Anatomy of a fast start


Whether the Rangers are really the best team in the NHL, or even worthy of being in the conversation, is not something I’m ready to tackle. But I do know they have the league’s best record.

How do you explain it? On this off day for your favorite hockey team, let’s break out the chalk and go by point-by-point:

<li>Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending: I’m not breaking any news here. Henrik Lundqvist is already in Vezina Trophy form, and probably responsible for stealing at least a couple of wins on his own. Last night, a game in which the Rangers took an early lead but then left the goalie unprotected in the first period, is only the latest example.

Throw in the two solid showings by Stephen (“If I’m a minor leaguer, what are you?”) Valiquette, and you can make a strong argument the Rangers have the best one-two tandem in the league right now.


<li>Early arrivals: Needless to say, if having everyone show up a few weeks before the official start of training camp is the key to a flying start, guys would be lining up outside the rinks in June (OK, probably not – the NHLPA wouldn’t allow it). But while it might not guarantee wins, the fact that pretty much the entire roster was on the ice together as early as Sept. 1 helped minimize some of the October chemistry problems that many teams confront.

The other part to consider is that because of their off-season work, the Rangers are one of the best conditioned teams in the league, and have been able to wear down their opponents late in games.

<li>Favorable schedule: Let’s face it, of the Rangers nine wins so far, six have come against teams with sub-.500 records. That includes two wins over Tampa (1-3-3), and recent wins over Columbus (3-6) and the Islanders (2-6). Not that beating those teams is a given. One of the points I make in my story in today’s paper is that the Rangers “have become proficient at beating the teams they’re supposed to beat”: That wasn’t the case last season, when they laid eggs against some of the worst teams in the league (Tampa, L.A., the Islanders, Toronto).

And it hasn’t just been the quality of their opponent that has helped the Rangers. What could easily have been a detriment to the team — a compressed October schedule — has worked to its advantage. If the Rangers are figuring out ways to win games early, it only helps to keep playing.

<li>Unexpected contributions: Raise your hand if you had Aaron Voros leading the team in goals and Fredrik Sjostrom winning two games in a shootout in the season’s first month. Anyone? Hello? Me, neither. But when you get important contributions from different segments of your lineup, you benefit from a greater sense of balance within your locker room. That was a knock against the Rangers in the Jaromir Jagr years: they were too top heavy. But at least in the early going, it seems more players are taking ownership in the team’s success.


Which brings up my next point…

<li>A handful of individual slow starts hasn’t killed the Rangers: There is at least the chance that when your best players aren’t clicking right away, the whole team suffers. That was the case last season when the likes of Jagr, Chris Drury, and even Scott Gomez were all out of sync in the opening month, and the Rangers couldn’t get on the same page. This season, Drury didn’t score his first two goals until last night, Markus Naslund didn’t seem to find his game until last week, and Wade Redden still seems to be fighting it. The fact that pretty much everyone else has started well  has helped prevent those struggles from taking on a life of their own.

If success begets success, the opposite is true, too.

<li>Coaching: It’s not just that Tom Renney and his staff have created a system that players have bought into, it’s that the system and the personnel finally match. More than once players have said how they’ve allowed the team’s game plan to protect them, which is a vague way of saying they haven’t panicked when the results haven’t been there.

The question remains whether the Rangers’ attention to defense comes at the expense of a more potent attack, because I’m sure the team will come out on the wrong end of another 2-1 game and everyone will begin lamenting the lack of serious punch up front. But right now, the Rangers are winning games because they’re on the same page more than the teams they’re facing.


So there you have it, one man’s take on the first dozen games, which would be worth celebrating if not for the small detail that there are still 70 games still left to play.

Chances are the ride at times won’t be as smooth as it is now, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

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  1. Excellent read, Sam, and I agree with most of it. I wonder what this team can be now that Drury and Naslund are hitting their stride, and Redden still hasn’t. He is the key to the sputtering PP….gotta get him going.

