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July 27, 2007

Comments

Dubi, good work. A couple of observations:

You mentioned that Pock didn't do much offensively except for a two-week stretch in March. Fair enough, but the same holds true for Hossa - he was invisible for 50+ games, then had a good 10 game stretch, then got injured.

I thought Pock held his own pretty well last season seeing how sparingly he was used. I hope they continue to bring him along and give him a chance to play. I think he has a good career ahead of him... I just hope it's with the Rangers.

Re: Immonen - where do you get the "couldn't handle the pressure" statement? Does that come from the Rangers or from yourself?

We've disagreed on Immonen before, and I'm going to have to disagree once again.

I think he performed very well until he was removed from the 2nd line. In fact, while he was centering that line he scored more points (5 in 6 games if I remember correctly?) than anyone not on the Jagr line. He was very responsible defensively, breaking up some plays when the defense were totally beaten. Then he got 4th line duty and disappeared.

Now many have argued in Hossa's defense that he played well when he was on JJ's line, and that he shouldn't be playing on the 4th line. Hossa was invisible (5 points in 50+ games) until he was placed with JJ.

Well, tell me one player who would put up as many points on 4th line as 1st? Can't think of a single one.

If that's valid for Hossa, why not Immonen? Immo should be on the 2nd line, not the 4th. The fact that he couldn't light it up playing sparingly on the 4th line shouldn't be a bad rap on Immonen if it is OK for Hossa! Let's be fair here.

And I'm still reeling from Renney's assertion that Girardi and Callahan haven't won jobs. WTF? They were two of the best players on the team during the last month and the playoffs! His misguided mind games could seriously damage their confidence at a crucial time.

How about Renney singling out a few of the vets who stunk during the Buffalo series, and stating that they haven't won jobs?

I know....veterans..."requisite experience"... it'll never happen.

Got to give credit where credit's due: Slat's & Co. have done some good things over the past couple of years. Did I just write that!?!?!

Very nice post. I'm thinking of signing on before training camp to the mag you guys put out. Good job. I agree that Slats has done a good job and admit to being a NOW NOW NOW type of poster at times. I feel pretty good about this coming season. I can't wait to see Drury play in our colors. I've wanted him to be a Ranger since seeing him light it up in Colorado. Good times, good times.

WOW, Great Article DUBI !!! Thanks for the excellent summer-time reading. The infusion of quality youth is "startling", as a 30-plus year Rangers Fan I cant ever remember this much organizational quality & depth. I've really got my fingers crossed for DUBINSKY & STAAL ("The Sensible One", I Love' that!!! LOL)this upcoming season... The Pride & Excitement are definitely back. LETS-GO-RANGERS, Clap-Clap-Clappitty-Clap !!!

Great take Dubi. DEAD ON about Immonen. I think baron 34 must be Immonen's little league dad. Not every prospect is gonna be an NHLer. Hossa is far superior, and I hope the Rangers lock him up along with Avery. Iam pulling for Dubinsky as a #3 out of camp, but I am sure that role is meant for Avery.

I think Isbister proved last year that Hossa is a far better linemate for Jagr. You guys seem to think anyone can score if they play with Jagr. That's just not true. It takes a certain amount of skill to score in the NHL on any line.

baron, I wrote this article and the prior one about the lines as much as possible from the Rangers' point of view rather than my own (at least with respect to the current team). So the answer to the Immonen question is that it came from the Rangers -- I would have no way of making that kind of observation myself. I can add that from what I saw of Immonen off the ice, he was intimidated by the media as well -- he has some good qualities, no doubt, but he just doesn't have the mettle for the NHL grind.

Renney hasn't said that Girardi and Callahan haven't won jobs -- he said that they have to show they can play that way over an 82 game season. To me that means they have the inside track on those positions -- they don't lose them on day one because they *might* not be able to still be doing it six months later. But they haven't won those jobs for the next ten years -- they have to be as good, and better. That's where Immonen faltered -- he started out good in each of his stints but then quickly stagnated, and I think the coaches felt it was because of the intimidation factor.

I agree with you on Hossa -- I tried to temper my personal distaste for him as an NHL player by factoring in the Rangers' obvious hopes that he can become a consistent presence. I don't believe it will ever happen, buy hey, I've been wrong before, so who knows? I also agree with you that Pock has more upside and deserves a chance to show it -- has earned a chance to show it. I made the point about his offense to underscore the criteria of success for a player like him -- he has to put up points, not just play good defense. That's his job.

