Breath of fresh air

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For a team that is riding a scintillating one-game winning streak, the Rangers were a buoyant bunch at practice today, a mood best encapsulated by an impromptu 55th birthday celebration for trainer Bruce “The Masseuse” Lifrieri. After the entire team gathered in a trainer’s room for the surprise, Paul Mara brought in a cake and the entire group broke into a hardy, if woefully off-key version of “Happy Birthday.”

“Needs work,” I said after players filed out of the room.

No one was in a position to disagree.

As for their performance on the ice, the Rangers say they are content to be back to the defensive style that defined the early part of their season. That may not be what people want to hear if they think 2-1 hockey games are a tad on the dull side. But it’s very much what the team thinks it needs to be successful.

“The last three or four games we’ve really gotten back to working,” Markus Naslund said. “We weren’t making lazy plays, but now we’re more on our toes. It’s a work in progress, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

Some other notes:

<li>Naslund didn’t skate today because of a tweaked groin. He worked out off-ice and is expected to be fine for tomorrow.

<li>For months a collection of Brendan Shanahan sticks have sat in a spot right inside the door to the Rangers’ dressing room. Those sticks were finally gone today, and now presumably sit in a similar spot in Newark.

<li>Great line from Lauri Korpikoski when walking past a bunch of us in the Rangers’ dressing room. “Goal-scorer coming through,” he said.

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83 Comments

  1. First…

    And thats excellent from Korpi.

    Also, would you trade this years 1st pick, gomez, rosival and possibly someone from Hartford for kovalchuck?

  2. chris,

    i’d rather dump Redden then Rozsival if we are giving up so much already try to slip him by… if not then go for it lol… but its worth a shot.

    that is great from Korpi! Good to see the kid is keeping his sense of humor…

  3. Actually Sam 2-1 games can be QUITE exciting. Its just the Rangers make them dull with their style of play also knows as “the sytem”.

  4. “Bruce the Masseuse”… not very flattering, since “masseuse” is the female version of the word. “Masseur” is the male version.

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Main Entry:
    mas·seuse
    Pronunciation:
    \-?s?(r)z, -?süz\
    Function:
    noun
    Etymology:
    French, feminine of masseur
    Date:
    1879

    : a woman who practices massage

  5. “Also, would you trade this years 1st pick, gomez, rosival and possibly someone from Hartford for kovalchuck?”

    In a heartbeat!

  6. howya – I attempted to reply to your post, but I got some f’n error message, then it was gone. Hopefully this one makes it. Don’t have the time right this second to retype it all. I’d be willing to revisit the thought later however. Gotta a lunch meeting though now. A FREE one! Otherwise, I’d stay an chat.

    great line by korpi

  7. Sam
    one of you guys should have responded to Korpi:

    “Goal scorer? whats that?”

    or

    “watch your mouth or you’ll be benched”

    or

    “Your now on pace for three”

    or

    “Kaspar is the greatest defensemen of all time”

    all above would have been appropriate responses.

  8. Maybe because it was vs Ottawa, but Redden played a good game. Also, Rozi has done an abrupt u-turn and is playing like he did 2 years ago, good solid hockey. Well like the Winston “the wolf” Wolfe line,it’s been posted here many times, let’s see how they do tomorrow.

  9. Who Needs Lohan on

    Does anyone else wonder if Renney was upset that we didnt give up a goal Saturday so we could get to our beloved 2-1 total???

  10. I think it was Redden’s right hand in the fight that he won by knock-out a few games ago that has lit the fire under him. And Rosi has been good for the last 10 games actually.

  11. Roszival and Redden have been fine for the last two weeks, and generally the team has been playing better despite a stretch of .500 hockey or so.

    Gomez is KILLING us. But I don’t think he will be traded (that’s obvious, actually, Sather is NOT trading Gomez), nor do I want him to be traded.

    I think Gomez is capable of turning his game around. He’s in a bad, bad funk right now, but then again, so is Drury. I think, like Jagr last year, these guys will start to produce down the stretch in Feb/March/April. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, I don’t know.

    But another note on trading: you’re supposed to trade when value is high to maximize returns. This is not a difficult concept to understand, so the requests to trade Gomez are a little outlandish. If he gets hot, then you shop him…but then you might be more inclined to hold on to him too. Ah, the great conundrum of trading.

