Archive for Tom Renney


Renney Explains the Prucha Situation

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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.

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Anisimov sent back to Hartford

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Well that was quick. Arthur Staple mentioned it at the bottom of this post, and the AHL transactions page confirms it. Anisimov received 9:27 of ice time last night, getting off one shot and going two-for-five on faceoffs. From what I recall, the shot came in the third period after he used his reach to knock the puck away from the defenseman in the slot. I also remember checking the box score after the first period and seeing Anisimov had 4+ minutes of ice time after the first period, so Renney had him on the bench for most of the final two frames plus overtime.

Speaking of Renney, he apparently ran the team through the gauntlet during the morning skate today, with 35 minutes of brutal skating drills. Check out Staple’s post for the rest of the details. It’s pretty clear this team needs to get back to the basics, they were trying to get far too cute last night. Get the shot off, drive to net, rinse, repeat. Hopefully they start to get message.

Categories : Call Ups/Demotions
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Poll Closed: Split Decision on Renney

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About one month ago, we started the poll on the side about whether Tom Renney deserves to keep his job. And it is somewhat surprising that the results show about a 60/40 ratio of fans wanting to keep him around. I guess the people that want him gone (us Nick and I included) are the more vocal.

It’s no surprise that we here Nick and I want him gone. It is simply time for a change. If the Rangers fail to get past the second round again this year, then the minority might just get what it wants.

The question is, who do you want to replace him?

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The general pulse of the blog and its readers is that our beloved Petr Prucha has been treated almost as unfairly as Chad Pennington (sigh).  While the circumstances have maybe changed the last several weeks with his regular insertion into the lineup, it does not change the fact that the Rangers brass sorely mismanaged this former 30-goal scorer’s development during his most critical years.  

The criticism in regards to Prucha has usually been his defensive zone awareness and being rather easy to knock of the puck.  While these are valid points, one simply has to watch this young man play the game of hockey and immediately see the value he brings.  His work ethic is second-to-none; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve watched Petr Prucha coast to a loose puck, and even then I still think I’d have plenty of fingers to spare.  That effort alone is enough to warrant an everyday spot in the lineup.  You cannot overemphasize putting pressure on defensemen and the ability to create turnovers in the offensive zone, something I believe the Rangers sorely lack.  And if thats not enough for you, just simply look at the numbers: in his first three NHL seasons (not including this year), Prucha has averaged just under 70 games played, 20 goals, and 35 points.  Regardless of  a player’s physical stature, you cannot replace his ability to find ways to put points on the board.  Prucha’s most productive days was when he played on the top 2 lines, a spot where the Rangers coaching staff should find ways to insert him.  Perhaps a spot on the anemic power-play (tonight excluded) wouldn’t be such a bad idea….

With his recent success, it seems as if Petr Prucha will become a regular once again when the Rangers take the ice.  An important question to ask now is whether or not the Rangers are simply showcasing Prucha in the coming weeks to set him up for a trade.  If my writing above has taught you nothing, I would be strongly against any move of that sort.  My reason is the following: two seasons ago, a Rangers team lacking an identity and in need of a spark traded for LA Kings spark-plug Sean Avery.  The dynamic of the team changed almost immediately, with the Rangers playing more inspired and intense hockey.  The following season, after struggling early on without the services of Avery due to injury, the return of Avery to the lineup again fueled the Rangers to another playoff run.  All other circumstances regarding Avery aside, and while I am in no way comparing Petr Prucha to Sean Avery, the “addition” of Prucha to the Rangers may be the light this talented but misguided team needs to find itself and become the team we all know they can be.  Only time will tell if Prucha can deliver on this, or if Tom Renney will keep him in the lineup long enough for him to prove it.

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Renney: “Brain dead hockey”

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After another uninspired and rather dreadful effort last night, Tom Renney laid into his squad. Via Sam Weinman:

“Awful,” Tom Renney said. “Brain-dead hockey.”

“I can tell you I’m not happy with how our team played. I’m not happy with performance from some very key members of our hockey club, who need to be better,” Renney said. “They need to step up and start taking charge of this hockey club and start playing the way they can. If we do that, we won’t have to worry about personnel changes. We’ll strengthen ourselves internally by how we choose to play. Nobody has to worry about their jobs at all. Show up. Play hard. Compete. Battle. Want it bad enough. Have some urgency in your game.”

So what “very key members of our hockey club” is he talking about? Chris Drury took a -3 last night, although one of those goals against came when he was miscast as a point man on the PP. Scott Gomez was completely invisible all night, and won only 2 of 13 faceoffs to boot. Markus Naslund? Wade Redden? You wouldn’t have even realized they were on the ice if John Giannone didn’t tell you.

Lauri Korpikoski used his speed and was all over the place last night. Nigel Dawes was hitting everyone in sight. Marc Staal was superb yet again. Ryan Callahan was Ryan Callahan. The young players were the only ones skating with a sense of urgency last night; everyone else was in coast mode. It’s frustrating to watch.

Remember this though: the Blueshirts still top the Atlantic Division, and have played poorly in December the past two seasons (combined 12-15-2 record), but turned it on after the New Year (43-25-15 after). Hopefully this holds true again this season.

Mike Axisa writes for River Ave. Blues and can be reached here.

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So what’s it gonna be Mats?

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As we sit on the eve of Mats Sundin’s big decision, one has to wonder…is this a move the Rangers have to make?  Or are they simply reverting back to their old ways, going after the the biggest available name out there, and not necessarily for the right reasons? 

