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Where are they now? Rangers edition

I was casually watching (a DVR of) some Saturday afternoon hockey between the Senators and the Coyotes when something struck me as strange; no, it wasn’t that all of the Sens goals came from not-your-average offensive player, it was that Lauri Korpikoski (or as I fondly call him, the Korpedo) got an assist. “Wow,” I thought aloud to myself, as I often do in my apartment, “the Korpedo is still alive? I wonder what other Rangers are still dabbling around the West.” And so, here is my post for today…

John Tortorella, Head Coach with the Rangers 2008-2013 | Now: Canucks Head Coach

Well, duh. Whether you loved or hated Torts’ exit last summer, you definitely had strong feelings about it. Awful with the media? Yep. Kind of mean to the players in public? Sure. Known for a hardcore training camp that would kill you or me? Absolutely. But still, for his time in New York, stats prove that you cannot deny his efficiency; in five seasons, he missed the playoffs once. However, his relationship with players, the media, and his lack of a championship ring on Broadway eventually shuttled him out and on his way to the Pacific Northwest. So, how is he now? Efficient. His Canucks have 48 points, winning 8 of their last 10 with one of those losses in OT. They were a bit shaky at first but it seems that they have adjusted to the system, and shockingly for many Rangers fans, the stars are responding and thriving under Torts’ hard-nosed approach. As a fan who was sad to see him go, I didn’t miss his outbursts like he showed at MSG against Alex Edler; however, it appears these guys can handle it. Hey, maybe Torts will find Musky in Vancouver, who knows.

Petr Prucha, NYR RW from 2005-2009 | Now: with Ska St. Petersburg of the KHL

Oh wherefore art thou, Petr Prucha? Tom Renney’s whipping boy for the entirety of 2008-09, Prucha always had an abundance of talent that was only barely tapped with his time on the Rangers. Playing only 28 games with the Rangers through early March, 2009, when he was finally released from the doghouse/press box, Prucha’s note as a healthy scratch on this line generator was an accurate portrayal of his time in New York. Prucha had a bit more freedom after his initial trade to Phoenix, showing the change in scenery (that scenery being actual ice time) did well for him. Eventually, he returned to Europe, where he’s playing now at 31 years old. He put up 40 points in 52 games in 2011 with Ska St. Petersburg, a pretty decent number for a guy who was a stud in the Czech Republic’s juniors system.

Erik Christensen, NYR center from 2009-2011 | Now: with Lev Praha of the Swedish Hockey League

It hurt me to even google this name, as I’ve often likened Christensen’s shootout performances to a booty call: awful in public (regulation) and you’re always so ashamed to make the call, but in the end (shootout goal) you’re always happy you did. Christensen was always so in his own head that he got in his own way, like having talent was just too much of a burden for him to bear. It’s too bad his stellar shootout skills never quite translated to regulation skill, as he was a perpetual 20 point scorer whose talent you saw hiding underneath the surface and never quite breaking through. He spent a year with the Wild before moving to Lev Praha in 2012, where we can only assume he is now.

Martin Biron, NYR G from 2010-2013 | Now: analyst with MSG Networks

When Marty announced his retirement this year at 36 years old, I shed a tear. This isn’t a joke. The soft spoken French Canadian family man and mostly consistent backup for 3 seasons is leaving? Say it ain’t so! With the Rangers being inconsistent at best this season, and giving up more goals that we have been spoiled with over the past few seasons, Biron’s departure was terrifying and sad. Luckily, we have Talbot proving himself as a backup and Biron sharing his hockey knowledge with analysis on MSG. Though I wish he would get a little bit more airtime (cough cough) on MSG, he’s also working with TSN and providing French Canadians hockey analysis in his native tongue of French. Here’s hoping he comes on as maybe a color commentator in the future with the Rangers… hey, a girl can dream.

 

Notes from around the league:

No major notes this week, as there have been some streaking teams (seems like the Pens will never lose again) and some faltering teams looking for a shakeup (it’s been a disappointing week for Ottawa, who have lost 3 straight). I have noticed, however, that there have been a shocking number of shootouts – 85 shootouts this season so far, which is pretty on par for a normal season. The Rangers waited 34 games to have it won on a Forsberg-esque goal by Benoit Pouliot and a Hank-like save by Hank. They quickly entered their second shootout just one game later, which led to a loss at the hands of Brandon Sutter and the SWB Penguins.

The shootout is something that I find to be nearly as controversial as fighting – heck, I think it’s MORE controversial, since you’re basically judging 65 minutes’ worth of hustling and grinding out through hits and tricky bounces on what is a skills competition. It can be argued that while the shootout is lots of fun to watch, it boils down 65 minutes to your best shooter, or relying extremely heavily on your goalie.

