Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And the Winner by a nose...

It appeared the rivalry spirit crept back into the rangers locker room. A response to the dreadful performance against the devils or reflection of the fact that we were playing a weaker team than a few nights ago. No matter, it was a regulation win and one the players don't mind taking.

After a 1st period in which both team showed some resiliency in spite of some loose play, there were some physical play punctuated by the Colton Orr/ Mitch Fritz (both connecting with some big shots and Fritz receiving some consolation embroidery over his right eye) and the Comrie/ Dawes scuffle. The Dawes bout was started by Comrie after a hard check by Dawes along the boards, dropped an islanders forward (Okposo) to a knee. Note: good show by Comrie in waiting for Dawes to get his gloves and good show by Dawes in manning up and answering the call after the check.

After a tough goal off of a forced turnover which saw us out muscled in our zone as Dimitri Kalinen was checked into Drury and a linesmen as he coughed up the puck, the Isles converted for the first deflating goal of the evening., The rangers would have to wait till the second before they could answer on a Scott Gomez goal. At the end of the second, with 12 seconds left to go, the Rangers would find themselves behind again.

In the third, Petr Prucha once again proved that after being benched for near 10 game stretches, he can be the spark for the rangers needed and the nick that started the bleeding for the islanders. As the isles put on a brave face and tried to keep up, it became apparent that their goalie seemed to be coming undone amongst the fray buzzing around the crease as the blueshirts started to pile on the goals.

Official Recap Here

It was exciting to see the offense start to gain confidence. It appeared as the hockey gods finally smiled upon us and almost anything was starting to go in; A big difference from our blood from a stone approach through many of the games this season. However, not to get ahead of ourselves, its impossible for me to ignore some of the facts that were apparent before, during and after our charge toward victory in the 3rd period. We were trailing in the first two periods to the team with the worst record in the league prior to their goalie turning back into a pumpkin as the clock struck midnight (the start of the 3rd period, anyway). This appears to be status quo for the isles, as the announcers kept repeating they're a -25 or so in 3rd periods this season. So was our goal scoring display as hopeful as indicative and hope inspiring as we would like to believe or just conveniently well timed in last nights game? After going up by two goals, we went back into our shell and crawled back in the Tom Renney fetal position and waited for the final buzzer that allowed the Isles to score a goal in the final minute to pull within 1. Thank god we had an insurance goal and only a few seconds to run off on the clock. While we won the period by a wider margin, we only eeked out a win for the game.

The post game comments by Gomez ... " right now, two points is two points and it stopped the bleeding.." hardly leaves me with the impression that the team is licking their chops at the thought of avenging their embarrasing comeback loss at the hands of Ovechkin and the Capitals. I guess we'll find out on Saturday. Till then Ranger fans, a safe and happy holiday to you and yours, enjoy the winter classic and see how many times we have to hear the name or see the face of Sidney "C*cknocker" Crosby in a game he isn't even playing in. We'll compare totals in the new year.

- J_Undisputed

Monday, December 29, 2008

Backs to the wall...

Any of us that was expecting the type of cross river rivalry game that would see us come out an take charge early looking for revenge was in for a shock as, the Rangers got off to a poor start by taking a Too many men penalty, before the game had much of a chance to get under way. While the devils couldn't capitalize on that powerplay, it didn't take them long go up 2-0 thanks to careless play and uncoordinated defense. This would turn out to be the theme of the night for the blueshirts as we made a previously offensively challenged team look like defending Stanley cup champions.

However, if anyone was looking for bright spots, they needn't look any further than the two players closest to Hartford reassignment in Lauri Koprikoski and Corey Potter. Korpikoski single handedly killed off precious seconds of a Devils Power play by hustling, taking possession of the puck and playing keep away in the devils end. This drew a resounding applause just shy of a standing ovation from the crowd at the garden. Corey Potter didn't do too badly for himself, earning a key assist on the night. On a routine play, Potter succeeded where many of ranger defensemen failed in contributing to the offense by making a simple quick touch pass to a teammate willing to shoot without hesitation (Kalinen).

Even with the goals by Nigel Dawes and Kalinen, the rangers were still made to look amateurish by a New Jersey team that spent most of the night teeing up big shots through the slot as our defense failed to provide cover and our forwards arrived late on the back check, never finding the open man and contesting any of the shots.

Official Recap Here.

I used to attend about 20-25 games a season. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time or funds to attend many games this season, but it didn't take long into Saturday night's game to confirm what I suspected in my last post. The "ho-hum, we'll get em next time" attitude has seeped into the stands where the very spirit of the Rangers live... The fans. It used to be that it was impossible for a player to make a mistake on the ice without hearing the disapproval of the crowd for the rest of the night. While there are still many of us that can't contain our profane outbursts, it appears that much of the garden crowd has grown somewhat used to the gaffes, preferring instead to reserve their energy for the times when we (by effort or good luck) are bailed out of the precarious situations we skate into or create for ourselves. Every clearing receives cheers similar to the ones reserved at one time for when Brian Leetch went end to end and carrying the puck through the entire opposing team and their goalie. More disturbing were the visiting devil fans that cheered as loudly as they could when their team scored and giving rangers fans that frequent the prudential center, a taste of our own medicine.

Where does it end? I guess that all depends on when the players, the fans and the organization decides we've had enough. I think many of us have already reached that point. The coach however, seems content to blame the players and not himself. “I can tell you I’m not happy with how our team played. I’m not happy with performance from some very key members of our hockey club, who need to be better,” Renney said. “They need to step up and start taking charge of this hockey club and start playing the way they can. If we do that, we won’t have to worry about making personnel changes. We’ll strengthen ourselves internally by how we choose to play. Nobody has to worry about their jobs at all. Show up. Play hard. Compete. Battle. Want it bad enough. Have some urgency in your game.”

Clearly, they have been holding him back and lacking in putting his perfect plans into action.

- J_Undisputed

Friday, December 26, 2008

I won't even get into the Washington comeback game. Its already been recapped by the highly exalted Dark Ranger and its just too painful even for me to think about. Instead this rant, will focus on how Renney's non chalant attitude has bled down to the players and seems to be oozing from every pore of this team. From the assistant coaches to everyone shy of the stick boy. (Good thing we got rid of all those ice girls, they'd probably skate onto the ice wearing fuzzy slippers and curlers -- with a bag of chips tucked under one arm and a gallon of ice creamed under the other. )

I think this attitude has finally gotten the better of the assistant coaches, players, and even the fans. Finally after the Washington game, I have even seen many of the most stern Renney supporters turn away in disgust. No this isn't an "I told you so" or anything like that because I truly believe every fan is entitled to their own opinion and an agreement on something negative shouldn't be the positive light that we used to guide ourselves. Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly the case with our beloved blueshirts. There is this illusion that because we've been scraping together OT and shootout points, that things are never as bad as they seem. That screwing up isn't so bad as long as you're in good company.

