Friday, February 29, 2008

Can Someone Get this Guy Some Sticks?

John Dellapina at The Blueshirts Blog reports on Jaromir Jagr's troubles finding a stick he feels comfortable with...

"After a season’s worth of trying to find sticks that felt right to him because Bauer discontinued his pattern, Jaromir Jagr was presented with two last weekend that made him smile. He used one of them to score a goal at Buffalo Saturday night. And he nursed that same stick through Sunday night’s Garden game, tallying another goal vs. Florida.

Delighted, he put a rush order in for enough of the Nike-Bauer One sticks to get him through the rest of the season. But as they are made in China, require three days to make and two days to ship, there was no way he could get them in time for tonight’s game.

The company found a way - by shipping three before the graphics were put on them - so Jagr received enough to get him (he hopes) through tonight’s game and Sunday afternoon’s in the Garden. He is scheduled to receive a full shipment with fancy graphics and all in time for Tuesday’s game at Nassau Coliseum."

...how in the word does Bauer discontinue the stick pattern used by one of the best offensive players in the game? And shouldn't Jagr have enough clout to have Bauer or another stick company make a stick to his liking? This whole situation is mind-boggling to me.

...and why does Nike-Bauer have their products made in China? Do they even play hockey there?

Young Trio Blossom on Rangers Blueline

NHL.com has a great article on the development of Fedor Tyutin, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal...

"New York Rangers coach Tom Renney almost felt bad, as if his repetitiveness was beginning to sound a bit ridiculous.

Not at all, coach. In fact, each time Renney used the term "two-way defenseman," it further hammered home exactly what New York believes it has in 20-something blue-liners Fedor Tyutin, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal.

While Tyutin, Girardi and Staal still have some developing to do in order to earn the moniker Renney persistently spoke of, the three are good enough right now to help the Rangers in their postseason push.

Not one of the three has reached his two-way potential yet, but together they provide all the necessary qualities, despite an aggregate age of only 68."

...every Ranger fan should be beyond excited about the prospect of having these three guys on the Rangers blueline for a long time. Throw in Sanguinetti, Sauer, Baranka and Pock and we may have the deepest defensive talent in the league. And that's not even including if we re-sign Rozsival, who, at age 29, is still in his prime.

Awful Officiating

In my previous post, bpette references the poor officiating last night. Looks like he's not the only one who noticed, as Steve Soldwedel at The Blue Seats agrees...

"The officiating tonight was abysmal. I'm still trying to figure out for what Scott Walker and Sean Avery were given 10-minute misconducts. Having a chat? Then the non-call when Walker dropped his gloves and grabbed hold of Avery, who kept his mitts on. A check on Michal Roszival where the Canes player left his feet was also ignored. To top it all off, the refs get a Razzie for sending Marc Staal to the box for four minutes to serve Backman's high sticking double minor, leaving the Swede on ice to later take a holding penalty...

...The puck bounced the Rangers' way tonight, and Lady Luck didn't let the horrid officiating ruin the Broadway Blues' night, either..."

...while I'm sure its not easy being an NHL ref, I have pointed out on this blog numerous cases of horrendous officiating this year. Last night was another clear example. Bettman needs to get these guys in line. These games are too important for these guys to have off nights.

Storm Surge


Last night the New York Rangers (33-24-8) defeated the Carolina Hurricanes (33-29-5) by a score of 4-2. Brandon Dubinsky and Sean Avery scored first-period goals for the Rangers. It was New York’s third straight victory and sixth in eight games (6-0-2). Chris Drury pushed the Rangers’ lead to 3-0 in the second period, and Brendan Shanahan closed the scoring in the third after the Hurricanes got within a goal. The Rangers went 0-3 on the power play. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...keep rollin', rollin', rollin'. I have that Limp Bizkit song in my head when I think of how well the Rangers are playing right now. They ended up with a record of 8-2-2 in February and are currently on a 11-3-2 stretch.

...even with that amazing stretch, they are still only tied with Boston for sixth place and Boston has more wins and two games in hand. It seems as all the teams fighting for the last few playoff spots are hot right now and the teams who were fighting for top seeding (Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Montreal) are fading a bit. Should make for a great month of March.

...now to the game. The move Dubinsky made to score the first goal was ridiculous. With moves like that you have to ask yourself why he's never picked by Renney during the shootout.

...can we just sign Avery now. Please Glen I'm begging you.

...he's only been on the team for three days and I already have a nickname for Backman. The Human Penalty. I'm not too worried, though, because they were stupid penalties, not lazy penalties or penalties where he was beat and he had to grab the guy. I'll just chalk it up to him being over aggresive in his first game.

...Sjostrom had a decent game. Showed one great burst of speed when Renney had him on the third line for a shift and he almost scored. Unless Renney uses him on another line, not sure where, we probably won't see too much offense from him. Only because of the offensive difficiencies of his linemates. Can Blair Betts score just once on a short handed breakaway? Geez.

...two more days off till our next game on Sunday afternoon against Philly.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Trades Make Rangers Stanley Cup Contenders

Stan Fischler at MSGNetwork.com feels that the two trade deadline deals will propel the Rangers into the Stanley Cup Finals...

"...I'll now go on record stating that the acquisitions of Swedish defenseman Christian Backman and forward Fredrik (Call Me Freddie) Sjostrom will be as positive for the Blueshirts roster as last year's addition of Sean (The Great Gabbo) Avery.

I'll go one step further and hereby forecast that the roster, as now constituted, is good enough to carry New York to the top of the division and then all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals...

...Why can the Rangers reach the Finals? Easy. Check the Eastern Conference lineup and tell me if you can find an overpowering threat. Sure, it once was the Senators, but between Ottawa's goaltending dilemmas and assorted other problems, the Sens are a shade of their former selves.

Pittsburgh -- with or without Sidney Crosby -- is loaded, but still remains dubious in goal and who says that Marian Hossa will fit in with the Pens' chemistry? And let's not forget that they lost a load in the deal..."

