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Brooks seems to think that a possible shakeup for defensemen may be on tap

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Old
04-13-2006, 09:22 AM
  #1
True Blue
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Brooks seems to think that a possible shakeup for defensemen may be on tap

Per today's post"

Quote:
This leaves the sixth spot open, despite Sandis Ozolinsh appearing to have dibs on it as a byproduct of his experience, talent and recent acquisition from Anaheim. But even as Ozolinsh's numbers have been reasonable (3-10-13, plus-two, on for 16 power-play goals in 17 games), he's been an adventure since arriving March 9. He's risk-reward, all right, all the time, and repeated poor decisions have put excess pressure on his various partners and forwards.

At the same time, Thomas Pock has been extremely impressive in this latest and most impressive incarnation as a Ranger. Pock was likely the team's best defenseman in New Jersey. He's played with poise at both ends, and doesn't force tries that are not there. He's not nearly as creative on the point as Ozolinsh, but he is cool back there. Of course, Pock has played all of six NHL games this year, 12 in his career, and has never before faced Stanley Cup playoff tempo.

Then there's the remote possibility of 19-year-old, 2005 first-round draft Marc Staal, proving he's a prodigy ready for the big stage now that his OHL Sudbury Wolves are out of their playoffs. The Rangers are believed to be making arrangements to have him join the squad as quickly as possible.

Renney, asked yesterday whether he'd consider using Staal under these circumstances, paused for only a moment before responding.

"Yes," the coach said, with a wide smile. "I would."


By now, we have all learned to take whatever Brooks states with a grain of salt. However, is he really that far off the mark by suggesting that Ozolinsh may simply be too much of a defensive liability during the playoffs?
I know that Pock has his detractors, but am I really that far out of line by suggesting that he has not looked out of place at all defensively? IMO, offensively he can be everything Poti was supposed to be. Strictly offensively speaking, he is beginning to remind me of a young Gonchar. Do the Rangers really loose that much offense if Ozolinsh sits and Pock plays?
Personally, I view this as a Brooksian flight of fancy. There is simply no way that Staal plays in the playoffs. And I just do not see Ozolinsh being sat. However, again I state that Pock, despite his much talked about defensive problems, has appeared as good defensively as any Ranger defenseman not named Kasper or Malik. The Rangers just very well may be better off having Ozolinsh scratched and Pock inserted.

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04-13-2006, 09:31 AM
  #2
NYR469
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pock deserves to stay in the lineup, atleast for the time being imo.

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04-13-2006, 09:38 AM
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Pock has shown me a lot the last couple of games. He's been responsible in his own end for the most part. But what stuck out most to me was his patience with the puck on leading a breakout. He never rushed things and just throw the puck out, he slowed the game down to his tempo and nicely led the play out of the zone.

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04-13-2006, 09:41 AM
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I think both Pock...

and Ozo are dangerous back there. Ozo will get the nod, I think, due to his playoff experience (and he did play well, even defensively if I remember correctly, in Anaheim's Stanley Cup run). Further, you sit Ozo and $2.75MM is wasted against the cap next season, or something thereabout. It's tough to trade a guy with that price tag who was sat for a rookie in the playoffs.

I like what Renney said about Staal. I'm dying to see that kid. Still wished he would've been given a real shot in training camp - but that's done and he may be here to stay at only 19 years of age.

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04-13-2006, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYRangersFan
Pock has shown me a lot the last couple of games. He's been responsible in his own end for the most part. But what stuck out most to me was his patience with the puck on leading a breakout. He never rushed things and just throw the puck out, he slowed the game down to his tempo and nicely led the play out of the zone.
Yeah, Pck surprised me some in the last couple of games by not being a liability in his own end and playing an all around solid game. Patient with the puck and making good decisions with it now, not forcing things like Ozo has been doing lately...

Fletch, I can certainly understand you being hesitant about Pck being back on the blueline, especially with playoff hockey coming up, but frankly if he kept playing like he did the past couple of games, I think he'd actually be an upgrade to the Rangers D. Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention, but I can't remember him making any real defensive mistakes these past couple of games.

Relying on him to keep that level of play up is another thing though, and he doesn't bring the offense from the blueline that Ozo does...but damn has he been calm and collected with the puck lately.

