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Posts Tagged ‘scott gomez’

83370146JM010_CALGARY_FLAMEThe Rangers have just three regulation wins in 17 games since the start of November with two goals or fewer in 12 of those 17 games. They have been shutout twice on home ice in the last three games and have only scored 2.33 goals per game, second-to-last in the NHL, better than only Tampa Bay.  The Rangers have had the benefit of a fairly easy schedule through the early part of the season.  Now that they’re playing better teams, their true colors are showing. The stars are not playing up to their abilities and the young players have all plateaued.

Scott Gomez has 1 goal in his last 13 games.  Chris Drury has no goals in his last 8, Dubinsky has 1 in his last 20 and Ryan Callahan has 1 in his last 14

Last night’s game against the Flames was not the worst game this season but it was up there (down there?).  They actually played well through the first period and were sticking to the defense first mentality that has worked so well in years past.  They even held the Flames to just 2 shots in the second period.  Those two shots were the shot that led to the rebound which was Jarome Iginla’s goal.

Dear NHL, can you please make a rule change that allows teams to decline penalties?  Honestly, the Rangers’ power play is so bad that they would be better off just playing at even strength.  They had a better chance scoring short handed last night then they did up a man and they now lead the league in short handed goals against.

How is it that a team that has the best penalty kill in the entire league can be so dreadful on the power play?  It’s not like the players are that different.  Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Ryan Callahan all had time on both the power play and the penalty kill.  And it’s not like we play with four forwards on the power play.  Why then, can we not defend our net when we have more players on the ice than they do!?!

The highlights of the night were when the crowd started chanting “sloppy seconds” at Dion Phaneuf and when my brother mentioned that the guy sitting behind us sounded exactly like Zoidberg from “Futurama.”  That was the gift that kept on giving.

***

Notes

  • The more I watch this team, the more they remind me of last year’s Ottawa Senators.
  • The Lightning just waived Radim Vrbata.  If they try to bring him back up, the Rangers should snag him at half the price.  This guy had a great year with the Coyotes last season and I think he would play wonderfully next to Brandon Dubinsky and Petr Prucha.
  • Michal Rozsival played his best game of the season last night.  Hopefully he can make a habit of it.
  • Corey Potter played very well in his first NHL game and reminded me of Dan Girardi when he was first called up.  Defensively sound.

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Hello!  Yes I’m alive and so are Marc and Rory.  They say hi.

The Rangers are 17-8-2 right now which places them atop the Eastern conference.  But are they really as good as their record would suggest?

Some days I watch them play and I would argue that they are just as good, if not better than their record suggests.  On other days (Oct 15, Nov 8*, Nov 22, Nov 30) they play terrible, uninspired games.  Why is it that there is such a large swing from game to game?  How can the Rangers right the ship and keep it that way?

*What happened to  “Every goal of every game,” NHL.com?

1. Fix the Power Play. Yes, I know. dead-horseBut seriously, something must be done about this.  The Rangers have the most power play opportunities in the entire league, their offense is what some would call stacked, yet they are ranked 11th in the Eastern conference.  Let me just throw out a few teams that have a better power play.  The Islanders, the Thrashers, the Lightning.  In the last five games, the Rangers are just 2 for 21 with the man advantage.  At least Tom Renney is now admitting that there is something wrong and is even considering putting a forward at the point. aaaaaaah

I think there’s forwards who can do that job. There’s defensemen, too. They just have to do it with a certain level of confidence and assertiveness.  We can look at a number of different guys. What would Zherdev be like back there? Chris (Drury) we’ve tried. What would Scott (Gomez) be like back there? What would Nazzy be like? That’s a short list of guys.

The problem I have with putting a forward at the point is that the Rangers are already leading the league in short handed goals against and they’ve been playing with two defensemen on the power play the entire season.  By putting 4 forwards on the ice, you’re conceding that your PP unit will not be as defensively sound.  Look how easily Chris Drury pounces on the defensive mistake of Martin St. Louis, caught out of position along the boards during a Lightning power play.

So, what do you do if the defensemen on the PP have not been effective but adding a 4th forward would add to the risk of shorthanded goals for a team that already gives up too many shorthanded goals?  Take the defensemen that aren’t working *cough*Rozsival*cough* on the PP off of the PP and put a different defenseman on the point.  Marc Staal doesn’t need the perfect pass to rip a slap shot.

Scott Gomez, please stop hanging around at the half boards and pretending to be Jaromir Jagr.  Cycle the puck and get some low, hard shots to the net with a man set up right in front.  Rebounds and deflections galore!

