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.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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
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...
Sunday, November 16, 2008
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.