Let's Go Rangers!

And so, we have the first concluded series of this year’s playoffs, and quite possibly the second one tonight if the Ottawa Senators beat John Torturella and his Lightning.

I cheer Let’s Go Rangers! First of all, my take on the New Jersey Devils. They played perfect hockey by taking advantage of every situation. This is the first time they beat the Rangers in the playoffs, so congratulations to them.

The EGG line works magically and as I praised him before during the course of the season, Patrick Elias IS the Devils. Martin Brodeur would have not been able to put the Devils in the playoffs by himself. But Elias did so. By far, he has been the best European captain in a while. I know that may be blasphemous for Leafs fans with regards to Mats Sundin. But, Elias put a team that was heading to the bottom of the league back to being a top Eastern team, and winning the Division title. When he came back, nine wins in a row. If the Devils win the Cup this year, my Conn Smythe vote is automatically awarded to Elias.

Now, I remember a few years ago where I criticized Devils GM Lou Lamoriello for re-signing Elias to a contract that was way too short. This guy is already a free agent. Now, I really, definitely, and convincingly doubt that the Devils will not re-sign Elias; however, the Devils are known to be tough negotiators with their players. Elias wants to be rewarded this season and I don’t see this guy getting anything less than $5.5M a season. If he does accept something lower than that, then by all means… he is a great Devil and a class act.

If the Devils manage to upset Elias in contract talks, then they simply do not deserve any respect, none whatsoever. He goes away to another team, then the Devils are really not caring about their team. I don’t think they drew much attendance this season (if I am correct), and they spent $39M all the way. Plus, this season they need to re-sign Brian Gionta, Scotty Gomez, Colin White, Paul Martin, and see if they will re-up with UFAs like Jay Pandolfo (a must), Ken Klee, and Jamie Langenbrunner.

And, it’s not like the Devils have a rich farm system either. I think their #1 objective is to immediately re-sign Elias right after the playoffs.

Other than that, the Devils are a very solid team right now, but are starting to get overrated by the media. I am a fan of Eddie Olczyk, but the guy needs to stop kissing the Devils performance in hopes of landing an interview with Lamoriello.

Yes, the Devils are a very good team, but it’s not like they really outplayed the Rangers on even strength. The Rangers were not an easy team for the Devils to beat 5-on-5, and I am talking about a banged up and inexperienced Rangers team. New Jersey’s next opponent should stay away from the sin bin, and play a solid defense on the EGG line. If the EGG line is getting shut down, then the Devils are a much easier team to beat.

On to the Rangers

LET’S GO RANGERS! is what the fans still said after the series came to an end. This team proved a lot of people wrong. They played like a team, they had chemistry, they had their own team rituals. This was a great and fun Rangers team to watch. Special performances by Petr Prucha and of course… Jaromir Jagr. The unforgettable shootout goal by Marek Malik. They were a real team. They showed up, gave whatever was in their gas tank and the fans were thankfull. So was I. An ugly exit in the first round, but that was to be expected anyway. This would have been an awesome series if the Rangers came in nearly 100% healthy, and I would have predicted a Game 7 with a coin toss on who would have been the winner.

What should the Rangers do now? I want the same core, but modify the defense. Rangers have a really good farm system now, they got some good skills in the minors with Immonen, Staal, Dawes, Dubinsky, Pock, Helminen, and Korpikoski. Let them develop! Most of these guys are rookies at the AHL level anyway.

Jaromir Jagr will retire from the NHL once the contract expires. So, the Rangers should take advantage of the situation. They should not feel rushed by playing their rookies. They’re fine in Hartford, and another year of experience and playing together won’t hurt.

I want to see the Rangers keep Steve Rucchin. They got this guy for playoffs hockey and ever since he was injured, the Rangers played sloppy. Keep Petr Sykora, why? Though he did not do much to step up in the playoffs, he is a 2nd line scorer and can always put in 30 goals. Plus, if the Rangers want a big size forward to add muscle, would Jason Arnott be interested to join Sykora? Not to be ruled out. Another scenario, very far fetched though, is if the Devils get stupid with Elias, the Rangers could let go of Rucchin and Rucinsky, re-sign Sykora to a lesser salary, and what about making Elias the offer he wants with Jason Arnott and Sykora on his line? Not to mention, Czech Star Jagr is on the team and once he is out, Elias can take over. Far fetched? Yes, but how many people bet on Holik signing with the Rangers? Oh wait, I did!

