Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I'm typically one the biggest Sean Avery fans, I was among those who right away said that Avery should come back to New York when he had the problems in Dallas. I was completly pissed off at Sather last summer when he let Avery walk right out of New York. However, I think I am one of the few Rangers fans that doesn't agree with what he did last night. I understand that Avery is "changed" but he still fights (as evidenced by two in the past few games against Clutterbuck and Kennedy), he should've dropped the gloves last night. Some are saying that Clarkson looked like an idiot for rag-dolling Avery around the ice. [Video] In my opinion, it was Avery that looked like the idiot. Maybe he was just trying to further piss of the the Devils by refusing to fight Clarkson in a blow out, who knows what was in Sean's mind. Maybe he had nothing to gain by fighting Clarkson in the final ten minutes of a 3-0 game, but what did he have to lose? This is the second time this season that Avery has clearly declined to fight Clarkson (the previous when he was a Dallas Star). In a close game maybe you give Avery props for drawing the Rangers a power play. Maybe you give him props if he gets one of the Devils' best players booted from the game. But, last night in front of a pumped up Rangers crowd at MSG, with the Rangers blowing out the Devils, Avery should've dropped the gloves.
Many on internet fight message boards today are buzzing that Avery is afraid of Clarkson. I don't agree with that sentiment AT ALL. In my opinion, Sean Avery is afraid of nobody in the NHL (as evidence by his taunting of George Laraque a few seasons ago with alleged racial slurs). Avery and Clarkson have fought before, in what most would agree was an edge to Clarkson, but nothing for Avery to be shaking in his skates about. [Video] A lot of Ranger fans, beat writers and hockey writers are applauding Avery for what he did and showing 'discipline'. As a proponent of fighting in the NHL, I think that Avery should've obliged Clarkson. If the tables were turned, the Devils were up 3-0 and Avery did that to Clarkson, you better believe that all of those standing behind Avery supporting that showing of 'discipline' would've been the first in line to bash Clarkson.
There are recaps all over the blogosphere today, thanks to a big Rangers win last night. [Dark Ranger], [Rangers Review] and [Manic Ranger]
The NY Post says that the Rangers embarrassed Brodeur and the Devils. [Links]
Link to the above image's original location
Monday, March 30, 2009
That was possibly the most complete game of the New York Rangers season. With only five games left, and all of the teams that they have left to play being teams battling for a playoff position or are already in the playoffs, these were a huge two points.
The anticipated sideshow between Martin Brodeur and Sean Avery was a no-show. Nothing of importance happened between the two (except for Brodeur slamming Avery in the groin twice in the 1st period with the NYR on the Power Play). However, Avery still got under the skin of the Devils on two seperate occasions, both times in the third period when the game was already determined. First Clarkson clearly wanted to fight Avery, Avery was adamant that he wasn't fighting, Clarkson rag-dolled him around the ice until the refs stepped in and sent both players to the box (Avery for a minor, Clarkson a double-minor and a 10 minute misconduct). Then in the dying seconds Rupps went after Avery but nothing much resulted other than Rupp getting a roughing penalty.
Unlike on Saturday against the Penguins, the Rangers spent very little time down a man. The Devils were 0-2 on the Power Play, while the Rangers went 0-5.
The Rangers came out with guns ablazing firing everything that they could at Brodeur. After one period the Rangers and Devils were still tied at zero but New York had outshot the Devils 20-10. Honestlty, it was one of those periods where as a Rangers fan you had to be thinking "oh no, another period where they completly outplayed the opponent but nothing to show for it!" But, thankfully in the second period the Rangers didn't stop doing what they had done so well in the first. The result was New York scoring all three of their goals in the second period.
Lundqvist didn't have to make too many spectacular saves, but he still faced a lot of rubber (38 saves) as he picked up his 3rd shutout of the season. Lundqvist is now 14-2-5 during the regular season when head-to-head with Martin Brodeur.
Hockey player, super pest, fashionista and now … bar owner?
New York Rangers forward and former Vogue intern Sean Avery is once again expanding the skills section of his resume, this time by venturing into sharing ownership duties at a new nightspot in Tribeca, a neighbourhood in lower Manhattan.
Reports indicate the most "hated man in hockey" and Rangers fan favourite will partner with club owner Matt Abramcyk and Chris Miller, a former art dealer, to open Warren 77, a bar and restaurant at 77 Warren St.
Abramcyk has described the new nightspot as a "sports bar meets country club" with a vintage sports theme.
Abramcyk also runs the Tribeca bar, Smith and Mills, which is where he met Avery.
Forget about the Sean Avery/Martin Brodeur sideshow (or main event, depending how you look at it), the Rangers are desperate for two points and want to stop this losing streak before it gets out of control. A win tonight at MSG against their rivals in New Jersey is certainly the most important thing about tonight's game. Sure the Sean Avery /Martin Brodeur (and David Clarkson) feud may be fun to watch, but forget about entertainment for one night - as long as the Rangers beat the Devils this can be the biggest snoozefest of the season for all I care.
Michal Rozsival won't be in the lineup tonight, but will likely be back on the blueline when the Rangers next play on Thursday against the Hurricanes. [Link]
The Rangers will not make Sean Avery available to the media until after tonight's game. Similarly, Brodeur has remainned silent about Avery. [Link]
Brendan Shanahan returns to MSG for the first time since leaving the Rangers last season. I expect Shanny to get a standing ovation tonight (or at least a welcoming reception) as it was the Rangers organization that turned its back on him, after he proclaimed that he only wanted to be a Blueshirt. [Link]
Blair Betts has been nominated as the Rangers nominee for the Bill Masterson Trophy. [Link]
Puck Daddy (keep in mind he's a NJD fan) takes a good look at the Avery/Brodeur sideshow, the game itself and a little information about the new Sean Avery movie, titled 'Puckface'. [Link]
Rangerland.net has some good videos to remind you exactly why there is so much bad blood between Brodeur & Avery.
What the other team is saying on their blogs. [Link]
While, NJ.com thinks that Avery & the Rangers might be exactly what the slumping Devils need to get back on track. [Link]
Sunday, March 29, 2009
RazorGator is offering $15 off on purchases of $100 or more with code take15off.
