Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Classic


Dan Rosen at NHL.com has this Q&A with Winter Classic ice guru Dan Craig in preparation of tomorrow's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

Craig says the ice is holding up very good, except for some brittleness in the corners. The biggest problem, isn't the ice, it seems to be the sun which depending on the forecast could force the players to wear sun glasses.

The Q&A also includes a video of the workers putting the rink together.

...i'm definitely looking forward to the game. Hopefully we'll be discussing the game at the new Yankee Stadium next season.

Rangers Down to #10 in Fox Sports Power Rankings


The Rangers dropped to #10 in the Fox Sports Power Rankings for the week of December 29, 2008...

10. Rangers - While the standings showed the Rangers in first place in the Atlantic in Week 12, the club surely didn't play like a division leader. New York lost three in a row last week, which dropped them three places in the rankings.

...it's amazing how a first place team in as strong a division as the Atlantic can only be ranked #10. There are actually two teams in the division ranked above them (Devils and Flyers).

More News Year's Resolutions for Rangers

A few days ago The Hockey News did one, now Sean Allen at ESPN.com has his own New Year's resolution for all 30 teams, including this one for the Rangers...

New York Rangers: "Find the right combination of forwards to pace the scoring." With names like Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Nikolai Zherdev and even the fading Markus Naslund, you might expect the Rangers to be able to piece together one strong line. It may mean shifting players from their most comfortable positions, but the team needs to find a combination that can start scoring.

...i actually liked the line combinations on Monday (I guess that's easy to say after they scored five goals). So hopefully Renney goes against this advice and stays with the current line combos for the next week or so.

Wednesday Headlines

Newsday - Despite being scratched, Prucha still has desire


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Prucha to Stay in Line-up

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Tom Renney expects Petr Prucha to remain in the lineup, at least for the next few games. And that 'sustainability' will keep him there the rest of the year.

Gross also notes that Aaron Voros almost took Henrik Lundqvist's head off in practice today. Not a good way to try and get yourself back in the line-up.

...it's no secret that Renney has had Prucha on a short leash the last few years. However, if he can continue to play at the high level displayed last night he will all but force Renney to leave him in the line-up. Falter and it's back to the press box.

Rangers Moment of the Week 12/29

Each Monday, newyorkrangers.com's 'Moment of the Week' invites Ranger fans to vote for the top moment from among three finalists. On Wednesday at noon, the winning moment will be posted along with selected comments from fans who voted for it.

This week's nominees are Markus Naslund's goal vs. Washington, Ryan Callahan's second goal vs. the Capitals and Dmitri Kalinin's first goal of season against the Devils.

Last week's winner was Nigel Dawes game-winner at Anaheim.

Follow Ranger Prospects at World Junior Championships

Newyorkrangers.com is currently following Ranger prospects center Evgeny Grachev and defenseman Tomas Kundratek at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa.

Grachev, who plays for Team Russia, is scoreless through two games with a +1. While Kundratek, Team Czech Republic, has one assist through two games.

Prospect Kundratek Settling In

In his Atlantic Division notes, Chuck Gormley at NHL.com takes a look at Rangers prospect defenseman Tomas Kundratek...

"Currently in his first season in North America, Kundratek got off to a rough start with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, breaking his hand in a preseason game. Since his season debut Oct. 31 he has a goal and 6 assists and is a plus-5 through 21 games.

Kundratek will not wow fans at either end of the ice, but he can become a solid NHL blueliner if he continues to develop in Medicine Hat."

...right now our best defensemen (Girardi, Staal and Mara) aren't wowing anyone, they're just getting the job done by playing outstanding defense. If this kid can continue to play that way I can't wait for him to get a chance.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers beat Islanders to end losing streak





The Bergen Record - Rangers use their heads

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rangers 5, Islanders 4


The New York Rangers (23-13-3) defeated the New York Islanders (11-22-4) by the score of 5-4, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports.

...now that was a hockey game. Lots of goals, big hits, fights and loads of passion. You can't ask for a better game. Plus the Garden crowd was fired up tonight.

...what a game for Petr Prucha. Best player on the ice by far. If he wasn't an inspiration for everyone on the bench this team is hopeless. I'm just afraid Renney's going to send him back to the press box because he wants a bigger line-up for Saturday's game against Washington. Nah, not even Renney could mess that up.

...the turning point in this game was Callahan's hit on Hunter. While the hit was aided by the scorer's table door, and I was happy to see Hunter skate off on his own, the Islanders seemed to lose focus after seeing Hunter sprawled out on the ice and the Rangers were able to take advantage.

...nice bounce back game for Gomez. He's had a tough year, but a goal and an assist just might be enough to get him going.

...although his goal was fluky tonight, Rozsival has really turned his game around the last few weeks. He now has four goals in his last four games and is a +2 during that span.

...Kalinin on the other hand is just awful. Potter better be on his way back up from Hartford tonight.

...starting to get a bit concerned about Lundqvist. He's now given up 36 goals in his last nine goals. That's four goals a game. It's not entirely his fault as he's mostly being left out to dry, but he was giving up huge rebounds tonight which is a sign that he's fighting the puck a little.

...in case anyone is counting the Rangers were 0 for 5 on the power play tonight. And are now 4 for their last 38.

...while this was a much needed victory, I'm not going to get too excited as the Islanders are the worst team in the league. I'll need a couple of more efforts like this before I feel the team has turned a corner.

...Chris Drury will get to enjoy his New Year's as the Ranger have off until Saturday when they visit the Washington Capitals.

