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Kasper and Pock Back
13 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2006 - 5:16PM #1
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December 5, 2006 -- It appears the streak of 16 games in which the Rangers have gone with the same six defensemen working in the same three pairs will end Thursday night when the Penguins visit the Garden. It appears both Darius Kasparaitis and Thomas Pock will get the call from Tom Renney to replace Sandis Ozolinsh and Karel Rachunek.

"It would be reasonable to expect both Darius and Thomas to play," the head coach said yesterday following the no-nonsense, work-oriented, 75-minute practice in the wake of the debacle of a defensive effort in the 7-4 defeat by the Islanders a night earlier at the Garden. "That would be the fair way to characterize it."

The Rangers have lost four straight games - one in regulation, three while getting a consolation point - during which they've suffered a mounting number of breakdowns in their own end of the ice. Sunday, a defense unit that is rarely physical, was passive in the extreme, allowing Islander forwards to gain good ice and attack the net without ever fearing a bump.

"Forwards will be aware of me when I'm on the ice," Kasparaitis said. "My value is that I can hit and I can get opponents off their game, that hasn't changed for me.

"When I get the chance, I'm going to play hard, I'm going to bring enthusiasm onto the ice, and I'm going to hit people."

Of the 15 even-strength goals the Rangers have allowed over the last four games, the Ozolinsh-Rachunek pair has been on the ice for five. The recently and increasingly erratic Aaron Ward-Fedor Tyutin tandem has been on for six, including five of the nine in the last two games. The Marek Malik-Michal Rozsival pair has been on for only one against. Mixed pairs have been on for the other three allowed in the losing streak.

Pock, who last week declined management's request to join the AHL Wolf Pack for a conditioning assignment of up to 14 days, has played one game as fourth-line forward in the last 22 matches, and hasn't played a game on defense since Oct. 14, when he went minus-three in Buffalo. Kasparaitis hasn't played a game in the NHL since Oct. 30. He's played six all season.

"I feel awful about what's happened, but there is no point in complaining about it and I'm not angry at anyone," the 34-year-old Kasparaitis said. "I've talked to Tom and to Glen [Sather] and they've both told me to work hard so that I'd be ready when I get my chance.

"I don't really understand why I'm in the position I'm in or what happened. The team knew I wasn't going to be 100 percent at training camp after my surgeries this summer, but it seemed like from the first day my role had changed.

"It's been a tough time. It's been very painful watching these games every day. But all I can control is me. I have nothing negative to say about the organization or Tom. I appreciate what Glen did in signing me and giving me the chance to play for the New York Rangers.

"I just want to do what I can to get back to being the old me and help this team win."

That sounds reasonable.


13 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2006 - 9:38PM #2
Posts: 0
This is good to hear...about time Pock got a chance to play...and Kasper on the blueline will add a much more physical game to our defensive crew.

Hipefully Callahan gets another shot to play... he played well in his limited ice time in Buffalo...
13 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2006 - 11:54PM #3
Posts: 0
well the defense needed some kind of change after sunday night , hopefully this is the change it needed
13 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2006 - 9:16AM #4
Posts: 0
Just read that Callahan got re-assigned to Harford...ah well there goes that idea lol...

good to see Kasper and Pock hopefully get a shot to play...
13 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2006 - 1:58PM #5
Posts: 0
both will be playing , that is what was said in the article
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