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July 21, 2008


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Great article, thanks Dubi!

Great and informative article. But why are the Rangers changing their system now without Jagr? Jagr and Naslund would have been awesome. And why did they change into the Devils in the first place? Was this Renney or Sather's idea?

kc, they're not changing to a completely offensive style. Sather specifically said they want to keep their defensive game, but be able to transition better (thus, the addition of Redden) and be more of a free-wheeling team when they're attacking. Essentially, they want to try to emulate the Red Wings.

as for why they "changed into the Devils" in the first place...if your 1st-pair on defense was Marek Malik & Michael Rozsival, wouldn't you?

Great article, Dubi. I can't wait for the one on Zherdev! That kid is gonna be something special.

Thanks for a terrific article, Dubi.

An awful lot of "ifs" in this upcoming season.

Redden will have to be as good puck-moving D-man as advertised.

Rozi will have to be willing to pass to someone other than Jagr and stop loitering behind the net until the opposing team's defense has completely set up.

Renney will need to be willing to open it up.

Nasland and Zherdev will need to rise to the occasion, along with some of the kids.

Gomez and/or Drury will need to develop heretofor unseen leadership skills.

While I am excited to see the competition in camp, lots of new faces in Rangers' blue, and was personally ready for the Jagr era to end, this article makes me want to lower any expectations for an extended playoff run.

Odds are against each and every one of Sather's gambles (Zherdev, Nasland, Kalinin, Redden) paying off.

Too many "ifs". Well, it should be interesting, anyhow.


Very good, looking forward to the next intallment(s).

When do you think you're going to "initially" write about what should be Rangers lines next season?

A really great in depth and informative article, Dubi.

Enjoyed it and can't wait for the next installment.

Great article, Dubi...BB+ is the best!

I'm not sure we are "changing" they system. I think we are "evolving". Jeff is right, we played a more defensive system because of our defense, not because we want to play that way. I see renney aiming at a Detroit type system, forwards defensively responsible, but not "defensive" at the cost of offense. I see the line Dubi is talking about as a typical Renney line. Good speed, forwards that can get back into the play defensively, but players that will present an offensive challange to our opponents. With the developement of Dawes I can see a similar line of Dubinsky between Dawes and Drury. We still need to "evolve" into 3 solid lines, but that is coming.

If Naslund needs a big body in front of the net to clear his way, why not consider Dubinsky there? This would solve our abundance of centerman..... Gomez, Naslund, Dubinsky; Drury, Prucha, Zherdev; Anisimov?/Fritsche?, Dawes, Sjostrom; Betts, Orr, and whoever is left. What does everyone else think about this?

I am just ... you know ... can it be October already? Can it? I just want to see the boys on the ice and see what happens ... perhaps a lot of people will be counting them out this season like they did 3 yrs ago and I think that's ok by me ... let's see what they do and let's support them 100% when they are on the ice and playing hard for us

Now I need to go and see the Dark Knight again :)

First and foremost, to me the defensive system Renney has been preaching all along is to be responsible with the puck at all times in all zones. To me, that means a lower percentage of turnovers on offense and players fast enough to get back on the transition when they do lose possession.

So many times the east/west style of play preferred by Jagr, the overpassing and failure to dump and chase and use the boards caused more turnovers then quality shots on goal. If I had a dollar for every time I saw Jagr try to bull his way over the blue and lose possession...

Also, let's hope the defense can move the puck up ice on the good first pass, whether on the powerplay or not.

Lastly, and most importantly, let's hope the screaming MiMis in the World's Most Impatient Arena can stifle the boos and cat calls long enough for all the newbies to develop some chemistry with the returnees.

I'll shut up now.;)

Wouldn't that be great? If she boo birds would just give the team ... at least a full month to see how they gel together instead of picking a guy that they decide they will hate (Redden, Kalinen(sp?), or Roszival) before the puck is even dropped ...

What does everyone else think about this? (Dubinsky on Naslund's wing).

I have thought about it. I think it makes total sense. I think we need to go into this year with Gomez and Drury slotted as our top two centers, only I don't want to see Dubinsky relegated to third-line minutes.

Zherdev - Gomez - Dawes (concerned about the lack of size on this line)

Dubinsky - Drury - Naslund (love it)

Voros - Fritsche - Callahan (love it)

And then it's just a dog fight for the fourth line. Love that, too.

But who knows how it'll play out. Psyched to see an insanely competitive camp.

I think that's too much to be asking of the fans ;)

I just hope that a month into the season, I'm not still going, "I miss Jagr."

I like the changes and am looking forward to the season. Great article, Dubi.

Good Work Dubi!! - Love the article!