Rangers vs. Islanders (Game 39)

The New York Rangers (22-13-3) host the New York Islanders (11-21-4) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Korpikoski
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Prucha-Dubinsky-Zherdev
Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Kalinin-Mara

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 18-11-3, 2.63 gaa, .910 sv%, 0 so.

Rick DiPietro - 1-2-0, 3.03 gaa, .906 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Islanders have won their last three games at MSG and eight of their last 10.

- The Islanders have lost nine straight road games since a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal on Nov. 24.

- DiPietro will be making his second start since coming off the disabled list on Friday. He made 28 saves in a 4-1 win over Toronto that night.

- Doug Weight, the Islanders leading scorer, is back in the line-up after missing three games with a groin injury.

Video:
Rangers broadcasters Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney report from the team's morning skate as the Blueshirts prepare for a matchup with the Islanders here.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney talks to reporters following the team's morning skate at which the Blueshirts prepared for their Dec. 29 game vs. the Islanders here.

Why the Rangers Don't Need Avery

Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy gives us five reasons why the Blueshirts don't need Sean Avery including the Rangers having other needs, who Dallas would want back, Avery's contract, Avery being a distraction and there being no Messiah for the Rangers...

"Right now, the Rangers have one defenseman with a plus rating: Marc Staal at a plus-5. Last season, they had five. Sean Avery doesn't change the systemic personnel problems on the blue line, which are of Sather's making. His salary cap space also doesn't allow for high-priced help to arrive later in the season. A change is needed. But Avery might not be that change."

...i have to agree with everything Wyshynshi says. Especially when he notes 'A change is needed' and links to The New York Rangers Blog.

Cherepanov Was Blood Doping

ESPN.com is reporting that Russian investigators are saying that Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov was blood doping for several months before he died during a Russian league game in October...

"Russia's federal Investigative Committee said experts concluded from analysis of blood and urine samples that for several months Cherepanov "engaged in blood doping." There was no elaboration in the statement, and a spokeswoman at the committee refused further comment."

Per Wikipedia, blood doping is the practice of boosting the number of red blood cells (RBCs) in the circulation in order to enhance athletic performance.

...i need some time to let this sink in before I comment.

Potter Back to Hartford; Prucha In Tonight

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says that the Rangers have sent Corey Potter back to Hartford today, again making the Rangers the only team without seven defensemen.

Weinman also notes that Peter Prucha will be back in the line-up for Aaron Voros and might play on a line with either Dubinsky and Zherdev or Gomez (who will play tonight after missing yesterday's practice with the flu) and Naslund.

...with the defense playing so well I completely understand why the Rangers would sent Potter back to Hartford. (Dripping with sarcasm)

...let's go Pruchs big game buddy.

Yesterday's Practice Notes; Another Drury Quote

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reported yesterday that Michal Rozsival returned to practice after missing Saturday's game due to a family situation, however, Scott Gomez sat out with the flu. He is expected to play tonight against the Islanders.

Gross also notes Tom Renney has again hinted at a Petr Prucha return (I'm not getting my hopes up this time).

Finally Gross has this from Chris Drury on being unaware of Tom Renney's post Devils game comments - "Show up, play hard, compete, battle...brain-dead hockey...not happy with performance of some very key people on our hockey club..."

"I guess you'd have to read the paper to know and I don't see too many guys coming in here with the sports pages," Drury said.

...George W. Bush didn't read the newspaper either and we all know how that turned out.

...i'm sorry as the Captain of the team you have to know what the coach is saying. How does he not know that Renney is unhappy with 'very key people on our hockey club?' Either Drury has tuned Renney out or Renney isn't a very good communicator. Either way the Captain needs to know when the head coach makes those types of comments.

Rangers Drop to Second in Nissan Metro Ice Challange

With the Rangers recent defeat at the hands of the Devils, they have dropped into second place in the Nissan Metro Ice Challange (when did they get another sponsor?). Here are the standings...

New Jersey Devils - 8 points
New York Rangers - 6 points
New York Islanders - 2 points

For official rules click here.

...the Rangers get a chance to tie the Devils for first place with a win against the Islanders tonight.

Monday Headlines

New York Post - RANGERS NEED TOUGH RENNEY


The Bergen Record - Rangers stuck in a rut

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is Avery the Answer Again?

Larry Brooks at The New York Post says the Rangers play of late is screaming for the reacquisition of Sean Avery.

Brooks notes the feeling around the Rangers is the same it was two years ago before they traded for Avery the first time. Here's what Brooks has to say about the current team...

"They looked in January and February of 2006 the way they look now - dispirited, undisciplined, and a walk in the park to play against.

Nearly halfway through a season in which there couldn't be a greater disconnect between what you see in the standings and what you see on the ice, the Rangers have no identity. They have no go-to guy. They have no force to worry the opposition."

Brooks adds that the mechanics of getting Avery back are hazy but the Rangers need an infusion of energy and someone who actually will make the Rangers tough to play against.

...i'm still of the opinion that the Rangers decided to go in another direction in the off-season and bringing Avery back would be a mistake, however, I do feel a change is needed. This team has become very difficult to watch. There's no passion, no energy and no discipline. And to me that falls entirely on the coaching staff. Renney all but admitted during his post game press conference last night that the players aren't buying into his system. If that's the case, either a coach has to go or the system has to change. If not, the Rangers will be once again on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

Rangers New Year's Resolution

Sam McCaig at The Hockey News gives New Year's resolutions that won't be kept for all 30 teams , including this one for the Rangers...

The New York Rangers resolve to…convince Jaromir Jagr that New York is Omsk West.

...the Rangers horrid play of late is making me think this actually might be a good idea.