  2. leatherneckinlv on

    If Drury gets hot..this will become a dangerous team. I still want to see Fritsche play with Dubinsky and Voros. As for Kalinin he is the weakest link in the chain and would like to see Potter brought up from Hartford to replace him. And what to do with Korpikoski? I would recommend altering Korpikoski with Dawes and Fritsche with Prucha for 5 game intervals or make that trade for a power forward. 9-2-1 is an amazing record and have to say that asides from Lundqvist you have to give the kudos to Renney and his staff

  3. My only problem with the Rangers as of right now is the salaries. Next year we are going to be down the crapper which means that we have to win this year!
    Gomez@ 7.5 mpy
    Drury@ 7 mpy
    Naslund@ 4mpy
    Voros@ 1mpy
    Redden@ 6.5 mpy
    Rozsival@ 5mpy
    Girardi @ 1.5mpy
    Staal @ .8mpy
    Lundqvist @6.8mpy
    Total for these players = 40 million
    Salary Cap for this year = 56 million
    So we have 16 million to pick up the rest of our players…What are there salaries this year so we can know how much we have to spend?
    Zherdev @2.5mpy (will get more)
    Prucha @1.6mpy (can get more)
    Korpikoski @1mpy (can get more)
    Fritsche @ 1mpy
    Sjostrom @.9mpy (will get more)
    Dubinsky @.6 mpy (WILL GET MUCH MORE)
    Betts @.6mpy (can get more)
    Dawes @.6mpy (will get more)
    Callahan @.6mpy (will get more)
    Orr@ .5mpy (will get more with improvements from last year)
    Kalinin@ 2myp
    Mara@ 2mpy (can get more)
    Total: 15.4 with no advances
    So we are assuming that all of the players next year will want to keep the same salary as this year. Dubinsky will want to make the same amount as Betts and Callahan and Dawes while playing the best hockey out of anyone on this team. He should be making more then Drury right now. Zherdev can sure make more then the likes of Kalinin and Naslund. Every team will want Orr now because of his fighting skills and now because he isnt garbage. Korpikoski is a young player that teams will want. Prucha has lots of potential but not for this team. Basically you can tell what Im saying.
    Here is what I think they will make:
    Zherdev @4 mpy
    Prucha @2 mpy
    Korpikoski @2 mpy
    Fritsche @1 mpy
    Rissmiller @1 mpy
    Sjostrom @2 mpy
    Dubinsky @6 mpy
    Betts @1 mpy
    Dawes @2.5mpy
    Callahan @2.5mpy
    Orr @1.5mpy
    Kalinin @ 2mpy
    Mara @ 4mpy
    This brings us to 31 mil. If the NHL doesn’t raise the cap, and in this market today its not very promising. We will lose some really good potential. Unless, we win this year. If we win this year players might keep playing for this club for a reduced price, like what most Detroit players do nowadays making them a force to be reckoned with. Heres my source if you want to look up the numbers. Thats it im done.

  4. do you sit near your computer with a calculator? Who really cares its not our problem. Lets just win.

  5. Well no matter what I want to win, but yes. I did use a calculator. Haha. Im actually doing this for a math project as well for my college algebra class. Haha.

  6. Great start to the season. I’m loving it.

    Henrik is 100% our MVP right now though. He has been making unbelievable saves left and right.

  7. Thank you Dr. House. Can we put a moratorium on contract discussions, at least until the trading deadline in March, when it becomes applicable? This really has NOTHING to do with these first 12 games or the season as a whole. We have who we have, I will root for the players in the uniform and leave the number-crunching to the people who get paid to do it. Let’s focus on 08-09 right now.

  8. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, Sam. Good article. I think the key to a championship season is everyone on the team digging deeper and contributing more than maybe they should be expected to. We saw it with Detroit last year. If the Rangers win a Cup this year, it will be as much for the efforts of Callahan, Sjostrom, Betts, Orr and Dawes as it will Drury and Gomez.

    Our goaltending has been a rock, which is the cornerstone of any successful team. The Asslanders aren’t even that atrocious of a team, but without any decent goaltending to bail out the occasional defensive blunder, they can’t stop the bleeding. The Rangers can carry high risk/high reward players like Zherdev (and to a point Gomez) because our goaltending can bail them out when things go wrong.

    I actually feel bad for this Joey McDonald kid, he’s thrust into the NHL when he’s obviously not ready and forced to try to carry a sub-par defense. This kid must go home and have nightmares.

