The burden of potential


Never mind what the Rangers can be. That part we all have down pat.

We know they can be a relentless forechecking team that “can get offense from different segments of its lineup”: We know they can be gritty enough to be an unpleasant opponent. We know Michal Rozsival can actually shoot the puck.

What we don’t know, and probably won’t know for some time, is if the Rangers can be that team over any sustained period of time.

What makes hockey so endlessly intriguing to me is how a team can be so good one night, and so disjointed the next. It’s obviously up to players and coaches to ensure a level of consistency. But let’s not forget there is another team out there that is intent on knocking it opponent out of sync. I’m as guilty as anyone else of thinking that the Rangers win and lose games on their own, as if the guys in the other jerseys are just extras who get paid by the hour.

But the reality is the Rangers have been at their best when they’ve been the proactive team — getting pucks deep, creating chances on the forecheck — and at their worst when they’ve become mere spectators. They were guilty of the latter at the start of each of their last two games, but at least have found a way to snap back to life.

If they can find a way to avoid such dips in their intensity, maybe we can stop talking about what they can be and simply talk about what they are.

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The team is off today, and so am I. In between household errands, expenses, and child-rearing, I’m thinking about a rare double session of hockey — first at lunchtime at WSA and then again late tonight. It’s the least I could do after setting a world record for potato chip consumption last night at the Rock.


I’ve already chimed in “once on the naked guy in the ad to the right”: (although he appears to be missing right now). On whole, ads are a good thing, so I’m not in a position to complain. But seriously, I’m about a day away from outright nightmares.


Courtesy of Yahoo’s addictive “Puck Daddy blog”:, here’s a video of some Rangers fans and Devils fans stirring it up last night at Rock. We could hear, but not quite see, the ruckus beneath the press box. All this time I thought it was Patrick Rissmiller objecting to his conditioning assignment in Hartford.

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Lastly, stay tuned on Brendan Shanahan news. Supposedly a signing could come as early as today, with the likely destination the City of Brotherly Love.

More later…

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    True Fans….agree with a lot of your post…I too was wondering why Z wasn’t out there more in those final PP minutes to get the hat. That was weird. Not sure I wholly agree with you on Drury though. His shot was a sneaky one. Yes, Brodeur makes that stop. But I will say, we ride these guys pretty hard when they miss the net or when the shoot it right into the goalie’s stomach. So Drury puts one just inside the post and at an awkward height for the goalie (above the pads, below the natural height of the glove) and we are giving him a hard time? I think that’s a little glass-half-empty. Sometimes hard working guys get lucky.

    Here are a few questions: That 2nd period was our best period of the season I think. What did Renney say after the 1st? Where the F is that effort on other nights? How come we cannot play 60 like that? Can we just play the Devils for 82 games? More questions than answers from the game last night.

    Who else wants to kill Chico Resch? I mean I watched a lot of the game last night with the sound off. When I was listening, during the PP, Salvador’s cross-check looked like it broke Cally’s ribs and Chico says, “I didn’t see much.” Korpi’s goal was his 2nd NHL goal. At the end of the game I turned on the sound and heard “Let’s Go Rangers,” and Chico is whining how awful it is and every Devil fan left the stadium and then like a total dope says, “I would leave too.” That guy is the worst!

    Korpi Dawes Fritsche actually looked like they could play hockey. First, was this line clicking that well or were the Devs really playing that poorly? Sorry Prucha, those 3 playing like they did just doesn’t bode well for you. I like Korpi. He should get a bigger chance.

    Please no one start saying get rid of Gomer just because the team broke out last night. That would just be foolish (both the idea and the person who makes the comment).

    Can someone tell me why Langenbrunner didn’t get a penalty for jumping in when Orr and White had their shoving match? I thought the refs were trying to even things out as the Rangers were outplaying them and earning penalties while the Devs were sucking and being given leeway by the refs. Just one guy’s view.

    How come the Devils pull all this crosschecking, slashing, hacking crap (esp after the whistle) and all of them wear face shields? Does anyone else find that to be bush league?