It's not only good for hockey tickets, but for any sporting event or concert tickets that are sold on the website.
According to Ranger Rants:
Defenseman Corey Potter has been recalled by the Rangers and Mike Sauer returned to the Wolf Pack. As posted yesterday, John Tortorella said such a move was coming.
Here's some information about Potter from the Official Hartford Wolf Pack website. [Link]
- The Rangers aren't happy with the bias that the referees seem to have against Sean Avery. I'm just surprised that it took them this long to say anything. [Link]
- A look at the only type of NCAA action that real hockey fans care about! [Link]
- A detailed look at today's NHL games, including players to watch in each game and the expected starting goaltenders. [Link]
- Excitement building in Columbus as the team gets prepared to make their first appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. [Link]
- Puck Daddy has some good analysis on the teams duking it out in the West for the final playoff spots. I still can't picture a Western Conference playoff bracket without the Ducks on it, so my guess is they get in some how, some way. [Link]
- Add New Jersey to the list of teams that have been happy with their trade deadline acquisition(s). Niclas Havelid traded for the day before the deadline has been reliable and consistent. [Link]
- How are the Red Wings going to sign both Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen this summer? Chances are they'll have to trade someone else from their roster to get the two signed. [Link]
- Lindy Ruff wasn't happy (that's nothing new!) with a hit on Patrick Kaleta against Montreal on Saturday. I didn't get a chance to see the hit yet, but if anyone in the NHL deserves a nasty hit or a few hard cross-checks to the head it's Kalete, who in my opinion is one of the dirtiest players in the entire NHL. Anyone remember this dirty/late hit [Video] on Mara last season that resuled in Mara having a broken orbital bone? [Link]
- Will Zdeno Chara win the Norris this year? [Link]
Saturday, March 28, 2009
- With two goals last night against Tampa, Ovechkin is up their with the likes of Gretzky, Lemieux and Bossy when it comes to offensive production during the first four NHL seasons of their careers. [Link]
- One of the worst calls of the season so far today in the Rangers/Penguins game. I'm not usually one for jumping on the refs and bashing them for bad calls but this 5 minute major penalty against Colton Orr today for interference was an absolute disgrace. Possibly worthy of a minor penalty for interference, but a major and game misconduct? You've got to be kidding me! [Video]
- Here's a first! Marty Reasoner who will be a UFA this offseason, wants to stay in Atlanta! [Link]
- Mikko Koivu back for the Wild sooner than expected. [Link]
- With a 4-3 win over the Rangers today, the Penguins moved into 5th place in the East. [Link]
- According to John Tortorella the Rangers will be making a callup from Hartford to help on their defense, Sauer to be sent back down. [Link]
- Is Lindy Ruff, head coach of the Sabres, really untouchable? [Link]
Friday, March 27, 2009
- Great story out of Columbus, where the Blue Jackets 'signed' a one-day contract with a 19 year old former hockey player who is terminally ill with cancer. Real classy thing for Scott Howson and the Blue Jacket organization to do. [Link]
- Ray Emery is back in Ottawa and terrorizing the streets again! This time, his Hummer was impounded and he's had his license suspended for a whole week. [Link]
- Anyone who is interested in college hockey should check out the TV schedule that was released. All games are being played exclusively on ESPN (mostly on a subsidiary called ESPNU -- that I have never even heard of). [Link]
- USA Today ranked their top 30 UFAs that will be available this summer. I think that some of the rankings are a little strange (like Tim Thomas being ranked #20). But, I think the writer was basing it more so on what players will actually leave their current teams and get a lot of hype on the open market. [Link] For a list of all of the top UFAs this summer check out the articles that I did a few weeks ago, listing the top UFAs by position. [Link]
- A Flames fan was arrested last night after their game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets because he had made several terroristic threats aimed at Columbus players, in particualr Steve Mason (who got a shutout....again!) [Link]
- Ryan Miller returns to the Sabres lineup tonight when they take on the Leafs. Unfortunately for Buffalo fans, it's probably a little too late. [Link]
- Andrew Gross discusses John Tortorella's 30 second interview (more like tirade). One things for sure, if you want to hear the truth about how they played, just listen to the head coach, he certainly wasn't sugar coating it when he said "“We sucked.” I have two different links because one version was for the newspaper and the other version for his blog (which is more detailed about what was said). [Link] and [Link]
- Larry Brooks talks about John Tortorella's "bush league" interview after last night's pathetic game in Atlanta. According to Brooks, Tortorella had threw out a bunch of obscenities and then stormed off without answering any questions. [Link]
- Interviews after the game with Wade Redden, Chris Drury and Steve Valiquette. [Video]
- Game recaps here, here and here. Plus, a look at it from an Atlanta perspective here.
- Stan Fischler looks forward to Saturday afternoon's game against the Penguins, who are currently just one point ahead of the Rangers and holding onto 6th place in the East. [Link]
- A look at the Rangers OHL prospects. [Link]
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The Rangers had a 4-2 lead going into the third period and midway through the final period the lead was gone. It wasn't Valiquette's fault that is for sure. When all is said and done, the Rangers were lucky to even have gotten out of the game with a point. Ilya Kovalchuk was kept quiet for the first 39 minutes of the game but he scored late in the second to close the gap to only two goals going into the third. Then, in the third period it seemed like Kovalchuk never left the ice and he made a great pass to Todd White to tie the game at four.
Valiquette was also solid in the shootout, not allowing a goal on the first five shots that he faced. Unfortunately not one of the Rangers could score on any of their six shots.
In a game when after 40 minutes it looked like two points were in the bag, the Rangers found a way to blow it. It could be worse, they could've lost in regulation. But, that's little consolation after playing pathetic in the third period to blow the lead --- to a non-playoff team!
Captain Invisible (Drury) can't be blamed for this loss. He had a great second period (1 goal, 2 assists) - when did the Rangers pick up Chris Drury? One thing is for sure, he wasn't invisible tonight, he even had a goal waived off in the first period when he batted the puck in from above the crossbar. He did however have a chance to win the game in the shootout and was stopped by Hedberg on the Rangers third shot.
Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were on the ice for all 4 Thrasher goals! One that the two of them will want to forget.
Congratulations to Nik Antropov who picked up his 300th NHL point when he notched his 26th goal of the season on the power play in the second period. Also, congratulations to Steve Valiquette who got his first NHL point tonight when he made a great outlet pass to Chris Drury, who skated in and blasted a shot past Johan Hedberg on the power play to make it 3-1.
- Think Bruce Boudreau is sick of hearing about Alex Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration last week against Tampa? He has some pretty blunt quotes for the media. [Link]
- It's Scott Harntell wig night in Philly tonight. If you're going to the game, make sure that your one of the first 5,000 fans into the arena (or under 14 years old). I'd love for this to backfire on Philly and see a Flyer get a hat trick (of course still getting beat by Florida), what a mess that would be - 5,000+ wigs on the ice! [Link]
- Cal Clutterbuck, you know the Minnesota Wild rookie who fought Sean Avery on Tuesday night, set an NHL record last night. "Clutterbuck set a league record for hits in a season, breaking the mark set by Dustin Brown of the Kings last year." This article also discusses why the the record is a very subjective stat. [Link]
- Capitals win the Southleast Division. Well, not yet, but that hasn't stopped some retailers in Washington D.C. to start selling the "2009-09 Division Champions" shirt. [Link]
- Marty Turco is unhappy. What could possibly be wrong? He's playing like crap - where's Sean Avery when you need someone to blame? [Link]
- Interesting promotion out of San Jose - eating burritos with the players. [Link]
- Who do you think is going to win the Selke (best defensive forward) this season? This Philly writer makes a case for Mike Richards. Well considering that he has a league leading 7 short handed goals, I think it's a safe bet that he'll be a nominee. [Link]
I still can't help but laugh at Sami Kapanen trying to get off the ice after that hit by Darcy Tucker. But, just picture what's going on inside his head when he's falling all over the ice!
Anything less than two points in Atlanta tonight will be a big disappointment. With eight games left on the schedule, this is by far the easiest opponent that the Rangers have left to play, after tonight the rest of their opponents are all teams from the Eastern Conference, currently heading for the playoffs.
On Tuesday night the Rangers had to deal with Marian Gaborik, who is an elite forward in the NHL. Tonight they face Ilya Kovalchuk, who is every bit as dangerous. Kovalchuk is closing in on another 40 goal season (38) and he also leads the team in points with 82. Kovalchuk is by far the Thrashers most dangerous weapon. But, if you remember the playoff series between the Rangers and Thrashers from two seasons ago, you'll remember little Avery/Kovalchuk battle where Kovalchuk completly lost his composure and went after Avery. Hopefully, knowing the Thrashers can't make the playoffs, Kovalchuk is once again more worried about Sean Avery than he is about scoring.
According to Ranger Rants, Markus Naslund who missed yesterday's practice (one can only assume that it was related to the big hit he was on the receiving end of by Gaborik the night before) will play tonight. Lines should be the same as the ones that were on the ice on Tuesday against the Wild.
Update (12:45): I anticipated Lundqvist being back in goal tonight, he's 5-2-5 against Atlanta in his career with a 2.06 GAA and a .920 save percentage. But, Steve Valiquette will get the start, giving Hank the night off. [Link] In his last outing Valiquette played very well in a 3-0 defeat to the Hurricanes, unfortunately he didn't get much help from the rest of the team in that game. Given the opponent, Tortorella probably felt (as do I) that looking ahead at the rest of the schedule, this is the best game to give Lundqvist the night off.
Some other links:
A look at Ryan Callahan, who has been one of the most consistent Rangers all season and has even stepped it up a few notches since John Tortorella took over as head coach. [Link]
A breakdown of the Rangers remaining schedule over at Blueshirt Banter. [Link]
Tuesday night the Thrashers were officially eliminated from playoff contention, this Thrashers' blog analyzes another post-season in Hotlanta with no action. [Link]
Plus, for any Ranger fans living in the Atlanta area, this blog has a trivia question posted on their site related to the playoff meeting in 2006-07 between the Rangers and Thrashers. Chances to win free tickets to tonight's game! [Link]
A look at the NHL Scoring Leaders - doesn't look like anyone is catching Malkin. [Link]
Many tickets are still available for the Rangers remaining home games (plenty below face value) at TickCo, RazorGator, StubHub and TicketsNow.
In fact, StubHub.com already has Rangers home playoff games listed on their site. I've bought tickets in the past off of Stubhub prior to the regular season ending knowing that it's almost impossible to get tickets through the Rangers unless you are a season ticket holder and also that ticket prices usually are cheaper now, before the actual playoff matchups are determined and the games are sold out. If the games aren't played you can always get your money back.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
- Jay Greenberg analyzes Nik Zherdev's goal - the one that "98 percent of NHL players miss 99 percent of the time." [Link]
- Dan Fritsche spoke after the game about enjoying his time in New York, joking with Lundqvist about letting him get a goal and feeling Aaron Voros' pain (being a healthy scratch night after night). [Link]
- Tortorella talks about the Rangers power play (29th best in the NHL). [Link]
- I think Stan Fischler likes Sean Avery. [Link]
- Puck Daddy recaps the two first period fights at the Garden last night, the first between Avery & Clutterbuck, the second between Orr & Nolan. I also have the videos and discussed the two fights myself in last night's recap of the Rangers vs. Wild game. [Link]
- Game recaps here, here and here
- A look at the Rangers' top prospects. [Link]
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Despite the fact that Derek Boogaard wasn't in the lineup for the Wild, Colton Orr was still able to find a dance partner (although at first it didn't look like Nolan was willing). After Orr took a run at Nolan at the Wild blue line, Nolan didn't look too happy and after Orr fired a punch before Nolan got his gloves off, the two squared off. Orr got the better of Nolan but it was typical Owen Nolan being the leader that he is. Compare Nolan dropping his gloves with Orr to Brendan Shanahan dropping his gloves with Donald Brashear a few seasons ago at the Garden. [Video]
Sean Avery also got in his first fight since returning to the Blueshirts. He and Cal Clutterbuck had a pretty entertaining fight of their own at center ice, a good showing by both players. [Video]
Nik Zherdev scored a first period goal and added an assist in the second period when he was part of the play that led to the Scott Gomez game winning goal. Nik Antropov was once again one of the best Rangers on the ice, using his 6'6 frame effectively on numerous occasions throughout the night to shield Wild players away from the puck and then either take a shot himself or set up another Ranger. Mike Sauer didn't look out of place on the Rangers blue line, it was a successful NHL debut for the 21 year old who was called up from Hartford to replace the injured Michal Rozsival.
