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October 31, 2006

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i got no comments about yesterdays game and im really scared about sunday game against buffalo because if we put on the same show we did yesterday i dont even wonna predict the score after that game

Very well put, Dubi. I'm stating it here again - Prucha with Hollweg on a line will pay big dividends.

Unlike most of you when the game ended it was barely ten so it wasn't as late.

In my eyes I want to see Renney take a stand and send a message to the team by legit benching (not hiding behind an excuse to spare feelings) of those who's play has failed to meet expectations.

The Ranger problems basically start and end on the blueline. Other than Ward and Tyutin as Dubi mentioned there should be "Help Wanted" signs for the other 4 spots. Reality though says dumping 4 defenders will not happen but an example can be made by sending a vet to Hartford via waivers (gut feeling says Kasparatitis would be the one they pick) and give a Baranka a look.

But the Rangers will not take that kind of action, odds are we will see the very same lineup against the Ducks and the Rangers will do a lot of praying that most of you will pick sleep over watching the game.

If you can't beat a bad team and the kings are a bad team, then you are usually a bad team and the Rangers sure look like a bad team to me. Pre lockout enthusiasm. Last season the rangers pretty consistently beat bad teams, not this season.

-Great reporting Dubi.
-Would love to see Pock, Baranka, Dawes & anyone that can bodycheck and clear out the front of the net. Extremely tired of watching Rosival wave his magic wand as players tuck goals in. Malik, with his size, is useless. Kaspar, although he is not playing well I feel can still contribute. Not sure why he is being singled out as Rachunek has been the worst, by far.. The debate is still out on Ozo as he is just focusing on D, knowing full well he will get burnt if he joins the play.
-Unsure as to why Ozo, Pock or Cullen are not manning the point. Rosival should in NO WAY be a power play point man. He has absolutely no shot or foresight. In addition, I would perfer slap shots as opposed to wrist shots from the blue line if possible.
-How about Prucha, Shanahan, Pock, Cullen and Hall for the pp
-Miss the Betts and Ward chemistry
-As an aside, my money is on JD trading all the veterans he acquired for the Blues in the offseason at or near the deadline, for draft picks, as the Rangers did in 04...

Maloney will be at the Isles Hawks game tonight.

My guess is they are looking at Aucoin and then will send D men making money to hartford.

Didn't see the game and that sounds like I made the right choice. Great write-up Dubi, I can usually count on you the give a fair assessment. I have watched most of the Ranger games this year and I'd like to comment on your observation regarding Malik and Rozsival. Last year both these guys played off each other, their heads were on a swivel, they anticipated the play, accelerated to the puck and usually made good decisions. They were never #1 pairing D's, but played TOGETHER as if they were. This year it seems as though they THINK they are #1 D's and are playing a soft, totally unmotivated game. I don't think its the wings helping out or Lundqvist not being as strong as he was last year. I think it's completely those two. I would have them in the stands until I could see some of that hockey sense re-enter their practice sessions. If it doesn't, trade 'em. I do like the way Hollweg is playing, but I still think a Jamal Mayers could help this team. Get rid of Hossa, play Dawes and Pock. Also, I don't understand Rachunik, he played very well in Russia. But, if he can't seem to get his act together, bring up Richter...he may be hungry to show what he can do. Last years team was out to prove the critics wrong and they did it. Renney needs to understand that this year the expectations are much higher and for some reason the players (not all of them as you pointed out) seem to think our opponents will just quake in their boots at the mere mention of the NYR. Well, you still have to work harder and smarter then most of your opponents to walk away with two points!

Two words to describe Malik's fall from mediocraty to abismal: Cam Jansens. Ever since that hit, Malik has been awful.

Emscam,

From your lips to God's ears. LoHud has Maloney seeing Cullimore. How great would it be to have Poti in Orange and Aucoin in Blue!

Aucoin gets 4M this year, as per
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=3964&hubname=
not sure how many years remaining

One bit of news that you guys haven't heard is that Baranka is out for 2 -4 weeks with a broken bone in his hand that he received from a slash.

We have 8 D-men now. I think that you will see Ozo &/or Rachunek (or sent to Hartford) traded in the next week, (6) Malik sent to Hartford (5) and Kasper (4) riding the pine in the press box. This would ensure tha Pock (5) plays every night until Baranka is healthy again. The amth isn't right but someone can be shuttled in and out and who knows what the trade will bring back.

Be prepared my friends. The next two nights are going to be brutal.

Exactly how does Rachunek's 2:35 of PP time(all with the second unit) qualify as significant? He's a much better point man than Rozy, but the Rangers are falling into their old habit of not putting guys in a position to succeed, see Blair Betts playing on the second line.
How come Tyutin always walks away unscathed? He's useless out there. Kopitar walked right around him last night, if anyone should be benched, it's Fedor. He was better three years ago.

