About the defense


What we know:

That it wasn’t nearly good enough last year. That, while defense must be played by all six players on the ice in order for it to be successful, each pair of defensemen must be better.

That John Tortorella doesn’t seem to like having an extra defenseman around.

With that last thing in mind, I still would argue that the Rangers will, or should, go into this season with seven — one nightly Prucha (or scratch, for those just joining us).

What we also know:

That Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto are locks to be among the six. That leaves three spots, or four if Tortorella carries seven.

That, barring a miraculous trade, Michal Rozsival will be on the team and among the starting six.

That, barring a stunning turnaround, Wade Redden will be the only veteran not returning.

What we (I) think:

That, despite being benched last year down the stretch, Tortorella likes Matt Gilroy — he did help recruit him as a free agent — and that with some added muscle, Gilroy could be one of the starting six.

That, unless he bombs in the preseason, Ryan McDonagh should make the team as a rookie. He’s certainly big enough and mature enough. The only question is how he adjusts to the NHL game straight out of college. I am guessing he will do fine and be on the team.

And if all of that:

Then you have Staal, Girardi, Del Zotto, Rozsival, Gilroy and McDonagh.

Which leaves room for one other, if they carry seven. Or maybe two others, if either Gilroy or McDonagh don’t make the opening-night roster.

(AMENDED:) And that one spot, or two, will be up for grab for newly acquired Steve Eminger and veterans Alex Semenov and tryout Garnet Exelby. And I have no idea if  any of those will make it (though I suspect they like Semenov, or they wouldn’t have brought him back to camp after that stunt he pulled last year when he made the team and then bolted).

But that is one battle to watch as we head into the preseason starting tomorrow.


Seventeen days until the Opener.

17: Eddie Johnstone, Brandon Dubinsky, Greg Gilbert, Kevin Stevens.

17: Keith Hernandez (“I despise him”), Gene “Stick” Michael, Mickey Rivers, Plaxico Burress.

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  1. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    FOR A FIRST!!!

    of course I would be carped for a defence headline!!!!


    no redden in blue white scrimmage?

  2. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    Is that why mcilrath was moved to big boys?? no redden?

    are you there?

  3. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    thanks carp.

    eminger might make it…it really all depends on rozy and if he is traded or not. I still think gilroy might be traded, so i guess eminger has a shot. I’d still rather see semenov and xlb both make it though at this point.

    kotalik scored a goal!

  4. All these updates, Carp, are making me thirsty for the season to begin. I’m getting sooo pumped even though I know we won’t be that good.
    What about Gilroy on wing? Didn’t he play there in the past…I forget.
    I also think Eminger is a lock…Exelby…I hope not.
    I love seeing the D-fense get younger. These are guys we will get to watch mature. I can’t wait to see DZ this season.
    How big is McDonagh? I thought he was smaller, like DZ.

  5. Reposting due to carping…

    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:17 am
    Mcllrath must be impressing coaching staff. Reports are that he was removed from “kiddie” practice and he will practice and scrimmage with “big boys”.
    Grachev to play in rookie game because they need bodies, not reflective of his play but because yogan and werek hurt.

  6. staal wart

    what nyr could do is give gilroy 4th line wing and if a dman gets hurt during the game we still have 6 dman

  7. Maybe redden will realize there are more important things in life then playing hockey and retires to spend more time with his new family? Please.

  8. Hm, Redden can stay on the bench in the fantasy league then. Do I get a paternity leave replacement?

  9. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on


    so fatso and kovy/zajac/parise all playing for devs tomorrow night

  10. >>>Fingers crossed. What game are you going to? I have season tix in 426.

    AckP, I am going to the Feb 13 game against the Penguins.

  11. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    first period over in blue white. white up 4-0. goals by cally-2, AA, and newbury.

  12. Zuburus always had the tools to become a good power forward but he never put it together. I’ve been skimming some Devils blogs and they’re fearful that they’ll lose him for pennies on the dollar. I personally don’t think it’s a huge loss but I wonder what that says about the Devils farm system that they don’t have anyone to plug into his role.

    And while we’re on the Devils for a second. Consider that since the 1st round of 2004, with Travis Zajac being their last impact player, the Devils have had no player play at least 100 games in the NHL. Bergfors is at 90, but he’s no longer in their system. In that draft alone the Rangers picked up Dubinsky and Callahan not to mention Korpikoski who’s played 139 games.

    For all the accolades that Lou Lam gets for his team building, the post-lockout era pales in comparison to the mid to late 90’s.

