Rangers-Flyers in review



1) From what I’ve seen, this preseason has been disjointed, undisciplined and inconclusive. The Rangers have not played particularly well in any of the three games, and their best players have certainly not stood out for the most part. Maybe that’s just me.

2) As far as Michael Del Zotto, the bubble defenseman with what I still believe is the most upside of any of the young D-men, here’s my two cents: The Rangers (a.k.a. John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan) need to figure out how to unleash him. He can’t be this afraid to make a mistake and still be effective. I think of when Mark Messier first arrived and convinced Brian Leetch (and later Sergei Zubov) to not be afraid to make a mistake, and how both careers took off. I’m not saying Del Zotto is Leetch or Zubov. I’m saying he will not even be an above-average player of he’s afraid to take a risk, afraid to let his instincts carry his game. He can’t play on one side of an imaginary line and be a factor on the other side. Maybe The Captain should have a chat with MDZ.

3) When the Rangers have six healthy defensemen, their D’s not bad. In fact it has a chance to be pretty good. Without Marc Staal, and now maybe without Mike Sauer, and this year without a third pair, that D looks pretty questionable at best. And when do you remember Ryan McMonster making a play like he made last night, trying to stick-handle around Jaromir Jagr, of all people?

4) And on top of that, there should be prayers that neither McMonster or Sauer has a Del Zotto-like sophomore slump.

5) That game is why Sean Avery is worth keeping around … if he can play fourth-line minutes and accept being scratched sometimes and not be a distraction or a ticking time bomb.

6) Credit where it’s due: Larry Brooks tweeted in the first period, and I paraphrase, “Why would anybody agree to play a preseason game against the Flyers?” Great question. Why would you? What can be possibly gained?

7) Thought the president/GM was pretty funny at the podium at Citizens Bank Park, didn’t you? He’s always been better when he lets his real personality out. He’s a sharp, sarcastic, quick-witted guy.

8) Good to see NHL Network going the same-old, same-old route with Barry Melrose. God, how many lives does this clown have? And Kevin Weekes, man, he’s a good guy and I think potentially a very good analyst. But like almost every other former athlete, he should never be allowed to conduct an interview. I can’t think of one former athlete in any sport who can.

9) I first-guessed not having Dylan McIlrath in the lineup in that funhouse. I mean, what’s he going to get out of a game in Europe? This game would have been better for him, and better for the Rangers.

10) They should stick a mic on Brian Boyle every night.

11) Everybody’s chirping about how tough Brendan Shanahan’s going to be as NHL sheriff, and I agree. But I’m not giving him any credit for suspending guys for preseason games. Let’s see how tough he’ll be when he starts taking away paychecks.


AP Photo, above.

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  1. But Shanny IS taking away paychecks…each suspension (except one I think) goes into the regular season. Wiznewski(spelling is way off I’m sure) is going to loose 500,000+ bucks.

  2. MDZ, has 2 problems, 1 is between his ears, and the other is average ( at best) skating ability. I still like him, but my hopes for him are not as high.

  3. MDZ maybe should be Hartford bound, let him work out his confidence problems there. Still hoping to see him make it tho

  4. Just a few disjointed observations

    I thought that Del Zotto had been weaned from making those rainbow halo passes which no one ever seems to catch.

    Ol Jagr can still bring it, can’t he.

    Rangers put very little pressure on Philly goal……..
    spent an inordinate amount of time defending in their own end.

    Phils have some very good looking kids. They will be heard from this season

  5. I thought John Mitchell stood out. I don’t know if that’s a good thing for him or a bad thing for players like Dubi, Arty and MZA who looked invisible out there.

  6. another issue, to me, is Anisimov. for the 2nd straight pre season game he has played, he did nothing but blend in with the boards. I see the same guy who disappeared for long stretches of the season,last year and the year before. the Rangers better hope Cally and Dubi carry him some more on the doughnut line.

  7. billybleedsblue on

    Ha, nice one Larry Brooks. I can’t stand the guy, but when you’re right, you’re right. I totally missed the game, but upon reading the lineup, had to agree with Carp. Why no McIlrath? It’s like Torts was throwing these guys to the wolves to see what they are made of, mayhaps. Kind of a weird/bad chance to take, especially in a game that means nothing.

  8. Welcome back ilb! I couldn’t watch the rest of the game last night. Too many stupid penalties taken by the Rangers. I hope they can get it together or we’re going to be in the same boat as we were in last year.

  9. Blueshirt in Paris on

    Gotta disagree on MDZ. His problem is his instincts are wrong. They worked the 1st year but the league has adjusted to his home-run breakout passes, but he has not.

    AS stated above he has no speed so he cant lead the rush like Zubov or Leetch could so when you are the defending team you just sit back a pick off those passes that he continues to force.

