Dubinsky moves on while Korpikoski could be on his way down (Updated with Korpikoski demotion)


While I’d be reluctant to characterize Brandon Dubinsky’s benching in the first period of Monday’s win over the Islanders as a big deal, it was still an episode that offered a window into the sophomore center, who in his time in New York has always succeeded in carrying himself as someone much older. This is just the latest example.

The basics: Dubinsky committed a tripping penalty and a holding penalty in the first five minutes of that game, and was sat out by Tom Renney for what looked like the next two shifts. After the game, Dubinsky admitted immediately to not playing well, and conceded Renney was just doing his job by sitting him down.


The reason this is important because the 22-year-old Dubinsky seemed to handle the whole sequence with more maturity than most 10-year veterans (of course, a second-year player shouldn’t be as ruffled as a 10-year veteran might be). That was apparent that night, but even more so today, when after the player practiced on a line with Aaron Voros and Dan Fritsche (more on that later), he expounded on his shortcomings the last two games.

“There was no further conversation,” Dubinsky said when asked if he and Renney ever talked about the issue. “I know what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to perform and make sure I’m ready to go. There’s no excuses. You have to be consistent in the NHL. It’s one of the things people bank on here. So many players come in and they’re not consistent, and they’re not here anymore. I put a lot of pressure to make sure I’m ready to go every night.”

I asked Dubinsky if his struggles of late could at all be a reflection of greater attention from other teams. A case can be made that, on whole, the center has been the Rangers’ best skater so far this season. And if I’m seeing that, other teams are too, and might be stressing the importance of shutting him down.

“No,” he said. “Every player in the NHL is a good player. Obviously there are some superstars, but I certainly wouldn’t classify myself in that category. I think that it’s just a matter of work ethic and realizing you can’t cheat for certain things. You’ve got to do the little things. I’ve always really prided myself on trying to make sure I do the little things. I don’t think I got ahead of myself but maybe subconsciously I started doing things that aren’t what make my game special.

“So if anything maybe it was really a good thing. I came in today and worked hard. I know what I need to do to be successful so it’s really just a matter of getting back to it.”

For his part, Renney acknowledged there was no need to revisit the issue with the player, because he knew the message got through the first time.

“He’s a great kid. We have a hell of a dressing room in there,” Renney said. “And I’m not the type of coach who packs that baggage around. It’s been dealt with once. That’s enough.”

Put it all together and Larry Brooks is right today in “noting that re-signing Dubinsky should be a priority”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/10292008/sports/rangers/rangers_in_dubi_ous_ituation_135763.htm to Glen Sather this season.

The point isn’t that the kid is always going to soar, although he’s come pretty close this season. The point is that he still knows how to respond when he stumbles.


As for another young player, Renney didn’t necessarily shoot down the idea that Lauri Korpikoski could be better served playing in Hartford. The Korpedo has sat out five of the last six games, and was practicing today on a line with Patrick Rissmiller and Petr Prucha — not exactly a good sign.

“It’s a good question,” Renney said. “He’s practicing hard. He can play. If he’s getting in every third or fourth game, you have to ask yourself if that’s worth it.”

It’s a fair point. While I don’t think Korpikoski has fared poorly in his time here and I still think he’s an asset to the Rangers, there is no point in having him sit around when he can pass freely between New York and Hartford without waivers. It’s obvious that the Rangers still haven’t locked into anyone in that third line wing spot, and until they do, they might as well give him a chance to skate somewhere.

Update, 2:09 p.m.: Sure enough, Korpikoski has been sent to Hartford. The Rangers obviously were waiting for my endorsement before making it official.


Great line by Renney on whether he felt the need to talk to Nikolai Zherdev after the wing’s ghastly turnover that almost led to a Kyle Okposo goal on Monday. The coach nodded and said, “I’m not a great coach, but I’m not an idiot.”

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  1. dr house(is a girl) on

    wonder why korpedo might get sent down. Renney is like playing mind games with his players. Korpedo is like stiff now due to him not playing. Oh Yea stop scratching Prucha. He will always get my allegiance, but he works hard.

  2. the dubinsky benching has more to do with keeping him down on the importance list then it had to do with his play. renney wants to keep gomez, drury, and naslund, as the main guys. so he must keep dubi and zherdev in thier place.

  3. According to the AHL transaction page, the Korpedo has indeed been sent down to Hartford.

  4. Richard – The Buckhead area (actually ON peachtree rd.) I heard there’s a Ruth’s Chris in the hotel, so I may see nothing more for 24hrs than the atrium of an Embassy Suites. haha

    I thought korpi looked great in the preseason and games over in Czech. I was glad that he made the team for sure. But there’s no doubt there was a noticable “stale-ness” to his game when they returned. Not playing ‘bad’ by any stretch. But again, noticably less effective. Can’t be anymore PC than that!

