Monday, September 03, 2007

The Defenders

Who is this man?
There was a TV show by that name in the 60's, a father/son team who took on hopeless and helpless cases. The Ranger defense is not hopeless or helpless but it is not a Stanley Cup type defense. I know that, most Ranger fans know that, most hockey writers know that. There are possibly only two people who believe in this defense and we all know who they are.

The roster includes eight defensemen but it is more noteworthy of who it does not include. It does not include Darius Kasparaitis, the only legitimate hard checker on the team. Right now, Kaspy's salary, around $3 mil, practically eliminates him from the mix. What also seems to eliminate him is the hard hits that he dishes out. This flies in the face of the Ranger coaching staff who have decided that puck control, puck movement and poke checks are more effective. We all see how good that is when we have opposing skaters cluttered around Lundqvist with no fear of being hit or even touched. Kaspy is working himself into shape and will be ready this training camp. It will be interesting to hear the reason he doesn't make the team. If our drain trust don't want him, they should trade him, and get a big moose who can dish out some punishment.

The list also does not include twenty year old Marc Staal, the sober member of the Staal family. There is nothing left for Staal to accomplish in the Juniors or in Hartford either. Isn't it about time that we give the hockey world another young Staal? In four seasons and 236 games with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL Staal has racked up 123 points netting 23 goals. More important, in the 2006/07 playoffs in 21 games Staal was 5-15-20 which shows that he steps it up in important games. While not the hitter of a Kaspy type, Marc plays a tough defense and is very strong on the puck. It is time for the Rangers to promote another young defenseman.

One more gem who should be eyed closely in camp is 22 year old Ivan Baranka. Baranka is over 6' tall and weighs 205 pounds and is an aggressive defender and loves to take the body. While Paul Mara was a big improvement over Aaron Ward he is quite slow and vulnerable against speedy forwards. We know very little about Hutchinson and we know quite a bit about Marek Malik, king of the plus/minus stat. I know what you all are thinking. Aren't these positions won by the training camp performance? Do you seriously think that Sather/Renney are going to make Malik fight to win a job?

How about a defense core of Rozsival-Tyutin; Kaspy-Staal; Gerardi-Pock-Baranka (you pick two). I love the speed and youth this group brings. Do you? This setup frees Malik and Mara for trades. I rather we trade either one or both than windup trading a Baranka or Pock, two young players with bright futures. For once the Rangers have a surplus on defense, lets make it payoff with a trade for a big moose, either up front or on the blue line. Renney may have to make a tough decision this training camp.

ICINGS: Bonus points if you can identify the actor pictured above and name one movie he was in, without help. Answer here.

Video: Alexei Kovalev Top 10 Best Goals in carreer

Related Articles by Categories


  • Janine said...

    amen. I love the speed and youth back there and the enthusiasim that goes along with. The kids did great down the stretch last year. They kind of remind me of a bunch of puppies running wild. I'd love to see the Rangers add a big tough guy with some experience to lead the pack.

  • mike said...

    janine-Maybe that big tough guy is Kasparaitis, maybe. Isn't it a shame youth has to be wasted on the young?

  • Anonymous said...

    Hi All

    Anyone interested in a fantasy hockey keeper league. It's honest and competitive(the commish is a ranger fan so honesty is a given. ;)

    All details are on the group page.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    mike, & I agree that seeing Kasp in the starting lineup would be quite the seen. The Garden would go crazy.

    Well you know our buddy, Potvin in the Palm Beach Post was quoted as saying the Rangers don't have a shot and are missing "D" this coming season.

    Reminds me of two words, the last ending with Sucks!


  • mike said...

    the dark ranger-While Potvin indeed may suck he is right on target about our defense. We need that big moose who uses the body and not his stick. Doesn't the combo of Rozsival-Malik scare you?

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Of course it does. Scares me worse that an Islander speaks the truth.

  • Section 335 said...

    E. G. Marshall

  • Section 423 said...

    Pundit, would love to see some of our young D prospects on the "varsity" but I think most will start in Hartford unless they have a stellar camp and pre-season. The actor is E.G. Marshall who was one of the "12 Angry Men".

  • mike said...

    tdr-Remember, the Ranger Pundit always speaks the truth.

  • mike said...

    section 335-Good job.Great actor.

  • mike said...

    section 423-Great movie. Did you see Renney or Sather in any of those jurors?

  • Section 335 said...

    1. If I understand the cap right, the Rangers are hit for Kaspy's $3mill if he plays or not. So, if he really is back, I think they will dress him up. I totally agree that we need those hard hits.

    2. Amen on young legs too. We won the Cup with Zubov and Kovalev. No reason Stahl should not be given meaningful ice time. I admit it takes longer for a defenseman to mature, but he seems ready based upon his recent playoff performance. You look to see a player play above the level he is in, and he did.

  • Section 335 said...

    3. Dubinsky could be the third-line center. He is showing his stuff in Traverse City. Anisimov needs a stint in Hartford - even if he "may" have more upside.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    hey mike,...the pundit DOES always speak THE truth. Then there is the DARK truth. As Rangers fans, we co-exist. ;)

  • mike said...

    section 335-1.I may be wrong but I believe that if Kaspy goes to Hartford the money follows him.
    2.Give me the youth, Malik has over matured.
    3. I do not have a problem with Dubinsky, I like him. He is a tough kid and won't hurt the third line or the team.

  • mike said...

    tdr-Like ham n eggs; like spaghetti and clams; like Abbott and Costello. Keep up the good work. We are trying to shine some light on the Rangers.

NY Rangers on Twitter

NHL Tweets