I was hoping someone would have found a way to say "screw this..." and lead the team out of dysfunction and on to victory by example so at least there's an alternative to Renney's stupid musings, non committal answers and 908,635,908,634,586 line changes that "just might work". Not only has it not happened, but instead the whole team adopted Renney's funk as their own and echo the insinuation that all is not lost because everyone got together, watched video and have come to realize and admit they play like uninspired bush league primadonnas.

I can respect Chris Drury attempt at providing some perspective with his consolation of the point they got out of the overtime loss. “That could be the point that gets us home-ice advantage. I’m certainly not going to let it ruin my Christmas and I don’t think anyone here is going to let it ruin their break, either....There are 24 others teams in this league who would be dying to have our record, with all the points we’ve accumulated over a tough schedule. It’s certainly not a good way to get a point. But it’s over and done with. It’s already in the garbage can as far as I’m concerned." At the same time it would be nice for the fans to know that someones getting as upset as we are... or at the very least, concerned.

Yes, as a matter of fact I would be happier with a team with half the talent twice the emotion, because lets be honest... Talent isn't exactly scoring us a ton of goals or playing a lot of defense now.

- J_Undisputed

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry...

Santa will not be delivering the goods for us Rangers fans this year, tonight's game against the Washington Caps came as no surprise as we dramatically lost to the Caps 4-5 in OT, after opening the third period with a three goal lead. Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals leading his Caps rallying four straight goals in regulation followed by the game winner in OT.

Official recap here.

We took a point, but hardly deserve it. Coach Tom Renney may feel differently and demonstrate the positives to take away from the game, but tonight's abomination stands as a game of precedent that the Rangers will be judged on for the remainder of the season. Eerily reminiscent to a similar loss against Montreal at the end of last season, this one hurt more because it was in front of the fans - the home crowd - and most importantly, the Dolans.

The only other time the Rangers lost at home after leading 4-0 was March 27, 1979.

The Dark Ranger had the pleasure of sitting with Rod Gilbert in section 118 (okay....two seats from)- our supportive leading New York Ranger All-Star hero, holding the NYR team record for career goals (406), team record for career points (1021) - who actually uttered the following phrases in no particular order when Washington decided to show NYR how to play hockey in the third period:

(Rod Gilbert mutterings throughout the third period):

"Uh oh"....

A defensive system works when you have defensemen to support it"...

"(shouting angrily) ...don't leave the center open!!!!".....

"...The Habs Game!".

"We've seen this before!"

Thanks Rod. The Dark Ranger couldn't have said it better myself. I am certain my blogger Blueshirt comrades will have plenty to say about Coach Tom Renney, Wade Redden, Rozsival, Khalinen and our horrible defensive system without defense, but tonight spoke louder than words.

Might I add for pain-sake, the words of Alexander Ovechkin post-game:
"They stopped playing hockey," a jubilant Ovechkin said. "They probably believed 4-0 they'd win the game. They tried to play conservative, but we play a different way. We play a hard, physical game and take lots of shots. You see the results."

As our fellow Atlantic Division rivals are building stronger and climbing in the ranks (i.e. Philadelphia and New Jersey in particular) the unforgivable Rangers loss to the Capitals tonight will demand accountability to the coaches, the players and reflect how the fans have been feeling all season long.

If nothing is addressed and dealt with swiftly and immediately, the season is over!...so with that, happy holidays and all that, as our boys are tonight getting a good 'ole fashioned management ass-whooping!


(thanks Rod)

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Over!

Cash is King!

Our own King Lundqvist attempted to persuade elite-player-free-agent Mats Sundin to be a Ranger for less money than the 20 million, two-year offer from Vancouver.

No luck this time around. He's a Canuck!

Mea Culpa. The Dark Ranger mis-called this one. We will continue to live with our terrifically bad power play and questionable leadership. BUT HEY......WE'RE IN FIRST PLACE (sigh)!!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Listen To The Pin Drop (ssshhh.......)

The Blueshirt blogosphere is quietly crossing all fingers and toes and reiterating over and over how 'you better be good for goodness sake'. Everyone is thinking and no one is writing. What is the big secret that everyone spoke of ad nauseum all summer and now afraid to jinx?

Mats Sundin.

My inner-Dark believes the former Toronto Maple Leaf Captain will be a Blueshirt by Friday of this week. Simple. My source (a.k.a. my brain) tells me this is a done deal and fellow Swedes Sjostrom, Lundqvist and once-rumored linemate Marcus Naslund all escorted Mats out of the Garden Saturday night - coming off another God da*n shootout victory - proving that the team is a contender missing and actually in need of the "Sundin factor." He would bring an improved power play unit, locker-room leadership and guts. Drop and/or trade Prucha & Co. to clear a couple more million and it leaves Mats a respectable salary for a half and post-season.

Though, there are hilarious comments and rumors of Sean Avery coming back to the Rangers (Sorry bro, we finally left your attitude with Dallas) --- bad timing for such rumors and unfortunate for Sean because the Rangers now need to clear and dump salary cap limit to bring in our only hope - the new Broadway Savior -- a guy who has never won a Cup. We'll take him over the instigator.

People...hear me out. This Sundin business is happening. It's real. When he signs, maybe I'll stop bitching. Or not.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Too! Can Own A Tom Renney Chemistry Set!

Rangers fans across the globe are asking Santa for their own chemistry set in the hopes they might have the right line-changing ingredients for Coach Tom Renney, as the once top-of-the-league New York Rangers continue to spiral downward in the standings.

As you all know (and this is like beating a dead horse over and over), our infamous Coach Tommy Boy over the past three seasons has NEVER found a line that worked, except for the inherited line of Nylander-Jagr-Straka post-lockout - which was soon destroyed by not re-signing any of them, as they dictated how the game would be played without his input. It worked. They won games. Not to suggest that this is the right path, I have always defended our coach in that he, or any coach for that matter, needs to lead and instill confidence in the players, not the other way around. So I agree that they all had to go, but.... The "Jagr stability line" was the last line that worked.

The very fact that our forwards Marcus Naslund, Scott Gomez, & Chris Drury - all All-Stars - and a handful of terrific hard-working newbies (Dubie, Callahan, Zherdev) cannot find the right chemistry to score goals is tragic. Our confidence is lost. Our delirious captain Drury is seeing the positives in getting shutout again, as opposed to motivating the locker room with fear of loss, is even more tragic. But when the players cannot get it together, they look to the coaching staff and this all comes down to the chemistry set of Tom Renney.

A rare victory against the Penguins gave us a front line of Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev and we saw results. The next game we didn't so Renney TORE UP THE LINE AND REVAMPED AGAIN.

