But I’d love Love LOVE to see it!

  11. Thanks For a great season, Sam. You are the first place I go to for Ranger news. Great Job!

  12. Who Needs Lohan on

    “Rangers must stop being the NHL’s elephant graveyard.”

    Man that is just perfect!

  13. I’ve found over the last two days (of dissapointment) that my position on signing or not-signing some players has changed.

    Originally – I thought Rosival should be signed – NOT ANY MORE – He is soft and REFUSES to shoot. I just can’t understand this guy.
    Originally – I Assumed Jagr would be back – BUT I absolutely cannot withstand another powerplay with him on the half boards and NO SHOTS. If he is permitted to dictate the PP strategy then he must go. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. You don’t need me tell you – its BROKEN.
    Originally, I thought Mara was no good on the PP – then I realized he is not permitted to shoot enough.
    Shanahan – sadly, and no disrespect, I think it is time for him to go or preferrably, assistant coach.
    Prucha – I thought he should go but now I’m not sure. I would still like to see him be given a real opportunity. This season was not ANY indication of his ability.

    I agree with the other themes:
    Need snarly defensmen and #2
    Need a top wing (from outside) and second winger
    Malik who?

  14. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    LGR, sounds like you nailed it. I think Pearn and Pellino have to go also which should help the PP and defense.

    The only questions which remain are Avery, who the Rangers should resign if the price is right (people have been saying $3.3million for 3-4 years and that sounds good). And, Straka, who might be a viable 2nd/3rd line winger if he doesn’t ask for too much money (less than $4million). But I have a feeling Avery and Straka are looking for more money though…which leads to more question marks??!

  15. onecupin67years on

    I would only keep Prucha if he goes to Mexico and goes on the Juice to bulk up.He skates with a target on his uniform .The opposition constantly bangs him and he NEVER retaliates .

  16. LGR,

    Shanahan as a coach is a great idea. The only life I saw on the pp all season was the second unit with Shanny on it.

    I think Pearn needs to go but will it happen? Tom is loyal to a fault. I could see Shanny as an AC only if Jagr is gone. The youth and any newbies would listen to him. Shanny can kill time ’til a league job opens up on Sixth Ave. preferably Commissioner.

  17. onecupin67years- Actually Pruchs did retaliate ONCE this year…He put the lumber right into someones jaw as the guy was trying turn Pruchs into road kill with a big check…. Todays trivia question folks…..Can anyone here name the ONLY guy that Prucha fugged up this year? : )

  18. I would let shanny,straka, rozy, mara,malik and hollweg all go. I would sign malone, orpik and vandermeer. Keep strudwick as seventh. Give pock or hutchinson a shot. Let Backman eat up 2.3 cap space on the bench… Great move Slats. Of course Avery should get whatever he asks for because he is our heart. We have been soft since the cup. Time to add some meat to this team. So the next time Ruutu opens his mouth he eats a fist.

  19. Liquid, I remember Prucha elbowing Neil in the head, but that can’t be it.

  20. Prucha beat up Colin White last year when Aves pushed Broduer.

    Lol he jumped on his back like a crazed monkey, and choked him out, and White didnt even know what the hell was going on. The they both socked each other one.

    Im so god damn depressed right now, the only thing that can cheer me up is a new Keeley Hazel sex tape, or a Jessica Alba, one.

  21. dumb question…can you keep shanihan as an AC with option to put on a uniform 3/4 into the season? if the 90 games are too much for his age … having him with some energy in April/May may be good. he did score some key goals this year.

  22. Tony from AZ on

    ORR..The Pop Sensation Known as KOlton….

    I feel your pain my fellow Ranger brother. I also am very depressed. I had my DVR set for last nights game but …. well you know.
    We need to get over this depressed feeling. Try doing what I did, go out & get a sexual gratification technician & get your “oil changed”

  23. Fruity Cupcake on

    There’s a media website called “Gawker,” where all us magazine types go for gossip in the magazine and newspaper world. They branch out to regular gossip, but print media is their bread and butter. Should our Sean do anything juicy/punishable by his new employer, Condé Nast, some silent slave will post it there. And if she does, I’ll be sure to post it HERE ;-) WINK

    (Of course, Gawker Media owns, so it would end up there, too, sports fans.)

    You’re welcome.

  24. Laurie – did they ask for permission regarding Malik as well.

    Foo fighters were on msg tonight. a lot of their songs are on Ranger warmup so served as painful reminder.
    last year was more painful, we were much closer to winning that series last yr than this one.

    no to Hossa – years he wants and huge $ he’ll be mid 30’s or more when contract ends just like Drury will be. we’ll need money for our own guys in a couple of years.

    so 1-2 year contracts are the way to go.