    A nice win. They dominated despite playing a sloppy 1st period. Let’s see if we can string together a few wins.

  2. Does a conditioning assignment mean he has to go through re-entry waivers if the Rangers want to call him up, or is it some kind of waiver loophole?

  3. Newman…Chico and Daneyko were brutal last night. I think Chico took one too many pucks to the head.

  4. Sam, great line- I’m as guilty as anyone else of thinking that the Rangers win and lose games on their own, as if the guys in the other jerseys are just extras who get paid by the hour.

    Korpi has a playoff goal but last night was his “first” NHL goal.

    Anybody catch Chico drop the F bomb in the final minutes? He tried to say puck but he said, well you know. What about that drunk Daneyko whining about the Salvador cross check and saying it’s the worst officiating he’s ever seen? I’ll agree that it was pretty bad but how about trying to be just a little impartial. The Drury goal was just a normal softie for Weekes. He’s good for 1 a game, at least. Anybody bashing Drury, how about the little poke at the puck to get it to Z for an open netter?

  5. latest video… watch it soon because youtube is trying to take it off, claiming copyright infringement… but the song is form the forties and so they have no case, anything copyrighted before jan 1 1978 is in fair use (as per the copyright office)

    they obviously have a case with some of my other videos (in fact I had to swap songs on one) but not this one…

  6. Dear God, that’s some excessive force from the rent-a-cops. A far cry from the 80 year old men tha patrol my section in the blue seats at MSG.

    Two kids with their arms up the entire time getting thrown around like rag dolls by 10+ security guards who are creating more havoc than stopping it.

    Damn, I really hate whistle blowers — sorry to anyone who works in that line employment.

  7. what really pissed me off is the guy that gets horse-collared by the security guard behind him. he didn’t even see it coming.

  8. Damn Hockey Nigh Live for subjecting me to a Devils broadcast last night.

    It was almost unwatchable with the sound on.

    If you listened to Chico you would have thought the Devils won 6-0.

    Couple points from the broadcast that I bet some of you noticed”

    – Ken Daneyko’s whine session inbetween the second and third.

    – Ken Daneyko saying “when I used to play” 25 times in the span of 5 minutes.

    – Chico saying “this is when you need to get your shots in if you’re the Devils” during a scrum towards the end of the game. What does that even mean? There’s homer calls and then there’s just ignorance.

    – Chico mentioning that Henrik doesn’t have a cup after every single time he made a good save.

    For example:
    “Henrik is one of the best in the game at stopping the puck through traffic… BUT, he needs to win a cup to be in the same category as the guy across the river”

    Ha, how about just calling it how it is.

    I know Joe and even Sam can be a bit “homer” on occassion, but Chico, that little rat bastard, really takes it to a whole new level.

    I hope Ken has a sober d. to drive him home from the games, b/c he’s obviously drunk watching them and we all know he definitely doesn’t need another DWI.

  9. Yeah, that was a little excess force there. All caught on tape. There is no reason why any fan should be thrown around like that. It’s one thing to escort him out, another thing to toss him around and throw him to the ground.

  10. The two times I’ve been to the Prudential center, I’ve sat up high. Both times drunken Devils fans started confrontations with Ranger fans and of course, the Ranger fans got ejected. The two incidents I saw looked just like that video. Sh*tbox.

  11. that 2nd guy that was “escorted” out seemed to be resisting quite a bit. I’m hoping that was Bob.

  12. the hooking call on Rupp was a joke and the hook on Callahan was also questionable. However, the fact that the Rangers ended up shorthanded after the Parise cross-check and after Langenbrunner became the 3rd man in after the first period evens it out a bit.

  13. My friends and I got in a brawl in the hallway after the game and there wasn’t a rent a cop in sight.

  14. Rob L.,

    There are no more “questionable” calls in year 3 of the new rules. If the stick goes up into the midsection or on to the hands, it’s an automatic call. It’s not objective or arbitrary like roughs, boards, charges, etc.

    Do I agree with it? No. But, the new rules are the new rules and we’ve been on the receiving end of those calls more so than the receiving end of the power plays.