I hate to be the guy who plays coach and sets up line combinations, but Renney is so frustrating right now (see Betts as second line center).

Straka-Nylander-Jagr
Prucha-Immonen-Shanahan
Dawes-Cullen-Hall
Hollweg-Betts-Ward

2 cycling lines and two energy lines. This team needs to utilize the little speed it has. Immonen and Cullen could switch to wherever they are most effective.

I don't even wanna start with the defense. I just hope Renney gets it together, and soon.

your comments were right on the mark. The only players who realized the game began at 7:30 Pacific time were Shanny & Hollweg. Everyone else must have thought it started at 8:30. Malik has been awful, he looks like he aged 5 years since last season and I don't understand the endless fascination with Hossa. I know he looks like a player but he is all show and no dough. Rachunek who hasn't played in North America in 3 years should be sent to Hartford to see if he can get it together or released. Play Dawes and Pock and even bring up some guys from the Wolfpack to inject some speed and enthusiasm.
The first month of the season was not as projected. There is a long way to go but they can't afford to keep playing like this before shaking things up.

HUGE NEWS:

Steve Zipay of newsday on his blog reports the following:

Kaspar to Hartford

This just in: Rangers have sent veteran Darius Kasparaitis to Hartford for a 10-day conditioning assignment, breaking the log jam at D. I'd expect Thomas Pock in the lineup against Anaheim

Great idea, send the second of only 2 Dmen who know how to body check..
Make an example of a teamm guy and not a mute/soft misfit like Malik.. More Rosival and Rachunek..

KC, that's 2:36 a game, right? Second most among Ranger defensemen. A single point in over 23 minutes of power play time is not good.

Tyutin gets a pass in my book so far this season because, as I said, his numbers in all relevant categories reflect a decent level of play for a second year man still developing. He has added a nice physical element to his game, he has moved the puck better than most other D, he has contributed some offense, he is plus on team that has a lot of minus players right now, he blocks shots.

Sure he got beat by Kopitar. And so have a lot of other defensemen in this league. That's why guys like Kopitar are forwards and guys not like Kopitar are defensemen.

But you do make an excellent point about the Rangers putting players in a position where they can't succeed -- that was certainly a problem in the down days, was not a problem at all last year, and is evident again.


I completely agree with him regarding Martin Straka. The guy has played very well in all zones on the ice. I love this guy!

But anyone who can say Nylander is not part of the problem, based soley on his offensive production; comes off as someone who evaluates a player strictly by how many points they score and nothing else.

Both Jagr and Nylander have been ridiculously stupid and irresponsible in all zones on the ice. Nylander (and Jagr )continues to be sloppy, careless and irresponsible with the puck and he's (Nylander ) consistently inconsistent.

No doubt four of the six regular blueliners have been a disaster....a trainwreck........an embarrassment.

But defense is a team's responsibility. Not just the blueliners.

And Jagr and Nylander have been two major parts of the problem, when it comes to team defense and horrible giveaways/turnovers. There's no justification or excuse that should be accepted for this type of irresponsibility from the team "Captain" and a alleged seasoned-vet (Nylander).

No excuse.

Hey Tony, thanks for being more polite here than you were at the Rangers Cafe in disagreeing with my assessment of Nylander. Of course, if you read carefully enough, you'd see that I don't give Nylander a pass for his role in the goals against -- after all, I wrote that he is "not among the top culprits in compiling the NHL's third-worst defense" rather than "not a culprit at all". The point was that your top offensive players are supposed to score goals primarily, prevent goals secondarily (which since I have to clarify things for you in order to avoid being called names does not mean "not have to prevent goals at all").

As for my use of statistics to back up my point, what would you have written if I had not provided any evidence to back up my point? The stats don't come ahead of what is actually happening, and they don't contradict what has happened on the ice, they support it. Do Nylander and Jagr commit turnovers? Sure they do -- they play a high risk, high reward style, as you'd expect from top line finesse players. Do they provide more offensive upside than defensive downside? They sure do.

Feel free to disagree -- I don't mind. And please continue to do so politely, at least in this forum.

Dubi,

I'm not one to look at stats and consider them the definitive evidence as to how a player is performing. I go by what I see on the ice, during the games.

But if you take a closer look at Nylander's stats, his individual game "Splits" stats; you see a glaring and disturbing indication that for whatever he is producing in the offensive zone, he's giving it back in his own zone.

It's no coincedence opponents score a lot of goals when he and Jagr are on the ice. The "High-Risk, High-Reward" cliche does not cover the irresponsible and both mentally and physically lethargic performance by Nylander and Jagr.

