lohud.com

Sponsored by:

Faceoff

Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the the hottest topics in sports

Question #165: How much better are the Rangers today than yesterday?

March
5

Normally I try not to do the same subject two days in a row, but the trading deadline is always interesting stuff and, frankly, I couldn’t think of a question anyone would take seriously having to do with A-Rod’s hip. So … let’s talk more Rangers.

I like what the Rangers did yesterday. I like the moves, specifically adding Antropov. Anyone who might score a goal is absolutely welcomed on this team as far as I’m concerned. On a personal note, I was sad to see Prucha go though – not only did I like him, but he was my wife’s favorite Ranger and she even had one of those Prucha t-shirt jerseys which she wore to games. She liked him because he was “little” and “always fell down” on what seemed like every shift, while still being scrappy. Kinda hard to argue with that assessment, no?

Anyway, the question today is, how much better are the Rangers? Can we look at them now as a team that will DEFINITELY make the playoffs? Will win a round? Most people would agree they’re a better team, but how much better? And how have your expectations/predictions changed because of what they did?

 CARP SAYS:

 First, condolences to your wife. I can call Don Maloney and get her a Coyotes’ Prucha T-shirt if you want.

Seriously, the Rangers are a better team today, but a large part of that is the new system and the new fire John Tortorella has begun to instill. Part of that is Sean Avery. Part of it is the trade deadline moves, which made them bigger—and we’ll withhold judgment on whether it actually made them tougher or more offensive. I think both Antropov and Morris have a chance to be busts, to be booed out of MSG like Marek Malik and Sandis Ozolinsh. Big? Yes. Rugged? Not really. Offensive? Mildly. Neither has ever lived up to his billing or his size or his potential.

That said, the Rangers traded two smallish forwards and one mediocre defenseman and a second-round pick and a conditional pick. They had apparently made up their minds that they were not going to re-sign Dawes, Prucha and Kalinin this summer, so if they don’t re-sign Antropov and/or Morris they will have cleared at least some cap space that will allow them to re-sign Dubinsky, Mara and Callahan and a few of their other worthy restricted free agents.

Antropov, under Tortorella’s eye, should perform. Morris is automatically among their best defensemen, if not their best right now. That’s not saying much.

I don’t think Dawes or Prucha will ever make fans think of the Rick Middleton trade or the Bobby Carpenter trade or the Sergei Zubov trade. Maybe they will prove me wrong.

They didn’t really address the No. 1 issue of scoring goals, or of having actual top-line skill on the, you know, top lines. They could still lose 2-1 to the Islanders tonight (I doubt it) and lose enough low-scoring games down the 18-gamestretch to miss the playoffs. They honestly could.

But what will it have cost them? A second-round pick. For an organization that has drafted so dreadfully the last 10 years or so, a second-round pick isn’t that big a deal. It will be, though, if Toronto uses it to get a good player.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2009 at 10:11 am by Sam Borden. |
Category: 1


Advertisement

25 Responses to “Question #165: How much better are the Rangers today than yesterday?”

  1. matthew

    in all honesty, it’s hard for me to say. i’ve seen antropov play a few times and have generally liked what i’ve seen. if torts can light some fire under him it will be good. as far as morris goes, i’ve never seen him play so i can only go on what i’ve heard and read. although i’m a bit wary of some of his accolades mentioned on tsn yesterday. it seems like every trade candidate begins to take on more importance at the deadline. in regards to who’s going: kalinin…don’t care, dawes…miss him a bit but was never really willing to battle or go into traffic much. prucha on the other hand, i still think it was a bad move. he didn’t seem to get much of a chance. yeah he was small, and had his ups and downs, but i think we could’ve retained him relatively cheaply. he gave effort every game. now if he goes to phoenix and blossoms, i’m going to be mad. i think we are better today, but only incrementally. i think avery now has something to prove, and if he’s got the least bit of sense in his head will try to make a serious difference. if morris can give us a harder edge and make standing around in front of hank a dangerous proposition, i’ll be happy. if antropov can put up some points, i’ll be happy. but with prucha gone i still feel like we’ve been had.

  2. Forechecker

    I’d say incrementally better, but not a big jump. I like the size of Antropov and know little of Morris, but it was pretty clear to me that Pru & Dawes had no future with this team. I’m glad we got bigger for the stretch run, but see, at best, another 2nd round ouster for our club.

