Shoot the puck, Rosie!

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At times it seems like asking Michal Rozsival to talk about the importance of shooting is like asking a third-grader to expound on the virtues of broccoli. He might know it’s good for him, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to do anything about it.

And so it was today with Rozsival, who despite his relatively low profile on this team, is actually an engaging interview. I asked him about my argument from earlier this morning, that some of his misadventures from the point last night might reinforce his reluctance to shoot. Rozsival smiled, and then said he’s aware of the need to shoot more on the power play.

“You want to shoot the puck as much as you can because it forces the opposition to back off and the shots give you more room on top for the defenseman, and more room to work with,” Rozsival said. “Plus, any shots create more opportunities for you and it gets the defending team running around. So you want to shoot as much as you can.”

But then Rozsival added, “But you also want to pick your spots. If there’s no good pass and you try to force it, then you fall on your face as it happened to me the last game.”

As he did last night, Tom Renney said he’s considering deploying different personnel on the man-advantage to shake it out of its mid-autumn slumber. That could mean less ice time for Rozsival on the power play, a decision I think most fans would endorse. And yet the irony is that when I asked Renney about where Rozsival’s shot ranks among his defensive corps, the coach paused for a moment before adding, “He might be No. 1. He’s got a great shot. I’ve even been tempted to use him in a shootout, and encourage him not to deke.”

So why doesn’t Rozsival shoot more? In part because the shots everyone thinks are there actually aren’t. And because there’s some part of his brain that obviously thinks he’s better off distributing the puck to others.

Some might call that unselfish. Many Rangers fans call it infuriating.

Some other notes:

<li>Stephen Valiquette will indeed get the start tomorrow night in Toronto against the Leafs. This is all part of the fine print of the backup goaltender’s contract that says he has to play every game against Toronto and Philadelphia, and that most of those games have to be shootouts.

OK, I’m making that part up, but it certainly feels that way. The reality is this game does make sense for Valiquette, in part becauseof his recent success against Toronto, but also because it comes on the heels of Henrik Lundqvist playing six straight games. Once upon a time — like say, last season — six games was nothing. But the Rangers know there’s no point in running their franchise goalie ragged so early in the season.

<li>New lines alert! And this time I’m pretty sure about it. Tom Renney moved Dan Fritsche up to a line with Markus Naslund and Chris Drury while he reunited the Playstation line of Aaron Voros, Nikolai Zherdev, and Brandon Dubinsky. The Scott Gomez and Blair Betts lines look to remain intact, although Gomez sat out practice with what Tom Renney called “maintenance,” so Petr Prucha was in the center’s spot between Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes.

For what it’s worth, I was a fan of Callahan and Dawes with Gomez to start, but it’s safe to say they’re on the clock — or at least Dawes is. While Callahan has scored twice and been moderately effective in getting shots on net, Dawes, as many of you have pointed out, has seemed adrift of late. He did have five shots last night, but other than one from in close on Kari Lehtonen, he was never a serious scoring threat.

More later…

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78 Comments

  1. TSN –

    “Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is listed as day-to-day after suffering what’s believed to be a sore hip in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.”

  2. Sorry to have to continue the Prucha debate and I tried not to get into this but 3 people mentioned it on the last post….

    ford…i never said that dawes was far superior to prucha and only someone with “needs” would say otherwise. i specifically said that anyone who thinks prucha deserves ice time over dawes right here might have “needs”. there is a little, distinct difference. and everytime it seems like people are rooting for prucha i find them clinging to stuff he did in his first two seasons. it will help me answer kevo’s question too when i explain it.

    kevo…why dawes over prucha? dawes is on an upward trajectory in this league. prucha is not. this is only my opinion. prucha’s game was suited for post-lockout, no-toucing-on-the-ice-unless-you-have-the-puck. now there is more bumping, grabbing, etc and prucha has less freedom than he did a few seasons ago. also, i think dawes is physically more suited to the league right now than prucha. defensively i give the nod to dawes. drawing penalties i give the nod to prucha, just barely. quickness and speed, i give the nod to prucha. shootouts (a minor stat really) i give the nod to dawes. but overall, i still have to give the nod to dawes as he his more physical and more of a sniper, at least over last season and this season.

