Friday, November 30, 2007

Brian Leetch Night Viewing Party

According the New York Rangers official website, the Rangers will be hosting a viewing party of the Brian Leetch Night pre-game ceremony and continued celebration throughout the Rangers vs. Atlanta game from the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden...

"Fans will have the opportunity to be a part of MSG's "Hockey Night Live" show, hosted by Al Trautwig, featuring interviews with many Rangers celebrities throughout the evening. Watch all the festivities in HD on giant screens and experience all the Leetch Night activities, including a giveaway, raffle prizes and more!

Exclusive American Express Cardmembers Pre-Sale begins on Monday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. until Monday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. To purchase tickets before the general public, click here.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m., via The Garden Box Office,, ticketmaster charge by phone 212-307-7171. All tickets are priced at $29.50."

...brilliant idea by the Rangers organization to allow those who cannot get a ticket for the game to still be a part of one of the greatest nights in Ranger history.

...however, it is a bit pricey.

"They brought their $#&$#&! toys with them!"

Terry Frei of, gives his ode to what he calls the greatest sports movie ever made "Slap Shot"...

"...Seriously, it's a great movie, great on several levels, great as a comedy and a satire, both laugh-out-loud funny and smile-wryly funny. The first time you saw it, you laughed the second the line came out of the character's mouth, and then several hours later after you thought about it.

And years later, it's still a classic.

I'm torn about the concept of a remake. Though it did well, in part because of relentless prerelease promotion and savvy selection of media types for cameo roles, 'The Longest Yard' remake was a joke. There are more 'Poseidons' -- disasters in more than genre -- than there are 'Oceans 11s.'..." "Slap Shot" an amazingly funny movie? Absolutely, but anyone who has ever seen "Caddy Shack", which I think is everyone, would most definitely disagree with Frei.

The New York Rangers Blog Called "Prolific"

While searching around the internet, I found this blog entry at Igloo Dreams, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog, which mentions my blog...

"...Rangers blog - New York Rangers Blog - check out the new Rangers blog - they're quite prolific with 67 posts so far in the month of November!"

...always appreciate a mention from my fellow bloggers. This mention is obviously a bit outdated as I now have 133 posts in the month of November. Man I need to get a life.

NHL Board of Directors Approve New NHL Schedule

According to, the NHL Board of Directors have approved a change to the league's scheduling format to allow every team to face each other at least once every season...

"...After a three-year experiment in developing rivalries in hockey's far-flung outposts, the NHL voted to go back to the scheduling format used before the 2004-05 lockout, most notably decreasing the current eight games against every team's divisional opponents to six.

Starting next season, teams will play just 24 total games against their four divisional foes, 40 against the rest of the conference and 18 against the other conference -- one game against all 15 foes, and three home-and-home series against wild-card opponents..."

...this is great news and shows the NHL is in tune, sort of, with the wants of its fans. a season ticket holder, its great to know that I will be able to see more Western Conference teams on a yearly basis.

Malik to Return to Lineup

With Paul Mara suffering from a sprained shoulder, it looks like Marek Malik will be returning to lineup Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators. From Steve Zipay at Newsday...

"Defenseman Paul Mara has a sprained shoulder, the result of a crunch in the boards in the third period against the Isles, and Marek Malik, who has missed 13 games with a sore back/ribs since a spill on Nov. 1, apparently will return to play with Michal Rozsival, while Marc Staal pairs with Jason Strudwick..." first glance I was furious with Renney for splitting the Rozsival/Staal pairing, but when I thought about a pairing of Strudwick/Malik, I began to think Renney probably is making the right decision.

...when Mara comes back, I think Strudwick should sit, Mara and Malik should be paired up and the Staal/Rozsival pairing should be reunited.

Hollweg an Avery Wannabe?

According to Greg Logan, Islander beat writer at Newsday, Ryan Hollweg is a Sean Avery wannabe...

"...Without injured Sean Avery in the building to get under the Islanders' skin, Rangers enforcer Colton Orr and Avery wannabe Ryan Hollweg did their best to stir things up. Orr bested Islanders heavyweight Chris Simon in a second-period bout, and during a first-period scrum in front of the benches, Hollweg apparently threatened to go after the 15-stitch cut on the left cheek that Islanders defender Radek Martinek suffered the previous night against Ottawa.

'He came and said he would take my stitches out,' Martinek said. 'It was stupid.' He said Hollweg managed to get a glove on the wounded area but did no damage.

Asked if he'd experienced anything like that with another player, Martinek said, 'Never, never. He could show a little respect, but he didn't. I cannot respect him.'..."

...Avery wannabe? Is this guy Logan kidding me? Because Hollweg says a few things to Martinek all of a sudden he's an Avery wannabe. Hey, Logan does that make Chris Simon a Marty McSorley wannabe? Stupid Islander homer.

...I said this in an earlier post when Avery was getting dumped on. When did hockey players become so sensitive? Oh no, Hollweg said he's going to take my stitches out. Didn't Matinek see the movie Youngblood? "You don't want stitches in Thunder Bay" or Madison Square Garden.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monkey Off Their Back

The New York Rangers (14-9-2) defeated the New York Islanders (13-9-1) tonight by a score of 4-2. This was the first win for the Rangers against the Islanders this year and broke a two game home winless streak. The Rangers got scoring from their big guns tonight as goals were scored by Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, while Martin Straka had two assists. The Rangers final goal was scored by Brandon Dubinsky. The win puts the Rangers back into a 1st place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...I should not feel confident before every game. Just an absolutely great all around effort by the Rangers tonight. They worked hard, took smart shots and the pk set the tone in the 1st period with 4 kills.

...Jagr was a beast tonight. By far his best game of the season. He was shooting the puck, going hard to net, he was vintage Jagr tonight. You can really see a difference in Jagr's game with Straka in the lineup.

...nice to see the big free agent signings step up in such a big game also. Drury doing what he does best, scoring from around the front of the net, while Gomez looks to have taken Renney's advice by actually shooting the puck which resulted in the Rangers second power play goal.

...I've been giving Hossa a tough time these last few days, but I have to give him credit tonight for playing a real hard game. He was tough on the puck all night and showed some flashes of offense. The problem with Hossa is that he does not display this determination frequently enough.

...Dubinsky is really maturing before our eyes. This guy is not afraid to be centering on a line with Jagr. You've got to love the pure joy on this kid's face when he or one of his linemates scores a goal.

