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09-17-2008, 08:27 AM
  #1
Fletch
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Wednesday's Larry Brooks...

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09172008...ney_129419.htm

thought it was odd who he determined to be 'set' at wing, a list that includes Prucha, Orr and Voros and doesn't include Fritsche, Sjo and Rissmiller. He further implies there's a battle for the fourth center spot between Betts, Nedved and Anisimov. I'm guess that Larry's been paying a lot of attention to baseball and lost touch with hockey - but it's at least nice to see hockey articles begin to flow once again.

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09-17-2008, 08:48 AM
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Good to have Larry’s nonsense back for conversation. He’s really under-estimating Tom’s love for Betts. I have no problem with Blair centering the 4th line (especially over the other 2 options) but I have trouble believing it’s much a competition at this point (unless someone like Moore comes in and really presses the issue).

I can’t say I agree the 7 of the 8 forward slots are set in stone at this point, just seems counter-productive to the culture and talent that they have put together for this year. I don’t think Prucha Callahan or Voros have locked anything up, but I do think they probably have less to prove to get it. I do think Orr will be around for 50 some-odd games this year if only because he is our only option in the heavyweight category and has managed to turn himself into an okay player for 4th line duty and 5 minutes in the box.

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09-17-2008, 09:01 AM
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i think korpedo can challenge blair....faster very good defensively and has more offense. put voros on one wing, and sjostrom on the other and it is a fast good d line with scoring ability.

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09-17-2008, 09:05 AM
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i think korpedo can challenge blair....faster very good defensively and has more offense. put voros on one wing, and sjostrom on the other and it is a fast good d line with scoring ability.
Unfortunately, it think its going to come down to salary. Korpikoski makes over 1M. Slightly less than Callahan and Dawes combined.

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09-17-2008, 09:06 AM
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Tom does have a love for Betts - but I do believe he wants to get more offense out of his third and fourth lines, so there is a dilemma of sorts. He also love Orr. So if you start with Orr and Betts as your fourth liners, his dream of offense from that lines pretty much vanishes immediately. His other option is to play them 4-5 minutes per game (and increase Betts' PK time a bit so he still gets about 8-9 minutes per game). As well, it's a bit frightening to think (at least for me) that in Renney's mind he can see Nedved on the fourth line providing offense.

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09-17-2008, 09:07 AM
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nich - but Blair's a centerman and Korpedo's a winger.

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09-17-2008, 09:08 AM
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Tom does have a love for Betts - but I do believe he wants to get more offense out of his third and fourth lines, so there is a dilemma of sorts. He also love Orr. So if you start with Orr and Betts as your fourth liners, his dream of offense from that lines pretty much vanishes immediately. His other option is to play them 4-5 minutes per game (and increase Betts' PK time a bit so he still gets about 8-9 minutes per game). As well, it's a bit frightening to think (at least for me) that in Renney's mind he can see Nedved on the fourth line providing offense.
I agree that Betts is probably not a lock for a spot. It seems as though Renney would like to roll 4 lines. Does that put Fritsche in the picture as the 4th line center?

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09-17-2008, 09:14 AM
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i wouldn't want to see betts out of the lineup, he's too good a PKer and was a big reason it was so successful last year

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09-17-2008, 09:21 AM
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Lets make 1 thing straight(i dont know about you guys but)

Blair betts is THE reason i enjoy watching any type of SH situations with the rangers, i wouldnt want a penalty to begin with but once it happens it's time for the blair betts show with his right hand man Chris Drury

i wouldn't dare take betts off.

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09-17-2008, 09:22 AM
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I dont' think Prucha is at all certain.......of spot in the line up.

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09-17-2008, 09:22 AM
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I was going to put Fritsche's name there, but I thought that him playing on a fourth line is probably a waste of his youth and talent ,and playing him with a guy like Orr to provide 'balance' won't further his development at all. I can see the fourth line getting less time than last season because I think there's more and better third line depth than there was last season, especially with Korps maturing, Fritsche, Voros, Rissmiller, etc., compared to Strudwick and Hollweg. In other words, I can see Renney doing what he did down the stretch and in the postseason, which was 3-5 minutes per game, typically, but a bit more minutes when the schedule gets tight and he wants to give his top nine forwards a rest.