...that's a pretty bold statement from Fischler. However, I do agree with him that the Rangers can make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Not because of the trades, but because of the lack of dominant teams in the East.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Preview

Tonight the New York Rangers (32-24-8) visit the Carolina Hurricanes (33-28-5). The Rangers will try to earn a point in their eighth straight game and are currently tied with Boston for sixth in the East, five points behind fifth-place Montreal. The surging Rangers are 5-0-2 in their last seven games, including Sunday’s 5-0 win against Florida. The Hurricanes picked up center Tuomo Ruutu from Chicago at Tuesday’s deadline for Andrew Ladd. Ruutu made it to the RBC Center minutes before a 2-1 overtime win over East-leading New Jersey. Ruutu picked up an assist in his debut, but was cut by the stick of the Devils’ Patrik Elias and is doubtful for this game. Right wing Patrick Eaves, activated off injured reserve two weeks after he was acquired in a trade with Ottawa, also made his Carolina debut on a line with Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov, who was acquired on waivers from Chicago on Jan. 8, scored both of Carolina’s goals, including the game-winner with 3:24 left in overtime. Samsonov scored in Carolina’s 3-1 win over New York on Jan. 29, and has nine goals and nine assists in 22 games with the Hurricanes, who are looking for a season-high fourth straight win. Carolina is 7-0-1 in its last eight home games. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...thankfully another Ranger game. I am hating this schedule right now. Play two games in a row, then five days off, two more games in a row, three days off. This is ridiculous. Although, its got to be nice for the players. I'd venture to guess that we're probably the freshest team in the Eastern Conference, which should be very beneficial down the stretch.

...this series has been pretty nasty so far this year starting with Orr's hit on Cullen which has lead to a number of fights. However, this Carolina team looks very different from the last time we saw them. No Brind'Amour, Ladd, Commodore or Stillman. And now, as mentioned above, the recently aquired Ruutu is out.

...despite all the movement this Carolina team is hot right now and if we don't come out ready to play we could be in trouble.

...looks like both Backman and Sjostrom will be in the lineup tonight. Interested to see what they can bring. From what I've been reading Sjostrom has the most upside and could be an important part of this team in the future. But for this year, I really only see him on the fourth line.

...another positive Backman and Sjostrom bring is a calming influence on Lundqvist. I'm sure its nice to have fellow countrymen on the team. The New York Post has an article on this today.

...we're not getting much help in the standings as Boston and Buffalo have been winning so we need to make sure there are no letdowns because a few loses in a row could put us out of the playoffs.

...I'll have updates throughout the day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Backman Gets Bad Assessment

From St. Louis Game Time (thanks to Sam Weinman for the link)...

"After winning a gold medal with the Swedish Olympic team in 2006, Backman signed a three-year contract extension that runs through next year. He NEVER lived up to expectations and would have stretches of several games where he would be nearly invisible before finally making a jaw-dropping play that left fans shaking their heads wondering why he couldn’t put together more of a consistent effort during his Blues tenure."

...one of the comments left by a fan calls Backman sister Christian and I don't think he was referring to the song by Night Ranger.

...hopefully the jaw-dropping plays will be more frequent with the Rangers.

...did you notice that Ortmeyer is hitting Backman in the above picture?

Meet Backman and Sjostrom

Below are interviews from today with the Rangers two newest players...


Sjostrom Scores Against Rangers in 2006

...maybe this kid is good.

Sjoshrom and Backman Practice

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report reports...

- Backman skated on the right side with Marc Staal, leaving the other pairings of Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi, and Michal Rozsival and Marek Malik intact.

- With Colton Orr and Petr Prucha still unlikely for tomorrow, expect Sjostrom to skate on the right side in Carolina with Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg.

- Both Sjostrom and Backman said they were surprised to be traded, but happy that they were in New York. Both also expressed excitement about being reunited with Henrik Lundqvist given their history back in Sweden together. Maybe the only person not excited was Jaromir Jagr. "Swedes everywhere,” the captain cracked.

...not surprised to see Backman paired with Staal. The tough decision for Renney will be when Mara is healthy. Should be interesting to see who sits.

...another interesting decision Renney is going to have to make is when Prucha and Orr are healthy. I guess this depends on how Sjostrom plays, but my vote would be Sjostrom-Betts-Prucha against speed teams and Orr-Betts-Prucha/Sjostrom (again depending on how Sjostrom plays) against more physical teams.

...Weiman also reports that the other two imports from Phoenix, Josh Gratton and David LeNeveu, are headed to Hartford.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Analysis of Ranger Trades

To me Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report gives the best analysis...

"I’m OK with these moves. To paraphrase Brian McNamee, they are what they are. Backman provides some needed depth at defense, and Sjostrom gives the Rangers the chance to re-shape their checking line into more of an offensive threat. As much as I think Colton Orr has improved, you don’t need him in the lineup every night, especially in the playoffs. That’s where Sjostrom comes in.

Could the Rangers have fetched more in return for Al Montoya? Maybe. Let’s remember that every other team has scouts poking around the AHL as well, so there’s a chance they were seeing the same holes in his game that the Rangers were.

I still think Marcel Hossa has an upside, but he may have hit his ceiling in New York, and the Rangers likely recognized that.

Bottom line: these moves addressed some immediate needs, and even with Montoya, the Rangers didn’t give up all that much."

...I think Weinman says it best when he says, "I'm OK with these moves...they are what they are."

...did we need defensive insurance definitely, so getting Backman, who is better then average at best as I said earlier, for virtually nothing was a no-brainer.

...after some time analyzing the second trade I guess I'm OK with it also. Montoya was going no where but down in the Rangers organization and I think we've seen enough of Hossa to know what he brings, which is usually nothing. Sjostrom could have some upside, as the mad anonymous poster noted, and Gratton, who if he has any offensive talent, could take over Orr's spot on the fourth line very easily next year. And during Sather's press conference tonight he said this about LeNeveu “Benoit thinks he can really resurrect this guy.” So who knows.

...bottom line is the Rangers are on a roll right now and Sather did nothing to distract the team, which makes today's trade dealine a success for the Rangers.

Sather Speaks About Rangers Trades

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report was on a conference call with Glen Sather and reported this...

- Not surprisingly, he (Sather) said he entertained offers from a number of teams about prospects and young players, but made clear he didn’t want to compromise the Rangers’ future. He also said given the way the team is playing he didn’t want to disrupt the team’s current chemistry.

“In this game to make a deal that makes sense you really have to give up something to get something,” Sather said. “There’s a good feeling about this team right now. I really didn’t want to affect the chemistry that we have on this team and I don’t think the coaches wanted me to, either.”

- He reiterated there was no thought to trading Jaromir Jagr. Asked if he wanted to re-sign Jagr, Sather said, “We’ll see how things develop…I love the way he’s been playing.” As for Michal Rozsival and Sean Avery, Sather said he will continue to negotiate with both players over the coming weeks, but he did express confidence in being able to re-sign them.

...while I don't think the trades today made us better, I'm happy to say they didn't make us worse either. Which was something I was very worried about going into today and relieved about after the dealine had passed.