  5. I don’t like the idea of Korpi going down but I don’t like him sitting either. Send him down and make him 1st to come back later and maybe he’ll do a Cally and be a solid NHL’er. You really can’t complain about who plays as long as the results are there. Eventually, something has to give with the spare forwards.

  6. Dubinksy has the class of a veteran player. A lot of his quotes seem really Shanahan-esque. He knows how skilled he is, but he’s grounded. Glen Sather should pay that kid whatever he asks for to keep him around – it would be great to have a homegrown captain a few years down the road.

    If Renney’s going to scratch the Korpedo every game, then they should send him to Hartford where he can play and develop his game. That seems pretty evident.

  7. Sending Korpkoski down is the right move. He needs to be down in Hartford playing on a top line. He might get another chance and show more (much like Dawes did last year) Speaking of Dawes why has he been exempt from being scratched lately? He hasn’t had an effective shift let alone game in a while.

  8. So much cap room is tied up into guys like Redden and Rozsival long term that it will be hard to match if someone gives Dubi a big time offer sheet in the summer of ’09. The Rangers are gonna have to be very creative with Dubi’s contract.

  9. I would like to argue the Renny quoate on 2 points 1– he`s not a great coach, more like he SUCKS and 2 he`s not an idiot, true I would rather have an idiot coach, he`s an anal retard and when do we get to Pearn and Pelino

  10. bull dog line….you are kidding right?

    I mean you think Renney would rather see Dubi commit those two penalties and have to sit so as to keep him under his thumb rather than have him be a point-a-game kid to take the offensive pressure off Naz, Gomer, and Dru.

    That sounds SOOOOO believable.

  11. Kurt not only was the post barely coherent but it lowered all of our Iqs thank you very much.

  12. graves,

    Agree about Kurt lol

    someone alluded to it a few weeks ago…Dawes gets Renney his coffee every morning. That’s why he’s always in there. Simply, he loves the kid. But one real excuse I think is that he needs to be in their to get some time, and the fact that he can explode at any moment. When you sit Prucha and play him here and there, he can still be effective with the way he plays..high energy. Dawes needs to get a rhythm. I think that’s a half-ass excuse on my part but nobody knows why Renney is thinking that way.

    And with regards to Dubi, I posted earlier that maybe they’d treat him like Hank (maybe a little better lol) with giving him a 1-2-3 year deal with a cheap annual and then when some ppl are off the books, give him a long term deal with an above average annual.

  13. Renney and Sather lowballed Korpikoski by putting him into a situation where he wasn’t going to succeed in. Same as with Prucha. Not enough icetime, short leash, offensively challanged linemates, rotating of linemates every game, scratches, etc.

  14. kevo – I think it’s also WELL understated how much slats has to do with lineup changes. Not to be confused with line combos. I hope no one thinks sending a player to the AHL is a coaches decision. In any city.

  15. The Only “big deal” being made out of Dubi’s benching is by people who have blogs…nobody cares; everyone gets sat down even people with 20 career goals

    I myself got sat dowm for missing checks, for making checks, for writing bad checks and for not eating enough rice checks…and leter when I played with a bunch of czechs…nobody titled a blog about it

  16. Beer, I know about that. I think I misunderstood what he said. I know more goes into who is on the roster. Dawes could get scratched for a game or two. That’s Renney’s call, but Sather probably has a little input into the team, I would assume.

  17. GRAVES9 and some others keep talking about Dubi getting a better offer sheet from somewhere else. I might be wrong, but that is near impossible since he is a restricted free agent. Which means he cannot be persued by other teams until he is an unrestricted free agent. He can go to arbitration but he is pretty much locked into the NYR organization until the end of his next contract. The same goes for Staal, Dawes and Cally.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    BEER ME!! I have eaten at the same Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse. I believe there is a sports bar around there. I will check with a friend of mine who does a talk radio sports show in Atlanta.

  18. Awesome Richard, thanks man. I hear there’s an ESPNZONE there, so I know to stay away from that if I want to see a hockey game!

    And teams CAN contact RFA’s after a certain date. Not sure when that is.

    kevo – I didn’t mean that ‘you didn’t know’. Just sayin really. I’m in a real lazy mood right now, don’t even feel like typing this really…..

  19. I don’t know enough but is Richard on to something with RFA status and Dubi?

    If so, all you speculators, I might have to think of a few other words represented by the term “RFA.”

