Sunday, November 30, 2008

Panthers 4, Rangers 0

The New York Rangers (17-8-2) lost to the Florida Panthers (9-11-3) by the score of 4-0 today. For a recap and box score go to

...the blame for the loss goes squarely on my shoulders as the Rangers worst performance of the year, of course, comes in the first game I attend this season. to the game. After not being able to cash in on some early opportunities (yeah I'm talking to you Dubinsky) or bang home any rebounds it seemed like they just gave up. That's not the way a first place team should be reacting to adversity. Especially against a basement dweller like the Panthers.

...after two straight games of solid play Rozsival came crashing down to earth today. Not sure the booing by the home crowd is helping either. there anyway someone can tell Redden the Rangers brought him in here to add offense to the blueline. He's now gone 24 straight games without a goal. His last goal was during the home opener.

...0-5 on the power play for the second straight game including one of the worst 5 on 3s I've ever witnessed. And some how Perry Pearn still has a job tonight. need dwelling on this one, Renney should just throw out the film and focus on our next two games against the Penguins and Canadiens because if we show this same effort against those two teams it could get real ugly.

Rangers broadcasters John Giannone and Joe Micheletti give their take on the Rangers' 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Nov. 30 at MSG here.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and alternate captain Scott Gomez look back on today's game here.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney talks to reporters about his team's 4-0 loss to Florida here.

Rangers vs. Panthers (Game 27)

The New York Rangers (17-7-2) host the Florida Panthers (8-11-3) today at MSG starting at 1:00 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Henrik Lundqvist - 15-5-2, 2.11 gaa, .927 sv%, 0 so.

Craig Anderson - 3-1-3, 2.12 gaa, . 941 sv%, 1 so.
Tomas Volkoun - 5-10-0, 3.01 gaa, .911 sv%, 1 so.

- The Rangers have won three straight and six of eight, with four of those victories coming in shootouts.

- Panthers coach Peter DeBoer has not named a starting goaltender for today yet.

- Zherdev leads the Rangers with 23 points and has at least one point in four straight games, registering a goal and six assists.

- The Rangers have outscored the Panthers 51-24 to win 11 of 14 meetings at MSG since the start of 2000-01.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney speaks to reporters after yesterday's practice at the MSG Training Center here.

Maple Leafs Get Burke

TSN reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs introduced Brian Burke as their new president and general manager yesterday.

Burke will reportedly earn $3 million annually on a six-year deal.

The Rangers had been rumored as a possible destination for Burke once he left his post as GM for the Anaheim Ducks (see here).

His new players seem to approve, as they went out and beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 last night with Burke in attendance.

Sunday Headlines


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lundqvist In Tomorrow

After contemplating starting Steve Valiquette tomorrow against Florida, Tom Renney has instead decided to come right back with Henrik Lundqvist.

Renney also plans on playing Lundqvist in both games of the back-to-back against the Penguins and Canadiens later this week, saying this...

“We’ll see how he does,” Tom Renney said to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report. “He feels good. He’s well rested. And he’s on top of his game, obviously.”

According to Weinman, Renney was going to talk with Jim Schoenfeld and Glen Sather this afternoon about what to do with Petr Prucha. A conditioning stint in Hartford is the most likely option.

...can't argue against starting The King, especially when I'm going to the game tomorrow, but I thought this would have been a nice opportunity to get Valiquette some work. Renney says Lunqvist is well rested so why not ride him.

Series on Graves Looks at 1993-94 Season

Continuing their series on Adam Graves' career, takes a game-by-game look at Graves' third year on Broadway, which saw the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years and Graves break the Rangers single season scoring record with 52. is devoting a dozen weeks to extensive coverage of Graves' 18-years with the Rangers organization with year-by-year reviews leading up to Graves Night on February 3, 2009.

...if there's one of these game-by-game features every Ranger fan should check out it's obviously this one.

FYI - is also reporting that the 15th Annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive will take place at MSG before games on Dec. 3 and Dec. 7 and at The Pond at Bryant Park on Dec. 11.

Graves and several current Rangers players will be on hand at Bryant Park to provide autographs and photo opportunities to those who donate. Donors at the Dec. 3rd & 7th games will receive a pre-signed Rangers alumni photo card.

Links: Kalinin = Turkey, Thankful & Steady Influence

EJ Hradek at gives his top 5 Turkeys from the first quarter of the NHL season and names Dmitri Kalinin as one.

Stan Fischler at says Ranger fans need to be thankful for the team's quick start.

Spector over at Fox Sports looks at how well last summer's notable unrestricted free agents are performing for their new teams so far and says the jury is still out on Wade Redden, who's been a steadying influence on their blue line.

...Redden a steadying influence on the blueline? Um Spector, the Rangers had to pair Redden with their best defenseman to make up for all of his defensive lapses. Please watch a Ranger game before making a comment like that.

Saturday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers stay hot behind Lundqvist

The Bergen Record - Notes: Streaking

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rangers 4, Panthers 3, SO

The New York Rangers (17-7-2) defeated the Florida Panthers (8-11-3) by the score of 4-3 in a shootout tonight. For a recap and box score go to

...while the Rangers aren't making it easy on their fans, you have to give them credit for finding ways to win. And that way to win seems like in the shootout where they are now 6-1 on the season.

...just like last game, Ranger fans can get upset about not dominating one of the worst teams in the league, but two points is two points and when your team is currently in first place in the conference its difficult to criticize them.

...does anybody think Prucha would have scored Fritsche's goal if he was in the line-up? Me neither. know your power play had a rough night when your goalie had to make tougher saves on the man advantage than the opposing one. Tonight was exhibit A for why Perry Pearn should be fired.

...did Dvorak learn that slew-foot from Evgeni Malkin? (If you don't know what I'm referring to click here)

...great individual effort by Orr on Voros' goal.

