Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eklund's Sources Revealed

Hey - you've all heard of that guy Eklund right? You know the mysterious blogger with the bazillion inside sources (aka internet messageboards)....

His sources now revealed at this website! See what rumors you come up with.

Colorado (28-33-1) at Rangers (31-24-8)

7pm @ MSG -- Ranger fans watching at home the game will be on PIX (ch.11)

Rangers are desperate to get a win as they continue to free fall in the standings. If the Rangers get more points today against the Avs than the Panthers get against the Devils then the Rangers will take over 6th place in the East. But, the Panthers still have two games in hand of the Rangers and they have the chance to pull further away from NY and leave a dog fight between the Rangers, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Carolina for the final two playoff spots in the East.

Expected lines according to NewsDay:

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

Rozsival-Redden
Staal-Girardi
Mara-Kalinin

I'll be at the game tonight (Hopefully they can score some goals!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nick Boynton's Been A Bad Boy!

Update (11am Saturday):

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the reason why Boynton got sent home:

I spoke to Nick Boynton by phone on Friday, and as you might expect, he said, "I’m pretty upset about waking up this morning and getting sent home." He also said he was still in a little bit of shock.

I understand where Boynton is coming from. I also understand where coach Pete DeBoer and general manager Jacques Martin are coming from.

I think the argument between DeBoer and Boynton after Thursday's game was a little more heated than Boynton described it -- although Boynton admitted he raised his voice and used an expletive when asking DeBoer if he was good enough to play -- but definitely not so intense that Boynton charged in and got in DeBoer's face.

Boynton said DeBoer and Martin told him he put himself before the team and was selfish in approaching DeBoer after the game. Boynton says anyone that knows him knows that he's not.

I tend to believe him based on my previous dealings with him -- he always talks about "team" and takes responsibility for his mistakes -- and watching him interact with teammates. Boynton is very much liked in the dressing room. (Several players said Friday afternoon they still didn't know why Boynton had been sent home)


---------------------------------
According to the Miami Herald:
Florida defenseman Nick Boynton has been dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons and will not be with the team for the remainder of the team's three game road trip. Boynton, acquired from Phoenix over the summer as part of the Olli Jokinen trade, played Thursday in New York and traveled with the team to its suburban New Jersey hotel after the game. According to roomate Keith Ballard, Boynton was upset with the team's decision to send him back to South Florida. It's possible, with the NHL trade deadline coming on Wednesday that Boynton has played his last game with the Panthers. Boynton was benched for the third period of Thursday's comeback win against the Rangers and there have been rumors general manager Jacques Martin was even thinking of waiving Boynton. Martin confirmed that Boynton had been sent home but wouldn't go into further detail.


I wonder what the heck he did that was so out of line that he's being sent home and possibly being traded or waived!

Interesting fact that I found out about Nick Boynton when I googled his name, he has Type 1 Diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at age 19{ Video about that on NHL Network} Interesting to me because I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes myself a year and a half ago at the age of 23.

Avery To Be Placed On Re-Entry Waivers

According to Sportsnet
Dallas Stars will place Sean Avery on re-entry waivers as early as Monday.

Avery will play in both AHL Hartford Wolf Pack games this weekend. The New York Rangers have committed to claiming Avery providing he was still available.

Trade Deadline Closing In - Part 2

Between now and the trade deadline - Wednesday, March 4 at 3pm ET we'll take a look at some of the hottest rumors & most likely players to be dealt before the deadline. This is a continuation from Part 1 last week

Chris Pronger (Defenseman, Florida) - UFA end of 09/10

With Anaheim trading for Ryan Whitney (who is under contract for the next 4 seasons) it looks like the Ducks are getting ready to unload one of their big two (Niedermayer or Pronger). Niedermayer is actually a UFA after this season, so it's also possible that the Ducks are just anticipating that he won't be back after this summer. But, rumors have been circulating for the past month that Chris Pronger is on the trading block. Known as being one of the most physical (often dirty) defensemen in the league. Pronger definitely improves any blue line in the NHL and immediately slots in as one of the top two defensemen on any team in the league.

Where's he going? The most often circulated rumor is that the Boston Bruins are interested (are they willing to trade Phil Kessel?). Imagine Pronger next to Chara on the Bruins blue line! No doubt though that it will take a significant offer to land Pronger as he is still a top 10 defenseman in the NHL and not only can he put up points, he has a rocket of a shot and is very physical. Since he is under contract for at least one season teams might be willing to give up more assets in a deal than they would if he was only under contract till July 1st {don't tell that to Kevin Lowe!}

Vincent Lecavalier (C, Tampa) - Under contract till 2013

It seems like Vinny Lecavalier's name is in the rumors every single season. In my opinion it's because he's French-Canadian and the Montreal media wants him to come to Montreal so badly. He was supposedly on his way to Montreal a few seasons ago when he was having major problems with head coach John Tortorella (now head coach in NY). Then, again this season after Barry Melrose was fired Vinny was rumored to be on his way to Montreal again. He's a franchise center, he's young and he's damn good.