    He doesn’t have much of a shot so he is a very little threat from the point.

    I question what he actually brings to the table beside questionable defending ability.

  10. ………………..one supplemental ( and disconcerting note)….They looked so much like they did for much of last year……..better days ahead,,,,we hope.

  11. I’m loving my morning dose of Shanny!!
    If these players dont get it yet, they must be mad – for years we’ve been moaning about Colin Campbell’s lack of explanation and consistency, now we have video, explanation and he even explains the weight he is giving to each part resulting in his decision – all this from an ex-player, who was no angel and knows what he is talking about.

    Carcillo must be Carcilloing his pants – its only a matter of time before he has to face Sherriff Shanny!

  12. …and the other thing i like about Shanny is, he’s standing there on the video articulating the reasons, not hiding behind a press release. Its like he’s saying “I AM THE LAW!!!!”

  13. Del Zotto simply is too slow to be an effective player in NHL. He is a very slow skater, if he could skate like Gilroy he would at least be able to cover up for his defensive mistakes. He does not possess great moves, his hands are slow, his decision making is slow. He is not even hitting like he used to when he was 19. I thought after fixing his sports hernia and some lessons with Underhill he would be flying, but he looks as slow as ever.

    If he doesn’t improve any time soon, Sather should start looking to deal him.

  14. I like Shannahan’s video rulings. He’s putting his decisions out there and explaining them well. I liked in the Wiesnewski one that he addressed what was likely Wienewski’s argument, that he had to “protect” himself because of what had transpired before the play, and that he shot down that argument effectively.
    I think he has to suspend for the preseason games, but agree that should be a given and maybe shouldn’t count toward total number of suspended games. Regardless, Wienewski’s fine is pretty hefty.

  15. dz is scared to make a mistake like carp said. hes not handling the pressure of competing for the last spot very well. hes not improved in anything it looks like. maybe hes a little better with the giveaways, and hes cut down on the long pass a little. but after all we heard about him in the offseason, i was expecting a lot more. hagelin and bourque didnt do much last night. dont think they did anything better or played better than ec but there was so many penalties against us, 2/3rds of the game was in our end. duby n artie sucked. they were cruising, but theyre already on the team. ec, avery, zucc, hagelin n bourque are all competing for spots and only 1 did something. avery. he was into it and looked like the old avery. the one pass by zucc was sweet though. our pk and faceoffs were terrible. i think boyle won a couple. almost got freakin scored on off a faceoff too. but they had alot of regulars and wehad boyle,duby aa and girardi, mcmonster as regulars. if u count ec and avery i guess thats 6-7. mostly bottom half guys. ayway, i lovedthe game up until the 3rd. it just got real borng and we dint have any forecheck except the mitchell line. hes done good. i hope he makes it over ec.

  16. Good morning, Sally!

    My point about Shanahan taking away paychecks was this: Will the suspensions still be as long when they don’t include preseason games?

  17. Carp: Re Shanahan and real suspension: Good point, but note that he gave James Wisniewski for 12 games, 8 of which are in the regular season and that amounts to a loss of over $500,000.

  18. Also, agree on MDZ and if the coach/team isn’t gonna let him loose, let him figure it out in the AHL.

    Another example of why you let teenagers play with teenagers, IMO.

    Regarding the game yesterday – don’t forget the Rangers didn’t dress Gabbie, Cally, Richards and Staal – that’s four of the team’s top five players (and not dressing them against the goon act the Flyers inevitably put on was wise).

    And I concur with the sentiment – why the hell does anyone wanna play that team in the pre-season. Every team should refuse – let those nobs play with themselves.

  19. The Rangers got abused last night with there “B” team against the Flyers “A” team, but outside of Mitchell, Boyle and Avery and the kid they cut last night, I didn’t see much else on the ice for the Rangers.

    AA was invisible, as was Dubi. Erixon looked like he needs to play in the minors.

    The Flyers look ready to play hockey, the Rangers not so much.

    The game should have been 6-1 if the Flyers goalie could stop a puck and Hank didn’t stand on his head. Another pathetic showing by the Rangers.

    How do we hear all this great noise about Bourque, Erixon and Hagelin and then when I watch them play the play never matches the hype?

    Injury bug is hitting this team before the season even begins. Guys are going to begin thinking “who’s next?”

    Granted this is one preseason game, and the Flyers were running it up in a preseason game with their “A” team, but still, Torts better hope his team stays healthy. Another player (Avery) gets hurt blocking a shot, Boyle dropping down in front of shots, forwards screening the goalie on shots from the point, it’s discouraging.

  20. Agreed on AA’s play – makes me wonder if perhaps the Rangers should consider shopping him (I’d have said along with one of their D-men, except that with S and S out, they can’t).