...what in the world were Betts, Orr and Redden doing on Florida's tying goal with 1:33 left? Betts and Orr both get caught up ice, then our $39 million defenseman just watches Dvorak skate right past him for a two-on-one which Booth cashes in on. Terrible.

...with the Rangers playing the Coyotes, Lightning and then Florida twice this week they needed to get a minimum of six points in those four games. Now that they have those six points in the first three games, I'd like to see Renney give Valiquette the start on Sunday against Florida to get Lundqvist four full days rest before facing the Penguins and Canadiens back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday then finishing the week against the Calgary Flames next Sunday.

...oh yeah and I officially have a man crush on Zherdev.

No Go For Prucha

Tom Renney has decided not to mess with a winning streak by sitting Petr Prucha for the ninth consecutive game.

According to Blue Notes, Renney basically said that while he doesn't want Prucha to go too long without playing, he doesn't want to mess with a good thing either, as Wednesday's performance was one of the Rangers' best efforts as of late. Renney did not rule out the possibility of Prucha getting a chance to play Sunday in the second of the team's home-and-home against Florida.

Renney also said Hartford is also still an option for Prucha.

...while I'm disappointed that Prucha won't get a chance tonight, I did find it puzzling that Renney was contemplating a line-up change after two consecutive wins.

Rangers @ Panthers (Game 26)

The New York Rangers (16-7-2) visit the Florida Panthers (8-11-2) tonight at the BankAtlantic Center starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Henrik Lundqvist - 14-5-2, 2.08 gaa, .927 sv%, 0 so.

Craig Anderson - 3-1-2, 2.01 gaa, . 942 sv%, 1 so.

- According to Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin, Florida back-up goalie Craig Anderson will be in net after having replaced starter Tomas Vokoun during the Panthers' last game against the Devils. Anderson's goals against average is a full goal lower than Vokoun's (2.01 to 3.01) and his save percentage is .942.

- Dubi also reports the Panthers will be without their second leading scorer Nathan Horton as well as one of their other main offensive weapons, Cory Stillman.

- Florida has lost four of their last six.

- David Booth leads Florida with 11 goals and has scored three of the Panthers’ last six goals.

Big Game for Prucha Tonight An Understatement

As you might have seen in my 'Friday Headlines' post, Petr Prucha may get a chance to play tonight after sitting eight straight games.

I'd hate to say that one game could mean this much to a person's career, but if he doesn't show anything tonight he's likely headed down to Hartford for a conditioning assignment (something that probably should have happened last year to get his confidence going ala Ryan Callahan) and from there who knows.

If he steps up down in Hartford, some other organization might be willing to give Prucha, who is a RFA at the end of the year, a chance. If not, he'll probably be recalled and remain seated in the press box.

However, he does still have a legitimate chance of staying in the Rangers line-up if he can chip in a few goals. Both Nigel Dawes and Dan Fritsche have not taken advantage of their opportunities leaving the door wide open for Prucha.

And despite his limited time and production the last few years he remains a fan favorite, do to most Ranger fans thinking he's gotten a raw deal, so he will have a lot of support behind him tonight.

We're rooting for ya tonight Petr. Hopefully you can finally take advantage of this opportunity. If not, we've enjoyed your time here, but it'll best if we all move on.

Lundqvist a Top 10 Goaltender...Duh

John Grigg at The Hockey News gives his Top 10 "healthy" goaltenders in the NHL and Henrik Lundqvist some how managed to squeak onto the list...

3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers• King Henrik is on pace for his fourth Vezina nomination in four seasons and his recent work for the sliding Rangers (5-4-1 in their past 10 games) is why. He’s 5-2-1 the past 21 days with a 2.23 GAA and .927 save percentage.

Tim Thomas of the Bruins was #1 and Niklas Backstrom from the Minnesota Wild was #2.

...while most Rangers fans know that Lundqvist is the best goaltender in the league even with Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Evgeni Nabokov, Rick DiPietro, and Marc-Andre Fleury healthy, I understand Grigg giving Thomas the #1 slot right now as he is the darling of the league. But it will only be a matter of time until he come crashing back down to earth and Lundqvist wins his first Vezina.

Speaking of the Vezina, asked it's readers to come up with their Vezina Trophy contenders for this season. Lundqvist's name came up a few times.

...what I really don't like about these two features is that they both say with Brodeur and Luongo injuried who is the best. As if Lundqvist couldn't beat those two out for the Vezina if they were healthy. When was the last time Brodeur beat Lundqvist head-to-head in regulation?

Friday Headlines

Newsday - Naslund is meshing with Zherdev and Dubinsky


The Bergen Record - Rozsival's game looking better

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rangers 3, Lightning 2, SO

The New York Rangers (16-7-2) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-8-7) by the score of 3-2 in a shootout, tonight. For a full recap and box score go to could get upset that it took a shootout for the Rangers to dispose of the lowly Lightning tonight, but I think we probably saw one of the Lightning's best efforts of the year and to still come out of the game with two points and sweep the season series is a great accomplishment.

...not sure what the stats say, but it seems like every goal Naslund scores either gives us the lead or ties the game. He's really come in here and filled a goal scoring void we had by not re-signing Jaromir Jagr. He has such great hands as evidenced on all three (shootout included) goals tonight.

...welcome to the season Michal Rozsival. He was looking to shoot tonight, had two key assists and his play to keep the puck in at the blueline moments before Naslund's second goal was a huge play in the game. Defensively he seemed much more sound. I wonder if knowing he's playing with a better defensive partner (Staal) is having a calming influence on him. to Rozsival's former defensive partner Wade Redden. This guy is awful right now. He fumbles the puck on the power play, he can't get a shot on goal and to top it off he takes a terrible tripping penalty in a big spot late in the game. When I watch the Rangers power play I can't tell if Redden or Girardi is the high priced free agent defenseman. How many more years on this contract?