Dubi... fantastic work on this article. Very inspiring stuff. So many people still give Sather a hard time, but he has done a fantastic job of restocking the organization with quality prospects.

http://blue-review.blogspot.com

Dubi, loved your piece. This is what makes me want to subscribe to your magazine. {I left a msg on your ans machine, call me and I will be happy to subscribe with my credit card!}

I think that this organization has the chance to be good for a decade {like the devils were} due to their excellent drafts in the lower rounds. Kids like Staal, Sanguinetti, Dubinsky, Dupont, Pyatt, Artisimov, Callahan, Girardi, Dawes et al look like they have the chance to be pretty darn good. Of course we won't know until they get the chance.

With the Salary Cap, it is CRUCIAL for organizations to have a stockpile of young cheap talent to plug into the line-up. Hopefully this will pan out for the faithful who after 1997 endured some DREADFUL hockey.

Very well written and reasoned article, Dubi.

Great article Dubi! Keep the good stuff coming. The draft is so key. The last 3 are the only ones I've been really excited about. It's been a while. Prior to that, remember watching the draft show MSG had with Don Maloney saying how we couldn't miss with Montoya - great pick, etc. I'm waiting to see if we get a return on that investment. Meaning what we get in a trade. Can anyone remember the last time we got a 1st round pick plus for someone WE traded? Anyone? Been a die hard since mid 70's. Can't think of any. The last 3 1st round picks I can't wait to see. Hopefully Staal this year. October is coming!!!

Dubi, Thanks for the refreshing read. I agree with everything, although I do think Immonen was taken off the 2nd line earlier than he should have been and that had a direct connection to his decline in production.

How about "The Sensible Staal" ;-)

I'll add one more point or observation regarding Pock. I got this from an interview late last season. It must have been around that March timeframe. He had played a number of consecutive games and each game was a marked improvement. It might have been Al, but the question was..."why do you think you are experiencing this noticable improvement over the last couple of weeks"...And Tomas said the more games he plays in the more comfortable he feels on the offensive side of the game. In other words, "Please, Lord don't let me screw up". That told me he knew his first responsibility was "D", then helping out on the "O" when it was safe. It also told me the coaching staff also knows he needs time to "warm up" and get into a full flegged NHL offensive defenseman mode. I'm sure some of this is caused my the coaching staff itself. They must be projecting a "no mistakes" ultimatum to him or he "senses" that. Could not blame him if he does! I hope he goes into camp with the attitude that "I'm going to play like a veteran NHL defenseman and if that can't get me into the lineup, I'll just go someplace else". I still see a "Brian Rafalski" type D'man in him, and that's not too bad!

i am part of the faithful who watched dreadful hockey after eric the concussed hooked his way pay messier to end our 97 season....why rangers brass thought jan hlavac was any good when he went, what, 72 games without a goal...yeh way to go jan...nedved....pewww , just a 7 year bad dream...things lookin up...folks this is only the start of something great....

Great article Dubi! It's always great to compare the Rangers' recent success in playing and drafting to pre-lockout, "highest payroll in the league" Rangers to see just how far we've come.

Baron, Immonen certainly had his shortcomings (i.e. lack of speed and tenacity) and, therefore, could not secure the 2nd line center spot. I admit that he has offensive creativity and good faceoff ability, but he was beaten a number of times and didn't play that 2way game that Renney covets. If Immonen couldn't stay on the 2nd line w/ a Hall of Fame winger, then how good could he actually be? The fact that he scurried back to his native Finland speaks volumes about his lack of confidence in becoming a full time NHL player.

You are right about Hossa though. He has displayed none of the qualities that his talented brother has until he was paired with Jagr. But when he played on the top line, he showed that he was better, scoring-wise, than hands-of-stone Isbister, and a good forechecker. So, the question becomes whether Hossa can become a 20+ goal scorer playing full time with Jagr? Because Hossa is still young and has displayed that potential, he deserves at least one more shot.

Pock is a solid 6/7 defenseman and has the capability of moving up. Agreed that he needs more minutes, but, in turn, he needs to show more confidence on both sides of the blueline. They should give him more PP time to get him revved up. And what's best, he is committed to this team when he chose to re-up for 2 more years w/ the Rangers at a slight raise, rather than test the market.

