Posts tagged: Petr Prucha

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.

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Gilroy Getting The Prucha Treatment

When the Rangers signed defenseman Matt Gilroy out of Boston University in 2008, many thought they were getting a bonafide top-four defenseman. The general consensus was that Gilroy would be on the top-four pairing and quarterback the powerplay back to respectability. This was solid logic, as Gilroy captained the BU team to a national championship, and was their best defenseman during that run. It didn’t take Gilroy that long to produce in the NHL, scoring a goal in just his third career game. After his first month as a pro, Gilroy had three points (2-1-3), and was a +5 rating. While it wasn’t the offensive production many expected, he emerged as a solid two-way defender, averaging close to 17 minutes per game.

Unfortunately for Gilroy, he struggled mightily after that first month. The truncated NHL schedule (due to the Olympics), coupled with the fact that Gilroy had never played more than 45 games in a season, really started to take its toll on the young defenseman. His production slowed to a standstill, and his +/- rating dropped from +5 to a +1 before he was sent to Hartford in December 2009 to reassess his game. After a five game stint with the Wolfpack, he was re-called by the Rangers. Both sides hoped he had worked out his kinks in the minors.

Gilroy would play in 39 more games after being re-called, he would not score a single goal in that span. In fact, he would finish with a dismal line of 0-9-9, and a -3 rating in those 39 games before finding himself as a healthy scratch in lieu of the veteran Anders Eriksson, who was acquired at the trade deadline and called up from Hartford. When all was said and done, Gilroy’s rookie season was a bit of a head scratcher.

More after the jump

Top Draft Picks of The Decade

Yeah, yeah, I know. The decade ended already. We’re in a new one. But, better late than never, right? I’ve seen a lot of these, and wanted to throw in my two cents. Here are the Rangers top 10 draft picks of the decade (Note: I considered time played with the Rangers. Marek Zidlicky was a great pick, but he never suited up. So he’s not on the list.)

10. Lauri Korpikoski

The “Korpedo” was the 19th overall pick in the 2004 draft. In his one full season on Broadway, Korpikoski established himself as a nice defensive forward with some offensive skills. He was later traded for Enver Lisin. He was 6-8-14 last year. I’m kind of disappointed the Rangers gave up on him so early. While Lisin clearly has some great offensive skills, the “Korpedo”could’ve been another Ryan Callahan type.

9. Bobby Sanguinetti

He hasn’t played much in the NHL, but he clearly has a lot of talent. He has offensive skills, and is improving defensively. He’s playing well in Hartford, but still needs time in the AHL. You’ll see a lot of him next year.

8. Fedor Tyutin

Fedor Tyutin was a stalwart on the blueline for the first couple years of the Rangers resurgence. Big, strong, composed, he had a bright future ahead of him. Still does. Only it will be in Columbus. Tyutin was part of the Nik Zherdev deal. Again, I’m disappointed that they gave up on him. We could’ve used him now.

7. Artem Anisimov

Still only a rookie, Anisimov  is showing flashes of offensive brilliance, with an improving defensive sense. So far, he is 7-8-15, and he seems to improve every game. We know he can score; he scored 37 goals in Hartford last year. I think he has star potential. He’s 6-4 and has room to put some weight on his frame.

6. Brandon Dubinsky

Dubinsky is starting to live up his potential, as he’s getting first line duty with Marian Gaborik. Selected in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft, Dubinsky is a talented forward. Score, hit. He can do it all. He has the potential to be a big time player.

5. Petr Prucha

One of the surprises coming out of the lockout, Prucha posted 30 goals in his rookie year. Of course, he fell into the doghouse after that, and saw his goal totals dip, before being shipped off to Phoenix. A fan favorite, Prucha really got the short end of the stick. Once Jagr left, he wasn’t getting the same chances. Making this pick even better was that it was in the 8th round of the 2002 draft. A steal, to say the least.

4. Michael Del Zotto

Taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, MDZ surprised some by making the team this year. He quickly took the lead on the power play, and has been one of the best rookies in the NHL. He has Leetch-like skill. Great vision, unbelievable passing, and a good shot. He’s a keeper, that’s for sure.

3. Ryan Callahan

Taken in the 4th round of the 2004 draft, Callahan’s rise has been breathtaking. He’s an energy winger, who works hard, but it pays off as he scored 22 goals last year. A great penalty killer, and he loves to hit. He is the alternate captain of the Rangers, and was named to the US Olympic team. He’s a future captain.

2. Marc Staal

Another first round pick, Marc Staal is quickly becoming a shut down defenseman. His offensive skills are still a work of progress, but he is always paired against opposing teams best players. He is one of the best young players in the league, and will anchor the Rangers blueline for a long time.

1. Henrik Lundqvist

Some may say this was the best pick of the decade for the entire NHL. He was taken in the 7th round of the 2000 draft. He wasn’t even the first goalie the Rangers took. They took Brandon Snee in the 5th  round. Who is Brandon Snee? Exactly. Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league. He led Sweden to a gold medal. He has been nominated for the Vezina trophy multiple times. He is the key to the Rangers success. What a draft pick.

