Archive for Jaromir Jagr

May
11

Rangers Need Skill, Not Skilled Blockers

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I like a lot of what John Tortorella has done as coach of the New York Rangers. I like his commitment to youth. What I do have an issue with however is something that I have also read from other Rangers bloggers in recent days –something that Tortorella is guilty of. An elite, finesse player is an elite, finesse player. To get the best out of players such as Marian Gaborik you have to put them in the position to succeed. Not expect them to block every shot, dump and chase or play the boards with enthusiasm. You play them to their strengths. How can Gaborik use his shot when he’s thrown the puck in the corner or is in the corner himself? Far too often we have seen the Rangers few skill players tow the company line and play the grinding game. Wrong move.

A few bloggers around Ranger Land have recently been wondering why Gaborik isn’t blocking shots with reckless abandon, why a Jagr or (insert skilled free agent acquisition here) wouldn’t play ala Ryan Callahan. Well I’ll tell you this; personally I’d sure as hell be annoyed if Gaborik and Jagr threw themselves in front of shots, risking injury. What Ryan Callahan does (including his shot blocking) is what makes him a special player but even he has proven to be far from invincible. I guarantee most Rangers fans would rather he blocked a shot or two less and play 82 games a season. Goals and saves win games not blocked shots. Look at the stats and not many of the league’s leading shot blocking teams made the playoffs. Yes, this Rangers team is a blue collar bunch but it needs an infusion of skill not necessarily more work ethic.

The point here is this: the Rangers will very likely upgrade their skill level this offseason whether it’s by bringing in Brad Richards, a (short term) reunion with a guy like Jaromir Jagr or a trade to bring in another skilled veteran. When they do, they better play them as their skill sets suggest and not play them like the ‘foot soldiers’. The Rangers lost in the playoffs for a few reasons; they couldn’t win face offs, they couldn’t score on the power play and they lacked skill in comparison to the Capitals – they were often a step behind. So many of those reasons for the five game defeat come back to skill and not playing a grinding game. The Rangers have laid a great foundation for future success. There is a core in place that plays with passion, plays a strong grinding game and is a core that has some skill. This core is predominantly home grown and will be the basis of any Rangers success in the future. Now they need help. If and when the cavalry (aka the skill) gets here let’s let them do their thing shall we?

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This will be a brief post as I’m on the way to London to get to the airport to get to New York. Am I excited? Did the Rangers win the cup in 1994? Exactly! I can’t believe the next home game I’ll be there (in a Rangers jersey which I have yet to buy and whose name on the back I’ve yet to determine!). This is about Marian Gaborik. Gabby cannot buy a goal and cannot, it seems, even string together a few solid performances in a row. I recently mentioned how he needs to throw the puck at net as much as possible yet in the Dallas game he had one shot and played tentatively on the power play. But Rangers fans don’t need to panic. Why?

This is a player that will always score goals and he’ll find his form again, I know everyone knows that – or they should – but what’s a key difference from team’s of old is that the Rangers are a good team without getting much from their best skater. They are finding ways to win and are never out of any game and I’m hoping the coaching staff are telling Gaborik to relax and just focus on himself because the rest of the team can support him. This is a major difference. During the Jagr years, If Jagr would have had a first half like Gaborik has had (wildly inconsistent, underwhelming, injury filled) there would be no chance the Rangers are almost 10 games above .500. However if anything, Gaborik’s subpar season is merely highlighting the new found depth and development of the kids who are able to carry the Rangers through such a promising season. The Rangers never had any of this during the Jagr years where they relied on a small nucleus (of mainly veterans) to get them to the playoffs. All this bodes well for the Rangers. It’s why Gaborik can afford to find himself, although the sooner the better obviously.

Gaborik needs to shoot more, he needs to show his old confidence on the puck and he needs to take the occasional risk and fly into the offensive zone with the puck regardless of the defenseman who is waiting for him. Gaborik needs to try to be the Gaborik of old, all the while the Rangers are the Rangers; a new, young, promising bunch able to carry their elite scorer when needed. Promising times.

Categories : Analysis
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Feb
17

Jaromir Jagr?

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Right then guys, slightly off the Olympic topic….

If you’re like me, thanks to his time in NY you’ll have a soft spot for Jaromir Jagr, the big Czech.

Im sure many of you have read the THN column discussing the notion of Jagr coming back to the NHL. If he does, where do you think he’ll go? If he comes back should The Rangers be interested and can he still help them?

Right now, he’s playing at around a point per game pace in the KHL. He’s also apparently in supreme condition (according to ex Omsk coach Wayne Fleming…) For the record I think (at a reasonable price) he could be huge for the Rangers. He doesnt need to be the go-to-guy anymore thanks to Gaborik. He seems willing to take a small(er) salary to play so the Rangers should be interested.

I really like the idea of a second line featuring Avery and Jagr flanking perhaps Dubinsky. Finally some genuine secondary scoring?

I had a look in more depth at the idea at nasports.co.uk. Let me know what you think.

Dec
30

Jagr Makes Czech Team, Staal Left Off Team Canada

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In another unsurprising Olympic roster move, ex-Ranger and current Avengard Omsk forward Jaromir Jagr has been named to the Czech national team for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The roster is filled with NHLers and Czech elite league players. You can check the full roster at Puck Central.

In current Ranger news, Marc Staal was left off the Canadian roster. This is relatively unsurprising, I didn’t really expect him to make the roster to begin with. There are too many older, more experienced players to choose from. You can bet that Staal will be on the 2014 roster though.

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Feb
11

Jagr to Edmonton? To NY? Not Happening

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I love the rumors involving Jaromir Jagr to <.insert team here.>. Jagr is not coming to the Rangers, the Oilers, or the NHL. It’s just not happening, sorry to disappoint. He still has the rest of this season, and another season on his contract, plus an option for a third with the Omsk. Despite all the drama going on in the KHL right now, specifically with the Omsk, I don’t see Jagr leaving a possible $22+ million on the table.

More importantly, even if a team did manage to pry Jagr away from Russia, he would have to clear waivers in order to play in the NHL. Do you really think a team is going to let Jagr slip through waivers?

As for the Avery watch, Larry Brooks is reporting that Avery could be back within 10-14 days. I don’t think this should surprise anyone. I mean, he has to be on the roster by March 4 to be eligible for the playoffs.

Update: I’m going to be having a little fun with some WordPress themes I found online. So the site may change appearance a few times as I play around. Don’t be alarmed. I’m incredibly bored at work.

Update2: I’m looking for a theme with a similar color scheme, but with two sidebars (left and right, not both right). Anyone have any suggestions?

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