2007-01-12 / Sports

Renney Rips Rangers For Continued Poor On Ice Effort

By Joe McDonald and Brian Bohl Sports Columnists


NEW YORK - Tom Renney is a very laid back man, who doesn't fly off the handle too often. But when the situation calls for it, the current Ranger coach does have the fire of Herb Brooks in him.

Actually, after his team dropped a 5-3 decision to the Islanders on Tuesday night, Renney thought about pulling a Brooks' trick out of his pocket and wanted to keep his team on the ice.

"I'd like to play again right now," he said in a passionate post game press conference. "I'd like to put the stuff back on and go out there and play another three periods of hockey."

Of course, NHL rules prohibit that, but the coach did shut the door of the dressing room and proceeded to lay into his team.

"I am not happy," Renney fumed. "We were brutal. It's us. We're awful. We have no concept of camaraderie, no concept of team play, no concept of circling the wagons to go play these guys intelligently. We beat ourselves. We did some dumb things from start to finish. "There was a point in time when we had about six minutes of good transition hockey, got our second goal. And then a ridiculous line change, a delayed penalty, and they score. We're in the dumper."

With the Islanders on a six game losing streak coupled with four straight Ranger wins, it looked like the Rangers could had a chance to make a statement in this game, and they did, but as the coach saw it was declaration of mediocrity. "We were perfect for the New York Islanders tonight," Renney said. "This is exactly what they needed and we measured right up to them. A real good rival, where every game is a four pointer. If that doesn't bring a sense of working together and following a scripted game plan that brings you success, I don't know what does.

Renney also spoke about the Rangers' lack of sharp decisions made on the ice.

"Our thought process was slow and cumbersome and didn't involve five people on the ice. The Islanders work hard, they have an idea of how to play us, and we allowed them to do it."

The Rangers were sloppy in their own zone with three Islander goals coming after failing to clear the puck and the last two coming on turnovers with the team giving up on the play.

"You can't just go for the big swing if there's a turnover," Renney continued. "You've got to come back as hard as you were going if not harder. In the first period we actually came back hard, came back too deep, left the points open. Good night. Then we got behind, now we're looping, we're leaving the zone early, we're trying to make 75 foot passes through people.

"It's minor league hockey."

It was obvious the Rangers played poorly, but why? The coach said it could be because the team may be sitting back and waiting for Jaromir Jagr, who had a goal with two assists, to produce. Or maybe they just can't deal with the pressure of these games.

"Maybe we were over-intense," he said. "I thought we were pretty intense to start the game. I thought we were kind of tight, I thought we were working hard - but not smart. Ultimately they tie it up and it's a different ball game after that. We were fighting ourselves."

So, what now? Renney said he isn't going to make any rash decisions after a loss like this, but "there's been signs that would suggest maybe we need to improve ourselves in certain ways. We just finished losing seven in a row, it doesn't mean you're doing a lot of things right. Let's not hide behind the fact that just because we've won four we've corrected everything.

"Whether it leads us to redefine ourselves with some different personnel remains to be seen."

And if that doesn't work, maybe a doubleheader next time.

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