Here is the NYR report card for the first
59 games this season each player has been given a grade ranging from A-F.
Basically grades are given on performance relative to a player fulfilling
his given role. With a grade of a C being a passing acceptable grade.
Lindros, Center - Grade: A+
It’s pretty obvious at this point of the season that as Eric Lindros
goes so do the Rangers. He has been dominating at times and you can really
imagine how much more dominating Lindros would be hadn’t he suffered
seven concussions in his career. He is the only Ranger who has produced
both at even strength and on the Powerplay. His 9 PP goals leads the
Lindros for the first 30 games was the best
hitting forward in the Rangers lineup and was really hitting a groove
before his concussion suffered in the San Jose game. The only part of Eric’s
game that hasn’t come as advertised is his face-offs, but that’s nit
picking considering to what he apparently means to this team success.
Unbelievably Lindros has only missed a total of 8 games this season.
Unfortunately for Ranger fans and the team
it took Eric just a bit more then a half Dozen games to re-find his game
after suffering his last concussion. He has been the best Ranger forward
when completely healthy which would be my account about 43 out of the 51
games he has actually suited up for. This is once again factoring in the
post San Jose concussion drought that took about 8 games to recover from.
Fleury, Left Wing - Grade: A+
I wouldn’t be telling any tales out of school when I say that Theo
Fleury has completely lost his mind. But lucky for us Ranger fans Theo
hasn’t lost his scoring touch or ability to entertain us each and every
night he laces them up. On most nights Fleury plays with an intensity that
about 15 of his teammates should sit and up and take notice of. The only
bad part of his game so far this year is the insane amount of minor
penalties he has accumulated and often at bad times.
Theo already has amassed 42 minor Penalties
(first among Forwards) and is sixth overall in PIMS in the whole entire
NHL. Remove the ludicrous amount of minors not many Left Wingers are going
to end up putting up better numbers other then Theo besides Markus Naslund,
Brendan Shanahan or Keith Tkachuk, He leads the Rangers in both total
points and shots on goal. The good definitely outweighs the bad in Theo’s
York, Right Wing - Grade : A+
Mike York has played extremely well through the first 59 games and
really excelled for the first 40. His offensive production has slowed down
a tad since the midway point but York has come to play both offense on
defense for the Rangers each and every night. York’s improvement is a
sigh of relief and even A surprise to some Ranger fans (not RE) who lost
faith in Mike after his disappointing sophomore campaign. Playing
alongside Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros has a lot to do with his success
this year. To York’s credit He has responded and complimented them
nicely and has shown so far he doesn’t belong buried on 3rd or 4th line.
Richter, Goaltender - Grade : A+
Absolutely splendid. Coming off knee surgery he has been nothing short
of spectacular. He has been left completely naked nightly between the
pipes. Subjected to a Ranger defense that has looked like the Keystone
Cops in about 90% of their contests. The 40 Shot games, the 20 shot
periods. Forget Lindros, this is the Rangers MVP through the first 58
Blackburn, Goaltender - Grade : A
Played superb in his first dozen games but his level of play has waned
recently. Showed some incredible poise stepping in at the age of 18 and
getting off to the start he did. Glen Sather should thank his luck stars
this kid bailed him out of what could have been a backup goaltending
nightmare. For his kid his age to be thrown to the wolves like he has been
and have come up big says an awful lot about his play so far. He has been
everything a backup goalie should be.
Malakhov, Defenseman - Grade: A
His season up to this point has been a pleasant success story.
Although he benefits greatly from playing with Brian Leetch he has managed
to stay healthy and play very well. He has been both steady and reliable
and leads the Ranger team in +/- with a +16 rating. However Vladdy like
every other Ranger except for maybe Lindros needs to contribute more to
the team in man advantage situations. But overall there is really nothing
to knock about the guy’s play this year so far. Not to bad for a guy who
Ranger fans such as myself referred to as “Maladog’ before the start
of the season
Leetch, Defenseman - Grade: B+
Leetch has played in every game this season and is second only on the team
in Plus/Minus to his defensive partner Vladamir Malakhov who is +16.
Leetch as always logs his lions share of ice time but this year for the
first time in his career the overwork is beginning to deter his game
somewhat. Unbelievably Brian went over 20 games without scoring a goal
during one stretch this season and hasn’t been nearly the Powerplay
force he has to be in order for the Rangers to succeed at a higher level.
There’s no arguing that Leetch carries his weight and then some for the
Blueshirts but the ice time demands that the Rangers coaching staff has
been heaping on him have resulted in some downsides in his game up to this
Johansson, Left Wing - Grade: B+
Before his wrist injury Andreas’s contribution to the Rangers was just
about as big as a surprise as Dan Blackburn’s was this season. Johansson’s
13 goals from the left side in 48 games are for a player who has seen most
of his action on the second and third lines is very good. He has helped
the Rangers with consistent effort and tenacious play that has opposing
players taking penalties. Even more impressive is the fact that Johansson
wasn’t even in the NHL last year before Sather picked him up in the
off-season. Sather’s acquisition of Andreas proves that even a blind
squirrel can find nuts sometime
Lefebvre, Defenseman - Grade :B
His 25 games have been vintage Lefebvre. Go unnoticed and do your job as a
defensive defenseman. His steadiness and reliability has helped his
partner Brian Berard’s game tremendously. Sather and Low did everything
they could do to make Lefebvre not part of this team by trying to trade
him before the season started. Now it turns out he is one of the steadier
parts of their defensive corps.
