Blair Betts has been promoted and he doesn’t even know it


One of the habits we all fall into when talking about the Rangers is in talking about their lines in a particular order. Everyone does it, myself included. But I’m not sure we should. Or if we do, I’m not sure we’re always right.

I think we can all agree that the team as its currently constructed has a top two lines, and a bottom two. Beyond that, though, it’s all open for debate.

For instance, is the Rangers’ first line the one that has Scott Gomez at center between Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan? Or is it the one with Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev on either side of Brandon Dubinsky?

You’d say it’s the Gomez line based on Drury and Gomez’s prominent roles, their contracts, and their collective experience. You’d say it’s the other line since Zherdev, Naslund, Dubinsky are currently the team’s top three scorers.

It gets even more complicated with the other two lines. As much as the line of Blair Betts, Colton Orr, and Fred Sjostrom has been used as a classic fourth-line, shutdown unit in the past, that line still got far more ice time on Monday than the unit of Lauri Korpikoski, Aaron Voros, and Dan Fritsche (roughly five minutes more). You’d think that the Korpikoski line would be the one to contribute more offense, but on Monday at least it was Betts who came up with the big first period goal.

Does any of this matter? Probably not, especially this season. One of the Rangers advantages and weaknesses all at once is the relative balance in their lineup. There is no superstar like Jaromir Jagr, who even in a down season last year was still the team’s top-line wing. But there are a lot of interchangeable parts that can be moved around with greater ease.

“Numbers are irrelevant. They really are,” Tom Renney said when I asked him which was the third line and which was the fourth. “They didn’t call Bettsy’s line the number one line in Ottawa when we started them. Everyone contributes.”


Meanwhile, a sidebar to this is how Renney uses that Betts line, whatever you want to call it. One thing that infuriates perplexes some observers is how the coach will consistently use that line in the first and second period even when the Rangers are down a goal or two (Renney has at least shortened his bench in the third period when the Rangers are behind. He’ll mix in Sjostrom or Betts, but not Orr).

While it’s true that the Rangers’ ability to roll four lines can be at an advantage in wearing teams down over 60 minutes, it does seem like a wasted opportunity to generate needed offense when Renney uses the likes of Orr and Betts as much as he does.

And that is at least one reason the team’s recent stretch of falling behind in games has been so costly. When you fall behind in games you’re forced to press by either a) playing guys who should be on the bench; or b) relying heavily on guys who need more rest.

By taking a lead or at least staying even, you can justify playing all four lines as a means of maintaining a consistent energy.


The blog is not in Florida — don’t feel too bad, I’ll take Thanksgiving at home with the family over 80 degrees and sunny — but we’ll obviously be monitoring the events tonight and Friday, and we’ll chime in with news when we have it.

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  1. I say we confuse EVERYBODY and make Betts the 1st line, and give them like 25 minutes of ice time in Florida.

  2. Sam ..You obviously get it. You have explained to the point why the Rangers cannot be a 4 round playoff team as long as the coaching staff continues to rely too heavily on non offensive minded players to try and keep the game close. It seems like it is a drug for the coaches and they cannot break the habit. You can blame the pure offensive players only so much. Then you can shift to the soft defense next. But at the end of the day,a phrase Tom Renney loves to use , if your non offensive players log too much ice time and are utilized in a way that makes it twice as hard on the pure offensive players to get it done because of a lack of shifts. Couple that with the style of play used when the non offensive players are on the ice, and in general the style of play that requires the forwards to dump and change too too often, and the scoring opportunities disappear game after game.

  3. I can watch Sjostrom all day. And Betts has more offense in him than he’s given credit for. Orr? There’s a mighty nice list of people who would take that spot. How about Rismiller there?

  4. Renney: “Numbers are irrelevant. They really are,”

    Well, statements like that really are the crux of the problem. This coach is out of his depth. This nonsensical gibberish is no different than the crap he is using to *motivate* the team in the dressing room and behind the bench. Let’s not mistake winning a few games against some of the worst teams in the NHL, which is what is going to happen this week, as a validation of Renney’s coaching ability. This team doesn’t have elite talent, but Renney is good at making them equal less than the sum of their parts. Betts as a third line center? On a team that can’t make it to 3 goals/game? Seriously?

  5. Blue Face: And Betts has more offense in him than he’s given credit for.

    Based on what? Wishful thinking? We are talking about an NHL center who has managed a total of 14 assists in 269 games as a Ranger. That is certainly a large enough sample size that the guy has hands of stone. He could have twice as much offense in him and he’d still suck. Hell, we should have held on to Dominic Moore, who is just as effective defensively and has more assists (15) in his last 59 games than Betts has in his entire NY Ranger history – almost 5 times as many games.

  6. And Rissmiller? Oh please. Sharks couldn’t wait to let him walk. And judging by the fact that he has twice made it through waivers now, no other GM in the league thinks he’s worth the money we gave him. And the next time he drops the gloves will be his first. Yeah, he’ll be an effective deterrent to having people take runs at our players…

  7. Sam,

    I’m here in FL and will be in attendance tonight, so let me know if you need anything (you don’t even need to pay me!).

    As far as 80 degrees…

    Not gonna happen… about 55 right now (10:45 am) and will only hit 60-ish as a high.

    Tonight in the low 40’s so don’t feel too bad about missing this beautiful FL weather. (Truth be told I miss the cold so it’s nice for me!!!)

    Let’s Go RANGERS!!!

  8. I just don’t understand the constant Renney-bashing. He is not the GM and isn’t the architect of this team. He only has six NHL-quality defensemen and has already tried basically every viable pairing. He wasn’t the one who went out and constructed a team with too many “third-line” players in the off-season. He has tried almost every possible combination of his top six forwards. To expect loads of offense is wishful thinking when the roster is filled with the likes of Dawes, Prucha, Voros, Rismiller, Fritsche, Kopikoski, Betts, Orr, Sjostrom. And, his top six forwards have also been far from producers so far: Naslund has been a disappointment and Callahan is barely a top six forward.

  9. Pemoco,

    Dominic Moore is soft, unathletic and has a poor hockey IQ. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with the puck.
    I don’t know how many career goals he has, but I imagine 90% of them are empty-netters. He’s a highly mediocre 4th line player.

