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December 25, 2006

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"We'll climb out of this," he said. "... I'm not going to dress up a pig's ear - it is what it is. But you know what? We will be better for this.

"And the reason I can say that and feel that way is I believe in this team. I believe that we want to do that and that we're more than capable of doing it."

So says Renney in Dellapina's column.

Oy vey. This guy has lost all objectivity if he can't see that this team will not be winning much of anything this year. At least not as currently constituted. He makes a fine sugar daddy. But a coach? Not so much...

Seems to me this wise saying applies: If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. With Tom taking this approach, we'll keep getting what we've been getting -- which is mediocrity at best. I don't expect the playoffs and I certainly don't expect the cup. What planet is this guy living on?

Rodent is right. Jagr isn't going anywhere for the reasons he states on his front page.

But denial of the deleterious effect Jagr's petulance, lack of motivation and inability to lead this team is like burying one's head in the sand. You have to walk on eggshells if you even breathe a word of criticism about certain "Euro" players. God forbid anyone offend the sensiblities of the Czech players or their fans by pointing out a few home truths.

I find it even more telling when someone who is on the perifery of Ranger hockey sees what a lot of those close to it fail to see. I hope he won't be upset but I would like to quote Bird's father, Rusty. He lives outside of Tampa and he and Bird went to the game Saturday night. Here is what Rusty had to say:

"I should be the last to have an observation on Jagr since I don't see the games on TV, don't hear the local Sports shows, etc.

BUT! I did see the game Saturday night.

Jagr, the Captain? Comes out on the ice for pregame warmups, a minute or two after the team. Brings a half dozen of his sticks with him, then joins the warmups for a few minutes before leaving the ice FIRST and several minutes before the warmups are over. Tired? Flu-stricken? Bored? Sulking? Whatever. NOT the behavior of a Captain.

Looked listless in the game, several turnovers. certainly not a dominant force on ice. Took the third period off [well, so did Lundqvist and most of the team].

A lot depends on the attitude of the players in that lockerroom. The character and the will to exert the enegy needed to produce on the ice comes from the work ethic of the group. The Captain slacks, who else slacks? A coach can diagram Xs and Os. Can change lines, spout team strategy. The team executes based on its work ethic and desire at that moment. No team desire sufficient to match the opponent, nothing good comes about because of it. The Captain can be a huge part of that. In the lockerroom and out.

Something didn't motivate that team to put in a third period effort. What was missing? A Captain? What can the coach do between periods? Tell them to win one for the Gipper? It's got to come from within the team.

If you're the Captain, you've got to be the Captain on ice, off ice, all three periods, 24 hours a day. I didn't see that take-charge Captain.

Result? A blown game."

These are the observations of a man who witnessed one game. Funny, but he summizes, in a nutshell, what many of us who go to all the games have been saying for the last month.

Fire Sather, Fire Maloney, Fire Renney because they can't fire up Jagr. Yeah, that makes sense. That's like throwing out all the clothes in your closet because nothing matches your chartreuse shoes.

Here's an idea. How about someone kidnap Jagr's girlfriend and hold her for ransom until Jagr puts his heart and effort back in the game. (Joke) You all know what a smart ass I am. : )

On the Jagr front has anyone considered that his shoulder (or some other upper body injury) is bothering him? The last few games he's had an anemic shot and passed poorly. I think that would have him depressed, down, what ever you want to call it. He seems to be able to skate just fine but is having trouble handling the puck,accepting passes et. which is why I'm wondering about his shoulder. Please don't mistake my comments as excusing his poor choices on the ice.

As for Larry Brooks' column, he's just written what has been written here for months. The team has too many players like Betts, Ward, Hall and Hossa, never mind that Orr is totally useless.

Margaret, I'm wondering if maybe you have the ethnic invulnerability matrix reversed. Jagr has had two bad games, but he still has two goals and five assists during the five game losing streak and is hardly the major reason for what is happening. Meanwhile, I don't see any criticism whatsoever of Brendan Shanahan -- one goal in his last eight games. Shanahan, at age 38, has six goals, eight assists, and a -6 in his last fifteen games, while Jagr has five goals, twelve assists, and a +6 in those games -- and yet it is Jagr that we should trade? Because he doesn't take a full warm-up session? No one questioned Jagr's leadership last season, when even without a bum shoulder he took less warm-up than he does this season.