There are others who didn’t make this list. I didn’t include promising youngsters such as Chris Krieder, Derek Stepan, Ryan Borque, or Evegeny Grachev. They haven’t played a game yet in the NHL. Alexei Cherepanov would be on this list somewhere, if not for his tragic death. But, in the last part of the decade ,the Rangers have done a great job of drafting. Some really promising players in the system. I can’t wait.

Game 12: Rangers vs. Coyotes

Tonight, our beloved Blueshirts take on the surprisingly good Hamilton Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes are led by Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski, their leading point scorers this season. The biggest surprise is Radim Vrbata, who got his money in Tampa, only to crash and burn, only to be resurrected in Phoenix (really?) and lead the team in goals with four. The 6-3-0 ‘Yotes will be a tough challenge, and if the Rangers look to right this ship, they will need to play smart.

There are many Ranger stories to discuss for this game, so let’s break it down a bit:

  • The Rangers are playing some pretty terrible hockey lately, and have lost three straight, albeit one in overtime. The Rangers’ problems stem from some pretty bad habits that have developed during the seven game win streak, specifically taking way too many lazy penalties, and no longer challenging the puck carrier to disrupt the opponents’ offensive flow. The Rangers are not a good enough team to win while taking seven penalties a game and playing passive defense. Mike Cammalleri’s OT winner on Saturday night really illustrated the second point, as he walked in essentially untouched, save for a Marian Gaborik poke check (sort of), and ripped a shot that Henrik Lundqvist had no shot against. The defense needs to step up, preferably before hitting the crease.
  • Chris Higgins and Brandon Dubinsky were benched for the entire third period against Montreal, each committing an egregious error that led to a goal. Dubinsky acknowledged he was upset, and will probably look to maintain control of the puck a little better.
  • Higgins, on the otherhand, has been downright awful so far this year, and, as Jeremy stated, his play is generating a lot of concern. He needs to play better, case closed.
  • Tonight marks the return of my old-favorite Ranger, Petr Prucha. Lauri Korpikoski is also making his return, but he didn’t have as much of an impact on the Rangers as Prucha did. Prucha was the first homegrown player since Mike York to score 30 goals in a rookie season, and we were all excited. Prucha’s numbers slipped with the addition of Brendan Shannahan, as Shanny took all of Pru’s PP time, but he still managed to net 22 goals that year. After that, he must have beaten Tom Renney’s dog to death or something, because he never saw the ice again. Pru should get a very warm welcome, and I sitting in Section 323 Row C, sporting my Prucha jersey (come say hi), to contribute to the welcome.

As for the lines, the Rangers are putting the Benched Brothers together with Ryan Callahan. Donald Brashear is no longer sore, and will be playing in place of Aaron Voros tonight. Expect a Tom Renney amount of line shakeups tonight, as our struggling Blueshirts look to find some sort of answer to the funk.

Game time is 7pm on MSG. If you’re going to the game, come say hi. Otherwise, use this thread to discuss the game. We had a lot of comments during the Canadiens game, and we definitely want to keep the chatter going. Enjoy the game.

Prucha Re-Ups with Phoenix

My all-time one-time favorite Ranger Petr Prucha, who was savagely beaten benched several months at a time under the reign of Tom Renney, has found a new home in Hamilton Phoenix.

Prucha, who was traded to Phoenix in the Derek Morris deal, resigned with the club today. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but it’s safe to assume it’s in the same price range, maybe even less, of his previous contract that paid him $1.6 million a year.

In 18 games with Phoenix, Pru put up a 2-8-10 split, while actually seeing the ice for more than one game a month.

Sadly, this will probably be my last post about Prucha for a long, long time. I think I just shed a tear.

Nik Antropov and Derek Morris

The Rangers got at least one need for a relatively low price this deadline: Nik Antropov for a 2nd rounder and a conditional pick (I’ll try to fish out the details of the pick).

My initial reaction to this pickup: Great job by Sather on this deal. Waiving Voros and Reitz and assigning Bell to Hartford cleared room for this deal. We have been calling for Antropov for a while, he adds size and scoring up front.

Now that was the good news.

The price for Derek Morris: Dmitri Kalinin (cap purposes), Nigel Dawes, and Petr Prucha. I am absolutely livid. Words cannot express how fucking pissed I am at this deal. Derek Morris is the last thing the Rangers needed. I covered this already, I don’t want to repeat myself, but WHY?!?!?! He serves no purpose other than to be the 2nd coming of Dmitri Kalinin.

Overall reaction: Can I get a Fire Sather?

The depth chart has been updated to reflect these deals. A poll will be added shortly to gather your feelings.

Update 3:40pm I’m aware that Prucha and Dawes would have seen less playing time with Avery here. But remember, I did not want Avery back (unlike Stas and Mike, I think), so that’s of small comfort.

And Prucha was a RFA, not a UFA.

His First Day

So what does Tortorella get today when he comes to practice? Tortorella gets a team that is in free fall, a team that is 2-7-3 in their last 12. He gets a team that is currently 6th in the East with 69 points, but just 2 points out of 9th, and 4 points out of 10th.

