After the 2-1 snoozer of a victory …

64

Somebody wanted me to show some, uh, guts and ask John Tortorella about the power play. Well, I was about to do that, but I was beaten to the question.

“It wasn’t good,” the coach said. “But I’m not going to run it down with you. We’ve got to work at it. That’s my responsibility. My responsibility is to try to help them. You guys are going to run it down. I’m going to try to help them get it better. Some coaching needs to come into this, too. So I need to take some responsibility there.”

He admitted that the Rangers played Minnesota’s game to a degree, and had to grind it out.

“You don’t realize how difficult that game is to play, and to grind,” he said. “They don’t give you much. I think the chances were, like, 8-8. Awful to watch. I thought it was an awful game to watch. But we found a way to win.”

And he liked Mike Sauer on defense:
“The thing that sticks out to me with Mike is … defense is the toughest position to play; goaltending is the most important, defense is the toughest. The thing that I’m impressed with him is that when you have a call-up, it’s off the glass and out — ‘I just want to get rid of the puck.’ I loved his poise with the puck. There were times where we’re trying to move the puck to the other side to get away from some forechecking and up the strong side doesn’t work. I thought he had chances to just get rid of the puck and give his problem to someone else, but he kept control of it, held onto it, and made a better play to his partner and we’re out. That’s what impressed me the most.
“And I like his size. He looks big in a uniform. He’s a right-handed shot. He steps in, I think he played pretty well tonight and we’ll see where we go with it.” 

I asked Henrik Lundqvist about the swings when it’s this late in the season and every win feels like a win streak and every loss a losing streak.

“It’s like in the playoffs, You can’t let it stay in your head for too long because the schedule is pretty busy, too. So you move on — fast. You try to learn from every game and move on. I think we learned a little from teh game the other night. We played alright, but we hav eto be a little more aggressive. And we can’t skate around and hope it’s going ot take care of itself. We have to go after the other team. I think we did that a lot better tonight.”

The Rangers are five up on ninth-place Florida, and really that’s the race that matters most. Just finish in the top eight, baby.

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64 Comments

  1. I suck. So does ‘Won’t Make the Playoffs.” So does Gargoyle. So does Sean. So does Beer Me. So does Lobster. So does Timbo.

  2. haha well PP looked awful against the #2 PK team though… But yeah we gotta work on it a lot! Morris seems to be the only guy who gets decent shots through.

  3. it was truly a snoozer, been awhile since I had to fight staying awake watching a Post-Renney game. I also liked how Sauer played today.

    Well, it is off to Atlanta…..Let’s Go Rangers!

  4. “The thing that sticks out to me with Mike is … defense is the toughest position to play; goaltending is the most important, defense is the toughest. The thing that I’m impressed with him is that when you have a call-up, it’s off the glass and out—‘I just want to get rid of the puck.’ I loved his poise with the puck. There were times where we’re trying to move the puck to the other side to get away from some forechecking and up the strong side doesn’t work. I thought he had chances to just get rid of the puck and give his problem to someone else, but he kept control of it, held onto it, and made a better play to his partner and we’re out. That’s what impressed me the most.”

    This man knows hockey. Much better than Renney too. So glad this team is now winning and exciting to watch. FORECHECKING rules. Cally and the boys are loving this system!!

    All I wanted last year was Jagr or Avery back (in that order) and we got Avery! But with salary cap situation and all the RFAs and UFAs I wonder if we can keep Mara, Antropov, or Z. So much of the Rangers future is locked into who we need to keep, which is the kids and some of the guys who are due (Mara, Antropov, Z, and other UFAs). Valiquette included.

    We need to waive Redden please! we could afford a Mara, + the RFAs we need to re-sign and maybe even an Antropov or Z

  5. noonan-Redden is here to stay unfortunately but he looks better (not great) but better in Torts’s system. Rozi only makes $4.33 million as an actual salary (cap hit of $5 million for three years) so he could be moved and we’ll see about Naslund. Also, no guarantees with Betts and Sjo who I like a lot but if someone offers both of those guys double salary or a 2/3s raise, Sather is gonna have a tough time resigning them. The 4th line next year could be AA and insert Hartford buddies.