    The only thing Moore has is speed, which he almost NEVER uses to his ability.

    He can’t take faceoffs, is smaller than betts and is half as effective defensively, and that’s being generous.

    There’s a reason he’s been on 3 teams in the last 4 years and Betts has been on one.

    Blair Betts is NOT getting paid to score goals. Show me a player in the league that’s better at doing the intangibles for the price we pay him.

    IMO, he should be wearing a letter. He’s one of our most valuable assets and we should NEVER trade him unless we’re getting some stud in return.

    You can’t win Cups without guys like Betts.

  10. Actually, make that 4 teams in as many years.

    Maple Leafs

    Yeah, there’s a guy that EVERYONE wants to hold on to.

  11. BillyDeeWilliams on

    “This nonsensical gibberish is no different than the crap he is using to motivate the team in the dressing room and behind the bench.”

    -I wish I had the same access to the dressing room that you do.

  12. Brandon-

    Trust me, I’m not losing sleep over not having Dominic Moore. I mentioned him only to show how replacable a guy like Betts is, and how the obsession with needing to have Betts in the lineup is unfounded. Moore’s numbers compare quite favorably to those of Betts: in the last two seasons Moore is 8-15-23 in 59 games while Betts is 5-7-12 in 107 games (including 8 playoff games), Moore has a better FO% this season (55.2% to 48.5%), etc. So if Moore is such utter dogmeat, what does that make Betts?

    And, since his name isn’t on the Stanley Cup, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that you can’t win it with him. Certainly not as a third line center.

  13. Billy Dee: Regardless of whether you like or dislike Renney: Do you think that his personality (how he talks) is markedly different when talking to reporters than it is when his talking to the players?

  14. I got the best of both SAM …The NYR schedule finally got it right this yr,
    since I am down here in FLa visiting my parents for Thanksgiving and now I can also watch the game on TV..but like the other poster said kinda cold down here…

  15. yeah people NEVER watch what they say to the media… people NEVER get things taken out of context or spun by the media. I’m sure they talk to the media just like they do to the players after a horrible effort, behind closed doors.

  16. I’ll be at the game tonight, hopefully in the XO club for the pre-game.

    And don’t worry Sam, it’s only 70 today =)

  17. Jeever – thanks for missing the point. You really think Renney becomes Knute Rockne behind closed doors? Of course he does…

  18. “Blair Betts is NOT getting paid to score goals. Show me a player in the league that’s better at doing the intangibles for the price we pay him.

    IMO, he should be wearing a letter. He’s one of our most valuable assets and we should NEVER trade him unless we’re getting some stud in return.

    You can’t win Cups without guys like Betts.”

    Ive been saying this for the past 2+ seasons. For the money he gets paid, Betts is a gold-mine. I was SO happy to see him wearing the A in the absence of Gomez, and I honestly think he shouldve kept it.

  19. Pemoco,

    I’m not a stats guy — for a few reasons, mind you. One, you can skew stats to make them look however you’d like. Two, certain aspects of the game (hockey has a lot of them) don’t show up on the score sheet). I can probably pull some nonsensical stats to show you how much more valuable Blair Betts is, problem is they don’t keep stats for penalties killed, battles won in the corner and stifiling defense.

    Furthermore, I could care less if he goes 0-for on the season in regards to goals and assists. Pull his stats on faceoffs won and blocked shots and compare those to any other “fourth-liner” in the league and tell me is anything less than invaluable.

    A guy like Markus Naslund is more replacable then Blair Betts. Why? B/c there are plenty of Naslund’s in the league and very few, if any, Blair Betts.

    That’s not to say I think you can win a cup with a team of Betts, but I think you do need ONE to win one.

  20. Brandon

    Be careful with the “poor hockey IQ” comments. Some of your posts, especially the one about how matching lines has NEVER worked in the history of the sport, suggest you might not even have one.


    Excellent point about Micheletti on Zherdev. Laughable how quickly his tone changed when it was apparent Z had been benched.

  21. Once they get down to the Miami/West Palm area they will get to the 80 degree weather. And by the way, I apologize to all Rangers fans right now for the game on Friday against the Florida Panthers. I’m not going to say it, but I have been to 18 Rangers games in my life and they are 0-15-3. So everyone can blame the loss on me…Oh yeah…and there record after the game I am at always seems to be below .500 so we will see if that is true as well.
    Onto some non superstitous-related information,
    Personally, I’ve been starting to doubt Tom Renney recently, but I feel its only because of this blog. Now that I think about it, he always seems to play the lines that are most effective for that game. A couple games ago the third line was flying, and there time showed that. He sees who is in there prime and is working hard and congratulates them with more time. Personally, I hate the fact that the Rangers lost there “fire”, but they really did. Do you guys remember at the beginning of the season when Dubi, Voros, and Z acted like every goal they scored was the last goal they will ever score? Where did that go? Now all that happens is they raise up there hands mediocerly and give each other a high five. I want the passion back, maybe that will restore our team.

  22. BillyDeeWilliams on

    pemoco: I don’t think you have to become knute rockne in the lockerroom to reach your players. Sure Renney acts a certain way to the media, and obviously, he’s going to say different things in the lockerroom in different ways, but the idea is that he has his style and his system and the players have bought into it. Whether the system pans out in the end is yet to be seen. A lot of the people on here, you included, would think not.

    I think what’s more important is that the players don’t hate the guy. They want to play his style because THEY think if executed well, it can work.

  23. why is everyone sayin we cant beat good teams. we beat boston and pittsburgh and almost won in detroit. when last year we couldnt finish of the bad teams it was frustrating as hell but were doin it now and thats how it should be. these points are valuable whoever the team may be and it not only puts us ahead in the standings but gives our team some confidence and a sense of pride. dont forget that even the bad teams are stil tough to play against. and phalanx, ur right about betts. hes great for what his role is and hes even been better this season than last. he couldve had 2 goals against phoenix the othjer night. hes definitely needed on this team. our pk is great and hes an integral part of that element of our game.

