Friday, April 21, 2006

The Regular Season Grades

Before we head into the playoffs lets take a moment out to grade the players on a wonderful regular season. Of course this is an inexact science subject to all kinds of comments, criticisms,etc. So let's give it a shot.

1. Jaromir Jagr           A+
He led the Rangers in every scoring category setting team records in total points and goals. He is the MAN. As he goes so go the Rangers. Finished with a +34 tied for third in the NHL. Greatest compliment is that opposing teams must change their defenses to stop him. Should win the MVP for taking the team picked for 30th into the playoffs, losing the Atlantic Division Title on the last day.

2. Henrik Lundqvist           A+
The creme de la creme. Jagr alone couldn't do it. He needed help, a sidekick and the Prince was perfect. He brought his all world European game to the NHL and dazzled his opponents and his team mates. He often brought the Garden crowd to its feet as they roared his name, Henreek, Henreek, Henreek. He will be delighting us for many more years.

3. Petr Prucha           A
Became the first Ranger rookie since Tony Amonte, 1991-92, to score 30 goals in a season and would have broken Tony Granato's record of 36 goals set in 1988-89 had he not gotten injured. An exciting, fiery competitor who plays bigger than his 170 pounds. A 50 goal scorer provided he can stay healthy. Does not shy away from contact, which could be his downfall.

4. Michael Nylander           B+
Had career highs in assists and points and centers the number one line. Was benched for one game after taking four penalties in a game. A steady solid two way player who finished with a plus 31, third highest on the team. He is also the type of person who will give you the shirt off his back.

5. Michal Rozsival           B+
Had the finest season of his career. Tied Wade Redden of Ottawa for number one spot in the +/- ratings. His 25 assists ranked sixth on the team, first on the defensemen. Would get an A rating but gives away the puck too much. Had three game winning goals.

6. Darius Kasparaitis           B+
His best year as a Ranger. Led the team in hits and blocked shots despite missing 15 games. Hits with authority and was a plus 7. Along with Colton Orr the only Ranger not to score a goal. Needs to stay out of the penalty box in the playoffs.

7. Martin Straka           B+
One of four Rangers to play in all 82 games. Third leading scorer on the team who finished with a plus 17 and had four game winning goals. Along with Jagr and Nylander the trio combined for 99 goals. Speedy skater who is sometimes used as a penalty killer.

8. Jed Ortmeyer           B+
The blood and guts of this team. An integral part of the HMO line and a premier penalty killer. Is second on the team in blocked shots and hits. While scoring only five goals, one of them was a game winner.

9. Martin Rucinsky           B
Missed thirty games due to injuries. A knee and a finger. Both injuries were flagrant fouls that were not called by the refs. Piled up 55 points in 52 games including four game winning goals. A full season would have given him an A and given the Rangers the Atlantic Division.

10. Marek Malik           B
Though slow, he plays a solid stay at home game. Gets into trouble when he attempts to pinch. Compiled a plus 28, fourth on the team. Will forever be remembered for scoring the magical shootout goal to win the shootout over Washington.

11. Petr Sykora           B
A late season slump marred Sykora's performance with the Rangers. He has yet to develop into the sniper they hoped for. However he was deadly in shootouts with five goals in seven attempts. He has yet to turn that skill into his favor on game breakaways. Needs to bring his A game to the playoffs.

12. Fedor Tyutin           B
Twenty two years old in his first full season Tyutin had a mixed season. He needs to stay at home and not try to skate the puck out of the zone. One good trait is that after a bad game he usually bounces back with a good one. At 6'2" and 209 pounds he is still growing and should be a mainstay on the back line for a long time.

13. Ryan Hollweg           B
Under rated and under used. He is a human cannonball and is fearless. He will go after anyone, including Donald Brashear. Unfortunately, four minutes a game is not enough time to cause as big an impact as he could.

14. Jason Ward           B
Rugged, tireless grinder. Sometimes shows some flash of offense though he only scored ten goals all year. An excellent puck chaser and a good penalty killer. Could be a key player in the playoffs checking the slick Devils forwards.

15. Kevin Weekes           B
A good experienced goalie who adjusted to the backup goalie situation well. May have suffered in the early part of the year by his inactivity in the 2004-05 lockout season. While sensational at times he seems to have a penchant to giving up the soft goal.

16. Steve Rucchin           B-
A big disappointment. At 6'3" 216 pounds plays a soft game. He would be a Lady Byng winner if he had a more productive season. We gave up Bobby Holik for this.

