Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Plea For Petr Prucha. . .

And this time, not even from me.

Larry Brooks, for a second time this season, devoted an entire article in the NY Post to Petr Prucha and the mystery that surrounds his not playing for the Rangers.

When he should be.

Face it. There is no reason - hockey related - why this player is not in the lineup. He can be no worse than at least half the players currently in it. And when given the chance to be in it, he has proven to be much more useful than more than half of those players currently taking up roster spots.

Brooks chooses to take Aaron Voros and Fredrick Sjostrom as examples. Now I like them both, to a degree, but I see his points.

Voros, the guy who was happily celebrating with Dubinsky and Zherdev to start the season, has disappeared. Now whether or not that is a natural dip in production or the fact that Renney tinkered with his linemates at the wrong moments, not sure. But he's hardly been effective in the last, well, couple months now.

Sjostrom, Brooks argues, is in the lineup more for his PK ability, which is important, no doubt, and his shootout abilities. Do not get me started, however, on the fact that when Dawes is in the lineup, more often than not, he is also a 3rd threat on the shootout. Naslund, Zherdev - those are your best guys, along with Sjostrom. But Dawes and even Drury have been effective. So that can't be the only reason. In Renney's case, I absolutely believe it is his lame excuse ,but it shouldn't be.

You know, funny thing, but a certain guy back 3 years ago was a great shoot-out performer for the Rangers. Shortish, skinny Czech guy with a great fake out and a brilliant smile. Yeah, that guy. He won more than a handful of games for the Rangers in the 5th period.

Regardless of who you pin it on - Sjostrom, Voros, or others - there are numerous players not earning their ice time for NY. That's a fact. There are certain ones that, thanks to Glennie baby, the Rangers are rather stuck with, or rather choose to continue to stick themselves with. But ther are other guys, like those mentioned above or some others, that certainly can take a seat in favor of Prucha coming into the lineup.

Have you seen what has happened so far this season - low scoring, no energy, boring one way hockey? Have you seen the play of the team that was not stellar, somehow get even less so?

Tell me how Prucha can possibly make the situation worse?

He can't. He simply can't.

The only way he shouldn't be playing is if he is inserted into the lineup and his gaffs, his personal gaffs, cost the Rangers to lose every game.

I just don't see how that's possible.

Thank you, Larry, for trying just one more time to stir up the Prucha debate in hopes of getting this kid playing. Whether in NY, in the Western Conference, or for Marty Straka's team in Plizen, he should play.

If he went to play with Marty, I would cry, because he would become just one more Rangers player of Czech origin to shine here and then be cast back out to his home country, but at least I know he'd be taken care of and cared for.

Most ironically in this, I spent a few days before viewing the games in Prague that I missed earlier this season - again for reasons beyond my control. And I watched, and I listened.

Despite the hurtful ignorance that originally had Prucha the odd man out, he did play, both games. And repeatedly it was mentioned how GREAT the line of Prucha, Korpikoski, and Callahan played.

Prucha and Callahan saw success with Dubinsky before - the line was great in January of 2008, so I was not suprised by that.

Even better. Prucha, a left wing, played in Prague - you guessed it - left wing. I'm sure he felt more natural. And the line was fast, forechecked like madmen and consistently kept the puck in Tampa Bay's zone.

They even got consistent time on the, wait for it.

Power play.

Yep. Both games. Not the first unit, but the second. And while they did not score, damn the so many times came close. (Miles closer than the Rangers moronic power play has come since).

When Dubinsky was asked after the first game in Prague what he thought, his first words were "the Korpikoski line played great."

Everyone said so.

Everyone saw it.

Yet they came back from Europe and Sjostrom went in (never to come out again, right?) and Prucha became odd man out.

Callahan continued his tempo, although not really scoring.

Korpikoski, with the exception of the two games he played with Dawes and Dan Fristche, has not looked as sharp as he did in Prague. At all.

