All in a night’s work

59

 So what was more impressive by Nikolai Zherdev tonight — the ridiculous, water-bottle-lifting goal, the game-winning assist, or the hustle to catch Todd White from behind on the breakaway?

Call me a purist, but I actually vote for the backcheck.

You heard it here first, Zherdev for the Selke.

“It shows his commitment to what (Tom Renney) wants,” captain Chris Drury said. “He had some years win-loss wise in Columbus, and we’re off to a pretty good start. He sees he wants to be a part of it not just offensively, but defensively.”

What’s remarkable is that lost in all the talk about Brandon Dubinsky’s benching Monday night is that Zherdev was also sat down by Tom Renney in that game. I asked the coach how many shifts Zherdev missed against the Islanders, and was surprised to hear Renney say six. Apparently the player got the message,

“At the end of the day the chips you play with are ice time as a coach,” Renney said. “You’ve got to use that. That’s what every player wants. They want to play , and when you take that away, it speaks louder than anything else.”

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59 Comments

  1. Quite a performance turned in by Zherdev tonight and of course Lundqvist was at his best once again. The only complaint I continue to have is that they are playing down to the competition. Both on Monday night and tonight they let bad teams hang around until the third period before they put them away. If they catch a team with a hot power play they are definitely going to lose some time soon. They just aren’t playing a full 60 min just yet. But once that happens, oh boy, watch out.

  2. “Jonny I’m digging Zherdev but I don’t think he’ll lead the league in scoring. Top 10-15 in scoring? Yes. Ovechkin , Malkin and Cyrbaby have the top scoring spots locked up.”

    Well I mean he has the potential to be there. I think he can get top 15 this year, but if he reaches his full potential, the sky is the limit.

    then again, we said that with Kovalev.

  3. Oh and if ice time is what every player wants, why doesn’t he just bench the whole #1 PP unit. I mean he lessened their time in the 3rd period, but didn’t bench them.

  4. I don’t get the following: Naslund-Gomez-Drury didn’t have chemistry, and didn’t work well at all as our #1 line. So WHY are they our power play unit together? They aren’t a good combo.

  5. “It’s a new team, a new system for me, so every game I try to be better and better,” said Zherdev, who, with two points on Thursday night now has seven points in the last four matches. “I feel really comfortable here.”

  6. Andrew
    The great thing about “playing down to the competition” is that they are still winning. I dont care if they play the crappiest games ever against the worst teams and come up with two points and then improve there game against the best teams. As long as they come away with the two points I’m happy. I dont want to sound like a negative nancy, but Drury seemed invisible today, but I also did miss the first period. He might have been hot on D, he might not have. I didnt see him enough today. Im going to be on Drury until he has multiple good games. Zherdev was amazing though.

  7. The Dawes-Gomez-Cally line looked good tonight, a lot of chances. Personally, I’d try Naslund-Gomez-Cally and see how that works so Dawes can play with Drury.

  8. This is fabulous. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Nick Manning’s work, but I think I might give my girlfriend the “Rangers Win! Rangers Win!” move that he coined with the Cubs. 21 points, 4th straight win, Rangers rolling on. Zherdev is a beast. Naslund is looking great.

    Rough day in class. I’m gonna make myself some EasyMac, get drunk on some Labatt Blue, and watch the Wings. Then wake up with a hangover and go play 18 holes.

    Let’s go Rangers

  9. Why the F are Dawes and Callahan still playing with Gomez?

    ……

    Cause the look very good and generate LOTS of quality scoring chances. That’s why.

    Zherdev is awesome. Nice to see guys like Nikky Z and Nazzy pulling their weight.

  10. Best start in team history!!!

    I’m with you Sam, the backcheck was his best play tonight. The goal, as good as it was, was a bit lucky, but the backcheck was pure hustle and guts.

    What is with Kalinin leaving his man all alone in front of the net. That was by far the dumbest play by a pro I have seen in a long time. We learned that in squirt hockey!!!!

    Got to love this game. Got to love this season so far.

    LETS GO RANGERS!!!

  11. Generating chances is nothing. Score or sit.

    ….

    Who are you suggesting be moved where? That Gomez line actually looks GREAT. Not sure what you’re watching and/or suggesting. Who do you want to sit? What about the rest of the team thats not scoring? Don’t be a fool.