Back to reality. For real, the Rangers can add maybe Jason Arnott, then keep Rucinsky and Straka as well, for lesser salaries. This would give the Rangers two solid lines.

Straka-Nylander-Jagr

Rucinsky-Arnott-Sykora

Prucha-Rucchin-Hossa

Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer

Not a bad idea after all. But, the point is to keep the same core of players and give it another go. The rookies/sophomores will be more experienced and the team chemistry is there.

The defense needs a shake-up and muscle. Unfortunately, the Ozolinsh trade was a bust for this year, but a trade should only be fully judge after the player’s term with his team runs out. Maybe Ozolinsh will be as sharp as ever next season, who knows? Rozsival is a tricky situation. He gets credit for having a season that was greatly unexpected after he faced a couple of serious injuries. But, he’s also been a bad defenseman. Rangers should add more size to their defense with a stable d-man. Hey, why not add another Czech in Pavel Kubina? My favorite of the group, though, who is a 2nd tier d-man is Dannil Markov. Tom Poti is definitely done in New York. I appreciated his defensive play improvement (overall deserves a solid grade with a B), but he’s out. This may leave a spot for Tomas Pock, maybe Marc Staal.

One thing for sure, Rangers need to revamp the defense a bit.

It is way too early to discuss free agency talk, and I would write more about which players the Rangers could sign. But, the message that Glen Sather should give is the same as Mike Keenan’s message. Keep the same team and get ready for a more improved season.

This is the first winning season for the Rangers in years. This club is just starting to become an above .500 team. The best thing going for the Rangers right now, though, is not having Jagr. The best thing for the Rangers is the farm system. The WolfPack are one of the better AHL teams with a lot of youth. These youngsters are playing the system that the Rangers want them to play, they are winning as a team and when they are NHL ready, they create a bigger nucleus for the Rangers. That is what the Rangers did not do in the 1990’s and it is what kept them without playoffs for years. GM Glen Sather has done a lot of screw ups with the free agency and quick patches to the Ranger$ of old, but he has given this team a very very very bright future.

So, all is not horrible this week for the Rangers and the fans. It’s time to move on and wait for what is best to come in the next years. It was a fine and fun season.

Thank you New York Rangers!

And thanks to you fellow hockey fans for reading,

Micki Peroni

Vice-Admin


33 Responses to Let's Go Rangers!

  1. toronto77 says:

    WOW………devils really turned it around. near the christmas break they were out of the playoffs(if i’m not mistaken), then ever since elias came back they really climbed the standings, and brodeur was playing a lot better.

    They than had a playoff spot before the olympic break, at that point everyone thought new york would take the division, but not only did new jersey pass them in the standings philly did too. New Jersey really stepped it up in the last week or so….WOW….In the last week or so before the end of the regular season, i don’t think anyone say this coming…..GOOD WORK DEVILS.

  2. gojiclan says:

    I wa shocked to see how well the rangers got out of the gate this season, but you could tell injuries and inexperience began to take its toll at the end of the season.

    My advise would be to do very little to fix this team. Most obvious fact that was evident in this round of the playoffs is that the rangers need more balanced scoring. The teams went when Jagr went, and they showed flashes of it today, but they needed a second punch. I think Prucha will develop into that role, but for now they need another proven scorer. I would think they are going to make a push for Samsonov this summer, or Elias.

    Defense was their biggest problem at the end of the year. I agree with the belief that Tim Poti is done in new york, but i also think that Ozolinsh is gone also, he was awful down the stretch and non-existant in the plyoffs.

    The rangers could definately be in the market for Wade Redden/Chara and I wouldnt be surprised if they went after Witt if he becomes available.

    The ranger fans should be proud of their team, they were a fun team to watch this season, and I could easily see them making noise in the Eastern conference for the next five or six years with a few tweeks and changes. THey were the best games between them and philly, and its great to see the rivalry alive again.

  3. pratt25 says:

    Mikster…..I love the Rangers as much as you do but don’t do those long combinations….nothing against Leaf fans but it drives me nuts when they do that all the time saying who they are going to get and then make up the line combinations. Anyway I would love the idea of Arnott coming next year because I feel our biggest problem is lack of scoring from our 2nd and 3rd lines and he would be beneficial. With a little tinkering of the lineup, hopefully we can take it farther next year!!