Video: Highlights, Analysis & Reaction to Loss Against Devils

Rangers vs. Devils highlights here.

Rangers broadcasters John Giannone and Joe Micheletti look back on the Rangers' 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils here.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney reacts to the Blueshirts' 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils here.

Sunday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers sloppy from the start




Saturday, December 27, 2008

Devils 4, Rangers 2


The New York Rangers (22-13-3) lost to the New Jersey Devils (20-11-3) by the score of 4-2, tonight. For a recap and box score go to newyorkrangers.com.

...we are officially watching a sinking ship Ranger fans.

...tonight's loss is squarely on the coaching staff. We start the game with no passion, then comes yet another too many men on the ice penalty which leads to a power play goal and finally the league leading 11th short handed goal against followed by another failed 5 on 3. How the coaching staff can continue to watch the same script unfold every night and not do a thing about it is beyond me. Sather needs to fire one of these guys tonight. I don't care who, but a shake-up to the coaching staff needs to happen now.

...what's even more amazing is how a hard working, all effort guy like Petr Prucha can't crack this line-up. I dare someone to give me an argument why Voros, Sjostrom or Orr (who only got 6:46 of ice time tonight) should be in the line-up ahead of Prucha.

...i don't care how much money it costs, the Rangers need to release Redden immediately. What has this guy brought to the team this year? Not a thing. His defense is terrible and he's giving the team nothing offensively. Hell, even Kalinin scored tonight. Redden now has exactly two power play points (both assists) in the last 20 games. Is this what we're paying $39 million for?

...on a positive note Korpikoski was flying out there tonight.

...i wonder if tonight's game is going to ruin Drury's New Years? In case you weren't counting Chris you were a -3 tonight.

...off tomorrow then the Islanders.

Rangers vs. Devils (Game 38)

The New York Rangers (22-12-3) host the New Jersey Devils (19-11-3) tonight at MSG starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Voros-Dubinsky-Sjostrom
Korpikoski-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Mara
Kalinin-Potter

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 18-10-3, 2.58 gaa, .911 sv%, 0 so.

Scott Clemmensen- 11-5-3, 2.15 gaa, .923 sv%, 1 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Devils try to avoid suffering three consecutive shutout losses for the first time in their history tonight. They have gone seven full periods, plus a five-minute overtime, without scoring.

- The Devils defeated the Rangers in their last meeting 8-5.

- Zach Parise leads the Devils in goals (18), assists (22), and points (40).

- Devils Defenseman Bryce Salvadore is out tonight with an inner-ear infection.

Video:
Rangers players Ryan Callahan, Wade Redden and Chris Drury talk about the state of the team heading into its Dec. 27 game against New Jersey here.

Rangers players Markus Naslund, Paul Mara and Blair Betts discuss the team's upcoming Dec. 27 game vs. New Jersey here.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney discusses his team's upcoming game against New Jersey following its Dec. 26 practice at the MSG Training Center here.

Rozsival Out, Potter Up

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says that Michal Rozsival will miss tonight's game due to family reasons. Although Corey Potter missed this morning's skate, the Rangers were able to recall him in time for tonight's game.

Weinman also reports that Colton Orr is suffering from the flu, but expected to try to play tonight.

...the Rangers lucked out that Rozsival's family situation didn't occur closer to game time or they'd be in trouble.

No Go on Prucha Tonight

It looks like Tom Renney was just teasing us yesterday as a day after putting Petr Prucha on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Lauri Korpikoski at practice, Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report is now reporting that Prucha and Dan Fritsche stayed on the ice after everyone else retreated to the locker room, a good indicator that Prucha will be back in the press box for tonight's game against the Devils.

Weinman also notes that Colton Orr and Michal Rozsival missed this morning's skate, however both should be in the line-up.

...not sure why Renney reneged here. Maybe he wanted a bigger line-up against the Devils. Hopefully it works.

...with Rozsival missing this morning's skate you have to seriously question why we're not carrying seven defenseman. What if Rozsival decides in the pre-game warm-up he can't go tonight? I'm not sure Rangers fans will be happy seeing someone like Aaron Voros playing on the blueline.

Rangers Rule the Shootout

With the shootout well into it's fourth year, John Kreiser at NHL.com notes that the New York Rangers have posted the most victories (32) and the most tries (51) during that time span.

Kreiser also notes that Henrik Lundqvist is second in shootout victories (25) and tries (40). Martin Brodeur is first in both categories with 27 and 41 respectively. However Lundqvist leads the league this year with seven victories in eight attempts.

...maybe Sather should push to have the shootout implemented in the playoffs. Just kidding.

Saturday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers' Drury accentuates the positive

Newsday - Rangers know they have to play Devils tighter

New York Post - GREAT '08 NOT ENOUGH FOR RANGERS

New York Post - HENRIK: RANGERS NEED TO GET ON TRACK

The Bergen Record - Dubinski feeling his way

The Bergen Record - NHL can't strike out at new Stadium

Friday, December 26, 2008

Renney Reads New York Post

I guess Tom Renney reads the New York Post, as in today's edition Larry Brooks wrote about the Rangers need to get Petr Prucha back in the line-up and wouldn't you know it Prucha was on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Lauri Korpikoski today at practice reports Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report. Aaron Voros looks to be the odd man out.

Weinman also has this quote from Chris Drury on his statement that he wasn't going to let Tuesday's meltdown versus the Capitals ruin his Christmas...

“I’m not really concerned with credit or what other people say around the league, but I thought it was important to give some perspective,” Drury said.

