As reported by several sources, the Semenov deal has fallen through because Semenov's family wanted him to return to Russia.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As reported by several sources, the Semenov deal has fallen through because Semenov's family wanted him to return to Russia.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Want a reason to stay up late on Wednesday night? Or, better yet a reason to come back here on Thursday to find a video? Well, ten of the 2009-10 New York Rangers will be on with David Letterman on Wednesday night to read the "Top 10" List.
According to Blue Notes the Rangers appearing on the show are:
Henrik Lundqvist, Sean Avery, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Donald Brashear, Dan Girardi, Brandon Dubinsky and Christopher Higgins.
Check back on Thursday when hopefully someone will have kindly uploaded a video of the segment to Youtube - or just go to Youtube yourself - whichever you prefer!
CBS has a preview, a sneak peak at what Dubinsky, Staal and Drury say.
The topic is the "Top Ten Things Never Before Spoken By A Hockey Player."
This is part of my latest weekly column for Inside Hockey covering the Atlantic Division
Wanna know why the Atlantic Division is the most exciting Division in the entire NHL?
1. Rivalries - On any given night in the Atlantic the biggest rivalries in the NHL could be taking place; whether it be the "Battle of Pennsylvania" (Flyers vs Penguins), the Rangers/Flyers, or any of the tri-state teams battling it out (Devils, Rangers, Islanders). Of course there are other intense rivalries in the NHL such as Toronto and Montreal or Edmonton and Calgary. But, the Atlantic Division is home to the most rivalries by far in the same division.
2. Playoff Caliber Hockey - Last season the Atlantic was one of only two divisions (the other being the Central Division) that had more than two teams make the playoffs. Chances are that once again this season the Penguins, Flyers, Devils and Rangers will all be in the post-season.
3. Goalies - Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist play in the Atlantic - two of the few goalies in the NHL who can by themselves win a game for their team on any given night. On top of this you have the interesting story in Long Island where there could possibly be three goalies battling it out for the number one position, although it's likely only between Roloson and Biron since DiPietro is still injured. Fleury continues to prove that he is developing into a top NHL goalie and in Philly, Ray Emery will be out to prove that he is ready to turn his career around after spending a year in the KHL.
4. The Fights! - As discussed last week some of the most entertaining fighters in the NHL play in the Atlantic. The Rangers have Brashear who is the best in the division, but this season many will be out to challenge him for that honor. In Philly the Flyers have Riley Cote, in Pittsburgh they have Godard and Rupp, in New Jersey they've brought in Andrew Peters and in Long Island it looks like 22-year old Joel "The Wrecker" Rechlicz could be given the job of protecting the Islanders top prospects. Look forward to lots of fights this season in the Atlantic - few will argue with that!
5. Rookies - Who is going to be the top rookie this season? The front-runner amongst hockey experts is probably John Tavares of the Islanders who was the much touted #1 pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft. But, Tavares will have a lot of competition for the Calder Trophy, and to find that competition he won't have to look much further than his own division. The Rangers have two potential rookie stars in Matt Gilroy and Artem Anisimov and the Flyers look like they are going to start the season with James van Riemsdyk in their lineup.
6. The Cup Champs - The Penguins start the season as the defending Stanley Cup Champions, so everyone is out to beat them. The fact that the Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Flyers get to play them six times makes it even more fun to watch the Atlantic this season.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Word coming in that the Rangers are reducing their roster to 22 by sending 19-year-old wing Evgeny Grachev, who had a goal in this afternoon's 4-3 loss to the Capitals and, one day, no doubt will be a top six forward in the NHL, to Hartford (AHL).This leaves the Rangers with 22 players - 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies. What is left now is what will likely be the roster to start the season. That could change after the first nine games when Michael Del Zotto would either have to be returned to his Junior team or stay in New York for the rest of the season.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Donald Brashear got heckled all night long by the Garden faithful and he took a couple of penalties and then fell in the first few seconds of his first fight again Sugden.