  12. So?
    The age old question again…

    Is Gomez “the problem”…the reason we have no offense to speak of

    or

    Is Gomez fixing his “problem” the cure for the Rangers having offense

    discuss…

  13. ThisYearsModel on

    Interesting. The Rangers have gone back to the defensive posture of early in the season. Sure looked like a neutral zone trap in the third period in Ottawa.

  14. pavel – good luck.
    Zanon is so underrated – like Duncan Keith in Chi-town.
    I’d love to snag him.
    Nashville is a freaking defenseman factory.
    Philly’s got two of their castoffs in Vaananen and Parent.
    Nice castoffs…

  15. It helps that Ottawa players tie their left and right skates together too…

    I know the Sens are not built right but to be this bad?? its something else..no?

    Something in the head or heart

  16. Kaspar, i wasnt part of the rip Gomez train but the past 3weeks he has been horrible.

    Regarding my trade Idea- I would be open to that because with playing ATL 3x a year now the chance of those players biting us in the ass is slim to none now…

    Also I say Rosival because unfortunately 5mill for a productive player(who has been getting better maybe he needed time to get his hip better) has been better than a crappy Redden at 6.5million.

    I would do that trade in a heart beat becasue unless your getting Tavares with that first pick whats the point of the rest up that board this year?? The 4th Staal kid might not go till the 2nd round so we still have a shot at him.

  17. The real graves9 on

    I wouldn’t say Redden has been on fire or anything but he’s been better. Rozsival has competely turned it around partly due to playing with Staal and partly due to him being 100%.

  18. Kaspar

    I dont think Gomez is necessarily the “problem” as much as I really dont like him – I cant see why he cant be useful. He is very fast, but 8-10 time coughs up the puck or makes errant passes into players skates. Whether one wants to blame is line mates for not keeping up with him. Then align him with the faster players on the team. IMO, I dont think that is the problem. I really cant put my finger on it. We will never know what is said at team meetings, behind closed door or what is said on the bench. Although, I wouldnt mind if someone had tickets to the seats right behind the Rangers bench to know what IS said during the games. Gomez has been somewhat successful in NJ. I say “somewhat” because he really didnt put up very good individual points. Now his line mates, in Gionta & Elias are VERY good players. Um better than 85% of the forwards on the Rangers right now.

  19. Mako
    During commercial breaks during Giants travesty yesterday I kept switching to the NHL network where they showed Devils Vs Avalanche from ‘2001 finals…game 6 Avs won 4-0 Drury scored

    Roy vs Brodeaur

    Drury vs Gomez

    Very interesting

  20. The real graves9 on

    Amazing what a joke Tampas ownership is. They have made a 100 mistakes and never should have been approved by the board of governors but then again they’ll approve any owner even if it’s an chimp with a bag of cash(which would be an improvement over Tampas ownership group. Tampa had become a good Hockey town but it’s been torn apart and now has lost alot of it’s fanbase.

  21. Travesty it was… :(

    And as poetic justice would have it. They both end up team mates on the Rangers. Who woulda thunk it ;)

  22. “i’d rather dump Redden then Rozsival if we are giving up so much already try to slip him by… if not then go for it lol… but its worth a shot.”

    Obviously, but no team is going to take Redden.

  23. I think the Thrashers should trade Kovalchuk because he is one of the laziest, unmotivated and overrated players in this league. I can’t believe they made him their captain today, probably a desperate attempt to light a fire under him. Analysts on Hockey Night in Canada showed a few examples last week of how this guy can quit on a play at the worst possible time, like going for a line change when it will obviously create a 2 on 1 break for the opposition. He just doesn’t care. If he had Ovechkin’s heart, he’d have Ovechkin’s numbers. Unfortunately, his heart ressembles more that of Alexei Yashin. The simple fact that some posters on here would be ready to trade a first round pick, Gomez and Roszival for him shows just how badly Atlanta should deal him before everyone realizes just how bad a player he truly is.

    Here’s an article emphasizing this point:

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/22159-Screen-Shots-Thrashers-cant-wait-to-deal-Kovalchuk.html

  24. “The simple fact that some posters on here would be ready to trade a first round pick, Gomez and Roszival for him shows just how badly Atlanta should deal him before everyone realizes just how bad a player he truly is.”

    He’s a proven sniper and his salary on the books for one year is better than Gomez’s 7.3m for 4 more years and Blozsival’s 5m for 4 more years… that’s 12.3m.. forget about trading Drury.. he has a Toronto-like NTC.