“On July 2, if you told people — fans and media — that we’d have the record we have and the points we have, they probably would have taken it. So coming off the ice, hearing the boos after what had happened, it was my way of venting and maybe reminding people we have done some good things and we are a good team. I wasn’t happy about it. No one was. But as bad as third period was and the end result was, I thought it was important for us to not let it ruin our Christmas and to allow ourselves to feel good about what we’ve done.”

Finally Weinman adds that the Rangers held a pre-practice 'we gotta get going' meeting today.

...all good stuff from practice today as I'm very happy to see Prucha get another shot (especially if it means Voros takes a seat as it looks like he needs a rest) and I'm ecstatic about the pre-practice meeting. Hopefully Renney got a little loud. Doubtful though.

...lastly it was nice to see Drury address his comments from the other day. I'd hate to see Ranger fans thinking this guy doesn't care because it's more than evident that he does.

Rangers to Get in Kovalchuk Sweepstakes

Eklund at HockeyBuzz reports...

"Right now the teams leading the way in aggressively exploring options for Kovalchuk are Ottawa, Minnesota and Edmonton. Sources tell me to expect Montreal and the Rangers to get into it sooner than later, however another domino stands in their way currently."

Eklund adds that the domino standing in the way is Jay Bouwmeester.

...I wouldn't mind Kovalchuk, but at almost $6.4 million this year and next year I really don't see this happening unless Sather can get Atlanta to trade him for a package including Redden or Rozsival.

Friday Headlines

Newsday - Arthur Staple: Rangers, Isles similar? Huh?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From The New York Rangers Blog family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Which Staal is the Best?

Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News wonders which Staal (Eric, Jordan or Marc) is the best in the NHL...

Kennedy on Marc...

"And don’t forget about Marc, the New York Rangers stalwart defenseman. He may have taken slightly longer to get into the spotlight, but NHL defensemen tend to be that way. This season he has been one of the Blueshirts’ best rearguards and though his game isn’t flashy, it’s certainly responsible. He leads New York in plus-minus right now with a plus-6 rating, made all the more impressive by the fact he only has six points to his name. That’s shutdown ‘D’ for ya."

...i'm pretty sure I can guess who Ranger fans would pick.

...Staal has become a top defenseman in the league in only his second year and, in my opinion, it's only a matter of time before he's up for a Norris Trophy nod. Our two high priced defensemen could learn a thing or two from Staal.

Captain Drury Speaks

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report has this quote from Captain Chris Drury after last night's devastating loss to the Capitals...

“That could be the point that gets us home-ice advantage,” Drury said. “I’m certainly not going to let it ruin my Christmas and I don’t think anyone here is going to let it ruin their break, either.

“There are 24 others teams in this league who would be dying to have our record, with all the points we’ve accumulated over a tough schedule. It’s certainly not a good way to get a point. But it’s over and done with. It’s already in the garbage can as far as I’m concerned.”

...they blow a four goal lead and Drury's happy they got a point. Nice.

...is that what you wanted to hear from Drury, Jack? Me neither. Hey at least we know he's going to have a Merry Christmas. Although when you're making $7 million a year I guess it's hard to ruin your Christmas.

Video: Highlights, Analysis & Reaction to Loss Against Capitals

Rangers vs. Capitals highlights here.

Rangers broadcasters Al Trautwig and John Giannone look back on the Blueshirts' 5-4 overtime loss to Washington here.

Rangers head coach Tom Renney discusses his team's overtime loss to Washington here.

Rangers players Henrik Lundqvist, Scott Gomez and captain Chris Drury discuss the Blueshirts' 5-4 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals here.

Rangers Stay at #7 in Fox Sports Power Rankings


The Rangers stayed at #7 in the Fox Sports Power Rankings for the week of December 23, 2008...

7. Rangers - The Rangers put on a pretty good show out West in Week 11. New York picked up two wins in three tries, losing only to the NHL's top team, the San Jose Sharks, by a goal last Saturday.

...they should be dropped to 20th after last night's debacle.

Wednesday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers blow big lead, lose to Caps




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Capitals 5, Rangers 4, OT


The New York Rangers (22-12-3) lost to the Washington Capitals (21-11-3) by the score of 5-4 in overtime, tonight. For a recap and box score go to newyorkrangers.com.

...man the Rangers defense is atrocious. It really makes me wonder why they were even considering signing Sundin when their biggest problem is on defense. How a team can be so irresponsible defensively with a four goal lead is truly baffling.

...now this wasn't all the Rangers undoing, as Ovechkin put on his Superman cape and showed Rangers fans why he's the best player in the league. And after a poor start Theodore found some of that old Montreal Canadien magic to make some superb saves to allow the Caps to come back.

...tonight was another perfect example of how the power play is killing this team. After taking a 4-0 lead they're given two power play opportunities to put this game away and they do nothing with them. While the Capitals were able to take advantage of their power play chances to creep back into the game. I almost fell off my couch when during the game Micholetti noted that Renney has been happy with what he's seeing on the power play lately. They're 3 for their last 29!!! With one of the goals being awarded when Zherdev got pulled down on a break-away and another on a Rozsival penalty shot. So in reality they've actually only scored one real power play goal in their last 29 chances. What in the world could Renney be happy about?

...Callahan is still my favorite player.

...three days off for the holidays then the Devils are in town.

Rangers vs. Capitals (Game 37)

The New York Rangers (22-12-2) host the Washington Capitals (20-11-3) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Voros-Dubinsky-Sjostrom
Korpikoski-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Kalinin-Mara

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 18-10-2, 2.50 gaa, .913 sv%, 0 so.