I am not going to comment on whether or not Immonen got a raw deal or should have gotten more/better playing time. What I will comment on is the Rangers inability to get something for him. Obviously, the Ranegrs decision to let him go back to Europe was not one that was made on the spur of the moment. The organization "knew" whether ot not they perceived him as an NHL contributor. Once they deemed he wasn't an NHL contributor, they should have looked to move him. Even if you get a mid-range draft pick it is better to get something for him (as Slats did with Ryan Russell and the Habs)

I know that drafting and trading are inexact sciences, but it seems the Rangers are swinging and missing (i.e. letting players go with nothing in retutn) as opposed to at least making contact (i.e. getting a 7th round pick for Russell). The surprising thing is that Sather was able to turn guys like Jason Bonsignore and Steve Kelly into assets - something ne needs to do more of with the players/prospects the Rangers have no interest in signing or keeping.

Anthony, we don't know whether the Rangers tried to trade Immonen -- they might have tried but got no takers. And they can still trade him -- they traded Lampman after he signed to play in Finland, and the Lightning signed him, triggering the "out" clause in his Finnish contract. But there has to be a willing trading partner -- the rest of the league knows more about him as a player than you or I do.

Great article, Thank You. Quick question about Jarko, isn't he still in the system or did the rangers run out of time to qualify him. I seem to recall an article which said he would play in Finland if he could not win a NHL job and many think he could start on other team.

Anyone want to see Dawes play along side Jagr and Drury/Gomez? The kid is suppose to have amazing hands and a goal scoring touch. It could be like when Amonte came up. To have him languish as a third or fourth line player just doesn't make sense. He looked pretty good in the one game nylander was centering him.

Everything I've read and the few times I saw Dawes play, he is a sniper and seems to have an edge. I think the Rangers plan on him making the squad this year. They brought him up for the last playoff game last season, why did they do that? He was not replacing anyone with injury. A key game, in a series where we were looking for goals and we bring a rookie up to play. That doesn't sound like the "requisite experience" Renney to me.

Great post Dubi. Keep 'em comin'. To rebut Puluche's post about trading for 1st rounders, I believe we traded Dupuis for Alex Bourret, an Atlanta 1st rounder. Given the chance, I think he'll be an excellent return and excellent Ranger.

Guys, should we expect a trade in order to create a roster spot for one Dawes or Dubinsky?
Unnecessary? Also, I thought Hossa was impressive at the end of the year before getting hurt. I think he's big, quick with above average hands. I think he should get a shot on the first line with Jagr and Gomez. Any thoughts?

Good post Anthony. It's unsettling when these players leave without any return.

Nice summary Dubi! I know it was pretty complete because I got the same dull pain in the pit of my stomach (when I heard the names Lindros, Ulanov, Ciger & etc.) that I had back when Slats was seeking his next veteran "fix" or playing "lion' for a day".

Ditto with the draft choices (until recently), Although you forgot to mention Jessiman, Faldareau.

I've had more optimism this summer than any year since '97, maybe longer. I still think there is a bit of a glass ceiling in Hartford, and Slats will continue to kick the garbage cans, looking for a still-warm body sitting on top of the trash. (See: Krog, Isbister, Ciger, Bure, Oliwa etc.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I still don't trust Sather- "Ifin' he was to backslide on us".

I actually agree with Renney in saying that Callahan and Giradi haven't made the team officially yet. Yes this may hurt their confidence in the long run, but it won't if they are NHL ready. They will show up with something to prove. Which in my mind is just the way they should show up. Its a good move on Renney's part to keep the team open for other players. We all know which players will be on the roster. Renney has allowed all the players at Hartford to have a chance, telling 2 players that they will make the roster, when they once had 2 months of good time on the ice is stupid. Look at some of the old prospects that came up. Tomas Kloucek remember him? he looked so good in his first month in the NHL he wandered out of position a little but there was no pressure because the team sucked and was doomed to end at 82 games. He never clawed his way back into the lineup and now can't crack the blue jackets line up and has trouble making it on their minor league team's roster day in and day out. Now i dont know if he was told you can make this team next year, or if he was going to make the team. Assuming anything from a young player is a bad move on a coachs part. There are plenty of players that have a couple good months in the NHL and then never can get back to that level. Another example is Jozef Balej who played in his 13 games as a ranger. I just think its a good move to not assume that because of a little success that a player will continue onto the next year. Thats my opinion though.

Good post though i enjoyed reading it

I think Dawes would be a decent replacement for Straka a year from now, when Straka is anticipated to call it quits. Until then, unless someone on the big club gets injured or goes ice cold a-la Hossa, then there won't be any room for Dawes this year. I could see Dawes being a Gionta-type player, but not at this time.

btw -great article Dubi!