This has been the story of the Rangers for years. Perhaps the Rangers won all their games in the beginning of the season and are now losing most of their games because other coaches on other teams have let the lines evolve and let the players grow accustomed to winning AND LOSING together on the same line....there are nuances in playing hockey, clues and hints to how you play with your fellow linemates - it's hockey-line evolution baby! Tom, we're in the relationship business here...not some experimental chemical orgy! For Christ's sake! The only non-moving parts on this team are your special teams coaching staff - who should have been removed many seasons ago.

More tragic is our blueline (Wade Redden and Rozsival are scary overpaid hooligans), but we all knew this going into the season.

So, soon The Dark Ranger will be calling for the removal of NYR Coach Tom Renney and the entire coaching staff as the decline is their fault! We've all had enough, the team has had enough and this display of coach narcissism is embarrassing for the history of the franchise. The economy is falling, the ticket prices are too high, the corporate seats are half-empty and unpaid and good hockey is all we might have left over the next couple of seasons.

If tonight yields an embarrassing loss to another losing team - the Atlanta Thrashers - I will officially call for our coach's head to be shipped back to Canada where a developing AHL team awaits.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Original 6

The Rangers come into Montreal flying high after shutting down the star studded duo of Crosby/Malkin in a game against a Pittsburgh team that meant business. Petr Prucha was the unlikely hero in that one, and even though the goal he scored in the 3rd period saved the game for the Rangers, the Garden faithful were loud as ever with "Boos". But, onto tonight's game for now, which should be one of the toughest games for the Rangers to date. Both elite teams in the Eastern Conference this season and over the past few years, Montreal is always a deadly threat, especially with past Ranger Alexei Kovalev as dangerous as anyone in the NHL with his stick handling around the net. Tonight Lundqvist should bounce back from a so-so game last night after shining in the shootout as always, but how many games will the Rangers have to pray that Their King will save those 3 shots in the shootout to win the game for them? Nevertheless, if Lundy shows up to play tonight along with fellow mates Naslund and Zherdev, we should be fine, right? Well just in case those players that are paid the big bucks to score don't show up or are simply smothered by the "Big Red" D of Montreal, perhaps the story book ending of Prucha can carry over, or maybe the plethora of sophmores including Dubinsky, Dawes and Callahan can chip in with offense the way that we the fans know that they can. Look out for a very chippy and physical game with a lot of shots, as both of these teams very talented up front, in the back and side to side. Hopefully the Blueshirts will silent the tremendous groans coming from the fans in Montreal tonight and we can move on to 40 points at the beginning of December! Wowzer.

Go Blue...

Friday, November 21, 2008

EXCLUSIVE to The Dark Ranger!!!!

We were delighted to receive this video of New York Ranger's General Manager GLEN 'SLATS' SATHER as a toddler. You can see that nothing has changed.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pandora's Box Is Now Open, NYR 3, Canucks 6

The New York Rangers blew it last night against the Vancouver Canucks. It exposed things we never wanted to see, knew was coming and, worst yet, exposed our NYR goalkeeper as "mortal with feelings."

Official recap here.

What was most embarrassing was how NYR defenseman "Mikky Mouse" Rozsival again allowed another team to score short-handed goals on his watch, this time within minutes of each other. Kalinen and Redden didn't do much to improve their performances either, but after four goals down -- most of which were not Henrik Lundqvist's fault -- our embarrassed NY goalkeeper took himself out of the "Luongo vs. Lundqvist Battle of The Greats!" and was replaced with Stephen Valiquette - who did a fine job holding his own as a 'Canuck onslaught of firepower' roared down upon him, layered with a continued defensive Ranger breakdown.

Holy shit, this game was bad.

The shiny glow is now rough like sandpaper.

We all knew in our hearts this was going to happen. It happens to every team in the league...but not quite like this. The Canucks are a good team with great goaltending, which is more than I've said of our very own New York Rangers this season (even with the winning record) -- but our defense exposed much more than liability last night, to the point where Chris Drury and Tom Renney called a team meeting directly after the game to address why this happened, what to do about it against future opponents and how not to psychologically let this happen to your goalkeeper. Rozzy and Kalinen were immediately split apart and the d-lines have been chemically altered once again -- so hopefully our D-man rookies (and the only forechecking players on our Blueshirts) Dan Girardi and Marc Staal can teach our new-Lurch Kalinen and our five-million dollar Mouse-man how to play a steady formation

"you see, if two of us push forward, it is important for us to cover the center line and we wouldn't want a cross-ice-pass that would allow even a rookie to have the equivalent of a penalty shot on our exposed goalie"

I am actually sad to see how exposed we really are. Ottawa on Saturday and Phoenix on Monday are two sadly lacking teams with problems of their own, but the cracks have been exposed, Pandora's box of vulnerability is open to the world to see -- and I am afraid last night's effort will make Tom Renney even more cautious (and defensive) and we will be watching more boring hockey with one and two goals. The way I see it, this is an opportunity to do what most teams would not expect of us -- offensive hockey. Crash the net immediately, let Zherdev & Sjostrom handle the puck for more than 11 minutes a game, plant Voros and Drury in front of the net at all times and shoot, and shoot, and shoot and shoot.... This was our 'opening of the season New York Rangers' and we are slowly becoming something admirable to Lou Lamarillo -- a defensively-minded-only hockey squad with All-Stars we don't use.

In other words, a Tom Renney hockey team. Ugh.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drunk With Power?

Allow me to introduce myself. I've posted replies to previously under the alias "J". From now on, I'll be posting under my usual full pen name, J_Undisputed. The most generous, yet quite mysterious Dark Ranger has found it in his heart to provide me with the opportunity to post some of my rants as a Ranger's Fan on the Dark Ranger site. My thoughts on our beloved team often go against the grain, I am rather strongly opinionated and often longwinded, so I guess that can be considered a disclaimer that i'm usually not one for sugarcoating, but I promise that there is a method to my madness and i'll try to convey that over the course of any of my posts. -So with that in mind I bring you my first rant.....

