From the Garden: Trying to get untracked (Updated)

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So if certain Rangers are in need of a seat, or at least some time off the power play, why doesn’t Tom Renney switch things up?

“You need to show confidence in people, show faith in people,” Renney said. “There’s a time when you can’t do that anymore and you need to draw a different kind of line with ultimatums and consequences. We’re not there yet, although many have suggested we are. This is what has worked for me in the past and it works for me now.”

Translation: for every argument that says Michal Rozsival shouldn’t be anywhere near the point on the Rangers’ man advantage tonight after Tuesday night’s debacle, there is the case to be made that Rozsival needs his coach’s backing now more than ever.

It’s a fine line, and Renney has toed it for coming up on four seasons now. Not all of his investments in players have paid off, from Marcel Hossa to Ryan Hollweg to Marek Malik (more on him in a bit). But there have also been times when the coach rode a player  through a difficult stretch, and that player emerged from the other end of it in better shape than ever.

And let’s not think this treatment is being reserved for Michal Rozsival. What about the slow starts by Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes, or Wade Redden? In another context, with another coach, all of those players could see their ice time limited in hopes of getting a message across. For better or worse, (at least when it comes to Drury and Redden; Dawes could be another story), Renney will stick with them.

Only later will we know if it’s an investment that will pay off.

Some notes:

<li>Mike Smith gets another start for Tampa Bay after losing in a shootout last night to New Jersey. If you watched that game, you would think the Rangers will look to shoot high.

<li>Marek Malik made his appearance in the hallway outside the Tampa Bay locker room, looking as, well, tall as ever. Renney conceded tonight what everyone else has known for years — that Malik was misunderstood in his time in New York and after a while, was probably better off playing for another team. The reality is, and I know many people will disagree with me, Malik is a serviceable puck-moving NHL defenseman. He wouldn’t be my first choice in a lineup, but given what the Rangers had at their disposal the previous few years, his ice time was justified,

“I think to a player we would love to have Harry back here,” Renney said. “In fairness to him and how (outside factors) reach people’s performance, it might have been the best thing that happened.”

Updated, 6:57 p.m.: I can now report, in a bit of an upset, there will be no video tribute to Malik. How quickly they forget…

Updated, 7 p.m.: But Malik does get a start. I love it!

Updated, 7:24 p.m.: Don’t think the Rangers are the only team desperate for a win. By way of Lightning beat writer Damian Cristodero, GM Brian Lawton has “officially put his players on notice after last night’s loss.”:http://blogs.tampabay.com/lightning/2008/11/gm-puts-the-tea.html

In a related story, Brian Lawton was my counselor at Providence College Hockey Camp when I was 10 years old. If I listened to him, I suspect Marek Malik will, too.

Updated, 8:30 p.m.: Impressive goals by Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan. Far less impressive was Wade Redden’s change in the second period, which left the Rangers outnumbered in the defensive zone, and led to Martin St. Louis’ goal.

By the way, Malik got an assist on that goal, and then just took a penalty. That guy is everywhere.

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63 Comments

  1. Sam:

    Totally agree with your assessment of Malik … would not have made the team this year but last year was better than Strudwick and Backman

  2. Tony – while I among all the bloggers on this site would love to congratulate you for being first to post, we regret to inform that all important prize for posting first can not be shipped beyond the tri-state area. Unfortunately, the envy and coolness factor we now view you in – normally regulated for an older brother while in the ages of between 7-12 will have to do.

  3. Definitely Sam. Malik wasn’t THAT bad. He had some horrible moments like the giveaway in game 2 vs. Buffalo and the shots that went off of him, but he was amazing against Atlanta in the playoffs when he looked like bobby Orr, was a steady presence in 05-06, and THE MOVE was one of the most entertaining and goofy moments in Rangers history.

    Marek Malik truly entertained me for 3 years; I laughed, cried and hurled with him. To honor him I’m gonna get a Great Dane and raise it from a puppy to an adult and name him Malik and get a #8 blue sweater made for him (those dogs get pretty tall and goofy looking).

  4. Are Great Danes those dogs who are really big but don’t use it to intimidate other smaller dogs?

  5. MikeA, couldn’t have said it better myself. THE MOVE is now referred to as the “Malik” by NYR fans and haters alike. That really was something to behold

  6. Time to reign in the negativity, grab a cold one, and watch the boys skate. Let’s go Rangers. Get it back on track tonight!