  13. Julie
    Good game except for all the Pens fans that crawl out from whatever rock they’re hiding under and make there way to the Garden. I don’t think they scheduled a time for that game yet. Probably be at one or three.

  14. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    post lockout rules helped the rangers and hurt the devs.

    reds baby
    are you nuts, have you seen you mum??

  15. Staal, McDonagh is listed at 6-1, 222 and he looks bigger than that.

    I think McIlrath is going to get some preseason games, where he can tangle with some big boys … and maybe this will help him when he comes to camp next year. Maybe speed up the process for him.

  16. I think Eminger makes it as #7 and he will probably spell Gilroy or McD (or MDZ) to keep them fresh and keep their games down to 60-65 so they dont burn out.

    Lets hope Redden’s always been a closet Whale(rs) fan!!

  17. Thanks Carp,
    Can’t wait to see Mcllrath in preseason. He’s huge.
    I’m a Jet fan but man why are there so many losers in the NFL…buncha criminals.
    I’m embarrassed to say he’s on my team.
    Is it hockey season yet so I can put the Jets on the backburner.

  18. Dave Brown, the best play he ever made was clotheslining Deion Sanders (after he threw an INT of course).

  19. Ah, Mike Rogers … one of the most successful Rangers acquisitions ever. Put up some big years.

    Played on the Whale on the Bash, Dash and Stash line with Pat Boutette and Blaine Stoughton (another future former Ranger).

  20. Oh, can’t wait for the revelations about McD from JoeMich about him being a big boy. I hope that whenever Sam Rosen retires and they rightfully bring back Howie Rose to do Rangers games they choose a new color guy too.

  21. Jari Kurri: One great, great player; a fine, fine man; and one of the worst Rangers trades ever.

    old coach, I think it was Roger McDowell.

  22. Blue Seat Horror on

    17: Carey Wilson, Petr Sykora (who was fun to watch with Jagr), and Chris “lumberjack” Simon.

  23. Ugh, I remember listening to JD try to sell the idea of having Kurri on the team. I think they used to put Sundstrom with Kurri a lot and he would exclaim that Sundstrom was gaining so much experience playing with a washed up Kurri. Yeah, that didn’t really work out so well there either.

  24. You know the Defense was ranked 10th last season … even with the rookies, not carrying a 7th man, and R&R – we finished 10th !!!

    Obviously, Hank and our surplus of grinding 3rd and 4th liners contributed to that ranking, but still …. Our D wasnt that bad last year.

    Imagine the possibilities this year with the young guys a year older, McD, and 1 of Eminger/Exelby/Semenov – plus No Redden

  25. That’s what I’m thinking too somerset. Last year and almost every since the lockout the Rangers D wasn’t necessarily the fatal problem in comparison with the offense being a one man show and the PP being inconsistent. I know they could use some more intimidating presence on the blueline, but scoring goals is still the name of the game.

  26. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    drawing a blank here, who was our first pick in last year’s draft?

  27. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    kreider! damn. knew it was a fwd. kept thinking werek, but he was 3rd rounder i think. thanks bull dog!!

  28. AckP,
    I know what you mean about all the Penguins fans coming out. We were at the Flyers game the year before last, and all of the Flyers fans were sitting all around us. It was quite interesting!

  29. somerset, you’re right. Offense is obviously this team’s biggest weakness — and a general lack of front-line skill. But the defense stats were misleading, IMO, because of the goalie and a very good PK.

    There were lots of games in the middle of the season where the Rangers just lost because they couldn’t get the puck. That’s on the forwards, too. But the weak defense was part of that problem.

  30. Carp question for you can you still use “its go time” for our game day post or do those “pilfering” Jets have a copyright on it just curious

  31. I drafted Maxim Afinogenov in CCCP’s fantasy league draft DOH !

    Tonight at 8 PM On Blueshirt Banter Radio Hockey’s Future NYR Prospect Expert Leslie Treff.

    Last week Leslie released her updated Fall rankings of all New York Ranger prospects. She has also been at NYR camp

    To Listen Live at 8 PM or on podcast go to


  32. Staal, I am with you on some of the “character” guys that are now on the Jets! Thank God hockey is back!

    Carpy, it cracks me up that you get a kick put of asshat!

  33. Jlone2Bubblehead on

    I hope the NYR preseason games are on the internet somewhere. I am WAY out of market area. It may be wishfull thinking on my part, but i think the NYR will finish much higher than expected. .crosses fingers.

  34. Jlone2Bubblehead

    of course they will finish much higher… look at our coach… the season hasnt started yet and he’s already high on dubinsky! :)

  35. Jlone2Bubblehead on

    He should stop smoking so much Dubinsky. Doesnt the league test for that kind of thing? They must have adopted a similar policy to the military’s Dont ask Dont tell… and use it on a much broader scale.