In round 2, Brashear fared much better and the crowd reacted towards the middle of the fight as the boos turned to cheers. Brashear will have to continue to put on displays like this one if he wants to win the MSG crowd over. It's going to be a love/hate relationship for a while.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Ranger Rants analyzed the situation:
Sanguinetti's demotion leaves the Rangers will open the season with a defense corps of Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto and Alexei Semenov. Del Zotto can't go to Hartford - he's either a Ranger or sent back to his junior club. My guess is the Rangers take the nine games allotted to further evaluate Del Zotto at the NHL level.I've been saying for a while that Semenov was going to get a contract offer, pretty much since seeing him play in the first two preseason games. This move pretty much guarantees that. He's played well enough through preseason to consider him for the 6/7 defenseman role for the team. I see Sather offering him a one year contract for something less than $800k.
My take on Semenov:
He's not brilliant, he's not flashy, he's not going to get more than 3 goals all year, he's not going to lead any offensive rushes -- but that's not his job. He's a role player, and a big body that the NYRs need on the blue line. Not everyone can be a flashy offensive dman. He'll clear the crease, take up a lot of room on the ice, play when needed and not make many stupid plays.To me the only question remaining about the defense is will Michael Del Zotto stay with the Rangers all season long, or will he play 9 games as an evaluation and then get get sent back down to the OHL.
He also has shown so far that he has a pretty hard shot that he can get on goal and if nothing else that cound leave rebounds (as evidence by the Higgins goal in the 1st game and another goal I believe in the 2nd game).
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
[Sean Avery] who's out with a sprained right knee, was off crutches and walking comfortably through the Rangers' dressing room today. He had an MRI yesterday and it "came up clean." Tomorrow, he'll go for that procedure where they inject his own blood into the tissue around the knee in an effort to speed the recovery. Avery said there's no timetable for him to begin skating again but, when I asked him if he thought he'd be able to play in the season opener, Oct. 2 at Pittsburgh, he said, quickly, "Definitely."It certainly didn't sound good for a day or two for Avery and there were rumors that he might miss some time. If he is ready for opening night against the Penguins, but misses the final two preseason games will Tortorella throw him right in the lineup? It probably depends on how soon he gets back on the ice.
With P.A. Parenteau getting sent down to Hartford yesterday the Rangers still have 14 forwards on their roster: Anisimov, Avery, Boyle, Brashear, Callahan, Drury, Dubinsky, Gaborik, Grachev, Higgins, Kotalik, Lisin, Prospal and Aaron Voros.
Expect one more forward to be cut before opening night. As of now, the likely scenario is Grachev getting sent down to Hartford.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Love it or hate it, fighting is still an important part of the NHL, especially in the Atlantic Division.
Here's a look at each team and who on their roster is most likely to drop the gloves on a regular basis during the 2009-10 season.
New York Rangers
This summer the Rangers made it obvious that they do not intend to be pushed around by adding one of (if not the most) feared heavyweights in the NHL, Donald Brashear. During the past few seasons Colton Orr (who signed in Toronto this summer) has been the Rangers' enforcer. This year Orr will be replaced by 37-year old Donald Brashear who few will argue is one of the top fighters to ever step onto an NHL rink. Out of all of the enforcers in the Atlantic Division, Brashear is clearly the top dog.
Aaron Voros who spent the majority of last season in the press box once John Tortorella took over the team is trying to land a spot on the Rangers fourth line. So far he has had a solid camp and has looked good playing on a line with Brashear and Boyle. Voros' best asset is throwing his body around on the forecheck. He is always willing (which makes it hard not to like him), but he has made a habit of getting pummeled (think back to the Cam Janssen fight from last season). Needs to pick his spots better.
Not a heavyweight, but Sean Avery is a true agitator and sometimes that results in Avery backing up what he says. He has improved his all around game, so he fights less than he once did, but it's certainly still a part of Avery's game. He has developed a mini-rivalry with most of the league's other middleweights - but look for his battles to continue most notably with Philadelphia's Mike Richards and David Clarkson of the Devils.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils invited Andrew Peters to training camp on a try out basis. The invitation is most likely a result of seeing that the teams that they play six times a year were not getting any less physical. The Devils lost Mike Rupp this summer to Pittsburgh via free agency.
There are no guarantees that Peters will be offered a contract, but it's likely that Lou Lamoriello will sign the former Buffalo Sabres enforcer to a one year deal. Peters was drafted in 1998 and is certainly the size of a heavyweight (6'4, 250lbs). But, he's gotten lots of criticism in recent years for being too defensive and basically trying to just hug opponents when he fights.