...thrilled to hear Sather say he didn't want to compromise the Rangers future by trading away young players and prospects. Sather could have easily made a big splash today by trading Dawes, Callahan or Sanguinetti for a Hossa, or a Campbell or a Richards, but he didn't which should make every Ranger fan confident that Sather will continue developing young players in an effort to make the Rangers competitive year after year.

More on the Rangers Trades

From Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report...

- The word out of Phoenix on Fred Sjostrom is he has been used by Wayne Gretzky mostly in a defensive role. He has good speed and some offensive ability, and was a popular guy in the Coyotes dressing room (including with reporters). I suspect he’ll be used on the fourth line to start, but we’ll see where that goes.

- Josh Gratton was the Coyotes’ enforcer for most of last season, but broke his finger during training camp and was eventually buried in San Antonio.

- In hindsight, Marcel Hossa’s sudden return rom Hartford in time for Sunday’s game was a classic example of a player being showcased.

- The Rangers indeed also got a conditional pick out of the Phoenix deal.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes says...

- Sjostrom, 24, is a right wing, former 11th overall pick, and should fit in well for Marcel Hossa. Not a scorer, 6-17-29 in 05-06; 9-9-18 in 06-07; Gratton is an enforcer, with 188 penalty minutes in 52 games in Phoenix in 06-07. I expect Leneveau to be in Hartford.

- Montoya's days were numbered when Henrik Lundqvist was signed to a long-term deal.He's been inconsistent and injury-prone in Hartford, and the rise of Miika Wiikman had bumped him to No. 2.

- Marcel Hossa's effectiveness has been restricted by a bad back. He was 1-7-8 in 36 games.

- Backman had been placed on injured reserve in early February with a cracked bone in his left foot, which he sustained while blocking a shot in a win over. Anaheim. He was 1-9-10 in 45 games.

...so let me get this straight we just traded for an over-priced defenseman, 3 million this year and next year (thanks for the info bpette), who was on injured reserve earlier this month with a cracked bone in his foot. Nice.

...and in our other trade, we traded our one-time goalie of the future and Hossa (who looked good the other night) for a goalie of lesser talent, a goon and 2001 first rounder who Phoenix was trying to turn into a defensive forward. Double nice.

...to me neither of these trades make much sense. With Backman, we now have an average at best defenseman on our payroll at 3 million next year giving us less room to bring in top talent in the off-season. And unless Sjostrom regains the skills that made him an 11th overall pick, we just traded a valuable penalty killer and someone I thought would be effective on the fourth line in Hossa along with Montoya for nothing. Awesome job Sather.

Final Trades of the Day

TSN reports...





...what's up with the Wild taking in the Islanders problems. In the off-season they brought in former Islander defenseman and steriod user Sean Hill and now they trade for Simon.

...very surprised that Jokinen wasn't traded today.

So, Who Are Sjostrom, Gratton and LeNeveau?

...here is what I know. Fredrik Sjostrom was drafted 11th overall in 2001 by Phoenix. On the season he has 10 goals and 9 assists. Maybe we'll see him on the fourth line in place of Hollweg.

...Josh Gratton, is a tough winger, who has only played in one game this year for Pheonix after playing 52 last year.

...David LeNeveau is apparently a former student of Rangers goaltending guru Benoit St. Allaire. LeNeveau was 2-1 with a 3.86 GAA for Pheonix last year. He hasn't played a game with Pheonix this year.


Rangers Trade Hossa and Montoya to Phoenix

Sam Weiman at The Rangers Report states...

"Rangers trade Marcel Hossa and Al Montoya to Phoenix and get forwards Fredrick Sjostrom and Josh Gratton, and goaltender David Leneveu in return."

...I'll have more on this in a little bit.

Penguins Get Hossa and Gill

TSN reports...

Rangers Get Backman from Blues

TSN reports...

The St. Louis Blues have traded defenceman Christian Backman to New York Rangers for a fourth round draft pick.

Drafted 24th overall by the Blues in 1998, Backman has 10 points in 45 games this season.

Backman, who helped Sweden win the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Torino in 2006, has collected 19 goals, 45 assists and 130 penalty minutes in 228 career games with the Blues.

...I think most Ranger fans were looking for Jackman not Backman from the Blues. Don't know much about Backman other than stats provided. Wonder if Lundqvist was advocating for Backman.

Rangers React To Trades

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports...

Told of the Dallas trade of Mike Smith, Jeff Halpern and Jussi Jokinen to Tampa for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist, Henrik Lundqvist's reaction was; "Two forwards going. That might be good for my brother." Twin brother Joel is a forward for the Stars who's been in and out of the lineup.

"Washington got better," said goaltender Steve Valiquette, with the acquisition of Montreal's Cristobal Huet. "A few years ago, he was one of the top five in the league."

When I asked Jaromir Jagr to tell Sean Avery that Cam Janssens, to whom he once referred as "that meathead from Jersey" was traded to St. Louis, Jagr said; "He (Sean) knows; he's got text messages."

...locker room seems pretty loose as 3pm draws near. Zipay also reported that, with the exception of the injured Mara and Orr, everyone was at practice today.

Islanders Pick Up Davison

Via KuklasKorner...


...who? This move assures the Islanders a playoff berth. Ha, ha, ha. Although, they did re-sign Comrie earlier today, which, to me, means they still think they can make the playoffs.

Fedorov to Capitals

TSN reports...


...despite being ony five points out of a playoff spot it looks like Columbus is a seller today after first trading Adam Foote and now Fedorov.

...the Capitals have now picked up Huet and Fedorov. Looks like they feel they can overtake Carolina in the Southeast Division. I read a rumor that Kolzig might be going to Ottawa. Makes sense after bringing in Huet.

***UPDATE***

Foote Goes Back to Colorado

TSN reports...


...I'm actually surprised by this trade, as all reports this week indicated that Foote was going to be re-signed by Columbus. The Avalanche seem to really be going for it. First Forsberg and now Foote. They also traded for Florida's Ruslan Salei earlier today.

...wouldn't have minded seeing Foote in Ranger blue for the rest of the season. But again, if he's gonna go some where else, I'm glad its in the West.

Richards to Stars, Huet to Capitals

TSN reports...



...the Rangers are getting very lucky with all these big names (Forsberg, Campbell and Richards) going out West.

...with the Canadiens trading Huet, they are putting their season in the hands of 20-year-old Carey Price. I'm shocked by this, especially after the way we burned Price last week. This is great for the Rangers. Not sure what Montreal is thinking.