    The Rangers biggest problem continues to be the PP, which is borderline unwatchable. It has been this way for 3 years now, and the only constant has been Pearn. Now we can’t blame Jagr and his declining play, Rozsival for vainly trying to get the puck to Jagr no matter how crowded the passing lanes, or anyone else for that matter. Pearn is the PP coach and as captain of his ship he is ultimately responsible for it when it sinks. Talent is certainly not an issue as we can watch vastly inferior teams deftly move the puck on the PP and generate solid chances. Passing is slow and predictable, shots are sharp angle and often without traffic in front. Our PP is at an abysmal 14.8% (24th), and we have allowed 3 SH goals in 12 games. On the plus side our PK is at 90.9% (4th). If we can get our PP to work consistently, we are a Cup contender through and through.

    Some old woman just walked into Starbucks with a hat that makes her look like the Mad Hatter. The rain brings out some crazy fashion.

  9. Sorry, haha, didn’t know you were doing it for a college algebra class!

    Seriously though, some of us micromanage everything surrounding this team, from little in-game mistakes that happen to EVERY hockey player (hockey is a game of mistakes, not one team has EVER played a perfect game of hockey), to all of the combinations and permutations of the contract situations.

    I’d rather look at big picture, on-ice issues. The power play and scoring are my main two concerns. Oh also, we’re royally SCREWED if Hank gets hurt.

  10. *knock on wood* about Henrik.

    an on ice issue is Nigel Dawes. was he there last night? When is he gonna be the shootout man again? i dont want to be a sour grape, but i could say see ya to nigel.

    Otherwise i Love this team.

  11. Looks like a lot of us need to be hit over the head and take a ride in the Waaaaambulance. Quit crying and save it for when/if we go on a downward slide. We are winning games right now. Plain and simple. And 2 of the games we lost we could have won. Sure some of the games we won, we could have lost too. But fact of the matter is this. We are 9-2-1. Numbers don’t lie, women do. I will take the points however we can get them. There is not 1 team in the league that is playing their best hockey right now. So settle down and relax and enjoy the ride. Damn.

  12. Contracts really become relavent in January when players can begin negotiations for extensions.

    Beth – It CAN go down, but the players have an escrow acct that they pay a % of their salary into incase of a ‘crisis’ that could cause the cap to go down. So the only way it could go down would be to deplete the escrow acct and still come up short on the losses. Not a likely senario this season since league-wide season ticket renewals were so high (the main driving-factor for revenue). Not ‘impossible’. But not likely this time around either.

  13. I think I’m the only one that wasn’t surprised by sjostrom being our best shootout guy. I knew the guy had moves, kinda like Hossa did for the shootouts last year, just freddie needed a chance.

  14. Ha, smart ass. You know what I mean. Just like I tell my 5th graders when they ask me why I don’t give A+ for a writing assignment. There is always room for improvement and nothing is perfect.

  15. haha

    But SIXTEEN different guys have scored for them!

    So the real question here is: “Will the isles wait until the trade for ‘bulin is complete to announce that DP will miss the entire regular season?”

    please please please

  16. Nasty1, you’re right dude. We should enjoy the ride, because so far it’s been a real good one. I’m loving this team right now. One of the things I love the most is the intensity. Everyone looks like they’re out there having a real good time. Zherdev, Voros and Dubinsky especially, those guys have crazy energy and look like they get PUMPED. Their goal celebrations kick ass. Even Naslund looks stoked. Orr has that big grin on his face after he beats someone’s ass or punks someone in front of the net. The Rangers are an exciting team to watch.

  17. “Just to make sure Dubie understands there’s a way we need to play and that at the end of the day, the man behind the bench is the boss,” Renney said.

    Funny, I don’t recall Zherdev missing a shift, even after his penalties and his give away in front of the net.

  18. Funny, I don’t recall Zherdev missing a shift, even after his penalties and his give away in front of the net.

    see prev thread for discussion.

  19. Rob C – “Oh also, we’re royally SCREWED if Hank gets hurt.”

    I dont understand..wouldnt any team be in a bit of trouble without their starter? How many teams dont have this issue? The only teams that wouldnt see much difference without their starter are generally non-playoff teams anyway.

    And I don’t know about you..but I haven’t seen anything from Vally that suggests he couldnt at least hold the fort for awhile.