  24. leatherneckinlv on

    SAM…Sam…the onle line who has performed well and consistently and to what their roles are..and you want to create contreversey? If the other lines are scoring this would not even be a topic..this line of Sjo/Betts/Orr is the best 4th line in the NHL for their roles..several times a game they have either stopped the mommentum of a team by shutting it down or generated it by incredible forecheck and sustained play in the offensive zone..Rangers have glaring needs..on Defense and a Power Forward…

  25. BillyDeeWilliams on

    Mike: I think there are still questions against good teams because the boston and penguin games weren’t the most decided of victories.

    I’m one of the first to say “a win’s a win” but they scored the tying goals in both of those games in the final minute after being outplayed for most of the time. You might say they were a bit flukey.

  26. Brandon – They do keep stats for a lot of stuff like hits and blocked shots, but the way they are scored is too unreliable to prove much, so I avoided those – even though they add to the argument that a guy like Betts is not such a rare commodity.

    If Betts is going to be used in a purely defensive role, then he’s certainly not holding us back from going further than one round into the playoffs. However, in bumping him up to third line minutes (the subject of Sam’s entry here) on a team that is towards the bottom in scoring is another matter. Using an NHL center who averages 1 assist every 19 games, Betts actual #’s with the Rangers (has to be way too close to 0-for-the-season even for a non-stats guy) for 15 minutes/game is just is not acceptable. Betts isn’t a bad guy and he certainly puts out the effort when he’s on the ice, but he just isn’t good enough for an expanded role.

  27. BillyDee: I think what’s more important is that the players don’t hate the guy.

    Who is in the locker room now?

  28. Donald Duck’s Nephew,

    If you want to spin my comments, have at it. I suspect you don’t have any real thoughts of your own, so it’s easier to just manipulate someone else’s opinion into something that resembles a “point” on your behalf.

    To clarify, I stated a few months ago that matching lines only works for short period of times and certain instances, but has never proven to be an effective way to win long-term, nor is it possible or reccomended to “match lines” during an entire 60 minute game.

    A great case and point is the Devil’s Jay Pandolfo on Jaromir Jagr. So much was made of Pandolfo shadowing Jagr over the past few years, yet the Rangers record against the Devils and Jagr’s stats against the Devils, particularly in the playoffs, indicate that matching his line against Jagr’s line was completely and totally ineffective.

    These comments spurred from someone, maybe it was you, who said the Rangers lost to the Pens last year b/c Renney “didn’t match the right lines against them”. This is a laugher, considering Crosby and Malkin were held virtually scoreless in the series and really didn’t hurt us the way Marion Hossa or Georges Laraque even did.

    I’m a firm believer in playing your own game, dictating your own pace and making the other team adjust. If you match lines all game, you lose your own flow and in turn your system breaks down.

    We are tight enough defensively as a collective unit that we don’t need to match lines on a regular basis. A shift here and there if a particular line is hurting us is fine, but to match our 4 against their 4 night in and night out DOESN’T WORK.

    Show me an instance where it has.

  29. Leatherneck

    In my opinion, Sam is saying that the 4th line plays at all the wrong times during the game. Sam did not trash the line. And is not starting controversy. Sam is at a loss of understanding as to why the 4th line plays during the wrong times of a game. For example.. Shift one. Or getting regular ice time when losing. Or on the end of power plays. Or when the team needs pressure on the goal . Not pressure on the boards. And I agree , board work creates goals. BUT not with this combo. Sorry Sam is correct.

  30. Pem,

    Fair points, I see where you’re coming from. Despite my favor to Betts, I agree, I don’t think he’s a third-line player.

    That being said, he continually outworks everyone on the team night in and night out and its hard to not put a guy in who’s more effective, despite having significantly less talent.

    If our top tier players were playing up to their ability and/or putting in the same effort as Betts on both sides of the ice, I think he’d stay in his 4th line role.

    Renney knows he can’t score, but also knows he’d rather have a Blair Betts out there that can’t score then a Nigel Dawes (just an arbitrary example) who can’t score. At least Betts is responsible.

  31. GardenFaithfulinFLA on

    Sam – sunny yes – 80 no. It’s only 68 here today and I’m just about in the Everglades.

  32. Brandon:

    It’s fair enough to like Betts work ethic, no argument there. And I agree that the under-performance of our scorers is definitely a problem. However, the solution to that is not to play offensively-challenged players more in situations where we need scoring.

  33. leatherneckinlv on


    my point was you need roleplayers of that sort…Sjo and Betts kill penalties extremely well. Betts is an above average faceoff man and Orr one of the best fighters in the league who has upped his game to more than just fighting…as my point was..the other lines need to elevate their game and I think Renney uses that line to say…look at this line..look at how they of you..go and work like this line..I think Orr will score 6 goals..Sjo 14 and Betts 11 by the time the season ends..and for that line thats excellent production should it be achieved or surpassed…Potter needs to be called up and start sitting down Kalinin and Roszival, the top 2 lines scoring on a consistent basis…..thats where the issue is…not how much ice time this line gets

  34. It will be 48 here tonight in Tampa Sam. Well at around 3am but it will be in the low 50’s this evening… God I miss New York… Let’s Go Rangers

  35. “I’m a firm believer in playing your own game, dictating your own pace and making the other team adjust.”

    Gee, Brandon, is this is so, how in the world can you be such a huge fan of Renney as a coach!? This is precisely what the Rangers never do!

    Which brings us back to your hockey IQ.

  36. I understand the need for an article like this. But it sorta bums me out that the debate on Betts has now moved to “blame him for his playing time.” What a joke!

    First of all, the SOB line has played together maybe 90% of the games this year, if not more. Anyone who was on the side of past discussions saying that any 3 players can play together and “line chemistry” is irrelevant (this was debated on this blog in the last month) just tasted their own ass. My view is that the SOB line plays strongly together because they have been gelling for 20+ games. They know what to expect of each other. Every other line on the team is switched up every game and sometimes during the game. (Note: Hyperbole used to underscore my point.)