...i thought a key play in this game was when Orr jumped Artyukhin in the first period. Tampa seemed like they were on the verge of physically running us out of the building until Orr sent a message that they would have to go through him to do it. Tampa never got back to that level of physicality, allowing the Rangers to play their game.

...was it me or did Zherdev actually get into a scrap with Steve Stamkos. Man, that was a weird scene.

...speaking of Zherdev he now has five assists in the last two games. You think Naslund is enjoying playing with him?'s amazing I can get this far in my recap and not even mention the nightly heroics of Lundqvist. I almost take his performances for granted at this point. His ability to shut down the opponent during a shootout is stunning. The Ranger players must have so much confidence knowing with Lundqvist back there they'll probably only need to score once to win in the shootout. It's almost not fair.

...a day off to enjoy some turkey then on to Miami to take on the Panthers on Friday.

Rangers @ Lightning (Game 25)

The New York Rangers (15-7-2) visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-8-6) tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Henrik Lundqvist - 13-5-2, 2.09 gaa, .926 sv%, 0 so.

Mike Smith - 5-4-5, 2.35 gaa, . 932 sv%, 1 so.

- This is the last time these two teams will meet this year. The Rangers are 3-0 in the three previous meetings.

- Tampa is 1-1-2 under interim coach Rick Tocchet and 2-5-3 in its last 10.

- Despite a nagging lower body injury Tampa goaltender Smith is expected to start tonight.

- Tampa is just 3-for-27 on the power play in their last six games (1-3-2).

No Changes Tonight

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Tom Renney is going with the same line-up as in Monday's 4-1 win over Phoenix, tonight.

Apparently reporters were very interested in Aaron Voros today, who will be playing in his first game against the Lightning since fighting Tampa goaltender Mike Smith after Smith spent the entire night whacking away at Voros' legs and not stopping the puck.

Smith is questionable for tonight after sitting out Tampa's last game, a 7-3 loss to the Devils on Sunday.

MSGNetwork: Greatest Days

MSGNetwork has a new series which will debut Sunday, November 30 at 4 p.m. on MSG. The show, "Greatest Days: Hockey Epic Endings", gets off to a big start by taking Ranger fans back to one of the most memorable moments from the 1994 Cup run.

Here's a little video:

Canadiens Have A Strangle Hold on Eastern All-Star Voting

The NHL announced today that Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek and forwards Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay are the leading vote-getters for the six Eastern Conference starting lineup spots.

This is after the NHL uncovered a scheme by Canadiens fans to stuff the ballot box for their players through a robo-call (see here). The NHL has stated that they have stripped thousands of votes from the Canadiens players since discovering this.

Sure Canadiens fans are some of the most passionate in the league and are probably coming out in record numbers to support their players (especially with the game being in Montreal during their Centennial Season), but I find it hard to believe that the votes are legitimate when Tanguay has more votes than Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

By Canadien fans voting in players that not only shouldn't be in starting line-up, but on the team at all, a few deserving All-Stars will be left at home watching.

This has even led to an All-Star Game boycott.

Gomez vs. Ribeiro

John Kreiser at does a head-to-head with playmakers Scott Gomez vs. Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars.

Kreiser looks at age, assists, goals, all-star appearances, Stanley Cups and face-off %. Then asks us who we think is better.

...just looking at the numbers Gomez seems to have the advantage over Ribeiro in every category, including the most important - number of Stanley Cups.

Girardi Not Getting Proper Recognition

Rory Boylen at The Hockey News gives his list of top players who do not get the proper recognition, including Dan Girardi...

Dan Girardi
Played five seasons in the Ontario League, bouncing around to three different teams, and actually started his pro career in the ECHL. But now? Girardi is one of the most unheralded defensemen in the game.

He’s fourth on the Rangers in points, fifth in ice time and plays on both the power play and penalty kill. But Girardi is still not one of those familiar names that come to mind when you’re asked to name Rangers defensemen. This guy makes some great plays and is an up-and-comer to keep a close eye on.

...even with Girardi's great start to the season he's still left off the All-Star ballot while Wade Redden is on. Amazing.

Speaking of not getting proper recognition, Brian Monzo at the SNY Rangers Blog thinks the Rangers need to lock up Blair Betts who is an UFA at the end of the season.

Rangers Drop to #8 in Fox Sports Power Rankings

The Rangers dropped three spots to #8 in the Fox Sports Power Rankings for the week of November 25, 2008...

#8 Rangers - The Rangers dropped two of three in Week 7. After opening up with a nail-biting 2-1 shootout win over Ottawa at the Garden, the team closed out the week by getting toasted for 10 goals in its final two games, moving the Rangers down three spots in the rankings.

Wednesday Headlines

The Journal News - First-place Rangers have a lot to be thankful for

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hip May Be Reason for Rozsival's Struggles

After again putting himself through post practice defensive drills, Michal Rozsival addressed the status of his hip after off-season surgery...

“I feel I need to get back to work,” Rozsival said to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report. “Even if the hip feels better, it’s still not strong enough. You have to work on it every day on the ice or off. It’s not just my hip. It helps my overall conditioning just to get a better feel for my skating: to get stronger and more comfortable. It helps your confidence to do a little bit more work. I hope it helps with my game.”

...Rozsival has been taking a beating from the Garden faithful. But fans need to remember he did have off-season surgery and some players take longer to recover than others. Look at how poorly Peyton Manning played earlier this year coming off of off-season knee surgery compared to how he's played the last four weeks.

...because Rozsival has been a solid player for the Rangers the last three years, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

...hopefully he's able to work the hip back into shape soon and start helping this team.

Gomez Links: No More Panic, Trickle Down & the Difference

Stan Fischler at says that Scott Gomez' return has put any panic in Rangersville to sleep.

While Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report gives himself credit for making the case before last night's game that Gomez' return could have a trickle down effect.