  3. Dimitri

    So, how much better did the Rangers really get? The truth is, they did get better. I believe before any moves were made we had a good team, and under Torts’ system could have been successful in the playoffs. However after acquiring Antropov we finally have the size on offense. Our last big man on O was jags, and his presence was felt every shift. I’m not comparing the skill level, but the size is key, esp. since Antropov is bigger. Him and Zherdev should mesh well, and I expect to see them on the same line. As for Morris, when I first heard the rumor a couple weeks ago I was against it. So I was upset when I heard we got him by trading away Prucha and Dawes(Kalinin gone is a blessing). However, I think he can fit well into the system Torts is running. Both acquisitions will help the powerplay, and Lord knows we need any help we can get there. I feel like the Rangers are def. a better team now then they were before the deadline,(lets not forget Avery just in time for Marty)and the key here is that these new guys are only a week behind learning the system since Torts just got here as well. The fire I saw the last game in Colorado was something I haven’t seen as a Ranger fan since last year’s playoffs. With fire like that, and these new guys, including Torts’ system, I am feeling a long post-season so long as Hank stays true to form, and I know he will.

  4. Ranger Nation

    I like the moves, always liked Nik Antropov. But I am a little sideways on the Derek Morris deal.

    Yes, they gave us 3 guys that they most likely wouldn’t have resigned this offseason for another guy, if he doesn’t play well, they won’t resign in the offseason. Which is fine, but they gave up alot for a rental that might not return. I think Sather could’ve swung a 4th or 5th rounder away from Phoenix to have given the Rangers something out of this trade if all else fails.

    But yes, the Rangers are definitely a better team than they were a few days ago and I am excited to see what happens.

    I am also extremely ecstatic to see Petr Prucha get more of an opportunity to play for the Coyotes. I think he will flourish there and be highly more effective (which is great to say as he was effective for the Rangers) down in the desert.

    We will miss you Petr, best of luck!

  5. BlueBlood

    I think the Rangers will be a tougher team to play against for the remainder of the season, and could make a push to be a steady #4 seed. I’ve always like Derek Morris, even though he hasn’t lived up to his expectations since breaking in the league, Antropov seems to be another aloof European player, but time will tell.

    On a personal note, I was also sad to see Prucha go. The guy has a tremendous heart and professionalism. He was fantastic in his rookie campaign, and if not for Renney’s mismanagement of him (pretty much since Shanny came), he would have produced more. I never understood why Renney played Dawes (or anybody) over Prucha, considering everytime he was inserted into the lineup this year, he created scoring chances, scored points or drew penalties. He belongs on a PP, and I think PHX just got a decent crop of players for Gretzky to mold. He never packed on much size, and the knee injury in 06’ probably slowed his speed and production, but he never gave up. I hope he lights it up in PHX for the remainder of the season, and maybe someday the Rangers could bring him back. Either way, best of luck Pruch!!! PRUCHA!!!!

  6. ThisYearsModel

    I think they are slightly better. I believe they will make the playoffs, and go out in the first round. I also believe they would have done so without these moves as a result of the coaching change. We all believe our team is inept and can’t score goals. I will be interested to see how much of that is due to Coach Renney’s system, which stifled the players’ creativity. I still lament the fact that Sather’s mismanagement of the team and the cap has resulted in our having to sacrifice 2 young players and a #2 pick for two rental players. The Rangers need to find a sniper. There does not appear to be any in the system.

  7. Kat

    Only time will tell if these trades were worth it. I, too, like the Antropov trade, but have a “wait and see” attitude towards Morris. I think we got ripped off by giving Prucha away. He seems to have gotten the sh@t end of a lot of sticks the last 2 years. I hope that going to Phoenix gives him a chance to play and show what he can do so he has a chance at getting a decent contract next year. Good luck Pruch! Miss ya already.

  8. Rmant

    I am so happy to see Prucha go, not only is he a tremendously over rated player but I can’t listen to anymore Prucha crying. He never deserved ice-time and never earned it. let it go already. He’s Wayne’s problem now.

  9. Rob

    The ladies like Prucha for sure…my wife feels the same exact way…she always used to say “I LOVE PRUCHA! HE’S LITTLE BUT HE PACKS A PUNCH!”

    It was always really funny…she’s very little herself so she identified with that whole thing lol.

    Like I said yesterday, if Renney were the coach of this team, I’d be VERY concerned with the pickups we made. But I have much more faith in Torts to get the most out of these guys. I’m REALLY excited to watch them dominate the Piles for once tonight!

  10. NY Rangers Examiner

    I believe the Rangers are a better team right now as well.