    peter….i agree with your assessment that cally might be more of a 3d liner. but now you are again getting into this discussion that prucha is a 1st or 2nd line player. something i ABSOLUTELY cannot for one second agree with. sorry. the other two with their discussions above have room for debate on the topic. but to say that prucha deserves 1st or 2nd line minutes is just above and beyond. a guy cannot score with a bucketful of chances (some from the doorstep) so far this year (no goals, no assists) and he deserves first or second line minutes over callahan? u lost me there.

    at this moment fritsche and prucha are fighting it out for that 3d line wing spot. both of them show me nothing. to be honest, sjostrom deserves a shot over those two guys right now but the SOB line is doing it’s thing so as not to warrant breaking it up.

    please when you all assess prucha’s ability, forget about his first 2 seasons, and think about his ability to do what he is supposed to do….get points. fine he backchecks, fine he hustles, fine he blocks shots….but he is a goal scorer and point getter. at least those are my fond memories of the peter puck of old. i don’t want the peter puck of new who can do everything but score.

  3. I really believe Dawes and Prucha are playing for there jobs. The only problem is what value do they have.

  4. newman if i have to forget pruchas first two seasons, what is the case for dawes being a sniper based on this year alone (he has 1 goal, so does betts, so is betts a sniper?), hell ill even let u look at last season for dawes, he scored 14 goals. that is not a sniper and dawes has missed just as many chances this year as prucha has and playing with a better playmaker than prucha has at all.

    you and others say the gomez line has been creating a lot of chances with dawes and cally, but they aren’t finishing most of them. how is that any different than prucha creating his own chances and missing them? how do we know prucha would miss these chances if gomez was setting him up?

    Ovechkin is a sniper, heatley, malkin, etc.
    dawes is at most a streaky 2nd line winger who will maybe get you 20 goals a year at best. and realistically he is a third liner like cally if anything. im more prone to believe he was a guy who peaked in juniors

  5. doodie machetto on

    over/under on #44’s PIMs on the night:

    17 (allows for a boarding/hit from behind major, a 10 minute misconduct, and a minor)

  6. The Pittsburgh Penguins released this statement today regarding the status of Superstar Sidney Crosby.

    During the match vs. the Phoenix Coyotes last night, Sidney Crosby was injured on a play when he tried unsuccessfully to draw a penalty. During the incident late in the second period, Sidney leapt in the air, pirouetted twice and landed awkwardly on his left hip. Crosby was not assessed a penalty on that play or any other dive or on any other play in which he actually committed a penalty. Crosby made his way to the bench, grimacing in pain as he realized how foolish it was to dive in that manner. It was later reported that Sidney felt increasingly more uncomfortable as the period continued. The discomfort was reported to team doctors who were able to rule out any serious injury stating the he was uncomfortable due to an unusually heavy cramping cycle. He was prescribed Midol and will likely dress for the next game Saturday at St. Louis. Puck drops at 8:30 EST.

  7. From Gross

    “…the Rangers had their flu shots administered today. Let’s keep an eye out over the next couple of days to see if anybody seems to go under the weather as a result.”

  8. Why Does Dan Fristche get moved to the top line?

    Jesus, I’d put Orr there rather than him.

    I really jsut dont like his play at all, and if we have to choose between two players who will do the same thing (PRucha or Fristche) I have to go with Prucha

    Can someone answer what the hell he did last ngiht to warrant a.) dressing for this game over PRucha, and b.) getting top line placement

  9. Because Fristche is more defensively responsible than Prucha… as is everyone else on the team.

  10. Renney is an idiot, putting Fritsche on a line with Dru, and Nazzy. He’s doing absolutely nothing. Nazzy gave hima great feed, and he couldn’t do anything with it. Freddy deserves to move up, he’s the one with a goal, and two shootout goals, and he’s faster. I don’t get it.

    But then again this is good, cause when Sundin comes, he can move right in that spot. ahaha. Sign Mats !!

  11. I do not feel comfortable with Sundin if he signed with us. But what do i know. Whatever makes the team better than it already is.

  12. so ford and pete are now rubbing each other’s shoulders on this prucha debate…..very cute!

    this will be my last entry on the prucha debate…i can’t stand it anymore. and let me remind you two bootlickers of this: i used to be a prucha fan. you guys should let it go. i have, you have not. clearly you know better than renney and the coaching staff. i am just agreeing with their decision making right now. you guys MUST know better than them.

    last year 61 games, dawes 14/15/29….his first full season…..prucha in 62 games 7/10/17…his 3rd full season. who’s game do you think peaked?

    and then pete says, “dawes might get you 20 goals…” that would have put him 4th on the team last year. you just crushed your own stupid argument by saying dawes might get 20 goals like every loser in the NHL gets 20 goals.

    i am outtie on the prucha debate.

