Method to his madness


If you’re going to criticize Tom Renney’s stubborn — some might call it maddening — faith in his players, then you have to give the coach credit when it pays off. Last night was “one of those examples”:

Not only did Renney insist on going back to Henrik Lundqvist a night after Lundqvist was hung out for eight goals, but the coach tapped Chris Drury for the shootout tonight fully knowing that Drury is immersed in another goal-scoring slump and had missed a breakaway at the end of regulation.

“It was one of those things where I could feel him looking at me,” Drury said.  “I knew he was coming to me. I knew he knew I missed the breakaway. And I know he knows I miss a lot of breakaways. But I just had a feeeling I was going to get called on. I’m glad I delivered for him.”

We can all go back to questioning why Renney stands by the likes of Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, and Dmitri Kalinin soon enough. But with the Rangers desperately in need of two points, here was a case of the coach pushing the right buttons.

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  1. Hey Sam,
    I was outside MSG last night waiting for autographs. I can confirm Sundin left MSG with Lundqvist and Sjostrom. I guess they are courting him to play here. I also ran into Jim Shoenfelf. He said they indeed met with Sundin last evening and there is a lot of variables of bringing him here in terms of cap space. I suppose nothing we do not already know, but interesting none the less-Joe

  2. Joe – pretty cool that Schoenfeld even addressed the cap situation

    maybe Sundin decided long ago he’s coming here and the Rangers are just waiting to clear space

    too bad so many high priced guys have been terrible, no trading partners to be found!

  3. Last night’s game was a microcosim of how the Rangers have won most of their games this season, defense first, incredible penalty kill, a low scoring shoot out victory. They gave a point to get two. So What? It’s boring? Too bad.

    What made last nights game different is that they not only scored a powerplay goal but also got a shorthanded one. They got the job done and at the end of the season that’s all that counts.

    Love him or hate him, criticize and second guess him, Renney is the right coach for this team and has been for the last 3 seasons. When everyone buys in to his gameplan, things go well. Last night’s game was a testament to the Rangers strength, conditioning and mental toughness.

    They still need to solve the powerplay problem. They know it. Everone knows it. They were 1 for 5 last night. I still don’t get why Renney didn’t call a time out before their last powerplay of the game. He’s not infallable. No one is.
    I just don’t get how some fans are so quick to throw him under the bus when the team is 20-11-2.

  4. So you’re saying that Schoenfeld is in fact alive? Has he been on tv yet representing the Ranger front office? He used to work for ESPN, so it’s not like he’s camera-shy. Apparently they prefer to throw Renney to the wolves.

  5. Sam, the real critizism of Renney has nothing to do with his “maddening faith in his players” or any other single aspect. He is just a mediocre coach. But the irony and really the tragedy for the Rangers is that while being a poor coach, he is indeed a very good, genuinly likeble person. The players feel it, they know it, they care, they want to play for him, their effort is there and sometimes it pays off with points but , in a long run, it goes absolutely nowhere, at least in terms of winning big.

  6. Right, because Renney went back to Lundqvist, who happens to be one of the best goalies in the league, selected Drury as the FOURTH shooter in a contest that has a large element of luck, he’s a genius.

    At least this entry is a little different from Sam’s standard formula:

    1) Something’s wrong with the team/some change is going to be made.
    2) Here is something that could happen as a result of 1).
    3) Or maybe it won’t happen.
    4) We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

    bob, “worst” might be a strong word, but he sucks. I think I’m close to ending my readership of this blog.

  7. another shootout victory

    without shootouts, our record is…12-11-10…not comforting.

    renney is no genius no matter how you try to construe the situation…it was the hurricanes…not the red wings.

  8. I’m guessing everybody who says something like “Renney is really a genuinely nice guy” has never met him.

  9. having trust in one of the best goalies in hockey or there captain who is a good but not great player is different then continuing to use a terrrible D man who has a 1 yr contract and a – 18 rating named Kalinan.

