And we’re back…


The blog’s technical difficulties appear to be resolved, but thanks for all of your concern.

What happened exactly? I’m not sure, but it’s worth noting that the blog seemed to short circuit right about the time Steve Stamkos fired that laser over Miika Wiikman’s shoulder. So I suggest blaming him.

Anyway, there seems to be a fair amount of consternation among fans about the Rangers’ lack of goal-scoring punch this preseason. To which I dare say: get used to it.


It’s not that this Rangers team can’t overpower teams on occasion, because I still think any one of eight players — Zherdev, Drury, Naslund, Dawes, Callahan, Gomez, Prucha, Dubinsky — can net 20 goals this season. But I also think this team has still been built from the goaltender out, and the Rangers are counting on winning more games 2-1 than they are 5-4.

That’s the sort of team they were for most of last season, and now that you’ve taken the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, and Martin Straka out of the mix, an offensive resurgence might be a lot to ask.

Having said that, the area where the Rangers have to improve — and should improve once they start spending more time working on it — is the power play. In the new NHL, you can get away with being a fairly judicious defensive-minded team provided your power play can bail you out on occasion. That was a serious deficiency last season, and it’s what the team needs to be better to have a chance this season.

Some notes:

<li>The Rangers are skating in Newark today and everyone else has the day off. Tonight, ount on seeing a lot of the Chris Drury-Petr Prucha-Nigel Dawes line, and Petr Nedved as well. It’s another make-or-break game for Nedved, even more so than the last. If he plays well, the Rangers may be forced to consider to bringing him to Europe. If he falters, they have an excuse to cut him loose.

<li>Another reminder that our inaugural video chat will be tomorrow at 1. Rick Carpiniello, one of my predecessors as Rangers beat writer at The Journal News and the “author of two books on hockey”:, will be joining me for the discussion.

More from Jersey later..

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  1. How is that, Rangers have about twice more shots on goal than Tampa Bay and still couldn’t win… Are they going to improve PP this season or not? It didn’t look good at all, at least Sjo scored. I’m impressed how Girardi looks in pre-season. Zherdev had another good, gritty game, if not his failures on one-timers… And Redden got toasted again… Why the heck Pearn is still around?

  2. Technical problems somewhat continue, cause the entire last entry is gone. Oh well. Time to recap:

    Stamkos has a laser of a shot, glad I picked him up inthe 17th rnd of my fantasy draft. (my only note on the ‘enemy’).

    I hope Korpi makes the team. Soft hands, nose for the puck.

    Voros is awesome…oh he didn’t play. Still awesome.

    Someone tell Girardi to save ‘some’ for the regular season. Someone tell him these games don’t count yet.

    Espo was 1/2 in the bag while in the booth. Hilarious. Good ‘ol Phil.

    Didn’t know Zherdev had any fire in his belly. Glad to see that he has more to offer than fancy moves and give-aways.

    Harry Potter looked good on D also. Should make the 7th dman spot one to be fought pretty hard for. Or just dump Kalinin and make it easier. Oh…COR-ey Potter? Can we nickname this guy ‘The Magician’? I don’t know anything about the movies/books, so maybe someone has something better.

  3. I agree with the fact that we have to get used to low scoring games, which is fine because I think that the team is still going to be exciting to watch and are going to have good games. However, I don’t think we should look to far into this. When you only have one proven line that can score, you are going to be hard-pressed to find goals. Let’s wait to see when we have our top 3 lines one after another, not giving the other team a chance to rest. Granted we aren’t going to be a high powered offense, but it’s too early to judge

  4. Sam…you’ve addressed the two issues I’m most concerned about. And I still think that losing Jagr, Avery, Shanahan and Straka will show up at times this season. That said, I am taking to the new look team. They play fast and aggressive, and that’s good…but you need to score goals to win. You’re 100% spot on that the power play MUST be good in order for the Rangers to be an improved team this season.

  5. The worst part about our low scoring is we’re ringing up the shots. Even last year, I think we were one of the top 5 teams in shots taken, but still one of the lowest scoring. I think it might be even more frustrating to have all those offensive chances, yet for some reason, 95% of them don’t go in.