Pierre-Luc Leblond will also be vying for a spot on the Devils fourth line. Leblond is known for dropping the gloves and has a history of fighting players such as Brashear and Riley Cote. If he impresses Lamoriello enough then it's possible that instead of Peters that he'll be Rupp's replacement. Although he is a decent fighter, it's questionable how successful he would be taking on Brashear, Godard and the rest of the heavyweights on a regular basis.
Another Devil known for dropping his gloves on a regular basis in the past is David Clarkson. However, in a recent interview Clarkson said that he was going to pick his spots more so than he has in the past. One can only assume that with the loss of goal scoring from last season (Gionta, Madden and an injured Elias) that the Devils will be asking Clarkson to increase his offensive output from last season (17 goals). In order to do that, he'll need to spend more time on the ice and less time in the penalty box. But, it's safe to say that anytime Sean Avery is in town that Clarkson will continue to pick that spot.
Perhaps a better question than who for the Flyers will be fighting on a regular basis is who won't fight on a regular basis? A look at the Flyers lineup is a reminder that this is the team known as the "Broad Street Bullies."
Riley Cote is the Flyers heavyweight and likes to fight, as evidenced by his 59 fights over the past two NHL seasons. Pound for pound he is probably one of the strongest and toughest players in the league, but he often ends up on the losing side in fights against the upper-echelon fighters (Orr, Brashear, Godard & Belak) of the NHL.
Aaron Asham, Dan Carcillo and Ian Laperriere are middleweights who are all known to fight frequently. Carcillo was acquired via a trade from Phoenix last season and Laperriere was signed as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Chances are if you are playing the Flyers and want to fight, you'll find a willing dance partner on pretty much any given shift.
Surprisingly this summer the Penguins went out and signed unrestricted free agent Mike Rupp. Last season, Eric Godard was their resident tough guy and he is still on the team. The only assumption that can be made is that the Penguins wanted someone who could not only fight but can also play a regular shift. There's no doubt that Mike Rupp is a better all around player than Eric Godard. In fact, there were rumors circulating this summer that the Penguins were shopping Eric Godard. But, that could possibly just be fans assuming that there wasn't room on the roster for both Godard and Rupp.
It is possible that Rupp will play regularly on the fourth line and Godard will only play in games against the more physical teams of the league - such as the Flyers, Leafs and Ducks.
New York Islanders
Going into the season the Islanders are still looking to see who is going to protect their young up and coming stars such as John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Last season that job fell into the hands of Tim Jackman who certainly has size but not the hands of a top fighter. This summer there are other players such as Joel "The Wrecker" Rechlicz, Michael Haley and Jeremy Reich playing for a roster spot.
Honestly, with the Islanders having anointed "John Tavares" the next great thing in Long Island, it's quite surprising and disappointing that they haven't invested some money in a top heavyweight to protect their assets.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
This will likely end in both players being assigned to Hartford as it's doubtful that anyone will put in a waiver claim for either player.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
According to Ranger Rants:
Dubinsky's contract will pay him $1.7 million this season and $2.0 million next season. The Rangers, in the end, moved up to what Dubinsky was seeking. In the end, a big gamble on Dubinsky's part, holding out and risking being traded, works out for him.
"I just kind of said it was something I wanted to get done, I was tired of waiting, I didn't want to push this thing further," Dubinsky said. "I didn't want the team to be at their wit's end and I didn't want to be at wit's end myself. Wednesday was when I said it's time to get it done, let's push for this thing to be done. Thankfully, we were able to accomplish that goal."Today marked the eighth day of Dubinsky's holdout. He is expected to skate later tonight at the Rangers' practice facility.
- Rangers are now 0-2-1 in the preseason - no big deal, especially considering that half the lineup won't be the same on opening night and Henrik Lundqvist has yet to play a full game.
- The plan is for Marian Gaborik to make his Rangers debut tonight against the Boston Bruins
- Artem Anisimov who didn't play very well in the first preseason game had a very good game against Detroit. He had a beautiful goal in the first period, ripping a wrist shot past Osgood. [Video] Then, caused the turnover in the second period that directly lead to Enver Lisin's goal.
- The Brashear/Boyle/Voros line was a very good line last night, keeping the puck in the Red Wings' zone for long periods of time. That could be a good fourth line for the Rangers if they continue to play that well. Each player has size and plays with grit.