...a big congratulations to Blair Betts for scoring his first goal tonight. Just joking Blair, I can kid because we won. last thing, I'm not going to make a big deal out of it because the Rangers won the game, but the officiating tonight was dreadful. How Simon doesn't get a penalty for jumping Orr then punching him in the head four times is beyond me.

Deck Stacked Against Isles?

Over at Blueshirt Bulletin, Dubi thinks that the Rangers might have an advantage tonight against the Islanders because of the Islanders heavy schedule of late...

"The Islanders may be 3-0 against the Rangers so far this year, but the deck is stacked against them as they make their second visit to the Garden tonight. After a light early season schedule, the Isles will be playing their fifth game in the last seven days today -- the Rangers by contrast are playing their third, coming off three full days off. The well-rested Rangers should not only be able to take advantage of the fact that the Isles played last night, they may also benefit from a bit of an Islander hangover from beating the league-leading (though recently slumping) Ottawa Senators in a shootout -- or if not a hangover, at least some slight dampening of the extra spirit the Isles usually bring to contests against the Rangers..."

...although this is a great point, there is no way the Islanders will not be ready for this game. Trust me, Nolan will have his team fired up.

...I think if the Rangers can hold off an early Islander surge, they should be able to wear the Islanders down as the game drags on and hopefully take advantage in third period.

Rangers vs. Islanders: Part 4

Tonight the New York Rangers look for their first win of the season against the New York Islanders. The Islanders have won the first 3 meeting by a combined three goals. The Rangers have lost two straight overall, including a 3-2 loss to Dallas on Sunday. It was also the Rangers' second straight loss at the Garden after a five-game winning streak there. The Rangers will likely face Rick DiPietro in goal, who has a 1.33 goals-against average against the Rangers this season, and is 8-1-2 with a 1.89 GAA in his last 11 games against them. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...I have felt confident going into every Ranger/Islander game this year except for this one. With Avery on the shelf and Hossa and Hollweg in the starting lineup, I'm just hoping the Rangers just keep it close. Hopefully, this means they will win tonight.

...Ranger fans have been suffering over the past two years in this rivalry. Very similar to the way the Islander fans suffered back in early 2000 when Fleury and McCarthy were on the team.

Ranger News & Notes: Islander Game Day Edition

Some game day news and notes from Sam Weinman over at his blog with NY Observer...

The Rangers mulled calling someone up from Hartford, but opted against it, which means yes, everyone’s favorite enigma, Marcel Hossa, will skate in Sean Avery’s spot at left wing alongside Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan tonight against the Islanders.

Some more notes:

The rest of the lineup is what you’d expect, with Ryan Callahan taking the right wing with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha.

Marek Malik is now also medically cleared to play, but will be a healthy scratch. My guess is the Rangers’ reluctance to summon bodies from Hartford lies in the fact that if need be, they can insert Malik back in and put Jason Strudwick in at forward. But I would have to think that would only be a short-term solution.

I’m pretty sure Josh reported this yesterday, but Petr Prucha will take a spot on the power play with Brandon Dubinsky and Jaromir Jagr up front and Michal Rozsival and Martin Straka back at the point. The other power play has Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Brendan Shanahan at forward and a rotation of Paul Mara, Dan Girardi, and Fedor Tyutin.

A new wrinkle: Dubinsky was seen limping severely around the dressing room, with his left knee wrapped heavily in ice. Dubinsky skated this morning and didn’t show any effects of an injury on the ice, but that’s something to keep an eye on. When asked about it, he shrugged his shoulders and said he was fine.

Meanwhile, a lot of talk about the Islanders, naturally. Scott Gomez had a cluster of cameras around him and said all the right things—give them credit, we need to step up, etc. Then the cameras turned to Brendan Shanahan and Shanahan said, “I’m basically going to say everything he said." always great inside information from Weinman.

...very unhappy to see the Rangers have not called up Dawes and are going with Hossa and Hollweg. This team needs to score and Hossa and Hollweg bring nothing to the table.

...hopefully Dubinsky's knee is nothing. Another injury is the last thing we need.

Good vs. Evil

Katie Strang at Newsday, reports that the outstanding play of both Henrik Lundqvist and Rick DiPietro have only added to the Ranger/Islander rivalry...

"Besides the initial fervor that accompanies any game when crosstown rivals meet, a matchup between the Rangers and Islanders brings the bonus battle between goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Rick DiPietro.

Both are young, proven, and quickly becoming keys to their respective teams' futures..."

...I have to agree with Strang that the outstanding goaltending has absolutely added to this rivalry.

...I think Ranger fans hatred for DiPietro is much stronger than Islander fans feelings on Lundqvist. This obviously has to do with DiPietro's pretty boy persona and that stupid 'DP' chant at Islander home games.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rangers Using 'Shooter Tutor'...Sort of

For the past few days, I've been ranting that the Rangers coaching staff should bring out the 'shooter tutor'. Well today at Sam Weinman's blog at the New York Observer he reported on the use of a shot assistance device...

"... The Rangers used a new device today at practice. It looked like a block of wood about six inches high and two or three feet wide, but the puck bounced off the face of it like it was plexiglass. A coach would fire a puck off the face of it, and a player would try to grab the rebound and roof it over the board."

Lineup Changeup

With the return of Callahan and the injury to Avery, Renney has done some line juggling, here is the latest from Sam Weinman over at his blog with the New York Journal...

"Renney said he’s not sure what this means for the lineup yet. Today he tried Hossa alongside Gomez and Shanny but he said that isn’t set in stone.

'We’re not real firm on that just yet. I think we have some interchangeable parts there,' Renney said. 'Marcel has shown an ability to play with different people, but that’s certainly an option.'

Renney also said bringing someone up from the farm was a possibility. Someone asked about Nigel Dawes and the coach continued the sentence: 'Amongst others, as a matter of fact. I’m thinking about that.'

Someone wanted me to ask about the PP in regards to Petr Prucha. It looks like someone’s been reading your comments!…Seriously though, Prucha skated on the top PP unit at practice, which was heavily devoted to working on the PP and on how to cash in rebounds. (More on that later.) The line was Prucha, Drury, and Jagr.

And while we’re here, the regular lines were:

Looks like Callahan may play tomorrow. Renney said he will be taken off IR, and they’ll decide the lineup tomorrow.

I told Callahan that it looked good for him because he skated with his usual group today. He smiled as if to say, 'Yeah, it does look pretty good.'"

...lots of things going on in Rangerland, between players coming back, players being injured and the offense being criticized in the media daily.

...hopefully, they'll be able to get it together before tomorrow's game against the Islanders.