76074654CM010_NEW_YORK_RANG2. Give Petr Prucha a chance. Dear Tom Renney, Why is it that Dan Fritsche is allowed to have so many games to be consistently invisible yet Petr Prucha gets very few games to play hard, throw the body around, and draw some penalties?  You recently allowed Fritsche to play 10 games in a row.  He scored 1 goal against the Panthers and got 3 assists against the Devils (2) and the Bruins (1).  He scored his first goal of the season in his 9th game in a row.  I wonder if his goal came as a mix of playing against an inferior team plus getting more comfortable playing as he was playing on a more consistent basis.

Please, please allow Prucha 10 games in a row to show you that he is the better player and that he deserves much more ice time than you give him.  Why not try him on the Power Play?  Nothing else seems to be working so far.  Don’t forget, the teams you will be facing in the next couple weeks are much stronger opponents than the ones you faced in the last two weeks.

3. Stop stumbling out of the gate. The Rangers played 13 games in October. They scored first in eight of those games and had a record of 10-2-1.  They played 14 games in November and scored first in only four of those games.  Their record in November was 7-6-1.  In fact, before the game in Tampa, the Rangers had gone eight games without scoring first.

It might be alright to play catch up with a team like the Lightning or the Brodeur-less Devils.  Especially when you have a goalie like Henrik Lundqvist to keep you in it, but what happens when you stumble so hard that you can’t get up in time and give up 4 goals in the first 23 mintues of a game?  You need to come out of the gate strong and finish strong as well.

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As I mentioned in my very first post, I hate the New Jersey Devils.  And I hate Martin Brodeur.  Now, don’t start thinking that I’m dancing with joy that he’s hurt – I’m not.  One of the first rules of fandom is Thou Shalt Not Gloat for Karma Beist a Bitch.  So I wish him a speedy recovery, and that’s that.

Ok, that being said – we play the Swamp Rats tonight at 7.  The game can be seen locally on MSG 2, and I, being the oh-so-lucky lady that I am, will be watching on the Center Ice package.  So that means that all of y’all get to suffer with me and watch the crappy Devils feed. Whee!

So far this season, the Rangers are 11-5-2, and the Devils are 7-5-2.  We’ve played 18 games whereas they’ve played 14.  But, the Rangers have lost 2 of their last 3, and Devils have only won 1 game since Fatass McGhee has been stuck at home watching highlight reels of himself and crying into a pillow.

Rangers Devils HockeySince the Rangers are going up against a backup goalie who rarely sees action, the logical thing to assume is that they will make him look superhuman.  Tonight won’t be easy, and the trick is going to be for the Rangers not to go into it thinking that it’s going to be easy to walk away with 2 points tonight.  I think they can do it, so here’s hoping I’m right.  One thing that the Rangers really need to count on, as they do every night, is that Henke is going to keep playing the way he has so far this season.  And against the Devils, he never disappoints.

Speaking of Rangers/Devils goaltending – here’s a fun snippet from Sam Weinman, Rangers beat writer and journalistic love of my life:

Kevin Weekes is taking full credit for carrying the Rangers to the playoffs. OK, not really, but here’s how he summarized his career in New York:

“You know what? I’m past that now,” he said. “When I was there we made the playoffs both years and that was a great experience just that in itself.”

Yes, it was all thanks to Weekes that the Rangers made the playoffs the first two years out of the lockout.  That rookie foreigner who took his job can’t stop a beach ball.  And they totally didn’t get swept in the last playoff series Weekes actually played in.  Not at all.

LET’S GO RANGERS!!

UPDATE: According to Sam Weinman, Scott Gomez’s leg is more than just a little bothersome pain – he will not play tonight against the Devils, and is now listed as Day-to-Day.  Crap on a cracker.

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Even kissing Scott Gomez's ass couldn't have saved the Islanders Monday night.

Even kissing Scott Gomez's ass couldn't have saved the Islanders Monday night.

Hello again, everyone. I know Eric and I are horrible at being consistent with this blog, but we’re doing our best. We are, after all, terribly disabled. What’s this crippling disability which afflicts us, you ask? We’re lazy.

Anyfart, last night’s Monday’s game against the Long Island Douchebags was mighty fun, was it not? Rick “My Vagina Hurts, I Can’t Play” DiPietro was out, most likely watching his stories and getting a bird crap facial, so that of course meant that the Rangers’ offense was going to make Joey MacDonald look like a Vezina finalist, like they do all back-up goalies. But alas! They didn’t! With a final score of 4-2 and shot totals of 39-30, I’m a happy camper.