    There is absolutely no reason he is in the lineup. Potter who would focus in on D only is a better option, no doubt about it.

    Send Kalinan down to the minors save $1 mill. + and have a better team, why not?????????????????

    Redden just looks like a bad bad signing, Roszival has played better then Redden in my opinion, he also makes about $3 mill. less a year and has a 3 yr. shorter contract..

    the good news is they will have at least 2 younger D men with Mara(very very avg.) and Kalinan(sucks beyond belief, terrible with the puck in his own zone). Roszivals contract is absolutely movable so I do not understand the outrage ovr him, again it is Redden which is the total joke contract…

  10. Jordan, I agree except one thing…Drury was the 5th shooter!!! hahaha. Yup, renney was genius!

    Weinman, you’re reaching for straws. I hate to say it, I love the blog and I appreciate everything you do and the tireless lengths you go to in order to keep us in the Ranger’s community in touch with the beat of our team…but you’re going to all new levels in order to compliment Renney, Drury, and usually Rozsival these days and it’s getting sickening.

    We know who Renney is. He’s a player’s coach. He’s stubborn. He’s too easily rattled and relies on his veterans too much. He doesn’t trust rookies. He’s afraid to let some players have a little leash in order to play their games. That said, he is likeable and he has kept this team afloat for 3 years including 2 second round playoff appearances. He’s not a bad person and he’s not a terrible coach. He just might not be the guy to motivate this team! And, he might not be able to realize Pearn has ruined the PP and decide to either hire a PP consultant and/or fire Pearn. He also is a numbskull when it comes to which players he preferentially benches or gives 27 minutes of ice time to. That said, we know his strengths and weaknesses.

    Anyway, The only guys pumping up this squad are Gomez and Mara. Hank gets excited too. Drury just skates around half-caring, half dropping his mouthpiece, half-shouldering his stick. Wtf?! Regardless of that, *The Drury shootout goal was beautiful. Looked similar to the move he pulled (I think in…) TB where he smoked Smith on the SH chance. Why doesn’t Drury do that more often?* I don’t know. But he’s got the hands, I just don’t know why he takes slapshots so often. I would also like to see Drury do something a little more captain-like earlier. Get the team going!!

  11. I have met Tom several times. He is a lovely gentleman and a decent person. I can’t think of a better role model for young players. I do not wonder why veteran players look up to him and want to play for the Rangers. Shanny came to New York primarily because of Tom. That’s a ringing endorsement.

    Many of you would prefer someone like Tortorella to scream and carry on. That’s not Renney’s style. Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with a far more complete team the Tom has to work with in these Rangers. Sather is the one who signed Redden and Kalinin. If anyone can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, Tom Renney can.

    Like I said, regardless of shootouts, the Rangers are 20-11-2. They have 42 points on December 14th. I see the glass as half full. I feel the Rnagers will only get better. Getting to the playoffs is the objective. The season is only 1/3 over. There is plenty of time to work out the kinks. Too bad some of you are not being sufficiently entertained for every moment of every game. Suck it up and get over it.

    Renney isn’t going anywhere. All the haters out there should just stop playing their broken record. It’s just about as effective as yelling “Shoot”. No one that counts is listening to you.

    There, I feel better that I let it out. I need to take a deep breath and let my blood pressure return to normal.:)

  12. What is it with Renney playing Korpikoski? 3 points and -5 the whole year. Kalinin is another player. The worst +/- of all defenseman in the league. I would give a younger Corey Potter a chance. Kalinin and Prucha combine for almost 3 million in salary cap space. Prucha is not used and Fritsche either. They go with Korpikoski who makes 1 million a year and is -5 with 3 points the whole year.

  13. What is it with Renney playing Korpikoski? 3 points and -5 the whole year. Kalinin is another player with the worst +/-of all defenseman in the league. I would give a younger Corey Potter a chance. Kalinin and Prucha combine for almost 3 million in salary cap space. Prucha is not used and Fritsche either. They go with Korpikoski who makes 1 million a year and is -5 with 3 points the whole year.