Shout out to Captain Invisible (Drury) for once again living up to the nickname that I've given him!
The Rangers next game is in Atlanta on Thursday night, where they'll be expected to get another two points.
- Here's a pretty cool story about Scott Fartsmell...whoops I mean Scott Hartnell. As rival fans you always 'hate' the other teams players. This is a good story about one Penguin fan's experience with the big-haired forward of the Flyers. Stories like these make it hard to 'hate' the guy! [Link]
- This Edmonton journalist wants the Oilers to stay away from Marian Hossa - he thinks it would be a HUGE mistake for Kevin Lowe to sign Hossa to a long-term contract in excess of $8M per year. A HUGE contract mistake? You mean like Dustin Penner HUGE? [Link]
- Ryan Kesler's agent tells Mike Gillis, the Canucks GM, that his client will not be giving the Canucks a 'hometown discount' this summer. With reports that the Canucks' negotiations with the Sedins have hit a wall, could another young forward be leaving Vancouver? [Link]
- Veteran referee Don Koharski will be retiring at the end of the NHL regular season. Word on the street is that Jim Schoenfeld (NYR assistant coach) will be sending Don a box of donuts. [Link]
- Last night Mike Cammalleri of the Flames tied Marian Hossa for the most goals by a player on a new team this season. In the process, he made sure that he'll get a significant pay raise this summer when he's a UFA. [Link]
- For anyone interested in the KHL playoffs, here's an update. [Link]
Big game tonight at the Garden with playoff implications for both teams. The Rangers and Wild don't see each other often, but tonight will be a battle between two teams looking to secure playoff berths. The Wild are currently 10th in the West but only one point behind the 8th place Nashville Predators. The Rangers are currently 7th in the East, three points ahead of the 8th place Canadiens but just two points behind the 6th place Penguins (NYR have a game in hand).
Marian Gaborik returned to the Wild lineup over the weekend and he is easily the biggest scoring threat for Minnesota, despite being plagued by injuries all season long he is still one of the most dynamic forwards in the NHL. 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). However, they will be without their top scorer point scorer, Mikko Koivu, who is expected to miss the next week. Brent Burns, will also not be in the lineup tonight as he's still recovering from a concussion. The Wild's top goal scorer is hard nosed veteran, Owen Nolan (22 goals) who always plays with an edge and gets the scrappy goals.
The Rangers will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-1 loss on Sunday one home ice at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. After getting a little rest, because there was no practice on Monday, the Rangers hope to have a lot more energy tonight.
New York will be without defenseman Michal Rozsival tonight, being replaced in the lineup by Hartford call up Mike Sauer. The Rangers announced yesterday that Rozsival will miss at least a week with the "lower-body" injury, which is believed to be his left knee. [Link] Sauer will be paired with Paul Mara tonight according to Ranger Rants. The rest of the lines will remain the same as the ones that finished the game on Sunday, with Callahan skating on the top line with Gomez and Avery.
For fights fans who were looking forward to a possible match up between Colton Orr and Minnesota heavyweight Derek Boogaard, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune Boogaard isn't making the trip to New York because he has an "upper-body" injury. [Link] But, I did manage to find a few videos on the always reliable YouTube from back in their WHL days. Video 1 and Video 2
Tonight's game will be on Versus and starts at 7pm.
Many tickets are still available for the Rangers remaining home games, including the game tonight against the Wild (plenty below face value) at TickCo, RazorGator, StubHub and TicketsNow
Monday, March 23, 2009
A mild surprise, given that first-rounder Bobby Sanguinetti and Corey Potter have previously had brief stints with the Rangers, but 21-year-old Mike Sauer, a second-round pick in the 2005 draft, has been brought up from Hartford (AHL) with Michal Rozsival undergoing an MRI on presumably his left knee today. Evidently, assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld and Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander felt Sauer would best help the Rangers immediately.
Photo originally from [Link]
The Rangers got off to a good start night at MSG with Brandon Dubinsky snapping a 24 game goalless streak. The goal came after Senators' goal Alex Auld misplayed the puck behind the net and Ryan Callahan was able to center the puck for Dubinsky to basically score into an empty net (he was being checked at the time). That was the only mistake of the game that Auld made that would cost him or the Senators anything.
There were some good efforts for the Rangers but for the most part they looked like a team that was tired, after having played on Saturday night. They better get some rest as the Wild come to New York on Tuesday and I still think that the Rangers need four points from this three game homestand, having won on Saturday and lost Sunday, they need the two points against Minnesota.
A tired defensive core was forced to play even more minutes than usual because they played most of the game with only five defensemen. Michal Rozsival left the game early in the second period last night with what looked like some type of leg injury when he was hit along the boards in the neutral zone. According to Ranger Rants Rozsival will have an MRI done today to determine the seriousness of the injury and the Rangers may have to make a call up from Hartford for a replacement. [Link]
I thought that Nik Antropov was the best New York Rangers forward last night. As for Sean Avery, he had a few good shifts at the end of the game last night but I think it was by far his worst game since coming back to New York at the deadline. Several times in the game he skated with the puck (which he usually does effectively) but just ended up turning it over. Also, I've noticed him doing it before, but even more so last night, standing still in the defensive zone while Senators out hustle him for the puck. I'm a big Avery fan, but his coverage in his own zone is pretty poor in my opinion. As for Captain Invisible (Drury), it was another night where he was on the ice for a significant chunk of ice time, but only that you saw his name on the official roster, you wouldn't have known it.