If Vancouver fans think that Naslund couldn't handle captaincy, they are sadly mistaken. I've heard him interviewed many times after games on TV and he impressed as thoughtful and analytical. After all, this guy is a protege of Messier and it was patently noticeable to me. The key to winning games is the relentless forecheck combined with quick puck movement by the defence. Relying totally on defence to win saps players will and takes away from the fun of playing a full tilt game. The 94 Rangers played an attacking game but they could also play responsible D too. Good hockey teams, like Detroit emphasize balanced play.


Right on!


I don't like moving Dubi to the wing. He was learning a lot and was playing a very responsible game at center. For a youngerster to play a very demanding position at the NHL level as well as he did was not a function of Jagr, but rather his personal commitment to excell at the position. Keep him there, let he continue to develop those skills.

Do not discount further development of the core homegrown talent.

I for one do not think people are remembering that Dawes/Drury/Callahan was a very effective line during the playoffs and just might be a way to go.

I also do not think Dubinsky is going to "settle" for being a 3rd liner, he will want his spot on the first line back.

While too many are keying on Naslund and Zherdev it would be a mistake to discount the continued development of last years rookies.

Naslund is a 2 year stop gap, Zherdev a gamble but Dawes, Dubinsksy, Callahan, Staal, Anisimov and others are the key to the Rangers future.

Rangerbill -

Agreed that it's not ideal. But I don't want him playing third-line minutes. Drury then? I know he's done it before. Our "problem" is that three of our top six are centers.

I agree with bones, I think naslund got a bit of a bad rap as captain. Either way he more than likely will not have to bear that burden so to speak with the rangers. I would like to see Dubi used as a power winger on one of the top two lines even though he is probably a better center.

Wouldn't the concern be with a Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev line be that they all like to carry the puck? If we need a body to create room for Nazzy, why not put him on Drury's left wing with someone like Sjostrom or even Callahan (who likes to hit and create chaos) on the right?

While the idea of Dubi on wing is intriguing, I don't want to sacrifice the development of a power center just for that experiment. I'd rather put Drury on wing where he has at least some experience.


Exactly what I'm thinking about further development (and a great post in the Prospect Park too). I would actually add Zherdev to this core group as well. He's only 23 and should continue to develop and get better and better with the rest of young core.


I'd rather have Drury on Dubinsky wing as well.

What I am not too keen with having Nazzy, Gomer and Zherdev all in one line is that why have your biggest offensive threats all in one line? I mean if they have chemistry and hit it off ok but I am thinking that mixing things up will be going on at training camp ...


Darn it! You took my new catchphrase.


I also do not think Dubinsky is going to "settle" for being a 3rd liner, he will want his spot on the first line back.

Dubinsky's about to start only his 2nd season in the NHL. He can "settle" for whatever the coach tells him to "settle" for. What *demands* can he possibly make? Is he going to hold his breath and pout in the corner if he doesn't get his #1 position back? I'm sure Anisimov, or whoever the Rangers decide to throw in, will be glad to take a shot at being #3 if he doesn't want to be there.

The Rangers are paying Drury and Gomez the big bucks to be the top centers on the team, and that's where I (and I'm sure, they) expect to be when the season starts.

This talk of where Dubinsky or Drury or Gomez plays will be settled by whoever plays best at those positions. Renney will test all the top players, that includes Dubi, Dawes, Callahan and Prucha. The best will earn 1st and 2nd line duty. Effectiveness and performance is all it is about. I just hope it doesn't take until Feb or March to get it all together!

Did anyone notice on rangers report that sam had to warn some people about their posts and said he may start banning (for lack of a better term on my part) some from the comment section. I wonder if it is anyone we know?

Very good report on Naslaund it gives us (me at least) a hockey fix now during this off season. BB+ looks like another tremendous outlet for us Hockey crazed fans that can't ever get enough. And now add to that a NY Ranger crazed hockey fan and I hope BB keeps the great work up. I remember last year Jags first comments when we signed Gomer and Drury he said " It looks good on paper but that doesn't mean much" (something to that affect) And now we have changed the team so much I wonder how we will do next year. As I have been saying we won't know until the season gets going. Maybe not even until mid season, it seems like Renney's teams get slow starts. Time will tell, looking forward to the Zherdev insight, thanks BB+

Ok, Matty and everyone else waiting impatiently for October: Do yourselves a favor and rent "The Rocket." It's a CBC production, but it's in "new releases" at Blockbuster. See Vincent Lecavalier play a silent Jean Beliveau! Pick out our ole buddy Stephane Quintal! Look! It's Mike Ricci's nose as Elmer Lach! Watch Sean Avery be pummeled by a Canadian actor!

Seriously? It's a history lesson for those of us who may not be familiar with French-Canadian history and sensitivities. And it's cool to watch. A lot of chilly rinks :-)


We own the movie and you are absolutely correct, it is great!!!


You miss my point, Dubinsky has a huge history of people discounting him. I know firsthand that every time people think Dubinsky is going to be something he fools people including myself.