  12. Dawes has been absolutely BRUTAL out there. I don’t understand how he’s playing every game. Gomez is setting him up with prime opportunities every game and the guy just wastes every opportunity. Yet people get on Prucha when he doesn’t score.

  13. Ill tell you one thing. Gomer is gonna put up shit for points playing a whole season with those two. He’s wasting away on that line. He’s NOT getting payed to fuggin play a solid defensive game with two youngsters, and have a couple of good shifts. He needs to play with guys who can actually score goals.

    SALTY

    I wanna know what you were watching. Gomer hasn’t even played that great lately, remember that ridiculous giveaway in OT towards the end, to Crosby ? He hasn’t been making clean passes, he’s just not playing that good. He’s been decent. He’s playing like a 3rd line center, cause he’s playing with a couple of 3rd liners. Im not impressed with him, maybe you are, but i sure as shit am not.

    Overrall its a good win. But once again, a lot of disappointments tonight, but somehow they manage to win. That’s always good. But still, ill say it again, Pearn needs to be fired, this PP isn’t working, and Ranger fans cant blame Jags anymore, so who else is there to blame ?? That’s right, PEARN !!! Let him go already, maybe that will wake these people up, and start scoring on the PP. Zherdev’s goal, it was semi lucky, but his goal wasn’t at all, it was a beauty. But i wanna see clean PP shots, nothing retarded, like bad angle shots. Also, for the love of god, take Rozi off the 1st unit, let Redden stay there.

  14. Actually the good thing aboot this is, if Slats does sign Mats, then i guess Gomer wont have a problem playing on the 3rd line.

    Put Gomer with Dru, and Nicky Z, and Dubi with Nazzy and Voros, or Pruchs, or Cally, or Dawesy, what ever. Just gotta play the biggest offensive threats we have together, and let the 3rd line checker stick to what they do best, and surprise us with a couple of goals every couple of games.

  15. the scary thing is they are 10 – 2 – 1 and I do not thnk they have played that well yet. There schedule has been soft so far but beating bad teams is a must.

    Kalinin on the power play goal had a moron move, he gave up the front of the net to chase in the corner!!!!

    They need more O… They need Dawes to step up or Prucha. Prucha deserves to play over Fritsche, I am not impressed with Fritsches offense skills at all.

    take the points and be happy but they are basically winning 1 goal games because of the KING…

  16. Gomez is playing fine. Giving away pucks in areas he shouldn’t is what he’s done best since he was on the Devils. Hes fast and creative, but with that creativity come some really dumb giveaways. I like the Gomez-Dawes-Cally line, although I’d like to see Nazzy on there instead of Dawes since Dawes had success with Dru last year, but no matter what, its not like they aren’t getting chances. Plus Dawes doesn’t mind going to the front of the net.

    Fact is we don’t have a first line, we have 1A, 1B, and 1C, actually they are all more like 1.5’s instead of 1’s, but its working for now.

    Also, Drury, Gomez, Redden, and/or Rozy need to be immediately removed from the PP. I mean I’d keep Gomez there just to be with Naslund since he needs a center (put Dawes, Prucha, or Cally on the other wing), but only as long as Gomez tries hard not to fuck up the simple passes. Rozy should never be out there and maybe Redden occasionally. I’d rather see Kalinin with Girardi at the points because they move the puck quickly and don’t waste time with it, whether it be pass or shot.

    Notice our PP goals come when the 2nd unit is out there because Mara just throws it on goal right away or Dubi and Z cycle around while Voros chills in front. There is movement and quick puck movement around the perimeter to get the D and goalie moving.

  17. Say what you want… these guys are winning games… last year at this time we couldn’t buy a goal let alone ten wins!!!

    Hank looks great… the defense besides a few brain farts here and there (Kalinen tonight) has looked solid… and on a night to night basis different guys are scoring. What more do you want? Once Jagr left town this became a score by committee team. One night it’s Zherdev and Naslund the next it’s Drury and Callahan… then Voros and on on and on.

    It’s early but what more can you ask for?

    Zherdev’s move at the blueline was a thing of beauty as well (on the PP in the third… even though it didn’t lead to a goal).