  7. Malone won that fight. Tampa had started to take some control imo Voros has been the best forward. I like Sjostrom but Geez can he get some hands? The guy is a bit of a hands of stone.

  8. Refs are allowing a lot of interference away from the puck. I hope they don’t start calling nitpicky calls later in the game.

  9. woooooo. PP goal. finally. notice it was the 2nd unit. but also notice that the 1st unit just dumped the puck in and treated it like it was 5 on 5.

    nice play by mara, then another nice play by Rozy to take the hit, the Z did what he does best and Cally with a nice finish. More of that and the PP will be fine. looks like the players finally listened though.

  10. The Rangers need to keep their foot on the gas. They’re playing pretty well, but they need to play harder. Never let up, no mercy

  11. Lol, it figures right when Joe Mich is telling his story aboot how Rozi stayed after practice to work, he does another stupid play like the last game, and chipped in and caused a 2 on 1. Real nice.

    Overall it was a good period. Great feed by Nicky Z to Cally. Good stuff.

    Renney is so fuggin weird. He separates Wade, and Rozi, then he puts them back together. Why ? They don’t work well together. We need to have a PP unit that will set up Wade on the point, and work down low if its not there. Gotta split them up, i like how Danny was with him, but of course that unit couldn’t do shit.

    Glad they scored though, hopefully they get the PP shit together A-Sap. Oh yeah, and hopefully they have 40 mins left in them.

  12. GRAVES

    Im not a homer when it comes to fights, but i thought Voros won that, or at least it was a draw. He landed some clear shots to Malones face, Malone might have controlled him at the end, but he wasn’t landing clear shots.

    Nice fight though. I want Gratton to grow a pair, and fight Orr, but that wont happen.

    Does anyone else get annoyed when Renney puts the 4th line out with 15 secs left on the PP ?? Renney is willing to put Betts, and Orr on the PP with short time left, but no Prucha ? Strange in my opinion.

  13. Jonny it was one good pp it’s far too early to say they figured it out. It is not like they haven’t scored on the pp this year.

  14. graves i know, i was just pointing it out. overall their PP has looked better today, but the lightning don’t pressure much. plus its only one game. I wanna see it consistently.

    oh and who else though Drury was gonna take a slapshot on that breakaway. thank god.

  15. I thought Drury was going to take the slapshot. Thankfully Smith gave Drury a gift. I love when Sam says “what a move,” but really Smith just dove way too early.

    Bad line change. God

    Did they really go to commercial with 40 seconds left in the period?

  16. Yeah Smith overcommited in the shootout yesterday too vs the Devs. He also gave up a horrible goal on a Clarkson shot near the side boards. Just terrible.

  17. Nobody ever smashes St. Louis down, he’s always dancing around. Maybe he is too slick and shifty, but I wish somebody would line him up good.

  18. I am about done with Tom Renney. I cannot watch this team play it’s pussified, afraid to hit, play not-to-lose hockey anymore.

    It is pathetic!

    If it weren’t for The King this team would be lost.

    Meanwhile, Zherdev is getting beat on by three Bolts and Redden goes for a line change, what a jerk. It’s one month and I already can’t stand wussy boy Redden.

  19. Please tell me this is wrong…

    NHL.com says Orr played 8:40, and Nicky Z only played over 6 mins. Is that for the first period ?

    Either way its dumb. Renney is pissing me off, he’s playing the 4th line way to much. Time to let them sit it out, don’t play them as much for fugg’s sake.

    Hopefully they keep it going for another 20 mins.

  20. I’ve been critical of Drury, but that was a nice finish!

    It’s about time the Rangers convert some PPs.

    Keep it up. Dont sit back!

  21. I like to think the offense is, in a gently subersive manner (of course), doing things a little more their way this game and shoving a little bit of Renney’s system aside. If it carries them through the game, then somebody better damned well remember what it was for next game.
    This game is not a stinking rotting corpse like some of the more recent ones.

  22. pp looks good the question is whether it’s because the Bolts pk and d sucks or because the Rangers might have figured something out.