    Very impressed with Sauer.

  6. I’ll take a snoozer of a win over a thriller of a loss any day. Big win at a crucial time when points mean the most.

  7. That was a snoozer? come on. I thought the first two periods were pretty darned exciting. Lots of scoring chances, fights, you name it.

    The dreaded Lemaire trap had a lot to do with it, but Ive seen so many Rangers games that just sucked this year even ones we won.

    I was happy to see Sauer out there and skating like he belonged. Hope he stays.

  8. i think that was one of the better games the rangers played under torts…i don’t understand the whole snoozer thing

    also..the PP wasn’t that bad…they just didn’t score, but there were a lot of chances generated

    i thought it was pretty damn exciting for a 2-1 game

    we held them to 15 shots all game…blah…i just don’t understand why tonight’s game is being looked at in a negative light

  9. I don’t care how they win, as long as they get the two points.

    The PP wasn’t that bad; it was the #1 and #2 PKs going against each other. For all you Marvel Comics fans, it was like the unstoppable force (Juggernaut) vs. the immovable object (The Blob).

    Morris didn’t have that great a game on the PP but it’s ok, they did their job. Now they gotta stay on their toes and take it to ATL.

  10. little green men on

    The thing you have to like about Morris on the powerplay is that he is not afraid to shoot, and he doesn’t hesitate! Rosi should be a second pair dman on the powerplay or not even see time on the powerplay. Rosi on the powerplay is everything we despised about Renney’s follies. He has gotten better, but I don’t know if he has it in him to use that big shot without hesitation.

  11. I cannot tell everyone how much I hate the versus telecasts. The play by play guy is so non-exciting, everything is “what do you think Edso” BS, and Lauri Korpikoski turns from Russian to Polish (Korpikowski)…..

  12. The PP wasn’t that bad???? I don’t care if they had 20 shots on goal, it’s brutal.

  13. LOL at Polish Korpi..I noticed that too. That PxP announcer was probably the worst one I’ve seen on VS. Also, what happened to their PP clock? They spent too much time talking abuot things and not enough PxP.

    Anyway, I agree with those who said the game was NOT really a snoozer, especially when you compare it to some of the Renney games. It wasn’t as exciting as say, the Boston game, but it had it’s moments. The PP was at least generating offense sometimes (but still too much passing, and not enough shots). I thought this was Morris’ worst game as a Ranger. I saw him lose the puck at the BL at least 3x on keep ins. But he wasn’t bad. Sauer impressed me in that he made NO glaring mistakes, just played solid in the Girardi mode. Nice to know we have some D talent on the farm and we can concentrate on O in the coming drafts.

  14. Jane, your new profile picture is better than the last one, but it still doesn’t do you justice. You also have a great voice which makes me wonder if you’ve ever thought of a career in radio. Watching you and Carps yesterday on the live chat…the two of you have really good chemistry and would make a good tandem for a much-needed local hockey broadcast. Just something you might want to consider in the future is all I’m saying. :)

    Carps, considering you were at the game last night and got to watch Sauer close up for 60 minutes, what do you realistically think his chances are of cracking the lineup next season? Between him, Potter and Sanguinetti, he definitely seemed like the one with the best shot, would you agree?

  15. I will take the win and the two points. Definitely a boring game to watch, but it takes patience Axl Rose to win a game every now and then. I just love having Avery back. If he is not scoring goals, he is going to be doing something. As long as he keeps up that kind of play, I don’t think anyone would not want him here.

    On a side note. The re issue and remastering of Ten by Peal Jam came out yesterday. It is really really good, and you can get the deluxe version with the DVD of the complete MTV Unplugged session. I suggest picking it up if you are a fan.

  16. nasty – Best Pearl Jam album ever. I have every single one and I just think nothing comes close to it.. except maybe Vs.