Avery to Have Wrist Surgery

According to Steve Zipay at Newsday, Sean Avery will undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left wrist tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. He will probably be out any where from 2-4 weeks...

Just when the Rangers seemed healthy, Sean Avery is going under the knife.

Avery---already sidelined once this season with a shoulder separation----will not only miss the Islanders game, but several more after arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left wrist tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

Avery---who reinjured the wrist against Tampa when hit by a shot--- practiced without shooting today, but was waiting for results of a CAT scan on the wrist, which has bothered him since the start of the season.

He said afterward that the decision had been made and didn't know how long he would be sidelined. Avery said he had been playing with a fracture, and was worsened during a fight five games after he returned---we're thinking with Darcy Tucker in Toronto.

"Hopefully, it'll only be a week or two," he said. "But I don't live in a reality world."

With Ryan Callahan back and on a third line, Marcel Hossa could play left wing with Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan tomorrow, and coach Tom Renney did not rule out a callup from Hartford.

The Rangers were 17-6-6 with Avery last season; this year, the Rangers are 9-4-1 with him and 4-5-1 without him.

...just like Zipay said, just when it seemed like the Rangers were finally healthy. Man we are running into some bad luck this year.

...I think we all knew Avery is a pretty tough guy, but to be playing with this injury for the last few weeks takes it to another level. His actions show you why hockey players are the toughest athletes in professional sports.

...the Rangers better call up Dawes immediately. They are a much better team with Dawes in the lineup than with Hollweg or Hossa.

Ranger News and Notes

Here are a couple of items from Sam Weinman's blog at the New York Journal...

  • Ryan Callahan is back ready to play and sounded like he expects to return Thursday, most likely on a line with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha where he skated today. Tom Renney also conceded that Callahan was ready, but stopped short of saying he would definitely be in against the Isles, and even said a conditioning assignment in Hartford was a possibility. But that sounds like Renney just erring on the side of caution, so I would expect to see Callahan back at the Garden Thursday. As for where he would play….

  • Obviously if Drury is at center with Callahan and Prucha, that means Brandon Dubinsky will remain at center between Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka. This was an issue after Sunday, when Renney had put Drury in that spot late in the game. But the coach said he still likes what he’s seeing from Dubinsky with Jagr, and that Drury’s style differs at least slightly from the Captain.

  • Where things get even more interesting is with Marek Malik, who also is now fit and ready to return, but who might still have to wait.

    “The way we’re clicking now, Harry might just have to wait a game or two and see if anything evolves where we want to put him in if someone’s having a tough night or heaven forbid, there’s an injury,” Renney said. “But he’s ready to go and that’s the main thing.”

    The reason this is intriguing is that there was a time—much to the puzzlement of many of you—that Malik’s spot in the lineup was a given as long as he was healthy. And while I do think he’s a more effective player than Jason Strudwick, I’m not sure Renney is ready to split up the pairing of Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal, who continue to show progress together. That would likely leave Malik with Paul Mara, and Renney might be reluctant to go there.

  • Meanwhile, through all of this it looks like Marcel Hossa would be the odd man out based on practice today. But it was hard to tell given that both Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery both skipped practice. Avery had a CAT scan on his wrist to assess the damage from the blocked shot last week against Tampa, but also because of some lingering issues from years past. Shanahan had a sore back, but was still working out in the weight room.

...I figured we would see Callahan with Drury and Prucha. Should be a very good north/south line.

...very happy to see Renney reluctant to put Malik back in there. Right now the team is playing too well defensively for a lineup change. Plus Malik doesn't deserve to be put back in. Strudwick has been solid in his absence.

...lastly, while I'm not the biggest Hossa fan in the world, I think he should be in there instead of Hollweg. Orr has to be in the lineup for toughness, but I'm not sure what Hollweg brings besides a -4. Hossa would at least have a chance to do something offensive, while still being solid defensively.

Callahan to Return Against Isles?

According to Steve Zipay over at Newsday it looks like Ryan Callahan might be ready to return to the lineup tomorrow night against the rival Islanders...

"...Callahan believes he'll be back for tomorrow night's game against the Islanders at the Garden.

'It was a pretty hard practice today and I felt pretty good out there,' said Callahan, who had four goals and two assists in 14 games last season after being called up from Hartford. 'I think Thursday's pretty realistic.'..."

...this would be great news for the struggling Ranger offense. When Callahan came up at the end of last year he gave the offense a major jolt, so let's hope it happens again.

Straka to give Jagr Boost

Although it hasn't happened yet, Sam Weinman at the New York Journal, feels that Martin Straka's return to the lineup with get Jagr going...

"...If Straka's return to Jagr's left wing has given back the Rangers one of their most valuable two-way forwards, it has also given them the player who best understands the keys to unleashing their mercurial captain. Gone is Michael Nylander, the center who meshed so easily with Jagr for two seasons before he left as a free agent to Washington. But in Straka, a longtime teammate in Pittsburgh, on the Czech national team and eventually in New York, Jagr has the linemate and friend who reads him best....

...So far, the results have been encouraging. The two produced a number of scoring chances in Straka's first game back on Friday in Florida, then connected for the Rangers' first goal in Sunday's loss to Dallas..."

...I'm not sure the results have been encouraging so far, as Jagr still seems reluctant to go to the goal. However, I do agree with Weinman that Straka's return is going to have a positive affect on Jagr's game.

Block that Shot

Lynn Zinger of the New York Times sat down with a few Ranger players to discuss the art of blocking a shot...

"...It is a statistic built on bravery and strategy, calculated risk and not a small slice of insanity. Defending players hurl themselves in front of shots large and small, anything from wrist shots to 100-mile-an-hour slap shots, protected only by a thin layer of pads and the ability to block out the potential for disaster.

'You have to break the fear,' Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival said. 'You try it once, it hits your shin pads and you say, O.K. We all played the game for so long. Nobody really thinks about it anymore. It’s like natural. I don’t think there’s any guy in the locker room who would be thinking, Oh, should I block it or not?'..."

...this is a pretty good read on the en vogue defensive strategy of getting in shooting lanes.

...anyone who criticizes Renney for sticking with a pointless Blair Betts needs to read this:

"...Last season, Rangers center Blair Betts was the top forward in the league in that category, with 98; he has 15 this season..."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rangers Gave up Option for Jagr's Last Year in '05

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported today that the Rangers renounced Jagr's team-option for the 2008-2009 season in 2005, meaning that the current agreement under which he would earn $8.36M next season will be extended only if he hits the performance triggers included in the deal. That means that unless Jagr scores 40 goals or records 84 points while the Rangers win a playoff round in April, or unless he wins the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy or Conn Smythe Trophy, a) No. 68 will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1; and, b) beginning next season the Blueshirts will no longer be entitled to any cap discount on Jagr...

