Friday, August 05, 2005

Rangers bring back Rucinsky again

Martin Rucinsky has already been a Ranger twice. He made it a trifecta late Wednesday night when he agreed to a one-year deal worth three million. Once again, the 34-year-old veteran left wing will play for New York, where he fit in well during previous stints.

Rucinsky became the third Czech free agent in two days to ink a deal with the club. They also signed Marek Malik and Martin Straka a day earlier. Rucinsky will rejoin Jaromir Jagr, who he combined with to score the gold medal winning goal against Canada at the 2005 World Championships at Austria back in May. He also could possibly team up with Straka when the season gets underway two months from now.

Originally acquired from the Dallas Stars along with now deceased Roman Lyashenko on March 12, 2002 in exchange for Manny Malhotra and Barrett Heistein, Rucinsky played very well in the final 15 games of that season registering three goals and 10 assists.

After playing a year with in St. Louis, Rucinsky returned to New York for the '03-04 season. The interchangeable forward often complemented Bobby Holik, Eric Lindros and Jagr on various lines. His superb speed and grinding two-way style meshed well with each. In 69 games, he tallied a solid 42 points (13-29-42) along with a respectable +13 rating before being dealt to Vancouver for Martin Grenier and R.J. Umberger on March 9, 2004.

Rucinsky can play in any situation and virtually in any role. Whether he's used on a scoring line or a checking line, he can excel. The former Edmonton Oilers '91 draft pick is always a threat shorthanded due to his rock solid skating and excellent defensive instincts.

Having played for seven different NHL clubs (Edmonton, Quebec/Colorado, Montreal, Dallas, New York, St. Louis, Vancouver), the well traveled Rucinsky will be entering his 15th season. He hasn't lasted an entire season with one team since '00-01 with Montreal when he played in just 57 contests registering 38 points (16-22-38).

In his Ranger career, Rucinsky has gone 16-39-55 in 84 games with the club. The Czech wing has 208 goals and 300 assists for 508 points in 817 total NHL games.

Blueshirts Add Two More And Re-sign Third: Thursday, the club announced that it had reached deals with Ville Nieminen and Jason Ward. Nieminen, 28, is a pesky wing who can get underneath the skin of opponents. He last played a key role on 2004 Stanley Cup runner-up Calgary, where he tallied eight points (4-4-8) in 24 postseason games. The former '97 Colorado selection will be joining his fifth club. Ward, 26, is a former number one choice (11th overall, '97 Draft) of the Montreal Canadiens. Though he has decent size (6-3 200), Ward has never been able to fulfill expectations. In 105 career NHL games, he's scored just 10 goals and 10 assists. However, more than half that production came in '03-04 when he appeared in a career best 53 contests tallying 12 points (5-7-12) with Montreal. ... Rangers re-signed RFA defenseman Thomas Pock to a three-year contract. Pock, 23, was originally signed as a free agent out of The University of Massachusetts on March 23, 2004. That same day, he dressed as a Ranger and scored his first career NHL goal against Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden. In six games, he scored twice and added two helpers. He played last season with Hartford and Charlotte. In 50 games with the Pack, Pock had just six points in an injury plagued season.


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