    2nd, the Rangers lack physicality and get lazy defensively. All 3 guys on the SOB line hit and are very responsible all around the ice. Of all the other forwards, Cally and maybe Dubi and once-in-a-while Voros are the ones who hit anyone. I don’t know if anyone else here has noticed but the only times the NYR look dominant is when they are forechecking and hitting people. The SOB line does this almost incessantly. The number of times any of our other forwards have tried to poke check or go for the puck and avoid contact is nauseating.

    To harp on the SOB line for getting more minutes and somehow blaming them is just assinine.

    Others pointed it out above, if some ignoramus hadn’t filled the roster with Prucha, Dawes, Rissmiller, Fritsche, Korpi (has potential, is super young) as potential “3rd” liners, then I am guessing the SOB line would not be getting 3rd line minutes.

    How someone can blame Betts and crew is a laugh. They have been our most consistent line this year.

    We still lack a bonecrunching D-man to clear the front of the net and are missing a Sundin-like forward to create another threat up front.

    Until we get those two pieces of the puzzle, all you haters out there should find people other than the SOB line to find fault with.

    Last thing: I am getting mixed up about Renney. His system is fine, I think. He knows what he is doing, I think. His lack of emotion and inability to motivate the team is driving me F-ng nuts!

  37. Help! Who said anything about matching 4 lines?? Matching lines is never about matching 4 lines — it is about matching one specific line above all else.

    Brandon I respect your energy. But when you write things like this, you reveal your lack of understanding about very simple concepts in and about the game.

  38. Donald Duck’s nephew,

    Just to reiterate, you still haven’t come back with a single point of your own. You just take one point from my statement and manifest it into some elementary remark.

    Sorta like, “I know you are but what am I”.

    The Rangers play the same game for 60 minutes (on night’s when we bring full effort) for better or for worse. I don’t see us adjusting to the other team’s game every night.

    Our greatest strength is our system — alike the Bruins. Cluade Julien and Renney are cut from the same cloth. These guys only know one style, their own. They like the smell of their own brand, etc. etc.

    These aren’t guys who let other coaches dictate the game. What are you watching, certainly not this team.

  39. leatherneck – Betts FO% has been in steady decline the past few years. He’s at 48.5% this season, which is not ‘above average’.

    newman – People aren’t blaming Betts for his play, they’re blaming Renney for misusing him.


    Ha, you can’t just keep going back and forth. I explained my entire line matching theory, which had examples and reasons, not just arbitrary and objective statements.

    In essence, when you match one line, you’re essentially matching more than one. Are you not?

    If you match one line, simple math says the other three are going to be out against the other team’s 3 lines significantly more.

    Clearly, I’m aware that there is no possible way to “match 4 lines”, I was simply stating that as a means of exaggeration to demonstrate the absurdity of matching lines for 60 minutes.

    As I said before, shoe me an instance where it has worked.

    I’ll do one for you. The only scenario I can think of is when our fourth line shut down the Crosby line in the regular season for 3-4 games. That’s really it.

  41. To end the line discussion, come up with an example and a reason. Rather than just quoting me and questioning my hockey IQ.

    You do realize you haven’t actually stated anything that demonstrates you know more than the average person.

    You’re just really good at using the “” marks.

  42. Pemoco….And I am saying that if you have a guaranteed effort and production and skillset from a line that allows you confidence in your selection, why wouldn’t you use it? You are saying Renney should use guys he is less sure about and stop “misusing” our most consistent line? What??

    I am guessing when looking at lines and comparing goals scored versus goals allowed, I am sure the SOB line has better stats than the others. In fact, you should also sting lines more for giving up shorties and reward guys for killing penalties and I am sure the SOB has maybe 2x better stats than any other line.

    How are they being misused by Renney? Are you saying that rewarding the SOB line with PP time is “misuse?” Because you think that our PP has been so stellar with the “top 2” lines? What team are you watching?

    You call it “misuse” by Renney. I say Renney is making due with crap cards he has been dealt. If every line had the heart, grit, and hustle that the SOB line does, and the others brought it every night like SOB does, we would be the elite team in the East.

  43. The Rangers have made the other team adjust to their pace, to their plan, to their will about 3% of the time so far this season.

  44. BillyDeeWilliams on

    pem: I really don’t think there’s even a question of how the players feel about Renney, but whatever.

  45. I cant believe that Betts is getting this attention. Blair Betts is the necessary evil. The Yin to the Scott Gomez Yang. How? For every ridiculously over paid player on the roster, there has to be a body at the other end of the spectrum. A low paid guy that really only needs to be a responsible and fill out the roster. That’s Blair Betts. And I have no problem with his pedestrian play.

  46. The reason I barely post or read here, is I kind of lost interest a bit. I was very excited about this team during off season, and they played amazing first 2 games, but then they became boring and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel until we get a coaching change.

  47. BillyDee: Another reporter’s blog has already mentioned that there is discontent, but what do they know either?

  48. And Bob the reason I started reading here more and more lately was because I thought you were gone…

  49. Newman:

    Just because one player or line is good at one thing doesn’t make them good at another. Using a player like Betts as a third line center or the SOB line (love the name, btw) on the pp isn’t a solution for the lack of scoring. I posted Betts’ scoring #’s – they’re subpar for a 4th line center. You want to say it doesn’t matter b/c 4th line isn’t meant to score? I might not agree but I am not going to argue the point. But expecting a player to contribute on an aspect of his game that is his weakest point is misusing him and makes zero sense.

  50. So, if we don’t use Betts who are we going to use. Once again this boils down to personnel, which is the fault of the GM not the coach.

    Say what you want about Renney having an influence on trades and signings, but ultimately its Glenn Sather that pulls the trigger on those deals. I HIGHLY doubt Renney agreed not pursuing Jagr aggressively was a “good idea”.

    Should Blair Betts be out there in key “scoring situations”. Absolutely not. BUT, who on this team has proven and shown that they should be with any kind of consistency.

    You have 4 cetners; 1 has been injured the last 5 games and the other 2 haven’t exactly been lighting the lamp. Korpikoski isn’t exacly a scoring threat right now, so Betts is going to get more time.

    Renney isn’t misusing him, he just has limited options, especially down the middle.

    This has to do everything with personnel and nothing to do with strategy.