"...The Post has learned that had the Rangers not renounced the option prior to the opening of the 2005-06, first post-lockout season, the full value of the 2008-09 option year would have been added to the contract as a fixed year, and thus would have increased Jagr's cap charge to approximately $5.8M, rather than the $4.94M the Blueshirts have been assessed. That would have taken place even if the Rangers had never actually exercised the option.

Additionally, the Rangers would have been hit with the full $8.36M cap-charge for next season by hypothetically exercising the option, even though Washington would have continued to pay its portion of Jagr's salary. The only way for the Rangers to continue to reap their current cap discount into next season would be for Jagr to hit any one of his triggers. The team, by the way, had every reason to expect that he would do so.

Jagr should have hit one of his triggers in 2005-06 by winning the Hart as MVP when he first "guaranteed" that the Rangers would end their seven-season playoff drought and then carried the club into the tournament with a twin franchise-record setting 54-goal, 123-point season. But Jagr was a victim of injustice in the balloting and finished second to Joe Thornton, whom the Bruins traded to San Jose in November of that season..."

...looks like the Rangers took a gamble on Jagr hitting the incentives and lost. Unless of course, Jagr wins the Conn Smythe when the Rangers win the Stanley Cup this year.

...this shouldn't matter, as Brooks states Jagr only wants to play for the Rangers and they'll find a way to get him under the cap next year.

Rangers Stay at #3 in THN Power Rankings

The Hockey News has ranked the New York Rangers #3 in their November 26th power rankings, holding the same spot as last week...

3. NY Rangers - Getting it done without Jagr (one point in six games)

...I'm not sure what Ranger team THN is watching because its definitely not the one playing New York.

...if the Rangers are the third best team in the league right now, there are some bad teams out there. I'm not saying the Rangers should be at the bottom of the league, but not in the top 5.

Five Blueshirts in Running for All-Star Roster Spots

At the New York Rangers Official Website, they mention the five Rangers that have the best chance of earning AllStar bids...

Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr is on the 2008 NHL All-Star Game ballot along with fellow forwards Brendan Shanahan, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. All four were on the ballot last year as well, although Drury was with Buffalo and Gomez with New Jersey at the time. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is also on the ballot for a second consecutive season and is on an early pace to be voted in as a starter.

...I would think that Lunqvist has the best chance of earning a starting spot and Shanahan will probably be the only other Ranger to make the team. Unless Jagr gets in on reputation alone. vote click here.

Is Every Hockey Columnist Picking on the Rangers Offense?

In another of what seems to be an endless amount of columns on the Rangers lack of scoring, CBS Sportsline's Wes Goldstein feels that if the Rangers don't pick-up the offense their visions of a Stanley Cup will fade away...

"Not that long ago, the New York Rangers frequently made themselves punch lines by paying huge salaries for players who rarely provided adequate value in return.

Nobody is laughing at the Rangers these days because they're tied for first place in their division and aren't an easy team to beat. Still, it's clear the big dollars they gave to free agents
Scott Gomez and Chris Drury last summer have yet to create the desired result..."

...while all these stories on the Ranger's offensive struggles are true, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of them. I can't imagine how the players feel. in an effort to not bring the team's offense down any further, I will refuse to post any stories relating to the lack of Ranger's offense. I hope there are other stories out there or this will be a very boring blog.

Lundqvist Frontrunner for Vezina's George Johnson feels that Lundqvist is the frontrunner for the Vezina...

Vezina Trophy

Front-runner: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers - He's played in 22 of the Rangers' 24 starts and his 1,326:53 minutes played tops the league. His .931 save percentage is third overall and the 1.81 goals-against average trails only super-sub Chris Osgood of the Wings. Lundqvist's play is a major reason the Broadway Blueshirts have overcome a sluggish start to the season and he's received a lot less offensive support than most of his contemporaries.

...there has been a lot of first quater award stories lately and Lundqvist's name is brought up in every one for either Vezina or Hart.

...although I feel Lundqvist has been a little off lately, he definitely deserves all the attention he is receiving right now.

Original Six = Playoff Ineptness

Also over at, Damien Cox writes about the playoff woes of the original six teams and how this year might be different...

"...For the first time in more than a decade -- back when there were "only" 26 teams -- it appears at least possible that all six clubs will qualify for the Stanley Cup tournament. Since then, the Canadiens, Rangers, Leafs, Bruins and Hawks have missed postseason play a collective 28 times. Only the mighty Wings, with three Stanley Cup victories over that span, have managed to maintain a level of top-notch quality.

The damage to the reputations of those teams has been significant, as has been the damage to the league's profile, particularly at playoff time, when major markets are missing. Clearly, there's value to the teams and the league when the Original Six clubs are successful; and, right now, five of the six, excluding the wobbly Leafs, are having what they would term successful seasons..."

Cox assesses the Rangers chances here:

HENRI RICHARD RATING: Five out of five.

New York Rangers - It's all looking good for the Blueshirts, hockey's best defensive team, right now. It doesn't seem to matter that the team's two big-name free agents, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, essentially have been offensive busts, or that the blue line lacks an elite offensive-minded defender. Henrik Lundqvist is looking like the next Martin Brodeur, and Brodeur's still playing across the river.

The Rangers are tied for the Atlantic Division lead, but there are land mines ahead. Sean Avery is looking like a leader now, but that could change. Jaromir Jagr is struggling through a so-so season. Three teams the Rangers have to face repeatedly -- Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New Jersey -- still are recovering from weak starts and are almost certain to play better.

So, let's not give the Rangers a playoff invitation just yet.

...for any hockey enthusiast it is always great to see the 'Original Six' playing well. Its been especially sad to see the decline of the Bruins and Blackhawks over the last decade or so.

...I completely agree with Cox that for the NHL to do well these teams must be successful.

...on a side note, why is Cox comparing Lundqvist to Brodeur they are two completely different goalies.

NHL Schedule Still A Sore Spot

Scott Burnside at writes that the NHL's board of governors, who will meet in posh Pebble Beach, Calif., on Thursday and Friday, will almost certainly come up with a new plan to replace the much-battered current schedule that emphasizes divisional play...

"...By reducing the number of divisional games, NHL teams will play every club at least once a season. It doesn't guarantee a home date with Sidney or Alex and the boys every season, but it does assure there won't be the three-season drought the current schedule imposes.