Yeah, I read what you wrote the first time. " Not among the top culprits in compiling the NHL's third-worst defense"

In my opinion, that's just a prose which diverts responsibility and accountability away from Nylander. It's a nice little side-step, that's all.

When you consider how weak, stupid and clueless this defense has been, I can't excuse or sugar-coat the careless and braindead play of a guy who is allegedly supposed to be a "Seasoned Vet" on this team. "Seasoned Vets " don't make careless and irresponsible plays like Nylander does; and Jagr for that matter.

Last season's four and a half month success was largely due to work ethic of the Third and Fourth line- their even-strength shifts and Penalty Kill prowess. Combined with what was a surprising and honest defensive/backchecking effort from the other two lines ( including Nylander and Jagr). More importantly, the team/lines played as a cohesive unit. They played like a team, as opposed to confused and eratic individual efforts with no cohesion at all, of this season.

That's what kept the team in games and gave Jagr, Nylander and Co. a chance to win the games with their offense.

The perspective that "Offensive Players are supposed to score, first", is an antiquated notion, at best. It's the kind of notion and concept that has seen the Rangers as the laughing stock of the league, for eight years.

You can't run and gun when you don't have the horses back there to cover for you. Players and coaches have to adjust and realize when they are not getting the defensive safety-net from their blueliners. To continue to run and gun under these circumstances is downright stubborn and mindless.

It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, with or without clarification.

Oh sure, you hinted at putting Nylander and Jagr on the hook, but ultimately you politely tip-toed around the hook on the basis of offensive production. When clearly both of them have been a larger detriment to this team's defense than Rachunek or Ozolinsh.

Offensive stats are so nice and so glossy. But they don't indicate all the missed assigments, the failure to hustle and backcheck, the mindless and seemingly self-absorbed mental mistakes that lead to a ridculous and embarrassing amount of turnovers/giveaways, the failure to cover a teamates (especially a defenseman) position on the ice when they are out of position; the failure to stay in the defensive zone and contribute to gaining control of the puck and then breaking out of the zone, as opposed to hanging high and becoming a spectator. Or becoming a spectator while an opponent is rushing into the defensive zone with the puck. No, those glossy offensive stats don't reveal any of that.

Watching the games and having a clue as to what is going on down there, does reveal.

So go ahead and clarify some more senseless points for me, because clarification is what you so desperately need.

Tony wrote: "I'm not one to look at stats and consider them the definitive evidence as to how a player is performing. I go by what I see on the ice, during the games. But if you take a closer look at Nylander's stats, his individual game "Splits" stats; you see a glaring and disturbing indication that for whatever he is producing in the offensive zone, he's giving it back in his own zone."

I'm not sure what stats you're looking at. The Rangers have scored 38 goals, and Nylander has been on the ice for 24 of them (including PPG -- no need to look at standard +/- since that already tells us that he's a plus player when not on the power play). That's just about two out of every three goals for. On the other hand, the Rangers have given up 43 goals, and he's been on the ice for 8 of them -- just about one in five. Only once, in the shutout loss to Nashville, was he one for more goals against than goals for, and only once, in the LA game, was he one for an equal amount -- in the remaining nine games, including ugly defensive performances against Pittsburgh and Buffalo, he was on the ice for more goals scored than goals allowed.

So tell me again how "it's no coincedence opponents score a lot of goals when he and Jagr are on the ice"?

You also wrote that "both of them have been a larger detriment to this team's defense than Rachunek or Ozolinsh."

I already posted that Ozo, in his three games, has been on the ice for seven of the Rangers' ten goals against, only three of twelve goals for. I won't argue that those are all his fault, because what I see on the ice is that others have failed more than he has. But he sure has a knack for being out there when the other team scored. Rachunek of course is a team-worst -9, and has made up for it with only one point (a power play point). To take it one step deeper, he has been on the ice for five of thirty goals scored when he dressed (exactly one in six goals), and he's been on for eleven of 35 goals against, just shy of one of every three goals.

So when I wrote "Not among the top culprits in compiling the NHL's third-worst defense", I wasn't, as you said, attempting to "divert responsibility and accountability away from Nylander [with] a nice little side-step." I was writing exactly and precisely what I meant, that as a first line player he is secondarily responsible (but not completely off the hook). That opinion is based on the mistakes I see him make on the ice with my own eyes -- the stats I just quoted you actually prove me wrong and demonstrate that he is hardly responsible at all for the goals against, giving up less than one per game while helping generate more than two goals for per game.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention Jagr in this discussion -- I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence by debating the merits of a guy who is leading the league in scoring while playing at less than 100%.

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