With a win last night the Rangers had a chance to move into 5th place in the East, as of now, they still sit in 7th.
Many tickets are still available for the remaining home games, including the game on Tuesday against the Wild (plenty below face value) at TickCo, RazorGator, StubHub and TicketsNow
Sunday, March 22, 2009
- You know how the Montreal media has been all over these Vinny Lecavalier to Montreal trade rumors for the past few seasons, well it seems that now the Toronto media have their own little fantasy. Vinny has always been linked to Montreal because he'd be playing in his hometown. Similarly this week in the Toronto Star there's an article about the Sedin twins heading to Leaf Nation. It makes me laugh to be honest. The second there is any speculation that there are contract negotaiting problems the media thinks of any degrees of separation between other NHL clubs that could lead to a trade/signing. Well just because Brian Burke used to be the GM in Vancouver doesn't mean the Sedins are coming to Toronto! [Link]
- Ottawa reporter analyzes Redden's career so far and says that New Yorkers aren't interested in anything except results. Unfortunately with Redden there are no positive results but there is a $39M price tag! [Link]
- In case you missed it, NHL history was made last night in the Canucks/Coyotes game. Viktor Tikhonov became the first NHL player to get a goal and a penalty on the same play. [Link]
- Brad Richards returned from injury Saturday after missing the past 15 games with a broken wrist but it appears that he's drinking the same water as Marian Gaborik (Minnesota Wild) because he broke his other hand in the game! [Link]
- Larry Brooks says that the NHL Draft lottery system must change immediately because it benefits teams that tank the remainder of their season after they know they won't make the playoffs. The last place team has a 48.2% chance of getting John Tavares....whoops...I mean the #1 draft pick. [Link]
- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun says that Saku Koivu could end up in Minnesota, but in my opinion all of the hoopla is based on pure speculation and internet rumor mongers solely because Saku's younger brother Mikko plays in Minnesota. [Link]
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Then I caught a partial replay of it so I rewinded it via DVR to see a crazy goal being scored.
During a delayed penalty Luongo went to the bench for the extra skater. Viktor Tikhonov was about to get a penalty but he was forechecking and hacked at a pass to Shane O'Brien, it deflected all the way back into the empty net. The CBC commentator said he was the first NHL player to get a goal and a penalty on the same play. Crazy sequence of events! Check it out for yourself below...
The Rangers won their third straight game tonight, their seventh in the past nine games. Going into the third period up 4-1 it looked like it was going to be an easy two points for the Rangers, but give the Sabres credit, they battled hard in the third period right up until Ryan Callahan scored an empty net goal with 25 seconds left in the game to make it 5-3. The Rangers got goals from four different forwards (Naslund, Drury, Callahan & Zherdev) and Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves to pull four points away from the 9th place Florida Panthers (who lost tonight to Columbus).
New York is now one point behind the Hurricanes (who won tonight) but the Rangers have played two games less and are now just two points behind the 5th place Pittsburgh Penguins who have also played a game more than the Rangers.
Tonight's game was physical as expected, with the feistiness starting in the first minute when Gomez was bumped by Lydman that sent Gomez to the ice and Zherdev skated right over to Gomez's defense. That was followed up by Sean Avery going over to Lydman and challenging him, all within the first few shifts of the game. Markus Naslund scored his 22nd goal of the season midway through the first and the Rangers left the 1st period with a 1-0 lead.
Early in the second period Chris Drury had a beautiful deflection while standing in front of the net on the Power Play that put the Rangers up 2-0. But, just 27 seconds later the Sabres scored to pull back within a goal. Just a few minutes later, the #1 star of the game Ryan Callahan took a beautiful pass from Dubinsky that split two defensemen and moved in on a semi-breakaway that resulted in a nice deke and goal. The Rangers went on to make it 4-1 thanks to a goal that was credited to Nik Zherdev which was intended to be a pass to Avery in front of the net but deflected off a Buffalo defenseman.
Best Moments of the game for me (besides the goals):
- Rangers rookie Lauri Korpikoski made a great move in the first period and used his speed while killing a penalty to get away from the Buffalo defense and was dragged down. It led to a penalty shot being awarded. Korpikoski's shootout effort was stopped by Lalime.
- Sean Avery up to his usual antics after the play: on one occasion slashing Kaleta in the back of the legs and another time grabbing Thomas Vanek's face shield and pulling on it for a second. Also, after a hit on Afinogenov it appeared that Dominic Moore wasn't happy and you could easily read Avery's lips saying "Wanna fight? Let's go! Let's go!"
- Several big hits: Kaleta with a big hit on Avery in the middle of the Rangers zone that sent the two of them to the ice. Then, later on Nik Antropov laid out a huge open ice hit in the Buffalo zone that sent Kaleta's helmet flying and put Kaleta on his back.
- Sean Avery on several occasions using his speed effectively to blow right by Sabres defensemen and getting good scoring chances.
- The ongoing rivalry between Kaleta and Mara is definitely entertaining
The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders last night, which pushed the Rangers back to 7th place in the East. But, the Rangers still have played two games less than the Hurricanes. However, games in hand mean nothing unless you win them.
The Sabres two most dangerous offensive players are Thomas Vanek (34 goals) and Derek Roy (63 points). If in the lineup, Patrick Kaleta is a Sabre that likes to run around a lot and in my opinion (Paul Mara will agree) is a real cheap shot artist. Andrew Peters is the Sabres resident tough guy, but he's been in the lineup for less than half of Buffalo's games this season, so who even knows if he'll play. My guess is, when Ruff looks at the Rangers team sheet and sees Orr's name, Peters will be in the lineup.
Many tickets are still available (plenty below face value) at TickCo, RazorGator, StubHub and TicketsNow
The Rangers play their next three games at home; tonight against the 10th place Sabres, tomorrow against the 12th place Ottawa Senators and then on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild, who are fighting for their own playoff spot out West. With 6 points at stake, the Rangers should be trying to grab as many of the points as possible because all three teams should be beatable. In my opinion, anything less than 4 points would be very disappointing.