  51. Pemoco…I just wonder if at times some fans view Renney’s usage of the SOB line as him saying, “I want a goal,” when in fact he is just saying, “I want the guys to show balls, hit people, and play smart defensively.”

    I agree when we are down 2 with 5 to play, the SOB line should not be out there. But if we are down a goal with 15 to play, Renney could be using SOB to create a spark, light a fire, and get the team psyched up. (I mean if you have been watching this line lately, they are often first to the puck in the O zone and they are very good cyclers.) Some fans might say, “How do you expect the NYR to score a goal with the SOB line out there?” These are the same buffoons who yell “Shoot” when we have a 5 on 3 and the point man gets the puck.

  52. Hey, I don’t love Sather (he deserved to be fired awhile ago) and there are very legitimate questions about how this season’s roster has been put together, but if the best solution a coach has to a lack of scoring is to increase the use of a player who has never been able to score, then it’s fair to question the coach’s abilities. It’s 15 years since Renney has had any success as a coach, at what point does he start to have to take responsibility for his performance?

  53. New Newman
    November 26th, 2008 at 12:45 pm
    Pemoco….And I am saying that if you have a guaranteed effort and production and skillset from a line that allows you confidence in your selection, why wouldn’t you use it? You are saying Renney should use guys he is less sure about and stop “misusing” our most consistent line? What??

    I am guessing when looking at lines and comparing goals scored versus goals allowed, I am sure the SOB line has better stats than the others. In fact, you should also sting lines more for giving up shorties and reward guys for killing penalties and I am sure the SOB has maybe 2x better stats than any other line.

    How are they being misused by Renney? Are you saying that rewarding the SOB line with PP time is “misuse?” Because you think that our PP has been so stellar with the “top 2” lines? What team are you watching?

    You call it “misuse” by Renney. I say Renney is making due with crap cards he has been dealt. If every line had the heart, grit, and hustle that the SOB line does, and the others brought it every night like SOB does, we would be the elite team in the East.

    This team is gonna have issues scoring no question. When you play Betts as much as they do and in offensive situations it makes scoring some nights seem like mission impossible. Offensive zone draw? Let’s get Bettsy out there. Late in the game tied up? Let’s get Bettsy out there. We’re in ot? let’s not try to score let’s get Bettsy out there. Meanwhile Korpkoski’s development is being retarded by being glued to the bench. Another question is if a guy like Prucha was given the chances to suceeed the last two years would he return to the form of his first two years? We’ll never know.

  54. Pemoco,

    15 years? How do you figure? Perhaps by NY standards (Championship or go home) he’s been unsuccessful, but by comparison to his peers, he’s had great success of recent.

    I still argue he’s doing entirely more which much less.

    I usually disagree with John Buccigross on ESPN, and he’s a Ranger hater, but I think his assessment in today’s mail bag says a lot about this team, and implies a great deal about Renney. (See below)


    I see the Rangers as outside Cup contenders, primarily because of Henrik Lundqvist. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. To me, he has an aura of a champion along the lines of a Ken Dryden or Bernie Parent. I’m surprised whenever he lets in a goal because I always anticipate that he’ll allow none. Aside from him, the Rangers have average talent, and unless they develop cheap homegrown talent, they’ll have trouble getting much better.

    They have four big cap-ticket items in Scott Gomez ($7.3 million), Chris Drury ($7 million), Redden ($6.5 million) and Lundqvist ($6.8 million). That is more than $27 million for four players. That’s already about half their cap now, and it’ll only be a higher percentage when the cap goes down. (Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar and Fleury will hit the cap for $27 million next season, but that is less of a concern because Malkin and Crosby do so much. Malkin and Crosby were outscoring Gomez and Drury 56 points to 26 points when the week began, and their games should continue to increase in value. Drury’s and Gomez’s values should plateau, then depreciate in the next five seasons.)

    What the Rangers have going for them is a good amount of grit and adequate defense in front of their goaltender. Dan Girardi is having a really nice season. The Rangers don’t have a great power play because they just don’t have the skill level of Washington, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia or maybe even Buffalo. Nikolai Zherdev clearly is playing for a contract, but at least the Rangers are benefiting from that. I wouldn’t trust him long-term.

    The Rangers have enough leadership, heart, desire and goaltending to be a playoff factor. I see them finishing fourth or fifth in the East. I see making the Stanley Cup final as a long shot, and winning the Cup a real long shot. But long shots have won plenty of times before, and I’d never bet against Drury.

  55. His last success as a coach was Team Canada in the ’94 Olympics. In the NHL, the majority of the teams make it to the plaoffs, so just because the Rangers hadn’t been there in forever doesn’t make it a significant accomplishment.

    When has he done more with less? Are you talking about this season compared to his previous seasons as coach, or his entire time as coach compared to his predecessors? Either way, .458 in the post-season is nothing remarkable.

  56. Renney is ONE of two, maybe three coaches to make the playoffs the last three years in a row.

    So, apparently it’s not as easy as you make it seem.

    Also, that stat is INCREDIBLY meaningless.

    For starters, throw out the series against the Devils in year one. That had nothing to do with coaching. With both Jagr AND Henrik out we never had a shot.

    Year 2, we were 7 seconds away from winning that series. If you call that goal by Drury a coaching mistake on Renney’s part then your overlooking the tackle in the corner and the icing that should have never happened.

    Year 3, we lose to a team that goes to the Cup finals with 3 of the best players in the league; we were very competitive despite the end result.

    So, it’s not like we’re losing to teams that we’re better than. We got beat by 3 very good teams with LIMITED amounts of talent by comparison.

    If we lost to Atlanta in the first round 2 years ago, I might be open to that case.

  57. Gravey….first of all, I know what I wrote (LOL).

    2nd, now we are getting somewhere. Where do you play Korpi? I think he is the best of the bunch (not sure where this performance was BEFORE he went to Hartford, but he has more quickness, energy, and strength post-Hartford, maybe it is all confidence?) Who do you play him with? I mean I know you weren’t saying Prucha deserves a shot, where you? I mean trying him again is the epitome of insanity! He had 85 games in the last two seasons to prove himself.

