Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well, we needed this one.
The New York Rangers were fortunate enough to be taking a win away from the Tampa Bay Lightning, bringing them two steps closer to a .500 team (4-6-1). Our Captain Jagr deserved more than what us fans saw during the game as one of his skates broke in the first period, he had to replace a broken glove in the second period, soon followed by his losing three teeth either from a puck or someone's stick. A bloody mess. Brendan Shanahan was kind enough to retrieve the teeth on ice. Though not able to score more than two goals (thanks "A") and connect in the Rangers system this season thus far, Scott Gomez may have been the guilty party responsible for the captain's missing teeth, hence knocking some sense into our 'Dear Captain'. At least he's contributed to something.
Rookie Nigel Dawes scored the first goal last night, delivering three goals in three games this season (NOTE: Renney, keep him on the roster!), followed by Brendan Shanahan's second goal of the season and ending with a toothless Jagr power-play slapshot.
I am always satisfied walking away with a 'win' - this I know for sure. Though, this game could have easily went the other direction. The first and second periods were 'scrap pucking', both teams unable to control the game, offensive lines breaking down, speedy Scott Gomez always 'skating alone with puck' fifteen yards ahead of any Ranger, and stellar goaltending by both our King Lundqvist and Tampa's Johan Holmqvist. As usual, there were numerous scoring opportunities by our front lines, including a couple of nail-biting shots hitting the posts without connecting. It wasn't until the third period when it felt that the Rangers were controlling the game.
Maybe the team needs some wins and less Dark Ranger criticism!!? Hell no! See you Thursday as the New York Rangers take on the Washington Caps, at MSG, 7PM EST.
(off to the dentist)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
"It's early. Don't worry" or
"They need time to develop chemistry" or
"Our defense needs critical help - a big lineman to support the blueline and support our offensive powerhouse." or
"New York Rangers will meet either the defending Stanley Cup Champs or San Jose Sharks for the finals this season." etc, etc.
- Hockey News, TSN, Sports Illustrated - you name it.
Tonight's display of hockey at MSG was a sad realization that all Rangers fans will need to come to terms with. Not sure if our coach, management or players on the ice see this direction. Our offense is the least scoring in the entire NHL (15 goals in nine games), and not one All-Star player on the ice has scored more than two goals. So basically, everything we thought pre-season was/is wrong. We have no cap room. We've paid too much for our free agents to allow for any viable trade. Not only are we seeing almost no production from both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, they seem to be having a negative effect on the rest of the team.
Henrik Lundqvist, goalie of NYR, should never leave the net - as he is almost entirely responsible for the turning point second Toronto goal tonight, as he shuffled behind the net for a loose puck, suddenly realizing he was out of position to lose the goal. This was perhaps the weakest game for "now-Prince" Lundqvist. Game over.
A complete breakdown for all on & off the ice, and for those of us that still care.
Tom Renney, coach of the Rangers, has instituted a fully defensive system to address the pre-season need for stronger blueline, almost validating the Jagr-friendly perimeter zone offense - which obviously does not work. Anyone listening? It does not work, Tom!
We are not scoring goals. We are not winning games. We are now 3-6-1 going into the Tampa Bay Lightning game on Monday night. We're back in 1998 folks!
Friday, October 26, 2007
This just in - sent via email to The Dark Ranger this morning:
(AP) New York, NY, MSG, reported by Anonymous
The tricks on you hockey fans and the treats are all for the Dark Ranger.
Now that he's done with baseball and his steroid investigation, George Mitchell turns his attention to Canadians national past time.
A New York Ranger season ticket holder also known to some (150 a day) as the "Dark Ranger" is allegedly involved in collusion and conspiracy fixing hockey games. Suspicions grew in the Ranger's inner circle these last couple of weeks. It has been documented that the Ranger has received a professional upgrade for his season tickets, signed jerseys from current players, road game tickets (with V.I.P suite accommodations) to name a few perks.
