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Posts Tagged ‘jagr’

After a 13-game streak of aggressive, hard-nosed, and winning hockey, the Rangers returned to their pre-All-Star-break ineptitude in this weekend’s losses to the Panthers and Lightning — two teams outside of the playoff picture.

The Rangers showed no energy whatsoever in the two games.  The Eastern Conference is so tight that going into the weekend, it looked as if 1st place might have been within reach.  Now, the Rangers might struggle to hold on to their playoff spot.

It is frustrating to watch a hockey game where the players refuse to forecheck,  refuse to finish hits along the boards, and miss FOUR open-nets in the 3rd period!  I can deal with Sjostrom getting robbed by the stick of Tampa’s goalie Mike Smith, but Jaromir Jagr should be ashamed for letting a Defenseman slide across and block his shot.  No question that puck should have been ripped to the upper half of the net.  Instead, he unleashed a flittering misfire along the ice. Just horrible.

Anyway, the Rangers had better figure out where to find some energy, and quick.  They have three games this week against Atlantic Division foes: Pittsburgh on Tuesday, New Jersey on Wednesday, and Philadelphia on Friday.  I, for one, would really like to see Ryan Hollweg back in the lineup Tuesday.  And I know Eric (and our sister Melissa) would love to see Petr Prucha back on the ice.  We shall see.

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This is the 4th and final meeting of the season between the Rangers and Bruins, with the Bruins having won all 3 games thus far (although the Rangers have posted an 0-1-2 record). The Rangers will be trying to extend their unbeaten-in-regulation streak to 12 games.

There seems to be consensus among sportswriters that the Bruins have been struggling of late because of their 1-2-1 record in their last 4 games. Well, what about the 6 games before that in which they ripped off 6 W’s in a row? 7-2-1 in their last 10 is hardly struggling, and if they had lost any momentum they certainly regained it yesterday with a ridiculous come-from-behind win over the Capitals (see yesterday’s post).

In net for the Bruins today, it’s a mystery. The Boston Globe says Alex Auld “deserves” to play against the Rangers after allowing just 1 goal in two straight starts. Meanwhile, Steve Zipay of Newsday says to “expect” Tim Thomas in the net because Auld played yesterday. My prediction: they will both play.

Bruins defenseman and all-around tall guy Zdeno Chara will not play today because of an injury to his shoulder. (That whoosh sound you just heard was Jaromir Jagr breathing a sigh of relief).

The Rangers have adopted an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy during this hot streak, and will continue with the same lineup they’ve had for the last few games, which means Prucha, Strudwick, and Hollweg will be healthy scratches. That also means Mr. Lundqvist will be between the pipes once again. I expect Valiquette will get in there sometime next weekend, whether it’s Friday against the Panthers or Saturday against the Lightning.

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Maybe the defense was asleep. Maybe the refs forgot the rules of hockey. Maybe Christian Backman got 10 penalty minutes (6 officially but it was him that made Cole’s face bleed, not Marc Staal. See second “maybe.”).

But does that really matter? Henrik played pretty well and Malik of all people had a sound game. He threw at least TWO HITS! And, oh yeah, we won!
The young’uns again showed us why they are still playing in the big leagues. Dubinsky completely fooled Ward with a beautiful deke to his backhand that he buried top shelf (Props to Jagr for the steal and the blind drop pass to set the whole thing up). Callahan stood up for himself by fighting Conboy. Dawes looked like he knew where everyone was on the ice at all times. Especially when he set up Shanny for the go-ahead-by-two goal.

***

Fredrik Sjostrom and Christian Backman played their first games as Rangers last night. Sjostrom played on the fourth line with Betts and Hollweg and played very well. He even made a nice drive to the net that needed a fair bit of effort on the part of Cam Ward.

Backman played alright except that he took quite a few penalties. He was the cause of 10 penalty minutes even though he was only charged with 6.

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing him under the bus. I’m just waiting to see him play a few more games. For all we know, he was a nervous wreck last night. Hell, I would’ve been.

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After a three day break, the Rangers get back to work tonight in Carolina. The Hurricanes are playing pretty well going 7-2-1 in their last 10 and 3-1-1 in their last 5.