  20. Kaspar’s suicide hotline now open to help depressed Ranger fans deal with the discomfort of a 9-2-1 start..

    Remember, do not despair, you are not alone…there is always someone to talk to


    $3.00 first minute, .50 per minute thereafter

  21. Hockeymanrangers on

    Great work Sam, now I just hope you didn’t jinx us for the next 12 games. But that ain’t gonna happen, this team is working hard and just looks like they are flowing togehter no matter who is together with who. You can tell they are having fun out there, but when your winning that’s what happens. it seems like a well rounded team, we have had some unexpected players scoring here in the first 12 games. And if the start to slump hopefully some expected players will start doing some scoring soon. I am enjoying watching my wife has heard me scream at the TV all season.

  22. The whole ‘1st’ thing is beyond gay. I’m not just knocking this board — I’ve seen it on others. Just so incredibly gay.

  23. WHAT THE HECK, you think Dubi is getting 6 Million per year? He might get 3 per year until he puts up 30 a few seasons in a row. WHAT THE HECK are you smoking??

    Just one thing. The Rangers are in such good condition that being down by 2 goals in the 3rd period this year is not a sure loss like it was last year. We just wear teams down and it is great to see strong 3rd periods whcih have been missing the last few years.

  24. Joe in DE,

    Right on. The PP must get better. And for that:

    Add Petr Prucha
    Lose Perry Pearn.

    PPs across the board. Coincidence? I think so.

  25. Yeah well, Sam has it right on the money. Anatomy of a fast start begins with the Rangers beating non-playoff teams and yet somehow lose to the good ones like Buffalo and Detroit.

    Henrik has stolen multiple games for us.

    All-in-all, like the NFL, there are just a lot of mediocre teams in the league, the Rangers will need to be the best of the mediocre teams, stay healthy and get solid goaltending if they indeed expect to go deeper into the playoffs this year.

    Glad to see the team getting some good bounces. Callahan, Drury and the Gomez goals were all examples of going to the net and the puck finding you.

  26. do you sit near your computer with a calculator? Who really cares its not our problem. Lets just win.

    nothing is our problem. its all concern though. some of us actually like to think past the mickey mouse image jim dolan would have us all believe in. Excuse us for worring about the future.

    The way I see it, if you want to have any chance of keeping Dubinsky, Staal, and possibly Zherdev…. at the very LEAST someone “big” will have to go.


    (Lundqvist is obviously untouchable under pretty much ANY circumstance)

    Theres only so much pie to be had. You have to seriously consider all year which “sexy” names and monster contracts have not earned their share of the pie… and who deserves more than they have already gotten.

  27. what the HECK

    You lost me at “My only problem with the Rangers…”

    I will respond once I get my vision back as you gave me an eye full….

  28. Very nice read. Thanks Sam. I wonder how many games it takes for every one to bash Drury again, when he doesn’t record a point. Im guessing ONE. Everyone makes some nice points on this thread today, besides what the heck making me nervous about next years cap. Personally, I don’t see Dubinsky asking for more than 4M a year. My 2 cents today is that I can really see this team up their skill as a unit on a whole nother level once they go on their next road trip (west coast). After how they all raved about what Europe did to the team, lets see what a nice west coast trip can do. In addition to the fact that they struggled against the West last year, and this is a chance to prove they can play with those teams, on the road especially.

  29. You make your breaks, and the Rangers are making their breaks right now. Can’t say that has been the case for a pretty long time. Hard work, throwing pucks to the net, the bounces are going our way now. I will take any point we get.

  30. what the Heck – I’m joking with you. You did a lot of work on that post. It’s just the nature of the NHL that we will not see the same team every year. I don’t think the change will be as drastic as this year but there will be changes.

    Prucha may just walk. Kalinin and Mara are signed to one year deals (although I would not mind the latter resigned as he seems to love being a Ranger).

    I can see Zheredev, Dubinsky, and Korpikoski all coming back. Orr is a UFA and brings value to this team but he may walk. Although I like Blair Betts, I don’t envision his departure setting this franchise back.

    Dubinsky is not going to get 7 million dollars nor is Zheredev. Just enjoy this season and don’t worry about next year. We lost Shanny, Avery and Jagr and we seem to be doing OK.