  18. Gomez needs a finisher, plain and simple. Dawes and Callahan are not cutting it.

    People complain about how much Gomez salary is, etc. He is wasting away playing with the line Renney has him on now.

    Maybe Drury and Naslund with him now since they woke up a bit will not hurt.

    Keep Voros-Dubinsky-Zherdev together. If Renney wants to keep changing players, he has the 3rd and 4th line to play with.

  19. I don’t think anyone is complaining about Gomer’s salary. He was overpaid when we got him, but not by much. The guy can put up 90-100 points with the right winger. But its just not the situation he’s in right now. He’s looked like his usual self, he’ll make a bunch of great plays every game and a couple stupid ones, but thats the type of player he is.

    And I’m not gonna complain about the wins either. Can the team be better? Obviously they have things to work on, like playing a solid 60 minutes, but they step up when they have to and thats more important right now.

  20. Sioux-per-man

    “What is with Kalinin leaving his man all alone in front of the net. That was by far the dumbest play by a pro I have seen in a long time. We learned that in squirt hockey!!!!”

    am i wrong or wasnt that rozis man? either way i agree that was terrrrrrible. whats with rozi and kalinin being paired together? is it me or is that the worst D pairing defense wise? shouldnt the move the 2 of them away from each other to balance out the pinchings and bone headed odd man rushes those 2 create? anyway just a thought but it seems like renney should know this more then we should.

  21. Naslund Sundin Drury
    Voros Dubi Zherdev
    Dawes Gomez Calahan
    Orr Betts Shoey

    1st line PP ( it dont take a genius ) not having Sundin

    Naslund Dubinsky Zherdev
    Drury Redden

    2nd PP unit

    Shoey Gomez Calahan
    Girardi Staal

  22. 10-2-1… I repeat, 10-2-1. What more do you guys want? Henrik is dominant, contributions are coming from all over, and we probably aren’t even playing our best hockey of the year. Lets stop complaining and enjoy the beauty of being the #1 team in the NHL for a little while.

    LETS GO RANGERS

  23. All Hail King Henrik on

    Absolutely loving the 10-2-1 start and the play of Lundqvist, Zherdev (!!!) and Naslund. (The whole team as well, but they do need to work towards 60 minute efforts; if they would’ve done that, Hank would have a few shutouts by now).

    Although I hate to nitpick and make complaints when the team is 10-2-1 I do agree with some of the sentiment in here:

    Something has GOT TO CHANGE with the powerplay.

    Renney needs to showRoszival that if he isn’t going to shoot (and be ready to shoot) he isn’t going to be guaranteed PP time. Give the spot to Staal.

    Ultimately though, Pearn might have to go (it is hard to argue for a change in personnel on a 10-2-1 team, though).

    I also tend to agree that Gomez is not being utilized properly (with Dawes and Cally). Gomez is supposed to be our number 1 center, it is imperative that he plays with better wingers; wingers that will FINISH. Otherwise, his talents are more or less being wasted.

    He’s the best set-up man on the team…give him wingers who will bury those passes.

    Not sure how to restructure the lines, but in my opinion either Drury or Dubinsky has to be moved to Gomez’s wing. I’d rather see Drury there, but if Renny wants to keep Naslund-Drury-Zherdev together, then try Dubinsky on Gomez’s wing.

    Gomez-Dubinsky-Voros ??

    Or maybe Sather needs to trade for a scoring winger for Gomez, or sign Sundin and have Drury move to wing on Gomez’s line.

    It cannot be ingnored that if Gomez had wingers who could finish, he would probably have another 8 points or so on the season–all assists.

    I’d rather see these lines, personally:

    Naslund-Gomez-Drury (Give them 5-10 games to develop chemistry)
    Voros-Dubinsky-Zherdev
    Prucha-FritscheorKorpedo(or Anisimov?)-Callahan
    Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

    As long as they keep winning though–I’m not going to complain much.

    Lets go Rangers!!!!

  24. ^^ that post makes me cringe.

    I had a long post written about Gomez and his wingmates but it got deleted when I lost connection earlier.

    Basically, we DO NOT HAVE wings that are compatible with Gomez. We never have, and YES, Gomez IS BEING WASTED until we get them.

