New day, new opportunity


Every day is a new day in the life of a hockey team. It’s why yesterday, less than 24 hours after being humiliated in Ottawa, the Rangers were still in a playful mood — none louder than Scott Gomez, who sat at his stall in the locker room and ribbed everyone from Henrik Lundqvist about his romantic life to me about my big ears.

If you’re looking for signs of despondence from a team that has lost two straight and is beginning to come back to the pack, I’d say they’re not there yet. But give it some time. As much as Tom Renney made the case yesterday that the problems his team faces begins and ends with them, it would be that much more humbling to lay eggs against opponents that sit squarely in the league’s bottom tier (which is how you’d describe the Rangers next three opponents).

How much would a possible return of Scott Gomez help? Some, for sure. Like I said earlier, Gomez isn’t a savior. But for a team that got stood up time and again in the neutral zone on Saturday, Gomez is the player who can consistently deliver the puck deep. What the Rangers do with it from there is another story. But should the center return — we should know for sure in a couple of hours — it could be a spark a listless team needs.

But a spark only goes so far. What do the Rangers do about their two struggling defensemen saddled with exorbitant contracts? What do they do with an inactive and now irrelevant Petr Prucha? At what point does Aaron Voros complete the loop from fourth-liner to leading scorer back to fourth-liner (if Renney says he’s worried about Fred Sjostrom playing up a line and out of his depth, why doesn’t the same logic apply to a player who had seven career NHL goals prior to this season?)?

So many questions. To be sure, the season won’t turn on three games in late November. But it could offer an important window into what this team is all about.

More from the skate later…

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  1. wd40 November 23rd, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    When is the Renny chorus line of Brandon & Dude& Beer Me and the others you know who you are gonna show their faces? Buncha pussies f you ask me, LOL.

    Its funny wd I only see you post when there are bad games and we loose. Do you ever have anything good to say?
    I posted all weekend, I don’t know why, it was the typical “sky is falling crowd” and hate Renney, Drury you know the same shit as usual.
    Alot happened though, according to Salty I lost what little posting credibility and respect I had…he is the hockey guru so he’s must be right. And according to Salty no one here likes me anymore. whaaaaa

  2. I have 2 tickets for tonight Sec 417 Row B. Will take face value $68 for tickets.

    Let me know if anyone is interested.

  3. Winning tonight is beyond crucial. I really hope they show up with some fire and pull this one out. Against a team like Phoenix, a 1-0 or 2-1 win isn’t going to make much of a statement, either. This needs to be a blowout. The Rangers can’t continue to struggle against garbage teams and still be a threat to go deep in the post-season.

    Let’s go Rangers.

  4. Gomez is the only one who can get the puck deep? Sorry, not true. Anyone can play dump and chase and until this team starts doing that they’ll be nowhere.

  5. Roszival and Redden aside, this teams real problem is that Ryan Callahan and Aaron Voros are top 6 wingers. Callahan belongs on the 3rd line and Voros belongs on the 4th.

    If Gomez plays tonight Renney needs to try him with Zherdev. Zherdev has the talent to carry this team and it only makes sense to play with your best playmaker.

  6. Rob L – Right on. I’ve been saying since July that this team was lacking in the forward department and it still holds true. We need one more guy to complete a true Top 6: Gomez, Drury, Naslund, Zherdev, Dubinsky and whoever. That moves Callahan to the 3rd line and Voros to the 4th where he belongs (I could make a case for Voros belonging in the press box, too).

  7. BillyDeeWilliams on

    I think this team has had a tough time bringing the puck through the neutral zone, and thus, getting set up in the offensive zone. Like Sam said, I’m not Gomez is the solution to all of the problems, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    He’s been solid bringing the puck end to end, or at least up far enough to dump and actually chase. It’s seems like the past few games they’ve been dumping and forgetting they’ve gotta follow the puck into the zone.

  8. Tuff to read the comments here, are some of you sure your “fans” of the New York Rangers? Again wow. Take a step back and breath, it is a slump and this is not the team that we will have all year.