One thing I felt the game was missing was an all-out brawl. They came close a couple times, and there were some good fights(although Voros needs to stop it with the uppercut, he didn’t land a single one), I was getting really excited for a full-team throwdown at center ice. Although since Rick “Meat in a Man Sandwich” DP wasn’t playing, the Battle of the Pretty Boys would have to wait for another day. So I guess it was better we didn’t waste a brawl, because everyone knows, a good slamming is no fun without a DP.

So I know this is a day late, and not very inclusive, but hopefully it was entertaining and included the main facts – we won, there was no DP, and there were fights. Oh yeah, Dubi took some shitty penalties and Tommy Boy brought the hammer down on him and made him ride pine for a few shifts.  Chris Drury scored his first two goals of the season.   I think that about covers it. Until next time, my friends.

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OK they lost.  It was bound to happen eventually.  Let’s just move on and see if they can rebound from such a terrible outing.

There are a few roster changes to note:

  • Stephen Valiquette will get the start tonight to give Henrik Lundqvist a break for tomorrow’s game in Detroit.
  • Lauri Korpikoski will be scratched with an arm or shoulder injury.
  • Nigel Dawes and Dan Fritsche will most likely be the wingers on the third line centered by Ryan Callahan.
    • This would be Ryan’s first game as a Center for the Rangers.
  • Patrick Rissmiller and Petr Prucha are the healthy scratches.

There will be no changes made to line of Naslund-Gomez-Drury.  I think Renney is going to give them 1 or 2 more games before he breaks them up.

Look for fatigue to start playing a bigger role in games.  This is the Rangers’ 5th game in 8 nights and is their 7th game of the season.  The Maple Leafs are only playing their 4th game of the season and 3rd game in the same 8 days.  Their last game was on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.  They lost 5-4 in the skills competition.

Ryan Hollweg will not play tonight as he is serving his second suspension this season.

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I guess you could call this a Season Preview but we’ll just call it the Game Preview. Also, today is my birthday!

Back on October 5, 2005, the New York Rangers played a game for the first time in over a year. The NHL was finally back after a lock-out that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season.

It had been 8 years since the Rangers had last made the playoffs–when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals–and the idea that the Rangers were going to end the drought was ludicrous. That year, almost every “expert” had picked the Rangers to finish 30th in the NHL.

Honestly, did you have much faith in that team? Look at the lineup they sported for the 2005-2006 season opener against the Flyers:

Rucinsky-Nylander-Jagr
Straka-Ruccin-Hossa
Moore-Betts-Ward
Hollweg-Lundmark-Ortmeyer

Rozsival-Malik
Poti-Strudwick
Tyutin-Kasparaitis

Weekes
Lundqvist

Admit it. You looked at that team and thought, “We’re screwed!” But Slats was keeping his word; the Rangers were rebuilding. We couldn’t expect greatness in the first year. Honestly, I would have been content no matter what happened that season. But what happened that year stunned everybody.

The Rangers sat in first place in the Atlantic Division until the very last day of the season when they were passed by both the Devils and the Flyers. More importantly, for the first time since 1997, the Rangers had made the playoffs and Jaromir Jagr broke the Rangers single season records for both goals (54) and points (123).

Now fast forward to this season. The Rangers come into the game with a 2-0-0 record with two wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning last weekend in Prague.

Here is the line up that the Rangers sported for the first two games of the season:

Naslund-Gomez-Drury
Dawes-Dubinsky-Zherdev
Prucha-Korpikoski-Callahan
Voros-Betts-Orr

Rozsival-Redden
Girardi-Kalinin
Staal-Mara

Lundqvist
Valiquette

Only two, yes two, players from the 2005 opening night roster are still on the team. Only one of them actually played in that game! Petr Prucha was called up from Hartford soon after the start of the season and stayed up for most of it. But still that is only 3 players that remain from the October 5, 2005 to October 4, 2008. Speaking of Petr Prucha, of all the players currently on the roster, he has the most games played and most goals scored as a Ranger.

Looking ahead to this season, the Rangers are a younger, faster, more offensive minded team that can still shut things down when needed. The problem is that almost every offseason move the Rangers made is counting on the player playing better because of a change in scenery. So far, Naslund and Redden have scored goals. Zherdev has shown how wonderfully he can control the puck but has not finished. He does have the potential to set up many goals for Brandon Dubinsky. I really hope Zherdev doesn’t end up like Matt Cullen did with the Rangers.

