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View Full Version : Reeling Rangers Need to Make changes



messleetch94
11-06-2008, 06:25 PM
by: Arthur Staple
Newsday
November 6, 2008.


With Mullet Melrose's Lightning in town Thursday night to face the Rangers, it's a good time to remember how the home side opened its season, a whole month and 8,000 miles ago.

Ah, Prague ... Two wins over a Tampa team that looked like a JV squad at its first two practices. Things looked rosy for the Rangers and their new, star-free collection of workers.

It hasn't exactly been a down month for the Rangers, who come in Thursday night at 10-4-1, still atop the Eastern Conference. As always when writing about them, we'll get the main reason out of the way quickly: Thank god for Henrik Lundqvist.

His value has never been more stark, what with the other two franchise goaltenders in the tri-state out for varying lengths of time. Marty Brodeur's torn elbow tendon is an awful injury, and only highlights that the Devils have had absolutely no plan in place for a breakdown from the most durable and best goaltender in the last generation or two. Kevin Weekes is going to play 35 straight? Uh, sure. Enjoy that draft lottery, Jersey.

As for Rick DiPietro, his knee surgery will have him back by Christmas. Unless the Islanders issue a press release in the third period of their Dec. 23 home date with the Thrashers to say DiPietro actually had another surgery, or three other surgeries, and he won't be back. Hard to know with that Witness Protection Program they run out in Uniondale.

Anyway, we digress. The Rangers have Lundqvist, but right now, they don't have much else going for them, especially when it comes to putting pucks in the net.

This problem was evident in Prague, too, when the Rangers mustered only four goals in two games against a clearly unprepared, inferior opponent. Fast forward to Tuesday night, when the Rangers were playing another clearly inferior opponent, and yes, Isles' backup Joey MacDonald played superbly, but can you make a case that the Islanders were the better team?

Didn't think so. Which means the Rangers are squandering games and points and confidence against lesser clubs. Which will really be bad when the good teams emerge and start to come calling.

The first change the Rangers must make is removing Michal Rozsival from the power play. Tom Renney loves Rozsival's shot, but Rozsival doesn't seem to love it quite so much. A guy who gets so much prime PP time with 24 shots on goal for the year? Sorry, Rozy. You're out, and

Scott Gomez should be back at the point.

Maybe you worry about Gomez's defense at the point? Well, Rozsival wasn't too worried about it on Tuesday.

The second change is to drop Aaron Voros off Brandon Dubinsky's wing. Dubinsky and Nik Zherdev seem to have some decent chemistry, but Voros, who had a flying start to his Rangers career with five goals and four assists in his first eight games, has zero goals and zero assists in his last seven.

When the Rangers were 5-0-0, their lack of star power and lack of a go-to scorer didn't seem to hurt much, because they are built more as a team now, the veritable "interchangeable flock of forwards" that former Ranger coach Colin Campbell once derided the Devils with.

Unfortunately, this group is now interchangeable in that no one can seem to score. Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha give great effort, but they look like they're shooting at one of those "Score-O" boards covering the net. Chris Drury and Markus Naslund and Wade Redden are surely providing leadership, but not much else.

This is Renney's team, his system, and he's committed to it. So there'll be no return of Brendan Shanahan (agreed), no trade for

Marian Gaborik (he'd help, but at what price? Marc Staal? Agree there too) and no help from Hartford coming (disagree -- Lauri Korpikoski deserves a shot, considering they haven't exactly flourished since he left).

The only options are changes from within, and Renney loves juggling lines, though not the power-play units. Big disagree there -- move Rozsival out, drop Voros down and try to get something going.

Pretty soon, the Rangers will be the inferior team, unable to score because, well, they're just not that good anymore.


http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/ny-spstaple1107,0,5185679.column

SLY WILLIAMS
11-06-2008, 07:51 PM
The sky is falling. The sky is falling. :)

Desert Plains
11-06-2008, 08:41 PM
The sky is falling. The sky is falling. :)

Maybe, but he seems to be telling it lke it is. Can you argue with his points about Rosi? How about Dawes and Prucha and the fact that we have NO goal scorers.

Is he wrong about Drury, Redden and Nasland? Maybe not, though Nasland has put a few on the board recently.

Unless we think we can win games 1-0 or 2-1, we have to find scoring from some place. But, the options are not there.

jetsfan89
11-06-2008, 09:04 PM
the law of averages will catch up with the players. i predicted dawes to have 20+ goals this season and i stand by it.

im not worried about this team.

Desert Plains
11-06-2008, 10:10 PM
20 goals would be great. More like a dream though. At his current pace maybe the best we can hope for is 15. And even that might be high.

SLY WILLIAMS
11-06-2008, 10:49 PM
Maybe, but he seems to be telling it lke it is. Can you argue with his points about Rosi? How about Dawes and Prucha and the fact that we have NO goal scorers.

Is he wrong about Drury, Redden and Nasland? Maybe not, though Nasland has put a few on the board recently.

Unless we think we can win games 1-0 or 2-1, we have to find scoring from some place. But, the options are not there.

We are in first place with the 2nd best record in the league so yes I can argue with the alarmist nature of the article. If we were in last place that I would be on board with him. We play a tight game and we are not going to have 9 guys scoring 20 goals a pop. The Devils won many cups winning a lot of 2-1 games and we didnt make the playoffs for 7 years while losing a lot of 6-4 games. :)

Desert Plains
11-07-2008, 12:19 AM
True, we have the most points. But, you also have to consider that we've played 3 or 4 games more then many of the teams we'll be fighting with for the 8 playoff spots.

Getting the 2 points is obviously the most important point. Regardless if it's 2-1 or 6-5. But, in today's NHL, 2-1 wins are not common. You have to score. You can't compare today's games to 10 years ago when the Devils won games 2-1 by playing a trap and by holding, grabbing, interferring constantly (things that weren't called then, but are now).

I just think we need far more constant offense then we've been getting in order to stay on top.

rocowear21
11-07-2008, 12:42 AM
I agree with everything but of course nasland, I think he is probably the most feared shooter on this team, i mean of all the other guys we have, naslund is the best goal scorer on this team, take away gomez of course, who doesnt shoot that much but is our best player, rangers need to make a move, i understand we are winning right now, we are in first, but for how long is this going to go, we need someone that can make teams fear us, we need a st louis or someone along the lines like that, by himself tonight he almost beat us, with great moves and shots, zherdev has great moves that fall almost all the time but no shots, yes he saved us on that game a week ago with a couple seconds left on the clock, but common everyone gets lucky once in a while

messleetch94
11-07-2008, 11:20 AM
the law of averages will catch up with the players. i predicted dawes to have 20+ goals this season and i stand by it.

im not worried about this team.

I would hope he can score 20+. If he does, it will be closer to the end of the season, when we we will probably need it most. But he is on pace for 5 goals this season. Not sure about Prucha. the kid has heart, but he's not getting sufficient ice time to get scoring chances. But if we desperately need a PP, put him on the ice and he can draw the penalty. Dawes also. Maybe it's because they are so much smaller than the average player which makes it easier for the defense to take penalties.

niners395
11-09-2008, 01:10 PM
Really its just the powerplays and the team needing to take advantage of oppurtunities. Prucha will get better. I'm not worried either about this team.