    Richards, Stepan, BB and Mitchell, numbers 1 to 4 centremen.

    Mitchell, BTW, does have skill – I watched him do what he did last night several times as a Leaf. His biggest problem seems to be (like so many others) playing with intensity game in and game out.

    He seems to have some chemistry with Avery….

  21. Carp, etc., PROBLEM:

    Mac OSX 10.4.11 the site still loads then freezes blank. iPad looks fine as is. No probs on PC.

  22. And MDZ will be fine, providing they let him play and live with his mistakes. Long passes is his strength, except that he is too tentative for those to be effective. I’m sure he still remembers how Torts yelled at him last year.

  23. Did anyone else breathe a sigh of relief after they heard that the Rangers landed safely in Europe?

  24. MDZ was just awful last night. His positioning on defense is invariably angular instead of square consequently he has weak leverage and constantly is beaten to the outside. He is a below average skater who is notably poor skating backwards and has very limited tight area maneuverability. He has below average physical strength for a defensman and loses most battles along the boards. So many times when he’s on the ice the Rangers have serious trouble getting out of the defensive zone.

    His passing is predictable and his passes only know one speed…hard, and as a result, many of his passes are mishandled. Watching Richards vary the speed of his passes is hockey artistry. DZ has a dreadful shot which lacks velocity and accuracy. DZ cost the R’s a number of games last year when Torts benched Eminger and inserted DZ. Sorry to say, watching him, Erixon and the rest of these blueliner wannabes play this pre-season makes me long for Gilroy.

  25. This team is already showing signs of amateur-hourism and bush-leagueness …. as well as Mickey-Mouseness

  26. better for it to be early in the year than later I say, the injury bug problem that is.

    I just see the same play from last year. blocking shots in preseason? I mean come on.

  27. The reason why the Rangers had to play the Flyers was because of the W.C. announcement. The league needed for both teams to be present for all the bells and whistles.

    As for the game itself, why does Dubinsky insist on trying to stick handle pasttwo players at the oppositions blue line?

  28. Carp, i think the thing here is the way Shanny words it: “he’ll be suspended the remainder of the pre-season, plus the first # regular season games”.
    I dont think Shanny considers the preseason part of the actual punishment, but he cant be seen to allow the guy to play on, then have the suspension kick-in (imagine if he did that and Shelley takes out someone else last night?).

  29. Ricards, Stepan and AA is 1 too many 1st and 2nd line centers. Richards, Stepan, AA and BB is 1 to many 1st to 3rd line centers.

    Do you really want BB on the 4th line? Worse things have happened to the Rangers I realize, but is that where Tortorella will slot BB? Moving Stepan to wing IMO is silly – this kid has the makings of a number 2 center and those guys don’t exactly grow on trees.

    I honestly believe AA just might be redundant.

    And I’ve seen John Mitchell play quite often (because I’m in Southern Ontario and the almost every Leaf game is on TV) – how he played last night was no fluke. This guy has skill – his biggest shortcoming, like so many others, is consistency. Slotting him as the 4th line center with Avery/Weise and Rupp as his wingers has the makings of a solid 4th line.

    Would Nashville be interested in AA? AA for Ryan Ellis and the worries about the need to MDZ to mature RIGHT NOW become less concerning – Ellis could be the Rangers PP QB answer….

    Just saying…

  30. just some names of guys we’re familiar with for the upcoming exhibition games in europe

    sparta (one of the czech league’s weaker teams..)
    27 year old alex foster, played college at bowling green, toronto maple leaf farm kid
    karel rachunek’s younger brother, tomas, 20 years old

    frolunda (didn’t make playoffs in sweden last year, now in 1st place this year after a handful of games)
    obviously, the captain, joel lundqvist
    christian backman
    assistant captain, former bruin, pj axelsson
    anton axelsson, pj’s younger brother
    former Flyer, 30 year old mika pyorala

    slovan (one of slovakia’s stronger clubs)
    no one i really notice, just a bunch of nhl draft picks

    zug (one of switzerland’s stronger clubs)
    glen metropolit
    jussi markkanen
    former NHLer josh holden
    u. of wisconsin stud and nhl journeyman andy wozniewski
    timo helbling, played a few games for tampa bay and in minors for a while

    toughest game for them by far will be frolunda…slovan and zug won’t be easy…sparta will be a joke

  31. bob

    Serious question: Do you think any player/prospect 23 or under has scope to improve aspects of their game, or is it always the best course of action to trade them to maximise the asset coming back in return?

  32. of course they can improve, everybody can improve. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t trade some prospects. If we held on to Sanguinetti he would be worthless by now. but instead we got a 2nd and 6th round picks for him.