- The rumors are that the Rangers plan on signing at least one more veteran defenseman before the start of the regular season. Don't be surprised if Alexei Semenov who is a tryout at camp gets signed to a one year deal. Although he's not flashy, he's been solid so far in the two games that he has played.
- Enver Lisin is another player having a good camp and the one thing that I really like about him (besides his speed) is that he likes to shoot the puck. It seems like anytime he has a chance he puts the puck on net - never a bad thing.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Will be interested to see how Heikkinen and Sanguinetti play in their first preseason games. Much of what has been posted so far on the Rangers beat writer blogs is about how much Sanguinetti has struggled, not knowing whether it was from being out of shape or hiding an injury.
Lines and D pairings for tonight's game, from today's half-hour skate:
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The official release from the Rangers website:
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has assigned the following 15 players to Hartford (AHL): goaltender Miika Wiikman; defensemen Trevor Glass, Brent Henley, Sam Klassen, Mike Sauer, David Urquhart, and Nigel Williams; and forwards Andres Ambuhl, Daniel Bartek, Devin DiDiomete, Brodie Dupont, Dan LaCouture, Matt Maccarone, Justin Soryal, and Dale Weise.
In addition, the Rangers returned five players to their respective junior club: goaltender Scott Stajcer (Owen Sound, OHL); defenseman Tomas Kundratek (Medicine Hat, WHL); and forwards Ryan Bourque (Quebec, QMJHL), Roman Horak (Chilliwack, WHL) and Ethan Werek (Kingston, OHL).
Forwards Tyler Arnason, Dane Byers, Corey Locke, Jordan Owens, and Patrick Rissmiller will continue training camp with Hartford. Including these five players, the Rangers now have 34 players remaining in training camp, including four goaltenders, 10 defensemen and 20 forwards.
This kid looks like he's legit. Anytime a player is a standout in the Junior leagues or at the college level, there's the question "can he do that in the NHL?" Matt Gilroy, the 25-year old, Hobey Baker Award winner from Long Island is turning heads in his first ever NHL training camp.
When the Rangers signed him last April while they were still in the playoffs they had competition to get the Boston University graduate under contract. During the Rangers first two preseason games it has been said several times that one of the main reasons that Gilroy chose the Rangers was because of the system that John Tortorella uses. (Maybe he just misses bagels & NY pizza) As evidenced by the way he has played in his first two preseason games, Gilroy is an exceptional skater who likes to jump into the play frequently. Against the Devils, he scored a goal in the third period that looked like something you'd expect out of superstar forward Marian Gaborik.
He was interviewed after the Devils game and when asked what the chances were of him making the team he just said that he was thinking about practice and the rest of the training camp.
The Hockey News has a fantsay hockey pool guide every year and they seem pretty confident that Gilroy will be making the Rangers roster. In fact, they've predicted that he'll finish the season with 47 points. Last week the message boards were laughing at that prediction. But, after watching Gilroy and the way he plays (think Mike Green, 4th forward role), that prediction may not be as wild as it sounds.
According to the Daily News:
The last time Matt Gilroy was trying to make a hockey team, he had to do everything short of borrow and steal. A very late-blooming 20-year-old freshman at Boston University, Gilroy essentially had to beg the Terriers' legendary coach, Jack Parker, for a chance to earn a walk-on spot.
- Glad to see that the referees are in mid-season form when it comes to how Sean Avery is treated. That first period goalie interference call that resulted in a goal being wiped out was a complete joke. Thankfully it's only preseason so it doesn't mean squat. But, once again the zebras prove that there's one set of rules for Sean Avery and another set of rules for the other players on the ice.
- David Clarkson said during an intermission interview with Stan Fischler that he's going to pick his spots more this season of when to drop the gloves. Something tells me that someone has been whispering in his ear because the Devils may be depending on him to step up his production of 17 goals from last season.
I think he'll hit the 20-goal mark this season, possibly get 25. I had predicted this prior to his goals tonight - so I'm not just jumping all over a good performance in a preseason game.
- This year's signing of Tyler Arnason = last year's signing of Patrick Rissmiller
- Matt Gilroy's third period goal would've made Marian Gaborik proud!
- Speaking of Marian Gaborik - is the guy going to play this year or just sit around collecting a pay check as a "precautionary measure"?