    Renney rightfully should not have the same expectations of Prucha versus Betts and I hope you don’t either. Same with Korpi. The real question is who can Korpi play with? If Voros had any confidence (has all but vanished since the first dozen games) all we would need is a 3d man for that 3d line. Prucha, Dawes…no thanks, not getting it done. Fritsche has shown some stuff lately, but he needs to net a few!

    Truth be told, a guy like Sundin on the 2nd line (or 1st line, whatever) and then Callahan alongside Korpi and Voros would be a 3rd line that would get more time than SOB line.

    Who knows? I am tired and leaving the office pretty soon.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope we crush the Lightning tonight.

  58. Blair Betts is not the problem.

    We need to find a “3rd” line that can score, & Roszival needs to stop making bonehead plays. I think he gives Renney handjobs in the locker room.

  59. Sam..I think incorporating a mention you made earlier this week about Freddy Sjostrom to the Gomez line would solidify the Team’s ability to forecheck, and ultimately it’s offense and defense.

    Chris Drury (as a Right shot on the Left Wing) had 3 or 4 times versus Phoenix where he had a hard time breaking the puck of the defensive zone off the boards. Gomez, a left shot, makes his natural pass to the right wing. Why not place Sjostrom on the left of Gomez and Drury, leave Dubinsky’s line alone. Put Betts between Callahan and Dawes (a nice 3d line with some grit, skill, and speed), and have Korpikowski skate on a true 4th line between Orr and Voros. Fritsche is the casualty initally, however if Voros doesn’t pick it up, Fritsche can play Left Wing too.

  60. One thing not mentioned; and I hate to sound the negative; is that with the fairly suprising amount of offense Betts and his mates have been delivering ( 5 goals total) is a slight slippage in their defensive play…not looking at stats; they just dont seen to be all that defensive for a 5 goal line….faceoffs seem tio have fallen off as well especially in crucial spots…..

  61. rick g
    November 26th, 2008 at 3:15 pm
    Sam..I think incorporating a mention you made earlier this week about Freddy Sjostrom to the Gomez line would solidify the Team’s ability to forecheck, and ultimately it’s offense and defense.

    Chris Drury (as a Right shot on the Left Wing) had 3 or 4 times versus Phoenix where he had a hard time breaking the puck of the defensive zone off the boards. Gomez, a left shot, makes his natural pass to the right wing. Why not place Sjostrom on the left of Gomez and Drury, leave Dubinsky’s line alone. Put Betts between Callahan and Dawes (a nice 3d line with some grit, skill, and speed), and have Korpikowski skate on a true 4th line between Orr and Voros. Fritsche is the casualty initally, however if Voros doesn’t pick it up, Fritsche can play Left Wing too.

    Betts played half a year playing with Prucha in 05-06 and put up 12 points. The next year he played about 15 games with Shanny and put up 1 point in those 15 games. Putting him on a line with Cally and Dawes does nothing for those guys. In fact it might hurt their offense. I rather send Korpedo down instead of wasting him on the 4th line.

  62. Ugh god, now people are considering putting a no talent player like Betts on the 3rd line, while Korpedo once again has to suffer and go to the 4th line. Why ???

    Danny F should be in the center position, let Korpedo play on the wing. Better yet, put Korpedo with Gomer, and Cally. That would be fun to watch. Just for the hell of it.

    Although sticking Dru on the 3rd line wouldn’t be right, cause he’s been getting his shit together. But then again, in a way we don’t have any numbered lines, cause our 2nd line is our 1st line, and our 4th line is our 3rd line.

    Fire Renney !! Trade Rozi !! Sign Mats !! Just win tonight. The Devs scored 7 goals against these losers. Go for the sweep !!!!!

  63. Jeever – im all the way on the east coast Tampa’s on the other side if it was closer id love drive my Dad to a game
    ..he’s the one that got me onto the Rangers back in the late 70’s…

  64. Chris F., before we worry about finding a 3rd line that can score maybe we should try and find a 1st and 2nd line that score consistantly.

  65. BillyDeeWilliams on

    I’m depressed that I’m still at work.

    I wish everyone on here could coach the team for one game. The team would probably win every game.

  66. BillyDeeWilliams on


    Running: Turkeys run more often than they fly. For short sprints they can dash up to 18 miles per hour – faster than an Olympic runner.

    Flying: Turkeys are fantastic fliers for short distances. They can take-off like helicopters, going almost straight up. And when they fly straight ahead, they go fast. A wild turkey was clocked at 55 miles per hour.


  67. BillyDeeWilliams on

    A TOM…or a Gobbler!

    Good old Male Turkey Renney and his flock of jakes and jennys.

    this is a great game. I almost wish I didn’t have to leave work at 5 now. lol.

  68. Oh yes, Betts is the answer to all our scoring problems. 1 goal every 30 games. Wait a minute – that’s better than 1/2 the forwards currently on the team now. He is the answer!

  69. BillyDeeWilliams on

    No one said Betts is the answer to our scoring problems.

    Someone did say turkeys are can fly fast over short distances though.


  70. A TOM and all of his tireless supporters up on this blog… eating cranberry sauce outta his…uumm now use your imagination boys… no wonder I get sleepy watching last couple of games…

  71. All Hail King Henrik on

    Let’s Go Rangers!!!

    I wonder if we’ll see round two of Voros vs. Smith? If the “third” line only gets ~ 7 mins tonight, I suspect that battle will be greatly dimished.

  72. graves9
    November 26th, 2008 at 5:47 pm
    20 bucks says the Betts line gets more ice than the Korpedo line. Any takers?

    Even the Renney lovers won’t take that bet. Can’t wait til the hyena gets fired.

  73. now now now… place your bets on the Betts… and as before all i have is $7.80 which as before i am willing to sacrifice

  74. GardenFaithfulinFLA on

    Chris, they are in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night. There’s still tickets available. That would be cool to do with your Dad!

  75. according to newsday its the same lineup for tonight. i hope prucha got to spend the holiday with his hot gf instead of being with thomas. prucha deserves better


    I’d rather listen to this game on the radio than watch it in anything other than HD.

  77. Rick Tocchet should be in jail and not being behind the bench as a coach. It is a joke that Buttman allowed him to be reinstated a year or so ago.