Last night while attending the Rangers home game against the N.J. Devils of Newark, the Ranger slipped into the front of the Prime Rib line with no recourse. The Ranger seemingly "tipsy" according to those who shared a place in the front line. "Labatt Blues could have played a role in this." said a fellow Ranger fan from Summit NJ. "He asked me, what did I think about tonights game?" another fan yelled out. I said maybe 3-2 a come from behind win in the 3rd period." The Ranger again allegedly impaired replied, "I'm thinking 2-0." with a Devilish Dark smirk. "
At this point we are in the beginning stages of investigations", stated Mitchell from a conference call." No charges have been made.
The Dark Ranger officially has no comment.
Due to multiple injuries on the NY Rangers bench, Nigel Dawes was sent down from the Hartford Wolfpack for last night"s victory against the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers beat the Devils 2-0. Dawes scored both goals and is sure to become a permanent fixture on the NYR roster. After a stellar training camp performance this summer and his surprising triumph last night, Coach Renney is sure to keep him around. The Rangers are now 3-5-1.
The second star goes to King Goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist, who again reminded us how flawless he can be. Henrik is the greatest asset to the Rangers, simply, a great goalie.
Shutting out the rival Devils is what the doctor ordered and keeps the medicine man away, or rather, the Blueshirt management from altering the team. "Wins" means everyone stays, so the hot seat may gradually cool down if we see a solid Blueshirt performance against Toronto on Saturday followed by our arch-nemesis rival NY islanders Monday evening.
Maybe reflecting on the last half of the 06-07 season, where we discovered the potential of such players as Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi, and last night's performance of Nigel Dawes will remind Tom Renney, Glen Sather and the gang that the future of this great franchise relies on this upcoming youth movement. Before leaving for the Phoenix Coyotes, assistant Ranger coach Don Maloney set up the Blueshirts with a new prospect philosophy, creating the possibility of a young team and focusing on building prospects every season.
This is our future in Rangerland, folks. Last night, Nigel Dawes was our redemption, one of many players to come.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tonight the New York Rangers 2-5-1 have their first meeting with the arch-nememis New Jersey Devils 3-4-1, and the first game that Scott Gomez will face his former teammates after the Blueshirts acquired him this summer in free agency.
While there's still plenty of season left, Gomez hasn't made much of an impact with his new team so far. He is tied for the team lead with two goals but only has one assist in eight games, contributing to the Rangers' atrocious 2-5-1 start.
Let me look at the downside going into tonight's game. Despite a wealth of offensive talent, the Rangers have scored a league-low 13 goals, getting shut out three times already. With one goal in eight games, Jagr is off to the worst start of his 17-year career. Don't look for Sean Avery, Martin Straka and now rookie-superstar-to-be Ryan Callahan as they are all on injured reserve. Callahan is out indefinitely with a sprained knee, grade 2, after crashing into Nigel Dawes during the Pittsburgh loss two nights ago. So we are relying on our veteran lines to get down to business (and Martin Brodeur will be in net for the Devils tonight). Hurrah.
On the positive side, Henrik Lundquist is in prime form - despite having only two wins in eight starts, he has a stellar 2.00 goals-against average. The last two games have shown an improved defense - so it appears Renney is addressing one thing at a time. With our offense having a disastrous effort making goals, New Jersey also has had trouble scoring, having been shut out twice while managing six goals in its four losses.
So tonight should be a good one - it is a home game, the fans still believe and we are ready for that damn buzzer. Jersey 'on'!
In other Rangers news, according to Hockeybuzz, there are plenty of rumors flying that the Montreal Habs and Blueshirts management are in major trading discussions, suggesting that some of the veteran Ranger players are being shopped to add better play makers and add more depth to our blueline.
The Dark Ranger knows that NYR owners are not happy with Tom Renney and are prepared to make major changes if the Rangers drop the next two or three games.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
As Jamomir Jagr was quoted last night after another loss to the New York Rangers, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers are now 2-5-1.
Let us look at the facts.
The Rangers have gone 181 minutes, 9 seconds without scoring an even-strength goal.
The Rangers haven't scored so few goals in their first eight games since they had nine in 1950.