    Please someone who knows, help clarify this.

  20. BEER, thanks enlightening me on the RFA situation. When I get an answer from my friend I will let you know.

  21. Ha no worries, don’t waste your time. We both know what we’re saying, and understand each other.

    To continue with the RFA, like Beer said, they can be contacted if they reach that certain date. If a player accepts an offer from some other team (Dubi/Cally in this instance), their team (Rangers) has a chance to match it…if they do, they keep the player; if they don’t they get picks based on certain criteria.

    Didn’t Sakic sign an offer sheet with us but Colorado matched?

  22. I think that magic date is the start of Free Agency, July 1st. Kevo’s got the rest of it nailed down pat. If a team signs your RFA though, they have to give you picks, based on the salary, up to 5 consecutive 1st round picks.

  23. And for Sakic, we did sign him to an offer sheet. Colorado was trying to work out a trade for him, but Pavel Brendl was the deal-breaker, we didn’t want to give him up. So they ended up matching. But later on, Brendl WAS traded to Philly for the (much better?) Eric Lindros, after 7 concussions. Still pissed about that one.

  24. BEER ME!!!, here you go.

    The name of the sports bar is Dantanas(sp?) and their phone number is 404 760 8873. My friend did say they have great food there as well. The bar is right behind the Westin Hotel in Buckhead. The hotel is at 3391 Peachtree Road Northeast, which should help. You should be all set, as long as there is no SEC football or Nascar that day.

  25. haha..i hear ya. I was young and not the avid fan I am now, so I forgot about the Brendl part for Sakic. Lindros…ha

  26. Yes he did. I recall the Rangers asking fans not going to see the Con Air movie(whose studio produced the movie) so the Avs couldn’t use that money to match the Rangers offer sheet. The Flyers pretty much gave Chris Gratton a huge offer sheet in response to the Rangers giving Sakic one.

  27. BEER ME!!!, my friend is also a silent partner of a sports bar call Stats which is down by the Falcon’s and Thrasher’s arenas, if you are in that area. It is 20 minutes from Buckhead.

  28. Jeever that’s not true. Brendl was drafted in ’99 and the Rangers made Sakic the offer sheet in the summer of ’97.

  29. Korpi has played well. I think there is a bit of a difference between being “NHL Caliber” and being a starter for the Rangers. Thomas Pock couldn’t crack our roster and he’s a starter for NYI. Some teams have crazy depth like that. Detroit for instance, sent Darren Helm back to the AHL. That dude is a starter pretty much anywhere, except Detroit. Korpedo hasn’t played poorly, he just hasn’t played better than Dawes, Sjo, Prucha or Fritsche. I personally have been unimpressed with Fritsche, so I wouldn’t lose any sleep if they waived him or traded him. Prucha has been a ball of energy, even if he hasn’t showed up on the stat sheet. Hell, that was the whole reason we kept Hollywood Hollweg here as long as we did. I honestly feel that if we give Prucha some ice time and a steady spot in the line up, he will start to play better. Not 30+ goals, but 15 goals, 110% effort and a killer forecheck. Plus, considering how shitty our PP is with all our star power out there, there is no good reason to not give Prucha a shot.

    Philly gave the Thrashers the Trojan War Helmet (look it up on Urbandictionary.com if you’re curious) last night. Hopefully that’s indicative of how their visit to the Garden will be tomorrow night.

  30. dang really? I’m getting my “pissed at rangers management” moments confused. I just can’t help it.

  31. i think it is a good thing korpi is back in the minors, at least until we figure out this foward situation. Why would we want an up and coming player sitting every night when he could be working hard and getting better down in hartford, and maybe it will give him a kick in the butt like it did for cally last year… we could bring him back up at any time w/o any waivers or anything like that, right?

  32. dr house(is a girl) on

    Renney is treating Prucha like a peace of garbage. I am also fine saying Goodybe to Fritsche. Someone tell Jags wat Renney is doing with Prucha.

  33. Joe, nice with the Trojan War Helmet lol

    Fritsche hasn’t impressed me much either, but they do need an extra forward and he’s cheaper than Rissmiller and has more potential than him. I wouldn’t lose sleep if they got rid of him now, but in the beginning, I was kind of intrigued to see what we got out of him….not much thus far, but you never know. He’s cheap enough to resign at the same price and contribute next season, but that’s looking far, far ahead. I still think it’s early and he can help this team out this year.

  34. After watching Prucha the past 2 games, I would have kept him in the lineup…2 games is not enough to get scoring confidence. I not a big Prucha fan as some may know but at least give him 10-15 games before benching him again.