What about Hugh-E Disappointment Jessiman what a bust the Rangers should have fired every scout that year. They need to start stealing scouts from Det or NJ. They pick thE bottom of the draft every year and still find gems. Also I think once the whole Avery thing is done Peca will be a rangers.

Great article, Dubi. We disagree on Hossa. i think on the top line he can score 25. but I guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime I just want to say thanks for all you and Jess and Mitch do to keep us informed.

Let me know if you ever need another writer even for spot duty....

G

kwill:

I have no problem with what Renney said, EXCEPT that it should apply to the whole team, not just kids.

If he's going to single out players, how about a few of the vets who stunk up the ice vs. Buffalo? Those are the guys that should be worried about their jobs more than Girardi or Callahan.

My big problem with Renney is that he's quick to criticize his kids. Meanwhile, his pet veterans are immune, even if the veterans are playing worse than the kids.

baron-

I have a feeling that Renney was ASKED about those kids directly and that was his response. I am not sure he said " Everyone on the team has a spot EXCEPT Callahan and Girardi. Do Jags, Drury, Gomez, etc. have a place locked up? Probably, but your hardly going to tell the press that a guy like Jagr has to earn his way on to a team. We like to give the vets a hard time, but when you have displayed some consistency, you have to get a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. I think it can't help but motivate those two and guys pushing for jobs.

Dubi,

Great article and synopsis. Should be required reading for anyone wanting to learn the 'state of the Rangers' this upcoming season. I will hold a copy for anyone asking....

Awesome!!!

The Dark Ranger

Now come on baron34, do you really think that Straka, Malik, Roszival, Shanahan or even Prucha would be influenced by Renney's comments. Hossa will be motivated, if he even stays with the club. Renney's comments were right on the mark. After playing less then a full season, are these guys ready for a full year?

AveryTuff, depending how some guys play in pre-season, I would not be surprised to see Hossa on the first line and Straka centering the third line, maybe with Dawes and Prucha!

We really have no idea how this will shake itself out until the arbitration hearings for Avery and Hossa are completed and the Rangers respond. Then, much if this discussion will really get interesting! CAN'T WAIT!

Great post, also i got a funny e'mail from my dad's friend, he said, "Had a couple of beers with Marty Brodeur last night- said he’d love to get Avery on the golf course and take a 9 iron to his knees. I said that could probably be arranged, but he’d have to be careful because there are no zebras to protect him in the crease, and I’m not stepping in the middle of them.

He got a kick out of that one. Nice guy though, great golfer."
thought you guys would enjoy that, i know i did.

I didn't mention Jessiman, Falardeau, et.al., because this was an article on those who made it or who appear to have a shot to make it, or who at least reached the point where they were good enough to get a shot at it -- since the lockout, that is. Not everyone makes it, and when your first pick in three out of your first four drafts is a bust (and the fourth suffers a career ending injury at age 20-21 in part because of medical mismanagement), that's pretty bad -- but that's an article for another day.

Renney will always sound a word of caution when talking about a developing player -- not creating inflated expectations is a huge factor for him as a coach. While I agree that all players should be held accountable, the majority of veterans have already proven that they can play 82 games -- the onus on them is to show that they are still capable of doing it as they age, but that is a different exercise than a young player going through the grind for the first time ever.

G -- 25 goals would not be a good result for Hossa as a first line player with Jagr. It would be acceptable, but no more than that. Anyone should be able to score 25 goals alongside a healthy Jagr -- why give Hossa that opportunity rather than someone who has shown a more consistent scoring touch and could get 40-50 in that slot? I'd rather see Prucha there than Hossa. Would you really advocate Hossa as first line winger with Jagr while Prucha is on the third or fourth line? Or would it make more sense to have Prucha there and let Hossa be a depth player and insurance policy?

btw - a little off topic, but if you're curious, here's a link to photos of the new jerseys:
http://nhllogos.blogspot.com/2007/07/rangers-unveil-new-uniforms.html

Yes Dubi, another summer time gem to keep everyone interested even in the July heat.

I started to feel depressed when seeing all the failed names signed like "Kamensky, Sylvain Lefebvre, Stephane Quintal, Igor Ulanov, Dave Karpa, and Zdeno Cigar." That brought a flood of bad memories.