There was a time when Tom Renney would ignore the cries raining down from the crowd to bench a player. Apparently Renney has seen the light.... in fact, he's probably tanning by it as you read this. What started a two weeks ago with the benching of Brandon Dubinsky, capped off (or at least we hope so) with the benching of Zherdev and Voros for a single game against Ottawa last night. Hey look on the bright side, at least Colton Orr got some powerplay time. Um, ....what? That's right, "Bobby" (a nickname Orr was given by his Teammates) saw time on the powerplay. Now coming off the summer, I have been one of Orr's biggest advocates. Seemingly the hardest working and most improved guy over the summer, Orr deserved more ice time for his efforts and more importantly his results. Does he belong on the power play, yeah sure... if we're up by 3 with 5 minutes to go... which was hardly the case last night. Who am I to question, right? This is Tom Renney's team and he now rules it with an iron fist. All opposing voices and opinion have been vanquished during free agency. There's only one dominant personality now, and it scribes away in a notebook, whispers in players ears and then slaps them on the shoulder to try to motivate them. Their reaction, perhaps confusion. The opinion of many is that Dubinsky hasn't quite played the same since his benching and only time will tell how it affects Voros and Zherdev. Well perhaps the verdicts already in on Zherdev. The winger was called upon to shoot first in the shootout after being benched earlier in the game for an extended period of ice time. Just the same, Zherdev went out scored his goal and returned the bench with no exuberance or jubilation at all and in fact almost seemed to wave it off in frustration/dismissal. While his English may not be good, his body language spoke volumes and his absence when his name was announced as a star of the game would seeming provide punctuation. Growing pains? Do we have another premadonna our hands? Neither was a cause for concern when the wing was signed, due to the nurturing reputation of our coach. So does the possibility of a situation with Zherdev come as a shock? Not to me... This is status quo for our coach. He coaches/ or non coaches himself into a corner and then looks for someone to bail him out. Usually its not a player he'd admonish minutes before.

In fact, he rarely admonished anyone just in case the situation presented itself, where his hide needed saving. That has changed. Considering the mixed signals, one could hardly blame Zherdev for his confusion. In fact there was a lot of confusion in last nights game... Proverbial thorn, Jaarko Rutuu, spent the night running, lining up and jawing with several of our players. One of the better agitators and a dirty little(expletive), Rutuu reminded many of us of exactly what our team is missing. Grit. Rutuu had the attention of several of our players, namely Dubinksy (who was left shaken up in a corner earlier by Rutuu), and self appointed policemen Voros and Mara. To top things off, Orr was sent out opposite Rutuu later in the evening to send a message. What that message was is anyones guess, as there was no stopping Rutuu... who taunted us even further by taking a second shot in the shootout after losing his handle the puck on his initial approach. This left many of our players incessed, our coach complaining and fans like myself with a lot of questions about this teams toughness and attitude. It's become quite clear that Girardi pushing guys down in open ice, Voros' fight simulation and Mara's beard are not intimidating anyone. So will there be hell to pay on Saturday when we visit Ottawa? Orr ko'ing guys is apparently something reserved for special occasions and doesn't do any good against someone who wont drop the mitts, unless we have a coach that's willing to sacrifice an instigator penalty to target somebody, an agitator to balance things out and get opposition off their game or a player that delivers bone crushing hits to make someone pay within the rules and has opposing players looking over their shoulders. When it comes down to it, the game is still hockey and there's no room for part-time/ fake tough guys on the bench or behind it...

- J_Undisputed

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Chris'-mas Comes Early For The NY Rangers, NYR 3, Bruins 2. (SO)

So where do we go from here? More nail-biting wins, I suppose!!?

Yet again, the Blueshirts pulled out a last half of the third period road to victory for the third time this season, destined to give every Rangers fan ulcers and high blood pressure by years end.. Xmas has arrived early as Captain Chris Drury provided the shootout game winning goal and our steady goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist continues to deliver top five league goaltending, treats far better than any bankrupt Circuit City gift card or fruitcake. Surprisingly, we lead the division and conference with a 13-5-2 record!!!! Thank heavens we aren't Islanders fans!!

NY halted a five-game winning streak for the red-hot Boston Bruins and proved to our Original Six rival who has the better goaltender. Tim Thomas may be the keeper-du-jour for the time being (and so was Martin Gerber last season), but our Blueshirt wonder King-turned-Prince-turned-Pauper-turned King again is proving this season to be more reliable and consistent. Our losses thus far are more due to our invisible defensive lines rather than shaky seasons past goalkeeping.

Marcus Naslund, Nigel Dawes and Lauri Korpikoski never let the two game deficit effect their desire to score -- an impressive third period hustle. Mickey (Mouse) Rozsival is again responsible for letting in two more goals and needs to re-look at what it means to be paid as a first-line 'D'-man vs how you are supposed to perform as a first-liner. The Dark Ranger doesn't feel good that the Mouse is getting paid 4 million more than an almost rookie Dan Girardi, who is one of the league leading 'D'-men in the NHL. Our blueliner rookies are delivering, including Staal.

Official recap here.

Ottawa tomorrow night. Rangers are rocking the Garden and surprising most of us along the way!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rangers Expose A Week(es) Defense, NYR 5, Devils 2

By Golly! Last night the NY Rangers broke one of the two curses of this season, embarrassing those pesky Devils of Newark, 5-2. With a slight boost of confidence mid-way through the second period and down 0-1, the Blueshirts went on a 3-goal scoring binge within two minutes, and a subsequent two goals by Nik Zherdev. The curse of the 2-goal game has been proven otherwise. That leaves the 'curse of the first-period rutt' to deal with.

Needless to say, two more points and the NY Rangers dominate the Atlantic Division and lead the Eastern Conference (12-5-2). Not bad for a flawed team with very little defense. Just wait until they 'get good'!!?

Official recap here.

Here is an interesting tidbit: For only the third time in 101 meetings with the Devils over 15 years, the Rangers faced a goalie other than Brodeur. Our boys certainly took advantage of the Devils-minus-Brodeur and they took it to them in the second and third periods. I still have no understanding of the first period black hole, but I am certain coach Renney is whipping up a new batch of line potion to address the fact THAT THEY JUST DON'T LOOK INTERESTED in opening strong.



Coach.....f*ck yeah!

The Dark Ranger is proud of our boys last night --- this is the level of work we need every game to win 'em, and you can see (last night by example) that once they climb out of the first period hole - and take the lead - the 'defensive dark cloud' is lifted and they begin to play hockey. Sure, there will be mistakes in the process, but they obviously go to the net and dig a little tougher. Forechecking --- last night, yes! Power play unit -- last night, yes! Team confidence -- last night...yes! The Blueshirts and coaching staff need to stop listening to everyone calling us a 'one or two goal per game team' and let them play some God d*mn hockey!

Salute and Let's Go Rangers!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"I Am A (Dark) Ranger!!!"

Un-hockey-related, The Dark Ranger has received a facelift and a new menacing avatar. Many thanks to Jay for continually visiting the site, believing in the Rangers when they are up & down, and most importantly, for offering the new look unsolicited. Now that is readership loyalty.

I like it. Tell us what you think of the NEW Dark!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tom Renney May Be The Problem

Commentary from "J" worth sharing:

"It would seem that the problem is our "new leadership" are suffering the same old problems because of the same old coaching staff.

We only have enough focus to right half the ship at a time, says Renneys little notebook. In Toronto, we came out early and got the goals and then coasted the rest of the way in route to getting burned. Now we start soft and put ourselves in the hole every 1st period and then finish strong and dig ourselves out by the end of the 3rd. Our coach has a tendency to play favorites and feels like if he gets the lines just right, there will be a click and every player in a rangers uniform will start to magically glow and play the best they'll ever be capable of... Whats worse, is our players are starting to adopt the attitude of the coach. "This is bad bad bad.. but say the right things, because we are a good team and have hope because good fortune is just around the corner." Good teams don't need to rely on hope and they create their own luck.