Alternatively, should we really expect playoff rules where teams play it out until eventually someone scores? That brings back memories of Ryan McDonagh playing 53 minutes against the Caps in the 2012 playoffs and a lost voice thanks to a pretty goal by Marian Gaborik. This would only deplete players and give an unfair edge to those teams that were able to finish better during regulation…. But at least the teams would win playing good old fashioned hockey, right? Another option: we play it out using soccer rules, adding on additional stoppage time and utilizing draws. Goal differential is much more important, and we already have OTL counting as a point, so why not just add ties in to draw one point as well?

What about you, how do you guys feel about the shootout? Who do you miss most on the Rangers?

13 Responses to “Where are they now? Rangers edition”

  1. Sally says:

    Prust

  2. Walt says:

    Korpikowski was let go too soon, he turned out to be a good two way player, third line guy, who is doing well with the dogs, under system!

    Prucha was fun to watch, having Jagr as his mentor, while like you said, Christensen was nothing but a booty call, and what a dog at that, who was here way too long for his lack of heart. Marty is going to be missed, especially giving Hank tips on shooters during shoot outs!

    Shoot outs, never liked the skills competion, they really should do away with them.

    Play the extra 5 minutes 4 on 4, then go five more minutes 3 on 3, that would be more fun to watch don’t you think?? Or change the point system, 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for a tie, and one point for a loss, only after a game ends in a tie.

    I want to wish everyone on this site a very Merry Christmas, and a healthy, happy new year!!

  3. paulronty says:

    Initially, i was 100% for the shootout but over time the novelty has worn off & now I wish they would get rid of it. Guy I miss the most–Anisimov.

  4. Tiki Tim says:

    This is a very well-written article, Becky. Thanks for sharing. I do disagree, though, with the shootout being controversial. The greatest sport in the world concludes its biggest events with a shootout (futbol). The only problem I have with the shootout is its format and that it’s not employed in some way (i.e., after 2OT) in the playoffs. If regular season standings and playoff spots are going to be determined by the shootout, it should have a place in the playoffs.

    _______

    Here’s my take on the Rangers in the year 2013.

    During the 2011-12 season and playoffs, the Rangers were well-coached and led by elite goaltending, with a lot of the success due to good luck. I thought during that season/playoffs that the success was unsustainable. I agreed wholeheartedly with the Nash trade, and still do. Two expendable 3rd liners for a legitimate top line winger. In the strike shortened season, the good luck tapered off, and we were left watching an average to slightly above average team.

    Following last season, I thought it was time to move on from Torts in search of a coach with a better grasp of offensive creativity and output. At this point, it appears that Torts had it right, the Rangers didn’t have the pieces necessary to play in an upstart offensive system. IMO, Torts is a good coach, not a great coach. However, something this team lacks is a motivator. AV is not a motivator; he couldn’t even motivate his team (I understand that this is only 1 instance) to wake up in a Finals Game 7 at home with a chance to win Vancouver a Stanley Cup for the first time in its history.

  5. Bryan says:

    shootouts are awesome. ill always support them. ties still give me nightmares

  6. supermaz says:

    Going a little further back in time.
    I will never forgive the Rangers for trading my favorite player of all time…Sergei Zubov
    And there is nothing wrong with a tie., the NHL played with them for decades. The 3-point system sucks., skews the standing s way out of whack.

    • Walt says:

      Yeah, he and Leetch manning the point in 94-95 seasons were fantastic wheren’t they???

      Hay every team has made their fair share of lousy trades, and Zubov was one of them!!

  7. Bloomer says:

    Living on the West Coast and watching a lot of Vancouver Canucks games, Torts is doing just fine. Haven’t ran across any fan or anyone connected with the Canucks who yearn to have AV back behind their bench.

    I miss Brandon “it’s only pain” Prust and the honest, hardworking, grinding, shot blocking, physical play that he and his teammates brought whenever they put on the Ranger sweater.

    I don’t really care for the shootouts, it turns the game into a circus. Maybe play an extra 10 minutes of sudden death OT rather then 5 minutes. The fact that a team gets a point even when they lose the game is a bit bizarre.

  8. Randy says:

    I like the idea of having four minutes of 4 v 4 overtime, followed by 4 minutes of 3 v 3 overtime, and then followed by the shootout. This would promote more OT goals (especially in the 3 on 3), and it would be extremely exciting to watch.

    The playoffs, however, should not even consider implementing the shootout, and should continue to use continuous 5 v 5 periods. There is simply too much on the line to change any part of the game.