  17. perkins just remembered to change his name back, on

    noonan- k i wont call cally a dumbass, but dont call me a dumbass, ok, dumbass.a j/k buddy. sauer looked good. definitely needs to be brought up next season, we just have too many good young players to sign and hes a cheap, viable alternative to redden, rozy, girardi. i think only rozy will go, but either way, you know somethin has to give next year.

  18. Michael Sauer > “Harry” Potter

    Michael Sauer > Bobby Sanguinetti

    Michael Sauer < Michael Rossival

    Poised and confident, Sauer played a solid all-around game last night. However, I want a verteran on the blueline come playoff time, and despite Rossival’s inept play at times, he’s still an elite defenseman by this league’s standards.

    Next year is a whole new ball game.

  19. BillyDeeWilliams on

    sauer plays one game and he’s better than roszival? you can think roszival is the worst player in the history of the league and that still doesn’t make sense.

  20. Nasty thanks for the PJ update

    been watching the MTV/ unplugged thing on youtube too long

  21. Yeah man, and this one has the whole show. When it aired they didn’t include Oceans. On the DVD they have Oceans. Also, there are two cd’s. The original Ten remastered to just sound better, and a Redux version, that long time Producer Brendan O’Brien played around with the sound board and changed some things around. Some people don’t think the album should ever be touched at all, but what he did is pretty cool, and it just kind of gives you a different appreciation of the album. I have to say that I like it a lot.

  22. Kaspar, that is exactly what I am taking about. You can get it as Best Buy for 27.99 also, and their version has three free PJ Rock Band downloads for any gaming system. The artwork and booklet is really cool too.

  23. Rossival does things in a hockey capacity that an average fan doesn’t see. For example, he protects the puck better than any defenseman on the team; second, he has great vision and makes a smart first pass on the breakout with regularity; third, he has a very high hockey IQ and defensively understands where to be when he doesn’t have the puck in our own end.

    He’s not the 6M goal scoring defenseman we paid him to be, but that doesn’t mean he’s without value.

  24. I’m beginning to think the “Potvin Sucks!” chant at MSG is OCD-like.

    I was at last night’s game and Ulf Nilsson was shown on Garden Vision.

    This is the guy Denis Potvin knocked out which started the “Potvin Sucks!” chant. While a few people clapped, there were no “Potvin Sucks!” chants during this time. The next “Potvin Sucks!” chant was like three minutes later.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulf_Nilsson

  25. Is Staal getting better and better as we watch? Yes he is becoming a force out there,he is showing more nastiness and aggresivness. As this kid gets bigger and stronger he will be a top defenseman in this league for many many years.Speaking of defenseman,Sauer played a very good and smart game. He showed some toughness in scrums and some very nice puck moving skills. It’s nice that he is finally healthy .Add him with Staal ,Girardi,Del Zotto and Bobby Sangs and we have the promise of an outsstanding defense for many years to come.(once we get rid of miss rosy and deaden)
    As for Cally I think he is just unselfish but the right play was to bury it.Avery played a better game and had his first fight since comming back,(it was about time).One thing would have made the game better and that was if someone would have crushed Gaborick(sorry for the spelling). I know Dubi challanged him but they have to learn when a player does something like that you don’t challange with words you grab him and force him to answer for it.
    Brandon,your right rosi does have value to us and that is he can be our scout over in the czech rep while he skates out his contract over there.

  26. Lovin’ the Pearl Jam side discussion! Gonna pick up one of the reissues on Friday (payday!).

    Re: Hockey –

    I was at the game last night and I certainly wasn’t entertained for most of the night, but that really doesn’t matter, especially when there are 8 games left in the regular season. Tortorella is 100% correct…sometimes you have to grind out a win like that and the Rangers did. What I really like about Tortorella is that last night’s game proves he can make adjustments. That’s the mark of a very good coach. A lot of people complained that Renney wouldn’t attack weaker defensive teams, especially on home ice, and I can see eye to eye with that complaint now. Last night, Tortorella knew Lemaire’s system wouldn’t give them many odd-man rushes or prolonged stretches of pressure, so the Rangers emphasized smart neutral zone play and patience and it paid off.