  14. czechthemout!!!!! on

    Sam- I’m really disappointed in you.I guess you are like all the other beat writer who cover this team.You guys are all under the putrid infulence of Tom Renney and his Renneaide! With the exception of Larry Brooks who is a dope other than the fact he calls Renney out every now and then,you,zip,Andrew Gross,the guy with the funny name over at the daily news,and the guy before him all drink the renneyaide.The only real tough reporters who ever covered this team were Frank Brown and Mark Everson.All of you guys are bunch of wusses,you’re all affraid the great Tom Renney and cigar puss won’t grant you access,even though they have an obligation to do so.Not just from the league but also from a PR perspective.Stop being afraid and ask him tough questions when you have to,you owe it to your readers both here and at the newspaper.

  15. Stuart, check your facts there buddy. I’m not sure if you’re another Rozsival lover but Redden is signed to 6 years a little more than $6million per year. Rozsival is signed to 4 years @ an average of 5million per year.

    That’s a 2 year contract length and a $1million contract difference. Not only are you wrong there, you’re also wrong assessing their play. Rozsival has been the root of more than 75% of the SH goals against. Rozsival is a mins-11 while Redden is a minus-1. They’ve had similar point totals so far (2 goals, 12 and 13 assists). How you can say Rozsival has been better is obviously a bias, it’s not the case. Both have played poorly, perhaps Rozsival a little worse. You’re also flat-out wrong about your salary numbers and the length of contracts they have. Sharpen up.

  16. Bob and Jordan,

    Then stop reading. If you’re going to be ungrateful about this man’s excellent coverage, then why don’t you both just get the hell of off the site? No ones making you read it. Personally, I believe Sam gives excellent game-day and off-day coverage and keeps us most up to date on all things Rangers.

    And Jordan, where did Weinman say Renney was a genius? He said he pulled the right strings. PLENTY of coaches would have went with Valiquette the day after the worst night of their goalie’s career. And once again, Sam is saying that he just made a good choice in picking Drury to shoot, not that he’s a genius. Renney could have easily picked someone like Dawes to shoot, but he didn’t. Btw, there were 5 rounds in the shootout, not 4. Do you actually watch the games?

  17. Czechthemout,

    It’s not Renneyaide, it’s intelligence. They understand that the perfection that all you fans expect now is impossible. Fans like you are so utterly ungrateful. 5 or 6 years ago, you would have been begging for a coach like Renney to get this team into the playoffs. Now you’re calling for his head without giving him the proper chance he deserves because we’re on a cold streak. They happen. Surprisingly, you can’t win 82 games a year.

  18. czechthemout!!!!! on


    I don’t know Renney personally but I know someone very well who knows Tyutin and is friendly with him.Toots opinion of Renney is 180 dgress diffrent from yours.I’ve only met Toots twice personally and did not have as in depth a talk with him about the ineer workings of the team but I can tell with a high degree of certainty that Renney is only Good to the vets ,that’s why they like him.He is affraid of them and will almost never challenge them on anything.He takes out his frustrations on a select few young players,kids who are intimidated by him and he likes making examples of them.Guys that fit that mold are Prucha,and Dawes.He thinks he’s smarter than everyone and is Glenn Sather’s biggest ass kisser in the orginization.Take it to the bank that Mess although not directly part of the team hates his guts and thinks he’s a weasel.I’ll stop now before I start getting some people in trouble.

  19. “Surprisingly, you can’t win 82 games a year.”

    No you cannot, but you certainly can show up to play 82 times a year.

  20. Peter,

    Cause I’m sure every team manages that feat…

    Like say… the Canadiens losing at home to the Lightning the other day. I’m sure they showed up for that one. I bet all the Canadiens fans are screaming for their coach to be fired as we speak.