  4. pratt25 says:

    I meant “line” combinations

  5. wheresthesoda says:

    No Blair Betts????…u serious….taking away the re-building phase, mikster your talking crazy, old rangers talk right there.

    sykora, didnt really do anything….bad luck, bounces didnt go the way for anyone for the Rangers. Sykora must have hit 4 posts in the playoffs.

  6. wingerxxx says:

    I’m not going to take anything away from New Jersey at all, they flat out won this series. They were the better team and they deserved to move on. They are going to be tough to beat. A lot of folks will point out that the Rangers were beat up, but this is a team on an incredible tear. And history is on their side, Stevens and Niedermayer or not. But I do agree on Elias. If they let him walk, they’re crazy. There are a ton of teams out there that would love to have him on their top 2 lines.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the Rangers look like next year. Hindsight is always 20/20…with the Rangers power play being what it was, the Ozolinsh trade was totally justified. The inherant problem, is that you had a defense with Tom Poti and Ozolinsh playing a healthy chunk of minutes. And I don’t see a team icing two guys like that winning a Cup. I’m not going to be so kind on Tom Poti. He has needed a change of scenery for a while. He needs to go out to the West. With his skills and skating, he could be so much better than he is. It’s infuriating to watch him play.

    I love Danny Markov, and Kubina would be nice as well. But I’m not going to hold my breath. I don’t think Arnott will be coming here, coming off of his regular season. I just don’t see Dallas letting him go, when he is hitting his stride. I didn’t think Arnott had that kind of season in him.

    I’d love to see Thomas Pock make the big club next year, so he can show us what he is made of. Maybe Staal, if he picks things up. And again, I agree on Ozolinsh…I think that being surrounded by a group of steadier players will help him out. He is just not the kind of player you can make a long term commitment to, now. He had made small strides in his defensive play in Florida and Anaheim, but didn’t look good at all in New York in his own end. Roszival had a nice little career resurgance, but his numbers make him look a little better than he is.

    I’d love to have Rucchin back, but I don’t think it’s absolutely vital. He is looking more and more injury prone. But still the kind of player I’d love to have as a Ranger any day. Betts needs to be included in the above roster. I’m not big on Marcel Hossa at all. But the future is still bright. We have Jags for another year. Hopefully guys like Hollweg will learn to play with a little more smarts. Lundqvist with another year behind him, and Prucha coming up. I’m sure he’ll play a much bigger role next year. Bottom line, this was a better year than expected, and I’m happy for it. Now the hard part is building on it.

  7. wingerxxx says:

    The thing about the Leafs line combinations you see all the time, is that they just take players from other teams and slap them into their lineups. The above forward lineup (with Arnott added, and Betts taken away) is pretty much the Rangers’ lineup of forwards.

  8. wingerxxx says:

    Considering what Nashville gave up to land Brendan Witt, they would look like total morons if they let him go. That said, he is a pretty overrated defenseman. The defense definitely needs tinkering, but you’re right…overall, there’s not a whole lot that needs fixing, beyond the key guys staying healthy.

  9. mikster says:

    …about Betts!

    Someone’s got to go then, Moore? I don’t know who has impressed me more, Moore or Betts.

    And yes, i just added a player in there saying the team should stay the same.

  10. mikster says:

    Well, i forgot about Betts lol. Poor guy.

    But look, the rebuilding phase is pretty much non-existent. The Rangers have Jagr and once he is done with the Rangers, he is done with the NHL. So, if we want to stick with the rebuild by playing a bunch of rookies…then Jagr’s just staying on the Rangers to get paid, make others look good, score points, and no insurence of the playoffs.

    That would make him completely useless. He wants to retire, so take advantage of him. If he did not want to retire, then i’d think differently.

    Think about it, leaving the prospects (Dawes, Graham, Jessiman, Immonen, Staal, Pock, Dubinskiy, Helminen, Korpikoski, Falardeau, and Greg Moore –all AHL rookies except for Pock–) in Hartford is only going to benefit them. Make them grow as a team in Hartford.

    That’s not going to hurt them, at all.

    Meanwhile, take advantage of Jagr! This is not old Rangers talk. This team made the playoffs. This team built chemistry and they formed a team by sticking together. They succeeded.

    Why not keep them? I think Sykora would have an awesome full season with the Rangers, especially with a guy like Arnott.

    It’s not going to hurt anything.