NYR goalkeeper, "The King" Henrik Lundquist was incredible, the little-Rangers (Callahan, Girardi, Prucha) played hard and the veterans played an ineffective perimeter game as to avoid any contact near the opposing net.
This game is not working. Many of us are not prepared to blame any individual player, but it is leaning toward our great Captain Jagr, whose European style finesse game is not working for the once-gritty game play of current Rangers Brendan Shanahan, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. The system designed around Jagr needs to change. If it doesn't, the coaching needs to change.
Hey Jags, we still believe! Please just don"t wait until December to realize it!
UPDATE: Blueshirt Bulletin has a post that outlines outrageous stats for our Blueshirts to date. Great reading. Sad realities. Go here.
Monday, October 22, 2007
With the Blueshirts now 2-4-1, having lost in overtime on Saturday to the Boston Bruins, it is time for our Captain to embrace his past and channel 'The Greats' - begin playing hockey like an All-Star should and begin meeting our expectations.
The Penguins open a three-game homestand looking to build on their first back-to-back wins of the season after defeating the Capitals 2-1 on Saturday. Ryan Whitney's fourth career game-winning goal provided the final margin with 2:01 left in the second period.
Tuesday's game will mark the first career meeting between brothers Jordan Staal, the Penguins' 19-year-old center, and Marc Staal, the Rangers' 20-year-old rookie defenseman. Jordan Staal scored his first goal of season Saturday.
Our supposed $80 million dollar free-agent powerhouses, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez have given us no more than 3 goals and 6 assists in seven games, so we hope to see a little more production on the first two lines tomorrow night as well.
Here goes another one. The Dark Ranger awaits.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
1st period, 7:25pm
I sit watching my New York Rangers playing in Atlanta and although we are only nine minutes into the first period of the game, the Rangers down 0-2, I am amazed that after four days off the Rangers are performing as if they belong in the minors.
Tom Renney was determined to readjust the lines once again, and has actually benched Marek Malik for the first time as a NY Ranger coach -- he listened, but....not sure what I am watching so far. It's a mess.
2nd period 8:20pm
Awesome. The Thrashers scored a short-handed goal against the Rangers making it 0-3. The worst team currently in the league is proving otherwise and The Stanley Cup Contending New York Rangers look like the Philadelphia Flyers of last season -- or maybe worse. This is a sick sight. Maybe my fantasy hockey team is scoring some points!!?
I feel like punching Tom Renney, and even worse, I feel like putting Malik back in the game. Maybe acid on Drury's skates will remind him that he was paid to be a clutch star player, or 5 million for Shanny's zero goals and 41 shots this season so far.
3rd period, 9:00pm
Brian Little of The Thrashers found the loose puck and scooped it over Henrik Lundquist's helmut. Hurray! The Rangers are now down 0-4. Does this mean Glen Sather fires Tom Renney tomorrow? Ladies & Gentlemen, consider this our first ass-whooping, and two minutes later another power play for Atlanta.
Girardi scores...great shot - LOVE HIM! Shanny finally scored, first of the season. Rangers down 2-5, but at the very least they scored.
Drury dribbles up and down the ice.....dribble, dribble. "Look Ma, I can shoot left handed...!" Wow....Gomez scores again to make it 3-5 now with one minute left. Now this is hockey of the 3rd period.
Half-redemption in the third period. Lost in Atlanta and a win for the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight sucks.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Drury will open tomorrow night against Atlanta centering the third line. What?
So what would appear to be a trip down Ranger memory lane, where some of the best veteran hockey players came to New York to pay for and melt away into retirement, is not what it seems. Tom Renney, Grand Overlord Coach of the NY Rangers is putting Chris Drury on the third line. Yes folks, you heard it here -- our #1 free-agent pick Chris Drury, courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres and now a $7 million a year NY Ranger, is centering the third line between rookies Petr Prucha and Ryan Callahan. Crazy or brilliant?
The sad truth is this is probably one of the better ideas all season. With all the talent on the first and second lines (Jagr, Gomez, Straka, Shanny, etc.) and very little production from any of them, both rookies Prucha and Callahan have been two of the more effective players during the season and Chris Drury might just have that leadership and experience to shape front-line attention.