Where's he going? Nowhere! I am certain that Lecavalier will finish this season in Tampa. I know that Tampa ownership is known to be strange but I don't think that they are stupid enough to trade Vinny. He's under contract until the end of the 2013 season, so they already have him locked up long term. Vinny continuously says that he loves living in Tampa (who wouldn't??). Brain Lawton, the Tampa GM, also recently said that he isn't trading Lecavalier. If he were to be traded it would take A LOT to get Lecavalier and no doubt there would be league wide interest, since he is a superstar in the NHL and he's still young.


Nik Antropov (RW/C, Toronto) - UFA July 1st

Antropov is huge - he's 6'6, 230lbs. But, he isn't in Brian Burke's plans and since he won't be re-signed by Toronto after this season it wouldn't make much sense for them not to trade him to get something in return.

Where's he going? He is basically guaranteed to be traded by the deadline next week, the only question is whether Brian Burke will get the 1st round pick that he said that he wants in return. With the Senators basically giving the Islanders a frst round pick last week for Chris Campoli, then anything is possible. Once again the Bruins a real front runner to land the big man by the deadline (I think it's because the media think that Boston want every big player that is available - Tkachuck/Pronger/Antropov). I think that he'll be traded out West. Chicago is a possibility and I think that Antropov would be a good fit there. The Blackhawks are a young team but they are good and they might see the chance to add a big, top-six forward to their team. Plus, since they have a lot of young players on their team would they be more willing than other teams to trade a draft pick? Will Burke make a deal with the Ducks, his old club? With the loss of Kunitz yesterday via the trade with the Penguins, the Ducks are another team that needs a top-six forward...the question is will they or any other team give Burke what he's asking in return?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rangers Lose Again: Scoring Woes Continue

Montral Trades Steve Begin to Dallas

According to TSN the Canadiens and Stars have made a minor trade with Montreal sending Steve Begin to Dallas for defenseman Doug Janik

Penguins Trade Ryan Whitney to Ducks

According to TSN:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have cleared up a bit of their logjam along their blueline as they have traded Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tortorella Talks After First Practice {Video}



Tortorella: Practice #1

John Tortorella put the team through their first practice together this morning, it lasted about 45 minutes.

Obviously it was the first time that the media got to talk with Tortorella since he took over the team last night so there was a 25-minute media gathering with Tortorella where he had some interesting quotes. Taken from Ranger Rants:

In regards to the power play and penalty kill, Tortorella said:
I'm going to give Schoney the penalty killing and he's going to handle the D during the games and I'm going to do the power play. I think it's important that the head coach has the power play. You're dealing with a lot of your top people and I think that's an important aspect of a head coach, getting the most out of your top people. You get to converse with them, they see the game differently than the coach does. Obviously if we're going to win it's going to have to produce.
This is very different from the way that Renney coached, because Perry Pearn was responsible for the most part for handing the Rangers horrible power play.

Tortorella also made it clear that he would not be roleing four lines, he said ""Your best players need to be your decision makers and be given every opportunity to win hockey games for us." I hope this doesn't mean that Colton Orr becomes a healthy scratch on a regular basis. Over the course of the season so far, the Rangers fourth line has probably been their most consistent line. Betts and Sjostrom are arguably the best penalty killing duo in the league and you know every night that Colton Orr is going to do what he does best if needed (a top 5 fighter in the NHL).

Yesterday the rumor was that the Rangers had agreed on a contract with Tortorella but there was a hold up because Tampa wanted compensation for Tortorella who was still under contract with Tampa until June. It now appears that the holdup was a clause that Mike Sullivan (Tampa Assistant coach) has in his contract, which stipulates that he has the option of being John Tortorella's assistant if Tortorella becomes a coach for another NHL team. It now appears that Tortorella wanted Sullivan to come to NY and be one of his assistants but the Lightning wouldn't allow it, so Jim Schoenfiled said that he would take over that position for the remainder of the season.

For some good reading about today's first practice, I suggest reading Andrew Gross' Ranger Rants and Steve Zipay over at NewsDay. They are the New York Rangers beat writers for their respective newspapers so they attend most of the practices/games and therefore have all of the quotes

NHL Network Free Preview Starting March 2


Of course I find out this morning that the NHL Network will be offering a free preview from Monday March 2nd until Saturday March 7th after I ordered it yesterday! I know that the NHL Trade Deadline next Wednesday (March 4th) will be a big hockey news today and living in the United States there really is no 24 hour hockey coverage on TV unless you have the NHL Network. So yesterday I added the Sports package to my cable plan so that I would have it for at least a month, just so I could watch it next Wednesday all day....oh well....