    Also, I’ve gotta throw in my usual compliment to Sean Avery. Brandon above talks about Roszival doing little things (generally I agree), and Avery is another guy who executes them to perfection. There might not be a better player on the team at pulling the puck off the wall in the defensive zone and making a good outlet pass. His backhand pass to Gomez was PERFECT, as was Scotty’s one-timer.

    My point is, people notice the big things Avery does. The irritating, the hitting, the fighting, the goals, and formerly the public comments, but if they ACTUALLY WATCHED entire shifts, they’d realize what a great hockey player he truly is. His value to this team cannot be overstated.

  27. Broadway Roe on

    Matt B- I noticed the same thing! I was telling my fiance about Nilsson and my section (221) seemed shocked to hear the story. I was waiting for the Potvin chant after they showed him, but it seemed to me like nobody noticed.

    I think it’s just something that is tradition and can’t be stopped.

  28. I ordered Phish tix and only got SPAC :( Wanted Hartford Meadows I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!!

  29. What I liked about lasts nights game was the Rangers agression…The Wild are, supposedly, a big physical team…last year they professed to be the new “Ducks” if you remember…the rangers never stopped laying it on them…even Redden a couple of times!!

    In last years game,lost in the 5 goal preformance by Marion Ga-injured-reserve-borik was how the Wild smash mouthed the rangers…(remember Prucha getting a head shot that knocked him wobbly…when there was no penalty called Renney argued and recvd a bench minor…the last time he said anything to a ref until the Blackhawk “5 on 3″ debacle this season)

    Weird fact:
    As of last night the New York Rangers led the NHL in hits…they were the only team over the 2000 hit mark

  30. That was a great 73rd game of the season no matter hwo you cut it.

    It wasnt boring, it was one of the most defensive minded teams in the league, trying to capitalize on Rnagers mistakes, which there weren’t many of.

    Love the win – 2 points is always 2 points
    Avery, Gomez, Z had a hell of a game
    So did Antropov, he was all over hte place pressuring and trying to make things happen.

    LEts go Rangers!

  31. I was at the game last night too.

    Thank you Sean Avery – because the game and Garden were so boringly quiet up until then. It was as if Avery had had enough of being bored and put on a show for everyone.

    my 2 cents is that Naslund is the biggest waste on the team. The guy does nothing.

    Yes the game was really boring to watch. No flow (except for about 2 min in the 2nd)- the puck seemed to just be bouncing all around.

  32. And yes – it’s time to end the potvin sucks and stupid dancing Larry. MSG is pushing “Tradition” so hard its starting to push me away. You don’t push tradition, it’s just something you have.

  33. My favorite quote from a talking head this year:

    In between periods of the Oiler-Wild game this weekend; score tied 0-0 at this point..the intermission host says:

    “With a playoff spot on the line bewteen two division rivals this should be an exciting game but…leave it to Jacues Lemaire and the Minnesota Wild to suck the life out of the game”

  34. Solid game… not too much to bitch about (the PP will endlessly be an issue?).

    Gomez has thrived under Torts, as slow as Andro is, he’s smart so he anticipates well… when he doesn’t he looks slow, Sauer looked good but it was one game against a horrible offense… let’s not jump to conlcusions yet.

    Nasty1, I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan (seen them 50 times or something)… wasn’t gonna get the delux edition though… worth it?

  35. I respect and appreciate the way Torts observed Sauer’s demonstration of poise and puck control ability. See, some just assume that because a player is young, he is also immature and undeveloped, ability wise. We look at people and things through the lens of our own bias. Seems to me that Torts is at least open-minded in the way he evaluates players.

    I do think Torts is making a big mistake in dropping Korpikospki to the fourth line, and greatly reducing his minutes, in the expectation of getting more production out of Sjostrom. Sjostrom has a chronically low career shooting percentage, plus he doesn’t shoot much, anyway. I think Sjostrom makes an excellent fourth liner but is in a bit over his head when asked to do more. Korpi, on the other hand, will be a big sniper for some team, some day, hopefully with us. Just wasting his talent and forestalling his development and blocking his confidence by putting him on a line with grunts like Betts and Orr.

