Plan of attack (and don’t forget, live chat at 1)


My story in today’s paper looks at “what the Rangers are expecting out of their crop of young forwards.”:

It’s a fairly simple premise. Bear in mind that when the team cut ties with the likes of Jaromir Jagr and (presumably) Brendan Shanahan, the hope was that the likes of Nikolai Zherdev and Markus Naslund would assume much of the goal-scoring load. But a big part of the equation, and perhaps the reason the team has not brought back Shanahan or heavily courted Mats Sundin, is that someone from within would emerge as a larger scoring threat.

Like I said yesterday, I see any one of eight players scoring 20 goals on the Rangers, but three of those players — Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky — have never scored more than 14 in a season. Seeing how those players figure to take on more prominent roles this season, however, the expectation is they’ll have a jump in production.

“I don’t think of it as pressure,” Dawes said. “Maybe some people look at it that way. But I have expectations of myself to have a bigger role and be counted on for more. It’s just a natural progression after having a year or two to get used to it. Now it’s time where you have to have a bigger impact on the game.”

Interestingly, when I asked Dawes to take himself out of the equation and say which player on the Rangers’ roster is most likely to have a breakthrough season, he didn’t need long to think.

“I’d say probably Cally,” Dawes said. “He’s a gritty player. He can play in all three situations. He was great for us down the stretch and that’s only going to continue into this season.”

Of course, this is the plan now, and a fairly worthwhile one at that. But let’s not overlook the fact that other than Petr Nedved and Dubinsky, pretty much everyone else on the Rangers has struggled to score this preseason. Should that problem continue into the regular season, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that the Rangers might start looking outside again for help. If they haven’t already….


Remember, live chat today with me and Ric Carpiniello today at 1. This link “will take you there”:

When I asked Carpie to come on with me, he said no problem, but he did acknowledge he was disappointed that I wasn’t calling to see if he wanted to go to our favorite greasy spoon, Pat’s Hubba Hubba.

I said for our next show, we can eat Pat’s on camera.

More from the skate later…

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  1. Sadly I will miss the live blog today. I’ll be at the hospital waiting for my newest nephew James Ranger to be born. No kidding. My brother actually convinced his very tolerant wife to name their child after our beloved Blueshirts. Gotta love it.

    This is a piece from Edward Fraser at THN…

    Why is everyone so down on the Blueshirts? From THN’s official picks to Adam Proteau’s personal projections (His East predictions come out Thursday, but here’s a sneak peak: he thinks the Rangers will finish 11th), there’s not a lot of love heading the Big Apple’s way.

    Between all-world goaltending; a solid-if-not-spectacular top six on the blueline; two top-notch scoring lines; and tremendous coaching and player leadership, the Rangers have all the tools to not only win the Atlantic, not only win the East, but seriously contend for the Stanley Cup.”

  2. Because Rissmiller (1.0), Korpikoski (1.0), and Prucha (1.6) all make about the same amount of money, I expect only one to make the opening night roster. My vote is for Kopikoski !!
    If Nedved keeps this up and is willing to sign a deal under 1 million dollars i have no problem signing him to 4th line center.

    Based on what i’ve seen so far:

    Naslund – Gomez – Zherdev
    Dawes – Drury – Korpikoski
    Voros – Dubinsky – Callahan
    Orr – Nedved – Sjostrom

    Betts – Fritsche

    There’s been strong performances from Parenteau and Byers and I feel Prucha, Rissmiller, and Moore have been pretty close to awful.

    Anisimov, Weise, and Sanguenetti need one more year and i think they will be pushing for a spot next year. DelZotto may need 2 years just to be on the safe side

  3. James Ranger Beer Me! has a nice ring to it. Congrats Uncle Beer..

    We finished 5th in the conference with a streaky Lundqvist and a patch-work defense. Our defense is much improved with the subtractions of Tyutin, Backman, and Malik.

    Goal scoring is whats going to keep this team from becoming a top team in the conference. I dread watching another year of games where the Rangers get 35+ shots and score 2 goals a night.
    Can we win every game 2-1 or 3-2. Maybe but it’s going to make for a very stressful year if that’s the case.

  4. Just caught up on some of last night’s comments. The poster “What the HECK” should discontinue posting.

    Extremely negative, completely minsinformed and has a hockey IQ of -3.

    And that blurb from THN completely sums up my stance on this team. Why not? You might not be able to make a STRONG case for us b/c we don’t have the flashy names like Crosby, Heatley, etc (casual fan assessment). But you’d be hardpressed making a case against us. We are as solid as they come from top to bottom.

  5. I think the Rangers are expecting big thing out of Prucha this year. He has been invisible, as has most of the offense, so far during pre-season. I still believe if given the ice time and powerplay time that he can pot about 25 goals this year.

  6. Thanks Rob.

    To anyone going to the game tonight. If we end up in the situation again that we score 2 goals…start a “we want 3” chant. 5th game of the preseason and we can’t hit that mark.