Many tickets are still available (plenty below face value) at TickCo, RazorGator, StubHub and TicketsNow
According to NewsDay at practice on Friday the lines and defensive pairings were the same as they were against Montreal on Tuesday. The Rangers hope that Nik Antropov can stretch his goal scoring streak and the rest of the offense continues to click. We're still anticipating Brandon Dubinsky snapping that ridiculously long goaless drought (22 games!)
While the signing of Sean Avery obviously didn't work out for the Dallas Stars [Link], since Avery re-joined the team this month the Rangers are 5-2 and with Avery in the Rangers lineup over the course of his career they are 56-25-16. The media have been talking about Avery non-stop since his return to the NHL, but so far, he's let his play do all the talking. In the seven games since re-joining the Rangers, Avery has been one of (if not the best) players on the ice in almost every game. This three game homestand should lead to many more "Avery! Avery!" chants from the Garden faithful.
Henrik Lundqvist will want to have a bounce back game (or 3) after his last outing in Montreal. Lundqvist wasn't terrible, in fact he made some spectacular saves but the third goal that he let in was pretty soft and you could tell after the game that Lundqvist wasn't happy that he let it get past him. Unlike in the past when the Rangers would've let a weak goal like that destroy their momentum, the Rangers still left the building with two points.
Don't forget that the game tonight against Buffalo is on PIX (11), the game against the Senators will be on MSG and the game on Tuesday against the Wild on Versus --- all games starting at 7pm.
Vote at the Rangers Official website for your choice for the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, voting is open until March 31st. [Link]
Click on the standings for a larger view
or view the current Conference Standings at NHL.com
Friday, March 20, 2009
- Rangers sign free agent Paul Crowder. Not major news, the kid has been playing college hockey up in Alaska and will likely spend the rest of the season in Hartford. [Link]
- Jaromir Jagr acknowledges the rumors that he'll be playing in Edmonton next season, but has made it clear that unless the Oilers and his current KHL team come to an agreement, he won't be leaving the KHL for the NHL. [Link]
- Busy week for Martin Brodeur: setting NHL records, getting hammered by the law and rejecting David Letterman! [Link]
- Jordin Tootoo gets a beat down by Brad Staubitz. [Video]
Thursday, March 19, 2009
50 goals in 70 games, not bad Mr. Ovechkin. It doesn't look like he is going to accomplish the 65 goals that he scored over the course of 82 games last season. The man they call "AO" or "Alexander the Great" looks likely to repeat his reign as the winner of the Richard Trophy for most goals in the regular season. Zach Parise of the Devils is the closest competition, he has 41 goals.
Video of Goal & Interview
According to Capitals Insider:
Alex Ovechkin netted No. 50 during a four-on-four in the first period tonight to become the first Capital to score 50 goals three times and only the second active player to have accomplished the feat (Teemu Selanne is the other).
After ripping a shot past Mike McKenna, Ovechkin dropped his stick then bent over it and attempted to pick it up. But each time he reached down he pretended that the stick was too hot to touch.The Lightning fans didn't appreciate the gesture and booed Ovechkin. Can't wait to see what Don Cherry will have to say about it on Coach's Corner on Saturday night.
In case you missed it, here's Cherry bashing Ovechkin for his outlandish goal celebrations. [Link]
You're right Mr.Cherry, this NHL fan finds Ovechkin's celebrations to be entertaining, just like Sean Avery is entertaining. If a guy scores a goal, he should show some damn emotion. I'm not saying to rub it in the opponent's face, but when you score a goal, you should show that you're excited! Ovechkin loves to score goals and as long as he's not doing it against my team, I love to watch him score them....and celebrate!!
Update: Ovechkin was just on the NHL Network and said he didn't think that Don Cherry would like it. So, Cherry was obviously on his mind when he celebrated his 50th goal tonight. Glad he didn't tone down the celebration just because Don said to!
- Nobody's above the law ---not even the NHL all-time wins leader, Martin Brodeur. Brodeur who broke Patrick Roy's NHL wins record earlier this week was brought back to reality today when a NJ Appeals Court ruled that he must pay his ex-wife alimony until 2020 ($500K per year). On top of that, Brodeur has to pay $132K each year in child support and in excess of $9M in other assets. Brodeur and his ex-wife were divorced after Broduer admitted to cheating on her with his sister-in-law. Hope it was worth it Marty! [Link]
- Marian Gaborik is expected to play for Minnesota on Sunday. It's unknown how long until he goes on his next vacation...whoops, I mean gets re-injured and goes on IR for another few months. [Link]
- Larry Brooks takes another look at the Cap issues that the Rangers face this offseason. We get it Larry, the Rangers are screwed for the next few seasons....[Link]
- Joe Sakic plans to play again this season. Why? The Avs are last in the West, have no shot at the playoffs and their season is all but over. My guess, Sakic is retiring this season and wants to at least play one more game before he calls it quits (or gets in a fight with another snow blower!) [Link]
- A little more over at Puck Daddy about the whole Sidney Crosby/Marc Savard wild west visor showdown that never went down. For once Crosby did something that hockey fans should at least acknowledge as the right thing to do (in terms of fighting, not whining to the refs). Could he have jumped Savard? Sure he could have, and it could've cost the Pens an important game with a playoff position at stake. Instead, he made Savard eat his words. Hopefully next time, Savard is eating his fists. [Link]
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
- Does this surprise you as much as it surprises me? Curtis Joseph says that he has no plans on retiring at the end of this season. I still think that he will be retiring, because although the goalie best known as "Cujo", who is 41 years old may not want to retire, I'm not sure that there will be a market for him. The only thing in his favor is that he could be a backup for a team that doesn't want to use a lot of cap space for a backup. Toronto has already made it fairly obvious that next season they have ideas as to who will backup Vesa Toskala - and his name isn't Curtis Joseph! [Link]
- Carolina Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour today hinted that he plans to return next season, which will be his 21st season in the NHL. It's no secret that Brind'Amour struggled for a decent amount of this season but he has been producing again offensively and he is still one of the best faceoff men in the NHL. Doesn't surprise me to be honest - Brind'Amour has always been one of the best conditioned players in the NHL and I've always thought of him as a guy that could have a "Chelios" length career. [Link]
- Daniel & Henrik Sedin could be heading out of Vancouver this summer. Mike Gillis, the Canucks GM confirmed today that the negotiations had come to a stand still and that they will stop talking until after the season. Each of the Sedin brothers is rumored to want a 5yr deal at $6.5M per season. The Canucks have supposedly offered at least a million per year less and want a shorter contract length. If I'm Mike Gillis I get the deal done - if they can afford to give Sundin an $8M contract, then giving the brothers a contract similar to the ones that they are requesting sounds reasonable. At the same time, if the Sedins want to remain a dynamic duo, maybe they too have to give a little. [Link]
- Congratulations to Rangers coach John Tortorella who won his 245th game last night in Montreal, moving him into first place ahead of Peter Laviolette, for most NHL wins by an American-born coach. [Link]
- PuckDaddy takes a few jabs at NHL Commish Gary Bettman, wondering why the NHL waited until the last few days to market the game around Martin Brodeur, one of (if not the best) goalies of all-time. [Link]
- Fire & Ice with great coverage of Brodeur's record-breaking night and also plenty of quotes. Plus, Patrik Elias broke a record of his own last night. [Link]
- Nik Antropov discusses the difference between the Leafs & the Rangers to the Toronto media. [Link]
- Evgeni Malkin with 5 points last night against the Thrashers, widens his lead over Sidney Crosby for the NHL points lead to 10 points. [Link]
- Brian McGrattan made his return to the NHL an interesting one, he was in a very entertaining fight [Link]
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Well you can look at this one several ways if you're a Rangers fan: happy that the Rangers got two points, happy that the Rangers got any points because they almost blew it late in the 3rd or aggravated because Montreal got a point in a game that the Rangers blew three leads.