  6. Jeever – Totally agree. Nothing is worse than when the team dominates and loses. But I do fear we’re going to witness our fair share of that this season. I hope I’m wrong, but we shall see.

  7. I don’t give preseason games much credit when a team wins , but the rangers play looks disorganized and lackluster.Ok ,none of the teams have all their top players in every minute of these snoozers, buy show a little life.
    And as far as the rangers counting on winning low scoring games this year, their defense better show up, the league has too many good scorers too be stifled by an average ranger D.

  8. All about getting guys in front of the net.

    Right now there’s very few guys that will, and can do it.

    Korpi showed us why you get in front and face the shooter.

    Voros does a good job of going to the net as well.

    Drury can, when on the PP, but I never like immobilizing a center like that. Dawes would probably be killed if he played in front. Prucha too.

    The problem we have in that dept, is that any player capable of it, plays on the bottom 2 lines. Need to add korpi or voros to Dru’s line. IMO.

  9. Sam – Drury also should get 20

    I’m surprised the Shanny at all costs gang hasn’t chimed in yet. I fully expect this to be a step back year. a step back and hopefully 2 steps forward next yr as youth matures.

    Henrik and his knees have to be healthy both this yr and in medium term future.

  10. onecup, I have to disagree. I think they plays look just fine and the speed has been very good. The Gomez line looks great, and it is only a matter of time. The Drury line looked good the other night, and Dubi looks great with whoever he skates with. There has been more good from Redden than bad and Girardi look great. I have no real beefs with the team so far. Hi tempo and a lot of shots and not many shots against. I will make judgements after our whole REAL team plays some games.

  11. thanks joe. I typed that 5 times to make sure it made sense. But theres another way to do it…via trade.

    I second that nasty. I’m trying REAL hard not to tear each play apart and over-analyze. But I DO think that kalinin is going to suck it up. LOL

  12. As mentioned, this is pre-season, and the Rangers schedule of playing every night is difficult to really analyze and assess the situation for 2008-09.

    We know we have a scoring line that has upper level skill with Zherdev – gomer- naslund…

    But I think the real wild card for our success will be the play of Brandon Dubinsky. He looks like a guy who learned alot last year, and was very respectful of Jags and absorbed a great deal of experience. He has the fire in his belly to win and looks like a great team first guy.

    THe power play looked decent last night. It is weird to see the puck flying fast to the point man as opposed to us watching the Rangers trying to get Jags the puck by the half boards and him working it in slo-mo.

    I am still on the fence to what to think about Redden. He had that guy blow by him last on the 1st TB goal…hopefully he is better than what I can pray for in a Rangers Dman.

    Lastly, we can all wonder how the toughness aspect will play out…The wings last year were not a bully type team but they had both physical and mental toughness to control the game. Once we see the team play as one unit, we can better judge on that

  13. If anyone is interested, we need 3 players for our fantasy hockey league. Email me your email address if interested.
    RANGER FAN LEAGUE on yahoo. and I will send you an invite.
    Or post it here.

  14. The Post(ugh) has a devils article (sorry, no link) with a quote or two, and an assumption that tonight the debbies are actually considering this a way to somehow get “revenge” for their swift removal from the postseason last year.

    “Revenge”? Are you F’n kidding me? In the PRESEASON?!

  15. Has anyone else noticed how the Debbies are even more obsessed with the Rangers this year than year’s past?

    I’ve read 3-4 articles this week alone loaded with quotes from the likes of Gutter, Marty Retardy and Madden who come out and say they’re looking for “revenge” this year — never once have they given credit to us for absolutely dominating them all season, including the regular season and playoffs. Rather, they are blaming themselves. Hell, that team played at 110%, entirely above their ability, and still got dominated by a Rangers team that was at 75% in the first round, in my opinion.

    It’s really at the point where the Devil’s obsession with the Rangers borderlines on man crush.

    Honestly, get over us. We don’t even consider you our biggest rival. We don’t sweat you like you sweat us.

    The Rangers took 15 of 16 possible pts over the Devils last season and won the first round 4-1. That’s straight up humiliating stats.