  36. The Deluxe edition is definitely worth it. I love having the unplugged on DVD and the artwork booklet. Very nicely put together.

    Anyone ever notice too, that Avery is an excellent passer. he makes hard accurate tape to tape passes. I don’t think he is appreciated enough for that. We have guys on the team who pass so gently, and the passes get picked off. Avery passes with purpose and authority.

  37. if the SJO fits on

    I was at the game last night. The first 30 minutes of the game were GREAT. We put on a ton of pressure on a good defesive team, and TOTALLY kept the puck out of our own end.

    The reason why I thought the game slowed down was because the Wild, being a well coached team, learned to slow down the Rangers. The PP did stink pretty badly, especially in the third. The game overall, especially in the first, was A LOT more physical than I thought it would be. Backstrom is a pretty solid goaltender I must say.

    Atlanta has been playing well lately. Rangers need to put forth the same effort.

  38. Nasty
    Cant wait to get unplugged…ordered it earlier..thanks again

    You’re right about Avery and his passing and just pure hockey skills..the idiots on Versus were too busy talking about other things last night but late in the game he made an excellent spin move at his own blueline with Wild players closing in on him from two locations, gained the Red line and dumped it in…its the little things

    Cake
    I was just saying last night that Sjo should go back to line 4…I like him, esp. on the PK, but offensively he’s not there..he had no shots on goal last night for the 2nd time in 3 games..

    Sjo fits

    the Wild are a goaltending factory… Roloson, Fernandez, Backstrom, Harding

  39. Brandon
    March 25th, 2009 at 9:36 am
    Rossival does things in a hockey capacity that an average fan doesn’t see. For example, he protects the puck better than any defenseman on the team; second, he has great vision and makes a smart first pass on the breakout with regularity; third, he has a very high hockey IQ and defensively understands where to be when he doesn’t have the puck in our own end.

    Brandon, whatever you’re smoking, please STOP! Protects the puck better than any D on the team? He gives up the puck more than any other D. He’s REAL easy to knock off the puck with some hitting. Smart first pass? Dude, do you see him on the PP where he comes out of his zone, stops skating and nervously looks to dump the puck off to a wing? When nobody’s open, because he is now at the red line and everybody is bunched up, he gives it to a forward who is well guarded and a turnover occurs. I don’t doubt that his IQ is good, he’s shown that he can be a good player, but not last year or this year. I think his injury has affected his guts to get in there and sacrifice to make a play.

    I was worried when I read that Torts thought that he was playing well. I’m not a Stanley Cup winning coach, so what do I know? But, I’ve seen Rozi play ALOT better. I’m glad Torts likes Sauer, maybe he’ll stick around when Rozi comes back. Seriously, I don’t get how you think Rozi is in the top 3 on D on this team.

  40. Rozsival went from an average 3rd pair defender in Pittsburgh, to a 1st unit guy with the Rangers by giving the puck to Jagr. Like many players before him, Rozsival was the beneficiary of playing with highly talented players. Rozsival’s bread and butter have consisted of giving the puck to Jagr and waiting for the rewards. Now that Jagr is gone it is painfully clear that Rozsival has no idea how to read a play if Jagr is not in it.

  41. The thing is that if Sauer continues we won’t be resigning MARA…

    we won’t lose Dredden or Rozi.

    Facts are facts.

  42. All the more reason why Sather is an old a-hole. Redden/Rozi, all that $ tied up when you could probably pay 1.5-2 mil to get the same type of player.

  43. Riche and 22

    Besides Martin and White…name the other 4-5 Devils dee-men? I’ll bet the rest of them combined dont make as much as Redden

  44. “Brandon, whatever you’re smoking, please STOP! Protects the puck better than any D on the team? He gives up the puck more than any other D. ”

    You mean Wade Redden, right?