Another Defenseman Gone as Campbell Traded to Sharks

TSN reports...


...another d-man off the board, let's go Glen.

...at least he's going out West.

...this is also obviously great news as one of our main competitors for a playoff spot just lost one of their best players. Thanks Buffalo.

Devils and Flyers Make Early Moves

TSN reports...

The Lightning have shipped Vaclav Prospal (29 goals and 57 points in 62 games) to the Philadelphia Flyers for defensemen Alexandre Picard and a second or third round draft pick in 2009.

The New Jersey Devils have bolstered their defence for the stretch run, acquiring defenceman Bryce Salvador from the St. Louis Blues for forward Cam Janssen. Salvador, 32, has 11 points and 43 penalty minutes in 56 games this season.

...looks like our divisional opponents are getting better by the minute. I hope this doesn't force Sather into a panic move.

Senators to Pursue Avery?

Don Brennan at the Ottawa Sun writes the following...

"Another guy the Senators should try and swing a deal for: Rangers F Sean Avery. He'd answer Ottawa's glaring need for some grit and provide another source for scoring at the same time. Yes, New York is still very much in the thick of things, but GM Glen Sather has to be more than a little concerned that he won't be able to re-sign Avery, who is making $1.9 million and is eligible for UFA status in the summer. Funny now, isn't it, that the Blueshirts labelled Avery a "detriment to the team" in an arbitration brief last summer? Since he arrived in New York Feb. 5, 2007, the Rangers are 40-17-11 with Avery in the lineup and 9-13-3 in games he has missed."

...what is this guy smoking? If Sather even thinks about trading Avery, especially with the way he's been playing lately, he's a bigger fool than I thought. The only thing worse than Sather trading Avery would be him not re-signing Avery in the off-season.

Who the Rangers Have There Eyes on Now

With a number of defensemen signing contracts last night the below is being reported...

Steve Zipay at Newsday asays...

"...the Rangers were believed to be looking at Columbus' Ron Hainsey and Colorado's John-Michael Liles, among others...

The Rangers also are believed to be interested in former first-round pick Rob Schremp, who has 14 goals and 52 points for the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons."

At the New York Post Mark Everson is reporting...

"...the Rangers are believed looking elsewhere for help on defense, perhaps toward Edmonton's Joni Pitkanen, since Tampa's Dan Boyle yesterday signed a six-year, $40 million extension that removes him from the top of the rental market."

...should be a fun day today. Hopefully the Rangers can make that one move that propels them into the playoffs and beyond. I'll be updating all day.

Many Defensmen Now Off the Market

The Rangers pursuit of a defenseman just got a bit harder...

All of the below information is being reported by TSN...



TSN is also reporting that Bryan McCabe does not want to be traded...

Yesterday, he (Byan McCabe) told Maple Leafs' interim general manager Cliff Fletcher that he would consider waiving his no-trade clause if the right scenario emerged. On Monday, he said his talk with Fletcher was no big deal.

"Just because I've given him a little bit of an open door doesn't mean I want to go anywhere," McCabe told reporters Monday. "I don't. I've said that all along. You guys try to make big deals out of all this stuff. We had a casual conversation; that was it. Nothing has been talked about, no teams, nothing like that. So it's no big deal."

...no need to worry as there are plenty of available defensemen including John-Michael Liles, Brian Campbell, Tomas Kaberle and Ron Hainsey. My vote is for Hainsey.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mara to Have Facial Surgery, Out 2 Weeks

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report says...

"The Rangers announced Paul Mara will have surgery to repair a facial fracture and will be out for two weeks. Whether this forces the Rangers hand when dealing before the deadline remains to be seen. Put it this way: it can’t help."

...I think this absolutely forces Sather's hand. I'm more confident than ever that we will be making a trade tomorrow after this news.

Forsberg Signs with Avalanche

According to ESPN.com, the Colorado Avalance have reached an agreement Monday with Peter Forsberg on a contract through the 2007-08 season...

...this is great news for the Rangers on two levels. One, it means he's not coming here, where he's obviously not needed with the Rangers solid up the middle and the offense finally clicking. Two, he went out West meaning the only time we'd see him is in the Stanley Cup Finals.

No Trades Necessary For Rangers

Stan Fischler at MSGNetwork.com gave this response when asked by Ranger fans what trades the Rangers will be making at the deadline...

"I told them straight out that this team -- especially with Marcel Hossa back on Broadway -- should remain intact; no roster changes are necessary.

As presently constituted, the Blueshirts have three solid offensive lines. Brandon Dubinsky and Sean Avery have revitalized Jaromir Jagr, while the other units are just fine as is.

With Hossa back, Renney can dump either Colton Orr -- out Sunday with illness -- or, preferably Ryan Hollweg and have a reasonable fourth line.

Compared to the competition, the New York defense is good enough. Although a first-rate power play quarterback would make it a superior unit, but you can't have everything.

And if Henny Lundqvist should falter again, Steve Valiquette can step in without anyone having to worry about the puck-stopping.

This is a roster on the rise. So why tamper with it? If it's broken, Sather's job is to fix it. But, right now, the Rangers sure look playoff-good to me!"

...man even Fischler is dumping on Hollweg. I thought Hossa had a strong, physical game last night including a shot off the pipe in the third period. I think that was the first offensive chance for the fourth line since Hollweg's two goal game against the Flyers last month. Hopefully Renney will reward Hossa with another start on Thursday against Carolina.

Why the Rangers Are Winning

Dave & Aziz Nekoukar at NJ.com, give their reasons for the Rangers recent success...

- The Rangers scored nine goals this weekend. No, seriously. They did. Nine goals. From seven different players.

- The Blueshirts got 16 assists on their nine goals over the weekend. The assists came from 10 different players.

We thought it somewhat ironic that the Rangers won by the same 5-0 score yesterday that haunted them in Montreal. But, let's not think about that for too long, eh? Instead, how about that they finished as strong as they started yesterday. Or the fact that the team has scored 14 goals in its last three games. Or that the team committed just five penalties resulting in power plays in the weekend's games. Or that there have been fights in the last two games, demonstrating that these Blueshirts aren't going down without -- you guessed it -- a fight.

We were never very good at Algebra, but it's not a difficult equation at work here: smarter hockey + fewer penalties + energetic play + diverse offensive threats + protecting your goaltender = wins. Okay, maybe that's a tougher equation than we thought, but the Rangers are doing all of it and winning because of that.

Rangers Wait For Tampa's Decision on Boyle

Larry Brooks at The New York Post reports that the Rangers are waiting on Tampa Bay Lightning ownership to decide what they are doing with Dan Boyle...