    I’ll go on record to say they don’t make the playoffs this year — Marty suffers a significant injury midway through the season and Gutter takes a puck in the chin on a clearing attempt in Feb.

  16. Beer, we must have read the same article and had the same thought at the same time.

    That’s some ignorant jive talk coming from those whiners.

  17. Not bad, seeing that Tampa had their entire team in there minus Vinny. They even had their #1 goalie in net.

    The Rangers had their top line, Betts, Orr, Girardi and Redden.

    No Drury, Dubi, Dawes, Cally, Rozy, Staal, Mara, Henrik or Voros and we still took the game to them in the 3rd and almost tied it late.

    Zherdev looks good, but looks like a perimeter player.

    I actually think jessiman looked good last night

  18. From Gross:

    Here’s the preliminary roster for tonight:
    G: Henrik Lundqvist, Matt Zaba, Antoine Lafleur
    D: Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Thomas Pock, Paul Mara, Vladimir Denisov, Brian Fahey
    F: Nigel Dawes, Patrick Rissmiller, Brandon Dubinsky, Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan, Petr Prucha, Aaron Voros, Greg Moore, Dan Fritsche, Brodie Dupont, Dale Weise, Petr Nedved

  19. If that’s really the way the Devils (and knowing Sutter it is) feel about the game tonight, I don’t know if its a good idea to have Hank in net. They can very easily play dirty under that f’n scumbag coach. And with a lineup of young guys fighting for a spot, and to make an impression, and really not able to face too long of consequences, it could be a risk not worth taking.


    The team is built all wrong. Expect a bad season. 3rd, maybe even 4th in the division, depending on what the Devs (read: Brodeur) do. 8th in the conference, if they’re lucky. Realistically, I see them finishing 9th or 10th.

  21. Roster cuts are Friday per Zipay

    I jsut cant wait to see who is really making the team at this point.

    As far as Shanny goes, is anyone (who wants him resigned) optimistic at this point?

    I think this whole wait and see bullsheet is exactly that, bullsheet. IF Sather wants to (and it looks like he stil is ) waiting for SUndin to make a decision, he should tell Shanny now and let him join St Louis or whoever else is interested. Prettty sad way to treat a future HOF and stand up Ranger for the past two season.

  22. There is no question in my mind that this season’s results is completely dependent on the power play. If the Rangers are in the top 10-15 in the rankings they should be ok. But if they falter in the bottom half or bottom ten of the league with the extra man I could easily see this team missing the postseason. And yes, I do think it’s that important. Defensive teams like Minnesota do so well because they always have a good power play. The Rangers must fix this problem because without a good one they will be .500 at best.

  23. I think it is a crappy way to treat a player of shanny’s stature. On the other hand, if its about playing hockey, he can go play in a number of camps right now. If its about being a ranger, well that’s a little selfish. And there’s lots of guys that wish they could be rangers. (Although we signed a portion of the fanbase already)

  24. Mikey – I don’t want Shanny back here at his age and salary he would want. I still have a bad feeling he’ll return here relatively soon. I hope he signs elsewhere I really do. anywhere but here.

  25. And before everyone jumps down my throat about name the 8 teams that are better, here they are:

    Philly, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Boston, Washington, Tampa, Devils, and potentially Carolina.

    So, I should change it: 7th in the conference, but realistically 8th or 9th.

    The Devils are a lot better than most of you give them credit for. If it weren’t for bad seasons by Gionta and Elias, they would have been a much better team. Expect more from them this year, especially with Parise being a year better. Of course, it all hinges on Brodeur being himself. If he does badly or gets hurt, the Devs are toast.

    How I think they’ll finish:

    6-9)NJ/Tampa/Carolina/Rangers, depending on how the star players perform and injuries throughout the season.