Nobody thought Dubinsky was going to make the Rangers last season not even the Rangers themselves.

Nobody thought Dubinsky would wind up playing with Jagr but he did and did it well.

And to be really honest do you want a player who is willing to "settle" for being a 3rd liner or do you want a player who is going to fight his way back to his spot on the first line? I know the fire that drives Dubinsky and I will make this guarantee that Brandon Dubinsky if he remains healthy will not be a 3rd liner by the end of the season.


Thank you as what I have been seeing as of late is all this talk about the impact the signings are going to have on the Rangers and nobody seems to remember the impact the kids had last season.

So now let us see how these kids do now that they have a year under their belts.

The reason I do not include Zherdev is because he is not homegrown but an outsider for now but you are right at his age if the Rangers can fix his development then he too will be a part of the long term future.

I'd love to see Renney keep the Drury-Dawes-Callahan line together. There was good chemistry there and they played at a breakneck tempo. What does it matter if Dubinsky plays centre or on the wing? He's a great looking young player and he'll do well in either position. If Anisimov makes the team, Dubi could be on the wing with him. I think Dubi would be strong along the walls and this would be an asset to the team. Strength on the walls translates into shots on goal.

I'd like to see Dubinsky next season improve his finishing. Would that be facilitated better on the wing or at center?

Meanwhile, I saw quite a bit of Detroit last year and honestly shift by shift I couldn't say who was the center, Datsyuk or Z-Berg. It depended a lot on the run of play. If you have a more open system, it seems to me, sometimes a player will have to assume the wing's responsibilities and other times the center's.

i hope Zherdev works out as a steal for us.... in the future year or so haveing a line of:

well aslong as AC comes here and lives up to expectaions. the two russians zipping aroud,dubi crashing the net...setting up shop.
october needs to get here so we can watch and not speculate


The major difference is in the defensive zone. Center is way more involved than a wing.

In the offensive mode - you're right, if the wing can carry the pack or center can be stong on the boards then who cares who plays what position.

Dubinsky is going to play on the 3rd line if Renney wants it, no doubt. But then generally his partners will be not on the same level and it would be a waste. This is what Jess meant by saying Dubinsky is not going to settle. His high level of play should force Renney to move him to the top 2 lines.

Matty - I fear you're right. one of the 3 will be the target of the self appointed experts in hockey who follow mob mentality. My guess is Rozy since he was already here and the rationale will be Avery left because of Rozy's contract. and it will be early in season assuming he is playing after the surgery. if he is slow to start off (maybe because of the surgery) he will be given the bronx cheer. not by me i'm just calling it like i see it.

jess - well Gomez and Drury have the same drive so unless one of the 3 is moved to wing it's not just about Dubinsky's desire.

Dubi - i for one would not mind if you cut back a little on the links. I try to read them and always wind up being behind. so could save you a little time as well as my time.

Wicky - a few issues with Sam's site. one) not moderated at all. two) people post under others names really ridiculous things. three) the language etc by the person you are thinking of and others. and finally some fool posted that a writer for lohud was killed in an accident using anothers name to post. thankfully not true but that was the ultimate lack of class I've seen on the Rangers internet.


"Why so serious?" ??? We can share and I will use this other one :)

BTW Lisa, I think Jess meant that Dubinsky will not be satisfied as a third line role player because he's better than that ... He won't pout and refuse to play and wax poetic to the press about how unfair this all is to him but I do believe that he will play extremely hard so as to force the coaches(IF they even put him on the 3rd line since all of this is speculation) to move him back up to line #1 or at the least #2 ...

Hi Dubi,

I really enjoyed your analysis of the Naslund signing. What great depth and insight - absolutely fabulous. Please keep these "offseason analysis" pieces coming.

My two best friends, and fellow Ranger fans, have made a new habit of reading your analysis pieces - starting with this one - and after reading it, discussing amongst ourselves the signing or moves.

When can we expect the pieces on Zherdev, Redden, Fritsche, the resigning of Roszival, etc?

I think Drury becomes the LW on either of the top two lines. And, unlike some people who feel Dubinsky is ripe for a sophpmore slump, I think he takes the next step in his development and solidifies himself as a top six player/2nd line center. This kid sold me a long time ago, and last year was just the beginning. How anyone could doubt this kid after watching his performance is beyond me.


LOL we agree on something so the world as we both know it is going to end. If Drury/Dawes/Callahan worked under the playoff pressure then one has to wonder what they could do during the regular season?

Paul A

IF Dubinsky improved his upper body then leaving him at center would be the way to go. BUT if he has not gotten stronger then moving him to wing might become a forced issue as the concern would be that Dubinsky would get overpowered.