Jose Theodore- 8-6-1, 3.25 gaa, .883 sv%, 1 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Capitals will be without Alexander Semin (14 goals and 18 assists) for a second straight game tonight due to a back injury as well as top defenseman Mike Green (8 goals and 12 assists), who re-aggravated a shoulder injury that's caused him to miss 11 games this season.

- Alexander Ovechkin has 18 goals and 17 assists in the past 21 games, giving him 20 goals and 23 assists on the season.

- The Capitals loss to the Flyers on Saturday snapped a five-game win streak.

- Ovechkin has seven goals and six assists in 13 meetings against the Rangers.

Video:
Rangers head coach Tom Renney looks ahead to the team's Dec. 23 game vs. Washington following its first practice after returning from the West Coast here.

Rangers centers Scott Gomez and Chris Drury look ahead to their Dec. 23 game vs. Washington after a Dec. 22 practice at the MSG Training Center here.

No Line-up Changes

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says that there will be no changes to the line-up tonight against the Capitals. Nikolai Zherdev and Dmitri Kalinin, who both sat out practice yesterday, skated today and are fine.

Weinman also notes that the Capitals are having injury problems, including a groin injury to former Garden Faithful punching bag Tom Poti.

...no need to change what's working.

Chemistry Matters

In his Atlantic Division Notes, Adam Kimelman at NHL.com says...

"Team chemistry is a tenuous, fragile thing, and once lost, it's difficult to re-discover. So not going through an array of roster changes to add the future Hall of Fame center (Mats Sundin) could end up being the best thing that happens to the Rangers."

...and cap-wise it would have destroyed them.

Cherepanov Still Remembered

Rick Westhead at Fox News looks at how Alexei Cherepanov is still being remembered in Russia...

"In death, Cherepanov is still the star. He is buried in the VIP section of the city's cemetery, next to a doctor who died in 1994 trying to save people after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. A few steps away, there is a monument for 22 Russian soldiers who died in Afghanistan, all on Dec. 3, 1981."

...wow that is an amazing honor.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers say they're fine without Sundin


Monday, December 22, 2008

'MSG, NY' Officially Gone

A month ago I posted a report that the MSGNetwork program 'MSG, NY' was being cancelled and repurposed as something more closely resembling a traditional postgame show for the Knicks and Rangers.

In case you didn't notice (I didn't) Neil Best at Watchdog is reporting that the show officially went off the air last Sunday night.

...good that show s*cked.

Potter Sent Back to Hartford

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says that the Rangers have sent defenseman Corey Potter back down to Hartford.

Potter joined the team during their three game road trip on the west coast but did not play.

Weinman also has player reaction to Sundin not signing with the Rangers.

...with the way the Rangers played on the west coast it's tough to criticize Renney for not playing Potter, but I would like to see him get some more NHL action this year.

Eklund: Rangers Interested in Gaborik and Bouwmeester

Eklund at HockeyBuzz gives his top five players that could move soon including Marian Gaborik and Jay Bouwmeester both of whom he said the Rangers are interested.

The other players include Tomas Kaberle, Nathan Horton and Brian Gionta.

...Eklund has been attaching the Rangers to these two players for awhile and until they open up some cap space it is unlikely we'll see either one in Rangers blue.

Rangers Moment of the Week 12/22

Each Monday, newyorkrangers.com's 'Moment of the Week' invites Ranger fans to vote for the top moment from among three finalists. On Wednesday at noon, the winning moment will be posted along with selected comments from fans who voted for it.

This week's nominees are Nigel Dawes game-winner at Anaheim, Michal Rozsival penalty shot at L.A and Ryan Callahan's goal at San Jose.

Last week's winner was Blair Betts shorthanded goal vs. Carolina.

Renney #3 Coach in New York

Anthony Rieber at Newsday names Tom Renney the third best team coach in New York behind Tom Coughlin (Giants) and Mike D'Antoni (Knicks).

Rieber calls Renney "Mr. Consistency" but says "There still are questions as to his ability to get the Rangers to the promised land."

...i know D'Antoni was great in Pheonix and should be given credit for coaching half a roster right now, but no way he deserves to be ahead of Renney. D'Antoni has led the Knicks to a 11-16 in his first year, while Renney has now led the Rangers to three straight playoff appearances after eight straight years of being shut-out. No contest in my opinion.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers fall to Sharks, 3-2

Newsday - With Sundin saga over, Rangers can focus on 'D'

New York Times - Rangers Come Close, but Can’t Get Past Sharks

New York Post - THIRD-PERIOD RUSH CAN'T SAVE DAY

New York Post - MONEY, NOT APPLE AVERSION, SENT SUNDIN TO CANUCKS

Daily News - Rangers get bitten by Sharks

Sharks 3, Rangers 2


The New York Rangers (22-12-4) lost to the San Jose Sharks (26-4-3) by the scores of 3-2. For a recap and box score go to newyorkrangers.com.

...despite the loss I felt the Rangers played a real solid game, especially offensively. Unfortunately they ran into a hot goaltender. Ironically, this was probably the best game they played during the trip and hopefully this west coast swing will give the team some much needed confidence going forward.

...i also felt they ran into some bad luck early, as Mara's first penalty was cheap and Betts' high stick was the result of him trying to lift the opposing player's stick. With out those consecutive penalties, we probably win.

...it's official. Callahan is my favorite player. This guy gives maximum effort every shift. He hit everything that moved tonight, and his goal was the result of pure determination.

...while Nabokov had a strong game, I felt Lundqvist probably should have had the first and third goals. I haven't said this much this year but the reason we lost was because Lundqvist was outplayed.