Barnaby, Right Wing/Left Wing - Grade: C+
Barnaby arrived just about midseason to the Rangers courtesy of the
shipping off of former resident waste of space Zdeno Ciger. The
acquisition of Barnaby had me puzzled at the time and I think it still has
me puzzled now. My main beef with this acquisition is with the Rangers
taking more minors then there are minutes in most games why did Slats
decide to pile on more PIMS rather then get some bargain basement PP
specialist like Kip Miller? But that not withstanding Barnaby has
contributed to the Rangers 10 fold what Zdeno Ciger did and would have had
his tenure continued as a Blueshirt.
Barnaby is a hard player to like, but his
effort is there night in and night out and that’s all that counts. He
not pretty, and downright ugly sometimes but he performs his role well. .
Barnaby has responding game after game with heart and effort something his
teammates should take note of. Ranger coach Ron Low however has miscast
him (there’s a shocker) because Matthew certainly doesn’t belong on
the Rangers first two lines.
McCarthy, Right Wing - Grade: C
If I had written this bout a dozen games ago I would have given Sandy
McCarthy a D or an F but before Ron Low decided to cut back his playing
time after the All-Star break a move which has me perplexed. Sandy was
playing some of his best hockey of his career. McCarthy at times can be a
physical force and very much akin to a Chris Simon type of player. Sandy’s
main obstacle is keeping his play consistent. As far as the fisticuffs end
of Sandy’s needs to drop the conversation with opposing players and drop
the mitts with them a tad more often.
Berard, Defenseman - Grade: C
Coming into the season he was a question mark and really after 58 games he
still remains one. His play has been inconsistent but has shored up a bit
in the last 20 games since being paired up with Sylvain Lefebvre. Having
Lefebvre as his defensive partner has calmed his tendency to run around in
his own zone. earlier In the year he was teamed up with the “Russian
Stink Bomb” Igor Ulanov and looked positively abysmal at times. On the
Positive end he does show the ability to rush the puck up the ice and
Kloucek, Defenseman - Grade : C
Tomas started off the season strong but then fell in disfavor with the
Ranger coaching staff for what they Labeled as “bad penalties”. He’s
aggressive and delivers bone-rattling bodychecks that’s his game. I
think the Ranger coaching staff should try devise a decent Penalty Killing
system rather then tinkering with Kloucek’s game or psyche. There is a
reason everybody team in the league wants this kid. He is a young Solid
two-way player who hits. He recently has begun to play his game again
which is a type the Rangers need desperately back on the blueline.
Samuelsson, Left Wing - Grade: C
Samuelsson has showed some poise for a rookie. He hasn’t made many
glaring mistakes or been a liability on the ice for a player who is green
to the NHL game. He is a defense first forward and has seen more time on
the Penalty Kill as the season has progressed. For a Rookie he’s done an
admirable job. His Offense is seems to be his Achilles heel so far in his
young career. He doesn’t seem to be gifted with hands or playmaking
skills yet and maybe never will. He however at 6’2 could develop into a
nice checking forward on the Left side. He even shows flares of a mean
streak when push comes to shove.
Dvorak, Right Wing - Grade: C-
The good news is Radek is getting his share of chances. The bad news is
they don’t find the back of the net very often. He is second on the
Rangers in shots on goal with 185 but only has measly 14 goals to show for
it. Even his intensity on the other end of the ice has dropped a bit. His
commitment to defense has not been there on most nights. Although I don’t
put much credence in +/- in most cases I do with Dvorak. He is the only
Ranger forward other then Sandy McCarthy who has been playing regular
since the beginning of the season who is a minus. Dvorak is a minus 8 on a
team, which predominantly scores all their goals on the PowerPlay.
Toms, Center/Wing - Grade: C-
AKA “The Enigma”. Just when I wanna rip my hair out over why this guy
is in the NHL he will do something positive. He has 7 goals this season.
And three of them he recorded in one game. I’m not too thrilled with a
non-physical 6’5 Offensive minded forward. Unless he’s Eric Daze.
Which Toms is definitively not. I’m not sure he would be on a NHL roster
if Ron Low weren’t so obsessed with him. But even lately Low has made
Toms a healthy scratch.