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04-13-2006, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue
Per today's post"



By now, we have all learned to take whatever Brooks states with a grain of salt. However, is he really that far off the mark by suggesting that Ozolinsh may simply be too much of a defensive liability during the playoffs?
I know that Pock has his detractors, but am I really that far out of line by suggesting that he has not looked out of place at all defensively? IMO, offensively he can be everything Poti was supposed to be. Strictly offensively speaking, he is beginning to remind me of a young Gonchar. Do the Rangers really loose that much offense if Ozolinsh sits and Pock plays?
Personally, I view this as a Brooksian flight of fancy. There is simply no way that Staal plays in the playoffs. And I just do not see Ozolinsh being sat. However, again I state that Pock, despite his much talked about defensive problems, has appeared as good defensively as any Ranger defenseman not named Kasper or Malik. The Rangers just very well may be better off having Ozolinsh scratched and Pock inserted.
Pock was pounced on because he made a pivitol mistake in a critical game while we were in the midst of a slump. That mistake could have happened to any NHLer. Besides that mistake I have not noticed the atrocious defensive play people have been talking about. He is not Larry Robinson but he is not as bad as many NHL defensivemen, Ozolinsh included. Pock has tremendous potential and being this is a rebuilding year in which we are finding out which players we want to keep, I'd play Pock. We don't have any defenseman prospects that have the offensive potential he brings. He's shown he can be a force on the offense and every NHL team needs help in scoring from their defensemen, especially a team like ours that doesn't have balanced scoring across the board. I like Ozolinsh but beleive he sould be traded before enxt year for a pick.

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04-13-2006, 10:11 AM
  #7
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You say that him and Ozo are dangerous, Fletch, however I have only seen the latter be "dangerous". Save for the Columbus game, and he still got on the board in that game, I have yet to see Pock be a defensive liability in ANY of his games. Not in training camp, not in his games last year, and not in the games this year.
All the kid does is score points and hit the net, and can you really say that he has been a defensive liability?

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04-13-2006, 10:15 AM
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What's killing me is, had we gotten a meaningful look at Pock earleir in the season, there probably wouldn't have been a need for Ozolinsh at all.

Ozolinsh isn't going to sit out the first game of the playoffs, but if he turns in defensive performances anything like he did the past 2 games, Renney has no choice but to put someone else in.

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04-13-2006, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
What's killing me is, had we gotten a meaningful look at Pock earleir in the season, there probably wouldn't have been a need for Ozolinsh at all.

Ozolinsh isn't going to sit out the first game of the playoffs, but if he turns in defensive performances anything like he did the past 2 games, Renney has no choice but to put someone else in.
That's a good point. I'm one of the Pock detractors that TB mentioned but I would love to be proven wrong about the kid.

I just think it's going to be even harder for Pock to earn a spot next fall. Conceivably, Staal and a FA will be here to go along with Tyutin, Malik, Kaspar, and Ozo. And that doesn't even address Rozsival. Where's the roster spot?

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04-13-2006, 10:29 AM
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My biggest problem with Pock, Levitate...

and this is exactly why I think he wouldn't fare well in the playoffs, is that he isn't good along the boards. He does not win battles and often loses the puck behind the net and along the boards. When a forward hones in on him, he'll cough up the puck to save himself. That will result in a lot of turnovers in the playoffs and while Ozo is not much better, his size does better suit him to be more effective in that area.

TB - I recall a few rough shifts with Pock out there against the Isles - turnovers in his own zone and a lack in ability to battle and control the puck. No goal was scored though, but not because of Pock. Unfortunately he was paired with Liffiton a few times which may not have been fair - but that doesn't make up for individual play. And remember, Pock has been playing against third and fourth liners and not getting 20 minutes of ice time. Put Ozo back there against third and fourth liners and give him 15 minutes of ice time and his play will be more pallatable. It's a different world.