  31. What the heck I edited some of your comments as follows

    Zherdev @2.5mpy (will get more or might go back to russia)
    Prucha @1.6mpy (will be gone)
    Korpikoski @1mpy (about right)
    Fritsche @ might be gone
    IF RISSMILLER DOESNT GET TRADED Rissmiller @1mpy probably gone
    Sjostrom @.9mpy (4th liner will get that amt)
    Dubinsky @.6 mpy (WILL GET MORE sayt $ 3 mm tops)
    Betts @.6mpy (about right)
    Dawes @.6mpy (about right)
    Callahan @.6mpy (will get more say $ 1.5 mm)
    Orr@ .5mpy (will get a little more with improvements from last year)
    Kalinin@ 2myp (will be gone)
    Mara@ 2mpy (can get more prob somewhere else due to cap)

    most of your $ 2 mm men you forecast as well as Dubi just divide by 2 to get better numbers

    if they have to let a big money man go most likely choice is Rozy

  32. “Numbers don’t lie, women do.”

    Nasty you NEED to impart this wisdom to your little 11-year-olds. You jaded bitter man, you.

  33. As far as losing players due to $…

    The NJD have done a fairly decent job of replacing guys that they’ve let walk for more $. Mainly due to solid drafting and/or quality development. Also in part, due to an effective on-ice ‘systematic’ approach to each game. And let’s not forget solid solid solid goaltending to protect the net.

    That should all sound very familiar by now.

    There’s THAT way of looking at it. OR…

    Detroit. Where a 6-time Norris winner(incl the past 3) is not the highest paid dman in the league. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hometown discounts in Hockeytown. Could the NYR build that type of committment, and personality?

  34. Salty-
    Thanks for being the only one who looks into the future and sees the dilemna.

    I understand; marijuana does that to you…haha jk

    Matty and Richard-
    Based on the contracts that were handed out recently to Gomez, Drury, Redden, Rozsival. We can expect Dubi to be making about 6 million. He is much better then every one of those players listed and will only get better.

    Rob-What are you doing then? I dont know if you realize or anyone else on this blog, but our comments do not go to Renney. He is not going to change the powerplay based on what Joe from De thinks (just picked you because you had the most logical comment on the board today). So me putting down my worries on the cap situation is the same as you putting down your concerns about the Rangers powerplay. And why are we concerned about right now? We are 9-2-1, boys. We need to think future.

    I see Dubinsky as a guy that wants to stay with the Rangers…but then again Im not him and I dont know what I would do if another team waved an extra million or so in front of my face. I only said that whole speal because it shows why we need to win this year.

  35. Hey Beer!

    I just saw him in Pulp Fiction talking about where they hid the watch!!

    Back to what you said about Debbies and Wings

    Funny thing about Devils is; yes they let people go but they had some of the longest running tenure guys as well Marty, Madden,Pandolfo, White, Brylin (up till this year)
    other guys were there over a decade Neids, Stevens, Danyecko etc….
    Good combination of continuity and letting go……

  36. alright, you know I love you beer (wow I sound like an alcoholic)… but I gotta disagree.

    Lidstrom’s a D-man making like 7.5M a year. How much of a discount is that REALLY? People made a big deal about Sid the Kid taking a home-town discount, he’s making almost 9M a year… How’s that such a sacrifice???

    Now I just re-read your post and you said that he’s not the highest paid D in the league. That part is true.

  37. Nice post Sam. I do think the Rangers easy early schedule helps immensely. That is why I would take this occassion for the next 3 games and sit Betts and Orr and play Fritsche and Korpikoski … when the Rangers start to play the better teams, they are going to need more scoring …

    Rangers are still getting NOTHING from the 4rth line … except in shootouts …

  38. what the heck – look at how much Zetterberg is making

    big diff between restricted free agent vs total free agent/ Dubi will be restricted for next 2 yrs. we even have arbitration rights for 1st yr. after which Naslund will be gone for example. so $ 6 mm for next yr is way overstating things. at that price a team if they tried to steal him would lose 5 1st rounders. figure $ 3 mm tops for Dubi.

    you’re not only one who is concerned about cap. I was not happy with size and length of any of the top end contracts the Rangers have especially the 2 large dmen contracts.
    just don’t see some of the medium level contracts being a problem. a lot of those guys are very replaceable.