...i thought we finally got a glimpse of what Redden could offer in the third period last night. He was shooting the puck and came within a blocker save of tying the game on the power play late. Not sure what happened (maybe Renney told him between periods that the Rangers should have signed Boyle) but it looked like he had a sense of urgency I haven't seen from him all year. It would be nice if he could sustain that for the rest of the year.

...bottom line, we showed we can play with the big boys last night and Ranger fans should start feeling confident about this team, even without Sundin. Capitals in town Tuesday night.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rangers @ Sharks (Game 36)

The New York Rangers (22-11-2) visit the San Jose Sharks (25-4-3) tonight at HP Pavilion starting at 10:30 p.m. For a preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Voros-Dubinsky-Sjostrom
Korpikoski-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Kalinin-Mara

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 18-9-2, 2.49 gaa, .914 sv%, 0 so.

Evgeni Nabokov - 17-3-2, 2.61 gaa, .900 sv%, 1 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Sharks are 16-0-2 at HP Pavilion, outscoring opponents 68-37 and winning all four of its games against Eastern Conference opponents thus far.

- The Sharks are winless in their last five against the Rangers.

- The Sharks are coming off two straight losses including a 6-0 thumping at Detroit.

- Nabokov has allowed 12 goals in his past three starts.

- Devin Setoguchi leads the Sharks with 16 goals while Patrick Marleau leads in points with 36.

Audio:
Sam Rosen previews tonight's game with Steve Somers on WFAN here.

NHL All-Star Game to Take on NBA Type Format

Darren Drager at TSN says the NHL All-Star weekend will have a different look next month in Montreal.

He says the Young Stars game will now plot NHL rookies against NHL sophomores in the hope of raising the competitive level of the game.

Drager also notes that the traditional East versus West format has been scrapped for NBA-type individual competitions including two versions of the shootout, one a single knockout variation using NHL goaltenders, while the second is designed strictly for showmanship using Canadian University goalies.

...hey why not, the old format wasn't drawing any TV viewership, so a change might be good.

...hopefully the players come up with better trick shots than last year because, with the exception of Alex Ovechkin, the 2007 free style shootout was terrible.

Saturday Headlines

New York Post - SATHER'S CAP WOES SIMPLY INDEFENSIBLE

Friday, December 19, 2008

If Avery Gets Six Games For Words Crosby Better Be Out for a While

Check out this sucker punch to the head from behind by Sidney Crosby during the Penguins/Thrashers game last night.

Bettman needs to suspend Crosby for at least 20 games for this gross misconduct. Especially after sitting Sean Avery out six games for merely saying 'sloppy seconds."



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

Rangers Couldn't Get Offer Over $5 Million

Eklund at HockeyBuzz has this quote from Darren Drager at TSN on why the Rangers didn't get Mats Sundin...

"Mats and JP Barry gave the Rangers EVERY opportunity to get the number up, but the Rangers couldn't get it over 5. and the lowest offer that came in per year was 7.5."

Eklund adds that the ESPN rumor stating the Rangers would trade Michal Rozsival to the Dallas Stars for Sean Avery was very much real but the Stars pulled out.

Finally Eklund says that with the Rangers not signing Sundin they will be looking at Jay Bouwmeester and Marian Gaborik.

...just when I thought Eklund was going to have an intelligent post he says the Rangers will be looking to go after two more high priced players. If the Rangers didn't have the cap room for Sundin how are they going to get it for Bouwmeester or Gaborik. Unless Sather can somehow trade either Rozsival or Redden for them.

Sundin Links

ESPN - Burnside: Sundin Saga a sham

ESPN - LeBrun: Not just about the $$

Fox Sports - How will Sundin fit with his new team?

The Hockey News - Analysis: Sundin makes Canucks a formidable foe

...i know he didn't come to the Rangers so who cares. But here are more links on Sundin signing with the Canucks.

Friday Headlines

The Journal News - Sundin picks Canucks over Rangers





The Bergen Record - Sundin signs with Canucks

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sundin Signs With Canucks

TSN is reporting that Mats Sundin has agreed to a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks that's pro-rated for $10 million.

Here is Sundin's statement...

"I am truly excited to be joining the Canucks," said Sundin in a team statement. "Once I made the decision to return to play a few weeks ago, the Vancouver opportunity was simply the best overall fit. I want to thank Mike Gillis and the entire Canucks organization for their professionalism throughout this entire process."

...i have to say I'm shocked. After reading all the reports the last few days I was convinced he was coming to the Rangers. I guess Sather wasn't able to make the moves necessary to open up the cap space.

...or maybe money just trumps all. As my friend just texted me 'F'n Greedy Bastard.'

For more analysis visit the Rangers Report.

The Readers Have Spoken

Well it looks like my readers enjoy fiction, as you voted in favor of me continuing to post rumors from Eklund with 58% of the vote. It was at 65% all week but a last minute Montreal Canadien fan-like robo-voting campaign by reader Jack cut into the large margin.

Thanks to all of you who voted. This site was created for Ranger fans and your insight is appreciated. If you have any ideas to better the blog e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.

Casino Night Tickets Available

The New York Rangers, the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the entire Rangers team are to proud to present Casino Night on Monday, March 2, from 7-10 p.m. at Gotham Hall in New York.

The evening includes playing alongside the Rangers players, as well as dinner, silent and live auctions. Ticket prices range from $500 to $2,000.

Call 1-877-MSG-GOAL for tickets or go to newyorkrangers.com.