  35. thanks a lot Richard. The info’s already in my phone! haha

    Woulda been awesome for Sakic to come to NY, I think he woulda been a great fit.

    I guess it is 7/1 that all UFA’s and RFA’s are fair game. But I don’t know the timeline that teams have to match (24hrs?), not sure. I’m SO not interested in opening up the CBA right now either. That’s worse than reading the dictionary sometimes.

  36. I must admit… I’m a bit surprised that Prucha is sitting again. I’ve been one of those saying he shold be sitting because he’s not producing but he’s been looking good the last two games.

    I still believe that the coach knows more than me (i.e. knows what the hell he’s doing) but I’d have given him another shot.

  37. Sorry Staal Wart,

    Your 3:40 post wasn’t up when I was typing mine. I guess great minds think alike.

  38. It’s not definite that Prucha is sitting. Said Fritsche MAY play. I know it more likely than not but you never know. Renney could have just thrown Fritsche in there to see if anything clicked or just to get him a better work out. My guess is that Prucha sits, but nobody knows yet.

  39. Gotta keep Fritsche fresh also.

    You also have to consider what kind of feedback Renney’s getting from Gomer/Dru. Sure, we all see what happens in the games. We don’t see practice, we don’t see how they communicate off the ice either.

    So if gomer, cally, dawes stay together another game or two, I’d have to believe gomer’s not ‘against’ it. Though I do think he needs higher caliber players on his sides to really get your $ worth from him.

  40. new newman
    who had been the rangers best line? it was of course dubi,zherdev, and voros. why were they broken up? they were becoming to big. cant have that, this is gomez and drurys team.

  41. Beer, agree about the Gomer-Dru point. Not saying that they can tell Renney who to put on which lines, but I’m sure he might ask a little to get a feel, maybe even Naslund because he’s got an A and they’ve worked together in the past.

  42. damn i think they shoulda gave korpi a shot on that third line…seen how it went then maybe sent him down. oh well he will be back!

  43. What can you sign Dubi for? keep in mind- i’m pretty sure Staal will warrant a fairly large contract.

    Redden and Rosizval take up a lot of cap space…

  44. bulldog line…..ok. that’s a fair point.

    but i would argue renney felt dubi was able to perform (right now) on his own and he wanted to kickstart nas and dru so he got them some help.

    it’s one thing to try and mix it up to get everyone producing.

    it’s another thing to say that renney doesn’t want to see dubi be the leading scorer in favor of gomer, dru, nas. i find that a little far fetched.

    i do think he EXPECTS more out of gomer, naz, and dru…hence they usually always get more PP time than dubi and voros and zherdev (which irks the hell out of me!) but i would say he has more confidence in the “big 3” on a nightly basis which i cannot really disagree with.


  45. I agree newman. Those guys are your veterans, and pretty much proven. Renney relies on them because once they get going and break out of a slump, you know what you’re going to get on a nightly basis. Not that Dubi is inconsistent, but the other 2 can be at times. Also, there is nothing wrong with splitting them to get two other lines working. Maybe he has the confidence in Dubi and wants him to have teh responsibility to make his own work, thus giving them 3 lines that are contributing, rather than 1 really good line.

  46. dr house(is a girl) on

    i honestly dont understand Renney anymore. Basically cause i gave up when Jagr left and supposedly Shanahan.

    Its his team now.

  47. Another thing we might want to consider is Renney finding out who does what when paired with whom.

    Last season it looked to me as if Renney was trying to find ANYTHING that worked. This time around it seems more calculated to me. Like he’s getting a gage on what he has to work with.

  48. “What can you sign Dubi for?”

    Hopefully a lot less than he’d get from some offer sheets he’d see.

    Honestly, I’d hope to sign him for something very close to Avery’s contract. If I were him I wouldn’t take anything longer than 3 years.

    Nothing in regards to an offer sheet should ever be a problem anyway. You gotta get the kid signed in January.

  49. agreed Riche’, but they still have a glut of forwards, so part of the calculation has to be- you can’t sit guys for too long and then expect to trade them for much…

  50. You know whats funny, we’re rookie-free, but no one should care because our team is still ridiculously young. That’s because our previous rookies seem to be working out and can be relied upon.

  51. 11 of the 13 fwds on the roster are under 30.

    1/2 of them are 25 or younger.

    4 of 6 dmen are under 30.

    Oldest player is Nas @ 35.