  78. there u have it kids… Gomez just called Renney “THE GREATEST COACH THERE IS” … Scotty…he’s so sweet

  79. Notorious B.O.B. on

    Can somebody finally explain to Callahan that he shouldn’t shoot the puck as soon as he gets it?

  80. Rough start to the game for Zherdev. He overhandled the puck numerous times and made some bad pass now a hooking penalty.

  81. just turned the game on…don’t know whats worse, the tampa bay third jersey or the rangers power play!!

    Zherdev…that was a crappy call, he just barely touched his stick….let them play zebras!

    Is Dawes a “healthy scratch”??

    I hope Paul Mara isn’t hurt…left the ice favoring his foot??

  82. He landed a pretty solid hit…hope he doesn’t get into trouble for no tie down on his shirt!!

  83. Notorious B.O.B. on

    hod did Zherdev not destroy the 18 yearold? And why does Zherdev not throwing any hits anymore. The answer is Renney. If we had Tocchett as a coach Zherdev would be throwing huge hits every game.

  84. An instigator would have meant a misconduct. Now he can be back out there to finish the job in about 2 minutes.

  85. Dubi or not Dubi on

    Bob, hitting implies excitement and the possibility of taking yourself out of position, which Renney stresses. Clearly the positioning is important for everyone, I mean, it takes impressive positioning by the defensemen to constantly give up odd man rushes all game every game!

    Renney’s system=Lundqvist, if Mike Dunham was still the goalie, Renney would have been fired by now.

    As for Sam and Joe, Sam called Gomez BLAIR BETTS! Gomez has a distinctive skating style that can’t POSSIBLY be mistaken for Betts. Then there is Joe with the “What a good period for the Rangers” among other things, really Joe? Is it a good period when you are playing a team who just gave up 7 goals to the DEVILS and you haven’t scored ONE yet?

  86. Notorious B.O.B.
    November 26th, 2008 at 8:33 pm
    Staal is a wimp he needs to gain 15 pounds and start hitting.

    See Dubi this is what I mean…Mara and Staal so far this season have been our most physical d-men but bob just hasn’t seen it

  87. If you are the centerman on the first penalty kill you need to win the freakin face offs…..!!

    What is Betts, like 0/6??

  88. Notorious B.O.B. on

    Gomez steals the puck in offensive zone and then skates it out of the zone. What an idiot, what a waste of 7.3 million.

  89. When bob is watching games… he does it by standing on his hands… therefore the game seems upside-down to him

  90. Notorious B.O.B. on

    Fritsche does pretty much sucks, but what can you expect with almost no icetime from Coach Hyena.

  91. Bob why again did you switch from islander fan to ranger fan and when did that happen. just remembering you said you used to be an isles fans when you went by a diff name

  92. Notorious B.O.B. on

    Orr used to be a feared fighter but since Coach hyena got him to lose weight he’s become a punching bag.

  93. I propose the entrance name for Rangers Report Idiot Hall of Fame for bob is “Bob the Rapunzel”

    Common names for rapunzel: Corn salad, mache, lamb’s lettuce, field salad.

    any objections?

  94. Nazzy had a great deflection, but that play is dead if Rozy doesn’t make a great keep in at the point, then make a great low, deflectable shot.

  95. Imagine if the PP could regularly score…

    But, so far, this game has been a good argument against booing Rosi. He seems way more relaxed and is playing pretty well. Of course I probably just jinxed him.

  96. LI Joe
    November 26th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    yes as founding member. but what name will he go in as vinny pooh, yenner mot or bob

    How bout stinky vinnyyennernmotbobby pooh?

  97. Notorious B.O.B. on

    Zero icetime in the third for Korpedo and Betts is being double shifted. Fire the hyena.

  98. And it all continued because St. Louis does whatever he wants most of the time. Regardless of who scored the goal, he does damage every single game against the Rangers.

  99. St. Louis looks like a 6th grader out there, why can’t somebody run him over?

    Time to go for the win

  100. Good lord Smith can’t stop a beach ball in shootouts for whatever reason his numbers in the shootout are Rosie ‘O’donell ugly.

  101. get all 8 pts vs TB. season series over before thanksgiving. loved the games especially the last 2.

    naslund and z offensively and henrik the man in shootout. still never want to see shootout in playoffs. curious who was 3rd shooter to be? drury? shoe? and for TB Malik? (kidding) wasn’t his shootout goal near thanksgiving.

  102. Still hate the shootout, too much of a novelty. Okay if you like giving points to a losing team, which I don’t. But very exciting hockey, and the Rangers fought hard, they battled. Great game to watch.

  103. Happy Thanksgiving

    Just think – if the Indians had given the Pilgrim fathers a donkey instead of a turkey we would all be having a piece of ass this Thanksgiving!


  104. Gotta say it was nice to see Rozsival come around and have his best game in a long long time. He moved the puck well was strong and battled in his own end and meshed well with Staal again. Staal was really good too. He is always at his best when matched up against other teams top lines. On the other end the Redden-Girardi pair was rather terrible. Redden was the worst player on this ice this side of Ryan Malone. Girardi needed to battle more in the corner with Stamkos on what ended up setting up the game tying goal. Another great game for Zherdev. He started it out slow with a couple of shifts where he overhandled the puck and made passes to nobody but he turned it around by protecting himself by fighting Stamkos. He is a far better playmaker than I though he was. Naslund and Zherdev have tremendous chemistry. Naslund is not as fast as he was 5-6 year ago nor is his hands nearly as good as they were back then but they are still pretty good. Pretty quiet game by Gomez(he did have a nice pk shift in the third)Nice pk work by Betts and Sjostrom they blocked alot of shot. Last but not least is another great game from him. He faced plenty of point blank shots as well as having Malone and Artuytikin in his face all night. If not his play in the second period the Rangers likely don’t win this one.

  105. graves9
    I liked your post, accurate overview of the game in my opinion. Naslund and Zherdev do indeed have chemistry.
    Artuytikin ain’t bad is he, just another observation.