  36. I think partly talking up Dubi is because they want him to succeed, but I also think that if the right deal came along, he is definitely tradable, and one of the better players that another team would want from us in a package for a good return.

  37. salvador looked lousy last night. and the whole debbies d corps looks slow. their best skater back there was martin and he is gone. look for them to have another mediocre season.putting all their money in kovalsuck and having a slowfooted d is not going to do it for them.

  38. Blaine Stoughton was up to Rangers for the proverbial cuppa.

    He was the greatest pure shot maker that the Whalers ever produced…but he skated like Grandma Moses. # 21 btw).
    Sylvain Turgeon*** was drafted by Whalers and I think he was
    # 2 in the draft, went right after Brian Lawton ( I believe it was to Minny but don’t quote me). But the biggest news was that I also believe that Leetch went next, and would you believe Steve Yzerman went 4th??? NOw I am working on past memory, which is notoriously unreliable at times, but I think I’m right on this.

    *** Had a great rookie season, and dropped to oblivion after that.

  39. Devils will still finish 1st or 2nd in the Atlantic, as always, along with Pissburgh. That’s just the way it is.

    I’m really look forward to tomorrows game. We’ll get to see the RR Golden Boy future Hall of Famer, Mats Zucchini Assenine [couldn’t resist], along with Frolov, McDonut, and Stepan. I was hoping to see McIlrath too, but I guess we’ll have to wait.

    Hopefully someone injures Kovalchuckles! Bwahaha! Prust? Boogaard? Don’t care, just get it done! Sweep the leg, sweep the leg! You’re the best…arou-ound, nothing’s gonna evah keep you dooooown!

  40. I wonder what people will think of Boogaard’s contract if he knocks out Kovalchuk like Orr did Fedoruk.

  41. i dont want to see Kovalchuk hurt.. i still like him as a player… i just want to see him struggle really bad! unable to score and not able to fit into Devils system!

  42. Gravey (Formerly known as jor71) on

    17 is:

    The number of special significance to Yellow Pig’s Day and Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics.

    The number to call Police in France.

    The number of flames emanating from the grenade cap-badge of the Grenadier Guards.

    During the Second World War, the four-engined heavy bomber as flown by the USAAF and other Allies and known as “The Flying Fortress”, was also known as the B-17.

    The maximum number of strokes of a Chinese radical.

    The number of syllables in a haiku (5+7+5).

    In the Nordic countries the seventeenth day of the year is considered the heart and/or the back of winter.

    Is the 7th prime number. The next prime is nineteen, with which it forms a twin prime.

    Is the sum of the first four primes.

    Is the sixth Mersenne prime exponent, yielding 131071.

    Is an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part and real part of the form 3n ? 1.

  43. I think that Philly will be #1 in the Atlantic div, and Pens and Devils will battle for #2. Rangers will be right behind them

  44. You know, I’m going to miss Carp’s numbers game when the season begins. There is a way to sort of continue though. My wife and I always play a game where, if we happen to get Chinese food on game day, we look in our fortune cookies. On the back of the fortune, they always have a series of “lucky numbers”. We read them off and, that way, we know what Rangers are going to score goals that night (we hope). Of the numbers that don’t apply to any current players, we try to name all the former Rangers who wore those numbers. It’s a little way we keep ourselves amused.

  45. Thanks, Gravey. Been waiting for one of those.

    Ria, they can go get their lawyers. We’re using “It’s Go Time!” because we were using it first.

    CCCP, that Bless You was meant for Tony, who I thought sneezed when he said Kovalchuk.

    Keep it coming, Linda.

  46. Good to hear Tony. Don’t worry, Stubhub has gained a lot of credibility the past few years. They’re thieves because they take fees from both sides of the market (as I suppose you can do as a market maker) but they’re legit.

  47. Joekuh - still playing NHL '94... on

    I’m scared to go look @ what my autopick hockey draft gave me last night….

  48. I think that unless he absolutely bombs, the Rangers would be foolish not to include Exelby as at least the 7th d-man. He is the only one who’s forte is hitting. He’s the only one who’s guaranteed to respond to someone running the King (or Biron) and no way would he pull a Girardi if someone like Cancerillo starts pummelling away on Gaborik.

    The good thing is he’s not a goon and if he keeps things simple and avoids trying for the big thumping hit, he can be effective, especially if paired with someone sound positionally.

    I’d definitely keep him over Semenov…

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