    Oh, how the times have changed for the NYR…

  52. bull dog,
    so what your saying is that Renney in order to “keep that Dubi line” in its place broke them up? I think Dubi, Voros and Zherdev are pretty humble players and come across that way. Are you saying that its more important for players to
    realize “their place” over winning hockey games…I bet if you asked any player in the locker room if a line that is scoring should be broken up they would say…”no”. That line is as unselfish as player come. If I’m not mistaken I remember Dubinski giving Callahan an open net goal earlier. Dubinski does not have a chip on his should and he doesn’t act like he’s the man.

    I can’t believe you would think the line was broken up because they were getting too good…that is assinine!
    It was broken up in order to get other players going, when frankly the Dubi, Voros, Zherdev line had actually slowed down.

  53. Dr House..
    Since there is no Ranger Game tonight would you like to play House with me? or Doctor??
    sorry couldn’t resist.. theres just something about chicks that dig hockey..

  54. beer me – i think there are 14 forwards inclding rissmiller. still counts vs the cap since never sent down. i think he just turned 30

  55. Ugh, why couldn’t they at least try Korpedo on the friggin wing first.

    Actually the only good thing to come out of this is, now if Nyr does manage to trade Rozi, and Pruchs, they now have room for Sundin. Yay ! Hopefully that happens real soon. Or who knows, maybe Shanny might be coming back. You never know what’s going through Slats’ head.

    Its to bad, Korpedo didn’t get much of a shot. Dubi didn’t get a point, till november or something, or his first goal. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, he wasn’t playing bad, i don’t understand it. Pruchs better start putting some fuggin pucks in the net, while he still has the chance.


    You shouldn’t have said you’re a girl, cause now the freaks will come out, and you might have yourself a couple of stalkers. Scary stuff.

  56. Staal Wart

    I commend you — no sarcasm — for your willingness to give Prucha an honest chance. I know a week or so ago you wrote him off totally, so it’s a credit to you that unlike some on this board your mind is not closed to evidence that sometimes contradicts a previous (and adamant) stance.

  57. renney does not use his best players the way a good coach should.
    he plays his safest players. that would be gomez, nas, drury and the betts line. when dubi line became the best line, he neede to break them up in order to play his safest players more.

  58. I don’t think we really have a surplus of forwards anymore… We have 2 extra forwards being scratched (including Riss, who can go down to Hartford at any time). Most teams carry 3 scratches a night, usually 2 forwards and 1 d-man…

  59. oh, and the line was broken up after the detroit game in which voros had two goals, and the line had played well.

  60. Laurence,
    Like I admitted, I’m not a big Prucha fan BUT…out of all the games I’ve seen him play I liked what I saw. He blocked shots, he was hard on the puck, and most importantly he drew a penalty. I have to credit PP for the win against Pitt. It was his hard work that got the ball rolling.

  61. “You shouldn’t have said you’re a girl, cause now the freaks will come out, and you might have yourself a couple of stalkers. Scary stuff.”

    Hey! what about me? Nobody stalking me….

  62. dr house(is a girl) on

    I wanted everyone to know.

    Orr dont be starting the Shanny stuff. You’ll get me going.

  63. Gotta laugh at Beers comment about keeping Fritsche fresh back when Prucha sat 6 out 7 Beer wasn’t calling for Prucha to be kept fresh. Come on Beer admit it Prucha stole your girlfriend or something.

  64. dr house(is a girl) on

    Shanny aint coming back read Larry brook’s article. wow do i f’en hate slats.

  65. Shanny just said hes listening to all offers now as talks with the Rangers are done for good.

  66. dr house – the team is 9-2-1. nothing lasts forever so shannys time has come and gone. i’ve seen some favorites of mine leave but most were career or virtually career rangers so remember shanny was only here 2 yrs. but it’s more about the name on the front of the uni than the back. as seinfrld said its about rooting for the laundry.

  67. I just hope Shanny signs with the Red Wings and wins a Cup with them to go out. I don’t know/care if its realistic, I just wish the best for him, and will always be a fan of his.

    Of course if they HAPPEN to be playing the Rangers in June, Shanny can settle with winning the West Conference his last year.

  68. Shanny can’t sign there and Detroit already said they wouldn’t sign him even if they could. I loved Shanny when he was here, but its better for him to leave before he turned into a Messier. Although he had no problem playing 4th line minutes at the end of last season, I don’t think he’d do it for an extended period of time. Messier couldn’t deal with the fact that he was ineffective so he wouldn’t give up playing time to younger and better players…which set us back about 5 years. So moving on from Shanny is probably better now than later. Wish him the best of luck though.

  69. Philly is ridiculously deep at forward. They have no need for him. Glad Shanny isn’t coming back here.

  70. Montreal is every bit as deep at forward as philly. I could see him signing with the Devils though.

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