    Hate to break it to you, Drury is simply not a finisher in any sense of the word, and also, any talk of moving Gomez to a wing is moronic. We need som finishing wings. Lose one of our big contracts, (whoever is contributing the least in their respective position, obviously) and think about getting more guys like Zherdev who may need a change of scenery to get going again. Think about Cheechoo getting fed golden nuggets in front of the net from Gomez.

    I wish I didn’t lose that other post, it was much more thought out.

  25. Yeah, even if they have a 10-2-1 start, they’re winning these games, even though they’re playing semi bad. Im happy with that, but at the same time, they cant keep doing this. We cant expect Hank to bail us out every time.

    BTW – I heard Crosby went down with an ankle injury, any truth to that ? That would be nice, cause they’re going through massive injuries.

  26. I know this is a random stat and its early in the year, but so far the Rangers have a better winning percentage when giving up the 1st goal than they do when they score the 1st goal. They are tied for 1st with the Sharks with .833 win percentage in that category.

    Last year we finished with a .286 in that category, good for 19th best. We were middle of the pack (around 16th/17th) in the other categories like leading after 1st, leading after 2, and scoring first. It’ll be interesting to see where this team ends up in regards to those stats.

  27. 10-2-1 and we really are having to pick the bones of it to find criticism now aren’t we?

    Individual player needs don’t mean sh*t, as long as we win.
    The last 10 days its been Z, Dru and Nas doing the scoring, before that it was Dubi, Gomer and Voros. We’re 1/6th of the way into the season and doing everything right: star players back-checking, Hank playing well, no injuries, benching players for poor play. Its all good in my book, and i’m not saying it can’t be better – but lets make hay while the sun shines – GO RANGERS!

  28. Another win, sweet! No team is perfect and no player is perfect either. People will make mistakes and you can only hope they don’t lead to goals against. That said, I only want to see an improved powerplay. WTF is going on? SHOOT THE FVCKING PUCK. It’s like the past 4 years. SHOOT already. Also, I noticed last night that it seemed the wrong people were in each PP position as passes didn’t go to stick sides so there was a lot of get the pass on your off side and move it over to pass (if you understand what I’m saying). You can’t cleanly move the puck and shoot quickly when you’re not putting it on the tape. Anyway, a win is a win and at least so far they’re beating the teams they SHOULD be/need to be beating. GO RANGERS!

  29. The powerplay sucks because they don’t pass it quick enough to get the D and goalie moving. When that happens, the powerplay will be successful…oh and they have to skate around a bit too.

    Also, this team is far from perfect. I love our record and I’m happy this team is living up to what I said it would be, but there are still some pretty big errors that are going on and I’m not sure that when we get into the tougher part of the schedule if they get away with them. That doesn’t mean the team hasn’t done some really great things at times too, but as Renney said, they are pretty far from great. when they do it for 60 minutes night in night out, then they can be happy.

  30. 10-2-1 and I am not the coach. Just thought I should start out with that
    So the dilemna everyone is talking about. Who should be with Gomez. We sure dont have room for Sundin on the cap, and after not signing Shanny, I don’t know why everyone thinks Sundin will be so much different. Anyways. We have three centers, that will most likely stay at center now, so we have Gomez, Drury, and Dubinsky all keeping on different lines. Zherdev and Gomez both have the same style of quick pace, bring the puck up the ice themself mentality, although Gomer is better at passing and Z is better at finishing. So they are on different lines. Naslund is too slow of a player for Gomez and as I know Ive said before that different angles is a good thing, but a really really quick player and a slow player isnt the best idea. Voros works well with Dubinsky (although he hasn’t been real productive recently.)and has the same game plan as Drury (in front of net). So that leaves you with Cally, Pru, and Dawes. They can pretty much be interchanged around the lineup although I do agree, they are all natural third liners. So here is what that all looks like if in there natural positions
    Callahan/Dawes-Gomez-Prucha/Voros
    Zherdev/Naslund-Dubinsky-Voros/Prucha
    Naslund/Zherdev-Drury-Prucha/Voros/Callahan/Dawes.
    No matter what you do, you are sacrificing components to other lines. Personally my favorite is
    Cally-Gomez-Prucha
    Zherdev-Dubinsky-Voros
    Naslund-Drury-Dawes