    Tyutin’s was too long for what he’s giving us.

    Shanny is done great guy and great hall of famer. I hope his full salary including bonus hit this year.

    Malik is obvious

    Can see 1 of Rozy or Mara here. would like to trade one of small but talented forwards (in a package) for a good hard nosed d man. Can’t believe someone mentioned Souray above. His salary and years is a non starter here.

    we need size and skill on forwards too. even 6’1″ would be an improvement. maybe we’ll sign Dupuis. just kidding I think but he is pretty solid.

  25. how could I forget. Hollweg needs to be gone too. maybe he needs to be pocked.

  26. Sam, I’m honestly amazed by some of the posts here. First off, Jagr, the LEADING points getter, and goal getter, should be a main priority. The argument can be made that he didn’t live up to his potential, but there is ZERO argument that he was the best player in the post season. Had the league’s post season ended with the second round, he would have triggered an extension (Conn Smythe), and I mean that. I wish I could meet this guy just to thank him for his post season work alone. Jaromir Jagr is STILL the most talented player in the league, by far.

    Shanny, on the other hand, needs to be brought back, but with a lesser role. Forget the 4th line however. A player like Shanny will never deserve a 4th line role, even if he was 50. Put him on the 3rd line, let him influence youngsters, yet give him top line PK time, and we’re all good.

    People who write these players off so easily are obviously reacting too quickly for the playoffs. These guys may be older, but they can still hang with the younger guys, and they still surpass the younger guys in talent (That’s coming from someone who is 19).

  27. I have a few personal opinions.

    1 – resigning Jagr, Avery and Mara by June 30. All three of them are key to this team – Mara is our “veteran presence” on the blueline, and frankly, he never, ever should have been benched. Jagr is Jagr, and needs to be here until we’ve got that gamebreaker to take his reins. Total for re-signing those three should be AROUND 11M of our 20 million cap allowance.

    2 – Fetch me a defenseman! I don’t want a PP QB – see below, but I want a guy who isn’t afraid to throw a hit, dig in, block shots and play smart defense. My pick? Orpik, of course.

    3 – I don’t care if Sanguinetti isn’t ready. He can’t be HALF as irresponsible as Backman. Get him out like Streit in MTL and let him get his start – he will be fine. He’ll be FINE.

    4 – About that gamebreaking sniper? Ilya Kovalchuk. He has fallen out of grace in Atlanta and they need to start a rebuild. He is in a contract year. We have an ABUNDANCE of prospects, and next years draft is reportedly weak. Our 09 first rounder and 3 of our higher end prospects (Parenteau, Potter, Hutchinson, Wiikman, guys at that level) may be enough to pry him loose. We can re-sign him to an extension paying him his 8 or 9 million or whatever he wants starting in 09-10. As long as he isn’t commanding Ovechkin money, I want him. He’s a great winger for Gomez, a disgustingly good finisher and he loves New York. Also, he isn’t Marian Hossa. He’s not an overachiever as a result of the players around him – he scored 50 goals multiple times on an absolutely ABYSMAL Atlanta team. I HATE this argument, but imagine what this guy does with Gomez centering him and Dawes or Prucha on the fast break? I know we have some MONSTER contracts, but I’m totally cool with having half of what you have to figure will be a 60M cap in 09-10 tied up in Gomez, Drury, Lundqvist, Avery and Kovalchuk. Fine by me – I’d rather blow the financial load for Kovalchuk than Hossa.

    5- Weinman, when you promise “more later”, don’t leave us dangling!!!!!!!!!

  28. Wow!! I am thinking about it right now, and there are a few things that I absolutely love about Kovalchuk.

    1. The guy can straight up play and score with the best of them.
    2. He automatically makes our power play 100 times better. Hell, he stand wherever he wants and just rockets that one timer and scores goals.
    3. He would be amazing with Gomez.
    4. He brings out the worst in Sidney Crosby. And you have to love that. That one youtube video is great when he points at Sid. I love it.

    If there is some chance we can get him, I say do it. Definitely do it.

  29. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Mike, Kovalchuk already has a contract through 09-10 already. He’ll be a UFA come 10-11. I think he would be great for the team, remember, he has some attitude issues as well. And as far as him putting up 50 goals alone, he wasn’t exactly Alex Ovechkin (who’s turned a bunch of 3rd/4th liners into 1st liners). Kovalchuk has done it with the likes of Hossa & Savard (prior), oh, and dont’ forget about Holik and Ruchin!!! haha. j/k. Kovalchuk’s a legitimate top-5 pure sniper in the NHL.