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09-17-2008, 09:24 AM
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Larry Melnyk
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Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway View Post
I agree that Betts is probably not a lock for a spot. It seems as though Renney would like to roll 4 lines. Does that put Fritsche in the picture as the 4th line center?
If Renney wants to roll 4 lines, he better be careful..Because what's the purpose of rolling 4 mediocre (at best) lines and sacrificing defense from the bottom 2 lines and perhpas more scoring for a more fortified top 2 lines...I guess that is what camp is for but I can't be the only one that thinks a top 2 lines of Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev and Prucha-Drury-Dawes could possibly be as physically weak and unproductive as any top 2 in the league...

And I don't think there should be any consideration of moving Betts off the 4th line...He is exactly what you want there...Playing around with the wings is what you need to do..And I think the Rangers are missing the boat with this current team if they don't play Drury at W and Play Dubi at 2nd C, giving us our best top 2 lines possible...The 3rd line would sort itself out, even if it means Fritsche or somebody else at C..I'd rather have uncerttianity there then the huge question mark of Prucha on the top 2 lines..

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09-17-2008, 09:25 AM
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Betts isn't moving off the 4th line until you can find a guy who can win faceoffs and kill penalties AND score goals. And once you do that you're probably talking about a third line center anyway.

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09-17-2008, 09:30 AM
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Betts isn't moving off the 4th line until you can find a guy who can win faceoffs and kill penalties AND score goals. And once you do that you're probably talking about a third line center anyway.
Not on this team. The team's strength is down the middle.

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09-17-2008, 09:31 AM
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mm..

I thought the philosophy was to get faster.

Keeping Betts in the lineup is like signing Shanahan. Totally counter to what managment has said its trying to accomplish.

Betts is a goner. We have much better depth behind him. And to think that out of all the players in the lineup, that Betts is our only PK option is borderline retarded.

I am sure that Drury and Fritche could do the same thing.

Betts was a great option with the old team because we didn't have the influx of speed that we do now have. We simply do not need a lockdown line, thats just the way it works when you want to get faster.

Good thing is his trade value will be pretty good so I would expect some good picks or some good talent to come in with Blair Betts trade.

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09-17-2008, 09:33 AM
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I could see Fritsche battling for Betts' spot. However, weren't there some reports from Jackets fans saying face-offs were not his strong suit?

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09-17-2008, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyGSpot View Post
I thought the philosophy was to get faster.

Keeping Betts in the lineup is like signing Shanahan. Totally counter to what managment has said its trying to accomplish.

Betts is a goner. We have much better depth behind him. And to think that out of all the players in the lineup, that Betts is our only PK option is borderline retarded.

I am sure that Drury and Fritche could do the same thing.

Betts was a great option with the old team because we didn't have the influx of speed that we do now have. We simply do not need a lockdown line, thats just the way it works when you want to get faster.

Good thing is his trade value will be pretty good so I would expect some good picks or some good talent to come in with Blair Betts trade.
Betts is fast enough to keep up with the focus on speed. The guy is considered one of the top 5 4th line centers in the league. He's exactly what you want from that position. So the idea that we have much better depth behind him is, in my mind, inaccurate. His job shouldn't be up for grabs.

I bet his offensive production improves with different linemates too.

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09-17-2008, 09:37 AM
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larry...

thanks for painting that picture. The top line theoretically looks quite good. That second line looks like a disaster. I've been against the notion of moving Drury to wing (only because I keep thinking there had to be a winger out there for $7MM who was a better option than Drury), but that's just principle and not being practical. But if Prucha is going to be a winger on this team, and Drury is going to be a centerman, then I'd want to see Prucha with either Gomez or Dubinsky. There still is a Shanny wildcard out there. And of course you can make sense of nearly any line out there. If Drury is a winger (and I need to get out of my head that he's a centerman), then perhaps that makes things a bit clearer regarding the top six, and weakens the bottom six a bit.

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09-17-2008, 09:45 AM
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mikeyG

Betts isn't the only option as a PKer, but he's a darn good one. But this is where it gets tricky. When there were arguments to keep Ortmeyer around because he was such a good fourth line energy guy and who was the team's best PKer, it was shot down because of his lack of talent. Enter Betts, and the story seems a bit different. I honestly don't see much of a difference in Betts compared to Ortmeyer. We talk so much about Betts' faceoff abilities, but when he faces a greater percentage of better players, as he did last season compared to other seasons, his PK % drops dramatically (it was around 46-47% most of the season and started to inch up to 50% when he was again playing against fourth lines).