Lynn Zinser at Slap Shot also looks at the difference Gomez makes in the Rangers line-up.

Rumors: Zherdev or Dubinsky to Be Moved for Sundin

Eklund at HockeyBuzz reports...

"Look for either Zherdev or Dubinsky to be moved out if they can land Sundin...The Oilers have been very talkative with the Rangers recently. I wouldn't be surprised if either were to be moved to Edmonton."

....sorry Mr. Eklund wrong again. It's probably going to take about $6-7 million a year to get Sundin and with the Rangers limited cap space, taking Zherdev's $2.5 million or Dubinsky's $633,333 off the books won't open enough cap space to sign Sundin.

...because of the Rangers cap situation, they actually might have difficulty signing both Zherdev and Dubinsky this off-season, but no way they're trading two young talents to make room for an aging super star. Those days are over on Broadway.

Video: Analysis & Reaction to Win Against Phoenix

Al Trautwig and Dave Maloney provide their insight about the Rangers 4-1 win over the Coyotes at The Garden here.

Brandon Dubinsky, Scott Gomez, Henrik Lundqvist, and Dan Girardi talk about the Rangers 4-1 victory here.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Gomez's return gives Rangers a lift

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rangers 4, Coyotes 1

The New York Rangers (15-7-2) defeated the Phoenix Coyotes (8-10-2) by the score of 4-1 tonight. For a recap and box score go to

For game highlights click here. was a tale of two Ranger teams again tonight. The first team was lucky to get out of the first period tied (thank god for Lundqvist) and the second drove to the net, made smart decisions and created a number of quality scoring chances.

...congrats to Dubinsky on the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick "(a goal, an assist and a fight). Man did he need a game like that to get his confidence going.

...we've all been impressed with Zherdev's scoring talents so far this year, but tonight he displayed his awesome play making ability as well with three assists and he probably could have had more.

...Gomez looked great in his return tonight. He was real strong on the puck and skated through Coyote defenders at will. It was nice to see him get the empty netter at the end. Gomez was also 19 of 23 faceoffs.

...finally!!! We were able to get an important power play goal to ice a game. Amazing.

...not all good tonight as Rozsival continues to regress. Another night filled with give aways. Not sure what's going on with him right now, but he might need to sit a few games to clear his head.

...all-in-all a big win if only to get the bad taste of the last two games out of our mouths. Off tomorrow then on to Tampa.

Rangers vs. Coyotes (Game 24)

The New York Rangers (14-7-2) host the Phoenix Coyotes (8-9-2) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Henrik Lundqvist - 12-5-2, 2.15 gaa, .923 sv%, 0 so.

Ilya Bryzgalov - 7-8-1, 2.62 gaa, . 914 sv%, 0 so.

- Last season, the Rangers lost 5-1 to Phoenix at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16, snapping a three-game winning streak over the Coyotes.

- Phoenix is in the midst of a five-game losing streak overall.

- The Coyotes have converted just 9.4 percent (3-for-32) of power-play chances during their losing streak, and 13.6 percent this season - second-worst in the league. (And I thought our power play was bad).

- Despite going 0-3-1 with a 3.21 GAA in his last four starts, Bryzgalov is expected to be back in net after getting a rest Saturday. Bryzgalov made 34 saves in the Coyotes’ win over the Rangers last season.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney speaks to members of the media following the team's morning skate before their Nov. 24 game vs. Phoenix here.

Redden T-Shirts Selling Out?

While looking at the new Shop NHL catalogue, Greg Wyshinsky at Puck Daddy noticed that there are eight Rangers players available on T-shirts: Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Scott Gomez, Henrik Lundqvist, Markus Naslund, Petr Prucha, Marc Staal and Wade Redden.

However when Wyshinsky went to the Shop NHL website there were no Dubinsky and Redden jerseys to be found.

The NHL's reason: all the Dubinsky and Redden t-shirts "have been sold out." I can understand Dubinsky t-shirts being sold out (or maybe not after his recent play) but Redden c'mon.

...i'm not sure which is more unbelievable, that Redden shirts are sold out or that there's actually one for Petr Prucha.

Rissmiller Recalled from Hartford

Patrick Rissmiller, who cleared waivers for the second time, has been recalled from a conditioning loan to Hartford and will be a scratch tonight reports Steve Zipay at Blue Notes. Rissmiller had seven assists and a shootout goal in six games with the Wolf Pack.

...Rissmiller's signing is looking worse and worse as this season moves forward. Having a $1 million scratch on the roster is really going to hamstring this team if we need to make a trade deadline move.

Gomez to Play Tonight

Scott Gomez will return to the Rangers line-up tonight against Phoenix after missing five games with an ankle injury.

Here's what Tom Renney had to say when asked if Gomez' return has anything to do with the Rangers recent struggles...

“We’re 14-7,” said Renney to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report, leaving out the two overtime losses. “He’d have to be ready to go. I wouldn’t rush anybody’s return. I wouldn’t jeopardize anybody’s career, nor would I jeopardize a loss by putting a guy in the lineup that shouldn’t be there.”

Weinman adds that the line-ups he reported yesterday at practice will be in effect tonight.

...hopefully Gomez' return will spark this team.

Around the Atlantic

All news from Yahoo! Sports...

New Jersey Devils - The Devils have improved their non-Brodeur record to 5-5 even winning their last two games without John Madden, who was added to the Devils long list of the walking wounded, and the last game without Mike Mottau who was serving the first game of a two-game suspension.

New York Islanders - The Islanders were upset to learn Saturday that NHL VP Colin Campbell only gave Devils defenseman Mike Mottau a two-game suspension for an elbow to the head that seriously injured emerging center Frans Nielsen (out 8-12 weeks) on Friday at New Jersey, especially when Islanders defenseman Thomas Pock was given a five-game suspension for a similar foul against Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon earlier this month.