Jagr is still playing with a bum shoulder, has two men draped all over him all game, and has still set up Martin Straka's great season and has assisted on 9 of Shanny's 23 goals. Shanny has assisted on four of Jagr's 16 goals -- not that it's his job to set up Jagr, but Jags is a huge factor in the season Straka and Shanahan are having, so why is he the one who is in question? Take Jags away, and next we'll be calling for those two to be replaced by Dawes and Dubinsky because their production will drop to near zero.

As for the whole leadership issue, I don't mean to lord over anyone my access to the team, but behind the scenes, there is no question in anyone's mind that this is Jagr's team. If anything, Renney needs to make this LESS Jagr's team and more his own team. Jagr has not sulked, complained, or anything. I don't know where you see a lack of motivation. The quotes that make you believe any of this are the exact opposite -- they reflect Jagr's anger at himself, at the team, even the coaches for not being able to reverse this slide, and his concern about the long-term ability to reverse it. Again, not to lord it over anyone, but I can hear his tone when he speaks, and I hear the entire interview, not just the select sound bites the press gloms onto.

Jagr is being honest when he speaks, while Shanahan and Renney continue to sugarcoat everything and spout cliched optimism to the public and even to the team -- I challenged both Shanahan and Renney with questions about their look ahead, don't look back speeches during the team meeting after the loss to the Devils (which was right after the loss in Toronto), and neither saw any reason to analyze why things were going so wrong. Three straight losses later... Jagr says we have to fix things, and he's petulant?

Rich,

If Jagr ain't 100% then he shouldn't be playing. That simple. Better to lose without him then to have his malaise infect the whole team. His penchant for too much cutesy stickhanding and coughing up the puck at the blueline is what infuriates me the most. He doesn't look like his skating is just fine when he drags his ass so slowly to the bench on line changes forcing breakouts for the opposition.

PS. I don't see him taking too many shots anyway. Here's a thought. Why don't they stop trying to set him up on the powerplay if he isn't 100%?

Dubi,

What I see is Shanahan not playing his game in an effort to feed Jagr on the powerplay. The fault I find with Shanahan is that he should take more shots but instead he has become infected with "passitis". Maybe that's why he has only scored one goal in the last six games. It could also be that he doesn't have the benefit of having the same line mates game in and game out. Is his center most of the time by Michael "Sweethands" Nylander. No. His line is a revolving door.

I never said trade Jagr.

If Jagr wants to change things it should start within himself. If Jagr has 2 guys draped all over him, why doesn't he pass the puck to safety instead of coughing it up at the blueline trying to enter the zone. He has to be "the Star". He should try putting the safety of the puck first and stop the turnovers.

Watch Shanahan on a line change. He makes sure the puck is in a good place before he leaves the ice. Ooooh, he even sometimes puts it on goal.

On line changes Jagr chasses off the ice like he hasn't a care in the world. Where's the puck Jaromir? Duh, not my job man. Let those coming on to the ice worry about that. Let them get the minus if the other team gains possesion. Maybe that's why Jagr's a plus.

As I see it Dubi, you should take off your hat as a journalist and sit up in the blues with the rest of us and watch what Jagr does game in and game out. He may a great interview and tell you what you want to here in the lockerroom but he does not apply it in his game.

Hey, I just call them as I see them. He may be a great player, the best player the Rangers have but that doesn't entitle him to absolution for sins.

Dubi u 100% right people seem to forget last april when we lost Jags.They forgot who made the team get in to the playoffs.Yea Jags is not in his bgest performence shape but hey he still 2nd in the points thru out the whole league.