As a team the Rangers had a very good game, and got scoring from three of their top lines. The penalty killing was also excellent once again, showing why it is ranked #1 in the NHL.
Captain Invisible (Drury) had a disastrous turnover at the Montreal blue line which led to the Habs tying the game at three. But, later redeemed himself by scoring the game winner in the shootout. Seriously though, where was Drury for the other 64 minutes of the game? The guy was invisible up until that turnover! Nik Antropov had another great game scoring his fourth goal since coming to NY at the trade deadline and also scoring in the shootout.
Henrik Lundqvist made some amazing saves throughout the night but certainly wants that third goal back, a real softie that he let in from a bad angle by Markov.
Side note: Congratulations to Marty Brodeur in becoming the winningest goalie in NHL History. As much as he's the Rangers' nemesis, he's a great goalie and it is an amazing achievement.
- St. Patrick's Day Tribute to Owen Nolan who was born in Belfast, Ireland but grew up in Canada. Nolan is one of just six players in NHL history to be born in Ireland. However, Nolan is by far the most prominent name amongst the six, as he's the only one who has played in the NHL since the early 1950s. [Link]
- The NHL welcomes back Brian McGrattan tonight. McGrattan left the Coyotes to voluntarily enter the NHL's substance-abuse program. [Link]
- NHL.com Brodeur watching. [Link]
- I'm not a big Sidney Crosby fan because I don't like that he's always complaining to the refs but I'll give him credit where credit is due if this story is in fact true. Rumor has it that Marc Savard told Crosby that he wouldn't fight him because he was wearing a visor and Crosby then had the Penguins' equipment manager remove the visor. The two didn't fight, so it appears that if this is true, Savard deserves to get some major bashing. [Link]
With a win tonight in Montreal the New York Rangers will move into a tie for 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers have a morning skate in Montreal at 11:30am.
Henrik Lundqvist will be in net for the Rangers tonight, hoping to get a win against the Habs, having lost the last three starts against Montreal (allowing 16 goals in those 3 games). Carey Price, who has had a subpar season, will be back between the pipes for Montreal after getting the last game off.
With a 4-1 win against the Flyers on Sunday, I don't expect the lines to change at all. Tortorella will probably continue his policy of talkint to the media at 5pm on game day and not after the morning skate.
According to Ranger Rants, here are the lines for tonight (no changes):
Sean Avery-Scott Gomez-Nikolai Zherdev
Markus Naslund-Chris Drury-Nik Antropov
Fredrik Sjostrom-Brandon Dubinsky-Ryan Callahan
Lauri Korpikoski-Blair Betts-Colton Orr
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
Paul Mara-Michal Rozsival
Wade Redden-Derek Morris
Other NYR reads:
A look at the stats w/ Avery & Antropov [Link]
Antropov fills sizeable need [Link]
Monday, March 16, 2009
NHL Live on NHL Network/XM Sirius just announced that NHL Network will follow Marty as long as it takes to get the record, which means that NHL Network will be airing Tuesday’s Devils-Blackhawks game, with a blackout in the New Jersey/New York metro and Chicagoland areas.
So far we've taken a look at all of the Top Forwards & Defensemen that will be available this summer as Unrestricted Free Agents.
Now we'll take a look at the top UFA Goaltenders that will be available come July 1st.
The amount of +'s or -'s next to each player indicates whether I think that the player's contract next season will be more or less than the current contract and by how much. If a player has one + or - next to his name then I think he's looking at a minor salary increase or decrease. Several +'s or -'s indicates that I think the player is looking at a significant increase/decrease. Also, I'm not taking into account that certain players will give a hometown discount, all salary expectations I'm indicating are if the player were to hit the open market. The list below is in the order of attention that I think that each player will be given, not necessarily in the order of best UFA available.