Two of the four newest Rangers will be in the lineup tonight. Fredrik Sjostrom will take Colton Orr’s (chest pain) place on the 4th line and Christian Backman will skate in Paul Mara’s (head) place next to Marc Staal.

The last two times the Rangers have had a long break, the first team they played after was the Sabres. The Rangers won both games (5-1 and 4-3). Before that, their last long break came during the All-Star break. They played the Hurricanes and lost 3-1. The Rangers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and 4-0-1 in their last 5 with that “one” being the game against Montreal.

The lineup should look something like this:

Avery-Dubinsky-Jagr

Dawes-Gomez-Shanahan

Straka-Drury-Callahan

Hollweg-Betts-Sjostrom

Rozsival-Malik

Tyutin-Girardi

Staal-Backman

Lundqvist

Petr Prucha is “good to go” but coach Tom Renney says, “we want to give our new guys a chance to play.”

Maybe Sunday against Philly?

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Remember that time we won the Gold Medal?Lundqvist, Backman, Sjostrom, oh my!

Or as Jagr joked, “Swedes everywhere.” As the Rangers get ready for their first game without Malik Jagr Mara Prucha Hossa, we find out that two of the recent acquisitions may very well be playing tomorrow in Carolina. According to Sam Weinman at Rangers Report, Christian Backman skated with Marc Staal (replacing the injured Mara) and Fredrik Sjostrom was skating in place of Colton Orr on the fourth line.

Don’t worry Jagr, Czechs still outnumber Swedes five to three.

Beat Writers boycott Avery?

Recently, Sean Avery has been avoiding the press. Not just avoiding, but making an art of it. At one point he claimed to have laryngitis. Magical laryngitis that disappeared when he hit the ice but reappeared when reporters got near him.

Today during practice, he skated over to the corner of the rink where the writers were stationed. He pointed to John Dellapina of the Daily News, asking him if he wanted to talk saying, “We’ll do a rotation. One guy a week.” Dellapina declined so Avery turned to Weinman saying, “OK, what do you want to ask me? Is there really anything earth-shattering you need to know?” Weinman also declined.

Tired of waiting his turn, Steve Zipay from Newsday asked, “Is there a reason you haven’t talked for three weeks?”

“No comment.”

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Pittsburgh = Scary

Not only do they get Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to plug into their already dangerous offense, they go out and get Hal Gill to solidify their D. Uh oh. Now they’ve got a line with Crosby and Hossa, a line with Malkin and Malone, and they’ve got Jordan Staal to fill in on the wing. Then, you add Gill, who has the ability to shut down opposing teams’ top forwards. I believe Jagr once called Hal Gill the best Defenseman in the world. This team is going to be really good scary.

Montreal = North of the Border-line retarded?

I really don’t get this move. Montreal unloads their #1 goalie, Cristobal Huet, to the Capitals for a 2nd round pick. What? Somebody please explain this move to me. Where is the sense? Huet has been a solid backstop all year, and management up in Montreal has to think they have a chance at a Cup run. Why get rid of your #1 netminder? I understand that Carey Price is the goalie of the future, but he hasn’t exactly been a brick wall this year, and he is definitely untested. Unless they plan on scoring 4 goals a game, I could see them going out in the 1st round.

 

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In what might be the best misfire in Rangers history, Brendan Shanahan, with the game tied at 3 late in the 3rd period, teed up a shot in the slot and just barely got a piece of the puck. The misfire trickled towards the corner, but was intercepted by Sean Avery, who buried the puck in the back of the net. The goal gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead, and they held on to win.

The win gives the Rangers some momentum as well as some breathing room in the standings, with a slim 2 point lead over the Sabres for 7th place in the East. (The Sabres have 1 less game played).

The Rangers top line of Jagr-Dubinsky-Avery scored 3 goals in the game (1 by each player), and played with great intensity throughout. Jagr ended a 13-game drought in goal scoring. The other Rangers goal was cashed in by Nigel Dawes on a weak wrister that beat Miller over the glove hand. (It seems to us that Miller is a little too eager to get down on his knees…… hmm… interesting…).

The Rangers take a red-eye back to NYC tonight and will be in action tomorrow evening against the Panthers in Madison Square Garden. Preview coming later.

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