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Posts Tagged ‘strudwick’

Let’s go through a projection of how the Rangers roster might shape up:

Zherdev-Gomez-[Jagr or some UFA]
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Sjostrom-Dubinsky-Prucha
Hollweg-Betts-Orr
Fritsche-Rissmiller-Voros
Shanahan?

Rozsival-Staal
Redden-Girardi
Pock?-Strudwick?-Sanguinetti?

The Rangers have $14.5 million in cap space but that number does not include Dawes, Sjostrom, Fritsche, Rissmiller, Voros, or Strudwick.

Assuming the Rangers will spend roughly $4 or $5 million between those players, they will have about $9 or $10 million to spend on Jagr, Shanahan, and any UFA’s the Rangers might desire.

That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.  Decision time for Slats.

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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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Lauri Korpikoski is going to play center for the 4th line between Sjostrom and Hollweg.  Renney dangled this possibility before game 4, but this time it’s actually going to happen.

Strudwick is in for Backman.  Prucha will probably be on the 2nd line again just like game 4.

Here we go.

Let’s go Rangers!

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On the front lines, Petr Prucha and Brendan Shanahan switched spots, meaning Prucha skated on the 2nd line with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery, while Shanny skated on the 4th line with Blair Betts and Fred Sjostrom.  The Rangers used this lineup in the last game of the regular season against the Devils.

On D, Jason Strudwick skated in place of Christian Backman, and Paul Mara looks to be the D-man who will take over Backman’s duties playing point on the power play.

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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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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 I’m missing something here… but why in the world would a team choose to shoot first in the shootout? I don’t get it. More on this game later today.

Ok, I thought about this one a little more.  And, I still don’t get it.  I see the point that if your team scores first then it puts the pressure on the other team to match.  Ok, point taken, but let’s be honest, it’s a stupid point.  There’s a reason the home team in baseball gets last licks.  It’s an advantage.  Shooting last in a tied shootout is like having the opportunity to hit a walk-off homerun.  There is no reason for a team to relinquish that position.

As for the game itself, it really kills me to lose a game like this.  The Rangers had a nice comeback to get the game tied, but I felt that the Rangers fell behind in the first place because they had no puck luck at all.  The Rangers definitely outplayed the Islanders for the entire first period, only to give up a fluky late goal off Rozsival’s skate.  The Islanders 3rd goal was also kind of fluky.  Lundqvist struggled to play the puck (thanks to the stupid trapezoid rule) and after the puck popped around to the front of the net, the Islanders simply threw the puck towards the net and it trickled in off a deflection through Lundqvist’s legs.

Lundqvist did not look sharp for a lot of the game.  Don’t get me wrong… I think he played well, especially in the shootout, where he made some awesome saves — the right pad save on Comrie was pretty unreal.  I’m just saying that for most of the game he didn’t look particularly sharp.   As a goalie, I can tell you that there are times where you just don’t feel as sharp as you would like.  Maybe you’re fighting the puck a little, or maybe your head is not in the game.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing poorly, but when fluky goals are going in off the inside of your skate or trickling in through your legs, you’re not playing your best.

Is it me, or does Backman look a little overmatched on defense?  He was out of position on several occasions, and that was just on Rangers in 60.  Plus, there was a play late in the 2nd period where he threw a blind pass behind his own net that went directly to an Islander and led to a scoring chance.  I’m not impressed with his play so far and I’d rather see Strudwick for a few games, at least until Backman has had more time to practice with his new teammates.

The Rangers penalty killing gets an A+ for this game.

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