    I say clear as much space as humanly possible and go after Hossa in the summer… but it won’t happen.

  25. Pavel, that would be a great idea to dump that salary on Dallas (who needs D like a cure for cancer), rid ourselves of Redden who is clearly a mistake, and use that added cap space to make a move down the line.

    BTW, ATL just named Kovalchuk as captain today. I wonder if that will have any bearing on him being moved.

  26. I think Atlanta is trying to give him a push by giving the C.. either way he has 509 points in 509 games on a team that’s been to the playoffs twice?

  27. He can CLEARLY be a 100pt a year player….

    He’s just on the wrong team. No supporting cast – well now that Savard is gone…

  28. If we got Kovalchuk this board wiould become the anti-Kovy board within two weeks..

    Another sather blunder…all dollars no heart…if all the former cup winners we added to roster cant make us winners what makes you guys think this loser will??

  29. Salty

    No way Vinny goes to Boston. They would have to trade for Chara straight up (for cap space) and another player, who knows who they would ask for. I think BOS is great the way they are. But next season Vinny’s extension kicks into $10MM per up until 15/16. That’s effin crazy LOL

  30. The real graves9 on

    I’d take Kovalchuk with the right linemates he goes back to a 50+ goal scorer. Hell he scored 50 goals last year playing with third liners. He is sulking because the team is a laughinstock with no fans. He comes here he’d light it up. He would actually add some flash to the most boring team in the league bar none.

  31. I’m all in favor of clearing cap space by getting rid of Roszival, Redden, Drury and Gomez, if possible. However, I wouldn’t waste a first round pick in order to get Kovalchuk for one season, and I simply don’t trust that he’s gonna bring it every game for the next 5 years if we sign him to a long term extension.

    He’s a career -86 and never had a plus season. I realize that Atlanta has never been a good team, but this is supposed to be his team. He’s suppose to help turn things around. Look at the impact Ovechkin had on the Capitals when he entered the league. You can’t tell me he had much more support in the first couple years than Kovalchuk has had in Atlanta. Obviously things are different now in Washington.

  32. I agree Graves. Kovalchuk has a propensity for becoming unhinged, and I don’t see him as a leader. Especially not here, with Naslund, Drury and Gomez, not to mention the younger guys like Dubi, Cally, Betts and Mara who could easily wear letters

  33. The real graves9 on

    Pierre nobody is saying Kovalchuk is on the level with Ovie(nobody is) but he would be by far the best offensive player on this team. Other teams would have to matchup against him and he would take pressure away from guys like Drury and Gomez(who can’t handle being the man) he would also up all kinds of ice for his linemates.

  34. The real graves9 on

    Oh yeah Kovalchuk had Heately and Savard and Kozlov early in his carreer. Atlanta missed the playoffs in 05-06 because Lehtonen was hurt and Dunham was a sieve they made it in 06-07 hell Atlanta was great in the second half of 02-03 but they just missed the playoffs and the next year was ruined because of the Heately car crash.

  35. All Hail King Henrik on

    For a good portion of last season, Kovi put the Thrashers on his back and was carrying them as best 1 player possibly could. Up until the 45-50 or so game of the season, he was leading the league (Ovechkin) in goals.

    He scored 52 goals playing with scrubs. Players that would probably only be able to play on our 4th line, IF play for us at all.

    Yes, he is a career minus. Yes, he is completely mailing it in right now. Can you really blame him? He’s in his 7th season with ATL, and still the organization hasn’t done anything to make itself successful.

    He does not like to play defense, and so he can be a bit lazy on the defensive side of the puck at times. However, he makes up for it with his offense. Anyone who watched him through the first 60 games last year could see this. He was just flying, creating everything by himself, and was on pace for 60+ goals for most of the year (slowed down at the end when playoffs were way out of sight).

    Put him on a team where he knows that if he plays to his potential, they will be succesful, and you’d see just how good of a player he is. Last three seasons–52G, 42G, 52G; if that’s him being lazy, then sign his lazy ass to a contract.

    He’s a perennial 45-55 goal scorer; why would the Rangers need something like that…

    Of course, the salary cap makes this discussion nearly pointless.

  36. The real graves9 on

    I dunno would Atlanta trade Kovalchuk for Zherdev and Rozsival? I like the way that Rozy’s turned it around but I’d make that trade.