Our new captain feels he is leading by example, I think. Drury never really gave me the impression that captain is a role he relishes. Kind of like Leetch. It's an honor and you can't let the team down, but for a humble guy like Drury...you need a vocal leader like Shanny was for Jagr and Yzerman or a co captain like he had before in Briere. From what I've seen so far from the guys on the team, Naslund has the potential to be that guy as much as he would seem to want to keep a low profile himself.

Funny enough Shanny wasn't necessary, and neither was Avery during this free Agency period. The only 2 things that were consistent last season was that Avery was a pain in the @$$ whenever he was in the line up and Shanny was being proactive talking to the refs, the coach, the other players, the emotional captain and the media and anyone else he could get his hands on. That gave us an identity and a personality. We have a faceless team now and some of the guys that we signed are just trying to resurrect their own careers while playing a role in the whole teams success. Instead the team was placed on their shoulders. Naslund was probably used to it because of how he was treated by "the nucks". Same for Redden in Ottawa. Aside from Naslund, Drury and Henrik, there are a lot of guys avoiding the media these days and leaving quickly after the games... and Sean Avery is somewhere smirking over his prediction that our acquisitions wouldn't be able to cut it in NY. (remains to be seen, but one can't deny that neither has really carved out their niche yet)

Renney wanted to make it clear he was in control of this team. Jagr's gone, and Shanny's gone, as is Avery and the team is void of strong personalities. There's no one to bully him and get in the way of him coaching the "the kids" , which is supposed to be his specialty. The only problem is there's no one saving his ass anymore either (except Henrik, but you cant win games without goals). Renny's made a point so far of benching Dubinsky and Prucha (most recently), Malik (previously our worst defender) and Nylander a few seasons ago, but never really threw down with anyone with a strong personality or that would take him to task or could potentially save his rear when he needed some wins.

Probably one of the reasons Messier had him ousted from Vancouver."


Monday, November 10, 2008

Souray The Barbarian Takes The Garden, NYR 2, Oilers 3 SO

It was a shootout loss that should have been stolen by NYR goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who once again demonstrated that a team can play and win games without a defense. Unfortunately, tonight did not go his way. Though, "The King" remains The New York Rangers security blanket (11-5-2) and we'll take the point.

Official recap here.

The better team did not win the game tonight and our inconsistent Blueshirts came alive in the third period and played as they should have from the opening minutes -- though, Edmonton's Sheldon Souray displayed more grit and confidence than the entire Rangers team all evening -- especially evident when he back-checked Scottie Gomez into the Edmonton net without penalty.

Maybe there is something in the air when we play teams with backup goalkeepers -- we just don't win 'em. Special kudos to Ryan Callahan, Blair Betts, Aaron Varos, Chris Drury and Dan Girardi for some damn good hockey. For the night, Paul Mara can go to hell (but at least he played for the love of the game). Lost are all our defensemen, Scott Gomez, Marcus Naslund, Nik Zherdev, and most importantly, the power play unit. With an entirely new set of players on the roster this season, one might consider our special team coaches as the guilty parties as our power play is beginning to honor and pay homage to the Jaromir Jagr years: pretty-looking-shot-hockey!

The speed and confidence of the Rangers that opened the season is slowly deteriorating -- though still leading the division, we are outshooting but scoring less than most, which means we are just dumping the puck toward the net; this is effective when you have someone in mind to deflect or follow through within range. This philosophy of 'dump & puck' will not win us games -- and they need to work harder on the special teams, harder during three periods rather than catchup, and not allow every team of late to score the opening goals. We have some distance to go before this team is a satisfying playing unit.

With the benefit of winning and leading in the standings, despite our wishes, Coach Tom Renney will continue to play with his chemistry set and hope that if he adds liquid depth to a hollow substance and mixes up the periodical lines, we will get results worthy for a Scientific Stanley Cup. Hockey is a science, ya know!!?

Onto NJ this Wednesday and for some last parting words....DARK Curses to Souray and Hemsky. Cheers.


For The Readers of DARK

The Dark Ranger has some extra seats at MSG if readers are interested in obtaining them at cost. Section 218, Row E (2 seats)
If you're interested, email me and I'll send you the available games.

Advertisements aside, tonight we MUST take on the Oilers (or it will not feel warm & fuzzy any more).


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Speaking of Vacations..

For the Rangers to be successful tonight against a team that is fast, dangerous without the puck and tough inside the face off circle, my instincts tell me to follow my, well, instincts on this one by lending my full support to the awe inspiring Dark Ranger:

"If you cover their franchise player (Ovechkin) and effectively shut him down individually, the shutdown of the team is inevitable. Ovie motivates his team and sets the example, and the Blueshirts have it in them to make him ineffective if they properly play the system! Hear that, Rozzy? No more double turnovers on the blueline! Remind yourself that you're our stud defenseman and everything will be fine. Well, in the end, tonight's game will be all about THE KING.......so what else is new? May his alter-ego-goaltender Prince Hank not show up this evening."...TDR

As a Ranger fan I have somewhat of an obligation to root against the Capitals tonight, but somewhere deep within my hockey soul, I have love for Ovechkin and Semin. Two super Russians that can score highlighters game in and game out; they are fast as hell, have great vision in the neutral/offensive zones and both have amazing shots as well as insanely soft hands that can deke around even defenseman as highly skilled as Marek Malik. Tonight, I want to see Wade Redden play BIG D; I want to see Nik Zherdev play up to his Russian counterparts and not give up the puck; Callahan and Naslund to continue their fine forechecking.

One can only pray that coach Tom Renney finally gets the message and benches Nigel effing Dawes, the biggest waste on the Ranger offensive corps. Is it just me, or does he look like a small, bent over troll patrolling the ice? He skates slow, as if he always seems to be out of position and what's with his stats? Put Fritsche or Rissmiller in there for a shot..yes he does work well with Chris Drury and Gomez, but I think that the time has come to bench this guy and show him that the only way to stay in this lineup is to produce.

In the end, all that matters is the "W", and tonight against Brent Johnson in goal against Lundy, we should have a solid 2 points by 9:30, at the latest (no OT for this one)!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It Really Is A Vacation

So as The Dark Ranger is engulfed in a swanky resort in the Mexican Riviera, without internet access,, I am told MY MAN, Captain Chris Drury, pulled out his first NYR career hat trick last evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-2, I think?).

Having obviously missed the game, the only thing better than this pina colada before me and leaving the kids at home would have been attending the game, witnessing the ice full of expensive Rangers hats and properly being able to share that experience with you - my dear readers of Dark! For those that feel I let you down, just remember our Blueshirts did not last night!