Philadelphia Flyers - When Jeff Carter was drafted by the Flyers with the 11th pick overall in the 2003 NHL draft, he was compared to Mike Modano. Five years later, he’s looking like one of the best two-way players in the game. Carter enters Monday night’s home game with a team-high 14 goals, one behind league leader Thomas Vanek of Buffalo. And he’s doing it while checking against some of the NHL’s top lines.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Defenseman Ryan Whitney practiced Friday for the first time since August surgery to correct a left foot deformity. He hopes to play by Christmas, though he is not ruling out a mid-December return. Whitney, a top power-play scoring defenseman the last two years, will be a welcome addition for coach Michel Therrien, who fumed Saturday about the Penguins’ power play after a loss at home against Vancouver.'s Quarter Pole Analysis

After calling the Rangers (along with the San Jose Sharks) the class of the NHL at the quarter pole, Phil Coffey at says after a strong start they have lacked crispness of late.

Also at Larry Wigge takes a look at new faces in new places including Nikolai Zherdev's quick start with the Rangers and he also has an item on former Coyotes GM Michael Barnett comparing Fredrik Sjostrom's skating stride to the powerful Pavel Bure.

...the Rangers the class of the NHL and Sjstrom skating like Pavel Bure? Were these supposed to be funny?

Monday Headlines

The Journal News - Gomez ready to return to Rangers


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Renney Cautiously Optimistic About A Gomez Return Tomorrow

Scott Gomez took part in a full practiced today for the first time since going down with an ankle injury.

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report reports that Tom Renney is "cautiously opitimistic" on Gomez for tomorrow's game against Phoenix.

Here are the lines if Gomez is ready to go...


Renney also tinkered with the defensive pairings as well, pairing Michal Rozsival with Marc Staal and Paul Mara with Dmitri Kalinin.

...i always try to stay on an even keel with the Rangers. I don't get overly excited when they win and I don't act like the sky is falling when they lose, but this team is in desperate need of a change. I'm not saying a sign Sundin change, but maybe a firing a certain special teams coach change.

...i'm even beginning to worry that this team is starting to tune Renney out. His benching of certain players (Voros and Zherdev) for poor play, while defending others (Rozsival) has to be wearing thin on some guys. And their complete lack of effort yesterday may be more of a clue that players are growing tired of Renney's game plan.

...there's still reason to be positive as we'll be getting back our best play-maker very soon, but there are some very alarming things going on with this team right now that maybe only a shake-up will cure.

Sunday Headlines

The Journal News - Senators hammer Rangers

The Bergen Record - Rangers lose focus

Senators 4, Rangers 1

The New York Rangers (14-7-2) lost to the Ottawa Senators (7-9-4) by the score of 4-1. For a recap and box score go to

...changes need to be made and I'll leave it at that. That effort was inexcusable.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rangers @ Senators (Game 23)

The New York Rangers (14-6-2) visit the Ottawa Senators (6-9-4) today at Scotiabank Place starting at 3:00 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Steve Valiquette - 2-1-0, 2.21 gaa, .919 sv%, 0 so.

Alex Auld - 5-5-3, 2.12 gaa, . 925 sv%, 2 so.

- The Senators will try to snap a six-game losing streak today.

- The Senators have scored two or fewer goals in each of their last six games with only seven total tallies over that span.

- Auld is 0-3-2 in his last five starts with a 2.54 GAA.

- In their last visit to Ottawa on Dec. 1, 2007 the Rangers won 5-2.

How Quick Into the Game Will Orr Jump Ruutu?

I'm hoping to hear in the pre-game show about Colton Orr going after Jarko Ruutu during warm-ups.

Having said that I hope the Rangers aren't taken out of their game plan by worrying about retribution. If they are, not only will the Senators win, but so will Ruutu.

Ruutu's job is to agitate and that's what he's doing to the Rangers right now. While a beating would be nice, the best way to get back at Ruutu would be a Rangers victory.

Don't forget game time is at 3 p.m. today.

How Are Our Off-Season Moves Panning Out?

Scott Cullen at TSN looks at all the summer trades and signings to get an indication of which transactions helped and which ones hurt their respective teams.

Cullen thinks Naslund is on par to have the same point production as last year and that Redden has been just ok. He also says Voros was a nice bargain at the price the Rangers got him and Kalinin's team worst plus-minus rating isn't a good return on the Rangers investment.

Regarding the Rangers trade with Columbus, Cullen feels that Zherdev may be the best player on the team, while Fritsch is being under-utilized.

...Redden is the only one in my opinion who is under-performing. Even with Kalinin's terrible plus-minus, I think he's been real solid for the last month.

Saturday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers trying to shift third-period success to first period


The Bergen Record - Gomez may return Monday

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rangers Place Rissmiller on Waivers...Again

TSN is reporting that earlier today the Rangers placed Patrick Rissmiller on waivers for the second time this year.

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report explains that because Rissmiller was on a conditioning assignment in Hartford, and not outright assigned he had to be put through waivers again after 30 days or 10 NHL games.

Valiquette Gets Nod In Ottawa

Steve Valiquette will be getting his fourth start of the season tomorrow against the Ottawa Senators says Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report.

Here's Valiquette on how getting into the Vancouver game was a plus for him...

“I guess I can say that I’m fortunate that it happened,” Valiquette said. “It’s nice to play. Practice has been great so I have any questions even the day after that game in Toronto. So it was right back to business with Benoit (Allaire). I felt confident going in against Vancouver. So as long as you know it, it comes.”

...Weinman says it's coincidental that Valiquette is getting the start after Lundqvist was pulled after giving up 5 goals against Vancouver, but it is coming at a nice time for Henrik.

NHL Hotter Than The NBA Again

Greg Wyshinski at Puck Daddy wonders if the NHL is on it's way back, while taking us back to 1994 when the NHL was at it's peak and the Rangers were the reason why...

