Thursday, March 09, 2006

Koharski 'Sticks It' To Rangers

Thrashers down Rangers in shoot-outThere is a new wrinkle in the New NHL. Its called stick measurements. We now have every stick measured prior to the shootouts. Did you know that? It all started after the Olympics. It seems the New NHL is now very aware of all that went on in the Olympics. The New NHL wants to incorporate things from the Olympics? I have a good start. Get rid of the two referee system where it looks like one referee is in training and doesn't want to be upstaged by his more senior partner. Notice how smoothly the Olympics ran with one referee on a much bigger ice surface?

Back to last night's fiasco. Jagr was penalized not once, but twice for having an illegal curvature on his stick. The first time was in the OT and he was given a two minute penalty which was a killer because the Rangers were going to have a four on three power play in OT and the chances of Jagr clicking for a goal was better than fifty percent. He then was penalized prior to the shootout and did not get a chance to score.

Now let me ask you a dumb question here. Is it possible that after a stick penalty in OT that no one on the Rangers checked Jagr's stick to see if it was okay? Do they, the refs and the club personnel, use the same measuring device? Jagr claims that his stick is OK, Koharski said not okay. This is not the first time that Jagr has been penalized for an 'illegal' curvature. The Rangers should get together with league officials to straighten this out. Maybe Renney is correct and they need a seminar. Would you believe that the NY Post's story this morning doesn't even cover this stick incident.

Another disappointment in the game was Henrik Lundqvist's play in the shootout. He seemed disoriented. He played a great game, making thirty three saves, although the first goal by Atlanta looked a little flukey and may have gone off of Michal Rozsival. Where have we heard that before. The shootout was another story. While he stopped gunner Ilya Kovalchuk he looked lost against Savard, Kozlov and Hossa. Of course any chance the Rangers had in the shootout disappeared with the loss of Jagr. Nylander and Sykora opened up with scores and Jagr would have been next but Straka took his place. With a chance to win it Straka was stopped by Kari Lehtonen and that was the Rangers last chance.

To me the highlight of the game was the hitting of Hollweg (3), Kaspy (3) and Thomas Pock (2). Hollweg laid a beauty on Garnet Exelby who had just flattened Jagr on the previous shift. Exelby had to leave the game and may have a concussion. He has had previous concussions. Sorry to hear that and hope he is well but if you live by the sword you die by the sword. The NHL is reviewing the hit. Funny, they never reviewed Grant Marshall's Bertuzzi type sucker punch on Kasparaitis. Pock put a good one on Bobby Holik, scored a goal and played a strong eighteen minutes. When Malik comes back, Pock should stay in the lineup and Tom Poti should sit, permanently. But don't bet on it. Maybe the Moon and the Sun will come together and we will trade him by today's deadline.

Time for some tweaking with the lines? Maybe put Jagr with Rucchin and Sykora on the top line and have Nylander center Rucinsky and Straka. Maybe this could help spring Jagr from the 'trap' the teams are putting on him. Sykora seems to be getting some decent scoring chances and with him and Jagr feeding off each other he might break out, What do you think?

ICINGS: The trading of Nieminen will open a roster spot if no trades are pulled off. Look for Jarkko Immonen, 5'11" 202 lbs, to be called up. Immonen has 28 goals, 33 assists for 61 points in 62 games. The final, post Olympics 24 games now has the Rangers at 1-2-0-1.


Sandis Ozolinsh

In the closing hours before the NHL's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, the New York Rangers acquired defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in exchange for San Jose's third-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, obtained in an earlier trade for Ville Nieminen on March 8.

Ozolinsh is a seven-time NHL All-Star who won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996 and helped Anaheim reach the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.

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