    I think Antropov will help the Rangers out, regardless of how much he produces, it’s got to be more than what our current players are doing right now.

    So, I welcome his 20+ goals and assists with open arms, in the hopes he may provide a spark for some other player on our team to come out of their funk. If I’m correct, I think we only have one 20 goal scorer on the team right now (Naslund)?

    I believe Morris will be a better type of “Wade Redden” on the Rangers and may even contribute in the assists column, bearing our players actually start scoring. We know Morris has that capability, but I think he is a definite upgrade over Kalinin without a doubt.

  11. Scottsny51

    Are we better team today? That’s not really the question. Of course we are (duh), especially if you add Avery to the mix. I can’t believe anyone who watches the Rangers seriously having any difficulty giving up the under-achieving, under-sized Dawes and Prucha (even those who seem to feel sorry for Petr in the way he has been managed) and the invisible Kalinen. The real question is how quickly Torts gets this whole team together to play ‘playoff’ hockey the rest of the way. I think it will come sooner than later. I hope Torts keeps Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev together as well as the Betts line. I would like to think the Callahan and Korpikoski chemisry could be continued with possibly Dubinsky (although that is a pretty inexperienced group). Avery and Drury have some history together and it would be natural to put someone with them who has at least a chance to put the puck in the net (Antropov). See you in the playoffs, and possibly in the 2nd round.

  12. Doodie Machetto

    Carp, I will compare the Prucha deal to Middleton. While I’m at it, I’ll compare it to Weight, Savard, and Knuble.

    Did you know that Petr Puck had more goals and points in his first 2 years on Broadway than Weight, Savard, and Knuble? Did you know he also had more goals than Middleton?

    He scored 30 in the first year, 16 on the PP with Jagr. Then in the second year, when he saw no time with Jagr, and barely any time on the ice, he had 22. Real stat: That year, Prucha had the most goals out of any player in the NHL averaging 13 minutes of ice time or less per game. The only guy with more points was Corey Perry. Perry’s ice time went up the next season and look what he did. Prucha’s ice time not only decreased, but he spent most of last season on the 4th line with Betts and Orr. Yeah, that’s how you put a guy in a position to succeed.

  13. Koffy

    A tad bit better … I wished we would have stopped after we got Antropov … I would have liked to see what Prucha and Dawes could have done with the uptempo Torts as coach … Hopefully Morris will suprise me but I have watched a few games of Phoenix this year and he was invisible… we have enough invisible defensemen already … I rather they bring up Potter instead of giving what they gave for 4 million man Morris.

  14. John Van

    Dawes + Prucha = Avery + Andropov

    Kalinen = Morris

    Better today!

  15. Dimitri

    Prucha will flourish in PHX…I’m sure of it, but I’m more focused on the Rangers now. It’s important to play the system Tort’s is preaching. The main problem was not all on the players, although we know who is over-payed and under-achieving, it was Renney and how he lost control of the team. We have the players for this season, it’s all about Torts now. He will lead us to where we’re destined in the post-season. It’s up to the players to respond and step up to the plate. These new acquisitions of Antropov, Avery and Morris certainly fuel the fire the Rangers need. There is a new feeling in the locker room, but it is imoportant everything gels and everyone is comfortable in time for the playoffs. I do believe we have a great system going on now, and the right players to fit into it, it’s all just a matter of time.

    Go Rangers.

  16. Twigs

    Does anybody else have a horrible feeling that we have reverted to the late 90’s and early 2000 Rangers??? I can’t get visions of Valeri Kamensky, Pavel Bure and Theo Fleury out of my head. Maybe those years have colored me a skeptic but I am not willing to say that we are better today then we were yesterday. Antropov is lazy, Avery is a head case and Morris is a chronic underachiever. What type of message does it send to the youth in our organization when there’s no room for a heart and soul guy like Prucha in your line up? I hope they prove me wrong!

  17. Take An IQ Test Please

    Adding size is one question but what is being overlooked is will the additions improve team chemistry?

    Answer is no but it is not their fault because the chemistry was messed up before they got there thanks to Gomez and Drury.

    The other missed point is how did the other teams fighting for a playoff spot do compared to the Rangers?

    Answer is that they added better parts (Pens with Kuntiz mainly) and chemistry (Canes with Cole) to help their playoff hopes than the Rangers.

  18. Doodie Machetto

    Twigs, I’m not sure I follow you with the three named you mentioned.

    Kamensky was a complete disaster. I wouldn’t count him with Fleury or Bure.