    So, I don’t sympathize with the Devils a bit. We were manhandling them and they started running around. That’s what happens when you can’t get out of your own zone… you start hooking and holding.

  15. Hey Sam
    thanks for the video of the drunkards and brawlers……glad to see the NHL likes the “family atmoshphere’ that should ah….”Sell the game in the states!!”

    Ha Ha Ha

  16. All Hail King Henrik,
    I didn’t read similar comments posted here – I thought you were a friend of mine (also a goaltender with hardcore goalie love) who has been saying the same thing since this summer. An email already confirmed you are not one in the same, but it’s interesting that you both adamantly make the same comparison. Zherdev had somehow flown under my radar until this year but I think he’s going to live up to both of your expectations during his career. Personally, he reminds me of another Russian on the east coast…I’m not comparing! but Z’s enthusiasm, eagerness for the puck, tricky plays (when he wants to), and great shot make me think of Ovechkin. I knowww nobody compares to Ovi, and maybe it’s just the way they look alike with their face shields, but still. Of course, Ovi would never come back to force a man off the puck on a breakaway like Z, so you definitely have a point about his ability on both sides of the puck.

  17. Fans that go to games to fight with other fans are pathetic they belong in cages and shouldn’t be allowed to mate. Shanny about to sign huh? No wonder Dr. House isn’t around she’s probably penning her suicide note as we type.

  18. …and i thought the fighting was meant to be on the ice…

    On another thought i read Andrew Gross’ blog earlier and he mentioned the word clobbering re Dubi defending Girardi and now i have these constant images of Brandon Dubinsky charging across the ice shouting “Its Clobberin’ time..!!!”. Can we get him a Fantastic 4 t-shirt for Christmas? I presume you can mail it to MSG FAO Brandon Dubsinsky?

  19. I’d rather go for Sundin. Of ALL the oldest UFAs (as of this past July 1) Rolston, Holik, Shanny, etc.. Sundin has the most gas in the tank.

    The season is 1/4 over, so wouldn’t the cap hit be Sundin’s salary – (Sundin’s salary * .25)?

  20. How about Danny Girardi? 2nd on the team in scoring, and first in the assist column… great to see.

  21. Pavel, yes thats right we would only get hit for 0.75 * salary (eg if we paid him $5m, we would only get hit with a $3.75m cap hit).
    According to sources he is not expected to be ready to play until after Christmas so the cap hit would be even less, maybe even as low as 50%. HOWEVER, we still have no cap room, if you take Rissmiller off we only have approx $2m left, we would need to lose Prucha’s $1.6m and possibly another salary to make Sundin a reasonable offer ($5m) around Christmas time, and if its a 2 yr offer we would be saddled with the full cap hit in yr 2.

  22. leatherneckinlv on

    Nice win last night..I told youz…Drury would be fine and stand firm on Dawes and Prucha..they wont…Fritsche deserves a 5 game look to see what he can do after this game against the Devils…I think he will be fine…we still need a power forward and a hard hitting D-man…as much as I have been on Kalinins case..he was solid the last 2 games..and Redden was horrible in his zone last night…if Redden was a 2nd year player..I would say he was playing great..however he is not..he is a veteran player and needs to step up as a leader…case in point is Betts got the “A” deservedly so in the absance of Gomez

  23. leatherneckinlv
    November 13th, 2008 at 11:53 am
    Nice win last night..I told youz…Drury would be fine and stand firm on Dawes and Prucha..they wont…Fritsche deserves a 5 game look to see what he can do after this game against the Devils…I think he will be fine…we still need a power forward and a hard hitting D-man…as much as I have been on Kalinins case..he was solid the last 2 games..and Redden was horrible in his zone last night…if Redden was a 2nd year player..I would say he was playing great..however he is not..he is a veteran player and needs to step up as a leader…case in point is Betts got the “A” deservedly so in the absance of Gomez
    Well when Gomez comes back either Fritsche, Dawes or Korpedo will sit(likely Fritsche) so unless Gomez is out longer than we think Fritsche won’t get the 5 straight games to look at him.