  33. The biggest concern with MDZ is the coaches, not the player. He has become distracted by the fact that mistakes are going to cost him. Yes, that is partly his problem to fix, but mostly if the coaching staff can’t figure out a way to make him comfortable then he might as well be in Hartford.

  34. I really am not going to fault guys who have essentially guaranteed roles on the team for holding back in the pre-season. AA and Dubi (along with Cally) are going to be expected to form the defensive/2 way portion of the top 6 forwards when the team is at full strength. AA went from playing 4th line minutes his first year to playing against much tougher competition in his 2nd year and increasing his offense.

    That is extremely difficult to do and he’ll never be as good as Datsyuk or Kesler (who’s offense last year came by beating up on weaker competition as the Sedins tended to face the opposition’s best defense and Maholtra tended to face the other team’s best offense) but he’ showed more of an aptitude to playing all zones of the ice than Stepan who was extremely sheltered in the type of competition he was matched up against most of the year. Not to mention Stepan having one of the lowest face off winning percentages since the lockout.

    I wouldn’t say the Rangers have surplus depth at center, if anything they’ve finally reached the apporpriate depth in order to start to contend. Trading away part of that depth would be extremely shortsighted given that half of their centers are still growing (AA and Step), one had a breakout season that just begs for regression to the mean (Boyle) and one is at a point where there’s a finite amount of time before his elite skills are subject to decline (Richards).

    As for the D, they’re probably going to have to go through trial by fire a little earlier than what they would have preferred with Erixon. Theyll have to live with Del Zotto’s growing pains but given the health of Staal and potentially Sauer there’s not much else they can do for now except hold tight.

  35. Cruising the internet this morning to read a few of the online newspapers’ views of the Ranger game and all they have is that Simmonds called Avery a fag. There was nothing about the game itself. No insight on how any of the younger players did. Nothing.

    Is that what newpaper reporting has come to? Just reporting the sensationalized stories and the game is a non-story?

  36. CT,
    if you are saying AA is better defensive player than Stepan, than AA needs to play a defensive role. not be a second line center. Dubi took the faceoffs for AA last season, he was no great shakes there either. as far a Stepan being “sheltered”, Stepan averaged more time on ice a game than AA. I seem to remember Stepan often being on the ice late in games. he was trusted in all situations by Torts.
    if you are trying to fit players in there best possible role, then Stepan should be the number 2 center, and AA should be moved into a checking role. Stepan is a better all around player, certainly better offensively.

  37. as far as trading AA goes,
    do I want to trade AA? no. but if you can deal from a strength( center), to fix a weakness ( Dman), you should. if it comes down to trading Stepan, or AA, i am trading AA. Stepan is the better player.

  38. Come on guys…settle down…we are 3 pre season games into this thing…as previuosly stated 4 of our 5 top players have only played one game (well, Stall hasnt played at all yet)…Looonnnggg way to go…Torts will have this team bond on this long journey around the world and in a month this will just be a little bump in the road…

    Some kids still need grooming…they will get it…AA might have that little injry in the back of his mind, he’ll get over it. Might need to look at a Vet d-man on a one year cheap deal to fill a spot. Especially if Sauer is out for any length of time…

  39. I have thought rite along the DZ’s problem is that he thinks he is better that he actually his. That may not be the case at all, but he is a poor skater with very bad habits, dispite all the coaching he has had. Hopefully he gets it soon , or he will end up in the AHL for his entire career. There is just no place in the NhL for a poor skating, lite weight D man that makes poor decisions.

  40. >>And MDZ will be fine, providing they let him play and live with his mistakes.

    And providing that they teach his partner how to defend a 2v1 and 3v1.

  41. jim

    big trades don’t happen now plus Nashville wouldn’t trade Ellis since they are going to lose one of Suter or Weber after the season.

    There is no reason to trade Anisimov. Our 2nd line has great chemistry and should be very productive like last season.

    While Boyle is better than the typical 4th line center, that line with Prust and Fedotenko is a terrific checking line and despite being the “4th line” will get plenty of icetime. All three of them will get more ice time than Rupp and Zuccarello/Avery.

  42. there really is too much wishful thinking with MDZ. he has looked terrible and it’s no one’s fault but his own. Maybe he doesn’t have the skill to skate in the nhl (though there are plenty of good players who are so-so skaters) or something else is wrong, but torts has every right to ask the kid not to make mistakes — the same thing, incidentally, he asks of every other player.

    “Unleash him”? To do what? dmz is brutal defensively. he doesn’t have a big shot and he can’t skate end to end. not to mention, he STILL pinches at the wrong times and he STILL makes too many bad passes up the middle. IMO any mediocre defenseman could have amassed 37 points playing as recklessly as he did two years ago and go minus-20. Plus-minus might be an overrated stat, but he earned every one.