"The Post has learned that Tampa Bay ownership and management will meet this morning to consider the feasibility of signing the impending free agent defenseman to a contract extension...

If negotiations between the club and Boyle fail to produce an agreement, GM Jay Feaster will then ask Boyle to provide a list of teams for which he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause. The Rangers would be at the top of a very short list, should the 31-year-old, dynamic game-changer agree to that request.

Sources have told The Post that the Rangers' interest in Boyle goes far deeper than merely acquiring the defenseman as a rental. Indeed, it is believed that GM Glen Sather would ask for permission to negotiate a long-term contract with Boyle..."

Brooks also reports on other Ranger trade rumors...

Contrary to reports, the Rangers have no interest whatsoever in Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe. The Blueshirts do have interest in renting St. Louis' prospective free agent defenseman Barret Jackman, but the price in return is expected to be far too high for Sather's liking. Adam Foote has indicated a desire to sign a new deal in Columbus rather than become a rental; in any case, Foote is believed to have no interest in waiving his no-trade to come to New York.

As reported in yesterday's Post, the Rangers are keenly interested in winger Rob Schremp, Edmonton's 2004 first-rounder...an offensive talent who was selected 25th overall, subsequently recorded 57 goals and 145 points for OHL London in 2005-06.

The Post has learned that Hugh Jessiman, the 12th overall selection in 2003...has been part of the conversation with the Oilers. Lowe, however, is believed to be asking for much more than Jessiman.

...despite the Rangers strong play over the last month, they are in desperate need of help on the power play. The Rangers are 3 for their last 24 on the power play, which includes the 2 for 5 in Montreal. There will be some big spots coming down the stretch when a power play goal is needed and right now I'm not confident that the personnel we have can get the job done. Boyle will be a major upgrade on the point.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conflicting Reports on Rangers Pursuit of McCabe

I've found two conflicting reports on the Rangers and Bryan McCabe. I'll let you guess which one I think is true...

Eklund at HockeyBuzz says...

"The Rangers are interested heavily in Boyle and McCabe."

While John Dellapina at The Blueshirts Blog reports...

"Facts are: with young defensemen in the pipeline; with younger, better offensive types such as Brian Campbell and Dan Boyle possibly coming on the free-agent market in July; and with tightening up their defense more of a priority than adding an own-zone-challenged blueline bomber to the point of their forward-driven power play, the Rangers have no interest in acquiring McCabe."

Dellapina also weighs in on Snubgate...

"Despite countless requests for sit-downs with Sather leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline, we’ve repeatedly been told by the team’s PR department that he’ll talk when there’s something to talk about.

Guess Jagr’s status on the NEW YORK Rangers was something worthy of talking about with the reporter who serves EDMONTON fans...

...it is a slap in the face to Rangers fans who have every right to expect their GM to be accessible and accountable to the local media."

...back to the McCabe rumor. I think I'll have to go with Dellapina's account. Although, he's the one saying that Sather doesn't talk to Ranger beat writers so maybe Eklund is right on this one.

...oh yeah and McCabe can keep his four measley goals and $5.75 per year for the next three years contract in Toronto. We don't need them.

De-Clawed


Tonight the New York Rangers (31-24-8) defeated the Florida Panthers (28-30-7) by a score of 5-0. Marek Malik scored his first goal of the season, and Jaromir Jagr netted his second in two nights for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots in his eighth shutout, which makes him the first Ranger goaltender since Eddie Giacomin in 1970 to post eight shutouts in a season. Scott Gomez staked him to a 1-0 lead in the first period. Malik added an assist on Nigel Dawes’ 10th of the season that made it 4-0 in the third. Martin Straka made it 5-0. Gomez also added two assists. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...I'm almost more impressed with this win than I was with last night's against Buffalo. This game had all the makings of a let down and the Rangers took it to Florida from the drop of the puck.

...this was the third weekend in a row with back-to-back games and the Rangers went 5-0-1 in those six games. The Rangers are now 5-0-2 in their last seven and 10-3-2 in their last 15. Not bad.

...I think the Ranger players read this blog before the game. Before last night's game I said Jagr had to starting scoring he's now scored in two straight games and before the game tonight I said that Gomez needed to score and he scores. Maybe before Thursday's game I'll say that Betts needs to score to get him going.

...since most of my time on this blog has been taken up by criticizing Malik, I've got to give him props for a great game tonight. Not only did he have a goal and an assist he actually roughed up a Panther player after he tried to poke the puck loose from Lundqvist. I was also really happy to see the positive reaction the fans had when he was named second star. If he continues his improving play of late he will win the fans back in no time.

...loved FSN micing up Ranger Assistant Coach Mike Pelino. Not sure if anyone saw the exchange he had with Jagr when they were talking about trying to get Malik the Gordie Howe Hat Trick after his goal and assist and then Pelino says "Should we put Aves out there with him?" Great stuff.

...the Rangers are now off for three more days (what kind of wacky scheduling is this), which means they won't be playing again until after the trading deadline. Let's hope when the Rangers take the ice against Carolina they are not a completely different team.

Hossa In, Orr Out With Injury

Sam Weinman of The Rangers Report says that Marcel Hossa will be taking Colton Orr's spot on the fourth line...

"As reported earlier, Marcel Hossa is back from Hartford and will skate on the fourth line in Colton Orr’s spot at right wing. Orr has, according to Tom Renney, an “upper body injury,” although no one can say for sure when exactly he sustained it."

...hoping Hossa has a solid game so that when Orr is ready to play Hollweg is sent to the press box. Sorry to be hating on Hollweg so much but he is a liability out there. Even when his hits are borderline, the refs will never give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sather Snubs Ranger Beat Writers

Looks like Sather angered a couple of Ranger beat writers when he told Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal that Jaromir Jagr is going no where...

Sam Weinman of The Rangers Report says...

I’d be happy to tell you that Glen Sather sat down with a handful of New York writers and announced Jaromir Jagr won’t be going anywhere. Instead, the GM’s most expansive comments of the season on his team were to Jim Matheson in the Edmonton Journal.

“Trade Jagr? Nobody’s called me on him. Why would I want to do that?” Sather said.“Jagr is still the best player on our team. He’s got two guys all over him most nights and he still draws lots of attention. I absolutely want him back next year.”

This isn’t a new dynamic of Sather saying little to the New York press, although it seems to have gotten worse over time. Truth is, I’ve been covering this team for two seasons and I could count on one hand the number of meaningful exchanges I’ve had with the Rangers GM. That could easily be a reflection of my inexperience on the beat, but it’s more a reflection of Sather, who hasn’t saying much to my direct competition, either.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes adds...