From the NHL website:

NEW YORK – The NHL Network will offer a free preview to more than 34 million subscribers of multiple distributors in the United States, such as DIRECTV, DISH Network®, AT&T U-verse, Verizon, Cox Communications, Grande Communications and TVMAX, beginning Monday, March 2 through Saturday, March 7.

As the definitive hockey destination, NHL Network offers viewers a 24-hour all-access pass to complete hockey coverage both on and off the ice, including live NHL games, robust game highlights packages and expert analysis. As a portion of this six-day free-preview period, viewers will be able to watch 52 hours of HD hockey programming including five live games, special Trade Deadline day coverage and 10 premieres of exclusive original NHL Network™ programming.

Games broadcast during the free preview include four live NHL games (blackout restrictions apply) and one live American Hockey League game. The Montreal Canadiens and the host Buffalo Sabres -- two longtime rivals looking to secure a playoff berth -- go head-to-head on Wednesday, March 4. Then on Thursday, March 6, the Canadiens play the host Atlanta Thrashers. On Saturday, March 7, viewers will enjoy AHL action with the Rochester Americans playing the Lake Erie Monsters, followed by a simulcast of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader of the Edmonton Oilers visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the San Jose Sharks traveling to Vancouver to play the Canucks.

On Wednesday, March 4 the NHL Network will provide extensive coverage of the NHL Trade Deadline that will keep viewers up-to-date on the latest trades and their favorite clubs through an special three-hour of edition of NHL Live with Don LaGreca and Bill Clement, and a special three-hour NHL On the Fly Trade Deadline Special.

Also premiering during the free preview are brand new episodes of original NHL Network series including The Hodge Stove League talk show where the guest will be Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson; a Day In The Life episode featuring Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris; a Voices profile of St. Louis' announcer Chris Kerber; a Pioneers spotlight on Hockey Hall of Famer Red Kelly; and an all-access special filmed in Montreal at the 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend. Additional programming includes spotlights on NHL legends Ted Lindsay, Al MacInnis and Maurice Richard, and eight programs devoted to 2010 Winter Olympic Games hopefuls Zdeno Chara, Chris Drury, Patrik Elias, Mike Green, Chris Pronger, Mike Richards and Shea Weber.

NHL Network Free Preview Spotlight Programming
(All Times Eastern)

Monday-Friday
12 p.m. NHL Live simulcast

Monday, March 2
9 a.m. Bienvenue a Montreal! All Access at the 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend
10 a.m. NHL On The Fly

Tuesday, March 3
7 p.m. The Hodge Stove League: Ron Wilson
8 p.m. A Day That Changed The Game: November 1, 1959
9 p.m. NHL On The Fly

Wednesday, March 4 -- NHL Trade Deadline
12 p.m. Special 3-hour edition of NHL Live
3 p.m. NHL On The Fly Trade Deadline Special
7:30 p.m. Canadiens at Sabres
10 p.m. NHL On The Fly

Thursday, March 5
7 p.m. Day In The Life: Derek Morris
7:30 p.m. Voices: St. Louis' Chris Kerber
8 p.m. Captains Powered by Bridgestone (player TBA)
8:30 p.m. Pioneers: Red Kelly
9 p.m. NHL On The Fly

Friday, March 6
7 p.m. Don Cherry's Grapevine -- Al MacInnis
7:30 p.m. Canadiens at Thrashers
10 p.m. NHL On The Fly

Saturday, March 7
1 p.m. ` AHL Hockey: Rochester Americans at Lake Erie Monsters
6:30 p.m. HNIC Pregame
7 p.m. Hockey Night In Canada: Oilers at Maple Leafs
10 p.m. Hockey Night in Canada: Sharks at Canucks
12:30 a.m. HNIC After Hours
1:30 a.m. NHL On The Fly

Monday, February 23, 2009

John Tortorella Replaces Tom Renney as Rangers Coach


John Tortorella is a former New York Rangers assistant coach (interim head coach for 4 games), a former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach and now a former TSN analyst, as he was announced this evening as the replacement for Tom Renney (announced by Glen Sather via a conference call), who was fired by the Rangers this morning. It appears based on player comments this afternoon that Renney will be taking on another role within the organization.

According to the NY Post, Tortorella was signed to a multi-year contract and Jim Schoenfeld will join Tortorella's staff as an assistant coach.