  21. Czech,

    I liked Tyutin but since he was traded anything he is likely to say might taste of sour grapes.

    As far a Messier goes, lots of people have the blinders on when it comes to the Messiah and coaching/gm’ing this team.

    The way I heard it, when Moose got to Vancouver, he expected to waltz right in and have everything his way. Afterall, he was MARK MESSIER. Renney stood up to him and got fired for trying to be true to himself and not pander to the aging superstar that went to Vancouver FOR THE MONEY.

    What would Messier’s answer be to help a struggling young player succeed, teach him fundamentals or take him to Scores and get him a lap dance? Please. Spare me the Messier BS. Being a great player does not equate to being a great coach/manager.

  22. czechthemout!!!!! on


    this cold streak has nothing to do with what’s going on.And with all due respect,whta do you mean by “fans like you”? I’ve probobly been a fan of this team longer than you’ve been alive.This team is poorly coached and has been poorly coached for the last two and a half seasons.I give Renney full marks for what he did in the season after the strike.Although,having an all world goalie and an NHL legend on you roster also helps.The problem is that even than as well as now,he fails to recognize what he has on the team and ALWAYS favors vets even if they are inferior to the kids on the team.This is the man who said despite evidence to the contrary that “Weeks is my goalie” while Hank was outplaying the shit out of Weeks.Only an injury gave hank his rightfull place as our number one goalie.Tom Renney can’t make adjustments during the course of a game to save his life.His teams never dictate the style of game.His powerplay is one of the worst in the game even though for the better part of his coaching tenure he’s had the luxury of having many great players to construct a PP that should easily have been one of the better ones in the league. Every player that comes here,be it young or vet has seen theri play dteriorate after their first season. As for his being “good with the kids”,give me a break! Every young player on this team has rgressed with Tom terrific’s “coaching”. Start with Tyutin and continue with Girardi,Dubi,Staal,Dawes,Prucha,.YOu can even make a case for the vets play going to shit after one year. Tom Renney is a talent killer! He is this decades Colin Campbell.Remember him? He had his own Blair Betts,his name was Bill Berg.He also played second line minutes and had fourth line talent.It’s Colin Campbell who tried to make Luc Robitaille into a checker.It’s Colin Campbell who ran Sergei Zubov out of town.It’s Colin Campbell who tried to destroy Alex Kovolev’s career,and this time it will be Tom Renney who is in the process of destroying Dubi,Staal,Girardi and the rest of the kids we have.

  23. I have a hard time imaging Messier in a coaching job too. Being a great player does not equate to your team’s performing well once you step behind the bench, Gretzky for example. Also, the job of a head coach isn’t limited to just the team’s on ice performance, there are other organizational details that are involved (player development, some scouting, travel, staff) and Messier has no experience there either.

    If Messier wants to be a coach he should do what Francis is doing, become an assistant or be like many other former players and start in the AHL or QMJHL.

  24. czechthemout!!!!! on


    for your information,the comments from tToots are from last season,not now.As for my blinders for Mess, you’re right,I’ve got blinders on for the one player who brought us a Satnley Cup that so many others before him promised to deliver.If given the choice of who has more credibility between Renney and Mess,I ‘d choose Messier each and every time.I find it amazing that you have so much faith in a coach who’s biggest claim to fame is that he brought the Canadian junioor team a bronze medal! whooptie damn do! As for Renney standing up to Mess,you don’t seriously believe that due you? IT’s funny just think about that. LOL LOL LOL

  25. He went to Drury as his number FIVE shooter. Sorry, but that doesn’t qualify as a vote of confidence or some sort of mystic intuition in my book.

  26. Sam,

    I enjoy this blog and I enjoy your work.As a journalist, I do understand the delicate balance a beat reporter has to maintain with the team he covers.

    But, the more I read lately, the more I have to agree with some of the other posts here. Are you on the Rangers payroll too?