  39. Lundqvist is the easily the #1 reason for the start. He likely should have been the #1 star for all 9 wins. Hopefully if or when he gets in a slump his teammates will pick him up like he’s picked them up.

  40. Listen, I love reading everyone’s input about the myriad issues surrounding the team. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be on this blog. I respect everyone’s opinions.

    All I’m saying is that I think, especially when the team is good, that people go fishing for issues that don’t really exist. I think it’s pretty pointless to worry about contracts now when, as Beer corrected me, they really don’t become an issue until January. What I meant was what I said, that there are some over-arching ON ICE issues that concern me moreso than the contract and cap situation, mainly the Power Play and overall goal-scoring (it was kind of a struggle to score even last night against a piss-poor Islander team…one absolute fluke and a 5 on 3 goal as well). Mark my words, there will be a bad, bad scoring slump this year which will cost us some wins.

    But like I said, I’m generally very happy with the team. How can you not be at 9-2-1?

  41. Could the NYR build that type of committment, and personality?

    I’d call it more of a “culture”, and no way do I really think they could get it going in NYC. NYR has been the end of the rainbow for far too many players for far too long. I’d really like to be wrong about that… but you cant sign a *struggling* 31 yr old in Redden @ $36M/6 years… things like that hurt my soul

  42. This post is going to be unproductive because I don’t feel like responding to much of the good substance of posts right now. Don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning.

    Cakewalk – You are certifiable.

    Can we please stop with the stupid *first* posting? Don’t be morons.

    This is a really good post, Sam.

    OK, one productive thing: The Ducks have probably had a more brutal schedule than us so far. We have played fairly weak teams and have only had to travel as far as Detroit. The Ducks have played ten games in the same amount of time as we have since returning from Prague, with two against the likely favorite in their division and a four-game road trip to the Northeast teams from Canada and Columbus.

  43. jeevs – I was going to ‘further’ my thought, but didn’t think it was going to be brought up. Now that you’ve been so kind as to address it…I’ll continue the thought.

    Lidstrom signed a 2-yr deal knowing that he was going to slow down with age. Knowing that there were other players that would be signing longer contracts, as they’re younger players, and though making 7.45mil this season and next, after that…he’ll most likely see a decline in pay. His market value may have been 7.45/yr. But surely after a guy wins the Norris 3 years in a row, and 6 out of 7 years, you lock him up longer than 2 years.

    That was the thought process I was following.

  44. but you don’t know he’ll re-sign after 2 years. Maybe Liddy will take his 50M (or however much) through-out his career, buy an island and retire.

    If I EVER made 7M, I’d stop working as soon as humanly possible, but that’s just me, and I sit at a desk for a living.

  45. scary but I agree with beer agreeing with salty re the culture of the organization as defined by sather and dolan and how they overpay

  46. jeever – “You” don’t know a lot of things. That’s why you don’t sign a player to a 15yr deal!

    He’ll retire there. Just a matter of when.

  47. Mark my words, there will be a bad, bad scoring slump this year which will cost us some wins.


    At which point you have to look at the sources of the slump and see where and how you can make an improvement.



    CUT THE F*CKING FAT which is painfully obvious. Two wicked wingers could be had at the cost of *****, and thats just the start. Get on the ball Sather. Make some chess moves.

  48. i believe ***** has a no trade cause. so i guess we get to listren to bs posts for the next 4 yrs

  49. Salty I agree. Redden better get his legs under him and his head screwed on straight. I mean our #1 D-man (supposedly) being outshone by Marc Staal.

    We overpaid for him. Period. I am not going to bash him for that repeatedly but just hope he starts playing like the guy we paid for.

  50. It’s funny: with the Rangers off to such a great start, where are all the haters who think Renney is such a bad coach?

    I’m always shocked to read how much animosity there is towards Renney. IMHO, he’s an outstanding coach and a great hockey mind. This team is together and prepared to win night in and out. The problems on the power play that lingered all last season were frustrating, but with no one to truly man the point (a la Zubov circa ’94), what else could really have been done?

    Enjoy this run. It’s a long season. And were only a two-game losing streak away from all the Renney haters coming out of the woodwork again.