17. Dominic Moore           B-
Centers the HMO line and is an excellent penalty killer. Played all 82 games and scored nine goals while averaging about eight minutes a game, half of them on the penalty kill. Needs to pick up his offense.

18. Blair Betts           B-
Twenty five years old, he played in 66 games the most he has ever played in the NHL. He previously played a total of 35 games in three seasons with Calgary. A strong faceoff man he mostly centers a line with a checker, Ward, and a scorer, Prucha. Needs to pick up his offense.

19. Tom Poti           C
His plus 16 is deceiving. While his game has picked up it isn't at the level that he is being paid to be. He is soft and gets beaten too often. Should be the point man on the power play but often has trouble controlling the puck and his shot from there is more often a wrister rather than a slap shot. Biggest problem maybe that he is no Brian Leetch. That is who Glen Sather hoped he was getting when he traded away Mike York for him. Now wouldn't York make a very good second line center.

20. Marcel Hossa           C
He is young and he is eager but so far he has yet to discover his game. Renney is looking for scoring from him but in all fairness how can Hossa score on five minutes a game. He has 10 goals in 64 games.

21. Jason Strudwick           C
This 30 year old journeyman played in 65 games, the most since 1998-99 with Vancouver when he also appeared in 65 games. He had career highs with three goals and seven total points. Played very aggressive earlier in the year and seemed to tire as the year went on and he lost a lot of his feistiness.

22. Colton Orr           C-
Brought on as an enforcer and never got a chance to develop any type of game. Misused most of the time and got very little playing time in games he did play. Should have spent time in Hartford to develop his skills.

23. Sandis Ozolinsh           C-
Brought in from Anaheim to bolster the offense he weakened the defense. Perhaps a stronger and tougher defense could have covered for his defensive faults but strong, tough defense is not the Rangers strong suit. Renney must gamble with him against the Devils. He does have strong playoff experience with the Avs (the Cup) and Anaheim (finals). So like the famous baseball chant of the late forties; 'Spahn and Sain and we pray for rain', we have; 'Poti and Ole and lets put the Devils away'.

24. Tom Renney           B
Sure he is a candidate for coach of the year and probably deserves it considering where we were and where we finished. But let's look at the record. Jagr was a huge surprise after his fiasco in Washington. He put the team on his back and carried them into the playoffs. And how do you measure the play of Henrik Lundqvist. As a friend of mine mentioned, "Lundqvist was lightning in a bottle." Jagr and Lundqvist were two gifts to Renney. What disturbs me about Renney were the losing streaks, especially the season ending one. He panicked in Philly turning the lineup upside down leading to one of the worst played games of the year. He will have a big test against the Devils and Lou Lamoriello, who turned out to be as good a coach as he is a GM. Considering what kind of coaches we had in the past, Renney was a breath of fresh air.

ICINGS: Ranger Pundit will comment on all comments sent to him on the comment page.

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  • Boom Boom Pundit said...


    I'm glad you weren't my teacher in school. It would have taken me 6 years instead of 5 years to graduate H.S.

    You gave Michael Nylander a B+?? Wow! He's plus 31 for the year as you point out. Has a career year in assists and points. Aren't you being a little tough on him, especially after he gave you his shirt. Certainly no one can accuse you of being biased(;-) But, don't you think he deserves a gentleman's "A"?

    And you give Ozolinsh a "C-" after torching him and his no "D" since he got to the Rangers?? Give Ozo a "D-" for no "D" and bump Nylander up to an "A" and you keep the grading curve intact.

  • puckster said...

    looks like like you give the team an average grade somewhere between a B and a B- which sounds bout right. If they had won the division and not fallen apart down the stretch I think they collectively would have deserved something like a B+ or A- lets hope they all cram for their finals and their final grades are all much higher! Go Rangers.

  • Jagr Meister said...

    Renney's inability to adapt is what makes him a B coach... the great coaches can change thier game plan when others figure out how to stop them... id grade ozo a LOT lower... id also grade poti higher... his expectations were lower comnig into this year, and fans need to stop deluding themselves... he is not gonig to be a brian leetch, he is just a servicable defenseman, and was one of the very few brightspots on D this year. His +16 was NOT decieving....

  • mike said...

    boom boom-See what a Catholic HS education does for you. You are probably right about Nylander and Ozolinsh, I could of been kinder and rougher. But hey, two out of 24 ain't bad. Brother Michael would not have liked that.

  • mike said...

    puckster-You are right. All they needed was two points in the last five games and I would be sitting in the Garden today.

  • mike said...

    jagr meister-Poti may have been a bright spot to you but the Rangers are still waiting for his star to shine. Renney has yet to prove he can coach a 'game'.