  13. Pavel, I don’t understand your anti-Prucha sentiment. The guy isn’t terrible defensively. He brings far more to the table than Fritsche (from what we’ve seen thus far).

    I think Fritsche needs to get a few games, like Prucha, to try and generate something. He did have a nice goal in Europe. OK, so he didn’t score on that break last night. He did look calm in his attempt though. Lehtonen made a nice save. I don’t know how I feel about him playing with Dru and Nas, but I do know that Prucha also deserves that same chance.

  14. I’ve been keeping my peace on this too long. I have to get it out. I wish it weren’t me saying it, cause I thought it was B.S. all along. I wish it were Trautwig or someone else who LOVES the stat of what the Rangers record was with Avery in the lineup.

    What’s it NOW without him?

  15. haha…great minds.

    6-3-4 was our record the last 13 regular season games last year btw. Assuming avery played all those games that is.

  16. Hey Beer!

    Its too late for the Avery stat now because Trautwig and all the other spineless Ranger announcers have already re-thought the whole Avery-era…after praising his “act” last year…now they say things like “his act may have worn thin” or “Theyr’re better off without his antics”

    I stand firm, regardles of records with or without…he’s a pretty good player and a heck of lot of fun to watch..

  17. It’s B.S.

    I don’t mind people that ‘like’ him. People like Allen Iverson too. People like(d) (the old) T.O. People like all kinds of a-holes.

  18. “People like all kinds of a-holes”

    I for one dislike and am frightened to death by Antholes

  19. doodie machetto on

    Kaspar, I posted my opinion about 10-2-1 on the last thread. A brief summary: We’re winning games, which is good to get the points, but we aren’t playing 60 minutes of good hockey, and in some cases we play only for a period. It has got us off to a good start, but eventually it could come back to bite us in the ass. If you really want to know what I think, just look at the last thread.

  20. Hockeymanrangers on

    I like the Gomer, Dawes, Callahan line. I think they could be lethal IF KEPT TOGHETHER LONG ENOUGH. Renny has to give these lines a chance, I don’t like how often he is changing things up. Maybe Drury and Nausland could get something going if they were kept toghether for awhile also, they have the same style of play. We shouldn’t complain they are winning and scoring with all the changes Renny makes.

  21. DR HOUSE GIRL

    If you wanted Shanny back so bad, id be surprised if you didn’t want Mats. He had way better numbers than him last year, he’s like Jagr and Shanny into one body, minus the fighting, and “coasting”, or what ever. But there’s the age still, and some fans don’t forget that, even if they put up 30 goals 70 points last season.

  22. “If you really want to know what I think, just look at the last thread.’

    Just read it…I agree with the fact that they have been underwhelming while winning ( and that tampa twice, toronto, atlanta,columbus, Isles isnt exactly detroit-ducks or habs)

    But you gotta beat those teams and I think there is a lot of room for improvement in players like Drury, redden and Dawes

    Will that take place?

    Maybe maybe not but I’m happy with their 3rd period play

    Ottawa was bloing people away early last year, maybe the Rangers will be better battle tested…

    Gotta go ….more nonsense over the weekend; gotta egg my neighbors

  23. new newman, the debate should not be dawes, or prucha. it should be orr , or frichte. orr does not need to be in the lineup every night, he should rotate with frichte. both dawes, and prucha need to be in the lineup. play orr in divisional games, and games against teams that are tough. frichte plays the others.

  24. New Newman’s logic: “Do not use Prucha’s stats from the past to justify playing Prucha. But allow me to use Dawes’ stats from the past to justify playing Dawes.” Brilliant!

    Hey genius: Dawes has had major minutes this season playing with Gomez and has sh!t the bed. Last night was an embarrassment. So for you to mock anyone in favor of playing Prucha over Dawes as being, and I quote you, “like 5 yrs old? Blind? A special needs person?” is a disgrace.