John Tortorella is the complete opposite of Tom Renney, who was a very patient and laid back coach while behind the bench for the Rangers. All post game remarks were calculated and he never called out his players in the media, even during the current losing streak. Tortorella on the other hand is known for his violent temper (has benn ejected from a game three times as an NHL head coach), scantalizing remarks of key players after losses (i.e. Vinny Lecavalier) and his interesting confrontation (to say the least) w/ the NY Post's Larry Brooks (video below):




According to NHL Live today on XM Home Ice Glen Sather actually asked the Tampa Bay Lightning for permission last week to speak with John Tortorella, who was still under contract with the Lightning and currently an analyst for TSN. Interestingly, Sean Avery may be one of the first topics of conversation that Sather and Tortorella had when discussing Rangers coaching position. Why? Because in the past few months, John Tortorella has on at least two occasions voiced his dislike for Sean Avery in the media. After Avery's comments two months ago while working for TSN Tortorella was asked if the Rangers should bring Avery back and he responded "No, and I don't even want to talk about Avery."In another interview around the same time he also said that Avery's “a selfish ass.” What do you think are Avery's chances of being claimed off of re-entry waivers with Tortorella as head coach?

However, Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants reports that Sather was questioned about Avery during the conference call to announce that Tortorella was the new head coach:

Sather is aware that Tortorella has expressed some negative feelings toward Avery but it didn't sound like that would stop Sather from bringing Avery to the Rangers if the Stars place Avery on re-entry waivers.

"He doesn't have the history with Sean that we do. Over time, you learn to love him like I do."



Rangers Fire Tom Renney & Perry Pearn

Per Steve Zipay of NewsDay:

In the midst of a late-season tailspin and with the strong possibility of his team missing the playoffs, Rangers head coach Tom Renney was dismissed today after more five years behind the bench.

No replacement was immediately named.

Ending weeks of media speculation, Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather cut the cord today. A team spokesman said assistant coach Perry Pearn also was fired. Mike Pelino and goaltending coach Benoit Allaire remain.



Already there are rumors circulating about who the replacement for Renney will be. The front runners are ex-Tampa coach John Tortorella and Rangers Assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld. As of 2:15pm it appears that Tororella is the favorite and according to Bob McKenize of TSN:
the New York Rangers and John Tortorella have an agreement in place that would make him the next head coach of the NHL team, but that the Tampa Bay Lightning have not yet been contacted for permission.



Interesting Tidbit:
All 4 teams that started the season in Europe (Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Tampa & now the Rangers) have fired their coach

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top 10 Offensive Defensemen of All-Time

Toronto (21-26-12) at Rangers (31-23-6)

Rangers 1
Toronto 2

Game Highlights:


Tonight's game will be an 8pm @ MSG because of the pre-game ceremony honoring Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell.

The Rangers return home tonight where they have won six of their last nine. The road however has been a completly different story, the Rangers saw their current road winless streak reach eight games (0-7-1) in Buffalo. It is the longest winless streak for the Rangers since they went 0-10-2 over a twelve game stretch in 2000-01.

Throughout the past week the local media have been on Renney watch, wondering if and when he'd be fired. After the win against the Islanders, at least for a few days those headlines went away. But, after another awful result in Buffalo last night, against a team they are competing with for a playoff spot, those headlines have returned - many wondering if a loss tonight against the Leafs would seal Renney's fate.

Any chances of Valiquette standing in for Lundqvist tonight due to the back-to-back games this weekend were probably erased last night.

Michal Rozsival will switch his jersey to # 33 starting tonight because #3 is being retired tonight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Visitor Map - 24 hours @ PuckCentral

Less than one week into the beginning of the life of PuckCentral.net and already getting viewers all around the world. Here's a map of our visitors over the past 24 hours (over 200 total)...we've even got a reader from Australia!

Blue Jackets Claim Gratton Off Waivers



According to Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets have acquired center Chris Gratton on re-entry waivers. He had been playing in the Tampa Bay organization. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk of the AHL. He will join the team for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.


Immediately that had me wondering if that was the move that Columbus was making, after all it was well known that they are on the lookout for a center who can play on one of their top three lines. The Blue Jackets have never had a center who compliments Rick Nash and they thought they finally had that this year in rookie Derick Brassard, but he is out for the remainder of the season.

But, according to The Dispatch:
General manager Scott Howson said the move would not prevent the Jackets from searching for another center before the trade deadline.

Rangers (31-22-6) at Sabres (30-23-6)

Rangers 2
Buffalo 4

Game Highlights:


Update: (1pm ET)According to Ranger Rants as we speculated earlier, Aaron Voros will indeed be the healthy scratch to make room for Korpikoski.

Expected lines:Markus Naslund-Scott Gomez-Ryan CallahanNigel Dawes-Chris Drury-Petr PruchaLauri Korpikoski-Brandon Dubinsky-Nikolai Zherdev
Fredrik Sjostrom-Blair Betts-Colton Orr


Two teams with almost identical records - the Rangers 5th in the East, only two points ahead of the 8th place Sabres.