Although the Rangers have denied repeated requests from New York writers for a sitdown with general manager Glen Sather, he spoke with Edmonton reporters and said Jaromir Jagr would not be traded, and that he would like to resign both Jagr and Sean Avery.

Unfortunate situation.

Not for Jagr and Avery, but for Rangers fans, who pay top dollar for tickets and should hear from the team's boss more than every once in awhile.

Anyway, just arrived at the Garden. Maybe we'll have something from Glen before the end of the season.

...I've got to agree with Zipay when he says that Ranger fans should hear from the GM more than once in awhile. As a Mets fan I hear from GM Omar Minaya almost everyday. Whether its in the newspaper, on the radio or on television. Where Sather is almost always MIA. That really isn't fair to Ranger fans wanting to know which direction the team is going.

Hossa Recalled from Hartford

According to Steve Zipay at Blue Notes, Marcel Hossa has been recalled from Hartford for tonight's game...

"Left wing Marcel Hossa's conditioning stint is over after five games, in which he scored one goal.It appears that defenseman Paul Mara, who suffered head and facial injuries last night, will not play tonight against Florida, and Jason Strudwick will step in. Hossa would be a spare forward or play for someone else..Coach Tom Renney had said before last night's game that Hossa would be back for Thursday's game in Carolina."

...man I'd love to see Hossa on the fourth line replacing Hollweg tonight.

Rangers Will Not Be Trading Jagr, Looking For D-Man

John Dellapina of the Daily News says that numerous factors will keep the Rangers from trading Jaromir Jagr at the deadline...

"...The Rangers have seen nothing out of the rest of the Eastern Conference this season to make them believe they can't be its representative in the Stanley Cup Finals (if they can just make the playoffs).

And as for trading Jaromir Jagr, don't hold your breath. The market for him is minimal, and Glen Sather doesn't share the notion that has gained some traction among a certain (vociferous) segment of the hockey world that the Rangers would be better off without Jagr...

...with their offense finally showing some signs of life in recent weeks - 13 goals in the last three games, 33 in the last 10 going into last night's game at Buffalo - the Rangers figure to focus upon solidifying and toughening their defense."

...nothing new here, I'd be very happy with keeping Jagr and bringing in a defenseman.

...Dellapina does a nice job explaning how the Rangers cap situation factors into their trade deadline plans.

Rangers vs. Panthers Preview


Tonight the New York Rangers (31-24-8) host the Floriday Panthers (28-29-7). The Rangers have been on a roll going 4-0-2 over their last six games. New York owns one of the league’s worst offenses, averaging 2.49 goals per game, but has scored at least three goals in each of its last four games. The Rangers play three of their next four at Madison Square Garden, where they have won six of their last nine. New York beat the Panthers 5-2 at home on Oct. 4, but lost 3-2 in a shootout in Florida in the last meeting between the teams. Lundqvist is 5-1-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average in six career games against Florida (28-29-7). The Panthers ended a three-game losing streak on Saturday, winning 2-1 in overtime in Philadelphia. Jay Bouwmeester tied the game with 3.7 seconds left in regulation and captain Olli Jokinen scored 3:44 into overtime. Florida, which ended a three-game road losing streak, is trying to keep pace in a tight Southeast Division, trailing first-place Carolina by six points. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...this is a big game for the Rangers because you don't want a letdown after such an emotional win last night. Florida has been struggling lately, especially holding on to third period leads (they've blown two goal third period leads in three of their last four games). If the Rangers want to make the playoffs they have to take care of business against inferior opponents.

...the first line of Avery-Dubinski-Jagr has put this team on its back lately including last night when each of them had a goal. I'd like to start seeing a little more production out of Gomez as he hasn't scored a goal in 5 games. However he has had 4 assists in those games.

...with Mara sustaining a head injury (where was the penalty?) last night, I'm assuming we're going to see Strudwick back in the lineup paired with Staal. Mara's injury makes it all the more likely that Sather will bring in a defenseman at the trading deadline.

...haven't seen anything mentioning who will be in goal for the Rangers tonight, but my money's Lundqvist.

...I'll have more later.

Big Win in Buffalo


Tonight the New York Rangers (31-24-8) deafeated the Buffalo Sabres (30-25-7) by a score of 4-3. Sean Avery scored the go-ahead goal with 5:05 left, capitalizing on Ales Kotalik’s dreadful giveaway in his own zone, in a 4-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday night. The victory came four days after the Rangers squandered a 5-0 lead in a 6-5 shootout loss to Montreal, and pushed New York two points ahead of Buffalo in the standings. The Rangers remain tied with Boston, which defeated Tampa Bay 5-3, in sixth place. Buffalo dropped to eighth, a point ahead of the New York Islanders and Philadelphia. The Rangers improved to 3-0 against the Sabres this season and are suddenly on a roll, at 9-3-2 in their past 14 games. Avery and Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and assist each, while Jaromir Jagr and Nigel Dawes also scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves to preserve the win. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...like I said the other day, there is too much veteran leadership on this team to let Tuesday's disaster bring this team down. Amazing win.

...congratulations to Jagr for his first goal in 13 games. Man had it been that long? Last goal was on January 22nd. Ouch. Way to get off the schneid Jags.

...I love the way other players have stepped up with Jagr not scoring. None bigger than Dubinsky who now has 8 goals and 8 assists in the last 17 games. Another player stepping up lately has been Avery, who, by scoring the game winning goal tonight, has scored five goals in the last five games.

...I've been tough on Lundqvist for the past three months, deservedly so, but he earned his money tonight. Numerous big time saves, none bigger than the breakaway save he made in third period to keep the score tied at three. Renney's got to give him the start tomorrow, especially with another three day break coming up.

...I'll have a preview and more before tomorrow night's game.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The New York Rangers Blog Gets Rating of 7.6 out of 10



Apparently a website called Blogged.com which rates blogs throughout the internet gave my blog a score of 7.6 (Very Good) out of 10. From what I read on the site, editor reviews are provided by professional editors who evaluate a blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style. My blog probably would have gotten a perfect 10 if it wasn't for the unintelligent comments left by bpette2 and fleisch14. Just kidding guys. If it weren't for you two, and the new anonymous commenter, I'd be talking to myself.