  24. The amount of votes every Montreal Canadian has in the all-star ballot is ridiculous! It will be impossible to get any other player even CLOSE to those guys. Carey Price is a ways ahead of Henrik. I think Quebec gave everyone a week off from work to strictly vote all day. Freakin canadians!

  25. well gomez should miss at least 1 more game in my opinion. allow him to really get better and allow some of guys like dawes and fritsche to play. in post game interviews fritsche shows his emotions (pissed) about sitting so much.

    also think voros could sit occassionally as getting beat up in front of the net 82 games will be very tough.

  26. matty – vote is only for starters and each team has to get a representative even the fishsticks. I’m guessing only Henrik will represent the Rangers. not sure i like him being there since Ruchter and Dp among others got hurt in all stars skill competition

  27. mean Richter. hit submit too quick

    true fans – many Ranger fans preach we need a guy in front of the net. that is exactly what Drury did on the play he got the puck to Z. and also where he was when he 1 handed the puck in the other night. fair and balanced view try it you might like it.

  28. LI Joe
    good point on Voros
    I really like him and its clear that his forte ( and only real value to the team) is being that guy in front…he’s only taken like 16 shots all year and that includes those swats from the crease

    Agreed on sitting Gomer too

    C’mon man! lets find something to argue about…

    Expansion/contraction ( see attendence at NJ, LI, FLA, Carolina???)

  29. “Expansion/contraction ( see attendence at NJ, LI, FLA, Carolina???)”

    and LA while we’re at it; Avery just played there the other night…13,000 total, they sit 18,000 plus

  30. I was just about to post the same thing about the All-star ballot!!! It is literally team Montreal Canadians for the East with over 100,000 votes compared to ~40,000 for other players (actually the next highest for D is 26,000). WTF!!! Vote Vote Vote! I’d hate to cheer for the west.

  31. They should have a single game knock-out international tournamemnt to replace idiotic all-star game and more idiotic rookie game and figure skating…I mean skills competition

    Have Russia play Czechs, then Swedes play Fins on Monday night, the winners play USA and Canada on Wednesday, the final on Saturday night

    Six all-star teams to vote on and…..drumroll…..

    We can cheer AGAINST Rozival and any other foreign Ranger thats pissing us off at the moment!!

  32. kaspar – really would like to see contraction (although that might mean the economy is more f*cked than we think). gladly see the fishsticks go. at least for now Bettman has taken expansion off the table.

  33. I say assuming Prucha, Rissmiller, etc are cleared from the cap around Christmas, throw Sundin the BIGGEST one-year deal possible.

  34. I think the Rangers should trade Prucha to Buffalo for Afinogenov. Afinogenov and Prucha are both underachieving and need a change of scenery. I think Afinogenov has more upside as a player. Have you ever seen that guy deke? Amazing! Afinogenov’s salary may be 1-1.5 million more than Prucha’s, but I believe the Rangers have the cap space to pull this off. I think it would be a great move for both teams. Not to mention- another Russian player to go along with Zherdev and Kalinin, AND Drury and Kalinin know him from their Buffalo days…

    What do you think?


  35. LI Joe
    That guy Somers used to piss me off a lot!! I saw him ordering breakfast one day in Flushing; doing that stupid “sing-song” way of talking “now I’ll have an Ommmmmmlette and some stay-at-home-defensemen fries and Oh myyyyyyyy, look out its a sour dough slice of tooooooooooast”
    I threw a blueberry muffin at him and swore if he ever called me anything ever again I’d hunt him down and kiss his face

    then he got sick so I let it go….

    I’m bigger than all that ya know

  36. Steve..I think you need to smoke less weed….Buff would take Prucha in exchange for Afinogenov. Pass the grass pal.

  37. Also, I read this somewhere today…I have tried to cut and paste it 2x but for some reason it has not gone through. Forgive me if it repeats: People saying that Brian Burke and Sather just went on a hunting trip together. Thoughts around that Burke could replace Sather. FYI.

  38. What I meant is this, do you think Buff would give up Afino for Prucha straight up? Never in a million years.

  39. Brian Burke is a pug-faced braggart, overrated as hell (how smart do you have to be to sign Neidemeyer who wanted to play in Calif…or to take Pronger from Lowe- handed to him on a silver platter..)