According to other blogs/hockey columns Lauri Korpikoski will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out the last game against the Islanders with an "upper-body" injury. Obviously if Korpikoski is ready to go he'll be right back in the lineup, as he's the only Rangers forward to have been scoring goals in the last few games prior to the last game which he missed. Tom Renney hasn't made it known (at least publically) who will be scratched - odds are it'll be Prucha or Voros. Nigel Dawes who is the other candidate who could possibly be benched on a nightly basis was one of the best Rangers on the ice against the Islanders, so it's unlikely that Renney will take him out of the lineup. My guess is that Voros will sit this one out.

According to Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, Paul Mara is no longer wearing a sling on his arm (the one he's been wearing since injuring it last Sunday in a fight w/ Aaron Asham). But, there is no set time for his return to the lineup, though it's expected to be about a month. Which is pretty good news for the Rangers because after the game last Sunday it looked like it could require season ending surgey.

Henrik Lundqvist has given up two goals or fewer in six of his last eight starts. In his last five starts against Buffalo, Lundqvist is 4-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA.

Tonight's the first of a back-to-back, the Rangers play in Toronto tomorrow night (8pm). I was wondering if Lundqvist would play tonight against Buffalo and then Valiquette would play in Toronto on Sunday. There's some speculation amongst the Rangers' beat writers that Lundqvist might get the start in both games because the Rangers need every point they can get as they battle for a playoff spot.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Comrie & Camploi Traded to Ottawa



According to TSN:

The Islanders have acquired forward Dean McAmmond and a first-round draft selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for forward Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli.

Update (4:51pm ET) According to Kukla's Korner -- The 1st rounder the Islanders received was acquired by Ottawa from San Jose, so it will be a very low pick in the 1st round.

NHL Considers Banning Fights -- Are They Nuts?


There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about removing fighting from hockey. Let's be honest, there are a few in the media who continuously bring this up at every opportunity that they can get. Unfortunately this season there have been two incidents in particular (the tragic death of Don Sanderson the result of a fight in the OHA and shortly thereafter a fight in the AHL that resulted in Garrett Klotz being taken off of the ice on a stretcher). This was fodder for the anti-fighting proponents in the media and in the NHL. Ever since it seems like you can't go to TSN.ca without having to read an article that is anti-fighting or listening to a Versus/NBC telecast where one commentator completly rips a part the idea of fighting in hockey.

Despite what some might like you to believe -- for example TSN continues to have headlines on their main page that would have you thinking that most fans want to get fighting out of the game. For example, a headline a few weeks back that indicated that "Majority Want Fighting Eliminated!" -- However, when you read the article you see that the survey was conducted not just of hockey fans but amongst the general population of Canada. In fact the article even specified "68 per cent of NHL fans who follow the NHL closely say the gloves should continue to drop." How can you run an article on the front of your website with such a misleading title? Why would anyone care what a typical Canadian thinks of fighting in hockey? Wouldn't it seem obvious that the people who actually watch hockey, pay for season tickets, pay for individual games, pay for NHL apparel would be the one's whose opinion would count? If 68% of NHL Fans are in favor if fighting -- why is this even an issue?

Did you watch the Adam Graves retirement ceremony a few weeks ago? Among the guests at center ice for the duration of the ceremony were Darren Langdon and Tie Domi, two resident tough guys during their years in the NHL. Langdon and Domi got cheers just as loud (if not louder) as the cheers for Messier, Leetch and Richter. Sounds like the fans hate fighting, huh?

The clear majority of NHL fans are in favor of keeping fighting in the game because they know that it has its place in the game. There are so many reasons why fighting should not be considered a removable element of hockey - but the main reason is it sells! If 68% of Fox viewers said that they enjoyed watching 'The 5:oo News' would they consider removing it from their station?

Every day we turn on the news and hear about the economic crisis that we are having. We hear how NHL teams are having problems selling tickets. How the NHL is not happy with their TV ratings. Yet, continuously on a Sunday afternoon we have to listen to Pierre Maguire of NBC complain about fighting in the NHL (I never thought I'd say this, but thank you Mike Milbury for being an adamant supporter on NBC for fighting to remain part of hockey). Complain about an aspect of the game that the majority of the fans enjoy. Pierre should be the first to know (since he's in attendance at a lot of games) that only one thing gets fans out of their seats as fast as a goal for the home team ---and it's a fight!

Top 30 Goalies in the NHL

Well The Hockey News has ranked their top 30 goalies for the current NHL season. Thanks to Andrew's Dallas Stars blog for the article & the image that I am putting up down below with THN's rankings. What do you think? Personally I have no problem with the top 5, but I think that Mike Smith deserves to be in the top 15. I'm not a Tampa fan but the guy was phenomenal up until he got injured, keeping the Lightning in games that they had no business being in. Turco has been good the past 6 weeks or so, but based on the entire season, I would have no problem ranking Smith higher than Turco (you know the guy that sucked for the 1st two months of the season but somehow Sean Avery was the be-all-end-all of Dallas' problems!)

