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Posts Tagged ‘Valiquette’

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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Just a few snippets of Rangers reactions today at the morning skate.

  • Chris Drury, who had skated over to Avery while he was face-guarding Brodeur, explained that what he said to Avery during the incident (see youtube clip at 2:15) was that he was trying to get Avery to keep his stick down. “I didn’t want to lose the 5 on 3, you don’t want it all of a sudden, to be 4 on 3. He was just trying to distract him.” He also added, “It’s hockey. Not moral or philosophical. It wasn’t a rule. Now it’s a rule.”
  • Henrik Lundqvist discussed how effective that tactic would be to prevent the goalie from seeing the puck, and said it was “smart”. Backup Stephen Valiquette, on the other hand, did not approve.
  • Jaromir Jagr, in his usual humor, seemed to be amused by Avery’s antics, and said they were cool. He did, however, express his wish that Avery would have saved the tactic for later in the playoffs.
  • Brandon Dubinsky didn’t speak much about the actual incident, but reiterated to the reporters present that Avery will be key to how far the Rangers go in the playoffs. “He’s one of those guys who you can count on every night. He brings that energy, intensity, and effort that you need to win on a daily basis.”

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The loss to the Panthers was a tough one because they had some serious scoring chances at the end and just couldn’t put the puck in the net.  The loss snapped a 13-game streak in which the Rangers had not lost in regulation.

Earlier in the week, Tom Renney had mentioned he would probably start Valiquette in one of the two games in Florida.  After the loss last night, however, it seems he has abandoned that plan and will stick with Lundqvist.  Lundqvist is playing well right now, and I understand Renney’s desire to stay with what’s been working, but with games this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, he has to be careful not to overwork Henrik.

The rest of the lineup will probably stay the same for tonight’s game.  The Defense will definitely be the same tonight, since Mara and Malik are both hurt.  We might see some changes in the forwards — Petr Prucha anyone?  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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