    10-11) Ottawa/Buffalo (how the mighty have fallen)
    12) Florida (Bouwmeester is dealt at trade deadline)
    13) Toronto
    14) Islanders
    15) Atlanta

    In the west:

    4)San Jose
    7-9)Chicago/Phoenix/Nashville (Depends on divisional work)
    11)St. Louis (I’d have them 7th and Nashville 10th if Johnson were playing)
    12)Vancouver (Heads will roll this season)
    13)Columbus (Tyutin isn’t turning this team around)
    14)Edmonton (Lowe gets the ax this season)

  26. I hate when people say “it’s a shame that a player of Shanny’s stature has to wait like this…”

    BS. A player of his stature should know best that you have to earn whatever you get. His play last season did not earn him a definite spot on this year’s roster. He wants to get the contract here? Then he can come and try out and earn it. Is proving yourself beneath you? Good. Go play for a team that is beneath us. I lost a lot of respect for him when he turned down the tryout. Nobody is owed anything, just like Jagr wasn’t owed a two year deal, just like Straka wasn’t owed a contract at his ridiculous salary demand. It’s about what is best for the team, and if he thought he was really best for the team, then he would get on the ice and prove it. Look at what Nedved is doing right now with his tryout. He looks REALLY good, the best I’ve seen him since his 2nd stint in NY. That’s a guy that knows he has to earn the right to play.

  27. This blog definitely leads the league in Technical Difficulties.

    John Dellapina would say that it is due to the sheer number of posts short circuting the blog.

  28. DM – Carolina already has some key injuries. agree that top 4 should beat us out and maybe Boston as well. others its hard to say except bottom 3 in east seems set.

    hope the NYI do better just to avoid a great draft pick going there.

  29. re Shanny – I liked him a lot 1st yr here and always liked him as player his whole career. Lost a lot of respect with his alleged taking one for the team last yr salary wise when in reality he received greater than 25% increase (decent amt hitting this yrs cap). and he never should have played as much as he did after knee injury. he had nothing left come playoff time. so if he really wants to play let him go somewhere else with his sweetheart deals.

  30. He would now, would he, Moses? I’m thinking he just did. And I tihnk short-circuiting should be hyphenated.


  32. Doodie, I couldn’t disagree more.

    How are the Devils better?

    Bobby Holik wouldn’t even make this Rangers team. I’d take Peter Perimeter over him. Brian Rolston had some success in the West, but he’s no spring chicken. The East is more of a grind physically.

    I think you saw “the real” Brian Gionta last season — the one who no longer plays on a line with Scott Gomez. If anything, I think his point production could go down with the lack of confidence.

    Patrick Hepatitis (B or C variety, I always forget) hasn’t put together an above average season since pre-lock out.

    Marty looked terrible in the playoffs, he’s not getting any younger. They don’t have a pp QB and they lack some significant size.

    They have a team of 3rd liners and play a good system. Parise is good, but he’s no Hossa (Marion variety).

    How did they get better? By resigning some run of the mill D men?

  33. everyone should just forget about shanny right now i think its the least of the rangers concerns. and it upsets me so much that people are over-analyzing their offense 3 games into the pre-season, come on now. its still ridicuolous to over analyze even 3 games into the regular season. i know its human nature if your a huge fan, but were gonna all grow gray hairs (for those of us who havent reached that stage yet) stressing over this. btw, this is my first time posting here, and this site is a blessing considering i cant get on any sports sites at work.

  34. Furthermore, I could write a 2,000 word thesis on how your EC standings predictions are so unbelievably off. (Don’t take it personal).

    I’ve seen your name in here quite a bit and I’m surprised you didn’t follow the off-season at all.

    How can you hypothesize that Boston and Carolina will finish ahead of the Rangers? Because Boston played the Canadians tough, yet lost, in the first round? Save for getting back Bergeron, who’s a question mark after such a serious concussion, they didn’t make any major additions to significantly better their chances from their 8th place finish last year. Not to mention, Tim Thomas is average at best. He’s at the bottom of the east as far as talent is concerned.

    Carolina just lost Justin Williams for what looks to be the whole season. That’s a SIGNIFICANT loss. He’s a top 6 guy for them. They also have some major holes on defense and fall off significantly after the second line. Cam Ward has also been pretty inconsistent.

    Same goes for Washington, etc. These are unproven teams. I wouldn’t even consider your standings hypothesizing — that would mean its an educated guess — your’s just looks like a straight up negative guess.

    Again, dont take it personal… I just REALLY disagree.