Yesterday Drury's Bombing, Today He's Overpaid

Yesterday Darrly Dobbs at The Hockey News said Chris Drury was bombing on Broadway, today John Grigg also at The Hockey News says he's the second most overpaid player in the league...

2. Chris Drury, Center, Rangers – $7.05 million

Team captains are normally offensive catalysts. And that’s what the Rangers thought Drury would be when they signed him to a five-year, $35.25-million deal. But Drury failed to crack the 30-goal mark last season and is on pace for the worst points total of his NHL career.

...man The Hockey News is really coming down on Drury. Haven't they noticed he's scored in two straight game?

Rangers Need a Break for the Holidays

Ryan Dixon at The Hockey News has his list of ideas for what each NHL team needs for Christmas...

New York Rangers – A break. They’ve played more games than everybody and been to Europe already.

...no kidding, I feel like the Rangers play every night.

One Week Till Christmas, 4 Days Till Hanukkah Get Your Shopping Done Here

After I posted this last week, I received a number of e-mails from readers letting me know they purchased items from Faceoff Fanatics and that their purchasing experience was great. So I figured, with a week till Christmas and less then a week till Hanukkah I'd post it again...

I thought I'd take this opportunity to pump-up one of my advertisers Faceoff Fanatics.

Now that the holiday's are less then a week away, Faceoff Fanatics is the best place to buy New York Rangers and other major professional team merchandise for friends and loved ones.

A few of my readers have e-mailed me saying that their purchasing experience through Faceoff Fanatics was hassle free and the prices were lower than most other merchandisers. Which is nice in this economy.

So if you're interested in great merchandise at low prices visit Faceoff Fanatics by clicking here.

Featured Item - New York Rangers Full Zip Fleece Jacket (click on jacket for more info):


Thursday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers beat Kings in overtime, 3-2



New York Post - BLUESHIRTS WIN IN OT



Rangers 3, Kings 2, OT


The New York Rangers (22-11-2) defeated the Los Angeles Kings (13-12-6) by the score of 3-2 in overtime, last night. For a recap and box score go to newyorkrangers.com.

...first Dawes now Rozsival. These guys are really increasing their trade value, which is going to make it easier for the Rangers to open up cap space for Sundin. Just kidding. Great game by Rozsival. Will Renney have Rozsival go first in the next shootout?

...i can't believe I'm saying this, but we probably lose if Lundqvist is in goal last night. Valiquette was on. I can't say this enough, having a back-up who can come in and give you that kind of performance is something most teams would kill for. Heck look at the Kings they'd probably kill to have Vali as their starter.

...we've now scored a power play goal in three straight games!!! Don't get too excited Pearn fans, against Anaheim the goal was awarded to the Rangers for Zherdev being pulled down on a break-away with an empty net and last night Rozsival's penalty shot goal was on the power play.

...another strong game from Dawes, who finally looks like he's finding his game. It only took you two months Nigel.

...Drury looks like he's on a scoring run right now. He's been streaky all year. He went the first 11 games with no goals, then he scored eight in his next 11, then scoreless again over the next 11 games and now he's scored in two straight games.

...four out of four points on the west coast trip so far, meaning we're playing with house money going into the Shark Tank on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sundin Would Report By December 27th

Mats Sundin's agent, J.P. Barry, was interviewed by TSN's Darren Dreger on AM 640 Toronto Radio today, and he indicated that Sundin's decision would come Thursday at the earliest, but probably not until the weekend.

Barry noted that Sundin, who is still undecided between the Rangers and Canucks, would be ready to go after Christmas...

"He would report to a team on the 27th," Barry said.

...one of these teams is going to have a nice present waiting under their Christmas tree.

Rangers @ Kings (Game 35)

The New York Rangers (21-11-2) visit the Los Angeles Kings (13-12-5) tonight at the Staples Center starting at 10:30 p.m. For a preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Voros-Dubinsky-Sjostrom
Korpikoski-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Kalinin-Mara

Goaltenders:
Steve Valiquette - 3-2-1, 2.49 gaa, .912 sv%, 1 so.

Jason LaBarbera - 5-7-3, 2.70 gaa, .899 sv%, 2 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Kings have collected at least a point in four of five contests (3-1-1).

- The Kings have won four of the last five contests against the Rangers (4-0-1).

- Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists).

- Former Ranger LaBarbera gets the start in goal tonight as King's regular starter Erik Ersberg, who was forced out of his last start because of a groin pull, is day-to-day with that injury. LaBarbera won his only career start against the Rangers last year.

Valiquette May Get Start Tonight ***UPDATED***

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes is reporting that it's possible Steve Valiquette could get the start tonight in Los Angeles.

...second game of back-to-back against the lowely Kings. Sounds like the perfect spot for Valiquette.

***Updated 4:15 p.m.
Zipay is now confirming Valiquette will get the start tonight here.

Zherdev Trade In Top 10

Spector at Fox Sports gives his top ten biggest trades of 2008, including the Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman trade, which is #6 on the list...

"The Columbus Blue Jackets finally had enough of Zherdev's inconsistency, peddling him and Fritsche to the New York Rangers for Tyutin and Backman to bolster their defense corps. Tyutin has played well for the Jackets and is their top offensive blueliner but Backman has been a major disappointment. Zherdev meanwhile has emerged as the Rangers top gun, leading them in assists and points and is second in goals. Fritsche has appeared in 15 games this season and could at some point be demoted or traded. Playing in New York has been just what Zherdev needed to boost his career, making the Rangers the winners of this deal."

...man you know your team's bad when your top offensive defenseman is Tyutin.