Rangers vs. Sabres Preview


Tonight the New York Rangers (30-24-8) visit the Buffalo Sabres (30-23-8) in what will be Chris Drury’s first game back in Buffalo since bolting to the Rangers as a free agent in July. Buffalo enters the game in a tie with the Rangers, who they’ve played twice in New York, and Boston—the three teams holding the Eastern Conference’s final three postseason spots. Drury shouldn’t expect much appreciation from the fans, many are still unhappy over how quickly he signed a five-year, $35.25 million deal with a Rangers’ team he grew up supporting. It doesn’t matter that the Sabres didn’t make Drury a firm offer until the final week before free agency. The Sabres are 10-2-2 in their past 14 games, rebounding from a dreadful 1-7-5 slump that dropped them to 14th place in the East late last month. Like the Sabres, Drury has experienced some difficulties adjusting to a new environment. While he’s tied for the team lead with 20 goals, including a team-leading five game-winners, Drury’s usually sound defensive statistics are down. His minus-9 rating—Drury’s been on the ice for nine more non-power-play goals scored against the Rangers than his team has scored—is worst among the Rangers’ regulars, marking a drop after he finished plus-one last year. The Rangers haven’t gelled either, despite spending lavishly to land Drury and Scott Gomez last summer, additions that were supposed to push them into the NHL elite after finishing sixth in the East last year. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

..its amazing that its the end of February and this will be Drury's first game back to Buffalo. I would have rather it happened earlier as I'm not expecting Drury to have a great game with so many emotions probably going though his mind.

...with three days off I'm hopeful the Rangers were able to get Tuesday's meltdown behind them and focus on the task in hand. They have a great opportunity to gain four points this weekend setting them up nicely for the last month of the season.

...the one guy who needs to get his game going is Lundqvist. If he faulters tonight, I don't care how much money we've given him, Renney has to give Valiquette more starts. I can't believe I'm saying that, but unfortunately that's the reality of the situation.

...oh yeah, and Jagr needs to start scoring.

...I'll have more later today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ranger Profile No. 19 - Scott Gomez

According to MSGNetwork.com, the MSG television series - Ranger Profile will premiere the Scott Gomez episode tomorrow, Saturday, February 23, at 6 p.m...

...I think I've seen all of these and they're great. Not sure I'm interested in seeing all of the success Gomez had with the Devils, but I'll probably watch it nonetheless.

...for any of the younger Ranger fans who read my blog definitely make sure you see the Eddie Giacomin Ranger Profile.

...the Richter one is also great, especially when he talks about his penalty shot save on Bure as being the turning point of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. Right fleisch14.

Lundqvist to Start, Prucha Still Out

Over at the Rangers Report, Sam Weinman gives some notes from practice today...

- Henrik Lundqvist is expected to play tomorrow. Tom Renney said he’s still mulling his choice for Sunday.

- Petr Prucha sounds unlikely since he hasn’t been exposed to a lot of contact.

-A lot of trade deadline talk, which is inevitable with 3 p.m. next Tuesday fast approaching. The general consensus from players and coaches is that this team doesn’t need any major overhaul to make a run. But that doesn’t mean something won’t be happening—think defense—and even some players admit a potential move is on their minds.

...I wonder which players (Malik) have potential moves on their minds?

...depending on how well Lundqvist plays tomorrow, I wouldn't mind seeing Valiquette on Sunday.

Flames Interested in Jagr

According to Eklund at HockeyBuzz, the Flames may be interested in Jaromir Jagr...

"And there is a rumour that that the Flames are interested in Jagr."

...I've posted numerous rumors from HockeyBuzz and not one of them has happened, so I'm not putting too much stock into this. However, if this is true, I'd take 21 year old defenseman Dion Phaneuf (13 goals, 32 assists, +8 in 61 games), who has been rumored to be available, straight up for Jagr in a second. In Phaneuf's two plus years in the league he has 50 goals 94 assists +23 in 222 games.

...P.S. Tuesday night Phaneuf had two goals, was a +2 and had a fight.

Latest on the Ranger Trade Front

At The Blueshirt Blog, John Dellapina talks about Glen Sather's thinking as the trade deadline draws near...

"While past history suggests that GM Glen Sather probably will deal with teams run by men with whom he has a personal relationship before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, nothing on the trade front was imminent as of last night.

Sather has little interest in dealing Jaromir Jagr but isn’t racing to bring in another Czech countryman to get the captain going. Figure on the Rangers focusing more upon trying to add a solid, physical defenseman for the stretch run."

...I will be more than satisfied if all Sather brings in is a solid physical defenseman.

Light Mood At Practice Yesterday

John Dellapina at The Blueshirts Blog, reports that it looks like the Ranger players have already forgotten about the "Meltdown in Montreal"...

"In case you were worried, your heroes were hardly a shattered shell or emotional mess upon reconvening for practice today.

Just the opposite, in fact.

Treating Tuesday night’s Meltdown in Montreal as an aberration rather than a sign of the apocalypse, the Rangers went back to work merrily.

Jaromir Jagr reacted appropriately to being barked at by Sean Avery for not passing him the puck early in practice: The Rangers captain spent the rest of the rush drills freezing out the loquacious (except with reporters in recent days) winger, refusing to pass to him at all except for the odd airborne puck or annoying feed into his skates. Jagr clearly enjoyed that and Avery was even chuckling about it after the sixth or seventh time.

Later, during a practice-closing drill in which each group of five had to skate a Herbie (sprint to the far blue line and back) every time one of their quintet missed a penalty shot, Jagr, Michal Rozsival and Marek Malik mockingly took off before Avery even got a chance to pick up the puck at center ice. When Avery beat Henrik Lundqvist (hardly uncommon today), the three and Brandon Dubinsky mobbed Avery as if he had just won a real game — apparently, Avery and Malik are pals again."

...happy to see these guys move on. In Dellapina's story today in the Daily News he reinforces the fact that Tuesday night's game was a fluke as the Rangers had gone 20-1-1 when leading after two periods going into the game.

...I've read on numerous Ranger message boards and blogs that Tuesday night's meltdown will send the Rangers into a tailspin. I disagree with this completely. Just because you blow a lead like that doesn't necessarily mean that the team goes into the tank. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I'm a New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets fan. Back in 2000 the Nets were playing the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Championship. In game three with the series tied at 1-1, the Nets led by 21 points going into the final period, but a tremendous Celtic comeback gave the Celtics a 94-90 victory and a 2-1 series lead. The Nets are demoralized right. Wrong. They came back to win the next three games and go to the NBA Championship. If the Nets could comeback after a horrific meltdown in the Eastern Conference Championship, I think the Rangers should have no problem coming back from a meltdown in February. There's too much veteran leadership on this team not too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bad Night On the Ice While Rangers Are Off

Very bad night for the Rangers regarding out of town scores...