Personally, I'm fine with a fourth line getting few minutes with Betts getting PK time. This just means that the third line would get more time than normal third lines so the top two lines aren't overloaded. I haven't worked out the exact minutes in my head, but it may also entail Drury getting a bit less PK minutes. Just a thought.

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09-17-2008, 09:52 AM
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Whatever... we are doomed anyway you look at this roster.
No one will challenge anyone. The camp would just be a formality - Renney knows whom he wants and it is impossible to do any selection or development under such a schedule. The only thing to look for besides new faces is how Dubi is doing. The rest of Cs are locked, including Betts who will not have any challenge unless he forgot how to skate.

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09-17-2008, 10:01 AM
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thanks for painting that picture. The top line theoretically looks quite good. That second line looks like a disaster. I've been against the notion of moving Drury to wing (only because I keep thinking there had to be a winger out there for $7MM who was a better option than Drury), but that's just principle and not being practical. But if Prucha is going to be a winger on this team, and Drury is going to be a centerman, then I'd want to see Prucha with either Gomez or Dubinsky. There still is a Shanny wildcard out there. And of course you can make sense of nearly any line out there. If Drury is a winger (and I need to get out of my head that he's a centerman), then perhaps that makes things a bit clearer regarding the top six, and weakens the bottom six a bit.
Fletch, I too would rather have Drury at C--and indeed Gomez-Drury-Dubi down the middle is very strong-- but then the wings, esp[ecially on the top 2 lines are very weak and soft in my opinion....I really would have no problem with Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev; Drury-Dubinsky-Dawes,Voros-Fritsch-Cally, Betts-Whoever...

Again, not alot of scoring form the bottom 2 lines, but much more from the top 2 lines then any other possible combinations..Plus, I think our defense with defensive questiom marks like Mara, Kalinin and Redden (both individually and collectively) is going to need the help from defensively strong 3rd and 4th lines during the first half of the season..And maybe later in the year, we get that top-6 winger we need?

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09-17-2008, 10:15 AM
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Larry and Fletch, I think when you cut Jagr out of the equation and there isn't a player/line taking 25-28 minutes a night, you have to alter your strategy. Over-reliance on the top line isn't going to pay the kind of dividends it used to, at least I don't think so.

I envision a useable 4th line that can play more ES minutes so that your other lines are hitting their ideal TOI's. Everyone needs to chip in what they can because the team isn't built to carry 6-8 forwards that make no contribution, as has been the case for so long.

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09-17-2008, 10:19 AM
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Renney can get more offense out of the fourth but not if he is dressing guys like Orr and Hollweg as the wingers.

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09-17-2008, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyGSpot View Post
I thought the philosophy was to get faster.

Keeping Betts in the lineup is like signing Shanahan. Totally counter to what managment has said its trying to accomplish.

Betts is a goner. We have much better depth behind him. And to think that out of all the players in the lineup, that Betts is our only PK option is borderline retarded.

I am sure that Drury and Fritche could do the same thing.

Betts was a great option with the old team because we didn't have the influx of speed that we do now have. We simply do not need a lockdown line, thats just the way it works when you want to get faster.

Good thing is his trade value will be pretty good so I would expect some good picks or some good talent to come in with Blair Betts trade.
No one is saying that Betts is our only PK option, just that he's our best PKer (although I'd put Drury right there with him).

I agree with the idea that we don't have the depth at wing to justify giving the 4th line a whole lot of playing time. With that strategy, you're looking at them getting 5-8 mins of ES strength time per game. And when you add in Betts' PK minutes, you've got him in the ideal role.

I also think that people put too much emphasis on line combinations. They're not set in stone, especially in Renney's system. He like the centermen to be able to work with multiple winger combinations, so you're likely to see Betts skating alongside Sjostrom, Voros, Fritsche, Korpikoski, Orr, Rissmiller, Shanahan, Callahan, and Prucha at some point this season.

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09-17-2008, 10:20 AM
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Renney can get more offense out of the fourth but not if he is dressing guys like Orr and Hollweg as the wingers.
Well Hollweg isn't here anymore, so you don't have to worry about that. And with all the different options at wing heading into camp, we probably won't see nearly as much of Orr as we have in the past.

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