...this really was a steal of monumental proportions for the Rangers. Could you imagine how inept our offense would be without Zherdev? I shutter at the thought.

Rangers to Move Drury?

Adrien Dater at The Denver Post is reporting that the Rangers are so intent on getting Mats Sundin that they are considering trading Chris Drury to make room.

Dater says that if Drury is willing to waive his no-movement clause a reunion with the Colorado Avalanche could be in the making as the Avs have roughly five million in cap space right now.

Dater has heard San Jose would want him bad as well.

...no way the Rangers are trading a two-way player with the skills of Drury to make room for an older, defensive liability in Sundin. Oh yeah and he's THE CAPTAIN!!!

...i know Drury's scoring numbers are down since coming to New York and he had success in Colorado but I can't see him waiving his no movement clause. He's said from the beginning his dream growing up was to play for the Rangers. Now I'm supposed to believe he'd want to leave after less than a year and a half. C'mon.

Larry Brooks at The New York Post mentions the Rangers possibly moving Aaron Voros.

Rangers #7 in Fox Sports Power Rankings

The Rangers dropped one spot to #7 in the Fox Sports Power Rankings for the week of December 16, 2008...

7. New York Rangers - The Rangers came out on the good side of a wild and wacky week. The team needed extra hockey in its two wins in three tries in Week 10. In its loss, New York lost a slugging match to the Devils 8-5 after battling back from a four-goal deficit.

Drury Bombing on Broadway

Darryl Dobbs at The Hockey News gives his list of players who are disappointing with their teams, including Chris Drury...

Chris Drury, Rangers – After seasons of 67 and 69 points in Buffalo, Drury had 58 in his first year in New York. Rather than build on that, he has slipped even further and is on pace for 42. If the team signs Mats Sundin, Drury will become a full-time winger and that stability should help. I don’t see him finishing below the 50-point mark.

...big goal by Drury last night after getting the shoot-out winner the game before. Hopefully this will give him confidence going forward.

Wednesday Headlines

The Journal News - Dawes is undoing for Ducks

Newsday - Dawes' late goal gives Rangers win over Ducks

New York Post - RANGERS BEGIN BIG TRIP IN STYLE

New York Post - RANGERS CAN'T PUT CAP ON SUNDIN SAGA

Daily News - Rangers win as Mats nears choice

Rangers 3, Ducks 1


The New York Rangers (21-11-2) defeated then Anaheim Ducks (17-12-3) by the score for 3-1, last night. For a full recap and box score go to newyorkrangers.com.

...it's a regulation win!!!! What a great way to start the road trip.

...i didn't watch the game, but from what I saw Dawes had an awesome game, including the winner when he undressed Pronger. Maybe he's playing to get traded.

...congrats to Tom Renney on his 300th win.

...Lundqvist ridiculous.

...right back at it tonight against Kings. Let's hope there's no let down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rangers @ Ducks (Games 34)

The New York Rangers (20-11-2) visit the Anaheim Ducks (17-11-3) tonight at the Honda Center starting at 10:00 p.m. For a preview go to newyorkrangers.com.

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

Probable Lines:
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Drury-Callahan
Voros-Dubinsky-Sjostrom
Korpikoski-Betts-Orr

Redden-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Kalinin-Mara

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 17-9-2, 2.54 gaa, .913 sv%, 0 so.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere - 11-7-2, 2.86 gaa, .913 sv%, 2 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Ducks have won five in a row home, outscoring their opponents 18-8.

- Ducks leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf (23 goals, 12 assists) has at least a point in 13 of his last 14 home games, totaling nine goals and 14 assists over that span.

- Giguere is 4-0-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average in his last five starts. But is 1-3-1 with a 3.41 GAA in his career against the Rangers.

Where's the Sundin News?

I was sure we would have heard that the Rangers traded Petr Prucha to Edmonton and signed Mats Sundin by now.

Links: West Coast, Sundin, Grachev & Wolfpack.

Stan Fischler at MSG.com says the Rangers are going to be facing a big test on the west coast.

Ryan Eshelman at Fox Sports tells Ranger fans why Mats Sundin is the perfect fix for the Rangers.

Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park highlights Rangers prospect Evgeny Grachev who scored two goals on Sunday to bring his season total to 19.

Mitch Beck at Howlings previews this week's games for the Hartford Wolfpack.

Graves Night Viewing Party


The New York Rangers are hosting a Viewing Party of the Adam Graves Night pre-game ceremony, banner raising and continued celebration throughout the RANGERS vs. ATLANTA game from The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, February 3.

Fans will have the opportunity to be a part of MSG’s "Hockey Night Live" show, with special appearances by Adam Graves, Rangers alumni, and many more surprise guests. Watch all the festivities in HD on giant screens and experience all the Graves Night activities including a giveaway, raffle prizes and more!

Tickets go on sale Monday, Dec.15 at 12:00 p.m. and are available via The Garden Box Office, newyorkrangers.com, ticketmaster charge by phone 212-307-7171.

All tickets priced at $29.50. For More information go to Newyorkrangers.com.

Rangers Moment of the Week 12/15

Each Monday, newyorkrangers.com's 'Moment of the Week' invites Ranger fans to vote for the top moment from among three finalists. On Wednesday at noon, the winning moment will be posted along with selected comments from fans who voted for it.

This week's nominees are Scott Gomez' overtime goal at Atlanta, Blair Betts shorthanded goal vs. Carolina and Rangers kill off two-minute 5-on-3 vs. Carolina.

Last week's winner was Petr Prucha's game tying goal vs. Pittsburgh.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers fit to be untied in shootouts