Criminal Charges Possible For 3 Habs Players



News broke late last night that the Alexei Kovalev fiasco would be replaced by a news story that was much bigger. The Canadien blogs were buzzing last night around midnight speculating as to what the news was and it was leaked somehow that there was a criminal investigation involving three Canadien players. Immediately people were coming up with all kinds of scenarios involving Price, Higgins, Gorges and Komisarek (the players known most on the team as partiers).

The below has been translated by Kevin van Steendelaar, the original article in French can be found here:

From a rough translation it appears that Sergei and brother Andrei Kostitsyn had close relations with one Pasquale Magnolia.

Magnolia, 38, was one of 50 people arrested on February 12 in Montreal as part of a police operation known as "Axis". He faces six charges of conspiracy, possession and trafficking of cocaine, and carrying of prohibited firearms.

Magnolia was allegedly an intermediary between three Montreal street gangs all under the payroll of the Hell's Angels.

He is a big hockey fan and through police wire taps, it was learned he was regularly in contact with the Kostitsyns.

He was even spotted with the brothers at several parties and restaurants in the Montreal area.

How the Kostitsyns came to befriend Magnolia is unsure, but police sources seem to reveal that he provided or advised the Belorussians with many luxuries from housing and cars to vodka or women.

Whatever the Kostitsyns needed, this man got it for them

Credit card statements belonging to the Kostitsyns, as well as Montreal Canadiens documents were also reportedly found in Magnolia's possession.

Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik has also been reportedly spotted in the presence of Magnolia, but the article reports that his connection was not as detailed as the Kostitsyns'.

The Kostitsyn's agent, Don Meehan, is denying any connection between his clients and Magnolia.

Though none of the players noted have been charged with any criminal activity as of yet, Sergei Kostitsyn was demoted to the Hamilton Bulldogs earlier in the week.

When approached by La Presse this week regarding the situation, the Canadiens vice-president of communications told them "We are not aware of such an association," and that the demotion was " linked only to sporting."

The Montreal Police, the Canadiens organization , the NHLPA and the NHL make every effort to work with the players to avoid being involved in criminal activity but unfortunately some will fall through the cracks.


Definitely a black eye for the NHL and Montreal organization if true, but don't appear to be nearly anywhere as bad as the rape/drug trafficing rumors that were being circulated last night before the official press release was made.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top 10 Goals of the Season So Far

Watch & enjoy the 10 best goals of the season so far according to the NHL Network:

Trade Rumors Heating Up

We're getting closer & closer to the NHL trade deadline and it seems that everywhere you turn on the internet there's a new rumor or theory as to what each and every team should be doing in the next two weeks.

TSN's Darren Dreger had an interesting list of the top ten players likely to be moved by the deadline:
  1. Ryan Smyth (LW, Colorado)
  2. Kari Lehtonen (G, Atlanta)
  3. James van Riemsdyk (Flyers Prospect)
  4. Nik Antropov (C/RW, Toronto)
  5. Jay Bouwmeester (D, Panthers) -- who I mentioned several days ago
  6. Olli Jokinen (C, Phoenix)
  7. Ryan Whitney (D, Penguins)
  8. Chris Pronger (D, Anaheim)
  9. Eric Cole (LW/RW, Oilers)
  10. Alexei Kovalev (RW, Montreal)
Of the ten players mentioned above, I'd be surprised if more than 4 of them were moved within the coming weeks.

Rangers viewpoint:
Steve Zipay of NewsDay thinks that the Rangers are most likely to land a veteran defenseman and submitted this list of potential players "who might fit and reportedly are available: Kyle McLaren (San Jose), David Hale and Derek Morris (Phoenix), Sean O' Donnell (Los Angeles), Adrian Aucoin (Calgary), Daryl Sydor (Dallas), Ville Koistinen and Greg Zanon (Nashville) and Jordan Leopold (Colorado). In the East, there's Niklas Havelid (Atlanta) and Ryan Whitney and Rob Scuderi (Pittsburgh)."

Avery's 2nd AHL Game & Other News

Here’s a little reporting by Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Wolf Pack website regarding Sean Avery’s second game in the AHL, in which Hartford played Bridgeport last night:

Avery said he felt better than in his Wolf Pack debut Saturday night.

“As far as battles go and getting hits, it was better on the lungs than in the first game, so I’m happy about that,” said Avery, who had two shots and was on the ice for the only goal. “They were coming at me from the start of the game, and I was a little quiet, which takes a little away from my game. Then I started to give back a little of what I was getting, which makes me play better.

“I’m targeted, but I know I did it eight years ago. They’re all trying to get to the next level, so they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t go after me. I’m not too happy about the loss, but I feel better for sure.”

Sounds like the ‘old’ Sean is already back – good to hear!