Purinton, Defenseman - Grade: C-
You know what folks? Take away some inopportune penalties and
undisciplined violence Dale is a whole lot steadier on the backline then
Karpa or Ulanov. OK so that not saying much, but when Purinton actually
gets to play he covers his man and clears the net. This is what a 5th or
6th defenseman is supposed to do. Dale’s destiny lies within himself. In
order to stay in the NHL Purinton has got to find a happy medium between
quenching his thirst for the oppositions blood and impressing his coaches
with steady smart defensive play. In other words he needs to learn to pick
his spots for his skullduggery and concentrate on his “game” more.
Scott, Left Wing - Grade: C-
In his 5 game call up with the Rangers he showed he could fight and not be
a liabilty on the ice. These are two traits Steve Mckenna hasn’t
mastered in his 41 games that he has suited up yet this season. I would
much rather see Scott patrolling the 4th line LW position then Mckenna.
But Scott’s one goal in 30 games in Hartford can’t be helping his
cause to get back to the big club.
Nedved, Center - Grade: D
Petr Nedved has played 55 games this year and guys named Matt Cullen, Todd
White and Daniel Briere have more points. He is frankly downright
frustrating to watch he simply doesn’t convert on his scoring chances.
He had a stretch where he went almost a dozen games with recording only
one assist. If he is not going to be a playmaking non-entity at center why
didn’t Ron Low switch him to wing to play with Dvorak and let Messier
center that line? Now that Messier appears to be out for the season all
hope of that scenario is dead and buried. Nedved is a natural LW but Ron
Low refused to use this an option to get any semblance of a productive
second line going. Nedved is simply not pulling his weight at Center this
year. No excuses on this one he have been very sub par.
Messier, Center - Grade: D
It was almost inevitable that Mark would have an injury prone season after
going the whole entire 2000-2001 NHL campaign without missing a game. At
41 the mind is willing but the body isn’t. It now appears Mark will be
out the rest of the season and frankly after the way Mark played this year
his on-ice presence won’t be missed that much. Mark’s play last year
is just what the Rangers needed THIS year. This season Messier simply didn’t
provide the powerplay production in the 41 games needed for the Rangers to
win consistently. I’m not blaming the entire Powerplay futility on Mark
but his role was to be a third line center and log some quality PP time.
Two PP goals in 41 games simply isn’t cutting it. At 5 ½ million per
year this was a wasted season for Mark and it looks like it might be for
the Rangers as well.
Malhotra, Center/Wing - Grade: D
This was the year for Manny to show if he had or has any promise or if he
is just another name to be logged in the ever-growing ledger of Ranger
first round busts. It’s official folks Manny is a bust. Other then his
2-goal performance against the Islanders in a losing effort he has shown
nothing of what it seems he is capable of doing. He needs to hit and to be
involved. It was imperative this season for Malhotra to solidify a
position on the second line. He can’t even solidify a spot on the 4th
line on most nights. Manny needed to start the season ready to come out
flying, he didn’t. He has been playing a bit better lately but basically
it’s little way too late.
Karpa, Defenseman - Grade: D
Has worst plus/minus of any Ranger defenseman with a -8. Other then
blocking shots his game is poor. He is Probably the most non physical “physical
defenseman” he was deemed to be when he was brought in here as basically
the Rich Pilon replacement. I think most of us agree even if it were
begrudgingly that Rich Pilon was a helluva lot better then this guy. He
has become increasingly self destructive of late. Karpa has logged a lot
of ice time this year and shows signs that he is now running out of what
little gas he had left in his tank.
Mckenna, Left Wing - Grade: D
Barely serviceable. Has a “bit” of trouble staying on his skates
during fights. Haven’t seen one fight that Mckenna has been involved in
where he doesn’t end up lying flat on his back staring up at the Arena’s
ceiling. I do have to give him credit for his attitude. He takes on all
comers no questions asked. I’d like to see Mckenna’s attitude
transferred over to McCarthy.
Ulanov, Defenseman - Grade: F
Just goes to show that even the great Ranger Extreme can be wrong
occasionally. I predicted this guy would be a nice addition to the Rangers
after the season he had last year in Edmonton. I was wrong. DEAD wrong. He
has been god awful as a Ranger. The “Russian Stink Bomb” as I have now
dubbed him has been as reliable as Mariah Carey since the Rangers acquired
him. He’s slow and a costly giveaway machine. A mistake waiting to
happen. Another Sather Free Agent gem.
Heisten, Left Wing - Grade: F
Destined to be a career minor leaguer in a 30 team NHL. E’nuff said.
Boggled the mind on why he was up with the big club with his no goals, no
assists and a -4 +/- rating in his 10 game stint.
Fata, Right Wing - Grade: F
Joker extraordinaire. Calgary seems to like him maybe they will hopefully
reclaim this piece of lost luggage.
Dawe, Right Wing - Grade: F
AHL nobody. Jason Duh ?
Smrek, Defenseman - Grade: F
Eight games and a –7 plus/minus. He looked very green and very bad.
Grosek, Left Wing - Grade: INCOMPLETE
Low doesn’t like his work ethic and thinks Michal needs an attitude
adjustment. I think both of these twits should be on the first train out
of here. Low long ago decided to bury Grosek in the minors even before the
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