Friday, February 29, 2008
Well the Sjostrom/Backman era began last night and it was to mixed reviews. This Sjostrom kid looks like he can play all aspects of the game. Orr/Holloweg better not play over this guy the rest of the season. He will bring a nice spark to that last line and when Avery goes off for a fight or a top forward gets banged up he can fill in as a formidable top line winger. The speed he showed on that break-in was nice and he did not make any mistakes when playing with Betts/Hollweg.
Backman on the other hand….Holy Shit he better have been nervous and trying to hard because, he was out of position all night and took 3 penalties (should have been a 4 minute high stick on top of that, but the refs called Staal). I agree with Brendan Shanahan (boy he will sleep well at night now) when he said it is much harder for a d-man to jump in and play over a forward, but this has to be one of the worst Ranger debuts ever. You have to give him a little lee-way but if we are paying 2.3 million next year for this type performance we are in trouble.
Visions of Montreal were dancing in my head right when Sam Rosen said the same thing on the broadcast. Dawes set up Shanny for a perfect top shelf shot and a game clinching 4th goal. Rangers showed poise and got the job done.
Memo to Glen Sather SIGN AVERY NOW. This is 2 years in a row Avery shows he is not scared to play in big games and the big time of the season. His wrists must have really affected him the first half of the season. He is playing like a man possessed right now and the Rangers need that in a big way.
SIDE NOTE IN PITTSBURGH- Unreal for Marian Hossa and the Pens (not that I am complaining). He suffered a knee injury in there loss to the Bruins (do they ever lose) and early reports are a sprain/strain of the knee and out 1 week. It could be much worse but man that is a downer for the Pens.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Even though he did not get on the scoreboard last night, this player has been there all year night in and night out. He really is making me believe he deserves # 1 d-man money with his play. Should he shoot more, no doubt, but when the team needed him last night he was a monster on the penalty kill. Michael Rozival gets my player of the game for the 8 plus minutes Backman put them a man down. He intercepted about 2-3 passes and stood up 2-3 players at the blue line. The main reason the Rangers won was they killed off those penalties and allowed Shanny to ice it.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The biggest splash was made at 2:58 PM when the Thrashers traded Marian Hossa and Pascual Dupris to the Penguins for Colby Armstrong, Eric Christenson, 1st round pick and prospect Angelo Esposito. As much as Pens will be a force up front I think Atlanta held out and at least got players that can help them now and in the future. I just do not see how the Penguins will be able to pay Malkin, Crosby and Hossa for the next 5-10 years and still compete. Will the Rangers still have a shot at him next year? If this is a rental the Penguins gave up way to much.
Back to the Rangers and who they acquired. Christian Backman is 6’4” 200 pounds and has no real offensive stats. They say he is very similar to Marek Malik, he is a big man that can move the puck and tends to make the safe play. He does not hit and was actually last in hits on the Blues. I think he is a depth move and will allow the Rangers to sit Strudwick. He is a great team guy but he has played way to much.
The other trade annoys, not for what the trade was, but the fact that the Rangers knew they should trade Montoya and when he had value they did not pull the trigger. They waited until he was the backup goalie at Hartford to dump him. In essence they traded a 4th line (maybe 3rd line) type winger and there 4th best goalie and got something for it.
Fedrik Sjostrom (or however it is spelled) a 3rd-4th line winger right now with upside. Rumors are he was used as a defensive forward in Phoenix but given a little freedom he has the skills to score. The fact that he will break up the HBO line and give a little skill to that line I am happy. Playoffs there is not fighting so Orr just not needed, plus we have Dubi for fight?????
Jason Gratton is a tough guy and that is it. He would fill in for Orr if he went down on nights a fighter is needed. The goalie they received (Levaneau) has a good track record in the AHL and was a former pupil of goaltending coach Benoit Alare (again not idea how to spell our goaltending coaches name).
Overall the key word for the Rangers is Depth. They improved there depth big time and this Sjostrom guy has the potential to play on the 4th line and make them a line that can contribute a goal. I think it was a good day, but not a great day for the Rangers.
The one guy I think they missed the boat on was getting Hal Gill from Toronto for 2 picks. He is a stud stay at home defenseman that shuts down the other team’s top player. He is a thorn in the side of Jagr every time they play Toronto and he did not cost the Pens that much. I would have taken a guy like him over Backman.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Okay, new rule Rangers play one day during the week and then play 2 games on the weekend and sweep them. They will win 2 out of every 3 games. A clutch goal by Avery to beat Buffalo and avoid the 3 point games we all love. Florida stinks and was a possible trap game, but Rangers put up a 3 spot early and win 5-0.
