The Blueshirts haven't made the playoffs since Wayne Gretzky retired but are off to a decent start thanks largely to a revitalized Jaromir Jagr. Here are recent game notes on the five-time NHL scoring champ as well as goalie sensation Henrik Lundqvist, Fedor Tyutin, and new Euro forwards Petr Prucha and Marcel Hossa.
Jaromir Jagr (NYR), RW
Nothing short of dominant this season and playing like old self again .. dangerous all night when in possession while being greeted by a chorus of boo's every time he touched the puck .. his height, skating and slick stickwork all factor into his success, enabling him to make moves at top speed .. displays great patience with the puck .. on one play, made a sensational backhand pass for a goal after casually outwaiting a diving defenseman .. rolls off defenders along the half boards, where he seems to have his best vision of the ice .. a double-edged dilemma to checkers, similar to Mario Lemieux in that he'll find an ideal shooting zone if you give him too much space and the perfect pass if you over-pressure him .. boasts a great one-timer and consistently throws pucks to the net .. logs incredible PP minutes and is shooting more on the urging of coach Tom Renney .. Jagr led the league in scoring the last time he recorded over 400 shots, which he's on pace for again.
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), G
An instant fan favourite in New York .. practices what might be termed an "aggressive butterfly" style that appears a bit unorthodox at first glance, yet perfectly suited to exploit his sensational quickness and athleticism .. demonstrates great recovery powers .. likes to kick out his legs like Bill Ranford used to do .. showed too much five-hole in this contest as a pair of shots found their way through and thereafter had the opposition targeted on testing .. relies heavily on a solid glovehand that he keeps away from his body .. literally stands straight up when shooters are at the point or near the blueline to get a better track on the puck .. only goes down to the butterfly when players are swarming around the side of his net .. at times, it seems as if he doesn't prepare fast enough and drops down prematurely as a result, though this again is just his unique way of doing things .. can make a quick outlet pass but was guilty off coughing up the puck on one occasion that required a desperation save 15 feet outside his crease .. establishing himself as an NHL starter and on track to backstop his country at the Olympics - not too shabby for a rookie.
Fedor Tyutin (NYR), D
Playing considerably more minutes while Tom Poti works to escape coach Renney's doghouse, and is responding well to the added responsibility .. capable of headmanning the puck and is a smooth, quick skater .. though blessed with a sizable frame, doesn't play overly big .. instead relies on his sound skating .. especially effective in reverse as he is very adept at moving laterally and disrupting the rush at his blueline .. loses positioning on his coverage around the crease at times, but otherwise plays a safe and reliable game .. makes a nice crisp first pass out of his zone .. keeps his puckmoving simple, doesn't get too fancy and will just throw the puck off the boards as a last resort .. smart defender, knows how to use his body effectively to defend against odd-man breaks .. plays the second PP unit and boasts a hard low shot with a good release point .. not much of an offensive threat yet as his role is still fairly conservative at this stage in his development.
Petr Prucha (NYR), RW/C
In and out of the mix but getting top-line auditions as coach Renney likes to play the Czechs together .. doesn't look at all out of place alongside talented players as he is able to adapt quickly and mesh his style to suit .. smallish player who takes hits and keeps coming back for more .. goes to the net aggressively .. moves the puck well as his stickhandling abilities are top notch .. sees action on the second PP unit, demonstrating his strong passing skills .. still hasn't found his groove offensively yet certainly possesses some attractive tools .. should contribute more as his icetime increases.
Marcel Hossa (NYR), LW
Acquired early in the season from Montreal in a trade for Garth Murray .. made instant impact in New York with three goals in his first five games but has since slowed down .. possesses a decent stride coupled with quick acceleration .. shows good offensive jam around the net as his quick hands allow him to stickhandle effectively in tight quarters .. seems to plays a rather cautious game for the most part though, focused on staying in position and avoiding the dreaded minus stat and accompanying loss of icetime.