    Dylan McIlrath might not be ready, but judging from this camp, he would add a lot more to the team than DMZ. Tim Erixon also might need more time in the minors but he is better than DMZ in nearly every part of his game. He also seems like the type of player who will improve as the year goes on.

    DMZ is still young and he might have all the upside, but a lot of this is just people seeing what they want to see with him.

  43. >>I have thought rite along the DZ’s problem is that he thinks he is better that he actually his.

    And we can thank the MSGHeads for that. Didn’t he already have his life-size poster plastered on the walls of Two Penn?

  44. Bulldog,

    Well I’m not saying that AA is better strictly for defense just that he was placed against better competition last year. Now some of that is a function of playing with Dubi and Cally, both of whom were regularly deployed against other teams top lines. With ice time it’s also a matter of quality as much as quantity. Stepan had a higher percentage of his shifts start in the offensive zone which is a common tactic used by coaches to cover up for deficiencies in a player’s game. This isn’t alarming to the extent that Stepan was a rookie and AA had a bit more of an even season production-wise. Overall the Stepan’s average ice time was higher by 14 seconds. Stepan tended to see more time on the PP while AA more time on the PK. Even strength time was roughly the same. (http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?season=20102011&gameType=2&team=NYR&position=F&country=&status=&viewName=timeOnIce)

    As for late in the game, I’d have to look into whether Stepan was on the ice late in close games where the Rangers were trailing (I’d suspect so) versus those that they were leading.

    The question of who will be the better player? I think both have the potential to be solid players, probably not superstars but guys that their home fans will appreciate. That’s tough to say given their age, however AA has proven at 3 levels each with increasing level of difficulty (juniors, AHL and NHL) to be able to increase his production on essentially a year on year basis. Stepan made a huge jump from NCAA to NHL and all in all had a terrific year, but right now I’ll go with AA due to a more consistent trend. I’m very open to be proven wrong over the next few seasons.

  45. There is just no place in the NhL for a poor skating, lite weight D man that makes poor decisions.


    He needs to add a few pounds, then he can become Mike Komisarek and get a ton of money.

  46. I was just asking my brother how could DZ have regressed so much, and I dont believe in sophomore slumps. He suggested that the success in the first year may have gotten to his head also.

    Wow, Im never surprised. http://tinyurl.com/redsoxlackeyscum What kind of human being divorces his cancer stricken wife, having a prenup and $100+ million, and also wants to keep most of his assets???

  47. I was on a 1st date last night, went to the Olive Garden. Had this waiter, I detected a UK accent, asked him if he was a football fan. He played in the youth academy of Chelsea. I wondered why he waiting in an Olive Garden in America, but anyway, he explained that the Torres miss against United was not as easy as it looked. Something about spin and Torres trying to use his instep. I said Im cheering Chelsea this season along with Tottenham, Arsenal, and Man City, he gave me a “yeah, right” look and laugh, and I said seriously, I just want to keep Liverpool out of the Champions League, I despise them, and we both laughed. Left him a huge tip!

  48. Ct,
    1 example I can think of Stepan being out late in game while ahead was the Boston comeback. empty net goal.

  49. No Artie party this season is a huge issue given the line he plays on. I am for Step playing up with gabby and rich guy. If AA cannot get it going, move step in middle of USA line and maybe try AA at on first line. He just does not have an edge to his game. He needs to start throwing his frame around and use his size. Penalty which killed PP was because he was worried about being hit.

    MDZ is an enigma wrapped within a puzzle lost in a maze of uncertainty. More concerned with Flyer forwards manhandling him around crease than shaky offense. Pair him with McIlbeast in Europe and see what happens.

    These were questions from last year, not over reacting after 3 games. We were weak up middle and now with a No. 1 we need a solid #2…speaking of which…

  50. Bull dog- the truth is that we’ll only be able to judge Stepan’s real ability after one or even two more seasons.

    Tiki- you took your date ( 1st time, no less!) to Olive Garden? What, McDonald’s was closed? :-)

  51. Thanks ilb :) It wasnt my fault, I had a whole thing planned, but she had a tough day at work and she had a craving for the neverending pasta bowl. I didnt want to go there, I knew Id be tempted with the breadsticks and soups while on my diet, but I kept disciplined and ended up eating only the mediterranean chicken and the tomatoes out of the salad!! Hip Hip!!