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04-13-2006, 10:30 AM
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Seems like that Ozo might be a offseason casulty zia trade or buyout if the team is thinking about sitting him for the postseason. Although think he will dress for the first game of the playoffs and, as Singing Blue's said, if he does not play well he will sit. If Ozo is considered the 6th d-man now, he and Poti could be gone next season (If they chose to resign Roszival) to allow space for Pock and Staal (I am feeling Staal because Renney seems to think very highly of the kid). That would give us 6 d-men with out and free agent additions: (These are not what I think the pairings should be, just the top 6 d-men for next season and depending on Poti's and Ozo's performance, for the playoffs)

Kaspar Toots
Malik Roszival (or free agent)
Pock Staal

Even with Roszival's great +/- I think that if Rangers have the chance to sign a Chara or Redden, they would have to jump on that opportunity.

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04-13-2006, 10:31 AM
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Tb...

one other note...you haven't seen Pock as a defensive liability? You didn't see a forward race towards Pock and about give feet before getting hit gave up the puck and lost it to try and avoid the hit? Or the numerous times he had the puck stripped away from him along the boards because he wasn't strong enough to retain the puck? Just because a goal was not scored against doesn't mean the liability's not there. He's played better than earlier in the season, but still, I'm not that impressed with his defensive abilities.

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04-13-2006, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
one other note...you haven't seen Pock as a defensive liability? You didn't see a forward race towards Pock and about give feet before getting hit gave up the puck and lost it to try and avoid the hit? Or the numerous times he had the puck stripped away from him along the boards because he wasn't strong enough to retain the puck? Just because a goal was not scored against doesn't mean the liability's not there. He's played better than earlier in the season, but still, I'm not that impressed with his defensive abilities.
Why not try him at forward? He really seems to have a decent nose for the net.

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04-13-2006, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
one other note...you haven't seen Pock as a defensive liability? You didn't see a forward race towards Pock and about give feet before getting hit gave up the puck and lost it to try and avoid the hit? Or the numerous times he had the puck stripped away from him along the boards because he wasn't strong enough to retain the puck? Just because a goal was not scored against doesn't mean the liability's not there. He's played better than earlier in the season, but still, I'm not that impressed with his defensive abilities.
Have I seen him as a defensive liability or have I seen aspects of his defensive game that definetly need to improve? Two different questions. To the first, the answer is no. To the second, the answer is yes. He has not been the liability that he has been billed as. He is not nearly the liability that Ozolinsh is and his play has been better than Poti's prior 2 years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway
I'm one of the Pock detractors that TB mentioned but I would love to be proven wrong about the kid.
You are not the lone one. You, Fletch & Edge have a similar opinion about the kid. I don't know. Am I missing something? What is it that you guys are seeing about his defensive game that I am not? Conversely, what is it that I am seeing in both his offensive and defensive games that you are not? Am I just viewing the game through Pock-colored glasses?

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04-13-2006, 11:12 AM
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He is the one defenseman...

who hangs around the red line a lot. I think that is because he's a converted defenseman and reverts back to his forward mentality. I'm not always in favor of these conversions, but that may make sense. With his speed, he could be a shorthanded threat at forward, and with his shot, reminds me a little of Rolston (OK, not that much of a rocket, but not bad either).

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04-13-2006, 11:14 AM
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Tb...

I see a guy who's weak along the boards and is often easily stripped of the puck. I also see a defenseman who plays small. Further, he's all over the defensive zone too much for my liking, as if he doesn't know where to be. That's what I'm seeing.

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04-13-2006, 11:19 AM
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I do believe that Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips are all available from the Sens ... I would take any one or two of them over Malik, Rosey or Poti (no way to get all three, Ottawa will resign one, probably Redden) ... Pock has earned a spot and the pair of Tuts and Kaspar should be the only three that get held on to ...

While I would love to see him on the blueline next year, I think Staal could use time with Hartford - defense is harder to jump right into the NHL than offense; he isn't as strong as a Phaneuf so it would be tougher.

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04-13-2006, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
I see a guy who's weak along the boards and is often easily stripped of the puck. I also see a defenseman who plays small. Further, he's all over the defensive zone too much for my liking, as if he doesn't know where to be. That's what I'm seeing.
I agree that he runs around the defensive zone too much. However, if Renney and Co. managed to get Poti and Rozsival to stop doing it, then I am sure they can have the same effect on Pock. I think that he plays a sound body-positioning game and is not as easily stripped of the puck for that reason.
Don't know. Maybe it's just me.