  37. Boston is going to have some cap issues if some of those players stay hot.

    Kessel has a handful more points than jordan staal does over the start of their careers. Kessel was taken a few spots higher in the same draft. He’s going to be due the same contract before 7/1, or he should just walk. He’s even missed time due to illness and still managed to keep pace with a guy that jumps over the boards on the PP just to get a pass from Crosby or Malkin. I think staal can bring a little more to his game with his size. But I think kessel is a more dynamic player. Pay that man.

  38. Kovalchuk would be a great fit in NY, as long as he is not put in a position of leadership. He needs a good supporting cast around him, which NY could supply. Zherdev was a minus player for Columbus, so that stat doesn’t put me off about Kovy. Realistically, if we dumped Drury or Gomez, he would fit under the cap. Throw in another player and a draft pick, it would be exciting to have a legit A list star player again.

    The problems Kovy would have here are not with the players but with the system. His hockey instincts tell him to attack, but Renney’s system dictates him hold back. He comes here, his production drops off for sure unless a new coach is put in place

  39. “The problems Kovy would have here are not with the players but with the system. His hockey instincts tell him to attack, but Renney’s system dictates him hold back. He comes here, his production drops off for sure unless a new coach is put in place.”

    ATL didn’t play a defensive system with Kovy AND Hossa, and couldn’t win shit. I’d take a defensive postured team over a flashy new player anyday.

  40. My point there is that a guy can score 100 goals in a season. But it doesn’t win you anything.

    I don’t mind 82 games that finish 2-1. As long as we’re on the right side of that most of the time.

  41. Yes Beer Me….Kalinin’s plus minus has come in from -17 to wherever it is now. I am saying he has gotten settled. I hope so. A guy can hope can’t he? Even Rosy has started to get his stuff together. It just took him getting his face smashed in by a door on the bench to make it happen.

    Need a lot of luck and hope now that my Giants laid an egg.

  42. Best case scenario, the Thrashers would be asking, at the very least, for a first rounder, a good young forward like Callahan and probably Roszival to make it work under the cap. I would like to get rid of Rozy’s contract, but not Callahan and a first rounder for half a season of Kovalchuk, even if he is more motivated than ever. He’s gonna keep commanding 7+ million dollars because he does put up big numbers and I rather pay those kinds of dollars to guys who can be scorers and leaders(I’m thinking more Joe Thornton or Jarome Iginla type players, not Drury and Gomez). I realize that those guys aren’t exactly available right now, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend money on who is available. That’s how we got stuck with Redden and Rozy. A little bit of patience and the emergence of our current prospects like Anisimov, Grachev, Sanguinetti and Del Zotto could allow us to trade away big contracts and sign guys who’s best years are ahead of them.

  43. Merge Atlanta-Tampa-Florida move them to southern Ontario

    Merge Phoenix-Nashville and Columbus move them to Wiinipeg

    and there you are:

    east: Ny, NYI, NJ, Phill, Pitt,Wash, Carolina
    Mont, Bos, Buff, Tor, Ott, New team in southern Ont

    west: Det, Stl, Chi, Minn, Col, Dallas
    Edm, Van, Calg, New Winnipeg, La, Sjose, Anah

  44. zZzZ 13 ZzZz rules!! on

    Hate to say it but ….like Holik , Gomez doe not belong here. He should be playing for NJ with Shannahan . He fit thier system good and when he left , he left life time linemates Gionta and elias!! Why would he do that?

    Gomez has certainly not lost a step but he has lost his vision and his shot. I don’t think we can trade him but I can see gomers stock falling faster.He need to be coached by someone else or something. If I spent 7 million on something and it didn’t work , I’d do something about it …come on Glen , make a move already.

    Vinny to Boston would be sick , Boston is so dam good and to add Vinny …sick. Chara would stay in boston , Boston would n’t be as dumb as Ottawa and let go Chara .( but they did trade Joe Thorton )Ottawa went to shit after they traded Chara , which they should have traded Redden.

  45. Hey Beer me!

    Do the owners have any power to terminate the CBA at all??
    Or did they leave themselves powerless?

    I mean..if they think the whole thing is going to hell..all they can do is sit back and watch the NHLPA extend It?

    Did they win or lose this last battle??

    What’ya know boss daddy?

  46. zZzZ 13 ZzZz rules!! on

    Trade Gomez and Girardi ,1st round pick to Atlanta for Kovalchuk . Rozi or Redden , yeah fur shur if we can.
    We will get shanked in this deal but Kovalchuk is awsome.

