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 playerÂ 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.
<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.