Trying Times

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First, I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and support during these tough times. For those who know and don't know, my father, Mike Kotsopoulos, passed away on October 9th at age 76. I don't want to get into too much detail, but a great man has left us. My mother Frances, my sister Neva, and myself would like to thank everyone for the support we have received during these trying times.


Now, let's talk... or really get me up to date with our beloved Rangers. I really didn't get to watch any games other than the loss to Dallas and the shoot-out win against Toronto since the Europe trip. With a 6-2-1 record after 9 games in such a short span, I can't complain. I really have to rely on my fellow Rangers fans to give me the total "scouting report" on what's gone on in the last 2 weeks.

I mentioned earlier that I did see the homecoming of Sean Avery and it sure looked to me that the team and fans have moved on. Overall, the effort was less than inspiring in the loss to Dallas. Could it be that the schedule has caught up with the players a little? Probably.

They get a nice rest until heading to Columbus on Friday. So far you've got to like what Glen Sather has put together. Getting off to a fast start was very important. With 1/8th the season almost gone, you have to like the team's make-up. I still believe that there will be some fine tinkering along the way and when needs are evident - Sather will act. Other than that, I need some feedback as to what went on over the last few weeks. Looking forward to your responses... over and out!

22 comments:

Jeff said...

A team with two faces in the last games, able to show some pride and some aggressiveness in his play but also able to let go a game thinking a one goal lead is enough to win. Against Detroit, I was quite surprised (and very pleased) by the reaction we had after trailed twice by 2 goals. That was nice to see the team fighting against the Champion. If only we could fight every night like this with the same strength, the same grit, the same envy to score goals, that would be nice.

If only that was so easy... Against Buffalo and Dallas, each time, we scored the first goal and then, it's like the players gave up thinking they have done the hardest by scoring the first goal. I don't understand, in both game, the machine stopped after the first goal, allowing the opposite team to come back. We still have a lot of scoring chances but most of the shots miss the net. A terrible lack of realism, scoring chances are there, no doubts, we must put that damn rubber thing between the pipes!


Here's a possible line up according to what has been seen today at the practice facility. The second line will be really interesting to watch. Those combinations looks good to me.

Dawes-Gomez-Callahan

Naslund-Drury-Zherdev

Voros-Dubinsky-Fritsche

Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

Let's hope that will work tomorrow night. Let's Go Rangers!

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jeff: Jeff, your exactly right about scoring first and not pouring it on the opponent like you should. The game against Dallas I did manage to watch and I think Dallas wore down a tired looking squad. When Naslund scored early it looked like the Rangers were on their way to an easy win. I think Dallas out-hustled, out-hit, and just had more energy through out the game.

As a Ranger fan you gotta like the start to the season. 6-2-1 is a fantastic start, no complaints. I am a little concerned about the "Captain's" lack of offense (same start as last year). Drury's getting the chances, but he has to start finding the net. I think overall the Rangers are in a good situation.

I also like the fact that Rennie can tinker around with the line-up as he feel fit to do. You point that out well with your projected line changes. Thanks for the update I needed it.

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots--hope your spirits are a bit brighter--it'll take time--as far as our guys go,who can complain??13 out of a possible 19 points--points we don't have to fight for in March--very disappointed to see11 million in defense on the ice in O.T. and play a Wings rush like a beer league defense--I'm alot older than those guys and can't do what has to be done, but at least I KNOW what has to be done--they didn't seem to!!It all came off a lousy lateral pass by Gomez--something I've been noticing --It's been creeping back into the Rangers play,the first I really noticed it was about half way thru the second period of the Flyer game--after strong north south hockey, they started the old east-west game again--shots went down -heavy forechecking seemed to come less and less--the fluid rythmn on the PP kind of evaporated--and whats been creeping back into their game is the EURO CUTE play--you know-don't take a good percentage shot-instead they make a low percentage pass -looking for the slam dunk goal!!I won't name the players,but their initials are Zherdev-Naslund and Gomez(not as bad the other two)but it is there--you can't hunt down the puck and keep the pressure on the other team with only one or two lines--allfour have to get in on the check--I know I'm nit picking after only nine games and 13 points, but thats what I do--and one other thing they better TOUGHEN UP--Dallas pushed them around--If Jersey could score as good as they dump and chase,that game may have been different--Toronto stinks and they hung around --Buffalo just outworked us all night--From what I'm saying you would think I was talking about the Flyers--Like I said I'm happy where we stand in points, but I don't like that damn euro game they get into-It's too easy to get out worked and out lucked when they play that style--I hope I'm wrong and it's just the beer seeing what I see--but I still see it!!It's about time Mara started playing his size--I guess a 1 year contract made him toughen up a bit--Kalinin is killing me--he makes some poor decisions with the puck-weak passes and show a bit of effort more often getting to loose pucks--Can you imagine how Iwould feel if they were 2-6-1 and not 6-2-1???I'm rotten.