  47. The real graves9 on

    Beer Me!
    January 12th, 2009 at 3:55 pm
    My point there is that a guy can score 100 goals in a season. But it doesn’t win you anything.

    I don’t mind 82 games that finish 2-1. As long as we’re on the right side of that most of the time.

    Really? Most teams that can’t score go nowhere in the playoffs. Oh yeah look at the last few dynasties in the NHL the Oilers could score as well as any team in Nhl history. The Isles had plenty of offense and The Red Wings are one of the deeepest teams in Hockey from scoring and defense ass well. This team is where it’s at mostly thanks to stupid shootout wins.

  48. I think what protects the owners the most is in the last paragraph of that article. The escrow account that the players pay 13.5% of their annual salaries into is pretty much the owners last line of defense before they start losing $.

    But what I don’t get is how a team like PHX can hemorrhage $ just by turning on the lights. Perhaps the cap floor calculations need to be revisited next time around.

  49. The real graves9 on

    Pierre wake me up when Joey T. comes up big in the playoffs. He is a great passer but he is pretty soft for a big man he never goes in the corners or to the front of the net. That is where you need to be when it’s crunch time.

  50. “Most teams that can’t score go nowhere in the playoffs.”

    I wish we had all the cups the devs won by playing that low scoring hockey.

    There’s more than 1 way to win in the NHL. But management decided to take the lower risk avenue by building a more defensive team. Whether its a defensive system, or outstanding dmen. Defense will get you better results the majority of the time.

  51. Ottawa went to shit after they traded Chara , which they should have traded Redden.
    As my boy Mark Jackson sez you’re better than that Greg! Didn’t you say u live in Canada? You should know how Andre the Chara really left Ottawa.

  52. “ATL didn’t play a defensive system with Kovy AND Hossa, and couldn’t win shit. I’d take a defensive postured team over a flashy new player anyday.”

    True enough, but they also played without a defense or decent goaltending. Look at the goaltending stats from 05-06, only Lehtonen had a sv % above .9 with a 9.06, and their GAA is just about 3. Atrocious. Even a good team would have trouble winnign with those stats, let alone an ATL team with very sparce D. Rozsival looks like Lidstrom compared to some of those guys. The Rangers have the benefit of Hank in goal, and half of a d core that is pretty steady. Kovalchuk is more than a flashy new player, he’s a legit superstar that has proven his ability over time.

  53. Beer Me!
    January 12th, 2009 at 4:21 pm
    “Most teams that can’t score go nowhere in the playoffs.”

    I wish we had all the cups the devs won by playing that low scoring hockey.

    There’s more than 1 way to win in the NHL. But management decided to take the lower risk avenue by building a more defensive team. Whether its a defensive system, or outstanding dmen. Defense will get you better results the majority of the time.

    Devils lead the league in scoring in 99-00 and 00-01 no? They had that great A line so even though they played defensive Hockey they had go to guys on the offensive end during their cup runs(Broten, Richer, Claude, Mclean in 95) Elias, Sykora, Arnott, Clade , Mogilny, Mckay in ’00 and in ’03 they had Elias, Langenbrunner, Niedwendyuk, Friesen, Nieds and Rafalski on the backline with offense too) Who is the Rangers offensive go to guy?

  54. At least Joey T has made it to the playoffs. Vinny Lecavalier appears to be available. I would gladly pay him 7 million a year, and trade away a good prospect, a roster player and a first rounder to get him. He might not put up quite the numbers that Kovalchuk does but the Rangers would be a better team with him than Kovalchuk in my opinion. I’d even take Spezza before Kovalchuk, but I hope the Rangers don’t go that route.

  55. Great misconception is that the Devils couldn’t score

    They were always in top half of the league in scoring and like graves said were first or second luike three years in a row

    If you keep hearing something long enough everyone starst believeing it in spite of the facts

    Like Global warming being taught in elementary schools…scary stuff

    devils and global warming

  56. In fact the year the Devs missed the playoffs ( 95-96?) that was the only time they finished below the midway point in the league in goals scored!!!

  57. zZzZ 13 ZzZz rules!! on

    (badseed)
    I Did say Chara’s traded….yes actually he did leave via freeagent , ty graves9 . I was saying that they had a choice to sign Redden or Chara , and they choose Redden. Bad mistake. btw Im not an easterner , us down here don’t like many east canadian team but the leafs are ok. Im in Saskatoon , Middle prairies. c-cold out side!!

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