There is a possibility that the board of governors could adopt a schedule that included a home-and-home with every nonconference team, but that would mean going to an 84-game slate, and that will be a tough sell unless the owners and union could agree to cut the preseason schedule dramatically...

...Assuming the NHL sticks with an 82-game schedule, the new format would include six games against divisional foes (for a total of 24), four games against remaining conference teams (two home, two away, for a total of 40) and one game each against the 15 nonconference teams. So the problem becomes the three "wild-card games" that would round out the schedule..."

...I had written about this in an earlier post (see here). And I haven't changed my opinion. Change back to the old format please.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Followup: Avery Now on Allstar Ballot

I'm not sure if my e-mail had anything to do with it, but Sean Avery's name has been miraculously added to the Eastern Conference Allstar Ballot write-in section. See the new updated ballot here.

Earlier this month, I criticized the NHL for leaving Avery's name off the ballot (see here) and said I was going to force Gary Bettman to add Avery's name. Now, I don't really think my e-mail had anything to do with it, but I have to give Bettman some credit here for righting a wrong. I would love to hear his excuse.

Messier to GM the Leafs?

According to the Ottawa Sun, if the Toronto Maple Leafs fire GM John Ferguson Jr. they will be looking to hire a big name, one of which is Mark Messier...

"The talk among league executives is the Leafs won't make a move on the GM front unless they secure a big name -- such as Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman or Ron Francis, a former Leaf -- to take the reins...."'s no secret that Messier wants to become a GM. I would assume the Rangers are his first choice, but even he has said Sather is probably going to be around for a while (unfortunately for us Ranger fans). So if this happens, it will be a great opportunity for him to get some experience before eventually coming to the Rangers.

...on a side note man the Leafs are terrible right now.

The Numbers Don't Lie

In the New York Times article on yesterday's loss, Dave Caldwell offers some real ugly numbers for the Rangers offense...

"In their last four games, only one of which they have won, the Rangers have taken 139 shots and scored only 7 goals, and they are 1 for 12 on power plays. Rangers Coach Tom Renney says his team needs to start crashing the net more often, poking at rebounds." Tom do you think?

...7 goals on 139 shots is atrocious. For all you number geeks, that's a 5% shooting percentage. Like I said in an earlier post 'Shooter Tutor.'

Shoot the Puck Scotty

The other day it was Jaromir Jagr taking a beating from the press, today Scott Gomez seems to be taking the brunt of the blame for the Rangers lack of offense...

In today's New York Post Jay Greenberg feels Gomez is not earning his millions...

"THE Rangers, who out shot Dallas 41 to 18 yesterday, were rope-a-doped into a 3-2 loss. And one of their biggest dopes was Scott Gomez...

...After averaging 64 points in his seven seasons with the Devils, Gomez is on a pace for 53, not exactly bang for a lot of bucks."

...ouch. Hey Scotty, I bet the New Jersey media was a little bit easier when you were slumping. Welcome to New York.

According to Steven Zipay at Newsday, the media isn't the ones getting frustrated with Gomez as Renney is upset with Scott Gomez' lack of shooting...

Renney's quote:

"That should be an objective of his. Maybe it's a selfish approach. The guy can shoot the puck ... A lot of time he's in position. But he loves to make plays, he wants to defer to somebody else and be an unselfish player, but now I really have to be firm with him and say I want X number of shots."

...I like seeing that Renney is finally getting frustrated with this offense. Although it is ironic that he finally says something about the lack of shooting after the Rangers put 41 shots on Mike Smith.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Video of the Day

...well I posted a Jagr goal montage 'Video of the Day' on Friday and he scored today, so in an effort to get Scott Gomez going I have a "Video of the Day' just for him.

...bloggers note: I'm going to be changing 'Video of the Day' to 'Video of the Week.' While there is a lot of Ranger related video on the internet most of it is garbage and I don't want to run out of quality video, thus ruining the integrity of 'Video of the Day.' So every Sunday I will be adding a new video.

Seeing Stars

The New York Rangers (13-9-2) lost today to the Dallas Stars (12-7-4) by a score of 3-2. The Ranger goals were scored by Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan. The Stars were lead by the goaltending of Mike Smith who stopped 39 of 41 shots. This is the second straight loss for the Rangers at home after starting 8-2. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.'s hard to get too mad after this game. They played real hard and had 41 shots on goal. It was just Mike Smith's day I guess.

...despite being happy with their overall effort, I can't help but still be frustrated with this offense. With 12 minutes to go in the third period and the Rangers down 3-2, I had absolutely no confidence that they would comeback. I'm starting to wonder if these goalies have our number or we just can't shoot. I think Renney needs to pull out the 'Shooter Tutor.' was good to see Jagr get on the score sheet, even if his goal was really a pass. He must have been inspired by Friday's 'Video of the Day.'

...not that I'm concerned about Lundqvist, but since he was given the night off against Toronto, with the exception of the Tampa game, he hasn't been the same. The second goal he gave up, even though it was on a mini break away, had to be stopped.

...3 days off until the Islanders are at MSG. Renney better get these guys going.

Rangers vs. Stars Matinee Action

Today the New York Rangers (13-8-2) take on the Dallas Stars (11-7-4). This is Dallas' first trip to MSG since the Rangers beat them 3-0 on November 4, 2003. The Rangers snapped their five game road winning streak by losing to Florida 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night. Dallas has won 4 games in a row. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...first some quick news, according to Steve Zipay at Newsday, Callahan is out for today's game and Straka will be a game time decision. If Straka doesn't play then Greg Moore will get the nod.

...everyone keeps waiting for the Rangers offense to break out and this doesn't seem like the game it's going to happen as they run into a very good goalie in Marty Turco who has a record at MSG of 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average. But hey, maybe it will happen when you least expect it.

...Drury should have a lot of confidence going into this game after his two goal performance on Friday night, hopefully it will carry over into today.'s game is actually being broadcast on Channel 9. I think many of us in the 30 and over crowd remember watching the games when we were kids on Channel 9. Very nostalgic.

Ranger News and Notes

Courtesy of Steve Zipay over at Newsday...

"Martin Straka tweaked a hamstring in his first game back after sitting for 15 with a broken finger; he is day-to-day. Ryan Callahan is expected back tomorrow; may make sense to rest Straka against Dallas....

Nigel Dawes had two goals and two assists for the Wolf Pack.

C Joel Lundqvist, Henrik's twin, has been called up by the Stars.

With backup Steve Valiquette playing well in his two starts, and Al Montoya hurt, guess the rumor-mongers can put aside any proposed trades for awhile.