So far, the Rangers and management have attempted to shape the team around the play of Jamomir Jagr, right wing extraordinaire, so it is refreshing to see them taking advantage of this newly improved Ranger youth movement.
So tomorrow night may look something like this:
Hossa - Gomez - Jagr
Straka - Dubinsky - Shanahan
Prucha - Drury - Callahan
Surely, these New York Rangers can beat the Atlanta Thrashers - as the Philadephia Flyers beat them 4 - 0 last night and the fact that the Thrashers have relatively zero defense.
I believe the above lines can work and The Dark Ranger will be okay with 3-3-0, so a win is a necessity. If the Blueshirts lose to a team that is 0-6 this season, then we have bigger problems!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Tonight, the New York Rangers dropped our second meeting this week to the Ottawa Senators 3-1, mostly due to the merits of Marek Malik - our floundering, overpaid, most boo'ed New York Ranger defenseman. The Senators mauled their way through our defensive lines three times in a row during the 2nd period, all within a 52 second window. The first and third goal against the Rangers happened because Malik forgot to play basic zone defense and cover the open man. An over-sized schmuck on ice.
"Our team this year is about scoring a lot of goals, rather than building veteran defensive lines. We are a team unit."
- Anonymous current NY Rangers coach
Rangers fans and beat writers were always worried about the lack of defensive veterans in the roster during the off-season, something never addressed by management (giving them the benefit of the doubt that they knew something we didn't) - and now we might be witnessing a weakness greater than anyone anticipated. The defense was not alone in their performance tonight. Even the experience of our superstar front lines couldn't overcome Ottawa's defense; Senator replacement goalkeeper Martin Gerber was remarkable tonight as the Rangers could not take advantage of any power plays, including a 5 on 3 with 11 minutes left in the third period, our first line pounding their defense - and nothing connecting and no dirty goals to claim.
Though the Blueshirts are 2-3-0, it is early and it's obvious they haven't found their game. I believe in the New York Rangers, I believe in Tom Renney. I believe in Jagr motivating his teammates to play better hockey. The night was not a complete disaster and honorable mention goes to "The King" Henrik Lundquist for preventing more goals, having saved 20+ real scoring opportunities for Ottawa (and unable to make up for the complete breakdown of our defense).
I do not believe in Marek Malik. He must have secret pictures of Tom Renney with farm animals or something similar that keeps him in the game.
I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Brandon Dubinsky who played hard, threw some punches and, hopefully, proved to Coach Renney that former Islander David Scatchard is not a good replacement for our rookie known as 'Dubie'. Taking a cue from Colton Orr, our resident Blueshirt enforcer, rookie Dubinsky attempted to challenge veteran Luke Richardson to a fight. Poor kid absorbed a devastating right hook: he earned a "10" on effort, "2" for ugly-ness.
..and so I digress, canned goods and previous New York Rangers' paraphernalia from the 1995-2003 seasons will be perfect for the flogging of Marek Malik. Known to take a lot of abuse from the fans and press, after tonight's game the coaching staff and management upstairs are finally acknowledging that he is unreliable, not worth the $3 million per season and are prepared to trade and dump him from the roster in order to rebuild our defense. That's a nice wish.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
UPDATE: Still thinking about the game tonight and special kudos and a Blueshirt Salute to Marcel Hossa, Dan Girardi and Staal who all played spectacular hockey -- they supported the team better than most, so this idea of bringing in tired, Islander veterans and new prospects from other teams right now could be a grave error. We have the young talent already playing the AHL ready to play the big leagues, some of those were recently sent back up to Hartford - so Sather and Renney should WAKE THE F&*k UP!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Even though Islander Goon-face Chris Simon is now fulfilling his suspension for high sticking Blueshirt Ryan Hollweg last season, expect plenty of retaliation for 40+ fights the Rangers & Islanders entertained during the pre-season last month. Put the kids to bed early for this one because it's going to be NC-17.