    Fleury had some good seasons with us. The year he went off the wagon he was an Art Ross threat (until he went into rehab). I mean, the first two years the other “great” offensive talent we had was Petr Nedved. After that it was Lindros. Fleury put up decent numbers.

    Bure put up AMAZING numbers in a Rangers sweater. His problem was he retired due to injury 51 games later (12 the first year, 39 the second). Still managed to pot 41 goals in that time. If that were just one season, that would be a 66 goal pace. Even if you just take that second half season alone, it was a 40 goal pace. Injury is what ruined Bure.

  19. Twigs

    Doodie Machetto, all 3 of those guys had one thing in common, they weren’t Rangers…never were. And exactly how many playoff games did Fleury and Bure play in a Ranger jersey?

    We had recently built an identity and a team full of guys that wanted to be here. Now we are back to chasing names and throwing outlandish $$$ at has beens and, in some cases, never weres.

    Like take an IQ pointed out, no chemistry!

  20. Dimitri

    The chemistry will work out with the new in-your-face system we have going. As for the other teams, once we find our chemistry we can beat anyone so I’m not that concerned. We’ve quelled Pittsburgh’s fire all season, Kunitz doesn’t scare me. If we can contain Crosby and Malkin, I’m not worried about Kunitz. In the long run it doesn’t matter what other teams do, we control the season by how we play. Give it a couple games, you’ll start to realize the amount of potential we have in the post-season. I do somewhat agree with the issue of us heading towards the Rangers of old throwing money around, however we never had the solid youth back then that we have now. Sure we had York, Malhotra and Knuble, but i don’t think they compare to Staal, Callahan and Dubinsky, and even if you do think they do…York and those guys didnt mean half as much to the Rangers then, as Staal, Callahan and Dubinsky mean to the Rangers now. So it is not all that bad since we still have a solid foundation of youth. If any of the guys i mentioned gets traded for an older guy like a tkachuk in the offseason, then we can start pointing fingers, but until then…we really are in good shape, it could be a lot worse when you think of where we were 2 weeks ago.

  21. Doodie Machetto

    “And exactly how many playoff games did Fleury and Bure play in a Ranger jersey?”

    That was hardly the fault of Bure or Fleury though. As I said with Fleury, the best offensive talent besides him on the team was Nedved. After Nedved it was Radek Dvorak or Mike York, or a washed up Graves. Name a decent defender on those teams besides Leetch. Schneider?

    Also, the coaching was just awful. Muckler? Low?

    Bure, as I stated earlier, played great in the 51 games he played. Fleury was also doing just fine. The problem was the guys around them, not them. Blame the GM for bringing in guys like Quintal, or MacLean, or Hatcher, or Lindros, or Maladog, or a 40 year old Messier, or Holik, etc.

    At least Bure and Fleury played to the level that was expected of them.

  22. Doodie Machetto

    “We’ve quelled Pittsburgh’s fire all season, Kunitz doesn’t scare me. If we can contain Crosby and Malkin, I’m not worried about Kunitz.”

    I’m not worried about Pittsburgh either. It’s the teams that will make the playoffs I am concerned with.

  23. Dimitri

    Doodie Machetto,

    Don’t be scared of other teams. You should know Lundqvist is the best goalie in the league, and once we start rolling we’ll be more than fine. You can do a lot with a goalie like Hank. The only team in the East that poses a threat, in my eyes, is New Jersey, and we all know how that story goes when Avery is in the mix. He’ll get under Shanahan’s skin too, and all those guys, you can bank on it. Despite how hot the Devils have been, we will be the team going into the playoff’s hot, and they will cool down in the last 20, or however many games they have left. It will be interesting to see these last couple weeks pan out.

  24. Arlena Panama

    I Will have to come back again when my class load lets up – however I am taking your RSS feed so I can read your site offline. Thanks.

  25. click here

    Extremely interesting emotions upon politics! I agree wholeheartedly with every little thing mentioned in the post!

Leave a Reply

Advertisement
About this blog
Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the hottest topics in sports.

Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner





About the author
Sam BordenSam Borden grew up in Larchmont, graduated from Mamaroneck High School and has spent all 29 years of his life following the local sports scene. The drama of sports has always fascinated him, and his columns are designed to take a side or tell a story. The best days are the ones where he gets to do both.
Rick CarpinielloRick Carpiniello grew up in lower Westchester and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.
Other recent entries

Recently Updated LoHud Blogs
Monthly Archives
Links