  35. Agree with you Brandon, Devils are definitely not better than the Rangers….Also, I think the Rangers are better than Boston and Tampa (if the Rangers are question marks with all their moves, how can you say Tampa won’t be). Rangers are better than Carolina and I think they are better than the Caps, but either them or Tampa are going to get a 3 seed. Maybe it’s personal opinion bc I don’t like them but I think the Rangers and Philly are on the same level with Pittsburgh being the best team in the division (although they lost some key guys too). I see the Rangers finishing anywhere from 1 to 3 in the division and possibly 1 to 4/5 in the conference…unlikely they finish first but crazier things have happened

  36. I don’t see Carolina doing much at all. Finishing ahead of TOR and ATL should be their focus.

    Boston on the other hand (sorry to disagree Brandon) has a great chance of beating MTL for the NE div title. MTL is resting their hopes that a 21-year old with 41 NHL games under his belt can lead them in net. I wouldn’t. But my name isn’t Bob Gainey.

    The B’s have a few up and coming players that should be in their breakout seasons. A healthy Manny Fernandez to raise the stakes in the #1 goalie battle. A healthy Patrice Bergeron who can be a p.a.g. player. Their D isn’t too bad with Chara, Wideman, and lets not forget Aaron Ward(just a joke).

    I think they’ll be a better team than they were last year. And that was a team that was very close to beating the (reg season) conf champ in round #1.

    I think the Rangers will steal the few points (they needed last year) in the shootout to pass the devils in the standings. NYR and PHI leaving NJD as a bubble team, and all 3 chasing Pitt. Barring injuries of course.

    Out west… Det & Dallas are the only true cup contenders IMO. CGY, SJ, CHI & ANA competing for their respective divisions.

    (a relatively optomistic fans point of view)

  37. I DO predict that the Eastern race will be just as tight as it was last season. With only 10pts separating 1st from 8th. It could be even tighter.

  38. I have a feeling this team will be better offensively than they are showing right now. Unlike last year where we were getting a lot of shots from awful points, so far they seem to be dominating and getting really good chances to score, just the puck isn’t going in. However we have to remember we are playing with split squads pretty much. If you put our full squad together without the guys that will be in Hartford, I think we’ll be a much better team in regards to goal scoring.

  39. Absolutely Johnny. At least we hope so.

    (last night) You’re looking for secondary scoring (although getting no ‘primary’) from sjostrom? Paranteau? Betts? Orr? Byers? and on and on.

    Throw in Dru’s line, Dubi’s line, and you’re watching a different game all together.

    Nothing to be worried about yet. But nothing else to talk about other than what we’ve seen.

  40. Re: Shanny taking one for the team or not last year???

    1)I never remember him claiming a halo for doing this…he signed a contract that couuld forestalled the big hit one year just like….

    2)When henrik settled and put off his lucrative deal 1 year he still got a 250% increase!!! here we are bashing a hall of famer for getting a 25% increase and I remember the king being congradulated right here…

    3) the guy scored 29 goals for us the year previous to that..did he not live up to expectations that season??…

    4)all the above being said, I really like the Rangers without the greybeards…just wish it would have played out differently

  41. kaspar – Shanny no doubt hall of famer and as a person as well. but 2nd half of both seasons his production deteriorated mainly due to age and injury. I was not thrilled with Henrik’s contract or for that matter any of the other long term big $. Shanny through the media kept saying he was helping the team cap wise and willing to wait. when he signed including the joke bonuses I was very dissappointed as to the cap hit. even more so with some of bonus hitting this yrs cap.

    I just want him signed elsewhere and soon. otherwise we’ll be reading and writing about him through feb.

  42. “I really like the Rangers without the greybeards…just wish it would have played out differently”

    I think that’s pretty well said (for a russian dude anyway).

    Those situations never really end peacefully.

  43. Doodie, how can you pick DC to finish above Pitt. I hate Pitt but I think that have one of the best chances to win the cup this season.

  44. brandon – pitt and nyr could not both be top 3 seeds. it has to be 3 reps from each division. either pitt or nyr will win the division, so only one will get a top 3 seed. you would have to switch wash and nyr in that situation. just being observative, no hard feelings.