  25. my wife doesn’t like his teeth, I told her I never look at his teeth…I’m too worried that he’s a sports archeologist!!
    and he hates Palin

  26. I agree with bull dog line & Renney should try these lines soon:

    Naslund-Gomez-Prucha
    Voros-Dubi-Zherdev
    Dawes-Drury-Cally (this line was nasty last year)
    Sjos-Betts-Orr/Fritsche

  27. What the hell has Fritsche done to get another chance tomorrow vs Toronto? Hell why has Dawes been exempt from being a healthy scratch? Imo neither guy deserves to be in the lineup.

  28. I retract actually, I’m leaning towards leaving the 4th line alone and rotating Dawes/Fritsche… I think we all have a better chance of winning the lottery than guessing lines…

  29. What has fritsche done that is better than Orr? Orr has skated better, controled the puck better, dominated shifts with his line’s cycling, and beat some a$$. Fritsche has shown nothing whatsoever to put him above anyone on the team.

  30. Plus shop Dawes I’m not saying trade him but kick the tires on what his value is. I am sure it’s down but I am sure there’s numerous teams that think they can fix.

  31. after last night i LOVE ZHERDEV. not only the offense but bustig his a$$ to get back and make that great play… amazing

  32. Lol, Nicky over hss 4 seasons with the Blue Jerkoffs, has been a -9. -19. -4, – something else, and this season so far is a +11, that’s fantastic. Its still early, but damn, game after game this trade is looking more and more bad. Good thing he only costed us Tyutin, and not Girardi, cause Danny is more of a threat than Tyutin.

  33. One thing I forget or never pay attention to is the results of other teams.

    For instance, Pittsburgh loses 4-1 to Phoenix and I go “ho hum”, yet if the Rangers lose 4-1 to Phoenix, it’s time to panic.

    But the thing is I know the personnel Pittsburgh has and I know they went to the Cup last season, whereas we lose in the 2nd round each year.

    I know Washington beats Nashville in OT and I see it takes Philly oT to beat the Isles, and I give Philly a pass because I know they are bigger and tougher than us up front and in the back, just don’t have the king in net and Washington has offense gallore.

    My point is the Rangers are not a sound team, they are flawed and don’t have what other teams have, except Henrik. Did you see both goals scored against them last night? Both players wide open in front of our own net. And another one, Kovulchuk shot, wide open in front, hit the post. Then the Reasoner breakaway, henrik save.

    Where is the defense?

    If it’s not for Henrik, this team is mediocre.

    I don’t know how you guys can’t see this.

    Of course I am pleased we are 10-2, of course. But to me, it masks the deeper issues this team has.

  34. ur right that im fighting a losing argument newman based on the fact that renney doesn’t want to use prucha w/gomez, but i thought the point of a blog like this is to discuss ideas/problems as the fan sees it. Do I know more than renney/sather about certain things, id say for the most part no, but I think most would have agreed that someone like isbister, krogg and the list goes on should never have gotten a single second of ice time in the nhl w/the rangers, so these guys are hardly above reproach and as far as prospects go, i think anyone here could do as well as sather’s two organizations did as far as drafting talent

    i think we both agree neither are really first line players, i just want to see prucha get a chance there as dawes hasnt really done anything with that opportunity, and i dont know about you but i want the winger playing with my number one center to score more than 20 goals, no matter how much renney wants us to be like the devils that is not what i expect of a first line scoring wing. and we couldnt score goals last year so not really a great argument that he would have been the 4th best scorer on a team that didnt score a lot of goals

    and players have bad years, u cant give up on someone who has had past success just b/c they went thru a bad year, their talent levels are not the same, but zherdev only scored 10 goals one year(his 2nd or 3rd in the league) w/signif even strength/pp time and i think most would agree that it was wise not to write him off as being done

  35. vogs – Maybe you worry more about the Rangers, not because they’re a weaker team, but because you’re emotionally tied up with them. Each of their faults is taken personally.

    If Pittsburgh loses, good. If Philly & Washington can’t win in regulation, who cares?

    But if that’s the Rangers, then there’s a problem.

    Each of those 3 teams, PIT, PHI, & WASH have their own weaknesses, but you don’t stress THEIR weaknesses, just the Rangers.

    I’m not trying to insult you, don’t take it that way. But their weaknesses affect YOU, where Philly’s hurt D doesn’t.

