Rangers off to Europe

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Rangers have landed in Bern, Switzerland after compiling a 1-5 record in the pre-season thus far. With 2 more games to play, the real season then begins against Tampa Bay on Saturday, October 4th, 12:00 PM EST.

There's much to discuss about the present state of this year's New York Rangers. Pre-season, in general, doesn't hold a lot of stock as the season begins. Trust me, I'm not ignoring the concerns I have... no scoring, lack of team toughness, lack of physical play, etc. Let's break it down: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

First, the good. The Rangers have assembled a high-speed, high-tempo team. They also picked up some veterans to balance out the youth on the team. On paper, this team looks good enough to get past the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Now, the bad. So far, the new look Rangers have outshot their opponents by a whopping 207 to 129 in 6 pre-season games. That works out to 34.5 shots to 21.5, per game. You would think that it would overwelmingly give the Rangers the edge in goals scored... well, it hasn't (Shades of last year). The Rangers have been outscored 18-12 so far in the pre-season. It's gotta be a concern for coach Renney and his staff. I know it's just pre-season and it doesn't count; I also can honestly say that as a former player, things do change once the "real games" begin. However, it's a consistent pattern going back to last year. If this continues, King Henrik will have to play goal like the Great Wall of China. Let's hope not!

Now, the ugly. It's fair to say that this year's squad lacks the physical play. You know - hitting with purpose, getting the last shove in - all of the nasty parts of the game. This team, overall, is a little soft and timid. I'm hoping that will change once the season starts. But, you will be taken advantage of as a player or team if you allow it to happen. Some players have to step up that part of their game. I believe team toughness is a necessary aspect to winning hockey.

I was going to predict my starting lineup for the season opener, but I decided not to (It would just be pure speculation anyway). Sorry! I'll leave you with these thoughts: The season has not begun, it's really not time to panic. It will take time for this year's Rangers squad to learn to play as a team. However, I will be cheering them on, as many Rangers around the world will too. As the saying goes: "Let's-go-Rangers"! Over and out.

Pictures courtesy of Yahoo! Sports


Leatherneck said...

Rangers looked good..as they should have..today...Potter...i kept saying..that kids gonna be a real good one...I think Mara is a goner..maybe even Kalinin...Korpikoski will make 3rd line center I bet..and Drury to the wing looks really good

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I certainly am not going to complain about today's performance. I know it was against inferior competition , but this game is exactly what they needed. It should help their confidence. I hope it carry's over for the games against Tampa.

It looks like you were right about Potter. I'd like to see him include a physical game to round out his overall game. The Rangers may keep 8 blue liners up with the big club. That would not shock me at all.

We just have to be patient and let this squad come together before we make any harsh moves for the sake of making them. I still feel the Rangers need to get tougher physically and I think any Ranger fan watching would agree.

Leatherneck said...

Hi Chris...see the rumor on the 4th period..about Mclaren being available?that blockbuster trade is very feasible...and I hope its explored by Sather...untouchables though..are Staal ..Potter and Girardi on D in my opinion..both teams have the resources..to make it happen..eh..Douglas Muarry has to be included though,,,in my opinion and Marleau can be had as well..would be a very good trade

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck i would make the trade for Mclaren, but not for any dead wood (Douglas Murray). Marleau is going to cost more than we think.

Let's see how the season starts and see how long it takes to address the most glaring problem. You know what it is and I know what it is, the question is do they?

What do you think of The Fourth Period ?

Leatherneck said...

Good game..good win..interesting to see who opens up on D.. 4th period is pretty cool...I think this trip actually help the Rangers and as I heard again..galvinize the team... chuckles.. interesting cuts coming up

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Honestly I thought the the game was crap. Flag football anyone? It's really disheartening for me to see this wonderful game of Hockey turn in to a game of no hitting or tough aggressive physical play. It disgusts me to no end.

Bettman has finally got what he wants, a sissy European style of hockey that does not include hitting, crosschecking, slashing, hooking, roughing, elbowing, and fighting! Sorry if I missed anything. In 10 years, all of the above will be deleted from the rule book.

Now on to the game - The Rangers looked awful including Lundqvist early on. They showed some grit and fight as team to come back the way they did. I liked the fact Drury showed some emotion and urged his teammates to fire it up a notch (and they did). Now we will see if it carry's over to Saturday. As for the cuts, I think there might be some nervous Rangers right about now. I don't think they will axe anyone till they get back to New York.