    All the rest Giguere,Perry, Getzlaf, Penner, Mcdonald were Bryan Murray pix or from prior to him even….

    ask the folks in Vancouver what condition he left that team in??

    About the only thing he did that was brilliant was the Federov unloading on Columbus…but Slats already did that with The Backman unloading for Nicky Z!!

  40. TORONTO SUN/ESPN: reported on the possible contenders for Burke. In addition to the Maple Leafs and Bruins, the NY Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators were also listed.

    Wouldn’t get your hopes up though Sather-haters

  41. Sather’s apathetic-uppity-arrogant attitude would appear like Mr. Rogers compared to that A@#$*le from Duckland

  42. Just finished watching the game… ON MUTE… thank G*D for DVR! Gives me the power to FF through Ken Dumb-neko comments…good game…loved the effort…

    That YouTube video is priceless… was that bob? LOL

  43. “that 2nd guy that was “escorted” out seemed to be resisting quite a bit. I’m hoping that was Bob”

    Lol, bob was the fat guy in the crowd.

    I hope Shanny just gets this over with today. Just sign somewhere already, i just want this to end. Same for Mats, make up your god damn minds already.

    Thank god i didn’t hear the Devil broadcast from last night, sounds brutal. Chico is the biggest homer in the world, he’s a classless piece of shit who needs a slap shot to the head.

    Anyone love the faces Sutter makes when he knows his teams aboot to lose. I wish i had a poster of that.

  44. NEWMAN

    Id think they’d consider, the way Max gets injured, maybe they think they might steal one from Slats. But i think he still has some talent, so they’d probably want something else.

    I wouldn’t want Max though, that guy is a give away machine.

  45. Hey Orr!!
    I think Brent Sutter msut come from the Bat side of his family…If I saw him sleep while hanging from ceiling it would not suprise me…

  46. just watched the video again… Those security guards seemed to get pretty aggressive. I was waiting for one of those Rangers fans to take a tumble down those steps, which I’m sure would have resulted in a huge lawsuit. You never see anyone get thrown out of the Garden like that.

  47. After watching the Youtube video of the Rangers Fans getting thrown out of the Prudential center just proves my point, the New Jersey fans are rejects & pansies and they need the help from the Prudential Goon Squad to throw out Rangers Fans even when they have done nothing wrong.
    Its funny how everyone says oh they beat a defenseless team last night, thats total B-S, I recalled Gomez was scratched from last night.
    Chico & Ken are just out right selfish former devil idiots & don’t give credit when credit is due unlike Sam & Joe who does.

  48. Ranger fans are always treated like shit by Prudential Center staff. When entering the guys taking the tickets told every ticket to behave and I wanted to get my brother a Devils playoff towel since hes a Devils fan and I was like my brother is a die hard fan I wont do anything with it and he finally gave it to me.

  49. Laurel Babcock on

    Took me long enough to warm up to Shanny when he came from across the river, but I did. Now, if he’s heading to Philly, I’m gonna have to resort to my old ways when it comes to him.

  50. damn that really looks like the rent a cop in the ghetto got out of hand. what was up w. the guy getting collared from behind? The devils should really look into this, considering what a tough time they are having filling that arena. with their team tanking, im guessing they’re in for a lot of weeknights w. 12,000 people there.

  51. Weekes in net, no Holik, no Rolston and no Martin but it takes huge saves by The King to even keep the Rangers in the game… and it’s “business as usual” in Rangerland.

    I’ll admit this, there are enough bad teams in the NHL to make the Rangers look like one of the better ones. Or should I say, make Renney look like a good coach.

    nutgirl – right on about Zherdev, looks better each game (knock on wood), hope he gets 30 for himself.

    Wow, the Rangers plaed well without Gomez in the lineup.

  52. Somebody should forward the video to the Rock’s front office. That type of force is assault considering the fans did not attack the security guards. I just hope they don’t try to pull that crap with me next time I am at the Rock because I won’t go down that easily.

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