If rennet takes kaspar of for Malik hel be tghe biggest dumbass of the year. Yea we still losing but have u noticed our D if making that many turnovers with Malik being injured

Margaret, I agree with you about Jagr on line changes. In fact I think the problem is that he stays on the ice way too long and is completely out of gas. I don't mean that to sound like an excuse because it isn't. In fact Sam and Joe M. have commented on Jagr staying on the ice too long during the most recent broadcasts. His shifts should be shorter plain and simple. And if he doesn't have enough sense to get off the ice when he's tired, his coach should make sure that he does get off the ice!

I'd like to see Crosby, Ovechkin, Thornton, Hossa or Selanne (I can keep going on and on), while being double-teamed almost every time he's on the ice, feed the puck to someone for a scoring opportunity. Odds are that every single player I mentioned will cough up the puck and not make this highlight-reel beautiful play to the open winger on the opposite side of the rink. I swear, some people are ridiculous. Is Jagr superman? There's only so much Jagr can do by himself, and GOD FORBID when he's double-teamed, he lets up a turn over. The real question is, "Where is the support?" It should not be, "Why is Jagr Captain?".

In case, people have yet to notice, Jagr is not your typical cookie-cutter captain. Jagr leads by example and his proven that he can do it (he's been in the top 2 in the NHL scoring race the ENTIRE season). Jagr finally says something about how we need some change and then suddenly everyone jumps on his ass? Give me a break. No, give HIM a break and stop playing the blame game like 10 year olds. But no, it's Jim Ramsy's fault! And by your logic, let's fire him for not successfully preventing the flu outbreak in the Ranger's locker room.

Phil,

I wasn't suggesting that a cross ice pass is what should be done. If other teams are going to put two guys on Jagr, then he should realize he is not going to get over the blueline with the puck. He should look to get the puck safely to a teammate and I don't mean a blind back pass. If you are being stood up at the blue line you have to dump and chase. You can retrench in the neutral zone or back in to your own zone and try again to move the puck forward.

Rich, I get what you are saying. Short and Hard! I like it like that. ; )

Anywho, I think we take this all so seriuosly. I have to cook dinner. I just finished baking for Cookies at the Coliseum tomorrow. (Chocolate Chip Cookies and Almond Crescent Shortbread Cookies) No, not the Brownies of Doom! Let's hope all this sweetness energizes our Rangers.

There is nothing better then seeing the Islanders lose in their own building. Let's hope that is the Rangers gift to us all on Boxing/St. Stephens Day!

I've been Renney's biggest knocker since even before the collapse last year because I didn't think he understood what it took to be a successful coach in the NHL. Now it's true he took a team last year with a monkey on its back, chronic inability to make the playoffs, and set that as his goal. But there was a point in the season, and it came when the Rangers outshot Carolina 17-0 in the third period in a gallant but futile attempt to tie the game, when it appeared to me that this team was a cup contender. Yet Renney still mumbled about "making the playoffs" and no moves were made at the trading deadline to add depth to a razor thin team for the cup run, on the contary proven playoff competitor Nieminen was sent away. Okay, so the team made the playoffs and then everyone went home.

Every team has to set the cup as its goal. The playoffs are a means to an end and in the parity of today, if you can get hot as the Oilers did, you've got a shot. Sure there are going to be 29 losers. But in setting the goal, and if you can stay in the race, you are judging the players by the highest standards and you might fix things on that basis.

Today for the first time in Dellapina's column, Renney mentioned becoming a Stanley Cup champion. If he believes what he said, then he just restored in me a little bit of hope that this guy just may grow into the job.

Just acouple of thoughts after too much food... JJ has a tremendous amount of influence of the mgt. end of this team. I think he was upset that Rucinsky wasn't resigned; I don't think he wanted Sykora on this team; I think there is a little jealousy of Norh American saviour Brendan Shanahan; and I still say Lundqvist will NEVER be as good as he was prior to the Olympics. The Stanley Cup is not as important to europeansas the Olympics and the World Championships. Lundqvist is damaged goods right now...If you are double teamed that means that someone is open (DUH). JJ is a great passer. Great Passer. But the safe play(especially during a losing streak) is the smart play and the NYR are not making the smart plays. Since our Dmen always seem to back way in you think that when they practice the forwards don't know what to do when a team stands them up at the blue line??? Finally it seems that EVERYBODY is afraid to make a mistake...this team is playing scared... Later Z

To all of you that celebrate Xmas day, Feliz Navidad...