    The lockout and the CBA were the best things to have ever happened for the Rangers ever since 1994.

    It’s not like we’re going for high priced UFA’s and only building a team of new faces.

    This will be the same team with one new guy, for the most part. Obviously either Betts or Moore owuld have to go unless Rucinksy does nto feel like coming back. That would leave a spot for Immonen and Betts can stay safe.

    I want the same team though. They can do it, and they made me believe in them. Just a couple of additions (one forward and one d-man) and it will be better.

  11. wingerxxx says:

    Well…just off the cuff, I’d say Hollweg, over Betts or Moore, although he does add an extra physical dimension. Or…Send down Hossa if he doesn’t show some drastic improvement, use Moore on wing, and have Betts center the 4th line. I really like both Betts and Moore, I think that they both add something to the big club…ahh..roster decisions…

  12. Radio says:

    Jagr = Retiring

  13. Kamakaze says:

    I agree on several points.

    Ozolinsh was always sort of “iffy”, and his best days (at least as I remember, in Colorado), seem to be behind him. I see what they where trying to get done, but I think this is a case where it might have been more beneficial to let a younger player fill this role than trade for someone. I’d say go with someone younger, like Pock and maybe fill out the defense by trading Poti for a good outlet-passing type of defenseman, maybe not someone who can rush it down the ice, but can at least make a nice pass to push up the offense.

    Up front, I like Sykora, especially as a former Devil, but he didn’t seem to add much for New York. I really didn’t understand why they traded for him to begin with, but I think he can go either way. he is a good player, and seems to be somewhat responsible on both ends of the ice (or at last knows how to be). Sign him to a 1-year deal and see how he fits in.

    Rucchin, I think he was THE best move the Rangers have made in a long time. I agree that he might be aging and getting a bit injury-prone, but you don’t keep this guy so much for his on-ice product as much as him presence and leadership. I think he is the kind of guy the team should have around to say “THIS is how you should play, this is how you play tough”. I mean I don’t know for sure, but I would bet he had a pretty big impact on guys like Moore, Betts and Ward.

    I don’t think they need to ADD someone, at least not a veteran. Arnott would be nice, but he will probably stay in Dallas.

    I think Mike mentioned to some effect “Utilize Jagr (the veterans) NOW while you can” as justification for adding veteran free-agents. That’s one way to do it, but it hasn’t worked so far, and so I suggest using those veterans as guides for younger players.

    I think it would be wiser to add younger players, and have them learn from guys like Jagr, Rucchin and Straka. these are some of the best players at their positions, and veteran guys who have seen a lot of different situations. They should KEEP doing what they WERE doing in the beginning of the season and give younger players more ice time.

    Anyways I’m ranting… Point is, sure, the Playoffs was a great thing, extra revenue, and a TON of experience for those younger players, but don’t backtrack and make the same mistakes again. Continue what was started before this season began and keep the “rebuilding” going.

  14. pratt25 says:

    Do you think the Rangers would be crazy and try to trade Al Montoya to move up in the draft and take Marc Stall’s younger brothter Jordan????

  15. Pock_53 says:

    You know i’m a devils fan Mik, but i agree w/ on what the organization should do. Rangers took a big step this year in getting to the playoffs, and despite being swept, i thought they still played a half decent series w/ the lack of experience they have. They just need to shore up the defence a bit. There is some good young talent on that team, best of luck in the future.

  16. gojiclan says:

    if thats the case the rangers are in bigger trouble than anybody could imagine

  17. mikster says:

    May be possible, but Staal is going either 1st or 2nd and the Blues and Pens do not need a goalie.

  18. wheresthesoda says:

    yea, i think they definetly gotta keep Blair Betts though, he was our best faceoff man all year long.

    Growing as a team in Hartford…didnt think of it like that, but it sounds good.

    I would like to see staal maybe make the team next season for the other defensman

  19. NjDEVSFN says:

    remember Mik, the Devils signed Brodeur for $5.2M/year

    the Devils are known to stick by those who need help (daneyko, elias), so Patty will give them some respect in negotiations

    LL isn’t stupid, he realizes how important Elias is, but he will NOT (ill be surprised if he does) offer him more than Marty, mostly for Cap reasons. That will only add about $1M to the cap, which is dangerously close to full because of Malakhov, Mogilny, and McGillis.

    if Patty believes he is MORE important to the Devils $ wise than Brodeur, then adios. LL wont stand for players who think they are above the team (which begins with Marty).

