Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
OK, so the Rangers were trumped, 3-2, by the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. Big deal.
Wanna know what’s good about that? It didn’t cost New York a thing in the standings and the Lightning wound up with an invisible two points. In real life, that’s equated with zilch.
I can name you almost a dozen positives…
NIK ZHERDEV – Don’t know where the booshwah about his laziness comes from, but he sure looked galvanized throughout in Florida. He’s playing to his size (6-foot-2, 197 pounds), is hitting and was thoroughly “involved,” as they say in the broadcast booth.
WADE REDDEN – It will require time, but there’s no question that the Ottawa expatriate will be a significant asset on the backline.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...the Rangers have invited free agent Brendan Shanahan to training camp on a tryout basis, The Post has learned. Hoping for a guaranteed contract, the winger who only wants to continue his NHL career wearing the Blueshirt, has thus far refused the offer.
“Brendan is welcome; I’ve told him that before and I’m going to call him again to make sure he knows that,” GM Glen Sather said yesterday. “I’m not in a position to offer a contract at this time, but that does not mean it can’t happen or won’t happen after we evaluate what we have here.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Wade Redden can finally turn the page on his career with the Senators tonight.
The former Senators defenceman is getting accustomed to life in Manhattan, but he’ll get his first real look at Broadway tonight when he makes his debut on the New York Rangers blue line against his ex-teammates.
Redden, who spent a decade in an Ottawa uniform, isn’t sure how he’ll feel when he looks across the ice at all the familiar faces, however, he’s excited about the possibility of suiting up for New York.
from John Dellapina of the Blueshirts Blog at the NY Daily News,
The Rangers will win the Cup this season.
I know this because I won’t be there. At least, not to chronicle it.
I’m leaving the Daily News after 15 ½ years. The last 14 of them have been spent as the Rangers beat writer….
As Frank Brown handed the beat to me in 1994, I now pass the torch to Michael Obernauer. He undoubtedly will bring a fresh approach and renewed vigor that occasionally is needed and you fans deserve.
I hope to bring the same to my new job, following Frank’s lead once again as I join the NHL as Director of Media Relations.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Though his teammates competed for the puck, took the body and drove to the net as if this were a mid-season practice conducted by a seething coach Tom Renney - much like the one in Philadelphia last Jan. 30, for example - Zherdev displayed no urgency whatsoever.
The 23-year-old took short cuts throughout the charged morning scrimmage, once turning over the puck while dangling one-on-one three feet inside the offensive line, the giveaway leading to a goal-against, and consistently failed to move either the puck or his feet with any obvious purpose….
But after a second day of camp in which No. 13 was the laziest athlete on the ice.
from Sam Weinman of the Lower Hudson Journal,
Not only are they a diverse team based in a diverse city, but they are a franchise looking to maximize what they can get out of an explosive player such as Zherdev.
“Whatever those options are at the end of this year, we hope that we’re the No. 1 team on that list of options,” Renney said. “And that will only happen if he feels he’s had the opportunity to grow and assert himself.”
A spot with Gomez and Naslund would seem to be such an opportunity, and Zherdev took advantage yesterday by scoring the prettiest goal of the day’s scrimmage.
more on Zherdev…
from Andrew Gross of the Record,
Renney is not ready to name a new captain yet but hopes to before the start of the season. When Mark Messier left, Renney ultimately decided not to have a captain for the 2005-06 season, instead naming Jagr to be one of three alternates.
“I think you have to leave it to evolution,” Renney said. “There are a half-dozen guys in there that could captain a team. I wouldn’t rule it out [having three alternates] but my hope would be that’s not what we would do.”
more on the Rangers…
from Andrew Gross of the Record,
Curran said today there are other teams in the NHL still very much interested in Shanahan but added he is still only talking to Rangers general manager Glen Sather, though no offer has been made.
“It’s entirely up to Glen,” Curran said. “The whole situation is so unique. The reality is, it’s always been my experience in the past that a veteran player would have made his decision to go elsewhere, particularly when, like in this situation, there are so many other options to consider. It’s somewhat unique that the player has the determination that he wants to stay in one place and has maintained the patience that he has.”
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Did they get better, though? The lasting memory of Jagr’s four-year Rangers tenure was him putting the team on his back for the final month of the 2007-08 and their brief playoff run. When Glen Sather decided to let Jagr head off to the continent, he let go a guy who can be as dominant as anyone in the league.
Jagr’s abilities as a leader weren’t as strong, but his quirky sensibility and penchant for funny, self-deprecating comments served a purpose in a locker room that had very few loud corners. Sean Avery, the loudest of them all, is gone too, and Brendan Shanahan may not be back at this late date….
And when there’s adversity, as there always is during an NHL season, Jagr won’t be there to crack a joke or shoulder the blame and attention.
“I want to be a consistent team from start to finish, a team that plays with speed and pace and tempo and energy and has work habits and intelligence. And I’d like to see a little better balance between our goal production and our goals against, more of a gap…We can place a premium on production, and every team does; I put more of a premium on being the best team on the ice every night. We believe with what we’ve been able to do with our roster is create a little more versatility in our offensive punch, we have some guys whose offense has been great in the past and we believe will continue here,...”
-New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney. More on the Rangers by Steve Zipay at his Blue Notes Blog.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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