He gets a team that is 29th in the league in scoring, at 2.33 G/G (Nashville is last). He gets a powerplay that has been god awful at 13.8%, good for 28th in the league. In short, Tortorella gets a team that relies on holding their opponent to 1 goal a game.

Tortorella is the exact opposite of Tom Renney. He is an in your face guy, and most importantly, will hold the high priced guys accountable for terrible play. It looks like the high priced guys knew this was coming, because Gomez and Drury have been playing well lately, and Rozsival and Redden have been better. Yes, Redden has been better. He still cracks a little bit under a rush, but his first passes have been solid.

Torts is a “safe is death” guy. So expect a lot more scoring chances, at the expense of defense. I say chances because we never know if this team can actually finish. Hank will have a little bit more of a workload as a result, but that shouldn’t really worry or surprise anyone.

The powerplay should also look a lot better. Torts will get in Rozsival’s and Redden’s faces about shooting more. We may actually see Marc Staal on the powerplay, which will make all of us very happy.

Basically, expect to see the Rangers evolve into a different type of team. They will attempt to play an up tempo game. Torts was the best hire that Sather could have made.

A few side notes from the Torts hiring:

  • Torts does not like Avery. Do not expect him back with the Rangers any time soon.
  • Torts is not the savior of this team. It is still a very flawed team built by a flawed GM. Sather should be praised for this move, and the Zherdev move. But his signings have been ridiculous.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of having Schoenfeld behind the bench as an assistant. He knows this current team better than anyone within the organization, and will help Torts get acquainted.
  • Expect a transition period. The Rangers will be going from a defensive system to an offensive system, and there will be some collateral damage. Expect them to make some glaring mistakes while they adjust.

Who knows what Torts will do. Maybe he reads this blog and knows that we want Prucha in the lineup in lieu of Voros. I can only hope.

Game 60: Rangers at Buffalo, A Must Win

As of today, the Rangers sit in 5th place in the East, 1 point ahead of the Canadiens, and 2 points ahead of 8th place Buffalo. A loss to Buffalo today drops the Rangers to 6th (at a minimum), with Buffalo leapfrogging over 3 teams to take 5th.

A loss would also stop any momentum built from a well played game against the Islanders on Wednesday.

In a shocking development, Petr Prucha will not be the odd man out tonight. Aaron Voros will sit in the press box, and the Korpedo will return to the lineup after missing a game with an upper body injury, taking Voros’ spot on the Zherdev line.

Hank in net tonight, no surprises there.

It’s a Saturday night, no live blog from me tonight.

Update 6:30pm: With Montreal’s win this afternoon, the Rangers sit in the 6 spot at the moment. A loss tonight drops them to the 7 seed, just 3 points ahead of the 9th place Hurricanes, and 4 points ahead of the 10th place Penguins.

Hundqvist & Mara sick, and not because of the offense

As Dave alluded too earlier, Corey Potter is back with the club, but not to serve as the 7th D-man. Steve Zipay notes that the flu has made it’s rounds in the locker room, and neither Henrik Lundqvist or Paul Mara skated this morning. With Dmitri Kalinin’s back still acting up and uncertainty surrounding Mara’s available for tomorrow night’s game in Dallas, Potter’s presence was more necessity than luxury.

Jane McManus also reported on some (surprise!) new line combos, as Aaron Voros skated with Scott Gomez and Markus Nasund this morning. The Betts-Orr-Sjostrom and Drury-Dubinsky-Zherdev units are still in tact, while Nigel Dawes was skating with Lauri Korpikosi and Ryan Callahan. Petr Prucha will again be a healthy scratch. I’m sure Dave’s thrilled.

Renney Explains the Prucha Situation

So Rick Carpiniello caught up with Tom Renney the other day and asked about the Petr Prucha situation. He had this to say:

Renney feels that Prucha — who, as we know is not afraid to play a physical game for a smallish player — wears down. And wears down significantly, to the point where it affects his skating.

“With a guy like Pruch, it’s a matter of him getting in and being able to sustain it,” Renney said. “He’s not a big guy. For our needs, at least, a guy like Petr is good for a while and then it seems to dry up on him. Then I can get him back in again. The bottom line is it’s his size. It’s getting banged around, and then because of that, not being able to sustain what he can deliver over the period of more than four or five games. And that’s the dilemma that I have.

“And it’s too bad,” Renney said, “because he’s a helluva guy.”

I don’t get it, earlier in the season Renney said that Prucha was the best conditioned Ranger on the roster. But yet he wears down after a few games? Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems extremely contradictory.

But let’s give Renney the benefit of the doubt, and say Pru does wear out a little faster than you would expect. Does that mean that he should play 7 games, then sit out for 10? How about play 5, and rotate in Voros when you need some size in the lineup?

I don’t buy his excuse for the Prucha treatment. But then again, if you read this blog often, this shouldn’t surprise you.

Update 2:15pm: Corey Potter has been called up. I’m guessing he will make the trip as the 7th defenseman, with Kalinin still hurt.