Will Drury's two goals put him back on the right track?

No word yet on whether Greg Moore and/or defenseman Ivan Barnaka have been re-assigned.

What's the over/under on Marek Malik playing again? Against Isles on Thursday?

...good thing we sent Dawes down to Hartford to work on his overall game because we really don't need his offense right now (dripping with sarcasm).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vintage Video of the Day

...great 1971 brawl during a playoff game between the Rangers and Maple Leafs. During the brawl Vic Hadfield throws Bernie Parent's goalie mask into the crowd and because the crowd never gives Parent the mask back Jacques Plante had to finish the game in goal.

...great seeing old Ranger video with Giacomin, Park, Hadfield and Ratelle.

...this is old school hockey at its best.

Is this Jagr's Last Season as a Ranger?

That's what Spector over at Spector's Hockey asks...

Spector's Note: Much has been made this season of Jagr's "unhappiness" playing head coach Tom Renney's defensive system, and of how he hasn't meshed with Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Still, Jagr leads the Rangers in scoring, he appears to be happy playing in New York and we haven't seen any of the off-ice malaise that hung over him like a cloud in his final years in Pittsburgh and Washington. I also think the Rangers opening in Prague suggests management may already know where Jagr fits into their plans for next season., Jagr has been taking a beating these last couple of days on his early season struggles. New York media saying he's not meshing with teammates, internet rumor sites saying he's going to be traded. Tough times for Jagr.

...even with all of his struggles, any time the camera shows him after the game he seems to be smiling and joking around with everyone. So I'm guessing he's happy on this team, but probably having a difficult time figuring out where he fits in this defensive system. Hopefully he figures it out sooner rather than later.

HockeyBuzz: Jagr to Oilers?

Eklund over at HockeyBuzz is reporting that Jaromir Jagr and the Edmonton Oilers are being linked together in a trade...

"Just talked to a source who told me that once again the Oilers and Jagr are being linked together. Apparently the asking is too high, but 'has come down enough over the last two weeks' to make some sense..."

...I think Eklund makes this stuff up. As bad as Jagr is playing, there is no way the Rangers are trading him.

...and at least pick a team I would actually believe he would go to. I really don't think the small market Oilers need a high priced, fading super star.

Valiquette Cheated

Ranger fans aren't the only ones who feel this way, see what Wes Goldstein had to say at CBS Sportsline...

"...It marked the first time in their last three tries that New York had lost in a skills competition and handed Valiquette the loss on a night he deserved much better.

'It's a funny thing because I always believe our guys will score in the shootout, and they usually do, but not tonight,' Valiquette said. 'Without winning it feels like you've been cheated.'

Unlike the rest of his team, he was."

...Valiquette definitely deserved a better fate last night.

...what was it that Eklund said over at HockeyBuzz the other day, something about our backup goalie being an issue. Vali must have seen that article and hung it up in his locker.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Video of the Day (Late Night Edition)

...just in case you forgot what a Jaromir Jagr goal looked like, this video shows every goal Jagr scored last year. Its a bit long, but hey we haven't seen many Jagr goals this year so it might be worth it.

...maybe Renney should have Jagr sit down and watch this himself.

Thanksgiving Hangover

The New York Rangers (13-8-2) were defeated tonight by the Florida Panthers (11-12-1) by a score of 3-2 in a shootout. Olli Jokinen's fifth round goal against Stephen Valiquette was the game winner and the only goal during the shootout. The two Ranger goals in regulation were scored by Chris Drury. The loss ended the Rangers five game road unbeaten streak. For a full recap go to

...if you thought I was disgusted with the Ranger offense after their win Wednesday night, you can only imagine how po'd I am right now.

...first some positives: I guess it's safe to say Valiquette is more than a capable backup at this point. He is the only reason we even got a point tonight. He was outstanding. The back-to-back glove saves he made during the shootout were sic. The other positive was Drury. Not just his two goals, but his overall game tonight was great. Too bad he couldn't cap it by scoring to tie up the shootout. I thought this guy was clutch? Just kidding Chris, nice game tonight. to the negatives: let's see where should I begin. Oh yeah, the power play. I think at this point we should just decline power play opportunities. If it wasn't for Valiquette the Panthers would have had two short handed goals including a 3 on 5. I know we eventually scored on that two man advantage, but wow are we struggling to get anything going on the power play. I'm out of solutions at this point.

...five rounds in the shootout and we can't score. We weren't even close.

...I'm sorry to pick on the guy on the same day the New York press does. But, what is up with Jagr? It seems as though he's trying to be a play maker instead of a goal scorer. I do have to give him credit for two outstanding, hard working shifts tonight, but he also took way too many shifts off. If anyone saw Straka's interview between the 1st and 2nd period you could tell he was frustrated with Jagr not shooting when Micholetti asked him about it.

...again, I'll take points anyway I can get them, especially with the Flyers (in OT) and Islanders losing tonight, but that is a game the Rangers have to win especially with the goaltending they got from Valiquette.

Ranger/Panthers Game Notes

The New York Rangers (13-8-1) try to capture their sixth consecutive road victory Friday when they visit the Florida Panthers (10-12-1). The Rangers who have won 17 of its last 25 against Florida, beat the Panthers on opening night 5-2. The Rangers highest offensive showing of the year. For a full preview, go to Yahoo! Sports.

...the Rangers went from not being able to win on the road to unbeatable. Let's hope they keep that going tonight.

...Sam Weinman over at the Rangers Report says its likely that Martin Straka will be back in the lineup tonight, which is great news for Ranger fans and Jaromir Jagr. If Straka is back, it should be interesting to see Renney's line pairings.

...even with the Panthers winning 3 of four, I think this would be a great game to start Valiquette.

Coming Down on Jagr

Today's Daily News and New York Post discuss Jaromir Jagr's early season struggles...

John Dellapina of the News writes...

"He is the captain of a steaming ship that rules the Atlantic right now. Yet Jaromir Jagr remains undeniably adrift.

Unable to find linemates who see the game the way he does, unable to comprehend how he fits into a defense-first system and unable to simply blow by or overpower opponents to score by himself anymore, Jagr is groping rather than grinding..."

Over at the Post Larry Brooks says...

"Jagr, 36 on Jan. 15, hasn't been himself this season. The Rangers, 10-2 in their last 12 games and in first place in the Atlantic at 13-8-1, are winning on defense and goaltending; not by riding Jagr's coat tails." knew it was only a matter of time until the press starting getting on our captain.

...I'm hopeful that once Straka gets back Jagr will start going again, but you never know.