In other news:

  • The NHL today announced that the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will open the 2009-2010 NHL regular season in Europe. The Blackhawks and Panthers will play home-and-home games Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, in Helsinki, Finland, at Hartwall Areena. On those same dates, the Red Wings and Blues will play a home-and-home series at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Lots of rumors coming out of Montreal that Alexei Kovalev will be traded by Bob Gainey before the trade deadline. Kovalev who didn’t travel with the team last night to Washington and will not be in the lineup against the Penguins was told by Gainey to stay away from the team for a few days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Aaron Voros Autograph Signing Thursday Night



For any NYR fans in North Jersey - Aaron Voros will be at the Poitin Still in Hackensack on Thursday night (Feb. 19th) from 7pm-9pm. Colton Orr was originally supposed to be there, not sure why he was pulled out by the Rangers but Voros will be there in his place.

Islanders (17-33-6) at Rangers (30-22-6)

Rangers 3
Islanders 1

Game Highlights:



The Rangers are 3-1 against the Islanders this season.

It appears that there will be one lineup change tonight, from the team that took on the Blues on Monday. According to Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record, Lauri Korpikoski (3 goals in 4 games) will not be dressed because he is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that he suffered against the Blues.

Dawes (who has 2 GWGs this season against the NYI) who sat out the last game in place of Aaron Voros will be back in the lineup to replace Korpikoski. As a result, it looks likely that Brandon Dubinsky will go back to centering the 3rd line.

Likely Lineup:
Naslund-Gomez-Callahan
Dawes- Drury- Prucha
Voros- Dubinsky-Zherdev
Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

Paul Mara's MRI came back negative. There's no interior harm to his right shoulder, no surgery required. Mara's arm is still in a sling and there is no timetable for his return, but it appears that it may not be the season-ending injury that was feared at first. At the Rangers practice this morning Mara was in the trainers' room and unavailable for comment (According to Steve Zipay of NewsDay)

Rangers Wake Up This Morning in 8th Place

View the current Conference Standings at NHL.com






Rangers have a skate this morning at 10:30, more later on when there's more news & interviews available.

Game tonight vs. the Islanders @ 7pm on MSG

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clock Ticking For Rangers & Renney



This can't continue much longer without someone being sacraficed for this horrendous stretch of hockey. The Broadway Blueshirts are 2-6-2 in their last ten and quickly sliding right out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

You won't find me at the Garden participating in a "Fire Renney!" chant . . . I don't think that Tom Renney is to blame for this team's problems. Yes, he's the coach and yes, this team is ranked 30th in the NHL in goals per game. The players are the ones on the ice and unfortunately for Ranger fans and Tom Renney the effort is not there. Last night for the first two periods in St.Louis for the first time in quite a while the Rangers put in a solid effort, they competed physically. But, the offense is abysmal - Naslund and Zherdev have been pretty much been invisible for weeks now.

Many have blamed Renney for playing a defensive style of game that smothers the offensive talent of the Rangers. To me it's the opposite -- Renney recognized a long time ago that the Rangers do not have the offense that would enable them to win 5-4 games throughout an entire 82 games season. Instead, he decided to implement a defensive system that allowed the Rangers to win games 2-1 --- knowing that getting much more than two goals per game for the Rangers was going to be difficult. Is it is fault that the players can't score? His fault that Sather has spent way too much money on players who aren't the team's best players? Redden and Rozsival are being paid as #1 defensemen, but neither has been (Staal, Mara, Girardi have all been more consistent and put in a better effort on a nightly basis). Gomez and Drury combining for $14.4m in salary this season (and the next three seasons!) -- yet Gomez has just 39 points and Drury only 34 points. All Renney's fault?

Glen Sather better start making some moves prior to the deadline (March 4th) - not so that the Rangers can make a run for the Cup (not happening!), but so that they are not Cap strapped for the next half a decade!

The reason why the Rangers are on the verge of not making the playoffs & why Renney's job is on the line:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mathieu Schneider Traded To Montreal




Per TSN: The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenceman Mathieu Schneider and a conditional draft pick in 2009 (based on how well Montreal does in this season's playoffs) to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for second (2009) and third round (2010) picks.

My take:
The Thrashers clear cap space and continue to pile up on draft picks. They know that they aren't going to make the playoffs - they are sellers for sure (look for other players to also be moved such as Colby Armstrong, Niclas Havelid & Slava Kozlov).

The Habs who have been struggling (3-7, in their last 10) bring back Schneider for his second stint in Montreal. “We were looking for a defenseman who could contribute offensively. Mathieu, an experienced player with a lot of offensive upside, will bring depth to our core group of defensemen and will be an asset on our powerplay,” said Bob Gainey. That's exactly what the Thrashers said at the beggining of the season when they made a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for him. However, Schneider has had a disappointing season so far in Atlanta & both he and the Canadiens hope that he can turn it around.

Good trade for both teams, they are heading in two different directions, each have a different set of goals heading into the NHL trade deadline.