  52. bull dog,

    I’m sure he’s been used in late game defensive situations. Although the game vs the Bruins I wonder if he would have been out there had Callahan not risked his life in the path of Chara’s bomb. And I know Torts used AA when they needed offense. He had an OT winner early in the season, a clutch goal agaisnt Dallas that I think tied the game, a crucial goal against the Pens in Pittsburgh, etc. They’re both very well rounded players given their age. Over the course of the season however AA was on a line that was given tougher assignments. It’s one thing to be strictly a defensive guy, like Blair Betts it’s another to be able to go against top lines and not only suppress them, but also be able to produce against them. Maybe Stepan can play that role as well, but it looks like to start they’re keeping Dubi-AA-Cally together. But we’ve also seen that Torts is prone to playing musical chairs with his line combos.

  53. they will start that way CT,
    but they won’t end that way. AA is prone to long stretches of invisibility. Stepan will take over the number 2 spot before mid season, and the Rangers will be better for it.

  54. And my secret boyfriend Jaromir had a brace last night. I cant wait to see more of that in the reg season. Ill be recording all games of the Philadelphia Jaromirs!

  55. The same Stepan that had an 18 game goal drought after his opening night hat trick and had zero points in the playoffs?

  56. During the game MSG shows clip of earlier press conference and they can’t comment on Sather’s “Senior moment?” wha???

    Sather: “We’re gonna beat you like I remember we came in here and whipped you twice for the stanley cup”

    You tube at least has Snider’s (appropriate) come back: “Hey, get back here you’re not done” he says, pulling Sather in close to share the podium, “now, it’s not the rangers he’s talking about in the cup. I remember trashing the rangers on the way to our cup!” (Was that the Dale Rolfe series? I was too young, though I’ve seen it).

    Now the you tube clip is a minute and a half. Why couldn’t they have aired the whole thing? I mean, at least the clip I saw them air was only Glen. That’s ridiculous.

    And the announcers say nothing? WTF? Joe Micheletti needs some ‘nads. Those Joenads are mighty small. Company man. Very likeable and nice voice, but No ‘Nads.

    Don’t be a Rolfe, Joe.

  57. (Olive Garden + First Date) x Never-ending pasta bowl = A lonely gas-filled bedroom + Straight to Voicemail

    hehe, nice to know SOMEBODY’s getting out, Tiki :b

  58. LOL billy. Yeah, I had more fun talking to the waiter Paul! Problem is, it’s difficult to “ask out” another guy or say the right thing to try and be friends with another guy. I wanted to ask to get together on weekends to watch the Prem League, but I didnt want to come across as a homosexual. I asked my brother today, he said I should have asked if he watched football at any particular pub.

  59. Tiki, your brother’s angle is pretty discreet, yeah. I can’t help but think of your poor date though, like, if you were all over watching games with the waiter, lol, “Is this really happening?” Then like, bowl after bowl just keeps coming out as your date drowns out the pain with bolognese. Oh man, I really need to get out more myself…

  60. LMAO! I need to get out more as well. Only going out now because the Yankees games dont mean anything at the moment. I need a break from sports, so Im not planning on watching many Rangers games this year, just recording them for collecting purposes. Hopefully, there’s no NBA. I could do with 5 months of no stress (until baseball season) but for weekends of football and futbol.

  61. billybleedsblue on

    I hear that. I’ve been really busy recently, but somehow made the time to watch Traverse City Tourney, both Devils preseason games, and all Giants games so far. That’s about it for TV for me though. I’ve watched I think 1 Yankees game in the last 2 weeks, and will be sacrificing more in the near future. If I watch 1/2 the playoffs I will be really, really happy.

    How weird is this time of year though… when the Rangers’ games end, and you tune into baseball… that transition is really tough on me. It’s like you’re driving 55 and then suddenly slow to a crawl while craving peanuts and crackerjacks. Football to baseball is much easier on my brain. My point being of course that hockey rules.

  62. Ill never miss a baseball playoff game. I wanted to visit Laurel in NY in October, and also meet Lindzo, but I dont ever leave home in October. Ive got to be fully invested in the task at hand, 28. Ill be missing a couple Sundays of football though, for a wedding with Laurel as my date! and the next weekend with Laurel and the 2 best cats in the world, Stanley and Cup!!! I did miss part of one playoff game once, because Tiki started having what turned out to be an anxiety attack (because I was smashing on the door and yelling at the top of my lungs) and I had to take her to the Emergency Vet.

  63. I also have to make room for Castle, the best dramedy on TV and Modern Family, the best comedy on TV. Ive met Nathan Filian at one of those toy shows/conventions, he’s kind of a d-nuzzle, but I love him in every show he’s been in, Firefly, Drive, Castle! And I want to try the new show Terra Nova.

  64. too much emphasis is weighed to defensive work of young centers. for example, Kruger of the Blackhawks is useless with the puck and useless in the offensive zone, he also cannot win a faceoff, also he is a total softie in the corners and seldom throws a check, but simply because his defensive positioning is sound, he gets a job over a kid like Pirri, who actually can score goals and handle the puck, but is not yet a dzone coverage whiz.