    In order to win games like this, we’ll need Hank to have a GAA of 1.99 or lower!

  7. I too just finished reading the comments from last post (about last night’s game. I thought I somehow stumbled onto a Devil’s blog. Its PRE-SEASON, people… take a deep breath and go to your happy place. The star players probably aren’t going ALL out quite yet, so don’t condemn them forever ALREADY.

    Let’s all just relax a touch and wait for the season to start before talking about the possibility of a lottery pick.

  8. what doosh is predicting the rangers to finish 11th? i bet he thinks the leafs will finish 1st. hopefully tonight, the rangers dont put 40 on net against tampa and only score 2. im going to the game saturday, do you guys think by saturday, there will be a slightly more definitive line up? will most of the prospects already be on their way to hartford?

  9. From the (ugh) NY Post…
    Glen Sather and Renney said the window remains open for Brendan Shanahan to accept their tryout offer, despite the team’s departure for Europe Saturday.

    “I spoke to him [Tuesday]. Nothing has changed, but it could,” Sather told The Post last night. “He’s skating and working out.”

    The 39-year-old winger is believed to have offers from several teams, including the Blues, and perhaps, the Devils.


  10. Re: the “we want 3” chant. I remember many years ago the Rangers were beating Edmonton something like 5-0 or 5-1. The crowd started chanting “we want 6”. Final score was Edmonton 6 Rangers 5. I could be wrong but it sticks in my head. Similar to Dave Maloney being so PO’d after a goal against that he slammed his stick to the ice. The only problem was he hit JD on the toe and JD went wailing in pain.

  11. I used to really give a sh*t about pre season scores, but I just know from the last few years that they don’t mean a damn thing. The fact that the rangers didn’t score many goals last year combined with the fact that they are not scoring many goals this pre season is making many people nervous, and I completely understand that, but I don’t think anyone should be getting ready to push a panic button or anything.

  12. Free tickets to tonight’s game: Section 303

    Email me: steve at blacks4 dot com

    if you want them (emailed).

  13. It’s very early, so none of this means much, but I have early observations that I have to let out:

    1) Is it me or does the Drury-Prucha-Dawes line look to be one that does everything but score? I have said this time and again, but I just don’t see Prucha as a guy to get it done. Drury always takes a while to get his groove on, as far as I can tell. But this line seems to be a lot of hustle and bustle and little production. I know it’s early, but I already prefaced that above.

    2) Redden moves the puck well and has a good shot, but he’s slow. And over the next 6 years is he getting faster or slower? Sorry.

    3) Staal and Rosy are playing a lot like it’s preseason and they don’t care. Cuz they keep making bad plays and bad decisions. Wonder how Rosy’s knee is after that surgery because he is playing like a p***y.

    4) Voros is a player. He looked a little wimpy in the fight, but he’s big and scrappy and the sandpaper we need. Can he up and replace Orr though? Not so sure.

    5) I remain torn about Nedved. Nice offense. But you know he took a penalty that was a lazy one (I mentioned this last post, he has a tendency to slide back to Euro play, and as the season gets deeper, will he be more tired and lazy?) He or Betts, tough call.

    6) I like giving the young kids a chance to get some experience. But aside from Korpi, none of them really look ready. Jessiman showed some stuff the previous night. And I liked Byers scrappiness, but Wiese is still young, Moore shows me nothing, and Denisov (who?) needs more seasoning.

    7) Can we please hire a PP coach? Please. Pearn has no f-ing clue, I am sorry.

  14. I disagree with virtually everyone on power play coaching. This isn’t the NFL — there is no exact science to puck moving on the PP or configuring a proper set up for your players.

    A great deal of puck movement on the PP is indeed instinct. We haven’t scored much on the power play b/c we have been a team that is reluctant to shoot in scoring chance situations.

    You’re not going to bring some PP genius in and have him completely restructure the way the Rangers set-up and move the puck on the PP.

    What you can do is bring in guys that make smarter first passes (Redden) and have the confidence to shoot more and pass less.

    If you watched Detroit’s pp last year, they just fired the puck from everywhere. Bill Bellicheck doesn’t need to come in to set up that scheme.

    Basically Nicky Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski fired low hard shots on net, Franzen stuck his big ass in front of the goalie and guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk picked up rebound goalies with one less man covered on the ice.

    It’s more on the players than it is coaching to have a successful powerplay. The same way you can have the most intricate breakouts in the league, but if the player makes the wrong “choice” in the a given situation, it can result in a turnover.

    Where coaching comes into major play in hockey is the day-to-day mindset, defensive configuration, forecheck and line combinations.

    These guys don’t spend hours setting up the power play, b/c like i said, there is no exact science.

    If there was, everyone would be doing the same thing.

  15. Zherdev-Gomez-Naslund

    all 4 lines have a puck carrier, 1st line has 2. After Nedved is gone, put Anisimov in that spot.

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