Yes, that’s a good win


The previous post suggested the Wild game was dull or boring, and even the coach of the NYR said it was hard to watch. And it was.

That doesn’t make it anything but a good victory for your Blueshirts. Maybe a great victory. Maybe the one that proves their mettle, proves they can close out a game. Maybe the one that gives them enough of a cushion over the ninth-place Panthers that they can exhale on just making the playoffs and start thinking about getting a better seed.

Some thoughts:

1) Sean Avery had his first fight as a Ranger. (ps, I rode up in the elevator with Avery before the game, after he had signed a whole bunch of autographs outside; in the elevator he was joking with MSG employees; after the game he patiently answered questions for about 20 minutes for somebody doing a long feature story about him; Is this really Sean Avery?)

Anyway, John Tortorella thought that Avery was disappointed in his energy level in Sunday’s game and wanted to get back to being himself, and what better way than to have a scrap. Plus it helped stop the yawning for a while.

2) So did Colton Orr’s lopsided battle with old man Owen Nolan. You’ve got to respect Nolan hanging in there in this mismatch, and got to wonder how the Wild lets its captain get pummelled like that.

3) How many other players in the NHL score the goal Nik Zherdev scored, from that impossible angle, just up under the crossbar and inside the far post? Maybe a couple of dozen?

4) Another statement game from Marc Staal. The kid keeps getting better and better, and keeps opening eyes.

5) Tortorella had Mike Sauer on the ice with 2:06 to play in a 2-1 game. How’s that for showing the rookie some confidence?

6) The reason the Rangers’ power play isn’t very good is personnel. They do not have a single legitimate power-play pointman on the roster, nor do they have a big-time sniper, and they have maybe four or five guys who will dig for rebounds. Add that up and you get bottom-of-the-NHL production. All of their defensemen would be fine power-play players if they played with a Leetch. But none of them is anything close to a Leetch.

Here are the official game summary and event summary.

Jane’s at practice. She will post later. I’m out for now.

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  1. 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.

  2. Rick-you must not know Avery that well. He signed maybe a 10 autographs outside before the game, it was a miracle of sorts. The previous 3 games he blew off every single person waiting for his autograph at 8 penn. He is the only NHL player I know that consistently blows people off.

  3. Carp-right on about the PP and the D. We needed a stud D on the PP and Sather brings back Rozi and brings in Redden.

    I said Staal will win a Norris within 10 years.

    Keep Sauer!

  4. And as far as Avery is concerned, the guy loves NY. NY loves him. He should be nice and happy and kind to the fans. He not only got his $$$$, he got to come back to his favorite team. Even a jerk like Avery had to realize he was VERY fortunate.

    I think that was his plan all along.

    I LOVE Sean Avery. Jerky or not.

  5. 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.

  6. Carp…

    It was clear to me last night why the Wild have the best PK in the league. Even though we haven’t produced much lately on the PP, it’s looked better. The Wild just pressure the heck out of the puck no matter where it is during the PK, and they just never let the Rangers get settled in the zone.

  7. NYR351, it did look good at times, and the Minny PK is terrific. But I was looking more as a whole — over the course of the season under two coaches, and even with new players. It still, overall, is not good.

  8. I agree Staal had a great game but why does Torts still refuse to use him on the pp? Could you bring this up next time you or Jane are w/Torts?

  9. Anybody see the VS postgame with the caption on the bottom of the screen (NY Rangers 5 game win streak)? The only network that doesn’t have a penalty clock in the graphics.

  10. RangersRanter on

    CARP – Before the second period Orr went over to Nolan and the two had a conversation skating into the penalty box.The refs skated over but didn’t seem to intervene.Does anyone know what was said? Did he apologize for going after the elder statesman? Did he hurt Nolan with the right and realized after the fight who he hit and went to ask if Owen was fine?

    Any word at all.

  11. Sauer looked good. that will help the cap for next year.

    Staal was playing like a stud for Renny also just less minutes. Staal needs to work on shot accuracy and then he will be at a whole other level.

    Korpedo is getting buried, they need to give him a few more minutes he has speed and skill…

    Imagine if they had Streit on the point!!Weber, green, and other d men have 20+ goals we have nothing on the point..

  12. I think our pp would improve greatly if Staal got more pp time. For now he’s still being used strictly as a shutdown guy, and I believe that’s a mistake. (Although I am encouraged by the increased ice time he is receiving under Torts on the pp.)

    Del Zotto is probably the best offensively gifted defenseman the Rangers have had in their system since Leetch, so in that sense the team’s powerplay future looks promising.

  13. Regarding the power play, right on, Carp. My dad, who has been watching hockey for 50 years, said the exact same thing. They have not found a point man to quarterback the power play. The guy you can put out there for the full 2 minutes, who will always keep the opponent guessing, who will direct traffic, get shots through, and make smart passes. Guys like Leetch come around once every generation or so, but this is something the Rangers COULD HAVE addressed if they signed MARK STREIT and not Wade Redden. Man, what a mistake.