    I actually don’t mind the lines now, but if I had to do it, thats what it would look like. And I cant stand how rediculous some of your combinations are…one of our best centers taken out to be put on right wing while he is working well with the second line. Zherdev next to Gomer? Drury next to Gomer? Naslund next to Gomer? We need somebody quick that is nitty-gritty and will work hard for a goal with him. Although it would be nice to have a pavel datsyuk or holmstrom or hossa by him, thats not in the cards so we have to work with what we have.
    But then again…Im not the coach, nor will I ever be.

  31. I was only able to skim the posts from 5pm thru now, so apologies if I restate something…

    I DO have something negative to say, and I’ll just get it out and then move on. It’s not a secret that the pp pretty much sux. But the Rangers gotta be the only team that can take their home crowd out of a game by going on the pp. That said, they have been scoring more often on the pp than they did last year.

    Z is the man. Great all-around game.

    Lots of good things going on for the NYR right now, and it all starts in the crease.

  32. It seems foolish to complain about the best record in the league, but there are major concerns for me, namely 5on3PP and unmarked shots at Henke from the slot. Zherdev was the best player on the ice last night, but I wonder why he doesn’t get a whole lot of PP time. I hate seeing Rozy on specials teams at either end while Girardi and Staal only get PP time with second units. Fritche’s attempt at a deke on his lone chance only reaffirmed my belief that he doesn’t deserve a roster spot over Prucha. Just compare how many times you notice Prucha make a play in a game, and the same with Fritche. It’s about 4 to 1 for me. Anyway, let’s talk lines:

    Dawes Gomez Zherdev
    Naslund Drury Cally
    Voros Dubi Prucha
    Shoe Betts Orr

  33. What a great day. Candy on my desk this a.m., the Rangers are 10-2-1, its payday for me, and I just saw that Crosby is out day to day with an undisclosed injury. What a great day!

  34. I didn’t see the game, thanks to working a 2nd job in this great economy, but I saw the highlights. Great backcheck by Z, the guy is becoming a force. I talked to my buddy after the 2nd and he told me we were tied, and I said we’ve got em right where we want em. I skip the negative posts, at 10-2-1 I look to enjoy this start.

  35. Rozi is really off to a terrible start. Why did Zherdev have to catch that guy on the backcheck, cause Rozi missed the puck. I dont think he is the same since that off season surgery. Maybe its good that he hasnt changed his number yet, maybe he wont be there in Feb…

  36. Rosival should get off the pp. i was screaming at my tv during the 5 on 3 last night. rosival had the puck down by the faceoff circle and DIDNT shoot.

  37. My buddy and his wife do real estate in New York and a certain Swedish center has pretty much bought a place in Manhattan. Hmmmmmmm. Must just be a coincidence.

  38. Yes definetley a GREAT day. I have candy on my desk as well (replacing coffee for the moment). People are wearing costumes at work, and I got my rangers t-shirt on.

    22figure8 – Im with you on the fact that I’ve just been skipping the negative posts. All it is, is people trying to make suggestions and theories, and if they work, they just wanna come back on here and hear that they were right the whole time. But that ain’t happening cause Renney don’t go on this site when hes in need of advice.

    It’s amazing how good the Rangers are playing right now. People at my job that don’t know jack about hockey are actually comin up to me askin if I saw the game last night, HA! Funny how only when a team has the best record in the league, people seem to notice. Oh well, I can’t complain, thats just more people to talk about it with. Looking foward to Saturday.

  39. Either crazy, or very dear friends just felt like lying to me because they know I am a ranger fan. But, who knows?

  40. The problem with the powerplay is not our passing, nor is it our shooting… it’s the fact that we don’t move our feet.

    You have to be in motion on the pp in order to break down the diamond, box or triangle. It’s very easy to defend against a stationary opponent.

    Once again, that’s not really an attribute to coaching rather than it is the players not being aware.

  41. Q – I totally agree. When Prucha is on the ice you notice him. He’s forechecking hard and drawing penalties. Aside from that weak chance by Fritche he has been completely invisible.