Perhaps the question to be asked is do we think Dubinsky would be best off as a finisher or as a creator? My own fear about moving Dubi to wing is that we would lose his creativity as now that Jagr is not there will show itself more.


I get this feeling that a Dale Weisse was selected in the hope of giving a Zherdev and Cherepanov a "protector" who could also finish for them.

I also would not discount a Justin Soryal who just might be the strongest prospect strength wise to come along in years. Soryal reminds alot of people of a very very young Shanahan who people thought was just a goon but his hand speed helped turn him into that 600+ goal scorer.

LI Joe

I disagree about drive as Dubinsky was never given a chance to become an NHLer. To be honest until I talked with him even I thought he was just another smallish center who had no hope of making it.

Gomez and Drury where they are today was almost expected of them.

Dubinsky (IMO) takes any slight and turns it into a motivating tool. Remember what the story I once told of joking with Dubinsky as the 5th best center prospect in the system?

He took it very personally and caught fire, telling his dad every day "5th best huh?"

Same can be said for both Dawes and Callahan as only us here at the Blueshirt Bulletin gave any of those 3 any chance of becoming NHLers.

Their drive and heart are what we used to measure them and nobody in the system has more drive than any of these 3.

I know it's fun to imagine line combos but reading all this reminded me that Renney has a tendency to tinker with his lines a lot. Last year there were all sorts of line combos that looked good for a while and then when they would start to slump a little--boom!--line adjustment.

Plus all the combinations at the beginning of the season while seeking chemistry and seeing exactly who fit with who, while newcomers and vets adjusted.

I'm thinking with all the new faces we'll see a lot of fluidity to the line combinations all season long.

jess - just don't discount Gomez and Drury's drive either. as we all know Drury's history from little league on and I'm sure he'll want to improve his 2nd year on the team he grew up rooting for. and Gomez with 3 cups and very much in his prime is no slouch either.

time will tell and it is not us but Renney and co making the decision. all of the aforementioned centers have drive and pride and ability and lots of it.

jess any chance we see a dubi dawe cally line next season?? And out of jamtin, soryal, and voros, who if any do you think will make the roster coming up?


oops that is "dawes". What about denisov? A number 7 d man?


Aw, shucks. Thx. Now I can express my true inner madness. LOL


I see the point that you, Matty and kovazub94 are making about Dubinsky. He has shown that he will work hard to make the most of his opportunities. I can see him coming to training camp with the sole intent of retaining his #1 center position. Dubinsky will throw down the gauntlet to his "elders". I can see Gomez and Drury coming to training camp with the same fire and determination because of that fierce competition. It will be real interesting to watch the "Battle for Center" come this training camp.

I just watched Greatest Goals on MSG. Every time they showed Jagr, I just got sad. I realize I'm going to miss the Big Guy all of next season. :(


A Dubi/Dawes/Cally line?

Sounds interesting perhaps as a PP unit but they very much would be a smallish line overall so not as a regular line combo.

Voros no doubt has the huge edge over the other 2.

One (Soryal) is a project and the other I do not know enough to honest gauge.

LI Joe

Drury has a ton to prove to me after taking half of last season off last season.

I hope you are right about both but for now I have some doubts about them becoming Ranger leaders next season.


Glad to see you finally came around as I was going to ask Matty if she could use her magic and turn you into a bunny.


you know the flak I took regarding Dawes last season when i even confronted Renney personally at the Rangers Fan Forum at WaMu on why Nigel was still at Hartford in late Dec.-early January. As you recall he was putting together two 4-pt. nights and one incredible 6 pt. night all within a week or so, most of it on the power play. His effective play when he got ice time was obvious, particularly his backcheck in the offensive zone where he often screwed up the defensive breakouts of opponents. Plus-11 (team leader), given the spurious "defensively weak" label thrust on him earlier, is a bold measure of his contributions. I agree with your assessment of his leadership potential at Prospect Place and look forward to his continuing his development with the Rangers in 2008-9. I've seen every left wing who's played for the Blueshirts since 1962 and, as a total package of skills, he impresses me as being no worse than among the top ten when his career ends. I know it's a reach at this point, but that's what my gut tells me.

Oops! I meant the Ranger Forum held in late Nov.-early December. by the way the session was recorded by MSG, but my critical question was curiously deleted from the replay. (Anothe example of media manipulation by the Garden??)

Thanks Jess!

There were a lot of questions about Gomez when he was drafted, a lot of people thought he was a bad pick, not gifted enough to make up for the lack of size.

Remember, Dawes was drafted before the new rules, when size was more important than skill. He had a successful junior career, but he was deemed too small. Give the Rangers credit for giving him a shot. In today's world, smaller players are going higher, so he probably would have made the second round.

Before he imploded, Theo Fleury did pretty well in what was then only a big boys' game. Of course, when anyone went to hit him, they arrrived to find Theo's elbows high and waiting.

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