Margaret:

First off thanks for the cookies the other night; I can see why you are so famous for them. My normal ride of an hour and 15 minutes to the Garden took me over 2 and half hours...thank you NY traffic.

Second, I am inclined to say that I am not a fan of Jagr's on ice leadership. I don't see the locker room as Dubi does and therefore I am in no position to say what he does off the ice, however on the ice I agree that he stays on the ice too long and let's call it correctly, at times dogs it when he is...He is putting up excellent numbers there is no doubt about that either and anyone disputing it (his numbers) I won't argue with because it's just not the facts. Are his goals down from last year? Of course, but look at the distribution of goals this year versus last. Without Jagr this team is battling Philly for last place. As it is with Jagr we'll be lucky to even make it to the play-offs. Personally, I don't think they are going anywhere.

Here's something for you all to digest. In order to make trades you have 3 assets...current NHL, future NHL and draft picks. In order to secure top echelon talent, you have to have some assets that other teams crave as well as these days, the room under the cap to fit them. Who do the Rangers currently have that is going to garner a top echelon or near top echelon player? Peter Prucha is not going to bring you a whole lot and are any of you ready to unload Dawes, Pock, Callahan, Dubinsky, Korpikowski or Montoya? I'm not. What are Hossa, Hall, Betts, Ward, Orr, Hollweg, Cullen or the rest of the team apart from the 4 Horsemen and Henrik going to bring? The answer, not much; so unless the Rangers are prepared to start spending 1st and 2nd round picks to try and take a .500 team and give it a shot at the playoffs, something I'm also not willing to do, then what have you got? The answer, wait till the young guys are ready next season.

Folks, this is not a good team and they aren't going anywhere. Enjoy the season but this is an up and down, streaky team and don't get me wrong, I would love for Renney to turn this around; I just think realistically it's not going to happen.

Mitch,

Have you been reading my little blog, you devil? I expressed similar sentiments regarding how the Rangers aren't going anywhere this season; they'll be lucky to make the playoffs; if they renege on the rebuild and mortgage the future for an unsuccessful short tem fix, Dolan will lose subscribers instead of gain them next season. Yada, Yada, Yada.

If I were Renney, here how my lockerroom pep talk would go:

Men, you have a three goal lead against a struggling team. They are a proud group of players. Expect them to come out guns blazing. You can't sit on a lead with them. You must continue to play as though the score was 0-0. Never take another teams will to win for granted, no matter how many goals you are ahead by.

Remember, you have the privilege to play at the highest level of your sport. You have the opportunity to go out there and play to best of your ability. Never take that for granted. It can all be taken away from you in a heartbeat. Go out and play like it's the last time you'll ever play. Go out and play a game that you want to remember many years from now. Go out a play the game you are capable of so you will have no regrets tomorrow.

PS Mitch, My Almond Crescents are 2 die 4. I will bring some to Hockeybird night on January 11th. I'll lower some down to you in a basket from 415. :)

Margret:

I'm not an Almond guy. I may be "nuts" but I'm not fond of them...which also explains why not too many Islander fans like me.

As for your locker room speech that you wrote, that works on a Pee Wee level but not for NHL guys. They know that drill. What needs to be reiterated is the game plan and what goals the management is looking to achieve in the period. You get a team to stay focused by keeping the short term goals attainable and within sight. Rah-Rah speeches work very rarely. The only two that I know of that ever worked were the 1980 Olympic Team speech that Herb Brooks gave and according to Mess the speech taht Keenan gave before game 7 in '94. I'm sure there are others but like I wrote, they are rare, especially during a mid season game.

The team is what it is. They are a mediocre group that has some really interesting parts but are not a whole unit. They are certainly not even close to Stanley Pie contenders. To remotely think so is very "Dolan-ian" and not a part of the reality that the rest of us live in. What isn't realistic are the expectations of the fans and sometimes the media.