  42. A few points…
    Zherdev is slick and I think I get jazzed just watching him celebrate. Him taking the feet out from under (forget his name) was very Tikkanen-esk
    Mara is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Not only for taking less money to stay here but his game has changed dramatically since last season.
    Where did Colton get those wheels…holy crap!
    Does Colton have any broken knuckles from that marathon scrap?
    Gomez does need a finisher…I really like Cally with Gomer but Dawes for some reason, at least in my mind doesn’t fit on that line. He’s supposedly a sniper but I have yet to see him snip this season. Cally adds a level of grit to that line that is needed because Gomez doesn’t hit much.
    Kalinin…probably won’t leave the crease again after he has a one on one meeting with Renney…LOL! I don’t have a problem with the occasional mistake but that was pretty glaring.

    Anyway 10-2-1…Like Beer I’m happy, we are winning and haven’t even ironed out the kinks yet. Its friday and there is another game tomorrow night…Can life get better? I submit that it CANNOT!!!

  43. Sam – for what its worth, espn agrees with you. Z’s defensive play made the top ten plays of the night on sportscenter.

  44. I am not getting on Renny but I don’t remember seeing anyone benched this early last year. Maybe he learned a little last year. I like it and it is working out well.

  45. STAAL – great points all around there. Totally agree with pretty much everything in that post.

    nasty – your crazy dude. And if you’re not, then … well, I don’t know.

    brandon – Right on that once again. Hard to believe we’ve scored ANY ppg’s with 5 statues out there.

    Mara is the shizznit. Great attitude. As well as the rest of the TEAM.

    I think that’s my favorite part about this season so far. With the exception of the 1993-1994 NYR, this years team is the ‘closest’ TEAM I’ve seen since I was old enough to be a fan (early 80’s).

  46. I understand using up the cap space to sign remarkable players like Zherdev, Girardi, Lundqvist, etc. But I don’t understand wasting big contracts on not overly skilled or creative and nonphysical players like Drury, Gomez, Redden, Straka, etc.

  47. sesak – I also think that the players on the team NOW, as opposed to last year will respond to it. I don’t think the ego’s last year coulda taken a benching.

    Jagr gets benched in Oct last year, and Slats is behind the bench by thanksgiving. No doubt in my mind.

  48. You guys/gals have to admit that this seems to be a true team this season. They seem to be united…they play with a common goal as opposed to last season when it seemed some nights the team was going in two different directions.

  49. A few things:

    1) At 10-2-1, hard to be super critical. We are not playing perfectly, far from it actually, but the critique I am goint to lay out is sort of, “where we can improve”.

    2) Defensive zone work still lackluster. Kalinin’s stupid brainfart is just a joke. On the PK he goes behind the goal line in the corner to chase the puck? WTF? And on the other goal against everyone was watching the puck.

    3) The PP. Please tell me why everyone stands still and they move the puck so slowly? On a 5 on 3, send guys cycling through the middle of the defending team’s triangle. Put two guys in front of the goal. Have the pointmen move a litte rather than remain stationary. Have a guy behind the net. I mean do something creative. WTF?

    Enough negative…we are tops in the league. Here are some other points:

    4) Hank is a pure stud. Just on fire right now.

    5) What a sick Orr fight! I give the split decision to him. I mean you have to convincingly beat the champ to take the title, right? But that was a good 90 second brawl.

    6) Zherdev on fire. Seems like he lit a spark in Naslund. If so, Renney’s move paid off.

    7) You guys and the critique of Gomer is just assinine. Cally Gomer Dawes had 10 great chances last night. Lehtonen made some big saves.

    8) It is clear as day we need a 3d line winger. Fritsche not getting it done. Prucha, try as he might, same result. Rissmiller, no need to comment. Is Sundin really thinking Blueshirts? He could center Naz and Dru and put Zher back with Dubi and Voros.

    9) Someone commented about assists the other day….the assigning of an assist to Dubi and to Mara?!?! on Zherdev’s goal underscores the insight on that comment. I mean Zher stole the puck from the defender who was tied up with Dubi. But Mara getting an assist too? Dubi’s was questionable, but was Mara even on the ice???

    21 pts out of 26 possible….good stuff. This team could still play better though. How nuts is that?

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