  51. I’ve been encouraged that we have not only beaten the teams that we are supposed to beat like TB, Columbus and the Isles but we’ve hung in and battled last year’s Stanley Cup finalists into OT. I think had we not played both of them on the second night of back to backs we may have had a chance to beat both of them in regulation. Our ultimate success will be pinned on Lundqvist this season but right now the team in front of him looks pretty solid. If there was any way we could package a couple of young guys (Dawes, Prucha, Callahan) along with a defensive prosepct like Sanguinetti for a proven 30-35 goal scorer this team would be very dangerous.

  52. Salty – It’s like Sather still thinks at the beginning of free agent season that there is no cap, but someone tells him about it later. Wow, you just went crazy on that next post.

    LI Joe – Mr. Captain actually has a “no-movement clause,” I believe, which probably means we can’t even waive him.

    what the HECK – The cap situation is a good thing to discuss at any break in the action, so I liked your post. I just disagree with a lot of your assessments, so let me help you on your project, which is so cool that you are able to do that for a class. :)

    There is no reason Orr and Betts should make much more than $1.2 million combined. As well as they serve their roles on this team, they (or at least their agents) should know that they are easily replaced, since they play on the fourth line and don’t score. Along the same lines, Sjostrom will probably not get more than $1 million since he is not in the position to score many goals with less than ten minutes of even-strength ice time per night and none on the power play, except in garbage time like last night.

    If they can sign Dubinsky to a multiple-year contract, it will likely be three years at $3-4 million per season, so they can slot his free agency for when Drury’s mistake of a contract (too much per season) expires. Zherdev will likely be looking for more money than that, and I would be surprised if he re-signs with us, unless it is some one-year discount. Prucha, Dawes, and Fritsche have not shown anything that would warrant them getting a raise, and I’m even thinking back to last season with the first two. Dawes’s contract is really small for a supposed goal-scorer, so he could get a little bump. It’s unlikely that we will re-sign either of the other two anyway unless we need Fritsche to cover the fourth line if someone else leaves.

    I doubt Kalinin will be back and think Mara should still get around $2 million for what he does, since he doesn’t score too often for all of the big shots he takes. Rissmiller, according to Sam, is signed for three years at $1 million for some reason, so hopefully they can get rid of that somehow. Korpikoski obviously has not shown much so far, and won’t get a raise if he plays in the minors for most of the season, but there is a lot of time left to determine that. Callahan is really a wild card for me, could stay the same or get a siginificant increase to about $2 million depending on how many goals he scores, but I see him more as a defensive and physical presence, despite the fact that he is playing with Gomez right now.

    The biggest issue is that we will not be able to pursue big free agents unless we trade someone, likely one of the two defensemen whose names start with R, but that is probably a good thing with this general manager.

  53. No more hating on Rosi he’s been playing really well.

    I can’t believe people have the nerve to complain about Rosi when Redden looks like he belongs on the Wolfpack!


  54. spider nice post as per usual. i too think the r dmen and 2 centers are overpaid – all by more than $ 1 mm per yr also. just won’t use the colorful salty language of some or post about it 5 times a day.

    we definitely have no money for outside free agents and should stay far away for a year or 2. i also think in a year or 2 the cap will come down a bit with global economics being out of control

  55. LI Joe – I’m sure that was an intentional pun you used there in the second sentence; nice one! Redden and Rozsival were definitely overpaid for the situations they had in their seasons before free agency. However, if you look at it that way, Drury was not overpaid by as much as it seems now, since he scored 37 goals for Buffalo, but still by a million bucks per season probably, especially since he received a NMC. Gomez has the talent to live up to the contract, but didn’t do anything too spectacular to earn it, at least based on stats, but I know we were hoping his low offensive numbers were due to the system in NJ.

  56. Im happy with the record, but this is total BS. Gomer shouldn’t be playing with both Cally, and Dawes, i can understand Dawes, cause he has a better shot than Cally, but gimme a break. That line isn’t doing anything. They’re doing the 3rd lines job, pretty much, while chipping in a garbage goal every few games. Id rather have Pruchs on that line instead of Dawes, even if he’s going through a slump, maybe Gomer can help him out of it.

