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Posts Tagged ‘malik’

I spent a little more time on NHLnumbers.com (my new favorite website)… And you know what I realized? Glen Sather loves to overpay for defense.

Take a look at the Rangers defense from this past season (in reverse order of suckitude):

Michal Rozsival – $2.4 mil
Marc Staal – 850K
Dan Girardi – 550K
Fedor Tyutin – $1.025 mil
Jason Strudwick – 500K
Christian Backman – $2.2 mil
Paul Mara – $3 mil
Marek Malik – $2.5 mil
Darius Kasparaitis – $3.116 mil

How can you justify paying Backman, Mara, Malik, and Kasparaitis a combined $10.8 million? That’s inane/insane. And, in case you were wondering, Christian Backman is set to make $3.4 million next season! So, the Rangers traded a 4th round pick for a guy who A) might dress as the team’s 6th defenseman or more likely will spend the season riding the pine; and B) is going to make $3.4 million while doing that.

Good trade by Blues GM President John Davidson.

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Here’s a list of the Rangers unrestricted free agents and what they made this year. (Thanks to NHLnumbers.com… if you click on this link, you will waste a hell of a lot of time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Avery, Sean – $1.9 mil
Jagr, Jaromir – $8.36 mil
Malik, Marek – $2.5 mil
Mara, Paul – $3 mil
Rozsival, Michal – $2.3 mil
Shanahan, Brendan – $2.5 mil
Straka, Martin – $3.3 mil
Strudwick, Jason – $0.5 mil
Valiquette, Stephen – $0.635 mil

Out of that list, I think we’re more than likely going to be saying goodbye to Malik, Mara, Rozsival, Shanahan, and Straka. I think the Rangers would like to keep Strudwick and Valiquette if they can keep them for about the same salary. That leaves the 2 big questions: Sean Avery and Jaromir Jagr.

I’ve already made my case for Avery. If you want the short story, I think the Rangers should re-sign him. If you want the long story, click that link.

As for Jagr, I am undecided. He has proven he can still take control of a game and put the puck in the net… in spurts. The question is whether he can still perform at a high level for an entire season. And is he worth the high price tag? Keep in mind, the Rangers only paid Jagr $4.94 mil out of their own pockets. The rest was courtesy of the Washington Capitals. The reason I think the Rangers are not going to re-sign Jagr is that it seems like Jagr and the team are going in 2 different directions. Jagr prefers a European style puck-possession offense (even though it’s clear he doesn’t have the same power along the boards anymore), while the Rangers are moving towards a North American style of power hockey. I love the way Jagr and Dubinsky play together, so I do have some worries about the kid’s progress should the Rangers choose not to re-sign Jagr. But, I think Dubinsky is a talented center who would be successful with any wingers.

By the way, Sam Weinman wrote a great eulogy for the Jagr era.

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Scott Gomez will be on the ice for warm-ups but will make a game-time decision as to whether he can play against his former team. If Gomez plays, the three scoring lines should return to “normal”. That is:

Avery-Dubinsky-Jagr
Dawes-Gomez-Shanahan
Straka-Drury-Callahan

For the 4th line, I’d like to see Prucha and Hollweg stay in the lineup with Sjostrom joining them. Prucha showed enough feistiness and a willingness to throw a hit on Tuesday that I think placing the little guy on the 4th line is not too much of a stretch. Plus, having a 4th line that might actually score a goal would be nice for a change. This would leave Colton Orr as the odd man out, which certainly brings down the team’s toughness quotient, but in a game that has such big playoff implications, I think fighting and toughness take a back seat to scoring goals.

Speaking of playoff implications, a win tonight does not move the Rangers up the standings, but they can equal the Devils at 91 points if they win in regulation. (Devils have the tie-break with more wins)

Having Michal Rozsival back will be a big plus for the team. With a much slower Defense on display Tuesday against the Flyers, the Rangers played a conservative game in an effort to keep a Blueshirt between the Flyers speedy forwards and Mr. Lundqvist. It worked fairly well until we were exposed in the 4-on-4 extra frame. Having Rozsival in the lineup gives the Rangers the luxury of being more aggressive moving the puck up the ice.

The biggest question for Rangers tonight, (aside from whether Gomez will be in the lineup), is if the Rangers can generate some offense and put some pucks behind Marty Brodeur.

Marek Malik and Jason Strudwick will be healthy scratches.

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Rangers vs. Flyers – UPDATE

Michal Rozsival is a late scratch because of a leg injury. Paul Mara will play in his place alongside Marek Malik in what may be the slowest defense tandem in history (j/k). It will be Mara’s first game back from injury after suffering a broken bone in his face against Buffalo on Feb. 23rd.

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How about a hand for Marek Malik?! Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, but his return to the lineup coincided with the Rangers recent 13-game streak, which ended shortly after he left the lineup with an injury. Last night, with Malik back in the lineup, the Rangers returned to their winning ways. There are certainly other factors at work, but despite being the least popular Ranger since Bobby Holik, the big D-man who won’t hit anybody has been a big-time contributor.

Did anyone else have flashbacks to the Tampa Bay game when Ty Conklin robbed the Rangers of an empty-net goal in the 1st period?

Tonight the Rangers take on the Devils, who they have beaten in all 5 of the previous meetings this season. The Devils will be playing without Patrik Elias tonight, which has to be good news for the Rangers defense. The official game preview can be found here.

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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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