For years I have preached the hidden virtues of Chris Drury and perhaps this is another beginning we have to look forward to. One more 'hat off' to Mike, The Ranger Pundit, for always believing in my belief!

To cover last night and this weekend's games, I am hoping my cohort 'syr11' will be there for the full report..

Adios for now....

Now back to the fancy drink....


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day Today, USA 100, NYR 0

Though the New York Rangers lost to The NY Islanders last night 2-1 (and it is unforgiving), the rest of the world welcomed a new President -- so putting aside Rozsival and his blunders for a day, we can all start over and HOPE for PROGRESS in our country, our world and, secondarily, in our team.

Official recap here.

The Dark Ranger wishes best of luck to our President elect and even more specific hockey luck to our coach Tom Renney.

No more political commercials. On to hockey.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sean Avery "The Star" and Comrade Steve Ott

It's a pretty good example of 'no team chemistry' and the highly touted Dallas Stars must have bought into the pre-season hype. In this clip, between Steve Ott and former NY Ranger, Sean Avery -- you can see what direction this Dallas team is going.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Do You Agree or Disagree?

Some post thoughts from a DARK reader after the devastating loss to Toronto this weekend. I openly pose the question, "DO YOU AGREE or DISAGREE?"

"It almost you gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, doesn't it Dark? The funny thing is if you stepped into a room 100 rangers fans and asked: "Who saw this coming?" 99 of us would raise our hands and the one that didn't, would answer "it's not the post season yet."

Now I don't want to say we had this coming. Everything was happening the way it was supposed to for us (aside from Cherepenov - RIP cherry). We were getting contributions from everywhere, we won the Victoria Cup in fabled comeback style, had a great record so far; we were top in the division, the east, the League!!!
The more I think about it...You bet your sweet...err..Caroline, we had this coming. It was like the opening of the seventh seal. The bizzare happenings should have had us all quaking in our skates.. -

We didn't have any injuries yet and actually had too many kids cracking the lineup for us to find space for them all.

- 2 goals from Betts so far -
We finally managed to unload Jessiman.
Mitch Fritz, a guy we turned loose, beats the heavyweight champ (Laraque) while wearing an islander jersey.


Things were not normal, ladies and gents. We're lucky a 5-2 comback beating is the only trauma we sustained. Of course theres still time for the leafs to acquire Ortmeyer and revive our old HMO line that will net Ryan Hollweg's Hat trick against us this season.
Lets just hope this is was a Halloween prank courtesy of the hockey gods. Yeeesh...."


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Now That's The Team I Remember!!! NYR 2, Toronto 5

New York Rangers naysayers rejoice as the Blueshirts were cremated in the last seven minutes of play in the third period last night by the younger-than-young Toronto Maple Leafs.

We were raked!

The Dark Ranger actually stopped watching after 10 minutes into the third period, having full confidence that Tom Renney's defensive lock-down would take effect and the Rangers would end the game 2-0, goalkeeper Stephen Valiquette would once again shut out one of his regulars..... How wrong I was. The cell phone was waiting to be turned on this morning with the devastating text messages - all six of them, five goals in eight minutes and the dreaded final 'game ended' text.

F@ck!!! I thought our new squad was done with the two-goal curse! Damn you Rangers! I love you and I hate you!

Let this be a blip for now and not be the turning point the league is expecting. The next test against the NY Islanders will tell a lot.

No more...


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Hockey Fans!

Try to avoid these guys if you come across them for a pickup game this evening..... especially this guy below -- a demon incaranate that lives in a smelly hole of a city -- where the Devils whore themselves to this beast of a man. Holy crap he is ugly!!!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zherdev Sha-Zamm!!!! NYR 3, Thrashers 2!

Who called this kid lazy?

After a questionable first period where both the Rangers and Thrashers looked evenly matched, the Blueshirts pulled out another dominant third period with drawing the right penalties (and making some bad ones with minutes left) thanks to Nick Zherdev with an unassisted break to the goal and flip for the 2nd goal and the game winning assist to Dan Girardi's game winner in tonight's meeting. Colton Orr is one BIG BAD ASS of an enforcer as he showed Atlanta Thrasher Eric Boulton an actual 'technicolor dreamcoat' after what must have been 2 minutes of uppercuts, power punches and fist sandwiches. Take a couple of aspirin and see you in the morning.

Official recap here.

No, we are not dreaming. The Rangers are 10-2-1, holding the infamous reign of early NHL leader by division, conference and 'The Universe.'. Jesus never played this level of hockey!

Knock on wood three times and continue reading....

We have no injuries! Our system is getting tighter. Tom Renney's chemistry set of line changing appears to be working. "The King" Lundqvist in goal is solid and top of the league. Our Ranger newbies are teaching the veteran top lines a little something about crashing the net and reminding them of never giving up. The rotations are in synch. The lines are communicating. We are winning a lot of games.

God on Earth, what is happening here? Doesn't Zen diametrically oppose our winning so many games? Is this the 'ying or the yang'? Damn it, this is a DARK site on my Rangers!!!! Optimism and hope are not something we are used to around here, so hang in there with me. Where is my Jagr and his perimeter pretty-shot power play? Where is Malik? Where is Shanny post concussion? (Go here for the latest)

So for the time being, we are a winning site and team - and based on all of this, we should kick the lights out of Toronto on Saturday! Perhaps it's another opportunity to again show those Ontarions how real hockey is played (with our backup goalkeeper even).

Go Valley!!!


P.S. It must just suck being an Atlanta Thrasher fan!

Prepare To Be Thrashed! Tonight 7pm, MSG

The Atlanta Thrashers have much to prove to their entire fan base (see picture) as they take on our New York Rangers at our self-proclaimed most famous arena this evening. Knocking down "The King" - goaltender and league standing - would mean everything to this small sector of Atlanta season-ticket holders.

New York Rangers fans can expect one of the more exciting games of the season as we attempt to win four-in-a-row, maintain the lead in the division, conference and league. A win tonight would bring our totals into double digits. Currently, Atlanta is second to last place in the Eastern Conference and they were recently humiliated by the fellow ailing Philadelphia Flyers this week 7-0 - it is guaranteed that the entire league is watching to see if our Blueshirts will fall prey to a team that needs the win more than we do.

We’ve got to take that whole game and throw it in the garbage.”—Thrashers D Niclas Havelid, on Atlanta’s 7-0 loss to Philadelphia.

There is no better route to improving team morale by knocking down the first-place league leader. Watch out, NY Rangers....just as we approached this week's win against the ailing moronic Islanders, we again must maintain a humble confidence, play the system and never remind ourselves we are sitting in first-place complacency.

Dubi, over at Blueshirt Bulletin, points out "If you're getting a deja vu right about now, that's because one year and eleven days ago, the Rangers met a Thrashers team that was fresh off a 4-0 rout in Philly that left them 0-6 to start the season. Guess what happened? A complacent Ranger team was beaten 5-3 on three early goals."