  45. Is it me or do you see Paul Mara as an “A” next season if he comes back? The guy is a leader on the ice, and waits for all the Rangers to come out and gives each of them a glove pound. I mean I’m sure Staal will eventually be an “A,” but Mara is a grizzled veteran with pride.

  46. hey! I have missed commenting on the blog recently! I thought the game was well played. Yes, it was essentially the Rangers shooting on the Wild and the score was only 2-1, but hell, we won! We are going to play several games in the future (AKA the playoffs) where we can dominate a team but we may be stymed by their goaltending and only win by one. I really can’t wait for this Atlanta game to be over because the final 7 games are all against playoff teams and will be all absolute battles. Let’s hope for the best!

  47. Couldn’t do it Kaspar. But we all know the Redden issue is going nowhere. Rozi maybe, but not Redden.

  48. Mara = must re-sign. he is our best defenseman. he already took a paycut to stay with this team. rip that damn A or C off of anyone’s chest and give it to this guy as far as i’m concerned.

    if we let this guy go I’ll be as sad as when Jagr AND Avery left us… or weren’t re-signed

  49. septemous: MSG doesn’t push the Potvin sucks chant. In fact, it tried to end it years ago when it stopped playing “Let’s go band” (the tune that someone whistles before the chant) over the PA system in order to not be complicit in what it saw as an obscene chant. Nevertheless, the chant survives. Isn’t that the very definition of a tradition that isn’t pushed, but that you “just have”?

  50. I don’t mind the Potvin sucks (everyone knows he didn’t suck), but homo larry needs to go…

  51. The Esteemed Doodie Machetto on

    Mara has a problem on the PP. He is really bad at receiving passes and keeping the puck in the zone. The puck hits his stick and it goes away from him. Also, if he telegraphed his shots any more, it would be possible for me to notice he was going to shoot, suit up in goaltending equipment, replace the goaltender on the ice for the opposing team, warm up, squirt some gatorade, tell my defenders where i want them to be, and position myself for the shot, all before he releases it. What ever happened to one-timers? He’s got a decent shot, why not let it rip sooner?

    I’m not hating on Mara, I think he’s been solid. Definitely our 2nd best D-man for the balance of the season. But if he’s gonna be on the PP, he’s gotta work on that stuff.

  52. Naslund getting smoked last night was eerily similar to the hit that started the whole Bertuzzi thing. . . .

    Marc Staal is looking like a star in the making under Torts!!!

    The team is getting tougher under Torts as well.

    Boring game last night, but much more fun to watch than before Torts.

  53. Hey guys…been a while…I have been reading but not writing on the blog as I am switching jobs and have had my hands full.

    A few things:

    1) Sjo gets resigned next year. Not sure of his contract status but it is apparent his up tempo game and speed are things Torts likes.

    2) Cally deserves the Steven McDonald extra effort award. The guy just goes and goes.

    3) Avery is the man. Does it all. Just hope he keeps the production/performance up when the chips go down….remember round 2 of the playoffs last year.

    4) Nice work by Sauer. Keep it up.

    5) Antro is really intersting. Great hands, tough to move off the puck, and more physical than I thought he’d be. Notice whenever he gets a shot, almost all the time it hits the net and would be a goal if the goalie didn’t make a good save. Too many of our other shooters don’t hit the net.

    6) Anyone else think Nolan knows he made a mistake last night. Yes he got his butt kicked by Orr, but the way it went down was more interesting. Orr throws an aggressive, but clean, body at Nolan and Nolan takes exception and crosschecks him (without knowing it was Orr.) Orr pushes back and says, “Let’s Go!” Now Nolan realizes who he f-ed with and hesitates as much as possible before The Code made him fight Orr. He regretted even before he dropped the gloves! And BTW the instigator penalty is BS.

    7) Nice win. Boring but we’ll take it. This is a classic game that Renney’s boys woulda been on the losing side of.

    8) Keep the momentum in Atlanta. The real game is Saturday.

    LGR!

  54. Callahan has been our most consistent hard working player all season. Bar none choice for S Mc’D award.

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