New York Islanders 1, Tampa Bay 0
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Atlanta Thrashers 3
Boston Bruins 5, Florida Panthers 4, SO
Buffalo Sabres 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Montreal Canadiens 4

Here's the only good score of the night...
San Jose Sharks 3, Philadelphia Flyers 1

...with the horrible results tonight the Rangers went from sixth to eighth and are only two points out of tenth.

...hey at least Philadelphia is on a nine game winless streak.

Flashback to 1994 Trade Deadline

Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com takes a look back at the Rangers 1994 trade deadline deals...

"(Neil) Smith, the Rangers’ GM from 1989-2000, rolled the dice at the deadline, acquiring right wing Glenn Anderson from Toronto, center Craig MacTavish from Edmonton and wingers Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan from Chicago. Gone were right wing Mike Gartner, center Todd Marchant and wingers Tony Amonte and Matt Oates.

Remarkably, the trades seemed to bolster team chemistry as MacTavish and Anderson were reunited with former Edmonton teammates Lowe, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen, Adam Graves and Mark Messier. Matteau and Noonan, meanwhile, would not only be joining former Chicago teammate Steve Larmer in New York, but their former coach, Keenan.

Another key in making the deals, according to Smith, was the fact the players he acquired were unrestricted free agents at season’s end and not locked in to any long-term contract...

...For the ‘94 Rangers, the trading deadline proved to be one critical point in their Quest for the Cup."

...after reading that I want Sather to sell the farm for aging veterans. Just kidding. Great read for any Rangers fan wanting to relive 1994. And who wouldn't want to do that.

Rangers Need Something

That's what Scott Burnside thinks at ESPN.com...

"...Sather must decide what he is going to do with agitator Sean Avery, who can become an unrestricted free agent, and captain Jaromir Jagr, who can become an unrestricted free agent unless he reaches 84 points and New York wins at least one playoff round.

The thinking is both will remain Rangers at least beyond the trade deadline, but that will force Sather to consider moving other assets to improve his club. His primary concern will be finding a puck-moving defenseman. One thing seems clear -- this is a team that needs something."

...I agree with Burnside that this team needs something, but I hope Sather doesn't feel that this team needs somethings and overpays for numerous rental players. I don't think that will happen and my hope is that he'll make a few subtle moves like last year with Avery and Mara.

What Could We Get for Montoya?

Allan Muir at SI.com, answers a Rangers fans question on that subject...

I read what you said about Al Montoya possibly being moved as a result of the Henrik Lundqvist deal. What sort of return might he generate for the Rangers?-- Jack Classen, NYU

Right now, not much. All you have to do is look at recent goalie transactions and you realize that, despite their importance, netminders aren't exactly bringing a lot in trade these days. Ilya Bryzgalov's a perfect example. Here's a guy who carried the Ducks through two playoff series, and Brian Burke had to let him go for nothing on waivers because he couldn't find any takers.

Montoya's had his own success in the past, especially in leading Team USA to gold at the 2004 World Juniors. There some around the Rangers who believe he deserved to make the squad out of camp this season, but that his contract make Steve Valiquette a more palatable option.

But Montoya's struggles with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack this season will force any other GM to regard his value skeptically. So, at this point, he's basically a sweetener to any deal that the Rangers make. Or, and this may be more likely, he could be moved for another organization's tarnished hopeful, in the same vein as the Boston - St. Louis deal that saw goalie Hannu Toivonen shipped west for winger Carl Soderberg. That'd be a tough pill for the Rangers to swallow, but with the possibility of re-signing Miika Wikman, and incoming prospect Antoine Lafleur (the team's second-round pick last June), they'll have to make a decision soon regarding Montoya's once promising future.

...pretty sad that right now Montoya is nothing more than a sweetener to any deal. Thought he might be able to bring us something big in return on his own. To make matters worse Montoya sustained a grion injury during a Wolf Pack game last night. See here.

Rangers Hot for Boyle & Rucinsky; Close to Signing Avery

Larry Brooks of the New York Post says that Dan Boyle, who just a week ago was unavailable, may be back on the market. He is also reporting that the Rangers are looking into a trade that would bring back Martin Rucinsky in exchange for Marek Malik. And finally Brooks says that the Rangers and Sean Avery are close to a contract extension...

On Boyle...

"...The Post has learned that despite the Lightning's desire to lock up Boyle, little if any progress has been made toward that end.

Indeed, it is unclear whether Tampa Bay's incoming ownership will allow GM Jay Feaster to commit the $6-7 million per season Boyle is all but certain to command if the team can't first move Brad Richards and the final three seasons of his $7.8M per contract...

...The Blueshirts have one other thing going for them as well, and that's the no-trade clause that Boyle holds. Though nothing is set in stone, it is believed New York is Boyle's preferred destination if he doesn't remain in Tampa..."

On Rucinsky...

"Blueshirts are believed interested in bringing back St. Louis winger Martin Rucinsky for a fourth tour of duty on Broadway. Rangers would deal Marek Malik - whom St. Louis president John Davidson likes - but would need to get a defenseman back either while or before moving him."

On Avery...

"...the GM (Glen Sather) and impending unrestricted free agent Sean (Garbo) Avery are making progress in their negotiations, The Post has learned...The winger and GM are believed to be discussing both a one-year bridge deal and multi-year deal in the range of $2.85-3.3M per."

...lots of good stuff here from Brooks. Looks like Tampa is interested in prospects, so I'd have to see who they want before I get too excited about Boyle.

...I'm in for Rucinsky especially if it means shipping out Malik. I'm even more in if Davidson would throw in bruising defenseman Barret Jackman, who has been rumoured in numerous trades. If we make this trade, I'd pass on Boyle.

...C'mon Glen I want a multi-year deal for Avery. Lock it up!

Who Do You Want at the Trading Deadline?

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes gives his top ten candidates that the Rangers should target before the February 26th trading deadline...

1. Dan Boyle, Tampa.
2. Brian Campbell, Buffalo.
3. Marian Hossa, Atlanta.
4. Mats Sundin, Toronto
5. Thomas Kaberle, Toronto
6. John-Michael Liles, Colorado.
7. Vaclav Prospal, Tampa.
8. Barrett Jackman, St. Louis
9. Matt Carle, San Jose.
10. Ron Hainsey, Columbus


...lots of defenseman on the list, which is probably what most Ranger fans want to see. Not sure I would put Sundin on my list. We don't need an aging center.