One would have to think that given Sundin’s track record that this is not just a move of desperation.  Let’s face it….the Rangers offensive attack has all the symptoms of the worst types of anemia, and a big, able-bodied scorer (not named Aaron Voros or Colton Orr…sorry boys) will do wonders for an eye-gouging power play.  The presence of another fellow countryman will also help in the progress of Markus Naslund, who will be a critical cog in the machine down the line, not to mention making your franchise goalie feel a little more at home.

But at what cost do the Rangers bring Sundin in?  It will take a great deal of player movement and sacrifice to get him signed to the roster at the current asking price.  The Rangers have taken great pride in the post-lockout era in holding on to their products, whether it be players they have drafted, or exports that have grown exponentially in their system.  A commitment to Sundin will certainly mean the end of Petr Prucha (whom I believe the Rangers organization completely ruined, but thats another story for another time) and surely Michael Roszival, whose combined salary lands at $6.6 million/year.  Besides, as a Rangers fan, you can’t help but cringe every time Slats goes after that big name (see Lindros, Eric; Bure, Pavel; Holik, Bobby, etc etc etc etc etc).

We can sit here all night and argue pros and cons over the decision, but it all comes down to which situation one future Hall of Fame center feels better about.  In the end, the bright lights of New York, the prospect of playing with his notable natives, and remaining in the Eastern Conference will be enough to sway Sundin to the Big Apple. Then Rangers fans have to ask themselves two questions: how many line combinations  will Tom Renney experiment with before he gets it right, and how much will Mats donate to Big Z for #13?

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New Poll (First Poll?)

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Congratulations, if you’re reading this, you get to take part in the very first poll on Blue Seat Blogs. The poll is below on the right, and it’s based off the post below. Do you think Tom Renney should be replaced? Feel free to discuss here as well.

Update: There seems to be a problem with the poll displaying properly in Internet Explorer. I’m unsure if this is true with all other browsers. I’m trying to fix it.

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Tom Renney in Trouble

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The Toronto Sun ran an interesting article. To quickly summarize, if the Rangers don’t start winning consistently, Tom Renney could be in major trouble, and Pat Quinn may not be unemployed much longer. I along with my co-author (who still has yet to write a post, where are you?) have been calling for Renney’s dismissal for quite some time, dating back to last season.

Tom Renney was exactly what this team needed a few years ago. He is a good coach, and will get a job elsewhere. The keyword in that sentence is was. It looks like he has lost the team. The players say that they like playing for Renney, and why would they say anything else? They are not a team that will air out their concerns to the media, we know this. However, just look at their body language during interviews, or the lackluster effort on the ice we have seen for the better part of a month, and you can tell they lack desire.

There is one glaring example of this, and that is Lauri Korpikoski. He went on a tear in Hartford, and earned another call up, only to be stuck on the fourth line with offensively challenged Colton Orr and Blair Betts. You can see his lack of enthusiasm in the way he plays and the way he skates.

It’s time for a change.

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Some Tidbits

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After a very busy day of football and fixing things around the apartment, a few notes:

Corey Potter will be traveling with the team on the west coast swing (as per Sam Weinman). This is probably a just in case scenario, as it is much tougher to get someone from Hartford to the west coast for a game. I’m hoping it’s to get some playing time in lieu of Kalinin.

Sean Avery is, for lack of a better phrase, suspended indefinitely from the Stars. I would expect the Stars to waive him, and assign him to Manitoba (he won’t report, I think it’s just a formality), so they can clear cap space. I’m not sure if that’s kosher by the CBA rules.

Mats Sundin won’t say anything until he signs somewhere (again, as per Sam Weinman). I don’t think it will be or should be with the Rangers.

Tom Renney, despite my opinions, is still the head coach of the Rangers. Pity. I wonder if Peter Laviolette is interested?

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So What’s the Answer?

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Mats Sundin?  Nah.  Too expensive.

Brendan Shanahan?  Possibly.

How about a new coach?  Hmmm…

That could be a radical idea.  Renney has had success as the Rangers coach, he’s 151-107-37 with the Blueshirts, and has led them to the playoffs three years in a row after a seven year absence.  His defensive schemes have led to offensive minded players all of a sudden becoming great two-way players (Zherdev is a +7, and leads the team in that category).

However, with that said, his defensive minded schemes are a double edged sword.  It handcuffs the skill players, and leaves the team fighting to score.  With players like Zherdev, Gomez, Naslund, Drury, Redden and Rozsival (yes, Rozsival), this team shouldn’t be struggling to score two goals a game.

It also can’t help that Renney changes his line combinations more often than P.Diddy (Diddy?  Puff Daddy? Bueller?) changes names.  Hockey is a chemistry game, and linemates  need to have time together to mesh. One game, or worse, one shift, just isn’t enough time for the players above to adjust to each others games.

Is Tom Renney a good coach?  Yes, he is.  But it’s time for a change.  There are two solid options that stick out in my mind.  One is Ted Nolan, who turned an awful Islander team into a playoff team before getting let go by Garth Snow.  The other is the recently available Peter Laviolette, who won a Cup with Carolina a couple years ago.  Both are winners, and both know how to offensively stimulate a team without sacrificing defense.

Update: The Rangers average 2.3 goals per game, good for 29th in the NHL, with Tampa rounding out the bottom.  You have to assume that with all the fire power, Tocchet will get the Lightning going offensively, leaving the Rangers as dead last in the NHL.

On a positive note, the Rangers average 2.5 goals against per game, good for 5th in the NHL.  Defense isn’t the problem, it’s offense.

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