Hell, the team has not looked as sharp as they did in Prague.

They were fast. Up-tempo. Forechecking. And fun.

Wanna get angrier?

Plenty of people lied to start the season. I don't know what upsets me more. Renney on how he'd look at and treat Petr Prucha. Redden on how he was looking forward to playing in NYC and continuing to be effective. Gomez on what the NY Rangers team would do.

Renney said Prucha would get every time and opportunity to play real minute and have a real role on this team because he's "very important" to the team and "such a good solider."


Wade Redden looked comfortable and poised in his post-game interview after game one, saying how he couldn't wait to continue the same in NY, after a goal and an assist.

Haven't seen him look anything close to comfortable or poised since then.


As for Gomez, you might have missed that one. What, you don't remember? Well allow me to refresh your memory.

After the second consequtive 2-1 win over Tampa Bay in Prague, Gomez said:

"Fans of New York should get used to this effort every night." We are going to be a "hard working" team, rolling "four lines." This is "how we are going to win" and this is "how we are going to play."

I heard that last week and said, wow, that is such:


I love this team. I'll always love them. But right now, they are hard to love.

There are a bunch of nice guys in the NY media, I'm sure, but only one is really willing to step up and say what everyone else is afraid to challenge and that's been Larry Brooks.

This team has been lucky. Their record is not a fair reflection of how they played.

Games like those against Toronto, against Montreal, against New Jersey, at home against Florida, and at home most recently against Washington, are clear reflections of this team not being capable of holding down a lead, playing with conviction, or being held responsible for their actions - GOOD or BAD.

It's embarassing, and it's disgusting.

And for the coach and the GM to not take the very able and very ready option they have literally wasting away in the locker room every game, says volumes about what brilliant hockey minds they are not.

One more plea for the young #25, who deserves to smile once more. Trade him, waive him, play him.

And if you are asking those 18,200 that stood and cheered on December 3rd, and those countless others that support him and want what's best for him -

We vote he should PLAY.

Play in New York, on LEFT WING, with what few players in the lineup do skate, do show effort, do come to play. And see what happens.

You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Will I be?

No. I know better. I know the good they have, the good they are apparently either too blind or too stubborn to see.

Note Brook's article from Wednesday:

1 comment:

Kerri said...

There's a rant!

As much as I want to watch Prucha play, if this is just another example of him being jerked around by the coaching staff (read: it is) then I'd rather see him stay a scratch until he gets waived. The in and out is just not fair to him, or the rest of the team at this point. How many line combos can we possibly see in one season?

If Voros is the one getting scratched for him, I'll be thrilled. Voros is not the guy who scored those goals with Dubi; when Dubinsky and Z were hot, that line succeeded, but now that Dubinsky struggles, Voros can't create anything himself. He's very slow, too, IMO, and should have never been on the PP to begin with.

I don't hate Voros or anything, I was loving him when the Playstation line was succeeding. But now, Dubi needs something, and I think putting him with an energy guy like Prucha or Callahan (or, preferably both) might do him some good.

And I think you made a good point about Prucha playing LEFT wing. Prucha had played Right Wing and Center, even, on his previous team in Czech, but he is a nature left winger. So has Drury complained of being uncomfortable as a center, Prucha must feel more comfortable in his natural position.

As for Dubinsky's "Korpi line played well" quote, I honestly believe that was his appeal for Prucha to stay, in a way. It's pretty clear Renney wanted Prucha to be a scratch in Prague, and then got a phone call from above saying "Tom, if you scratch the Czech in Prague, you are going to be in big trouble," and thus, we saw Prucha, despite the fact that Renney had him running extra sprinting drills. in practice, as healthy scratches normally do. I think Prucha is admired by some of the other players; when he scored his goal in early December, Gomez went on and on about Prucha. Dubinsky and Prucha were playing some game in practice a couple weeks back. So, I took that quote from Dubi as "look how well they're playing, Tom." I could be looking too far into it... but...