  36. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Beer me: “I’ve been keeping my peace on this too long. I have to get it out. I wish it weren’t me saying it, cause I thought it was B.S. all along. I wish it were Trautwig or someone else who LOVES the stat of what the Rangers record was with Avery in the lineup.

    What’s it NOW without him?”

    We get it…you don’t like him. Wah, Wah, Wah!

    Here’s something about science/research. When you do an experiment you have a control which should be almost the same thing, minus the experimental item (ie. Avery). You’re proving how inept you are by saying this team is better without Avery than last year with Avery. Why not just compare this year’s team to the 1982 Islanders? They don’t relate, jackass.

  37. I guess it is too much too ask for to try something “outside the box” like Dawes-Gomez-Prucha or Prucha-Gomez-Sjostrom or Naslund-Dubinsky-Zherdev

  38. Croby’s hurt I heard… lower body injury. Must be hard to play every day doing all that diving.

  39. Hey Sam, I got one comment to make I was at the game on Thursday against atlanta, while I was concerned with the lack of shots that the rangers were putting on goal it was the shots themselves that worried me. On all the power plays it always seemed like they wanted a slap shot goal it seemed as though the defense seemed selfish with the puck. On the power play where Zherdev scored the goal I watched as someone was 4 feet to the side of the net with no defender on them and rather than taking it to the net as a simple stuff in they would pass it back out. I was shouting through out the power play to actually take the puck to the net 10 seconds latter boom Zherdev. What are your thoughts on the type of shots the Rangers are taking?

  40. All I know is that my Yashin-bone-smoking former squeeze C. Alt got her lunch eaten in court the other day, so life is good.

  41. maybe renneys juggling line is a good thing? Teams can’t figure us out then, maybe buffalo, but other then that this team is 10-2-1 with juggling lines! IMO, prucha over fritsche. IMO, prucha on first line, Dawes on third with dru and naslund. Ps line #2

  42. Orr- Its gonna take me awhile. Jaromir Jagr is in a high class than shanny and sundin. Which makes me miss Jags cause he was sooooo awesome, but Zherdev makes me happy cause it reminds me of him a tiny bit.

    Stop playing Fritsche he cant score either. Atleast prucha hustles and draws penalties.

  43. Everytime I start I feel that I need to first say we are 10-2-1. And I am not the coach. With that said.
    House…I agree. Pru is better.
    Eric
    I also agree. I feel like we take too many shots up high. We have so much more potential down low. I mean Drury(even with his terrible recent play) in front and Naslund and Gomez down low are better then Rosi and Redden up high. Personally I think we should stop standing still keeping it up high.

  44. btw, why does nobody talk about how selfish and arrogant z was on that tripling penalty. I love him other then that but he really should be benches for that selfish mistake. If something had happened everyone on this blog would have Bren talking about it. Luckily enough he got away with one for the sacrifice of his teammates efforts on the pk.

  45. Hollywood’s got to be careful tonight, one bad check and Orr, Dubi or Mara will knock him as far as Toronto..!! He was lucky that Rupp only got a few good shots on him the other night, but to be fair that was for a perfectly good hit on Parise – if Hollywood goes over the line this time it could spell trouble for him…

  46. WHAT THE HECK

    Yeah it was a bad play, and a selfish one. But its part of growing up, he had a hell of a game, and was the best on the ice. He was fantastic offensively, and defensively. He took a bad penalty, but once he came out of the box, he made Schneider take a bad penalty, which took two minutes off the clock. He screwed up, but he owned up.

    As for the game tonight, hopefully Vally comes up huge again. We need to win these games, against these crappy teams. Keep the streak alive !!!

    Lol, i still cant believe that, all of last season i think we only had one four game winning streak, but this season we have a five game winning streak, and a four game winning streak. Its crazy how this team is, i mean i had confidence in them, but who knew they would start off like this. 10-2-1 for the month of October, i mean, wow. That’s all you can say. Hopefully they keep it going.

  47. SAM has anyone asked Renney lately what his feelings are about Prucha, and why he hasn’t done what he claimed in preseason. Why does he refuse to put him on the 14.7% PP, where he had a history of scoring? And why he keeps scratching him with guys like Dawes, Sjostom, Callihan, Voros, etc not playing better than he has when in the lineup? Is there a problem or a trade in the works? It’s not just that he thinks of Prucha vs the other players. There’s more to this situation than what te anti-Pruchas claim.

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