BTW, I just thought I would pass this thought that was told to me the other day by a player that I was talking to when I asked them if the players read these boards and this player specifically said that of the boards that he reads, this one being one of them, that fans can be "exceptionally brutal and unfair on us and can be pretty unrealistic. I mean I know criticism is part of the job and all but some of this stuff really hurts. We're trying our best out there. It's not easy." That was pretty startling coming from this player who I think the fans, especially on this site, have been pretty kind to. What it shows me is something that I mentioned a long time ago and I forget who said that in my critique of people's behavior on the net that I was forecasting the "end of western civilization as we know it..." but it's so easy to sit at a keyboard in complete anonymity and pound away at people thinking you're being witty and funny or just blasting away in frustration as cruelly as possible and not think twice about it, but having experienced the other end of it, trust me it isn't fun, especially when you are trying your best to be the best that you can. I have been debating whether or not to share this because it happened a couple of weeks ago but I thought in the spirit of the Holidays why not share a sentiment that hopefully will make a dif

difference

It simply amazes me that there are fans who actually think they can psycho-analyze, and with surety understand both the feelings and motives of players on the ice or in the locker room.

As stated above, this team is what it is. They will have moments of brilliance, and at other times they will look like dogs. Perhaps there will be a few better nights than bad nights for this team and they make the play-offs.

It seems as though Larry Brooks' pre-season expectations for this team was a common sentiment.

Mitch:

As long as these players are making millions of dollars that WE are paying for, we have the right to criticize their performances.

We get the same criticism at our jobs from our bosses - many times unfounded - but they pay our salaries so we have to put up with it.

What do they want, to be rich AND to be above criticism? Give me a multi-million dollar contract and anyone can say anything they want about me.

So let the poor misunderstood millionaires cry to someone else. When they screw up they will be criticised by the fans, and rightly so.

Mitch, regarding the players reading this board. I hope they realize half of what they read is someone or everyone venting about a loss or something. Dollars to doughnuts tells me the same person bitchin' is likely to punch a Flyer or Islander fan in the face if they bad mouthed the Rangers. LOL

Anyone remember the skating Santa incident at Nassau? All Santa suit patrons got a free skate on the ice before the game if you came in that attire. 3 Santa's ripped off their red Santa suit exposing a Ranger jersey and a brawl ensued on the ice with the 20 other skating Santa's. True Blue fans in action defending the honor. :)

"" let the poor misunderstood millionaires cry to someone else. When they screw up they will be criticized by the fans, and rightly so.""


right again, Baron. we pay their salaries by our ticket buying and TV watching which brings them ad revenue.

Folks, I totally disagree with Baron and Gordie. First of all Baron, you are not publicly flogged for every mistake that you make on your job. You either continue to receive a paycheck or you get fired. It is simply not even close to the same thing. The amount of money these guys are getting paid has nothing to do with unrealistic expectations that fans have that think because a guy gets 8 million a year that every time he touches the pucks he should score or stop a shot. They are paid that amount of money because of supply and demand. They are a rare breed indeed and they have a talent that the vast, vast majority of others do not have and they are an attraction that brings in money. That does not mean they are super human and therefore incapable of having bad games or bad stretches or not capable of living up to the expectations that both the people who pay them and the people paying to watch them have for them.

You are also confusing constructive criticism with flat out vicious attacks. Dubi is a professional and his critiques of players or management are still opinions but they are doled out professionally and with proper choice in the use of words. I like to think of myself as a professional and while I have primarily been a comedian most of my life, I like to think that the observations I make are fair and not nasty. I may try and add some wit to make them more readable, but that is just my style. Being cruel is not and that tends...TENDS...to be the case when it comes to fans on the net.

Lastly, and this is most important, nobody, including this particular player that I was talking to, would deny that you have the right to express your opinion however you see fit. It's still a free country...unless Bush continues to peck away at our civil rights, and you can express what you like. My point and I think his as well, was the level of cruelty and bile that flows out on the net. To that degree I agree with him

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