Jagr is making Bryan, sorry Commander B (linger longerrrr), look like a prophet. Putting Dubinky in the middle and Avery on the wing has re-energized Jagr and the # 1 line. Avery looks like he is finnaly healthy and back to being the pest we all know and love. His antics are a lot easier to digest when he scores and makes unreal passes. That goal last night by Jagr was the best goal of the season. Jagr scored from behind the net. SICK.
After Dubinsky gets in a fight I heard some DU-BI…..DU-BI chants going up at the garden. I think this will be the norm for the rest of the season. NY fans love a guy that has skill and is not afraid to mix it up. He will not get the crowd going like Henrik and Avery but the fans are starting to love this kid.
The Kids are alright- Man you can not give enough credit to the draft scouts and Don Maloney for what he did for this team. If he does half of what he did for the Rangers for Coyotes they will be in good shape.
CASINO NIGHT- (thanks to Bob for this). Rumors are and from all the posts about this night the Rangers were all unreal and mingling with the fans….except one. Rumors are that Jagr was the only one with a personal bodyguard and was wisked away when ever the crowd around him got to large. Adam Graves was the best (isn’t he always) and had time for every single person that came over to him. Overall though all the Rangers really showed that Hockey players are by far the easiest guys to root for and be fans of.
Player of the weekend- Sean Avery was the key man this weekend. He waived to all the Buffalo fans after the Game winner and was just an overall pest on the ice. His antics are that much easier to take when he is playing the way he is right now. Memo to Sather lock this guy up right now, he is made for NY and he is a key to this team.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Words can not describe what just happened in Montreal last night. When the score went to 5-1, I thought ok we are fine no way Henrik is giving up 6 goals in one game. When the score went to 5-2 off the next draw, I knew this was going to be a battle. You just got the sense the Habs were not going to go away. Rangers got a much needed point but you can not lose this game, no way. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach when Kovalev scored to tie it. UNREAL!!!
Gordie Howe Hat Trick for Dubinsky- He said he would not take Komisarek’s shit and he stepped up and did not back down. On top of the fight he scores a goal and gets an assist. I will say it again we are watching a kid become a potential star in the NHL.
Reason # 1 Rangers lost this game was they decided to play a prevent defense in the third. Joe and Sam said 10 times in the first 5 minutes, great job just dump it in and make Canadians take it all the way up the ice. That is not what got the Rangers a 5-0 lead and it cost them the game. The Canadians have way to much speed and offense to just dump it and change, or dump it and just back out of the zone. I HATE PREVENT DEFENSE Hockey.
Jagr/Avery/Dubinsky- this is some line, it has all the pieces- Speed/Power and grit in Avery, Dubinsky youth/energy/skill and Jagr skill. Jagr is proving the last 2-3 games he is not done. He is not scoring, but he has set up some nice goals and is playing a great give and go game with his line mates. He is not carrying the puck for the entire shift like he used to, are we watching him re-invent his game?
Trade deadline- read an interesting article where they said Rangers should go get Bobby Holik for a discounted price (a pick or a low prospect) and move Drury to Gomez’s wing. I was ready to laugh my ass off, but if Holik is played at # 3 center he fits into a team. Rumors are, if he was not bought out, Holik was going to be named Renney’s captain his first year. Holik is not a # 1 center, but he brings a shut down center to this team and I would love to see a guy like him out there instead of the HBO line against teams # 1 lines. I love Drury on Gomez’s wing. These 2 play a very complimentary game and could be a Drury/Briere type combo that Buffalo had last year. All speculation but I love trade deadline time.
Player of the game (we did get a point no goat) - Brandon Dubinksy and Jaromir Jagr. These 2 have a great chemistry growing and I would love for Jagr to take a NY discount next year to stay and watch these 2 play an entire season together.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Memo to Tom Renney, when things are going stale for 1 or 2 games, change the lines and see what happens. Every time he changes the lines something happens to get this team on a role.
Dubinsky- Unreal, that is all I can about this kid. He is becoming a star right before our eyes. He is doing so well I actually think (after the million posts saying the opposite) he can be a # 1 center in the future. The confidence he is showing right now is feeding the entire team.
Is the King Back? Henrik did what he needed to do the last 2 games and when the d broke down he made the key save to keep the other team off the scoreboard. Perfect example was the shorthanded breakaway save right before Drury's game winner Sunday. A week ago that goes in and Rangers lose the game. Maybe the contract thing, plus his dad sickness was playing with his head more then he let on. This is the King we will need for the last 20 plus games.
Callahan- I guess that AAAA post got him going or he was just reading to much of his own press at the start of the year. He is fearless and is leading the team in hits in almost every game since he was called up. He has re-energized the # 3 line and Drury/Straka are feeding off that energy. There is a kid on every line right now and it appears the vets are playing off that energy and relentless forecheck.