There were some questions heading into this season about Dubinsky. Would he have the dreaded sophomore slump? Would he be able to produce without Jagr on his wing? We’re only 2 games into the season, but Dubinsky doesn’t look like he’s going to hit the proverbial wall any time soon. He was arguably the best player on the Rangers throughout the Preseason and has skated very well with new linemate Nikolai Zherdev.

Some other young players that must prove themselves are Nigel Dawes, Ryan Callahan, and believe it or not, Petr Prucha. Dawes and Callahan will most likely thrive in a faster and more offensive minded environment. As will Prucha who is scratched for tonights game. But Tom Renney has to give Prucha more ice time. At least some more time on the Power Play.

As for any predictions, I think the Rangers will fight for control of the Atlantic with the Penguins for the majority of the Season. They will probably end up finishing in second place in the division which is good enough for 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight, the Rangers will hold their true home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. This team made a big splash in the free agency market by signing Brian Campbell to an 8 year contract for about $56.8 million. They also improved in goal with the addition of Cristobal Huet. This team is young and looking to prove themselves. They were very close to making the playoffs last season and you can be sure that New Captain Jonathan Toews and Sophomore Patrick Kane will skate circles around our defense at least once.

Hopefully the Rangers can find their scoring and break out against Huet who they have been fairly good against in recent memory.

I will be at the game and I might snap some pictures. I’ll post them later tonight if I can along with the recap.

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It’s just that there’s been nothing to write about.

Okay, that’s a lie. There’s been lots to talk about. Here’s a quick update:

  • Gomez: still a Ranger.
  • Prucha: still a Ranger.
  • Shanahan: not a Ranger but was working out with the team. Still has no contract with the Rangers and training camp officially starts today.
  • Petr Nedved is still trying out for a spot on the team.
  • The Rangers prospects dropped their first two games at the Traverse City Tournament over the weekend.

More later.

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I was over at Puck Daddy where they are having a live chat.  I posed a question about something I read about last night while watching the Mets lose their 7 run lead.  It turns out that there are rumors swirling around that the Rangers are shopping Scott Gomez in order to make room for Mats Sundin under the cap.  I know.  Ridiculous.  I asked my question which was then answered by Spector and David Pagnotta.  Greg Wyshynski was just there for moral support I guess.

1:15
Wyshynski –  Bingo. Back to Gomez, because Dave didn’t get a crack earlier:
1:15
[Comment From Eric from 5-hole.com]
Does it even make sense for the Rangers to move Gomez and Prucha just to make room for Sundin? Prucha proved in his first season that, when given the ice time, he can produce and Gomez is a great center that has more years left in him than Sundin.
1:15
Spector –  Seriously, though, Dave’s right about the vacation
1:15
Wyshynski –  Pags, what do you make of the Gomez stuff?
1:15
Spector –  THE RANGERS AREN’T MOVING GOMEZ!!!!!
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  I’d be quite surprised if they move Gomez… and talking to a few people around the league, it’s not a real option for the Rangers.
1:16
Wyshynski –  Ow, angry Spector emoticon! The man is serious!!!!!!
1:16
Spector –  
1:16
[Comment From oilersrock99]
I think Spector’s gassy…somebody burp him…
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  haha, I feel your pain Spec
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  Gomez is sticking it out in the Big Apple.

About 15 minutes before I got to the party, and the reason Spector put on his angry face when I asked, Wyshynski and Spector answered my question.

1:02
[Comment From Neil]
So is Gomez being shopped around or not?
1:02
Spector –  Hi, Neil, no, Gomez isn’t being shopped
1:02
Wyshynski –  NO!
1:02
Wyshynski –  Look, like we said this morning: He’s in the second year of a SEVEN YEAR DEAL, and we haven’t even seen him play with a winger that he can mesh with yet.
1:03
[Comment From Neil]
and so now what is the likliehood of Sundin winding up w/ the Rangers?
1:03
Spector –  Of course now that there’s no truth to the Gomez rumors, expect the “Drury to be dealt to Vancouver” rumors to start anytime now.
1:03
Spector –  Unless the Rangers dump considerable salary Sundin won’t be a Blueshirt. Simple as that.
1:03
Wyshynski –  Ha! Indeed. And I thonk Drury’s NTC is even more water-tight than Gomez’s.
1:03
Spector –  It sure is!
1:03
Wyshynski –  think, not thonk. Thonk is not a word.
1:03
[Comment From Guest]
Why would they trade Gomez to make room for a player that most likely wont last 2 more seaons?
1:04
Spector –  You just answered your own question.
1:04
Wyshynski –  Well, the theory is that the Rangers want to drop salary.
1:04
Spector –  It won’t be Drury or Gomez.
1:04
Wyshynski –  Because, you know, the Rangers always want to drop salary