    I can’t believe some of the other things I’m reading here. SO, Shanny should use up 3rd line time? His stats playing 2nd line time (with our best center, Gomez) and on the PP Since his concussion go like this: 30-35-65 in 102 games (including playoffs). He’s only averaging 24 goals per season, granted if he plays 82 full games, and that’s using up MEGA-time. And you want to pay him $4.5-$5.5million to play on the 3rd line and produce the same amount or less? Not smart.

    If you only think people are down on Shanny because of his lack of playoff production, you may have missed the PP (all year), his 5on5 play (all year, where he slowed Gomez down), and his slow skating EVERYWHERE. Shanny’s done, and if he’s not NHL “done,” I hope he’s done in NY. *We don’t need any more over-priced veterans who can’t produce.* Watch your hilights from 1998 to 2004 if you miss that era.

  30. “Jaromir Jagr is STILL the most talented player in the league, by far”

    You are completely, completely delusional. This actually bothers me that someone actually believes this.

    “These guys may be older, but they can still hang with the younger guys, and they still surpass the younger guys in talent (That’s coming from someone who is 19).”

    What does _your_ age have to do with NHL players ages?

    Seems to me like a lot of people are not ready to let go of their childhood heroes, that’s all.

    Jagr I can see an _argument_ to bring back although I so incredibly strongly disagree with it. Shanny just has no business here, he was invisible in the playoffs and thats his bread and butter.

    We need to let these guys walk and yes, possibly sacrifice a season letting the kids grow into the league without Jagr distracting everyones game.


  31. I really think if Jagr was not permitted to de-rail the PP all season:

    a) Rangers have better record and home ice adv.
    b) they improve chances of winning Conf. and Cup by 50%.

  32. what up everybody? I was away from a PC all day yesterday and it feels like a week.

    I didn’t go back and read all the comments, apologies(as usual).

    I haven’t changed my tune on anything yet. Still don’t want jags, straka, shanny, rozy, malik(haha), back. I also don’t know if I want to bring in kovalchuk or hossa to be honest. I just want to see a guy that plays a good ‘ol North American style game(some euros can play that way too). No spinning or fancy-shmancy plays at the blueline. Get it deep, get it on net, go to the net. Makes for MUCH better hockey. It also shows the real value of getting 40 shots on net. The shot totals we saw in some games this year were the most mis-leading stats in all the NHL this season.

    I’d like to see some size, toughness & speed brought in. Up front and on the backline. Not too much to ask right?

    Souray is a bad idea. He got a huge deal cuz he broke the dman pp goal record and the mtl pp was #1. Well, it was on top again this year without him. And he can’t stay healthy on top of it.

    I’d like to see Mara take a pay-cut and stay. Mara, staal, girardi, toots. Not a horrible 4, and it certainly needs some size/toughness as I mentioned. Doesn’t have to be a superstar.

    Both sides of the Avery negotiations have lots of ammo. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in those discussions.

  33. The best way to look at what we need to do is as follows. As an organization we do not owe anyone anything. We need to do what is best for the team in moving forward. What have to do what makes sense. If we know that there are not good options for next year, then I can see signing Jagr for a year or two tops. But there is no questions that we need to part ways with Shanny and Straka. I am sorry, and I respect those guys a lot, but I want this team to change direction. The penguins have a core of young great talent, and every year that we sign these older vets is another year that we don’t have a core of good young talent. I am not saying that we don’t need a veteran presence on the team, because we do, but we have Gomez and Drury now. Those are two veteran players, that are not old and both have a lot of leadership qualities and have won cups. I invision Gomez being our number one center next year, with Drury being number two and dubinsky being number three. We need a goal scoring winger to play with Gomez. Someone who can match his speed and find openings. We all said so many times that watching Gomez skate was a thing of beauty, only problem was the guy would fly up the ice gain the zone and be all by his lonesome, and it was pretty damn sad. Someone said yesterday that Avery was faster than Gomez, and although Avery is pretty fast, Gomez is absolutely faster. I never fully appreciated what that guy can do until I have watched him more closely as a Ranger. He had a great year for us. Best Ranger in the regular season by far. Goofy grin and all.

  34. Jay:

    Absolutely. People don’t realize how much Jagr held teh team down this season.


    Blind to the fact that the “leading scorer” had what, 27 goals? We can’t revolve around Jagr. You take Jagr off this team, everyone else LEARNS HOW TO STEP IT UP.

    Listen if you’ve got a Jagr netting 50 goals and 65 assists, you let him do *whatever he wants*, I understand that. But he’s NOT putting up those numbers, and still demanding control and minutes and people are still deferring to him when they have their own opportunities.

    This team needs to now be centered around Scott Gomez and his ability to move the puck from point A to point Y, and that means we have to find someone who can move the puck from point Y to point Z. That person is not Yommy Yogger.

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