~Chaggy said...

Hey Kotsy...just read about your loss...just wanting to pass on my condolenses...if you need anything let me know.

~chag

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: Ah! It is good to hear it like it is. I did not see the Buffalo or Detroit games. I heard that the Rangers got a cheap too many men penalty on the ice in Detroit that tied the game late. I have to go with what Ranger fans tell me.

The Leafs were lucky to get a point, but the Rangers couldn't find the net if it was soccer sized. As for Dallas I think the schedule caught up with them (they looked tired) and Dallas physically handled them (other than Girardi on Avery).

Overall, I think we have to be pleased with the results so far. I will hold any negative thoughts because I did not get to watch all the games. We'll see what happens in Columbus. Nice hearing from you.

Kotsy's Korner said...

~chaggy: Chaggy, Thanks for your thoughts, I'm just trying to get back in to the swing of things and needed my fellow fans to give me an update on the Rangers.

Leatherneck said...

welcome back Chris...prayers are that you and your family are doing well..this is my 2nd time writing..my first one didnt post...it was longgggg..well i would say..this teams veterans better start acting like veterans that they are personaly I would split Drury from Naslund and amen on kalinin..adios on him..

Drury with Korpikoski and Callahan

leave Voros, Zherdev with Dubi to an extent it reminds me of the Bossy Trottier and Gillies line in nature..just not as good as they were...

Honestly I think our 4th line is the best in the NHL as a shut down line with solid roleplayer with intent in Betts for PK and draws..Orr for his enforcer role and a speedy Sjostrom so leave them be as well


Gomez with Naslund and Fritsche

time to trade Kalinin, Prucha and Dawes in return for a TOUGH d-man and a solid winger

Redden with Girardi

Staal back with Roszival

Mara with Potter/Fahey/possible traded D-man

this trap...can be beat..if I were a coach ..I would play the first period on setting up the opposition for open ice hits and solid checks around the boards in the neutral zone..get them to retaliate and hey..so what if a few fights break out,,however i am not saying go goon it up either..

Kotsy's Korner said...

Leatherneck: Leatherneck, time are tough right at this moment. I need the distraction of NHL hockey. As for the Rangers, I did not get to see all the games. I cannot complain with the record they have 6-2-1(can anyone?) As for veterans Drury needs to pick it up scoring wise, the efforts there but goals are not.

I still say the Rangers are not a physical team like they need to be (Dallas out-muscled them). I think you right on with Kalinin I'm hearing to often about how lousy he is and I think that speaks for itself.

The trap can be broken and just like you mentioned. If you allow the opponent to set up your doomed. Now if you go out and hit,hustle(be first)and drop the gloves that would be the end of the trap just as you say.

I am looking forward to watching the Rangers and how they will do in the next 10 games or so. We used to break our seasons down into 10 game increments. So far so good.

theCUSE said...

Chris -
sorry about your loss - if there's anything you need or i can do give me a shout !! been to Syracuse lately ?? long time no hear - dont be a stranger -
signed
Fat Guy in Cuse !!!

Kotsy's Korner said...

thecuse: Hey fat guy or is it "big head", thanks for the kind response. Times are tough for me and my family right now. We all have to deal with this crap at one time or another. It's never easy.

No, I have not been to the cuse in a long time. Hope your doing well. You know where I am.

Leatherneck said...