  65. LinCalPrustBoylahan on

    Tiki i love castle but it sucks that its on the same time as five o! I think terra nova is too! Grrrrr!

    Thanks to whoever said the Rangers landed safely, i was kinda worried about that

  66. wicky© (non visor wearing poutine addict) on

    morning ILB and all!!

    I watched the game on the dvr twice last night after I got home….

    avery was avery both good and bad

    our D is going to have issues, sadly I would rather see bell and bickel than erixon or mdz. I also think mcdonut looks sophomore slumpish (but it is early). Not sure what to think of the not playing mcilrath last night. Guess they are taking him to europe on the bigger rink surfaces to teach positioning and footwork.

    I was embarrassed by the conduct (or lack there of) by the rangers wearing letters last night. Leadership position in a chippy game means step up (I know most of you don’t care about the letters, but I still think it is important).

    OPG was in mid season form and that is not good.

    Sending thuresson down is a mistake IMHO.

    Everyone else was pretty MEH!

    Off to work again, later assens!!


  67. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    Anyone who gets a mailer from optimum for the $69.95 bundle package PLEASE don’t do it you’ll be sorry my landlord changed us over yesterday & its been a nightmare for 2 days they need to send their techs to training school they haven’t a clue what the hell they are doing now the guy disconnected my phone & internet I really wish someone would meet Dolan in a back alley late at night ok rant over for now

  68. yeah CT,
    thats thats the same guy. who by the way from that point on did not go more than 4 games without scoring a goal.
    AA on the other hand, started the year with 3 in his first 16, including a stretch of 0 goals in 9 games. then went 4 in 18, which had a streak of 0 goals in 11 games. then 3 in 21 games, with a 10 game goal less streak. finished the season going with out a goal in the last 9. I think I would take Stepan.

  69. Stepan did not go more than 4 games without a point after that stretch. he did not go more than 5 games without a goal after his 18 game goal less streak at the beginning of the season.

  70. bull dog,

    As I said, I’m open to be proven wrong over the next couple of seasons. Stepan has shown some great poise and hockey IQ for a 20 year old that had no previous professional experience. But he’s still growing and growth isn’t always linear for players. Dubinsky and Callahan stayed relatively flat for the first couple of years of their careers. This is especially true if players are given more responsibilities.

    Blueshirt Banter had a good article on what might lie ahead for Stepan for this upcoming year:

  71. >>Hey ‘Heads hows the afternon going? Missed some stuff, who was cut last night

    Hi LinCPB! I got a paper cut last night.

    Oh, and Andre Deveaux and Andreas Thuresson were whaled after last night’s match. I hear Tortorella doesn’t like guys with “Andre” in their first name.

  72. Boy this Avery/Simmonds thing has taken on a life of its own today. Don’t think for a second that HBO 24/7 isn’t going to be all over this thing like a bad rash. Avery will come off looking like a champ and Simmonds will have to answer for himself on national television I am sure.

  73. This is, of course, after Simmonds said that incidents similar to the banana-throwing one are just “something he has to deal with.” Aasen.

  74. Mister Delaware on

    “Avery will come off looking like a champ and Simmonds will have to answer for himself on national television I am sure.”

    “What did Sean do that forced you to use that term and how mad are you that he did?”

  75. so if someone throws some food on the ice, and it lands near Avery, the thrower is anti-gay, and if it lands near simmonds he is anti-black, and if it lands near jagr he is anti-euro, and if it lands near Bettman he is anti-establishment. huh?

  76. you can’t group them all into one CT,
    Cally, and Dubi are different types of players than Stepan is. same with AA. he is different because of his size, and we all know size sometimes takes a little longer.

  77. I know what you’re getting at bull dog but I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to mean that since Dubi and Cally are different players than Stepan and AA and how it relates to their growth.

    Anisimov’s production virtually matches Dubinsky’s at the same age and same experience. You can handicap Anisimov’s rookie year vs Dubi’s given that he was playing mostly 4th line minutes and Dubi was centering Jagr.

    Stepan’s rookie year was the best out of the 4, but if you read the link I put in, his shooting percentage was higher at the NHL level than it was in college, which in general you wouldn’t expect given the jump in competition. He was also more of a playmaker than a scorer in college. So there’s a distinct possibility he sees a little rollback in his goal scoring.

    I’ll go back to my comment from earlier, in that overall you’ve got two kids that have shown they have potential to be very solid NHL players. Neither of them are probably on the path to be top 10 scorers in the league, but they will still be important in their roles as top 6/top 9 players.

