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?