Hi Chris..My condolonces..and your love for your father shows through your readings...maybe celebrate his life chris..have a family party and the rule is,,to enjoy his life...i do realize it is tough to lose someone you love...anything i can do let me know..some 28 years later Chris ans i still have not forgotten the nods you gave me at warm ups at the Garden..I agree with team toughness..got to hit more in the neutral zone to open up the ice..every line needs someone who can hit hard..just as teams have set plays for scoring..I think they need the same for open ice hits in the neutral zone to make players think twice about owning the neutral zone in a trap style teams….the trap makes for a very boring style of hockey and maybe call a team penalty for teams that play the trap and call it illegal formation/procedure to stop this neutral zone nonsense…if for example you see 3 players lined up at the red line..blow the whistle and give a penalty…dont allow it even if a team is on a PK..force at least two players to be on a forecheck in the offensive zone and only allow 1 defense man to stand the line in the defensive zone,,,just a suggestion

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck, I don't think anyone can prepare for the passing of a loved one. It's just impossible.

Your exactly right on about the trap(it's boring as hell). I think much like you mentioned earlier, take matters in to your own hands and the trap can be minimized. That is if Bettman and company allow you to. What ever you do Leatherneck don't try to outsmart the league with suggestions. I'm being "sarcastic", but you get my point.

I've seen enough games so far this year that there is still a lot terrible penalty calls made. I will continue to beat the drums "let the player's play and police themselves" and the league should stop trying to change everything.

Leatherneck said...

Much better game tonight,,,did you notice the two deep forecheck and how that created pace and flow? and what was your opinion of kalinin?

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck, nice effort overall. Nice game by Zherdev in his return to his former stomping grounds. Drury's got to start finding the net soon. Again, the chances were there, but he's getting payed a lot of loot for a lot of nothing.

The penalty calls were putrid on both sides tonight, especially on Orr's so called holding call (what was he supposed to do?). It drives me crazy to see this wonderful game get turned into well, I got to say it, pure S--T. Sorry that's how I feel.

As for Kalinin, his first gaff was unfortunate (bouncing puck). Sometimes you got to call it like it is... he was terrible the rest of the game. I also saw way to many turnovers by forwards + defense in the defensive zone for my liking.

In the end, once again they got the 2 points and that's what counts. Big game tomorrow!

Leatherneck said...

Hey Chris..hope you are adjuting and feeling better..who conjurs up the schedule..and I noticed something odd...in the 2nd of the back to back games..take a look the rangers play a stronger team in the 2nd game..are they unsane...why not balance it out..its a wierd schedule

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck, I'm fine. The Gm's and the league get together and work it out with the arena managements. I never noticed the 2nd game until you brought it up. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the 2nd of back to back games.

I am looking forward to the Pittsburgh game (I should be there at MSG - oh well!) It should be a good test for the Rangers against a well rested Pens squad.

Mr. Hockey said...

Kots--watched the Pens come in last night--a few 'thank yous' have to go out--one -to the coaching staff for putting a team on the ice that at least, will keep on trying and not quit!--two-- for the King ,once again he saved our ass--the guy is worth 1000 times his weight in gold!--a third goes to the Pens coach Therrien--for having the wrong foward line (Malkins) on the ice with seconds to go,in a one goal game --that is why checking lines get paid big bucks!!Thanks to all--other wise we loose another low scoring game--basically I think Renney is a magician--because this team is doing it with smoke and mirrors!!---The rest of the teams in the division are strapped with injuries to key players--O.K luck is with us on that -for now--Question-- how does a player like Sugar Lips (Crosby) manage to get two wacks at a puck in the Kings pads before he gets knocked on his ass??? the answer--Kalinin--Zherdev's goal --a snippers shot--beautiful, but Mara can't go in deep and expect this guy to cover for him on the point.Because I witnessed last night that Mr.K --he no do that!!Don't be surprised if the shin starts to wear off of Voros--He plays hard and does what he is suppose to,but his value is evident in a good up and down game with a strong forecheck and lately I see that less in their game --although our fowards did come back hard and helped the D last night--buts that effort is not there every game.--I'm glad they have a small cushion in the division especially since they DON'T SCORE!!!!which brings me to Drury--enough with the broadcasters telling us how many good chances he gets and that he gets in good posistion!! I don't need them to tell me that I'm not blind---Or how hard he's trying---I'll tell everyone something--right now the only difference between Druy and Prucha is the $$$$$ they make!!!period end of sentence...If Sather didn't fork over 35 Mill for five years--try hard or not this guy would be up in the luxury box! trying hard?? who isn't trying hard??Does anybody think Fritsche-Korpikoski-Prucha or Rissmiller(whats up with him)(too much salary cap $$$-I guess) aren't trying hard when they get the nod??---and Gomez--7years for51 1/2 mill??? I guess he should be counted on for more than the 70 pts we got last year--they ask him his personell goals for this year?---his answer is "just to win"---are you kidding me --51 mil to just win??--what do you suppose Orr-my man Freddy-Betts or any of the guys making chump change want ---to loose??--no they want to win also---for 51 mil you better give us more than a positive out look!! you better play like the highest paid Ranger--Win--Jeez count me in Scotty,I want to just win too!!!!!Who pays me?? Redden??they booed Malik out of town and so far this guy gets a pass??? Oh I forgot 6 mill per.. Claude Raines I mean Dawes just like Drury tries hard but no luck yet--except for the luck for him that he won't clear waivers!!!Hey Renney wants all his team leaders up front to score thats why Drury's line gets dbl shifted and Dubi's line sees less(the Voros shine)--Honestly I really hope I'm dead wrong it sure as hell won't be the first time--but right now this is what I see and as I always said I believe me--If you think I'm wrong than slap me thrice and hand me to my mamma,but for now they are not tough enough they don't score enough and they are a bunch of second and third liners up front , so they damn well better buy into TEAM CONCEPT--and once again --my thanks for the gift two points last night!!!