  23. The forwards are moving and they are forechecking like they did earlier in the season. They aren’t scared of over-committing. That’s why I get pissed when I see them enter the zone, start thinking too conservatively and cover their asses and retreat. Please please don’t play hockey like the Wild.

    The Lightning are pretty scary with their talent at times.

  24. Renney better give Dawes and Prucha PP time now! So they can get going! I dont understand Renney sometimes.

  25. nice to see 3 nice goals out of drury. and 2 beauties from cally and staal.

    so what did we learn from this game?

    they need to skate hard without the puck, get open and take shots with the goalie moving/screened. it obviously works.

  26. I laugh when people think Drury magically appeared for no good reason. He couldn’t really appear until the coaches got their heads out of their asses and took the clamps off. Screw Renney’s scientific system when it causes high priced employees to doubt themselves. Let the horses run, Renney, let them run.

  27. My daughter is a beast! Nice first game for her to go to. We looked pretty damn good for the most part. Let’s Go Rangers!

  28. Great win in a very entertaining game. The score would suggest that it was a blowout but it was far from that. It got scary when the Lightning had cut the lead to a 3-2 game with St Louis and Lecavlier flying. The Rangers got a clutch goal by Staal due to great plays in the corner by Zherdev and Voros(along with Voros getting in Smith”s grill. The Lightning seemingly took leap of their senses after the Rangers took a 3-2(lead by their goalie and grizzled vets) Voros had Sean Avery type night. He was throwing the body, agitating and throwing the opposing goalie off his game. I though he and Zherdev were as good as it gets. Smith dropping the gloves and throwing punches was hysterical. Lundqvist was a huge reason for the win as usual. He made several remarkable saves on Tampas top players. Great to see the pp show up. They even got a shortie(mostly thanks to Smith) They won special teams game (for once)Drury had easily the best game of the year nice to see him pull the trigger. Rozsival had a rough start but he picked it up and was even effective on the pp. The Rangers got pretty rough games from Gomez(outside of his nice rush on the first pp goal)as well as Redden and Girardi(turnovers and penalties were the story of his night) but it didn’t matter. Dubi also was very quiet. Good job by the 4th line setting a tempo too.

  29. Ruh-oh Ovie and Semin had a monster 3rd period leading to a Caps comeback against Carolina. Once Ovie gets hot he’s unstoppable. Plus the Caps pk actually doesn’t back end like crazy on the pk. Actually the have a top pk but their goaltending is subpar.

  30. What happened tonight was that the offense played like they weren’t stuck in some manufactured system. Who gives a shit if they make a mistake, who cares. Detroit makes mistakes too. Just play like you can. Myself, I wouldn’t consider it far-fetched that Sather (the hand of God) reached down from the clouds (of cigar smoke) laid his hand on Renney’s shoulder and said “fix it you a-hole”

  31. Dawes and Prucha had good games imo. They drew numerous pps and backchecked hard. I hope their offense gets in gear.

  32. I don’t think any systems changed. Renney has and always will be a defense first coach. They looked like an offensive juggernaut partly because Tampa’s defense and coaching staff is bush league level.

  33. lol retard Renney get Betts pp time and none to Prucha and Dawes. That retard doesn’t allow their confidence to get up. Fire that moron.

  34. Nope, the forwards came in like a unit tonight and they meant to score. I’m not saying throw out Renney’s defensive system (it is good), but the offense acted much more naturally tonight and played to their capability. They didn’t do stupid things like throw the puck into the corner after spending all that effort getting there. That drove me nuts the last couple of games. Glad something changed.

  35. I laugh when people think Drury magically appeared for no good reason. He couldn’t really appear until the coaches got their heads out of their asses and took the clamps off. Screw Renney’s scientific system when it causes high priced employees to doubt themselves. Let the horses run, Renney, let them run.

    ———————-

    I’m sorry, that’s based on what information exactly? I could understand if you’d said with a true offense first guy like Zherdev, but Drury? Wake up. The guy was getting scoring chance after scoring chance and simply not putting them in. It happens. It’s called a slump.
    Love it when Rangers fans don’t have an explanation for something bad happening, so they instantly go to a favorite catch-all word – Renney.

  36. graves – nice post at 9:57

    nasty – who had a better time your daughter or you watching her. did she stay up all game and did she get a puck

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