  27. “And Jordan, where did Weinman say Renney was a genius? He said he pulled the right strings. PLENTY of coaches would have went with Valiquette the day after the worst night of their goalie’s career. And once again, Sam is saying that he just made a good choice in picking Drury to shoot, not that he’s a genius. Renney could have easily picked someone like Dawes to shoot, but he didn’t. Btw, there were 5 rounds in the shootout, not 4. Do you actually watch the games?”

    huh, and why do you and Sam Weinman assume that Valliquette wouldn’t win in regulation? And wow Renney is really a genius because one of his 7 million losers scored in a shootout, how is he a genius when his top 4 choices failed to score in a shootout? Sam Weinman reached a new low in brown-nosing Renney’s butt.

  28. Sam

    I love ya, but this is the worst entry you have ever made on this blog. By ten miles. What, did Renney walk past you in the hallway last night without acknowledging you?

  29. BillyDeeWilliams on

    Sam makes one post saying Renney bashers need to give the slightest credit when something happens to go right, and you all bash him too. This is dumb. Someone disagrees with you, so you put him down.

  30. BillyDeeWilliams on


    I assume Valiquette wouldn’t win in regulation because he won in OT in his last win.

    please shut up

  31. Mhurley, you are way off base about Renney. Just because he slobbered all over you when you asked him a question at a team meeting for season’s subscribers last season, your being flattered by him is getting in the way of your judgment.

    Don’t let that zippy point team record hide the truth. 20-11-2 translates to 12-11-10 which is a .500 team. They may use the shootouts to make the playoffs but they’ll get killed when they get there if things stay as they are right now.

    Both Sather and Renney deserved to be fired and the sooner, the better.

    Your old buddy Rodent has a hard on for Renney. He finally saw the wisdom of my Renney bashing.

  32. ryan – thanks for the 10:57 post the best one in this section. Bob and Jordan can certainly go away. I, for one, won’t miss them.

    Sam – thanks for ALL your great work in giving us info and insights

  33. Lenny,

    FYI, I first met Tom in 2004 during the lockout, not last season at that meeting. He is decent man, a real gentleman and a fine coach. Have you met and spoken to him? Do you know him? Fact is, you wouldn’t know a gentleman if you fell over one. It takes one to know on and you are not one.

    You are the prototypical knee jerk fan that screams for Coaches and GMs to be fired because your team doesn’t win every game 8 to 5 or win the Stanley Cup every year. You would flame whomever coached the Rangers, even if it were Scotty Bowman.

    You have been banned from a number of websites because of the incendiary drivel you peddle, Lenny, Inferno or whatever nom de plume you are using today. You lay under your slimey rock flaming away in anonymity. At least I use my real name and I identify myself when I speak on my blog or in public.

    I hope the Rangers have another successful season for the benefit of Tom and the players and to spite people like you, the Pseudo-Fan. People who carry as much anger and malice as you need to go to a therapist.

  34. mhurley – well said. lenny is a coward, who like you said, creates problems everywhere he posts. pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  35. Namecalling is both your forte’s. Both of you are so full of shit it’s unbelievable.

    That’s why i don’t post here anymore but when I saw Margaret’s ass kissing of renney, just had to respond.

    And for your information, i have met Renney, did a nice thing for a kid at one of the practice sessions a couple of years ago. But being a nice guy doesn’t qualify him as a good coach, real simple thinking on your part Margaret. Thought you were better than that.

    BTW, I am really chardkerm, no wait, I’m inferno, no wait, I’m big turkey…..


  36. You characterize criticism as name calling. Besides, how can we be name calling? No one knows your real name. Go ahead, Lenny keep hiding. Someday you’ll run out of pseudonyms and IP addresses to log on with.