Kotsy's Korner said...

mr.hockey: Mr.hockey, tell us how you really feel. Wow! where do I start, I too have some of the same concerns and worries that you so have eloquently written about.

We as Rangers fans see the underlying problems this team has to deal with (not physical, struggling offense, etc...). It's also hard to really discuss in depth the problems while they are winning.

This team will go as deep in the playoffs as "King Henrik" allows them to. Yes, they were fortunate to win the game against Pittsburgh. The bottom line is this team will have to address there weakness's to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Leatherneck said...

We need the 4th line of Betts centering Sjo and Orr..they are worth their weight in gold an in fact they have exceed expectations. What I see is a need of a power forward and hard hitting defenseman as team needs ans a call up of Fahey/Potter as a 7th D-man. Its a must to do that as soon as possible and not at the trade deadline. I have noticed Higgins of Montreal isnt playing and he is a solid forward in the Aaron Voros mold with better scoring potential and what can I say, Kommisarek can be had for the right price as he will be a free agent, the other combination is Marleau and Murray of San Jose of a nice two fer trade

Kotsy's Korner said...

leatherneck: Leatherneck,I totally agree with you about the fourth line although I would like to see them chip in with the odd goal now and then. If only other "players"(and we know who they are) played up to the standards given to them (salary, ice time, pp, etc...)

If not for Lundqvist where would the Rangers be? I think in time the Rangers will eventually have to address their weakness's and acquire the hard hitting "D" and "Power Forward"

The only problem for the Rangers is when do you make the changes? You really can't change for the sake of change, especially while they are winning. Right now they are winning the close ones, but for how long?

Jeff said...

Pretty difficult at the moment to desire changes in the line up. I also wanted to some weeks ago, but with the actual record, all I want now, is that remains that way. We can't take any risk breaking the (fragile) chemistry we have built so far.

A win tonight against the Isles, 4-2, and finally with Drury scoring (2 goals), at last. A good pace all along the game for the Rangers, fast puck movement in the offensive zone, 40 shots again (39 indeed...), a good team effort. This weekend's wins brought the team to a higher level in my opinion. Improvement is here, no doubts.

(Ok that was the Isles...)

Henrik is playing better and better, he has earned a lot of confidence in the last games and made some great saves again tonight. This is the year to land the Vezina! Let's stay focused, a quite easy week ahead, but beware of the trap. Don't break the momentum guys, let's go Rangers!

Kotsy's Korner said...

jeff: Jeff, you are absolutely correct about fixing the glaring needs which they will have to do at some time this season. How do justify changes with the record the Rangers have right now? Simply you just can't.

It was nice to see Drury score finally, even with a little luck. Remember they do not draw pictures on the score sheet 2 goals is 2 goals no matter how they went in.

Jeff I think we both know that this team feeds off of the "King". The overall lack of offense is bothersome and with out Henrik Lundqvist where would the Rangers be?

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