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots-I can't talk for todays game--had to work I'll watch it later on MSG--AS for last night in Bern--First off I'd like to kill all those mutts with the drums!!!--Now the good stuff--I didn't think it was possible, but I finally saw a team that takes the body less than we do!!--As for Redden--good thing for him that he didn't come in like Nedved and have to play for a contract or one of these kids, and have to play their way to New York--Because this guy has not shown anyone that the Ottawa fans were wrong about him!!--Trust me , I hope that I'm dead wrong about this guy--but so far it looks like Tom Poti 2---Nice to see the power play finally click--The play by Zherdev on Dubi's second goal--man was that slick or what??nice quick snap by Dubi too--Lets hope theres alot more where that came from!!---Now lets be honest--the Rangers were even bigger than Bern(don't see that often)--and the game was on the BIG ICE !!!--How many time did I hear how good Gomez looked moving the puck and setting up plays?? and how he likes the BIG surface??Too many!! Look I love this team and would give anything to see them be a team others don't want to play--I know I knock some of the guys,but I'm not an opptimist or a pessimist--I'm a believe what I seeist--Yeah Gomez looked good on the BIG ICE, but unless the NHL plays all their games in Europe or on a pond in Regina--the last I remember the rinks that the real games are played on are a bit tighter--I also hope they get a bit nastier--They got pushed around too damn much by the Sens-Devs and the Lightning--I'm hoping the BIG ICE can help the get by and around some of the refrigerators with skates the Melrose put together,and grab a quick 4 points!!
Heres to a winning season--one where we don't have to be a wreck from Christmas til Easter sitting in that ole familiar 7th to 12th spot in the conferance!Saw Youngblood on MSG last night--AHHH heres also to TEA WITH MISS McGILL!!!!!!

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: I don't blame the players for the way Hockey is played today. I put the blame on the Bettman and his cronies for taking a sport that had everything a fan could hope for. Skating, Skill, Agility, Hitting, Toughness, and yes Fighting. This is what Hockey was and should be all about. Ask the fans, they enjoy all aspects of Hockey. I like you am a fan and I will support the Rangers no matter what.

You knew that Melrose was not coming back to the NHL and build a team that was going to be soft. His team will have every category that I mentioned above. You can be sure of that.

Today's game started out like dirt! But I was impressed with the grit the Rangers showed in coming back for the win. That showed me something.

Wrath of Sanity said...

Rangers haven't looked particularly sharp in these 2 games (sans the 3rd periods). It was nice to see the comeback though, maybe this will wake them up a bit. We'll find out on Saturday.

Kotsy's Korner said...

wrath of sanity: Wrath, I totally agree with you. The real deal starts with 2 against Tampa and the Rangers had better be ready. It will be very interesting to say the least.

Crock said...

I agree with Kotsy is saying here with the all around team concept of the days when he was a player.

Skating, agility, toughness, skill and yes fighting was a big part of the game that made fans leave the rink saying what a game.

That is what hockey was all about and frankly the new NHL has gotten away from the aspects of the game that attracted the true fans of hockey.

It has turned the long time fan off from the game today. Ican tell you years ago I used to watch games with no problems from start to finish with great interest.

Today forget it if the game gets boring especially the close games on the line and you don't see that old time hockey when a player would start a scrap on the ice that would start with one player
( sometimes ) and then you would blink and someone else would be scrapping and so on down the line.

I am not saying brawling is hockey but that is the mentality that the game lacks today that makes the long time fan loose interest fast.

That team cocept of sticking together as a team from the start to the finish of games today is lacking because the team concept is differnt in the game today than when Kotsy was a player.

That is also what happens when you let all the tcheckmenovs, micanens,
techanins and so on that they have let into the league like the NHL has done over the years.

The game has gone soft big time and the guys have become more me, me, me guys instead of the old NHL with a TEAM mentality.

Look at the NHL when Kotsy played and how many European players that were in the game. A few on each team. Now look at rosters sometimes you cannot even pronounce some of the names with out getting a program for the pronounciation guide that you find when you see the team roster.

It is boring and sometimes downright no fun to watch. I cannot tell you the last time I have watched a full NHL game because of what the league has let the game become. I'd rather go watch a college hockey game cause the guys play for the name on the front of the sweater and not the name on the back of the sweater.

College you see the speed, the agility, the team concept, the physical part of the game. No fighting but as long as they give the effort they do then it is entertaining.

I don't like the new NHL and that is why I do not follow much. I am sort of a band waggoner and when a team is going well then I get tuned in. When they go south and you don't see the effort then I get bored. Some good teams I like and some good teams I do not just cause I know people in their Management that I have never liked when I was in the game.

Yea the new NHL needs help and needs to bring back some of the old school concept so that the long time hockey fans can get into the game again.