"It was the June 20, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated, back when that publication's cover stories and proclamations shaped the conversation for sports culture in the U.S. The story by writer E.M. Swift was titled "Hot Not: While the NBA's image has cooled, the NHL has ignited surprising new interest in hockey." It appeared at a time when offense was down and embarrassing moments were up in the NBA, while Mark Messier's New York Rangers were the sports story of the year."

Wyshinski notes that 14 years later, both leagues are taking their licks as the economy worsens but the numbers show the NHL's gains and stability in attendance, while basketball fans are concerned about what they see as a clear enthusiasm gap in the NBA.

...don't get too excited hockey fans we still have Gary Bettman waiting to screw it up.

Gomez Back on the Ice, Out for Tomorrow

Albeit in a yellow non-contact jersey, Scott Gomez was back practicing with the team this morning.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes says that Gomez won't play tomorrow at Ottawa.

...hopefully Gomez will be ready for Monday's game against Phoenix as the team is really suffering offensively, and now defensively, with him out of the line-up. The sooner we can get him back the better.

Flyers Backing Away from Shanahan?

It looks like winning three of their last four games and the salary cap has the Flyers questioning whether they should sign Brendan Shanahan.

Chuck Gormley at the Courier Post says, 'Before Holmgren can begin negotiating with his three potential unrestricted free agents, he needs to decide if Shanahan will be worth the roster moves that would need to be made to afford him -- namely, reassigning rookie Andreas Nodl to the Phantoms and waiving defenseman Lasse Kukkonen.'

Flyers player and former Ranger Mike Knuble added this...

"I totally respect what Brendan can bring to a team and to a (locker) room," Knuble said. "But I think we grew as a group last year. Would one guy be able to come in and change a lot of things? I don't know. We don't have one of those yeller-screamer personalities, but we have guys who step up and say the right things."'s amazing what a little winning will do for a team's outlook.

...poor Shanahan, the salary cap is really hurting his chances of getting back in the NHL right now.

Are the Rangers Really the Man Behind the Curtain?

In today's Slap Shots, Lynn Zinsler wonder's whether the Rangers are a deeply flawed team who vaulted to first place by papering over their flaws, or a plucky team who can overcome their shortcomings.

That got me to thinking and I came up with this analogy. This Rangers team is like the Wizard of Oz and the Canucks just played the part of Toto by pulling back the curtain to reveal this flawed team.

It seems that if Henrik Lunqvist has an off night, we're toast. As Scott Burnside said in the below post, you have to wonder why we brought in high octane offensive players this summer such as Naslund, Zherdev and Redden if we're going to be playing the same defensive system as last year.

This system is also holding back our younger snipers such as Dawes, Prucha and Korpikoski.

And I have to ask this, if this system is set-up to keep things close until we're able to scratch out a few goals, why do we have to rely on Lundqvist to be amazing every night? I remember when the Devils played their system Martin Brodeur barely had to break a sweat.

Why not play an up-tempo style of play, which suites our personnel much better, and if our defense gets caught up ice on an offensive rush Lundqvist can still hold the fort.

We're putting all the pressure on Lundqvist now anyway, we might as well try to score some goals.

ESPN's NHL Quarterly Report

ESPN has a couple of quarterly report features on overall team play, coaches and MVP award. Scott Burnside, who gave the Rangers a B-plus, seems to think the bloom is off the rose for the Rangers after a torrid start and wonders why the team brought in high-octane offensive personnel this off-season if they were going to play the same defensive system as last year.

Terry Frei puts Tom Renny in the Proven I category and says the Rangers have been one of the success stories early in the season, but Renney, at times, seems to rub strong personalities the wrong way.

And finally, Burnside has Henrik Lundqvist at #5 in the Hart Trophy race, while Pierre LeBrun has him at #7.

Friday Headlines


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weinman to Host Live Video Chat Today @ 1 p.m.

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report will be hosting another live video web chat today at 1 p.m. To participate click here.

Did Lundqvist Pull Himself Last Night?

Greg Wyshynski, a rabid Devils fan, at Puck Daddy defends Henrik Lundqvist, who is getting torched today for apparently pulling himself after the fifth goal against last night. Here are some examples...

Derek Felix at the Battle of New York says...
"At that point, Lundqvist had had enough immediately skating to the bench pulling himself after allowing five goals on 17 shots. This wasn't the first time either. It happened last season too. I'm all for a goalie feeling like he's not giving the team a spark but shouldn't the coach make the decision? Lundqvist's not Martin Brodeur. He shouldn't be making the call which was disturbing. Though the last goal he gave up was the only one he should've had which might explain the disappointed look on the bench after deciding Stephen Valiquette needed some work."

While James Duthie at the Ottawa Citizen added...
"Henrik Lunqvist pulled himself from the Rangers/Canucks game Wednesday after Vancouver scored it's fifth goal, something he has done before. Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the NHL, but what does that say to his teammates? "I quit guys, good luck." Let your coach make the call. No game is over these days, even at 5-1. Claude Julien kept Manny Fernandez in after he gave up four first period goals against Buffalo, and the Bruins came back to win 7-4."

However according to Lundqvist and Tom Renney, the coach was the one who made the call...

“I looked at Tom and he gave me the sign,” Lundqvist said to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report.

Weinman also notes that Renney confirmed as much, saying he was waiting for Lundqvist to make eye contact with him before he summoned him.

...these guys who are so quick to criticize need to check the facts before they start making false accusations.

MSG Cancelling "MSG, NY" & "Hockey Night Live"

According to Neil Best at Newsday, MSG Media president Mike Bair confirmed yesterday that they were repurposing MSG's daily "MSG, NY" show as something more closely resembling a traditional postgame show and generally will appear only on nights the Knicks and/or Rangers play.

MSG also will cancel its weekly "Hockey Night Live" show.