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04-13-2006, 11:25 AM
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I'm hesitant as all get out of playing Pock, even if I have seen good things from but I'm scared ****-less of playing OZO and his clueless defense.....And Taking all this into account and since the defesne is the biggest concern to me, maybe Fletch and TB (and/or maybe others) have the right idea in dressing 7 D-men and playing guys like OZO and Pock to their situational strengths..With Rucinsky out, this is not a problem because there is no need for Hossa and Orr to step foot on PO ice....Moore, Betts, Ward, Holly and Orts can be used interchangeably and there's a spot open for double shifting..

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04-13-2006, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by sstranged
I do believe that Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips are all available from the Sens ... I would take any one or two of them over Malik, Rosey or Poti (no way to get all three, Ottawa will resign one, probably Redden) ... Pock has earned a spot and the pair of Tuts and Kaspar should be the only three that get held on to ...

While I would love to see him on the blueline next year, I think Staal could use time with Hartford - defense is harder to jump right into the NHL than offense; he isn't as strong as a Phaneuf so it would be tougher.
Thats what everyone wants. But Staal can't start playing for Hartford till hes 20.

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04-13-2006, 12:18 PM
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Ozo has been getting ALOT of ice time. More than Jagr some nights. And thats almost half the game.

I think Renny believes he can teach Ozo how to be a better D man.

Intime for the playoffs...? ( nearvous laughter )

But next year...he'll get a shot to work it out off season. He is quite the offensive threat and the Rangers need more of that from players other than JJ.

It will be a big relief when Kasper is back

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04-13-2006, 12:32 PM
  #22
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Originally Posted by cycleandshoot
Ozo has been getting ALOT of ice time. More than Jagr some nights. And thats almost half the game.

I think Renny believes he can teach Ozo how to be a better D man.
He has been getting a ton of ice time, but the results from a defesive standpoint have been disasterous. He has been an utter liability in the defensive zone every time that he steps onto the ice. With the division race and the playoffs starting so soon, is now really the time to find out what you can do with him?
And as for the offense, just how much of a difference has he really made? Seems to me the the offesive results would not be much different if Pock played and Ozolinsh sat.
I know that at his price tag, it would be very hard to sit him. However, Ozolinsh has not shown that he is "getting it". Can the Rangers really afford such a gamble during the playoffs? And make no mistake about it, every time that Ozolinsh steps onto the ice it is a gamble. He is just as likely to set up the other team as he is his own.

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04-13-2006, 03:50 PM
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Pock has played better then what I though he was capable of especially in his own end. In his defense the whole team has looked unsettled in their own zone on and off since the Olympic break. I really believe that its because of the injuries we've had and guys are being asked to play in different situations then earlier in the season. This team plays solid defense when they play within the system. When guys are asked to play a different role then they have most of the year then it starts to break down. Ozo has been a nightmare too often in his own zone yet he's the only d-man that can generate any offense from the back. You gotta keep sending him out there and hope that he gets more comfortable in his own zone. Interesting to see who they pair Staal up with once he gets here.

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04-13-2006, 05:07 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by JerseyRangers
Ozo has been a nightmare too often in his own zone yet he's the only d-man that can generate any offense from the back. You gotta keep sending him out there and hope that he gets more comfortable in his own zone. Interesting to see who they pair Staal up with once he gets here.
I do not think so. IMO, Pock can provide plenty of offense from the back. His points scored, given the amount of games that he has played speak for themselves. It is a rather small sample though.
I do not think that you can simply keep sending Ozolinsh out there in hopes that he straightens himself out. The playoffs are around the corner and you simply cannot gamble that way.
As for Staal, if he plays, one only hopes that Ozolinsh is not his partner.

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04-13-2006, 05:44 PM
  #25
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Bottom line:

Ozo is inconsistent, sometimes he's making amazing defensive plays or offensive plays -- 2 minutes later he's letting a guy skate right past him pokechecking away or throwing a blind pass to Jagrs direction.

Pock does the same things mostly, but imo is more easily taught or conditioned by coaching. I'd rather go with Ozo in the playoffs, but if someone got hurt I don't mind Pock in there. Pock just needs some more time to evolve. I was a lot harder on him before I listened to him talk and saw his effort to improve.

Also when Kaspar, Malik, & Poti come back I think Ozo will get reduced ice time (ES). Kaspar used to play quite a few minutes himself.

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