Seeing what we have now and what is waiting in the wings has certainly lifted my spirits. I will say that the Rangers WILL make a serious run for the cup this year and we should have a great team for years to come with youngsters like Staal, Cally,
Alexei Cherepanov and Bobby Sanguinetti.

firerenneynow

Sorry, wrong again. It was Sather that brought in Hall, 2nd line center Cullen and Ward. Hall and Ward are just not up to NHL standards, I don't care if Ward won a cup or not. Then came the other trades that didn't amount to much. It's the GM's job to put the players on the ice. If that can't get the job done, don't blame the coach for that. Renney may not be the best coach in the NHL, but Hartly sure demonstrated that his high stature got knocked down a few notches in the playoffs. If Dawes plays to his potential, I think he will make the final squad and I agree, that will be good for him and the Rangers. The only thing that could happen is a waiver situation. I think Dawes can still be sent down w/o need to clear waivers. If so, that is a real possibility. And even then, that's not a Renney call...it's a Sather call.

Do Dawes and Hossa play the same wing? If so, I say Hossa is gone if he wins arbitration.

Great article Dubi, keep up the good work!

Firerenneynow -- These proclamations about canning Renney get more absurd. And the point is moot, so why bring it up. He helped restore order to this mess, and led the team to a pair of resurgent seasons. Is he perfect? No. From a player personnel point, he's made contributions, too. It's clear that free agents deem it worthy of coming here, for reasons other than money. The team is stabilized, and a lot of people deserve credit -- including Renney. Give it a rest...

Anybody see this on Hockeybuzz.com?
Says Redden to Rangers in a "deal"


http://my.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?user_id=33334&post_id=1835

Dubi the discussion of Immonen is not clear thru words or actions. He was brought up in 2005-06 & again in 2006-07. Was he offered a qualifying offer or not as a RFA? He performed decently in the NHL & pretty good in the AHL. The only negative Renney expressed was his speed. But he kept him up. The basic confusion on centers last season left him mostly in the skybox. What he is capable of in the NHL is still unknown. I agree with you that none of us really know. But the NYR fan party line talking points on him do not sit well with me. If Renney had put him in as a regular , most here wouldn't be making the negative statements. It's the unkown & the one negative everyone extrapolates on. I don't expect Renney or Sather to talk completely open about him, but it's not like they thought he was a bust. If he wasn't a RFA he probably be in the mix for the 3rd or 4th center spot as well as Dubinsky. If Renney said he was his center for the future , most of the trash talk wouldn't exist. My opinion is he didn't get a fair shot like many 'kids' last year until the no choice home stretch. Renney replacing Pock with Rachunek in the playoffs & putting Dawes in the final game to me were mistakes among many made last season. Coming to the defense or critizing a player or management is not extremely fact based. That's why they're called opinions not absolute facts, along with objective vs subjective statements. ...All in all a good article, thanks.

Dubi, Isbister couldn't core 25 goals on Jagr's line. hossa brings size which Prucha doesn't which is why hossa (and then Isbister) were there to begin with. Hossa has the grit and the build for the corners. I think the fear has been with Prucha is his size doesn't always match his tenacity.

Still I think Hossa playing on the first line BUT not the PP (that should be Prucha's space) saying 25-30 goals is reasonable.

G

That should have been Isbister couldn't "score" ....

G

Not to change the subject ( but I still hold a soft spot for all those ex-oilers from 94 including Kevin Lowe) What does everybody think about his RFA poaching?? I think he has to do it both to help his team in Siberia and so that he can say he's doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO WIN...which leads to a second question for everyone...why isnt the NHLPA screaming that this doesnt happen all the time. Its collusion for Gods sake! Why isnt Phoenix, with all that cap room, trying to improve their team (AND HURT A DIVISION RIVAL) by going after Penner?????

Saying 25-30 goals is reasonable for Hossa is NOT reasonable, because the most goals he's ever had in a season is 10!

After he scores 30 goals in a season once, THEN it may be reasonable to say that he's likely to score 30 goals.

Guys, Hossa has never scored more than 18 points TOTAL in an entire season! So give me a break with the high scoring power forward talk. So far, Hossa is just another "big strong man" who has never done a thing.

Saying that 30 goals is likely for Prucha IS reasonable, because he's DONE it before... and he will again.


Good article

B-Lo

Why would the NHLPA have any problem with one of theirs getting a $4 million dollar raise? It is the NHL that should step in and void the contract because of the artificial value. An unintended consequence of the salary will be the signing of young RFA's. As I posted before, GM's better have the RFA's they want to keep all signed up, otherwise nobody will be able to build a long term contender. Even then, it may be difficult.

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