  106. They should have used St Louis as the first shooter. He actually has a good amount of sucess against Hank.

  107. onecupin67years on

    The nhl sucks .. this shootout crap gives the winner(team) of the shoot out a pt and a win but no credit to the goal scorers..Its UN AMERICAN .. this shootout is bushleague, Thanks bettman

  108. Partly the reason the ot was so entertaining was because Renney didn’t play it safe.He didn’t give Betts a boatload of ice in the ot(like he usually does)

  109. onecupin67years
    “..Its UN AMERICAN .. this shootout is bushleague, Thanks bettman”
    At least that can’t be blamed on the Canadians! :-)

  110. topcorner
    November 26th, 2008 at 10:53 pm
    I liked your post, accurate overview of the game in my opinion. Naslund and Zherdev do indeed have chemistry.
    Artuytikin ain’t bad is he, just another observation.
    Thanks Top. Yeah he has nice wheels for a big man. He also throws the body and can fight. He does seem to have hands of stone though.

  111. All Hail King Henrik on

    I’ve ripped him for his play all season long, but I will give credit where credit is due; Rozsival played a great game today; his best in a long, long time. He actually resembled a $5million dollar defensman out there with his play at both ends. Hopefully these two games away from the Garden will help him build his confidence and get back to playing good hockey. At worst, he’ll build his value for a trade. Nice game Rozi!

    Zherdev…wow. This kid is great, and it was awesome to see him drop the gloves to a draw with Stamkos. He is on fire the last couple of games. I love when he dekes forehand backhand in the shootouts, but he just might be the best player in the league when it comes to going 5-hole in the shootouts. His release is amazing.

    Zherdev and Naslund have some nice chemistry going, and Naslund is very quietly putting together a good season for us. At $4 mil, he is playing to and even above his value. I would’ve loved to see him get the hat trick, but just to see him playing this well is GREAT. Nas-Dubi-Z is our first line and first PP unit, despite what Renney lists them as.

    It was horrible to see them tie it up in the last minute, but there’s not much Hank could do there. He played a great game, and he is just ridiculously good in the shootout. He’s allowed ONE shootout goal now in 5 shootouts, if I recall correctly.

    Tampa played a pretty solid game, and even though we didn’t blow them out, I thought we played a solid game. Tampa was desperate and we held them off for the win.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  112. Very happy to get the two points! But Redden is appallingly bad.

    All hail Henke. Because:

    If Steve Weeks or Mike Dunham or John Davidson (except, being generous, for the spring of ’79) or Ed Mio or Steve Baker or Kevin Weekes or Doug Soetaert or Wayne Thomas or…

    [moving into the present, and beyond NYR standbys]

    Carey Price or Cam Ward or Ryan Miller or Martin Biron or Martin Gerber or just about every other goalie in the NHL were in the Rangers’ net instead of Lundqvist….

    ….this team would be lucky to be even close to .500.

  113. Current status of Rangers: Renny is attempting to win games with two scoring lines and one checking line. So far so good! Except for 2 games in which the Korpikoski-Dawes-Fritsche combo played well, essentially the team has gotten almost nothing from the so-called third line. Whether it’s Dawes, Prucha, korpi, Fritsche, and recently Voros, the third combo each night has contributed almost nothing to the offense needed by the Rangers. Essentially, they spell the other three lines, and, when they get out there, they are so worried about defense, they seldom generate any offense. Not to mention how short their shifts have been. If they draw a penalty on the opposition (which they frequently do), it’s right back to the bench. In conclusion, the aforementioned players have been essentially irrelevant to the Rangers success (or failures)to this point in the season. It would be nice if some combination of these guys were more offensively productive, but Renny is currently unwilling to give these players the same ice time opportunities to work out their issues (as he has other players on the roster who have struggled as badly at times as the “thirdliners.”)

  114. LI Joe

    I give you credit. Because as a reliable Renney supporter, you in using the moot card are pretty much conceding the point that HL is the sole reason this team is where it is.

    Honest and worthy, but a decided step down from the standard talking points (though not necessarily yours in particular) from so many status quo fans that there is some ingenious masterplan at work in the brain of the man behind the bench.

  115. gresch – actually more middling re renney. don’t love him don’t hate him. do get tired of a lot of negativity so then it appears to some that i am pro renney. i expect the negativity especially when the team loses a couple. and always expect certain people to come out and play when the rangers lose. not you in this case talking about some others.

    get more bothered by attacks against certain players than anything vs renney or sather.

    of course Henrik is the major part in any success so far. just like Wash with AO can’t take best player away and be anytwhere near as good.

    i see warts in renney and sather also see some good. i enjoyed the ot much more this game then if the players were totally reined in.

  116. Guys, give the coach and GM some credit – they know the goalie is great and therefore the GM signed him up long-term for big money and the coach plays him 65-70 games a year. Thats their jobs!!

    Look at the recent Conn Smythe winners, there are goalies every 2-3 years and they are only 1 of a squad of 20ish skaters: Ward, Giguere, Roy.
    Also (apart from game 1 in 2000) Brodeur won the Debbies the cup but Stevens got the trophy. Giguere was close to winning it again in 07. Kiprusoff got the Flames into the final, Fleury was a big part of the reason Pittsburgh got there. You’ve pretty much got to have a great goalie to get into the final.

    The idea of the cap was to spread the talent around the league not allowing one team to dominate by buying up all the high-priced talent in an attempt to blow other teams away every night. Now the teams have to draft better, nurture young talent better and negotiate contracts better. OK, so we’re not great at the last one yet but the drafting is getting better and the quality of young players coming up in the last 2 years is very good, Dubi, Cally, Girardi, Staal are all studs and we’ve still got Ansimov, Del Z, Sanguinetti and a few others to come through this year and next.

  117. onecupin67years on

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody , even if your from waaayy up North ,across the pond or fighting for the USA

  118. Happy Thanksgiving to ALL the posters here… decent showing last night in the OT… Not happy with the overall game but hey f*ck em.

    Alrite I gotta go kill me some natives, later gators.




  120. Flip Sjostrom and Voros . Freddie woukd do well with Korpikoski and Fritsche . Very hard line to contain with their speed . They just might be able to pot a few goals

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