...right now, as long as the Rangers continue to win I'm not going to get too crazy, but if they start to slide, it might be panic city, baby (a little Dicky Vitale for ya).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Video of the Day

...a little Bobby Granger for your holiday viewing pleasure. seeing Kasper take the body like that.

...I actually thought these commercials were really funny.

Hockey Thanksgiving

At, Kukla's Korner tells hockey fans what he's thankful of this holiday season including two Rangers...

"...Tim Thomas, Martin Gerber, Pascal Leclaire and Henrik Lundqvist. All with a save percentage higher than .930!...The quick release of a Shanahan shot from the slot..." be exact, Lundqvist's save percentage is .934. But who's counting?

...while Shanahan has slowed a bit (I still don't think he's fully recovered from that concussion last year), over the last week or so that quick release has been on display.

Capitals Fire Hanlon reports that the Washington Capitals have fired former New York Rangers goalie Glen Hanlon as their head coach. The Capitals have a 6-14-1 record this year and went 78-123-9-29 during Hanlon's tenure with the team. Hanlon will be replaced on an interim basis by Bruce Boudreau, the coach of the Hershey Bears, Washington's American Hockey League affiliate.

...happy thanksgiving Glen, you're fired.

...thought I would put a quick something about this since Hanlon was a former Ranger.

HockeyBuzz: Rangers are Buyers

With 96 days until the trading deadline Eklund over at HockeyBuzz feels that the Rangers will be buyers...

"...New York Rangers: Don't look now, but the early MVP HAS to be Lundqvist. The guy kept the team in it until they got their game together, which they have done. The Defense and backup goalie is an issue. They are too good and too close to winning a Cup to go into the playoffs without plugging up a few holes. The Rangers are an 8 ranking on the Trade Watch Scale. BUYERS..."

...'the Defense and backup goalie is an issue'? Does this guy Eklund even watch hockey? Without our defense, even with Lundqvists heroics, we would be in the bottom half of the league instead of the top. And in his one game Valiquette was awesome.

...right now, I don't think the Rangers should make any moves at the deadline, unless there's a major injury.

High Rankings for Rangers has ranked the New York Rangers #4 (up from #9) in their recent Holiday Edition of their Power Rankings...

4 (9) Rangers - 12-8-1 - The Rangers are thankful for Henrik Lundqvist ... and Henrik Lundqvist.

The Hockey News has the Rangers ranked #3 (up from #6) in their rankings...

3 (6) NY Rangers - Getting it done in OT and shootout

...I think any honest Ranger fan would admit that these rankings are a bit high.

...I know they are tied for third most points in the league, but their lack of offense would drop them down a few notches in my rankings.

...just look at ESPN's comments, they're pretty much admitting that Lundqvist is the only reason for the Rangers success. That doesn't make for a third or fourth ranked time as far as I'm concerned.

...obviously, I'm still a little sour with this offense.

Good News on Avery

Larry Brooks at the New York Post is reporting that initial x-rays on Sean Avery's hand were negative...

"... Sean Avery left the game with just under 6:00 to play when he was struck in the left hand by a Shanahan drive. Preliminary X-rays were negative."

...this is obviously great news. The Rangers are a totally different team with Avery in the lineup. If he had to miss an extended period of time, I could see the Rangers struggling immediately.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'll Take It

The New York Rangers (13-8-1) defeated the host Tampa Bay Lightning (10-9-2) by a score of 2-1. The Ranger goals were scored by Fedor Tyutin (3) and Colton Orr (1). Henrik Lunqvist lost his shutout with 16.7 seconds remaining in the game on a goal by Michel Ouellet. The road victory was the Rangers' 5th in a row moving their road record to .500 after starting the season 0-5-1. The Rangers have now won 6 of 7 and 10 of 12. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...obviously, I'll take two points anyway I can get them, but man I am getting sick and tired of this team not scoring. And its not like this team lacks scoring opportunities, they just can't bury the puck. Point blank chances for Hollweg, Drury and Avery just to name a few. has gotten so bad for this offense the only forward to score in the last three games is Colton Orr. Colton Orr!!!

...I'm hoping Jagr is hurt at this point because he seems almost disinterested on the ice. Maybe he never fully healed from the preseason groin injury. If this is the case , sit him down until it heals. We've got enough depth at forward to compensate for what Jagr has been giving us this year.

...Renney deserves all the blame for Lundqvist losing the shutout tonight. Why is Jagr anywhere near the ice at the end of the game? Didn't Renney learn anything from last year's playoffs against Buffalo? I do have to give Renney credit for accepting the blame. Here is his quote after the game...

"If anybody should be disappointed, it should be me," Renney said. "I need to protect Henrik with maybe a little different personnel out there late in the game. I owe him a better coaching effort than that, quite honestly."

...speaking of Henrik, he is playing at a level not seen around here since Richter. Maybe even better.

...a couple of congratulations, first to Colton Orr on his first goal of the season and the other to Ivan Baranka who got his first NHL point assisting on Orr's goal. I didn't even realize Rozsival was hurting.

...speaking of hurting, let's hope Avery is okay after that Shanny slapper to the hand.

...sorry for all the negativity after a win, but this team is the most frustrating first place team ever.

Video of the Day

...Jeff Beukeboom and Evander Holyfield. Unreal. I used to love these old Sportscenter commercials. What happened to them?

Following the Lightning

To see what the Tampa Bay Lightning are up to visit's - Lightning Strikes.

On the Road Again

Tonight, the New York Rangers (12-8-1) will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-8-2). The Rangers won the first meeting of the season 3-1 at MSG. The Rangers are 2-5-1 in their last seven road games against the Lightning, although they've won the last two meetings between the teams. The Rangers currently have a 4 game road winning streak. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

…hopefully the Rangers are able to get Monday’s loss out of their minds and be ready for tonight.

…Tampa is always a high scoring team with Lecavalier and St. Louis so we need to continue our solid D.

…once again we are playing against an average goalie in Holmqvist. Lets hope we can take advantage of that and not make him look like Patrick Roy.

…I’m looking forward to seeing what Greg Moore can bring tonight. Not sure if Ivan Baranka will dress. I’m guessing unless Strudwick can’t walk we won’t see Baranka.

Dawes Not Happy

Sam Weinman over at the Ranger's Report was able to get a quote from Nigel Dawes when he arrived at the Hartford Wolf Pack training center...

“I’m a little surprised,” Dawes said.. “[The Rangers] said I was going to have to play more consistently and they were going to have to send me to Hartford. It’s definitely disappointing, frustrating. I can think of a lot of words. But I’m here now, have to make the most of it, play well and let things happen. There’s not much I can do but hang in there.”