Rangers (30-21-6) at St. Louis (23-25-7)

Game Highlights:
Rangers 1
St. Louis 2






According to TSN Ice Chips - Paul Mara will miss Monday night's game in St. Louis after injuring his right shoulder during a fight in the third period with Flyers forward Arron Asham on Sunday.

When asked after the game yesterday about his arm, which was in a sling, Mara said "The first two punches I was swinging and I could feel something in there and I stopped."

This is possibly the first significant injury that the Rangers have had all season, which is pretty remarkable.

Lundqvist will be back in between the pipes after getting yanked yesterday against Philly in the 2nd period. Besides Kalinin being re-inserted into the lineup in place of the injured Mara, the rest of the lineup remains the same (which means Prucha plays & Voros sits).

Chris Mason will get his seventh straight start for the Blues in goal.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

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Trade Deadline Closing In - Part 1

Between now and the trade deadline - Wednesday, March 4 at 3pm ET we'll take a look at some of the hottest rumors & most likely players to be dealt before the deadline.

Jay Bouwmeester (Defenseman, Florida) - UFA July 1st

Bouwmeester has been rumored to be on the move for quite some time now, mostly because Bouwmeester and the Panthers have had contract negotiations in the past break down. He'll be a UFA this summer so the Panthers will want to either get him signed before the deadline or trade him so that they don't lose him this summer for nothing. Similar to the Thrashers situation last season when they traded Marian Hossa, who they knew they were going to lose over the summer to free agency for noting. I've always thought that Bouwmeester was rated higher than he actually was, but after having recently seen him play, he has definitely made major strides this season. He's amongst the league leaders in avg. ice time per game and he's still a young guy at just 25.

Where's he going? Will the Panthers hold onto him because they are making a major push for a playoff berth? Most would say that if the Panthers can't get him signed by the deadline then they have to trade him. Most teams can't afford to lose their #1 defenseman for nothing and the Panthers definitely can't. Philly have been in the rumors for some time but with their cap situation that seems highly unlikely. He's most likely going to go to a team that knows they have a legit shot at re-signing him on July 1st - he's not just a rental.


Marian Gaborik (LW, Minnesota) - UFA July 1st

Gaborik, most famous in NY for tormenting the Rangers last season when he became the first NHL player in 11 seasons to score 5 goals in one game (Youtube Video). He is one of the most dynamic forwards in the game and combined with his ridiculous speed has the potential to be a real game changer. Rumors are circulating around Minnesota that the Wild are going to trade Gaborik because they don't want to lose him to free agency this summer. However, they may not get as much in return as one might expect because of Gaborik's career long battle with injuries. Gaborik had hip surgery in January and is expected to miss almost three months - will someone take a gamble?

Where's he going? Probably nowhere until July 1st unless the Wild decide to trade him for relatively nothing (such as a draft pick) just so they can get something in return. The problem with Gaborik is that he has such a problematic history with injuries most teams see him as too much of a risk and not someone that they can depend on for a Cup run. Many Rangers fans want this guy on Broadway, I for one do not. He is going to demand big bucks over the summer and the possibility of him missing half the season with a groin injury are more probable than not. The upside is he can score 30 goals in a season (if healthy!) with his eyes closed.


Keith Tkachuk (LW, St.Louis) - UFA July 1st

It seems like Tkachuk's name is in the rumor mill every season around the deadline and this year will be no different. With the Blues unlikely to make the playoffs, Tkachuk is one of the most affordable and experienced rental players that'll be available at the deadline. Keith's the prototypical NHL power forward and can also play center and take faceoffs. At 36 years old 'Walt', is nearing the end of his career and he could be a solid pickup for someone making a run at the Cup. But, I must point out that in Tkachuk's 18-year NHL career that he has been on the winning team of a playoff series just 3 times! {He was invisible 2 years ago when the NYR swept the Thrashers in the first round.} Wouldn't be surprised if he ends up back in St.Louis as a UFA this summer.

Where's he going? You won't be surprised that the Rangers are rumored to be interested in him -- after all that's been the rumor pretty much every single season for the past 7-8 seasons. I think it would be a stupid move for Sather, although Tkachuk is the type of player that the Rangers need, he's about 8 years too old. The Rangers aren't competing for the Cup this year, so to mortgage their future on a fading star wouldn't make sense. Boston might be interested, seeing Tkachuk in a Bruins uniform doesn't seem far fetched. According to the The Boston Herald Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wouldn't mind adding some size to his roster before the trade deadline. The Red Wings might also be interested, they need some grit for the playoffs. Those are the teams that would benefit most from a guy like Tkachuk, because he'd be an improvement to their roster and they would have many other stars to actually rely on and let Tkachuk be a part of the supporting cast. In my opinion anything more than a lower end prospect or mid-level draft pick would be overcompensation.