  78. Sigh. No time to catch up, and I shall sadly be out of the loop til Sunday (Chicago, Chicago!!!)
    But Carp, that was one of my fave count downs!! All awesome, especially #5! (aw, come on, you knew I’d say that!

    I’m going to fade to black on pre-season….let the real go time begin!!

    Later all!

  79. It’s time to cut Avery loose. This guy is a distraction. He’s all about Sean Avery.

    He fought Richards, he fought Tucker, he was a perfect teammate years ago, now it’s time to go, Sean.

    He’s a circus sideshow, not a NHL athlete.

    Get rid of him.

  80. Wow. The Rangers are finally strong up the middle; they finally have a genuine number-one center, two genuine number two centers and a host of others that can fill in on three and four. And some of you guys want to change that after watching two exhibition games? I’m going to try to forget that I saw a few comments suggesting that a guy who has literally increased his output every year since he’s been a professional should be traded.

    It’s an exhibition game. Yeah, they looked like garbage. But that’s what you get when you put a bunch of marginal players up against an NHL team that is inexplicably going out for blood.

    Wicky – I imagine they didn’t play Mac because they knew he wasn’t ready for the kind of pummeling the Rangers were going to get last night. The last thing you want to see is some goon like Sestito pound the poor kid or give him a concussion in an exhibition game.

    By the way, what a classless organization the Flyers are. I thought the departure of Richards and Carcillo might change the team for the better. Well, it didn’t. Seriously, that club’s coaches must be threatening these guys with banishment if they don’t go out for blood. I hope Philly never sees another cup.

  81. iWicky (Leeloo Dallas mul-ti-pass) on

    Dubi and girardi had “A”s on their sweaters last night!

    That was my reference

  82. my thoughts on Anisimov and being traded have nothing to do with the first 2 pre season games. it has to due with the current make up of the team. even if healthy, the defense has definite issues. if you can use a strength ( centers) to fix a weakness (Dmen) you have to give it some thought. I do not know who is available on D, but if someone were to become available, the Rangers should be involved.

  83. Five regular season games for Jacques. Ouch….There will be a lot of money lost this year for jackwagons. Not that Jacques was going to play for Anaheim anyway…

  84. You think Sestito gets a few games too? Shanahan appears to be a few days behind. He’s been busy, lol…

  85. uh oh….

    Happy 26th in advance Sally!!! I won’t be here next Friday. I’ll be trying to atone over Swedish meatballs :)

    wicky, amen, not in that context is…ah…men…what can ya do…shrug :)

  86. bull dog – See, I understand why you view the Rangers are weak on D, and even agree now that Staal and Sauer are out of the lineup. But I’m nowhere near as concerned about the defense as I am about keeping it strong up the middle. The thing about the Rangers last night was that they didn’t have their best centers together. I think Richards, Stepan, Anisimov and Boyle up the middle is about as strong as you get at the position. That, in turn, takes pressure off the defense. Last night, they simply got thrown under the bus. And it got even worse when Sauer was pulled from the game. Still, I really don’t want to see the Rangers go back to the days when Christensen was a top-line center.

    I think we’ll see the defense come around this later this year to be one of the better ones in the NHL. To move Anisimov now for a D-man would inevitably create a logjam back there once guys like Erixon get their feet beneath them. Then what do you do when someone like Pashnin or McIlrath come into the system? Granted, everything changes the day the Rangers say Staal is out long-term. But if that’s not the case(and I don’t think it is) we have two very strong d-pairings. I’ve got no issues with watching Erixon and Del Zotto make mistakes and lose ice time on third pairing, considering that the top two will probably skate 22-plus minutes a game.

  87. Real Carp, I salute and huzzah you….

    Sally, I’m dying!!! Seriously, I owe you an e-mail babe. And it will come, post tomorrow’s trip and before the meatball trip….I’m working two jobs, sick and etc etc….OY! It’s Just Pain, but without the profit :)

  88. Spider, not the same, if I’m guessing correctly. Real Carp wouldn’t put his number up. Prust thinking….

  89. Tony, it’ll actually be the 1st anniversary of my 26th birthday! I’m catching up to you!

    Mama, I look forward to your email! Why aren’t you better yet? Geez. Knock it off.

  90. Phil,
    if you were to trade Anisimov, that would still leave you with Richards, Stepan, Boyle, and Rupp. with Mitchell, and the center who came up and played 4th line last year( name escaping me right now). plus you have Miller on his way. still strong at center.

  91. I do not want to trade AA, just thinking out loud about how to address the D, and balance the forwards.

  92. ive been harping about MDZ’s pedestrian foot work and speed for some time…. don’t see what he skills he has that is special besides long passes. If I had my druthers, i would love Drew Doughty and Bobby Ryan. Being that my druthers are a mere dream, I will settle for MDZ taking some serious skating lessons to add power.

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