    It just doesn’t make sense, and its wasting Gomer away. Id at least consider putting Dubi on Gomer’s wing, but then again, im not to sure aboot that.

    Like i said, its good that we have a winning record, but why is Renney keeping that line together ?

  57. My college algebra project was supposed to be on a current economic problem going on, so I kinda schnaked this into a “economic problem”. Haha. I just believed that Dubi was worth that much due to the contracts that others were given. I know I’d be pissed if I looked over at Drury and he was making double the amount of money I was making for half the skill. If there was a guy doing the same job as you but you were 2x as productive wouldn’t you want at least half as much money as he makes, maybe even the same amount he makes. Personally I’d want 2x the amount he makes although that would never happen. I think everyone on the board can agree we overpaid for all of the main players we have picked up (AKA Gomer, Dru, Red, Roz)
    And spider, don’t you think that other teams would want an expert PKer or fighter? And Sjo can be a third liner or even a second liner on another team (AKA LA Kings, Islanders). And Mara has been our best defensemen. Dont you think he’ll point at Roz or Red and say, I want at least half as much as that?
    Salty-the problem with the Gomer situation is there is nobody out there on the market right now, that we can afford, that can compliment Gomez. I think Dubi’s finishing touch and speed would compliment Gomez, unfortunately they both are best at center.
    Basically right now, I really like this team, and I do not want to see them all go next year because I think with years of chemistry we could become a force to be reckoned with. In fact, a couple weeks in and we are already 9-2-1. Sign everyone for 20 years…haha

  58. I agree with Larry Brooks suggestion try Naslund and Zherdev with Gomez. Drury played his best last year with DFawes and Cally try that line again.

  59. Mara imo has been the Rangers best dman easily. His pair with Staal is really the only one that has clicked. I hated the Redden and Rozsival signings back in July and I feel no differentely now.

  60. Obviously, I have no idea, but Dubinsky would seem to be smart enough to know that he should not be making $7 million per season in his second contract. We love him, but he is no Ovechkin. Hopefully, he will be scoring at a rate where he will truly be worth that amount by the time Drury’s contract expires, since that is the first big one to come off of the books, at the same time as Rozsival’s actually.

    Of course some teams would like players like Betts and Orr, but they are clearly fourth-liners. Frankly, they should never be paid much more than they are receiving right now because their roles are the easiest to fill in the NHL. I like them because they are on the Rangers, but players like that can be found all over the league and in the minors. They will probably re-sign during the season before free agency anyway, as long as they are heppy here, since their contracts are easily done.

    Mara could definitely get paid more, especially since he took a pay cut for this season along with a one-year contract. I would not be too worried about losing him since we allegedly have good defensive talent in our system. He does seem to be the most physical defenseman on this team right now, so I would like to keep him on the team at $2.5 million or less, if possible.

    I don’t want to make it seem like I am not worried about the Rangers’ salary against the cap because I have had worries, especially if the ceiling is lowered (which it sounds like it wouldn’t be according to Beer Me!), but there are other avenues to explore to fill our roster.

  61. ohhhhhhhhh Malik8 that hurt. I have just gone into a shame spiral. Hey joe you retarded chimp don’t read or respond to my posts and I won’t respond to yours. I wish there was an ignore poster feature so I wouldn’t have to read your whining drive. Wahhhhhh some poster said something negative about the Rangers shut up you whiny bitch.

  62. I think it’s easy to say Mara is easily replaceable but who know Sanguenetti might be traded(or not ready to play in the Nhl) and who knows if Del Zotto will be ready to claim a roster next year.

  63. I hate to say anything related to politics, but it’s just a goalie mask, and it’s awesome, especially the moose on the left side. (link in name)

    It really is amaazing how the trolls disappear when the summer ends, so we can have *relativly* intelligent discussions. Oh, to be a teenager again!

    And I finally remembered the suggestion of my namesake (real name, that is):


  64. Bud Selig must be thanking God Gary Buttman is still a comish or else he’d be the worst commishner.

  65. I do and don’t think Mara’s replaceable. He’s not a “high-end” type of Defenseman. But he’s a good solid guy, who’s not afraid to hit and be physical and doesn’t make many mistakes. That and he loves playing for the Rangers. That makes him more valuable to the organization.

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