...while I appreciated MSG's attempt to give the Metro area hockey fan more hockey programming with "Hockey Night Live" I refused to watch it purely because of my hatred of Butch Goring and Ken Daneyko.

Rangers Not Likely to Call Up A Defenseman

After what was the worst defensive performance of the year last night against Vancouver in which the team gave up three breakaways in the first period as well as numerous point blank opportunities you have to wonder if it's time to bring up Corey Potter or Brian Fahey to spell one of our defensemen (cough Rozsival cough).

But Tom Renney noted he didn’t have the latitude right now to do so. And said this to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report...

“The bottom line is we have to look at where we are with our roster in general,” Renney said. “I still have some forward decisions to make. You’d sure like the depth to get guys attention, but we don’t have that luxury.”

...and there in lies the problem. Can we make a decision on our forwards?!?!?!? We're 22 games into the season and Sather and Renney still can't decide what to do with Prucha or Rissmiller so they can open up a roster spot for a seventh defenseman? C'mon guys let's get with it. you have to figure we're one of the few teams that have played the same six defensemen in every game this season. I think a few of these guys - especially the high priced ones - could use a few mental days off right now.

Rangers #5 In Fox Sports Power Rankings

The Rangers have been ranked #5 in Fox Sports Power Rankings for the week of November 18th.

#5 - Rangers - Chris Drury led by example in Week 6. The Rangers captain helped his team pick up five of a possible six points by posting two goals, one assist and a shootout winner in New York's three games.

...that ranking might be changing for the worse after last night's debacle.

Video: Analysis & Reaction to Loss Against Canucks

For Tom Renney's reaction click here.

For player reaction click here.

Thursday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers run out of comebacks

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gomez Has Stress Fracture

According to Larry Brooks at The New York Post, Scott Gomez had played 10 games with an ankle stress fracture he sustained when struck by a puck in Detroit on Oct. 18 before sitting the last four games.

Apparently Gomez learned of the stress fracture after undergoing an MRI exam on Nov. 7. Then decided to play two more games before finally yielding to the pain he'd been playing through and a groin pull he suffered in attempting to adapt to skating with the injury.

Gomez visited a local acupuncturist today, and might have a light skate tomorrow. Here's what Tom Renney had to say on Gomez' injury before tonight's game...

"It's as good as he's felt all along," Rangers coach Tom Renney said to Steve Zipay at Blue Notes. "He had some good treatment."

But said he "would have a hard time" seeing Gomez play in Ottawa Saturday afternoon.

...i understand that hockey players are tough, but c'mon Scottie playing with a stress fracture doesn't seem like the smartest idea.

...and where is Jim Ramsey and the training staff stopping Gomez from playing after learning of the diagnosis?

Canucks 6, Rangers 3

The New York Rangers (14-6-2) lost to the Vancouver Canucks (11-6-2) by the score of 6-3 tonight. For a recap and box score go to

...i guess I was only half right when I said earlier today that with all the hype surrounding the goaltending match-up both goalies would probably end up getting pulled in the second period.

...i'm not sure what was more disappointing tonight the team's defensive collapse in the first period in a half or the fact that they could have easily come back in this game if they were able to bury any of their opportunities.'re not going to hear this too often but Dubinsky had an awful game. thing I have to give this team credit for is never giving up. They skated just as hard if not harder when they went down 5-1 and had enough scoring chance to make this game interesting and keep the fans excited. If this was last year the team would have folded their tents and given up.

...nice job by Vailquette filling-in for a shell shocked Lunqvist.

...i know they went 2 for 5 on the power play tonight, but at what point does Perry Pearn start taking some heat for the league leading seven short handed goals against.

...have to keep mentioning this as once again Callahan was the best player on the ice and continues to be the only Ranger player ready from the opening whistle.

...couple of days to re-group then on to Ottawa to hopefully give Jarko Ruutu and the Senators a well deserved beat down.
For game highlights click here.

Rangers vs. Canucks (Game 22)

The New York Rangers (14-5-2) host the Vancouver Canucks (10-6-2) tonight at MSG starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to

For last minute news go to The Rangers Report or Blue Notes.

Probable Lines:


Henrik Lundqvist - 12-4-2, 1.92 gaa, .931 sv%, 0 so.

Roberto Luongo - 10-5-2, 2.14 gaa, . 928 sv%, 2 so.

- The Rangers’ 21-game start (14-5-2) is identical to the one in 1993-94, when they went on to beat Vancouver in seven games and end a 54-year Stanley Cup drought.

- Naslund spent 12 seasons with the Canucks, the last seven as captain, and recorded 352 goals and 418 assists while posting three 40-goal seasons.

- Luongo is 2-7-0 with a 3.37 GAA in nine career games at MSG.

Jessiman Just Needed Out of New York

Check out this ridiculous goal by former Rangers first round pick Hugh Jessiman for the Nashville Predators' affiliate Milwaukee Admirals. By the way, Jessiman (who had zero points in 6 games with Hartford this year) has 3 goals and 1 assist in the 7 games since being traded from the Rangers to Nashville three weeks ago. Oops.

...hat tip to Puck Daddy for the video.

Rangers Still Linked to Sundin and Gaborik

Michael Russo at the Minneapolis Star Tribune says that the Rangers are a team that could make sense for a potential Marian Gaborik trade as Glen Sather is buddy buddy with Minnesota Wild GM Doug Risebrough.

Russo reports that Risebrough had planned on attending Monday night's Rangers-Senators game, but flight problems spoiled his trip. this is all speculation it is difficult to comment on it without knowing who the Rangers would be looking to trade (maybe Rozsival and Prucha). And also how Gaborik's $7 million contract fits under the cap this year.

While Mike Casey at In the Crease says that the Rangers chances of getting Mats Sundin have improved through the first quarter of the season by playing well and establishing themselves as legitimiate Stanley Cup contenders possibly enticing Sundin into signing a cheaper contract to play for a team with a shot at winning.