    How about this though…in the spirit of baseball spring training, you always see vets come in and teach the current players. Why not try and bring Leetch in to work with the current Rangers D. Sure, he won’t transform any of them into top-line Power Play QB’s, but he would certainly help. I realize it’s late in the season to do something like this, but maybe Leetch can help out in camp next summer, particularly with the young guys…Staal, Sanguinetti, etc. Just a thought!

  14. The Esteemed Doodie Machetto on

    “I said Staal will win a Norris within 10 years.”

    I hope so. I don’t see it happening because of how many great young defensemen are in the league right now (Mike Green, Phaneuf, the Johnsons, Barker, Doughty, Suter, Weber, Bouwmeester) but I can see him getting nominated for sure.

    What hurts Staal besides the great level of competition is that he is more of a defensive defenseman. They don’t get the credit offensive guys do. Look at the Norris winners of the past 20 years; all great players defensively (with the exceptions of MacInnis and Coffey). But it was their offensive numbers that won them the trophy (especially for MacInnis and Coffey).

  15. No Country For Old Rangers on

    I have no problem with Avery blowing people off. What’s the guy gonna do, sign 100 autographs everytime he gets to the garden? I can remember being a 17 year old kid, waiting for players before/after games and the only ones who would sign stuff were the petr nedveds, manny malhotras, and sylvian lefebvres of the world

  16. REPOST (because I spent my time and then there was a new post)

    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.


  17. sam (not the great Weinman) on

    First, our power play has been much better since Torts arrived. Any improvement is a step in the right direction.

    Second, Staal could become an offensive weapon like Leetch. He’s growing every day and already has the defensive skill of top D men in the league. Give him some time and we’ll have our PP point man.

  18. “5) Tortorella had Mike Sauer on the ice with 2:06 to play in a 2-1 game. How’s that for showing the rookie some confidence?”

    So how does it feel to have a real hockey coach, eh? I tell you how I feel… FREAKING AWESOME!

    If Renney was a coach still… 2:06 is what Sauer would play in the entire game…if that much.

  19. Carp,

    I agree with you 100%. My comment was more geared towards the quality of the Minny PP, not the lack thereof on the Rangers.

    I’ve been a believer all season that the biggest 2 problems with this team are their poor passing and inability to put rebounds home. A pass into the skates on the PP is unacceptable at the rate it happens, and there are so many amazing rebound chances that just sit there and make me wonder about the awareness of some players. The only one that seemed to be able to put them in the net was Naslund (slight sarcasm)…90% off his skate (no sarcasm).

  20. Sam –

    I agree that Staal will develop some offensive talent, but I also don’t know that he has the tools to become a Power Play QB. I don’t know that he’s quick enough or if his shot is hard enough. I do think he’ll be a 40-50 point defenseman, but I don’t see him becoming an offensive force like Leetch. I mean, Leetch had some UNBELIEVABLE seasons: 88 points, 102 points, 79 points, 85 points, etc. I don’t know if Staal is capable of production like that…few defensemen in any generation are.

  21. Seriously, Wade Redden our “Puck Moving Defensemen” — whatta joke… Sure he’s stepped up his game a bit under Torts, but run the PP like you’re supposed to!

  22. Am I the only one who’d like to see Dubi step up his offense, not just increase his yakking? I know there are a lot of positive buzz words about blabbing away after the whistle (leadership, heart, etc.), but who cares? His game needs all the focus he can muster.

  23. Morris and Mara should don the point on the PP. Having the offensively-challenged Redden out there is an insult to everyone who has seen him struggle horrendously this year.

  24. The Esteemed Doodie Machetto on

    “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.”

    He actually got a roughing penalty, although, when I first saw it, I thought that there should’ve been an instigator. He had both of his gloves off and threw a punch before Nolan even had one of his gloves off.

    Orr is a great fighter, but his choices of opponents has been weak at times. Nolan? Wow, you can beat up a dinosaur that doesn’t really fight. Or that guy on St. Louis that led to their actual enforcer beating the snot out of Aaron Voros (still the highlight of the season for me).

    Also, when he fights is stupid sometimes. Four games with Buffalo this season, only one fight with Peters? Even with how they took runs at Gomez in the last game, and with how they (particularly Kaleta) took runs at at our other players all season long?

  25. How about Drury plays the point? He seems to get slappers from there. Park Antropov for rebounds and have Avery run his mouth to draw attention.

    Goal 25% of the time.

  26. The Esteemed Doodie Machetto on

    The thing that frustrates me most about Redden is that I know he still has the tools. I’ve seen him use them at random points throughout the season. He just doesn’t string them together or use them on a regular basis. The first game under Torts he RIPPED a slapshot on the PP. Where was that all season? Where has it gone since?