Player of the weekend- Ryan Callahan. See above he has made the # 3 line a threat and d-men must put there head on a swivel when Callahan is coming in the zone. He owned Brian Campbell Saturday and 2 goals Sunday. How he was not the # 1 star Sunday I have no idea.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
CAN THIS ANNOUCER BE MORE OF A JERK!!! 2 seconds after it happens it says oh it is the carotid artery in his neck with all that blood, oh man I have never seen that much blood. Hey jerk off his family might be watching this, you have no idea what happened. I can not stand announcers sometimes.
and the worst video ever.....Clint Malarchuck cut by skate and blood everywhere:
Monday, February 11, 2008
No way is Stephen Valiquette taking us to the Promised Land, he is a 30 plus year old backup for a reason. I just hope Henrik took some lessons from him over the last 2 games as 3 points out of 4 is not bad on the road. Valiquette made all the saves he was supposed to and then chipped a couple game savers that helped save the defense when they broke down. The problem with Henrik, over the last month, is he is not making those game changing saves (and recently has even been letting in one bad goal a game).
Jagr- I am at a loss with this guy right now. He is giving the effort he can just not score. This team will not get anywhere without Jagr stepping up. It is so frustrating to watch him either shoot wide or hit the goalie right in the chest. I am starting to think Bobby was more correct then Bryan when he said in the first month Jagr is done.
Ovechikin is a beast. I said it in an earlier post when they played the Caps that Ovechkin is the total package. I can now see why the Crosby/Ovechkin, Pen/Caps games will be fun to watch for the next 10 plus years. These 2 are a lot closer then people think. Only reason Crosby is propped up as the league savior is the language barrier. Ovechkin Canadian or American he would be a marketing dream come true.
OLD TIME HOCKEY- I know it was after a scary skate to the face on a linesmen so it lost a little luster, but how great was the Orr/Cote fight will all 10 players hooked up and Orr beating the shit out of Cote. I loved the picture of the gloves all over the place, the passion and a Ranger win. Just a fun game to watch old time hockey Flyers/Rangers it does not get much better.
Player of the Weekend- Nigel Dawes. He continues to impress. He scores, he hits, he is good in his own end. I think this Player of the Weekend is more a player of the last couple weeks award. Dawes, Dubinsky and Drury have been top Rangers last 2-3 weeks.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Ryan Callahan sighting!!!!!! Ryan was expected to be a key third line young player for the Rangers this year. Instead he could not score and is just not big enough to be a great defensive forward. I said last night I just hope he is a not quadruple A player. Meaning he is too good for AAA (minors) but not good enough for the majors, so he needs a new league AAAA. I know it is way too early to judge him, as this was supposed to be his first full season. Just something to think about at deadline time if a teams wants him.
THE KING NO MORE- Bobby and I spoke about it last night and it just seems to be true. The king is just not the same. All of those goals were not his fault, but he is just not the same this year. He is letting in so many deflating goals when Rangers are dominating. They are killing the Ducks all first period and end up down 1-0 at end of one period. Start dominating second and Callahan scores to tie it. Think to yourself OK her we go let’s get that second goal. Corey Perry comes down the right side takes a slap shot from upper face off circle (with no one in front as it was a 2 on 1) and Henrik lets it in. The team was completely deflated at that point and turned out to be turning point of the game. THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN, especially if playing a defensive system.
Rozie off the PP- I am so tired of it, put Staal on # 1 PP with Mara, Straka with Tyutin or Girardi. Renney wants to send a message to Rozie take his ice time away. He just does not want to shoot the puck. When he receives a pass he is not even looking at the net. He just takes the pass and is looking for the next pass. I am done watching the Gomez/Drury unit battle in front get some excitement going and shots to the net, then Jagr unit comes out and get one shot as they are all looking for the pretty perfect goal. Renney has to hit players where it hurts and start playing Gomez/drury unit 1:30 of PP and give other unit the scrapes, that does not wake them up, nothing will.
Goat of the Game
The turning point of the game was that Corey Perry goal. That 2-1 goal deflated the entire team and they did not play the same after that. Henrik gets my vote. The offense did not do much but that was the entire game right there!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
There are some major players out there that will be available for trades. I think the Rangers biggest trade chips are Al Montoya, # 1 draft Pick, Petr Prucha (he has struggled but he plays with heart and not making a ton of money). They also have salaries to dump that I am pretty sure are coming off the cap next year (Mara, Malik types).
I will take a look at the prize trade commodities out there.
Brian Campbell- Sabres- He is an unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) next year and has told the Sabres he will test the market. Reports are Sabres want a current player, a # 1 pick and a prospect. Hmmmmm Prucha, Montoya and a # 1 pick…….I would do it in a heartbeat. Campbell is a fast d-man with a shot and a half, Sabres want this for him MUST do it and try to throw them a bad contract back for rest of the season.