Casey also feels that Sundin's delay in signing has likely lowered his price. Bringing him closer to the range the Blueshirts might be willing to offer.

...we're 14-5-2!!! Why would we be looking to make any changes?

Naslund: New York Has Been Relaxing

With his former team the Vancouver Canucks in town tonight, Markus Naslund talks about his transition from hockey crazed Canada to living in relative anonymity in New York...

“I envisioned myself retiring as a Canuck, but things happen,” Naslund said to Steve Zipay at Blue Notes. “More and more as I was uncertain about the future at the end of last year, it was more likely that I was not going to be there. But this situation presented itself and it was an easy choice....It’s a big difference...It’s been relaxing in many ways. Coming to the rink is the same. You’ve got a full house that’s going to be loud and excited. That’s no different. But outside of hockey you don’t get recognized as much, which is kind of nice.”

...while New York can be imposing, media wise, for baseball, football and basketball players. It is nothing compared to the media scrutiny hockey players face playing for Canadian teams especially in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

...also the ability to walk around Manhattan or go to dinner without many people noticing you or bothering you must be a welcome change for Naslund, who as the captain of a Canadian team was probably reluctant to leave his house.

Goaltending Lovers Delight

I was a goaltender when I played youth and high school ice hockey, so I cannot wait for tonight's match-up between who I and many others for that matter consider the best two goalies in the NHL, Henrik Lunqvist and Roberto Luongo.

Currently, Lundqvist sports a league leading 12 wins, a 1.92 gaa and a .931 save%. Putting him on pace for a Ranger record 46 wins. For Loungo, he has 10 wins, a 2.14 gaa, a .928 and 5, yes 5, shutouts in just 17 starts. Three of those shutouts came in consecutive games.

This is one of those games that the NHL should have been promoting since the summer. But not a word. I don't even see a 'Dream Goaltending Match-up' preview on Just another reason Gary Bettman should walk away.

But I digress. This has all the makings of a classic goaltending match-up in the mold of Dryden vs. Parent or Roy vs. Hasek.

Could you imagine if Mike Milbury didn't trade Luongo from the Islanders and we got to see this match-up four times a year? As if the rivalry wasn't good enough.

Having said all that look for a 7-5 game tonight with both goalies being pulled in the second period.

Wednesday Headlines

The Journal News - Thirteen years after being paralyzed, Travis Roy stays positive

...i can't believe it's been 13 years since Roy was paralyzed on his first shift at Boston University. And I actually forgot that Chris Drury was one of his linemates. Sad story but a great read by Sam Weinman.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Renney Meets with Zherdev & Voros

Tom Renney had brief meetings with Nikolai Zherdev and Aaron Voros today to address their benchings last night.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants says that in Zherdev's case, Renney admitted that he might have a shorter leash than other players once he starts freelancing because of his previous reputation for doing so.

...while watching the game last night I didn't notice Zherdev or Voros doing anything that would have warranted a benching. Although maybe they got benched for not doing anything. But if that was the case the entire team could have been benched, sans Lunqvist.

Zherdev Second Star Snub & Gomez Status Update

As I suspected Nikolai Zherdev decided to take a pass on coming out after being named second star last night because he didn’t feel that he deserved the recognition after being benched says Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report.

...while I can understand the reasoning, I think Zherdev would have been better served taking the recognition anyway in an effort to avoid any possible fan resentment. Similar to when Mets fans got all over Carlos Delgado for not coming out for a curtain call after a big homerun this past season. A little bit different circumstance but it could have ended with the same result.

...thanks to Sam Weinman for the follow-up.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes says that Scott Gomez 'won't be in the lineup for the third consecutive game (against Vancouver tomorrow) and it's sounding as if he may not make the trip to Ottawa Friday for Saturday's afternoon game.'

Shanahan & Flyers At Odds on Contract

The Philadelphia Flyers are still waiting to hear back from Brendan Shanahan on their $1 million offer. Shanahan, who is also believed to be negotiating with the New Jersey Devils, is expected to come to a decision by the end of last week says Chuck Gormley at The Courier Post.

Apparently the Flyers contract offer does not meet Shanahan's demands, presumably in the $1.5 million range.

...well it looks like either way Shanahan is going to be staying in the Atlantic Division.

...both the Flyers and Devils are struggling right now and a player like Shanahan could really make a positive difference. Unfortunately for us.

Zherdev A No Show For Second Star

Apparently Nikolai Zherdev did not come out when he was named second star last night. I'm assuming he was bummed from the benching and probably didn't think he would be named or deserved to be named a star. Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says he will follow-up on this.

...i'll reserve comment until I hear from Zherdev.

Are the Rangers Better Off Without Gomez?

The Rangers are now 3-0 since Scott Gomez went down with an ankle injury, which begs the question - Are the Rangers better off without him?

In the five games prior to Gomez' injury the Rangers were sputtering going 1-3-1 with no cohesion between linemates.

Now in the three games minus Gomez, Renney has found line combinations with chemistry and the team is undefeated.

But to come up with a truly educated response we have to look inside this three game Gomezless winning streak. First we can throw out the 5-2 win against an under-manned Devils team that the Hartford Wolfpack could have beaten, especially with Kevin Weekes in goal for New Jersey.

In the other two games against Boston and Ottawa, the Rangers scored a grand total of three regulation goals and were a combined 0 for 9 on the power play with a short handed goal against.

Not exactly firing on all cylinders offensively. Gomez' absence is most apparent with the team's inability to carry the puck into the offensive zone on the power play.

So, despite the 3-0 record I don't think the Rangers are better off without Gomez. However, if the Rangers get a couple more wins without him then struggle when he comes back I might have to re-evaluate my thinking.

Video: Analysis & Reaction to Win Against Senators