...keep your head up Nigel you'll be back.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Follow-up: Sean Avery Allstar Ballot Snub

Earlier this month I reported on how Sean Avery was left of this year's Allstar ballot. Below is an e-mail I sent to the NHL regarding this issue....

Dear Mr. Bettman,

I recently went to the NHL Allstar fan voting website to vote for some of my favorite players from the New York Rangers, when I noticed something amiss. Sean Avery's name was left off the ballot. I saw numerous other players who, in my opinion, are less talented than Mr. Avery. I was wondering what the NHL's official comment is regarding why Sean Avery was left off this year's ballot. Thank you.

...I'm eagerly awaiting a response.

Hall of Fame Worthy?'s John Buccigross gives a list of players who he believes one day will be, or could/should be, worthy of a Hockey Hall of Fame induction...

New York Rangers

Jaromir Jagr: If he plays until he's 40, he should be No. 2 all time to Wayne Gretzky in points.

Henrik Lundqvist: Gold medal? Check. Stanley Cup? Coming soon. Hall of Fame? You betcha.

Brendan Shanahan: Future Maple Leafs president and GM. Book it.

Chris Drury: It's my column and my rules. I make them up. He is clutch and, in life, clutch is everything. Move on.

...would have to agree with all four. Although if Drury doesn't start picking it up he might be left out.

...I wonder how Ranger fans will react if Jagr moves passed Mark Messier for No. 2 all time in points.

1/4 Season Awards

Scott Burnside of, gives his 1/4 season awards with a few familiar faces making the list...

Rookie "King" Award

Most of the rookie star power is concentrated in the Western Conference, but one interesting first-year player in the East is Atlanta's Tobias Enstrom. An eighth-round pick, Enstrom looks like he could be the puck-moving defenseman and power-play quarterback the Thrashers have long been searching for. Enstrom, 24, doesn't have size (5-foot-10, 175 pounds), but he is averaging 22:58 in ice time (tops among rookies) and is the top-scoring rookie defenseman and fourth among all first-year players with 10 points in 20 games.

Honorable mention: Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who continues to improve by the minute.

...nice to see Staal's getting recognition around the league for his ever improving play.

I Knew He Was Good, But Not That Good" Award

Everyone knew Vincent Lecavalier was a good player. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy a season ago as the NHL's top goal scorer, so we know he's not chopped vulcanized rubber. But the big center has taken his game to (cliché warning) a completely different level early this season. Lecavalier leads the league in scoring, never a bad thing, with 34 points in 20 games. Those who know him say he's grown exponentially on and off the ice, and it won't be hard to see him wearing the captain's C for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Honorable mention: New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who is on a collision course with a Vezina Trophy, and maybe even the Hart as league MVP.

...Lundqvist has been outstanding so far this year. I shutter to think where the Rangers would be without him. Big turn around from where Lundqvist's game was at this time last year.

The "Welcome Aboard" Award

Of the top 25 NHL scorers, only one was not with his current team a season ago, and that is Chicago rookie Patrick Kane. It tells you that swinging the big trade or buying that big free agent doesn't necessarily mean a pot of gold. Sometimes, it's all about the quality of the person, not the quantity of the press clippings.

Take our pick in the Eastern Conference, Matt Cullen, who returned to the Hurricanes after one season with the New York Rangers. Cullen, a member of Carolina's Cup-winning squad from 2005-06, has helped the Canes re-establish themselves as one of the top offensive clubs in the NHL (they are second in goals per game and power-play efficiency). Cullen, who often mans the point on the power play, has 20 points in 21 games through Monday and is en route to a career season.

...wouldn't mind seeing Cullen on the point for the Rangers this year. Although Renney would probably have him playing down low. Just kidding coach.

Awesome Avery

Mark Herrmann of Newsday has a column in today's Newsday about Avery's impact on the ice...

"...It says something about Avery and about hockey that he was the most compelling figure on Garden ice every time he's out there. Like it or not, this sport has a big place for a guy whose job is to be a royal pain in the neck. 'He's very good at his job,' Islanders center Mike Comrie said..."

...some Ranger fans are still weary of Avery imploding and hurting the team. I couldn't disagree more. This guy brings a grit and aggressiveness every night that has infected the entire locker room. he's one of People's sexiest alive.

Video of the Day

...this video pretty much says it all about the Garden in the playoffs. Insane.

Dawes Demoted

According to Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report the Rangers have sent Nigel Dawes down to Hartford and have called up Greg Moore, who will skate on a line with Chris Drury and Peter Prucha…

“Nigel Dawes was indeed sent down to Hartford despite having the second highest goal total (four) on the team. As was the case last year, when Dawes started in the NHL before being returned to the minors, he still hasn’t made enough progress with his play away from the puck. While Dawes clearly has NHL-caliber offensive skills, the Rangers may be sending him a message that there needs to be more than that for him to stick around…”

The Rangers commented on the move by saying…

“…‘It was more geared toward Nigel understanding the consistency and standard that we have to play at here, especially for a young fella like that who has terrific offensive attributes. He has to be involved at that part of the game. Having said that, there’s a level of consistency and standard he has to meet off the puck and it happens to a lot of young players. Some guys are up four or five times before they nail it. But I think Nigel Dawes is an NHL player.’…”

…not sure I understand this move. The Rangers can’t score and they send down the third leading scorer.

…this isn’t much of a message. I bigger message would be sitting Drury, who has been struggling and critical of himself (quote also from Weinman)…

“…‘When you’re on the ice as much as I play, I think all signs point toward that. You better chip in,’ he said. ‘I think it’s a little bit of everything.’…”

C'mon Vogue

In an effort to keep our minds off of hockey after last night’s disaster, I give you this article in Vogue on Brendan Shanahan…

“…Shanahan came to the Rangers last season, as a free agent. He says that he likes living in New York because so many things happen that the days seem agreeably prolonged. Last year, he sometimes took the subway to the Garden for games. If people recognized him, they usually said no more than good luck. One night, coming home from a game, he stood next to two men on the platform wearing Rangers jerseys with number 14 and "Shanahan" stitched on the back, but they never noticed him…”

…talk about a bunch of metrosexuals. First Avery’s on People’s sexiest persons list and now this.

…these are the type of interviews the NHL should be promoting. This article gives the reader great insight into Shanahan as a person. Not sure why the NHL refuses to promote its stars.

…hey Shany love the sweater

.…thanks to Sam Weinman over at the Rangers Report for this story.