Dan Boyle- Lightening- Another UFA and he is a PP specialist with a blast. This is exactly what the Rangers need. I have said it before and will say if again. The Rangers need a respected point man to draw forwards out on the PP. Right now it is collapse and take puck away from Gomez/Jagr and make Mara/Rozie beat you. Boyle would make teams pay for collapsing.
Vinny Lecavalier- Lighting- This is a pipe dream Lighting love this guy he plays a Messier type game (scores, hits, fights if needed) so he will not go anywhere. I would trade anyone for him. I know we are on a youth movement but he is arguably the best player in the game right now and he is not old.
Mats Sundin- Toronto- if he were to waive his no trade he would want to go to an Ottawa, Detroit type team. Maple Leafs will likely send him out West plus with Dubinsky playing the way he is the Rangers have enough Centers.
Marian Hossa- Thrashers- While the Rangers offense has been anemic and the PP needs a boost, I think that boost would need to come from the back line (see my Dan Boyle explanation). If we can not get Campbell or Boyle, I would go for Hossa next. You can never argue with a forward with this kind of scoring touch. If the price is right Glen pull the trigger.
Here is a good link to a breakdown of all the players out there that are being rumored to be traded and the teams interested in getting them:
Take a peak and let me know what you think is needed to make this team a threat and take that next step?
My prediction Dan Boyle or Brian Campbell will be a Ranger by end of this month.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Player of the weekend
CHRIS DRURY by far has been the best Ranger of the last 3-4 games. He is scoring now in addition to killing penalties, winning draws, etc etc. This guy is unreal when the backs of his teams are against the wall. He is starting to fit in and it is perfect timing.
Rising- Rangers in the standings. Man you win a few games in the conference and you feel so much better. Rangers must not fall asleep now, Kings have actually played well last few games and there PP is solid. Rangers go back to 5 PK in the game they may lose.
HOT- Chris Drury- see above.
Falling- Shanan’s Health. I was working at FYE Saturday and this kid says to me, man Rangers looked great last 2 nights. My response was yes they do, but man did you see how old Shanahan is looking? Bobby said to me time to stop giving this guy all this ice time. We could all see it he is wearing down big time. Rangers have to sit him as long as they can, as they will need him for playoff push.
Cold- My hate for Renney. Read the post on Sunday and a great article about what Rangers are building right now. They talked about them sitting tight right now and not going after a Forsberg type. There patient has lead to Dubinsky becoming a legitimate #2 center, Staal a # 1 line type defenseman, Dawes a key role player 3rd line threat etc etc. He may just be the correct guy to lead this team.
I watched Channel 4’s coverage and I thought they were way over the top with ripping Jagr. I mean to iso him for 1 or 2 shifts and say there is no passion, is just shady journalism. Jagr may get under all of our skin, but he was getting hit all game and he kept driving to the net, was actually following through on hits and while he did not score, he played with passion. Mike Milbury just wants his name in the paper and he will do it anyway he can. Renney reacted in today’s Daily News and it was another great article.
Friday, February 1, 2008
They have played most games of any of the 4-5 teams battling for seeds 5-8 so they have to get to the top of that group in case teams win those games in hand. One good thing, all the teams in seeds 9-15 have played the same amount of games or only one less (except Buffalo who have 3 games in hand) so they are a legitimate 8 seed, as only the Sabres and Isles could catch them if they win all of there games in hand. What a race this will be to the final playoff spots.
Doesn’t it seem every time Renney tweaks the lines he finds a diamond in the rough line that sparks the team? Once it was putting Gomez with Shanny for a stretch, then Gomez back with Jagr. He did the kid line for a couple weeks, put Avery with Jagr and now put 2 hard nosed players with talent on Drury’s line. That line clicked all night. I still think Avery should be with Jagr/Gomez and then Shanny with Straka/Dubi but that is just me. If this Drury line plays this hard every night have to keep them together.
Power Play- I have said it all year this is the key to this team. I was not overly impressed last night with the PP but they did play well 5-5 and did not need the PP. That will not happen every night. Anyone notice the one PP goal they did score it was a wrist shot from the point with 2 Rangers in front…….interesting concept! I do not love Renney but he was yelling all AM skate to drive to the net boys, with some F-bombs thrown in (per beat writers Glen Sather is on this trip so they are not surprised Renney was acting this way, Thanks for this info Bob).
Player of the Game
Drury- 1 goal, 1 assist 5 of 7 on Face-offs, integral part of holding # 1 PP team in league to no PP goals. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE PAYING FOR!!!
Side note: Much props to Valiquette and his first career shutout. While he was not tested most of the night, he did make a couple saves in first period that were important. Although, with the Rangers defense Steven Mcdonald could have shut out the Flyers last night (okay that was wrong and even I am a little offended by that sentence….)