Hang in there Blueshirt brethren -- tonight is going to be one hell of a doozy!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ranger Fans Embarrass Isles On The Island

The chants were loud. "Potvin Sucks", "You CAN'T BEAT US", "Let's Go Rangers!" drowning out any energy left in the Islanders Hockey Airport Hangar, as our Captain made us proud, Chris Drury, scoring his first two goals of the season and the Rangers delivering our third consecutive victory NYR 4, NYI 2. The Blueshirts are an astounding 9-2-1, leading the league in points, wins and leading the Eastern Conference and division. Should I repeat that? Though, with Buffalo, Montreal and NJ heating up in points and wins, it is probable that the playing field will even, but it sure feels sweet for the time being.

Official recap here.

For the same reaons we could have lost the game to the NY Islanders last night, so goes our next meeting with the Atlanta Thrashers this coming Thursday. Beware fans! It is always the unexpected games that turn things around -- these last place teams have more to gain in knocking the League first-seeded team into reality.

Is it me thinking we all need a reality check? Our boys do not seem to be playing great hockey -- it feels unreal that we are leading anything at this point, let alone the LEAGUE!!? With an actual working system in place and our coach Tom Renney every evening working on his chemistry set, we are seeing improvements as the season progresses (with the exception of our defense.....side note - "thank you Henrik again and again!") one would think we have more to look forward to....

But we've been here before....feeling like a big shot with my Rangers, but humble.....and small.....and "we can't win 'em all, you know?"


Monday, October 27, 2008

Tonight Against the Horrible Isles

So with the "pull out of our a**" win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday night (official recap here), our Blueshirts head into our first rival meeting tonight against the NY Islanders this season.

There is every reason to think our boys will pull through and slaughter this AHL squad, especially given the 15-year awarded franchise Isle goalkeeper Rick DiPietro is out for tonight's meeting and backup Joey MacDonald (2-3-0) is his replacement (I hear echoes of Wade from Russia!!?). Perhaps 'wetting his pants against a first-place team' caused Ricky D to check into a doctor this afternoon, despite coach Scott Gordon's insistence that he is doing just fine. Isles fans surely are unhappy.

Not only is tonight's opponent in last place in the Eastern Conference (2-5-0), without former Ted Nolen behind the wheel as premiere coach (fired this season unexpectedly), they are generally considered one of the worst teams in the League - recently pummeled by Buffalo 7-1.

If the Rangers play the system properly and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is in "normal" mode, then all will fall into place. I cannot imagine opening the paper to a 9-2-1 record tomorrow morning!

But then again, as we've seen over the last couple of seasons and no matter where they are in the standings, the NY Islanders have our number and tend to play competitive and winning hockey against us.

The curse of that ridiculous Potvin! Who keeps that stupid chant alive anyway?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Renney Wakes Up Puzzled Saying "Yes, Jaromir!?", NYR 3, Columbus 1

New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney saw his past, present and future before him in one WHACK! as he took a direct hockey stick swat to his head, middle of the second period last night against Columbus. He'd be delighted to learn that his Blueshirts dominated throughout, properly rotating and checking and controlling Ken Hitchcock's Blue Jackets from start to finish. Maybe the dent in his head will keep him from moving around the lines for tomorrow's first season meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins!!?

Official recap here.

Nikolai Zherdev was a Blueshirt wonder and an ugly Blue Jacket reminder that Columbus made a bad trade with the Rangers last season, as he earned three points with the third goal and two assists. Dan Girardi scored a beauty and Brandon Dubinsky was credited with the 2nd goal, which more or less was a skate redirection -- controversial - YES - but our goal nevertheless! D-U-B-I-E!!!!!!!

As usual, the Ranger newbies are dominating the game -- and Captain Chris (Drury) is yet to make it onto the books. Without question, all are contributing to the game and in due time, Mr. Drury's dry spell will come to an end.

Short & sweet kids.....our boys are looking good at 7-2-1 for the season - and one can only hope we remain without injury and without anymore horrific Kalinen defensive blunders. Everything is excusable when we win games, but last night's Kalinen line looked comparable to how Tom Renney must have felt right around the 3rd period.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Benedict Arnold Returns To The Garden, NYR 1, Dallas 2

Dark here...

So we lost another one. Ouch. The New York Rangers are now 6-2-1, a great position to be at the start of the season and after tonight's lackluster performance, we are beginning to look like a normal team that has it's ups & downs. It is made worse in that this was the first game against Sean Avery as a Dallas Star and the first game where "The King's" Dallas twin brother Lundqvist was responsible for setting up the game winning goal to defeat the Rangers.

For the official recap, go here.

Sean Avery pre-game was quoted on the Rangers Organization:
"I extremely enjoyed my time in New York playing for the Rangers. Jim Dolan runs a first-class organization. The fans are as passionate and as tough as they come, and they make MSG a very special place to play and call home. I wish the Rangers all the best.. I have no animosity towards anyone in this organization for not bringing me back."

"High road" words from some guy named Sean Avery who showed up during the pre-skate mouthing off to Henrik Lundqvist, Stephen Valiquette and anyone within ear range of his big mouth. It doesn't matter who this guy instigates. There is no rhyme or reason to his bullying. When he successfully played for the Rangers for a season and a half, he was OUR bully. Now he is someone else's bully. In The Dark Ranger's book, 'plain & simple' this just makes him a PUNK. Everyone has shtick and a hook if you want to succeed in life, I guess. It's no wonder Sean Avery has no friends. He certainly isn't a friend of The Garden anymore.

Yeah, I know Benedict Arnold was a traitor, someone who turned on his people, ratting out the good guys and some of you will say that it was MSG and the Dolans that didn't renew with Avery - it was widely reported that the difference between Dallas and NYR was just under a million a year. Avery as a Ranger on the ice vs when not on the ice demanded his re-signing. You cannot dispute the facts.

I am a supporter of Sean Avery. I like his honesty and what he always brings to the game. But a case could be made that Sean Avery is the ultimate traitor to the game of hockey in general. He follows the money. As long as he continues to find new teams in the NHL willing to pay for his 'on-ice' dirty mouth, 'in the locker room' and his outrageous 'off-the-ice' antics, he will never find long-term loyalty of his teammates, the protection from his team and, most importantly, the honor one gets when you play for a franchise long-term. A thug-for-hire. Ultimately, he will never have a loyal fan base as he is guilty of having too many jobs in the short term, and realistically, this guy will end up hurt badly as someone is soon to punish him for his career behavior.