    Elias, Gomez, Gionta, White, Martin, Pandolfo and Langenbrunner are likely to return. i think they would ALL rather be in Jersey considering what this team is capable of.

    Klee won’t return because the Devils are stocked w/Dmen, but, after the first couple of games, he has been solid.

  20. NjDEVSFN says:

    BTW Mik, what did you think of Hollweg doing exactly what Renney dissed the Devils for doing?

  21. miker183 says:

    That was no dive. Hollweg kills penalties, and I believe he missed a couple of shifts.

    On the other hand, Pandolfo STARTED the power play that he drew. Nice job sticking Prucha in the face though, kid’s tough, he played on.

  22. Kamakaze says:

    Malakhov more than likely wont count against the cap. I have a hunch they will trade Moginly, no sense in him being a minor-leaguer, some team will take him… I hope… McGillis is hopefully in the same boat, that or he will be bought out. Again no sense in keeping him.

    After those three are gone, you are talking about $9.+ mil free…

    I also suspect they will let Kozlov walk (I believe he’s a free agent…).

    Now I’m not predicting anything, but man would a certain 6’9″ defenseman look good in the Devils uniform… After we win the cup…

  23. miker183 says:

    What do you think about moving Moore up to the third line, and adding a bigger body to Hollweg and Ortmeyer’s line?? Whoever it is would have to be a good skater and two way player, but I like adding size to that line.

    Good as that line was, they’re still on the small side.

  24. my_sphincter says:

    Elias should be included with the Hart trophy candidates as he is clearly the MVP of NJ. Similar to Thorton coming to SJ, Elias comes back and makes the Devils a bonified contender.

  25. TheRussianEvolution says:

    Although I would have loved to see the Rangers advance, overall getting eliminated is a good thing. Now they can get the 15th overall pick in the draft, and being in the rebuilding process high picks are good. How about drafting Jordan Staal to join his older brother Marc?

  26. pratt25 says:

    I really hope the Rangers do whatever they can possibly do and draft Jordan. Mikster thinks he’ll be 1 or 2 in the draft….but I think Kessel, Johnson and Toews will be ahead of him. Anyway wait and see if they’ll make a move.

  27. pop0331 says:

    1st off the EGG line hasn’t been together in months, the only time you see them together now is on the PP and Elias has been playing the point there as well

    2nd, Elias is not the captain, Devils don’t have one!

  28. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    Let ME say what a pleasure it is to see the Rangers OUT in the 1st round – and in 4 games no less!

    The Rangers have the stupidest fan base in hockey. It is SO great to see them home crying, after expecting so much of their always choking hockey team.

    Congratulations to the Devils now the NY Tri State areas 2nd most successful hockey franchise. For those of you checking the stats, here’s how you would rank the success of NY area hockey franchises over the last 50 years.

    1 – ISLANDERS

    2 – Devils

    3 – rangers

    Thank you.

  29. pratt25 says:

    The Islanders have sucked since the 80’s. What do you have to brag about???? Mad Mike Milbury???? A bunch of losers lead by the biggest loser in hockey!! Oh yeah and captained by Alex Yashin….enough said.

  30. wingerxxx says:

    I guess that watching the Rangers get knocked out of the playoffs sure beats watching the Islanders play hockey this last season.

  31. wingerxxx says:

    If Moore can become more consistent in the offensive zone, I wouldn’t mind seeing him be a third liner. I’m not sure that overall size is necessary, just more physical play. Which is why I’d like to see Hollweg and Ortmeyer play smarter hockey. A gritty, smart player in place of Marcel Hossa wouldn’t be bad at all. I still don’t see where Hossa fits on this team.

  32. miker183 says:

    I would just like to add one thing:

    FOOORRRRRREEEE!!!!!!!!!!

    over par, under par? How are your boys doing?

  33. laserman says:

    Typical comment from a douchebag with absolutely no class. I hope most Islander fans are not like you. As far as your successes in the last 23 years??? ZERO. Not even the free-spending Rangers would have pulled off the crappiest deal in the history of professional sports like signing Alexei (Cashin) Yashin (now I’m laughing my ass off) to the ridiculous contract that the Islanders signed him to. That could have paid the salaries of every great player they let walk for about 5 seasons including Chara. So if ignorance is bliss, then you must be the happiest man on the planet…

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