Tim Thomas - Boston - Salary 08/09 $1.1M, +++ [Re-Signed in Boston]
Nikolai Khabibulin - Chicago - Salary 08/09 $6.75M, -
Martin Biron- Flyers - Salary 08/09 $3.5M, about the same
Manny Fernandez - Boston - Salary 08/09 $4.75M, --
Scott Clemmensen - NJ - Salary 08/09 $500K, +++
Dwayne Roloson- Oilers - Salary 08/09 $3M, about the same or retiring
Craig Anderson - Florida - Salary 08/09 $575K, +++
Ty Conklin - Detroit - Salary 08/09 $750K, about the same
Martin Gerber - Toronto - Salary 08/09 $3.7M, --
Antero Niittymaki - Flyers - Salary 08/09 $1.38M, about the same
Andrew Raycroft - Colorado - Salary 08/09 $800K, about the same
Olaf Kolzig - Toronto - Salary 08/09 $1.5M, - or retiring
Steve Valiquette - NYR - Salary 08/09 $725K, about the same
Manny Legace - Blues - Salary 08/09 $2.5M, ---or retiring
Curtis Joseph - Toronto - Salary 08/09 $700K, same but would be VERY surprised if he doesn't retire
Full list of this summer's UFA Goalies
Sunday, March 15, 2009
- Supposedly the Islanders offered Bill Guerin to the Rangers for the exact same conditional 5th round pick that the Penguins traded for Guerin. But, Sather wanted something along with Guerin in return for the draft pick.[Link]
- Martin Brodeur now one win away from the all-time wins record. [Link]
- Nikolai Khabibulin finally back from that "day-to-day" injury that really was about a 6 week injury, will play today against the Islanders. [Link]
- The Jaromir Jagr to Edmonton rumors are picking up steam! [Link]
- Is Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire considering retirement? [Link]
- A look at the Rangers most expensive defenseman, Wade Redden. What are Tortorella's options? What will Sather do with that monstrous contract this summer? [Link]
- The annual NHL Awards ceremony in June will be in Las Vegas. Is the NHL using this as a way to test the waters for a new franchise in "Sin City"?[Link]
- Ron Duguay making a professional comeback! Jon Bon Jovi, whoops....I mean Duguay signed a one game contract with the EPHL's Brooklyn Aces. [Link]
Well as I anticipated yesterday, Orr and Cote decided to drop the gloves yesterday afternoon in Philly. Orr has had Cote's number over the past two seasons and for the first 20 seconds or so of this fight it looked like Cote was changing that, but Orr was able to regain his composure and land some absolute bombs. Riley Cote must have a head of steel because as evidenced by some famous previous TKOs and KOs, Orr has one of the hardest punches in the NHL. In my opinion Cote definitely went for the takedown at the end, but props to him for getting back up after he was dropped to his knee. What can I say about Orr? He's my favorite player in the NHL for a reason - he's entertaining, he does his job and he's damn good at doing both!
Rangers play the Flyers again today at 12:30pm on NBC - let's hope these two decide to go again! And, unlike last time these two teams played on NBC, let's hope the NHL doesn't stop Cote & Orr from doing what they do best! [Link]
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Rangers at Flyers - game on MSG @ 1pm
The lines are expected to be the same as the ones that finished the game in Nashville on Thursday night. In that game Ryan Callahan, Scott Gomez and Sean Avery were really clicking and the Rangers hope that this chemistry continues.
It should be a physical game and it's more than likely that at some time in the game Colton Orr will drop the gloves with someone on the Flyers - probably Riley Cote or the newly acquired Daniel Carcillo.
Surprisingly the Rangers have faired pretty well in Philadelphia over the past few seasons, going 12-1-1 in their last 14 games there.
Mike Richards leads the Flyers with 69 points and Jeff Carter leads them in goals with 38.
Lundqvist will be in between the pipes for the Rangers and Martin Biron getting the start for the Flyers. Niittymaki is expected to get the start for the Flyers tomorrow in the second game of the back to back.
Expected lines (from Ranger Rants):
Sean Avery-Scott Gomez-Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky-Chris Drury-Nik Antropov
Markus Naslund-Lauri Korpikoski-Nikolai Zherdev
Fredrik Sjostrom-Blair Betts-Colton Orr
Friday, March 13, 2009
Nikolai Zherdev was benched for the entire second and third periods last night. No comment from Tortorella or Zherdev after the game last night or today at the Rangers morning practice. But, it's fairly obvious that Zherdev was in Tortorella's dog house after a bad turnover in the offensive zone that resulted in a Nashville goal seconds later. In my opinion it wasn't the turnover that led to Zherdev being benched the rest of the game, it was the fact that he didn't even try to get back into the play. Tortorella has been heaping praise on Brandon Dubinsky since he took over for Tom Renney and I think one of the main reasons is because he likes Dubinsky's work ethic. Dubinsky may never have the skills that Zherdev has, but when he turns the puck over, you always see him skating his hardest to get back into the play.
Naslund is another player that had his ice time diminished heavily last night. It was somewhat expected since he started the game on the third line, with Sean Avery moving up to play alongside Gomez on the top line. Naslund had just 1min 8 secs of ice time in the final 10 minutes of last nights game.
Breakdown of Naslund's ice time last night:
1st period: 2:23
2nd period: 4:47
3rd period: 2:33
Naslund definitely had a significant decrease in icetime and I think it's about time. Now if only he'd started holding Wade Redden accountable.
- A look at the fight rule proposals that were made at the recent GM meetings in Flordida and their possible impact on fighting in the NHL. [Link]
- As mentioned here yesterday before the Rangers game last night, with the Rangers 4-2 win in Nashville, Lundqvist set an NHL record, being the first goalie in NHL history to record at least 30 wins in each of his first four NHL seasons. [Link]
- Martin Brodeur on the brink of setting some NHL history of his own. Tomorrow night in Montreal, Brodeur will have a chance at tying Patrick Roy for the most NHL career wins. Pretty strange that the chance will come in Montreal, Brodeur's hometown and the city where Patrick Roy got the majority of his wins.[Link]
- A video of Tomas Vokoun's save last night on Thomas Vanek, not the best save of the year, but it's certainly up there. [Link]
- Almost every NHL analyst has predicted that Marian Gaborik will be leaving Minnesota this summer as a UFA. Yesterday, the Minnesota GM (Doug Risebrough) said that the Wild were attempting to re-sign Gaborik to a short-term deal. [Link]
- We heard what George Laraque had to say about the possible anti-fighting ideas being discussed by the NHL. Now, read what Riley Cote has to say, including his theory as to how players will get around the 10 minute misconduct for "staged-fights". [Link]
- This day in hockey history. [Link]
- 'If It Were April 13th Today' Projected Matchups. [Link]