The official game notes are as follows:
The Rangers face off against the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.) and will look to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place Saturday night. The Blueshirts have posted a 1-1-0 record thus far and are currently tied for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Islanders, 2-1-0, enter tonight's contest having suffered their first defeat of the season to the Capitals, 2-1, on Monday in a matinee game in Long Island. Tonight's game will mark the first of eight meetings between the teams this season.
It is especially unsettling that the Islanders have a winning record this season thus far, again proving two seasons in a row that they are a contender and Ted Nolen knows a little something about hockey and working a system. Hopefully, New York Rangers coach Tom Renney is dishing out chemistry to the Blueshirt lines as you read this. According to the Rangers beat writers, tonight's lines are not changing and Coach is giving our veterans and prospects a little more breathing room as we're just in our third regulation game. Here's hoping.
Let's Go Rangers!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
"I don't feel bad, time for a change. They spent 1 billion in salaries and luxury taxes since last world series championship in 2000. I suggest hiring Mike Keenan as the next skipper. I doesn't matter that he doesn't know a thing abooot baseball. He just needs to open a huge can of whoop ass on the Jabronees. And for Mr Lightning Rod since he's been a Yankee in 04 they had the worst collapse in baseball playoff history. Up 3 games- 0 against the Red Sox and then getting knocked out of the first round of the playoffs the next three years. So saying that, lets give him a nice round number of 10 years 300 million, he deserves it. Lets go Rangers! Put that on your blog, or in your pipe and smoke it."
- Martin, a native New Yorker
Now that both teams have failed to move forward in the playoffs, New Yorkers can either tune in to the New York Knicks (who cares?) or The New York Rangers (we all care) -- both with a fair share of lawsuits coming your way, with action on & off the court/ice.
In other NYR news, look out for a grudge rematch tomorrow night against the New York Islanders, with a newly refurbished first two lines now that Sean Avery is out injured for at least four weeks. Almost demoted, Marcel Hossa upgrades to the first line with Jamomir Jagr & Chris Drury, with the second line appearing to be Straka-Gomez-Shanahan.
After the Rangers loss to Ottawa Saturday night, prepare for that can of 'whoop-ass' Martin spoke of to be unleashed on the ice in the first period. Oh, and by the way, "Potvin Sucks!"
Saturday, October 6, 2007
After giving up 2 goals in the first period, one thanks to our 'booing wonder' on-off-off defenseman Marek Malik, the defense and Henrik Lundqvist played a marvelous game holding off any additional goals. Though, with 35 saves credited to Ottawa this evening, the Senators played better and shutout the Blueshirts.
Too disappointed to continue writing, you can read more here, here and here.
Tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators, 7pm EST, will be a true test for the New York Rangers. The obvious question is will we be watching the Rangers that played the third period two nights ago against the Florida Panthers or is this the Rangers that couldn't get their act together the first and second period against the Florida Panthers?
Already the Senators are 2-0-0 in their two first outings and the Rangers are 1-0-0, so if the Rangers pull-out a win this evening, then it will be the first time in over forty years they have won the first two games in a season.
Looking forward to seeing a little of that chemistry on the Straka-Drury-Jags veteran line, followed by another aggressive and gritty performance by my favorites Brandon Dubinsky, Blair Betts and Ryan Callahan. Henrik Lundqvist will be the key this evening, with Ottawa All-Stars Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza looking to de-throne "The King." Good news is Ray Emery, goaltender for Ottawa, remains out on injury and replacement Martin Gerber is in the net for Ottawa for the third-game in a row. The bad news is that he is playing exceptional well with two wins opening their season. Damn him.
This is no doubt a crucial game for the Blueshirts, while many have speculated that these two teams appear on paper to be the top two contenders in the Eastern Conference. It's early and The Dark Ranger's expectations are low, but I do want to see a solid match up and good team chemistry. Tonight is supposed to be a good game.
You never know. I smell a win.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The evening began with an unexpected and welcome appearance by our own #2, Brian Leetch - three months earlier than when the Garden will be retiring his number to the rafters on January 24, 2008. The Garden went mad!