  37. That’s where your thinking is all screwed up. If I would have used an alias, you wouldn’t have known it’s me.

    It’s more fun just being myself so I can develop a history with Ranger polyanna types like you. Last time I used alias’s was when I was warring with Rodent and that was a couple of years ago. In fact, some jerks used my handle as their alias on Zipay’s site which is why I don’t post there any more.

    Believe what you will but unless some idiot is using my handle as their alias, I just post everywhere as lennynyr. If you think I am using an alias, point out which posts you think are mine. That should be a lot of fun.

  38. Lenny,

    You are not worth any more of my time or energy. Were I Sam, I’d ban you. But Sam, like Renney, is too nice.

  39. You know you are beat so you turn tail and run away. OK by me, I said what I wanted to say to you. Keep kissing Tom’s ass, I’m sure he loves it. He’s a nice guy so keep kissing!!!

    Have a nice day!!

  40. Czech….

    An intellectually correct and very detailed outline of precisely what is and has been wrong with this team for years.

    Renney has had the good fortune to have a Sugar Daddy on his way up, and when that happens it takes a long while before his basic ineptitude begins to register with certain folks. The main reason for this is that “Daddy” doesn’t want to fess up to making an error by hiring him, and then compounding it by making extravagant laudatory remarks about him.

    But make no mistake – his fundamental inadequacy will by the very nature of the system, bring about his downfall, and “Daddy” will have no choice but to pull the plug( Oh yes – he might hold a sopping wet hanky to his eyes in doing it,) but he will depart. It may already be too late to salvage what is left of this season, because the table has been set for these guys. You can already see the creativity of outstanding players being daily eroded.. This does not look like a major league calibre team and were it not for the illusion of potency that has been given them by their goaltender, they would be skirting the wind. It’s inevitable.

  41. the team is playing the Cap

    they’re gaming the system

    there is enough depth in the system to sit down rozival+2 or 3 other players in a pure salary dump or trade for players that could be bought out easily

    and still be a good team

    Mckeen’s had Petr Prucha as 1st line RW

    and predicted a respectable 20+ goals….the disaster that is the NYR playing down young talent is actually a way of saving cap cash…just think the most valuable player on the team is Henrik
    and the team clearly has no #1 defender…nobody short of the extremely stacked Hurricanes has ever won a cup w/o a #1 Defender since the 1993 season where the playoff Format changed.

    Right now the Blueshirts are poised to use Sundin the Way that Carolina used Weight to have 3 complete #1 lines w/ a top Center…Drury might not be the fanciest passer but he can play as a #1 Pivot if needed He just needs some power forwards to play w/

    As for Gomez he was an 84 pt guy on a #! line for the NJD and that wasn’t one of their most offensive squads…

    Between Gomez
    and Sundin

    they should be able to ice 4 complete lines

    But what about Betts…(*he was used at RW b4)

    how’s this the NYR send Fritsche+Dawes+Kalinin to the Panthers for Future Considerations…we won’t know what those Future Considerations are for now..but maybe if Jay B. is available later in the season….
    Trade Rismiller+ a pick to TB for Artukhin
    how’s this for a lineup—-

    Naslund–Sundin–Sjostrom(Remember him!—)

    5 lines


    6_+1 spare defenders…nobody is elite but each line from 1-4 has
    A–1 First line player(check THN’s2000-1 annual)
    B-1 2nd line player
    C-1 3rd line player

    And no 4th line Energy Guys/Grinders that can’t score at least 15-20 goals
    *if you see an upswing in Betts goal scoring and confidence he could scratch about 12-15 goals
    or be swapped out for Korpikoski —its time to place a premium on good backchecking on playing whomever can produce offensive chances…Right now Betts is helping out 2 ways so he stays…but if he goes on a cold streak…time to sit and get his motivational/Energy level up
    But this team is too good both on paper and in reality to be this mediocre….they need speed on the Blueline(hence shipping out quality youth to Florida for Future Considerations ahem..eventually Jbo’s exclusive negotiating rights which last time I checked cost 0 against the Salary Cap_)

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