I do blame the NHL for letting in too many Europeans that have made the game overall a soft game. Some teams have good full team concepts and some have softer games than others.

I hope the Rangers can get it done this year because the Ranger fans are from NY and NY expects winners. But when you let a guy like Sean Avery get away then you start to loose that good hockey entertainment with old school flavor. And in this day and age of the NHL when you have that on your team then as a General Manager you better do everything in your power to hold onto someone like him that brings the true hockey fans back.

They love him here in Dallas already and a player like himself is what the Stars have been missing that will get those 200 or 300 more people to fill the stands each night and depending on how well he can stir the pot it only takes one night to catch that new fan in the stands that spreads the word to get more people in the stands.

Old time hockey is what the game lacks and the sooner the NHL realizes that the better the game can become again. I am not saying brawls every night but for sure to see skill, toughness, agility, good skating and yes a good fight here and there that sometimes involves one or more players at the same time from each of the teams playing.

Good luck NHL and Kotsy you are right with what the game is lacking.

Keep up the great Blog man .....


Kotsy's Korner said...

crock: Touche, Very well explained and I love the new Russian players you named...Ha Ha! I think in the end we all love Hockey and see things that need to be addressed. This no touch style is not what Hockey is about. I've said this before and I will say it again, change is only good when it works.

It's obvious to most people who watch the NHL, goals are down, flow of the game has not improved. What's not obvious to the NHL bosses is it clearly thinks everything is okay. Why can't they admit that most of rule changes have failed miserably.

The players are confused more now than ever as what they can and cannot do. There is a wonderful roster of players throughout the league that ooze with skill, talent, and toughness. Let the players play and keep themselves honest. Is that to hard to understand?

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots--The games that we don't get points for are over--after last nights game(glad we play 3 periods and not 2)I was glad to see some fire or anger or whatever you want to call it in our guys--They really seemed to want this one after they almost got humiliated--The staff must have shoved a big dose of PRIDE down their throats between periods--because thats how they played it in the third--the King played like one after some weak play in the first 2 periods(this Mezkin was no mutt)--Drury showed me he wanted this one bad --he played it down and dirty--the way its suppose to be played!!
O.K the fake games are overand this is the way I see it on a few matters that mean something to me.--I really like Drury on the wing a hell of alot more than I liked him in the pivot--I like him with Gomez--I really like the way he's been going to the slot(doing the dirty work)and because of that I'd like to see him with the C--Korpikoski looks alot better in the pivot than he did on the wing--he seems to be abel to handle the competition at this level also--Prucha really seems to be busting his ass out there to show Renney that he should stay--Nigel Dawes,or should I say Claude Raines, the"Innvisable Man"this guy can thank his lucky stars that he'd never get thru waivers!!Naslund--the guy they got here to replace 68--I don't know if he could ever put the kind of fear into other players the way 68 did -when he felt like playing(for the Penguins)--but I know this--I like his game alot more--he gets in on the forecheck and takes the body along the boards!!remember the 2 or 3 times 68 did that??Iguess he dosn't feel like Mr.I doan bic chik either because so far I've seen him do it more in a few games,than 68 did in all his years here!!--And Callahan I feel has been the most consistent and steady guy on the ice since the first game against the Sens right thru last nights game--And he got what he earned when he forced those bastards to cough it up and choke--a sweet move on a good goalie to win it--I can still see his face after he scored--he wanted it--earned it--and got it!
anyway thats how I see it for now--Saturday they count--Its ALL SYSTEMS GO.

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: They definitely were embarrassed for most of the game against Metallurg or whatever their name was. Obviously somebody had the paint peeling of the dressing room walls after the second period. This is what they needed, and they responded.

This team will become a team minus Jagr, but please don't compare Naslund to Jagr just yet. I haven't seen what your seeing with Naslund, so far he's not even a poor man's Jagr.

It all starts Saturday, let the games begin.

Leatherneck said...

hi there Chris..any ideas as to why the waiver wires are so quiet..only 2 pick ups and one of them is a Ranger..Thomas Pock...i find this odd and also ironic..as we lose Pock yet,,everyone if you were to ask..where the Rangers are weakest at,,,would say D...and we lose a D-man..and the possibility of 1 or 2 more losses depending on who gets cut...any rumors as to whom wont make the varsity? Any time frames in your estimation as to when a possible trade will occur...and hypothisis with whom and for whom?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I'm not sure but it might have to do with the teams starting the season in Europe.

I believe the Rangers are lack a physical, skilled forward. I'm over the Avery thing, but we have not replaced what he brought to the Rangers. Sorry that's just how I feel.