The achievements were numerous. Newcomer Chris Drury scored the game-winner and added two assists in his Rangers debut. Defenseman Marek Malik picked up three assists. Petr Prucha indicated there would be no early-season slump like a year ago, rifling home the first of the four-goal outburst. Youngster Ryan Callahan continued to build on his success last season with a beautiful goal, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant with 27 saves, keeping the team in the game until the third-period eruption.
With the victory, the Rangers began a season 1-0-0 for the third straight year heading into Saturday night's first road game at defending Eastern Conference champion Ottawa. The beat writers have predicted the Ottawa Senators against the Rangers will be some of the best hockey this season and the most anticipated race in the Eastern Conference.
Welcome Chris Drury, redemption for our Marek Malik, and our fourth youth-line played hard and proved to all why they were the choice prospects to place in the NHL.
The Dark Ranger salutes. Bring it on, Canada.
The New York Rangers debut their season, 7PM EST, against the Florida Panthers in the home season opener tonight at The World's Most Famous Arena. More eyes will be watching than ever as the Blueshirts "on paper" are predicted (and targeted) as a real Stanley Cup contender. On the ice is always a different matter. Aside from the talk by hockey fans, critics and experts in the NHL, it all begins and ends with the players on the ice and the locker room is abuzz.
Brendan Shanahan has said of this upcoming season, "Every year there's probably about half a dozen or maybe eight teams that have the players to win the Cup, but only one of them can win. We're one of those teams right now."
Chris Drury is quoted, "I think it's a good thing for me, because I always want to give more and I always want to be at my best. As a New York fan -- Rangers fan, Yankees fan, Knicks fan, whatever it is -- they always expect more, 110 percent. And they always expect you to be at your best, and that's where I always want to be, so it's a good match."
Sean Avery ends with, "Florida is dead to me. I will eat their young." (he never really said this, but I am sure he'll demonstrate it this evening)
The puck drops at 7pm EST at Madison Square Garden. Who would win in a fight? "The King" of the Jungle or a little tropical Panther? We'll know soon enough.
(press here to download complete game notes for tonight)
Monday, October 1, 2007
Already the Flyers are sustaining four major injuries to their starting lineup -- and one Jackie-Chan-like-Steve Downie now serving a 20-game suspension in the NHL (and hopefully his new home AHL) for high-fly-sticking in THE PRE-SEASON FOR GOD'S SAKES. This is a team that has too much to prove to everyone. With a newly acquired team through free agency, here's hoping this team continues to deliver this level of brutality and machismo throughout the real season.
Is there a strange resemblance between Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers and Eric the Midget of Howard Stern on Sirius fame? You decide which one is Danny Boy.
It is a sacred number, according to the Principia Discordia; it is the number of the Illuminati.
"Franklin Delano Roosevelt" contains 23 letters, and...
"William Jefferson Clinton" also contains 23 letters.
The human genome contains 23 pairs of chromosomes.
As of October 1, 2007 the New York Rangers now have 23 players remaining in training camp, including two goaltenders, eight defensemen and thirteen forwards. Coincidentally, our new shared Ranger leader Chris Drury is No. 23. Hhmmm.
The roster stands as follows:
Goaltenders -- Henrik Lundqvist and Steve Valiquette
Defense -- Dan Girardi, Marek Malik, Paul Mara, Thomas Pock, Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Jason Strudwick, and Fedor Tyutin.
Forwards -- Sean Avery, Blair Betts, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Scott Gomez, Ryan Hollweg, Marcel Hossa, Jaromir Jagr, Colton Orr, Petr Prucha, Martin Straka, and Brendan Shanahan.
Players Reassigned to Hartford --
Goaltenders -- Al Montoya
Defense -- Andrew Hutchinson
Forwards -- Artem Anisimov, Nigel Dawes
New York opens its 2007-2008 regular season vs. the Florida Panthers Thursday, October 4 at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m.).
Is it too much to ask for the first 23 wins? See you Blueshirts this week at the Garden with a beer in hand, good company and a hope of something bigger and more important than what we've seen in seasons' past.
"Let's Go Rangers!"