When you declare your love for the team - you tell your agent where you want to be and do whatever is necessary to stay. Even NY Ranger Paul Mara re-signed with the Rangers for significantly less than he would have received in free agency because he believed in the franchise. Probably the best example of not following the money and believing in the game is the entire Detroit Red Wing 2008-2009 roster -- veteran All-Stars, including sought-after Marian Hossa, all believe in the game, rather than the money. The dumbest example might be Mats Sundin turning down a 2-year/$20 mill offer from Vancouver because he wanted the right team/retirement.

Dallas might have won the game tonight -- they played terrific defensive hockey in the last half of the third period and shutdown my Blueshirts -- but they proved that it can all be done without the infamous Sean Avery - who did nothing to contribute to his team's win. He is 'half-a-Star' in my big bright book and 'an official hockey whore' having taken a better deal in Dallas and deceiving our MSG fans.

Unrelated but just as exciting, The Dark Ranger is penning a new mystery short story entitled, "Where In The World Is Chris Drury?" - so I hope that all fans of the blog will channel positive thoughts toward our dear Captain! If good thoughts & cheer don't work for our Captain against Columbus on Friday, I expect all of you to pre-order an advanced copy and drink heavily.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Exam Number One

Tonight in Detroit will be the first real test for the newly revamped Rangers, as Hockeytown welcomes a formidable foe in New York. Tonight seems to have the possibility of being a terrific hockey game between two teams that have stellar goaltending, highly talented scoring forwards and successful team chemistry. Everyone in the NHL's upper management loves when the two biggest hockey markets come together to play one another; as the TV ratings should be the highest since, I don't know, the last UFC exhibition match?

So, back to the whole first test thing. The Rangers have a 6-1 record against teams that are collectively 9-9-1, or 5-9-1 without counting the Sabres. Yeah, that's the hard truth: we are beating teams that we're supposed to beat. The teams the Rangers have beaten by a mere two goals at times are not the teams that are considered "elite". Detroit was the best team in the league last year, and the collective thought among the professinals is that they are aiming to repeat for a second Stanley Cup in as many years. Although, there are those few that believe the Rangers will win the Cup or at least win the Conference, however I don't take advice on the upcoming NHL season from the likes of Mathew Barnaby and a biased ESPN.

Indeed the Rangers are on a hot streak, raising some questions as to why coach Tom Renney shifted up the lines at yesterdays practice. However the new lineup that featured captain Chris Drury back at center and Dan Fritsche and Nigel Dawes back in the fold, produced a "W". The Rangers didn't get as many shots last night as they usually do, but the defensive side of their game looked stronger then it has in a few games. Tonight though, the Rangers will be facing a team that can break the Ranger defense by the end of the 1st period; maybe having Henrik Zetterberg out tonight with a sore groin will help out our Defense, as the "6 Pack" will have to worry about the likes of Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Franzen and the always dangerous Marian Hossa.

It's almost game time and the excitement is overwhelming....Just kidding, but seriously I am looking forward to seeing the Red Wings play. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers match up to the best the Western Conference (and the NHL) have to offer.

Enjoy the game and Test #1, hopefully we'll get an A..


Sunday, October 12, 2008

4 and Ohh yeah

I've been gone for a while, but I was dragged back by the thought of getting heckled by some of you loyal readers, truly a gut wrenching yet striking thought indeed. The Rangers are having their best start in 25 years, but from what I've seen so far, I am not yet fully convinced that this is a how the rest of the season will turn out. I like the play and energy of the team, and I like how the players we received in the off-season are, in the most case, playing up to the hard task of impressing the New York fans. Blair Betts had another strong game he can add to almost every other game he plays in, only this time he actually scored a goal and managed to attain an assist, only the second 2 point game in his career. Ouchh, but not too shabby for a fourth line role player.

Another one of my favorite defensive-minded yet aggressively superb players, Freddy Sjostrom, had a nifty wrap around that luckily caught poor goaltender Marty Biron completely out of position; a great move nonetheless. Nik Zherdev=WOW..I cannot express how happy I am that this guy is producing points so early in the season, it is awe inspiring to see him take charge of his career in New York, and I do see a BRIGHT future for him on Broadway.

So what does this 4-0 record prove? Almost nothing, except that the team is showing good signs of chemistry and scoring potential, while keeping the defensive zone and goalie area very well covered. On another positive note, the Rangers are in fact getting league wide recognition for their defensive zone trapping system and always have players in opponents passing lanes, a tough system to breach, don't ya think? Well, I do, and that's why I have hope instilled in my heart that this team can keep up their winning ways and continue on this path of seemingly good play. I do know that there is a long, long, long way to go in this season, and yet I can't get the vision of the Rangers playing in the Conference finals out of my head while simultaneously believing that this will all be over by the end of the weekend.

Word- oh yea, isn't that a great pic of our two goalies? It's as if it symbolizes the great relationship between Henrik and Stephan.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nedved Considers Full-Time Beach Bum!

Today New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney announced that the Petr Nedved experiment is over as he was released from training camp today. Thomas Pock also auditioned himself out of a NHL position.

Couldn't be happier with him not on the ice. Couldn't be happier with this babe.


Another Losing Success

Well, Dark here.

With the pre-season almost behind us, another loss to Tampa last night (now 1-4 in the pre-season) and one more big one to go here in the states (Devils, Sat. 1pm at MSG) you can be sure that we will finally see what will be closer to our starting roster and get a better sense of what this team will look like.

Long gone are the declarations of the "Gomez-Zherdev" chemistry and "this is the year of Prucha", and aside from the Kalinen (Malik) disaster ahead, one thing or another is for sure having watched all of these Renny-pre-season-experiments:

1. We will struggle with the power play again -- maybe cuts need to be made with our special team coaches.

2. We will outshoot every team we play and have difficulty finishing.

3. We will be relying on Henrik Lundqvist to create the wall necessary to solidify our defense.

4. On the positive side -- we are a fast team and with good coaching and hard work, this mix of veterans and youth could chemically become (there I go again with chemistry!!?) a team that can compete on a Cup level. With the perimeter play of Jagr, Straka, and dare I say, Shanny gone -- whatever the squad looks like, Slats and Renney have answered one of the missing links to the Rangers of the least three seasons -- a 'going to the net' offensive mantra. Thank God. With our 'ho-hum' defensive system in place for another season, it appears as though this system will be counter-balanced with potentially explosive front lines. I have to admit this is exciting stuff.

5. Not one Rangers blog has mentioned "Mats Sundin" in the last couple of weeks. I am happy with that.

Some terrific links regarding the roster and last nights game I would recommend, here (Blueshirt Bulletin), or here (Ranger Pundit), or here (Rangers Report).

The Dark Ranger is back with 'loving and hating' the team I always admire -- look out for a swarm of followers and flash-mobs wearing the latest TDR t-shirts at the Garden this season. The spirit of The Dark Ranger will be in Prague looking to diffuse any stormy weather and Lightning ahead. Keep checking in and thanks for the summer time off.

Jagr is gone. A dark tear is running down my cheek.

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