  9. I just scored tickets to Rangers/ Debbies Dec 27
    and Rangers/ fishsticks Dec 29…sweet
    hopefully they will be winning then…lol oh and Rozi will be traded, and Redden will be sent to hartford, and Drury will go back to Buffalo, and so will Briere, and Renney will be fired, and Voros will be on the 4th line and Callahan will stop playing so well and be on the 3rd line, and Prucha will be on the first line burying pucks behind Weekes, and Dawes will be in Hardford with Redden and Messier will be back in his prime, with Gretzky, and MacTavish will come back with a helmet, and Leetch will come back as Bobby Orr, and Hossa (the other one) will be a Ranger because the salary cap shoots up to 120 million a season so we can get every star player under the sun and win every game and dominate in every zone and Hank gets a shutout every night and Sather chokes on a Monte Cristo, and
    Islanders sign Dipi to a 30 year $130 million extension…

  10. I’m one of the most significant critics here, and so speaking to the roses and daises, “everything is fine,” readers – my concern is that this isn’t just a losing streak. While it is a streak of losses and the Rangers will pull out of it, there’s a wretched undertone of under-achieving and lackluster play. I hope that DOES NOT continue. I love seeing this team win, but there are signs which point to bad trends. I think Hank knows it and that’s why he bolted from the crease against Vancouver too.

    As to the “problems,” another top-6 forward would be great but this team easily scored 3 against Luongo and they didn’t play that great…they have decent offense.

    This team is so soft defensively and makes the worst decisions in their own zone. If not for Lundqvist, we’d be in the bottom two teams for goals against.

  11. From my perspective, the people posting here with alarm about the degeneration of this team could easily be seen as more devoted fans of the Rangers than those who continue to have no problem with the status quo.

  12. Ford,
    NO I just realize that I don’t have much say in what goes on.
    See the funny thing is we/you can complain all we want but we can’t change a damn thing…unless you like Notorious B.O.B. are going to “call radio stations, sign petitions, and chant “fire Renney” at games and hold up signs…” HAHA! the NHL is not a Democracy!

  13. I hope the Rangers get up for this game tonight…I hope they take the “low-teir” Phoenix coyotes much more seriously than they took the Senators who were in a 6-game winless streak!!!

  14. I havent been around here long, and this would be my first time posting. I could go into a lot of detail, but I dont have time right now due to the fact that I should get back to work.

    Anyways… this is something that Ive been saying to all friends and family and other acquaintances when we talk about hockey and/or the rangers… and it probably holds true for the majority of the other fans who are as frustrated as I am.

    “I have no problem watching them lose when they play their hearts out… Its when they get severely outworked/outplayed that I get upset.”

    Its possibly even MORE disconcerting when they dont work as hard as the other team and they still win, because all this does is ingrain in their minds ‘hey… we can win and not even try. so why exert ourselves?’. Now, this may or may not be what goes on in their minds… but thats what I see when I watch them play game after game after game of lackluster hockey.

    If this team plays remotely close to how they re capable of playing (and we’ve seen flashes of it this season)… then they will leave the rest of the conference in the dust.

  15. Last year our record against West Coast teams was horrible.

    We only beat the Sharks in Regulation, and got two other points in shootout LOSSES. Very other game we lost.

    SAther has to be working on something. PRucha and Rissmiller cannot continue to eat away at our cap with one sitting in the press box and the other being a million dollar Hartford player.

    IF Sundin signs elsewhere, come the first week of Dec, moves will HAVE to be made one way or the other. And if Rosi and Redden keep sucking like they are, something will HAVE TO be done to our Blue line corps.

    Staal, MAra, Girardi are safe so far in my eyes.
    Kalinen is only on a one year deal, and SEEMS to be getting a little better.

    So if the R & R boys don’t step up and start playing, one HAS to go. Cant spend this much cash on tww D men not doing there jobs and not producing.

    But then again, when has Sather ever listened to me? lol

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