And here’s some Bruins talk from the trio of bloggers for my Bruins fan friend:

1:16
Wyshynski –  This one is just begging for us to address:
1:16
[Comment From Super Dave West]
Who are you prognosticators, and why is there no Bruins talk here?
1:16
Spector –  Because there’s little to write about regarding the B’s
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  Here’s some Bruins talk… their practice facility is in the middle of NO WHERE!
1:17
Spector –  No news is good new ,right?
1:17
DavidPagnotta –  Took me forever to find that place
1:17
Wyshynski –  There’s no Bruins talk because they’re capped out and their coach is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … oh, sorry. Nodded off.

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As if coming back from 0-3 in the series wasn’t going to be hard enough, the Rangers are going to have to do with it without Sean Avery (lacerated spleen), Blair Betts (broken bone in face), and without a 100% Chris Drury (torso injury). Drury is probable but after watching him skate at half speed and not taking any faceoffs in the 3rd period of game 3, I have to think he’s playing hurt.

So, where does that leave the Rangers? Well, the situation is not very good. Betts and Drury are the team’s top penalty killers, and the Penguins power play was destroying the Rangers despite Betts and Drury’s best efforts. I would be surprised to see Drury on the penalty kill even if he does play tonight. Now, without their services, it will be up to Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan, and possibly Brandon Dubinsky to really step up their penalty killing.

Who is going to fill the empty spots in the lineup? Hartford call-up Lauri Korpikoski is going to play center for the 4th line but it’s not clear who will play wing and it’s also not clear who will play on the 2nd line in place of Sean Avery. It will be some combination of Prucha, Orr, and Hollweg. Korpikoski, the 19th overall pick in the 2004 draft, will be making his NHL debut tonight. Hopefully he can make the most of his 2-3 shifts per period. I think Prucha makes the most sense to fill in on the 2nd line. On Defense, Jason Strudwick will play along side Paul Mara in place of Christian Backman.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the situation does not look very good. But, there is still some hope. The Rangers have lost 3 in a row, but the Pens haven’t exactly dominated the Rangers in this series. The Rangers let a 3-goal lead slip through their fingers in game 1, and in game 3 the Rangers dominated the flow of the game but couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances as effectively as the Penguins.

It’s possible, right?

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I have to admit I completely underestimated the Penguins before this series. I look back at my series preview and I can’t believe I gave the edge to the Rangers offense. I let the flashy shot totals from the regular season get to my head. What I didn’t take into account was which team was going to capitalize on their scoring chances.

These Penguins certainly know how to put the puck into the net, scoring on 5 out of 17 shots in this game. You can’t fault Lundqvist. His save percentage looks terrible on paper, but not one of those goals was his fault. He wasn’t spectacular, but he wasn’t bad either.

How did the Penguins score 5 goals? It’s as simple as this: The Penguins offense was faster than the Rangers defense with and without the puck. The Rangers defense was burned several times, and frequently coughed up the puck throughout the game.

In the 2nd period, the Rangers seemed to have stolen the momentum after tying the game at 3 and keeping possession deep in the Penguins zone for well over a minute and a half. Then, Ryan Hollweg took a braindead momentum killing boarding penalty.  The Penguins power play, which was absolutely killer, capitalized to make it 4-3. The Pens only had 2 power play chances, but scored on both. (The Rangers went 0 for 5).

So where do the Rangers go from here? The series isn’t technically over, but really, it is.

I’d be surprised if the Rangers can even pull out a win in game 4.

Game notes: I’m not sure what happened to Drury, but he’s definitely hurt. After missing most of the 2nd period, he came back in the 3rd but wasn’t taking faceoffs. (Avery skated at center with Drury on the wing). Blair Betts might be seriously hurt after blocking a slapshot. Renney tried a number of different line combinations, but none of them seemed to work. I really don’t like seeing Brendan Shanahan on the 4th line. Gomez and Avery did not generate any scoring chances with Sjostrom on their line. If Renney was going to keep Shanny on the 4th line, why wouldn’t he dress Prucha instead of Hollweg?? I just don’t get it. I’d really like to see someone, anyone, other than Hollweg after that braindead momentum killing boarding penalty.

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