    I’ve seen him skate the puck up the ice well. I’ve seen him make good passes in the offensive zone. Why not all the time? Why is it always that telegraphed [limp] wrist shot at the goaltender’s torso? Why is it a soft pass that gets intercepted? Why is it slow unimaginative puck carry that gets stolen in the neutral zone?

    He has the tools to be that PP QB but he just can’t put it together, especially on a consistent basis.

  27. The Orr/Nolan fight was exactly why it needs to be removed from the game completely. Call it roughing, but it was clearly an instigator penalty – and there was no reason for Orrfito get all worked up and drop the gloves.

    And let’s not forget – whatever you call it, Orr took an unnecessary penalty that put the NYR down a man. He got off the hook in part because the Wild took an offensive zone penalty on the ensuing PP.

  28. Fighting Owen Nolan was lame. They gave Orr an extra two for not respecting his elders.

  29. 22, Nolan is also the guy who started Beukeboom’s concussion history, with an elbow during a playoff series when he was in Quebec.

    The roughing penalty was deserved, and could have been an instigator, which would have carried a 10-minute misconduct, too.

  30. Doodie,

    How should Orr have handled that? Nolan hacks him after a clean hit, right after the Avery fight, and Orr should back off cuz it’s Nolan? Not sure I follow.

    Your discussion about Buffalo is fair. But the Rangers were winning that last game, so not so sure Orr needed to jeopardize his team then. But yes, Kaleta or Peters should have been fought by Orr. However it’s not always that easy.

    Do I think Orr has not been fighting as much? Yes. Do I think there are a fair # of players out there who simply won’t go with Orr? Absolutely. He is a deterrent. Not as many guys as you would think want to go with him. I don’t think he can pick and choose as easily as he once did.

    And the reason why Nolan didn’t drop his gloves right away was because he hacked the wrong guy and was hesitant to fight. Like I said, only The Code forced Nolan to fight Orr. He didn’t want to fight him. That was incredibly apparent.

    I was at the game and I thought they called him for instigator. You’re right, it was roughing. That is just semantics though. You know the refs added 2 to Orr for the delay in Nolan to drop the gloves. But you know darn well if it was Cally or Dubi who had challenged Nolan, there would have been no delay in Nolan to fight.

    How the refs don’t call Nolan for the crosscheck after Orr’s clean hit is a whole other story.

  31. The Esteemed Doodie Machetto on

    Carp, I’m with you. Totally was an instigator, and he was lucky not to get the 10 on top.

  32. No Country For Old Rangers on

    I think if you’re out there you are fair game. sure, it would have been wrong to go after like lindros and punch him in the head but if you are on the ice, you should be ready to fight at the drop of a hat (or glove)

    how about when mess kicked kasparaitis’ ass a few years back? that was great! nobody was complaining that mess was too old to fight. nolan is a big physical leader and he got what he deserved

  33. Sauer looked great! I don’t think Torts would have had Rosi-bum on the ice with 2:10 and a 2-1 lead!

  34. RangersRanter on

    # 22figure8 March 25th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I’m glad Nolan got his ass kicked. I’ll never forget the nasty cheap shot he gave Joe Cirella behind the net.

    Joe Cirella, he was an enforcer before that cheap shot.

  35. Nolan should have thought twice before delivering a cross check after a clean hit. A vet like that should know he’s going to be held accountable. Also, I’m surprised no one has really mentioned the cheap shot to the chin he gave Orr after they went to the ice. I think Nolan got what was coming to him, and even though Orr took a penalty, he took one of the Wild’s best offensive players off the ice for a few minutes. Also, someone tell LeMaire that 2001 called and it wants the neutral zone trap back.

  36. “Anybody see the VS postgame with the caption on the bottom of the screen (NY Rangers 5 game win streak)? The only network that doesn’t have a penalty clock in the graphics.”

    I noticed that same thing. VS is an terrible terrible station to broadcast this sport. It needs to get back on to espn.

  37. deja March 25th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I see Jane has a new picture in the side bar nice


    It still doesn’t do her justice in my opinion. She looked very sexy yesterday during the live chat. The folks at LoHud need to get a better photog I think.

  38. Boogaard is hurt so Lemaire doesn’t dress his 6-foot-8 D Scott, who played the previous game very well, and Nolan feels obliged. It’s like when Shanahan took on Brashear. But Nolan is having a great season, subtracting the down time.

    For the money squandered on Redden, they could have had almost any D in the league, including Souray. He’s worth maybe 3 m on reputation. After the Ottawa game someone on one of their forums asked, what happened to Redden, is he injured, is he sick? The last time they played the Pens, the announcers were actually making fun of him, get it in on Redden, get it in on Redden, recalling how bad he was in their series last year.

    Dolan squandered $15 m paying the league’s legal fees in a stupid fight against the NHL about the web site. How much his legal fees were we don’t know. Between that and the Redden contract he should have invested instead with Madoff. At least with that, there might be some return some day.

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