On the "D" It's basically the same. I also believe we have one presently on the team. That would be Staal, he's got it all he can skate, handles the puck well and is intelligent. He just needs to get a little nasty like Chris Pronger. If he does then he will be a true force on the blueline.

Trades are made when the ship starts to sink. Right now the ship is not sinking. Dawes, Prucha, and yes Betts are candidates for cuts or trade bait. I think Fahey will get sent down.

Leatherneck said...

Interesting to watch a few things.. first big business is ruining this country and then when we have leaders whom their integrity is question as a nation.. and watching it being used as a model in the NHL.. the decisions to cut the 2 players on D whom out played the two signings...Fahey and Potter getting sent down in leiu of some of the other players sends a message..that hard work does not do the trick,,,you have to have media power and a realization that business is business .. so as a player you really are nothing but a number,,stats included in order to make a team.. what happened to old fashioned values..that taught us the morality that is so far superior to todays standards.. no wonder the NHL game is not as entertaining as say in the 70's and 80's and boy..do i wish i could recall the 60's.. What a shame to see that even within the Rangers organization...decisions are based on business and not work ethic...shame on the NHL and Rangers managment to show me, us that hard work means nothing, based on results and the all (bs) mighty dollar is the premisis of making decisions..very disapointing to see...as it was to watch the Congress turn down the bail out,,good job there to not even 3 days later ratify the bail out,,shame there...frustrating times we live in... its time to rid of Bettman..this is a sport for the entertainment of us the fans..the joy and dream of the players to play and that has to be equal to not less than also being a business venture...for crying out loud..real fans today cant even afford to see all the games live...hows that fan friendly??

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck, I feel your anger all the way around. After you so kindly gave me a heads up on Cory Potter, I watched him closely and I learned, he truly is NHL caliber. Fahey did not look out of place either.

It does eventually come down to money and that's unfortunate. You could blame this on the salary cap or the fact that they don't have to clear waivers. Some players with a higher cap number will get more consideration than others. This I believe is truly the case here.

Do not put blame on Management, Coaches, or even the players. This is the system the NHL has put in place so the haves(Rangers)cannot outspend the have nots (Atlanta).

Leatherneck, you are also dead on about the fans. Hockey maybe the forgotten sport by most but I have seen what true Hockey fans are all about. Over the years I have come to recognize that the fans are intelligent,passionate,and know their teams inside out.

I as a former player am very impressed with the people including yourself who take the Hockey seriously. It's truly satisfying and educational for me to hear the response's I receive on this site. Fans make the NHL not the other way around.

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots--Now its root-root-root for the Blueshirts-I'll give the team all my backing-and never boo or show displeasure with my guys(I never even booed 68 when he was here!!)This is our team--by supporting them,it should make you feel like apart of them--Iget disapointed by some players if it seems like all they want to do is go thru the motions--Just want to see them be their best!!just like we all want for our own kids!!But like school there are report cards--so we wait for the quarter pole to grade em-can't let the highs or lows of each game torture us --its a long haul and A TEAM GAME--I believe in Renney and his choices and back them loyally--the only thing I never want to feel is---that I care more than they do!!having that cleared up,lets then hope that all these new faces become A TEAM-Lets hope that Redden can quarterback this PP-so it dosn't do us in like last year--Lets also hope that Zherdev can(if all things fall right) put up the kind of offensive numbers that would have gotten 68 a contract extension--Renney will have to deal with laziness at practice(if it shows its head)Oh and by the way--I would never call Naslund a Jagr -I never liked his game ,but he earned my respect.And I would'nt suggest that Naslund get in on the forecheck like Callahan or Dubi or as Avery used to--or back checks that hard either--BUT what I hinted at was ---that after watching 68's efforts in that part of the game--even the slightest effort--no matter how soft it may be --is noticed and appreciated by me--I didn't intend for it to sound like he was another Gainey or Marcott
Anyway 20 games from now --lets hope we sit in a top 4 spot--and we are making other teams pay for taking penalties against us!!

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: I never meant that Naslund's terrible. I too will cheer on the team through thick and thin. I just expect the higher payed players to pull their weight. The youth to grow in maturity and get better each game.

This team may not be what we all want it to be at the start. I believe if they all pull the rope in the same direction they will be all right.

Unfortunately for me I will miss the game tomorrow(I will be at the Quinnipiac Bobcats Hockey blue gold game in Hamden Conn). So I will have to rely on all you diehards who respond to me on this site and my son for the lowdown on the Ranger-Tampa game.

Leatherneck said...