  45. By the way a big “thank you” to nakedjoe for the JustinTV link last night…with all the blog-tech problems I forgot to thank you

    I see others added links later but by then I couldn’t get onto blog….thanks anyway

  46. Matty,

    I noticed that after I wrote it. Just flip flop those two squads and you have my projections.

    Either way, I think you get the idea of where I stand.

  47. People…for those of you who were not on this blog the past season and more….Doodie is just a bandwagon guy. Nothing more. Sometimes he makes OK observations. However a lot of the time he just talks to hear himself talk. If any of you recall, last season he gave up on the team (and the blog) about 3x only to annoy most of us by coming back each time.

    Here we are the 3rd preseason game of the year and he has the Rangers (maybe) taking the one of the last 3 playoff spots in the conference.

    Right now the Rangers have a first line as good as any in the league. They have Drury and Dubi as centers 2 & 3. They have Betts and Nedved fighting it out for center #4 (not even considering other kids fighting for that spot.) They have a handful of others fighting for wing spots. I like how the forwards are shaping up.

    If they can put together a half decent powerplay (which would be 2x better than last year) we might be able to do some real damage.

    Defensively, Redden’s puck skills are strong, though he seems a little slow. I like our other D-men. Heck, I might even give the 7th slot to this kid Del Zotto to mix it up a little (though I know keeping a young kid as 7th D is tough.)

    Our goalie is top 3 in the league.

    Again, how anyone can be that dour on day 5 of the preseason is beyond me. Get Doodie some meds.

  48. I’d rather hear silence.

    And if we’re really being technical here….doc’s a pxp guy, joe is… wtf is Joe? Other than an a-hole trying to win an award for being the nicest guy in the world. Its annoying.

  49. Listen to Newman…he’s right. This time! jk

    Re: Del Zotto.

    In some organizations he’d be on the big club. In this one, and in a cap-world, we can’t bring him up yet. At 18, you’re burning 1yr of his ‘entry-level’ status. A 3 year deal that would start right now would have him making under $1mil. But when he’s 21, he’s making over $1mil, and by the time he’s 25, he’s making a significant cap hit. Just a matter of #’s.

    A far better dman than Bobby S. Who’s no slouch himself.

  50. So, basically what I get from that is Doodie is not the most credible source in Rangerland.

    Thanks, next time I’ll just ignore his posts.

  51. As I stated yesterday … if PP struggles again, get rid of Pearn … what has he done? When he coached in Ottawa the Senators stunk.

  52. I completely agree MikeyNJ about how Sather has treated Shanny. It’s a terrible way for a HOF’er to possibly end his career. Even though Sather made no promises, it wasn’t handled properly.

  53. IMO – Pearn was not the goat of the powerplay…. Jagr was.

    It has been observed that Redden is not the fastest Dman. I aggree and my GUESS is that he was brought in to help on the PP.

  54. hey beth ill be at the game on saturday (very drunk). i got tix for tomorrows game, but not too sure if im going down there, might just give the tix to someone at work. i tend to promote hockey at my job by giving away a preseason game to a different person each year. i already got one guy hooked, i wonder whos next.

    PS – i have no problem with joe micheletti, he IS overly nice, but none the less, very informative. we’ll never get another JD thats for sure.

  55. Yo. I have barely heard anyone mention petr pruchas play as of recently. I have noticed that he has a great hockey sense of where to be, but still has not climbed over the huge mountain of struggles he has faced in the past season. There was a couple points in the first game where he would have an open shot and he would either shank it or completely miss. Positioning is good, but we need someone that can bury a puck every once in a while. Does anyone else feel the same way?

  56. Why is it so out of the question for Nedved to make the team? Nobody is talking about money, and if he plays for peanuts on a 1 year deal, he may be a viable option. I’m certainly not against getting rid of Betts, who is kryptonite to offense. I’d be completely against Nedved taking a spot from Korpi or from 1-3 line centers, but chances are he’d be a marked improvement over Betts on the 4th line.

    Bad vibes abound for Kalinin. I really don’t understand why the Ranger’s brass won’t give Pock his shot. We already pay for him, use him

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