Hello Chris..here is what i saw...the goal lundqvist gave up was on him...went dowm and gave the high shot to St. Louis...way to early when St. Louis was about 15 feet away..so a bad goal but a nice game by him...Redden had a stand up at the blue line that he lost on leading to a 3 on 1...Zherdev had a glaring turn over in the defensive zone that of the caliber many have accused him of that lead to a scoring opportunity...and lots of shots but ho one to really pick up the garbage...now the good...overall..great postioning by the defense..excellent neutral ice anticipation both on D posture and offensive break outs...powerplay looked sharp..should have had 2 goals if not for Smith of Tampa bay...penalty kill was above average and Marc Staal and Dubinsky looked great..saw Girardi take the body often...and gomez was flying...good first game for Korpikoski's line ..Callahan was very visible..and the same ol..same ol on Prucha..the kid is frustrated offensively and has lost his decisiveness...Mara looked very good...overall..I would give the Rangers a C+ on offense and an A- on defense and a B+ in goal

Wrath of Sanity said...

Good W. We should of gotten more goals though. Naslund could of easily had a hat trick today.

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Just got back from Quinnipiac's Blue - Gold game, It was very entertaining. College Hockey plays a style more like the 80's except no fighting.

Nice to hear that the Rangers won. Even better to have a thorough scouting report like you have given me. I'm watching the replay of the 3rd period on MSG and I just caught Dubinsky's power play goal(It's a simple game when you shoot the puck).

Sounds like the Ranger's out chanced Tampa, although Lundqvist made some key saves in the third.
Big win! I will be watching tomorrow. Thanks for the update.

Kotsy's Korner said...

wrath of sanity: Nice win! Lack of scoring is still a problem. Will be watching tomorrow.

Mr. Hockey said...

kots--One fer Seven--Smith was good--All the lines played hard--Tampa got behind the D afew too many times off turnovers-The King came up real BIG early on and than late in the third--Kalinin seemed to be chasing --Fritsche-Rissmiller and my man Freddy were the healthy scratches--only six D made the cut--Where the hell is River Vale,New Jersey??--have a good day and say hello from Mr. Hockey.

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: Don't know because I'm not going to River Vale. A nice win never the less. Caught only the 3rd period on replay. Looked liked Naslund could have a few more with a little luck. It would be nice to come home with 2 wins under their belt. You gotta play it so you might as well win it (Bill Russell once said).

Leatherneck said...

I am alarmed...2 goals a game against a weak defense is not a good sign...one positive is..4 points to have and get it and give up none is a positive sign.. Granted that again..they ran into a tough goalie..who played above his head...but what say yee against a potent offense with that goalie who is playing well..good win..sure..alarming signs of weakness..indeed...they better start scoring on some of those chances or it can become very very tough proposition...yesterday it should have been 4-2 game...was 2-1...today it should have been a 4-0 game...again a weak goal by lundy..they need to rectify the burying of those garbage goals...immediately...two were available for them today...good win...yes..no denying that..but a weakness has surfaced in my opinion and..Blair Betts...great game...Dan Girardi and Marc Staal as well..top 2 lines were good...and Prucha and Dawes better start scoring or they will be gone...and last but not least..how would Sather approach a trade with San Jose in regards to Marleau and McLaren...how does a GM strategize a trade initiate negotiations...because there is a win-win trade that could be had between the Rangers and the Sharks

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: I'm happy for the win. The Rangers showed lots of speed and hustle through out the game. Scoring chances are there. Voros actually stayed on his feet today. 2 things bother me, one is if we were shooting at soccer sized nets we couldn't score more than 2. The other is the giveaways inside are blue line have got to stop. Gomez is the biggest offender of that at this moment, but there are others.

We can't complain to much though. Mission accomplished 4 points coming home to a great start.

You need 2 sides willing to make trades. It also has make sense for both sides (players + cap). I don't believe anything will happen this soon, but I wouldn't rule it out in the future.

Jeff said...

Despite the lack of scoring in these two games, the team showed some chemistry, the game against Metallurg probably triggered something in players mind. These 4 points are an huge step to start the season. We couldn't expect a better start.

Lack of scoring, but 80 shots on goals in both games, intentions are there. That will pay soon. The only question is to know if the players will recover enough before the first marathon of the season, 6 games in 9 nights from the opener at MSG Friday. I'm very anxious about that.

The good news is we have 7 games at the garden this month and only 4 on the road. This will be important to capitalize points in the next weeks. From what we've seen last week, I'm sure we can.

Kotsy's Korner said...

jeff: Jeff this team is going to be work in progress. Sooner rather than later they must start filling the net and not just be happy about out shooting the other team.

I agree with you about the grind of 6 in 9 days, but they really didn't play any tough physical games in Europe. It's a long season and there off to a good start.

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