- According to Ranger Rants, the current 54 man training camp roster will be reduced to around 30 later today, with the cuts announced to the media around 4pm.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sean Avery-Vinny Prospal-P.A. Parenteau
Aaron Voros-Tyler Arnason-Enver Lisin
Evgeny Grachev-Brian Boyle-Ales Kotalik
Patrick Rissmiller-Matt Maccarone-Dan LaCouture
Wade Redden-Matt Gilroy
Michael Del Zotto-Michal Rozsival
Brent Henley-Corey Potter
G: Henrik Lundqvist/Chad Johnson
The Devils lineup according to Fire & Ice:
Forwards: Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Brendan Shanahan; Brian Rolston-Dainius Zubrus-Niclas Bergfors; Vladimir Zharkov-Patrice Cormier-David Clarkson; PLL Lebond-Rod Pelley-Illkka Pikkairainen.
Defensemen: Bryce Salvador-Cory Murphy; Mike Mottau-Johnny Oduya; Mark Fraser-Alexander Urbom.
1) Some of the Rangers prospects really impressed me. Yeah, so it was only a preseason game but Matt Gilroy, Evgeny Grachev and Michael Del Zotto all looked like their future's look as promising as Rangers fans have been reading about recently.
There are big question marks about who the Rangers final two or three defensemen on the roster are going to be with Staal, Redden, Girardi and Rozsival all guaranteed to be in the opening night lineup. Honestly, I assumed that Matt Gilroy was going to pretty much have a spot because of all of the good things that I've read about him. Last night he was even better than I expected and looks like a lock to be in the lineup on opening night if he continues to play like he did against the Bruins.
Michael Del Zotto surprised me with how well he played. I was under the impression that Del Zotto was still a major work in progress and would more than likely be heading back to the OHL for another season. Well, Del Zotto stood out against the Bruins (probably the best NYR on the ice). He was jumping into the play, standing up in the neutral zone, using his body and even manning the point on the power play. If this kid continues to play like that there's no way he's going back to Juniors this season.
Evgeny Grachev was also very impressive, playing on a line with Enver Lisin and Artem Anisimov. Despite being only 19 years old, Grachev is one big kid who was able to use his size effectively to hold off defenders and then make plays with the puck along the boards. There aren't many forward positions on this team up for grabs, but if Grachev continues to play like the way he did in his first preseason game the Rangers might have to make room.
2) It's only one game so I'm not going to jump to conclusions but Artem Anisimov needs to be much better if he plans on playing center for the Rangers this season instead of Hartford. Most Rangers fans consider Anisimov a lock to make the team this season, but last night against the Bruins, both Grachev and Lisin were more impressive.
3) Brian Boyle who is going to have a crack at centering the fourth line started off shaky in the first period taking two minor penalties. But, later in the game he got a couple of scoring chances and was using his size (he's huge!) on the end boards. I thought that Matt Maccarone (sporting a George Parros mustache) had a pretty solid game. I mean, considering I never even heard of him before Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants mentioned that he was skating well during a scrimmage on Monday. In fact, Maccarone isn't even listed on the roster on the Rangers website. But, more than likely he'll be heading to Hartford or less likely in my opinion Charlotte of the ECHL.
4) As of now - in my opinion, Dane Byers and P.A. Parenteau will be back in Hartford.
Monday, September 14, 2009
According to Ranger Rants:
I'm interested in seeing Evgeny Grachev and Enver Lisin in the Rangers jersey, even if it is just a preseason game.
Here are the Rangers who will dress for tomorrow night's preseason opener against the Bruins at Madison Square Garden (faceoff at 7 p.m.):
F: Ales Kotalik, Christopher Higgins, Brian Boyle, Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan, Dane Byers, P.A. Parenteau, Artem Anisimov, Evgeny Grachev, Enver Lisin, Matt Maccarone, Donald Brashear.
D: Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Alexei Semenov, Mike Sauer, Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy
G: Matt Zaba, Steve Valiquette
Ranger Rants also has the expected lines and defensive pairing for tonight's game posted
Going into each new season there are expectations by the teams and by the fans that certain players will have a breakout season. Last year, Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers had a major breakout season, finishing with 46 goals and 84 points. Prior to that in his previous three NHL seasons, his best season was 2007-08 when he scored 29 goals and finished with 53 points.
A look at each team in the Atlantic Division and what players are most likely to make the 2009-10 season a memorable one for their personal careers:
New Jersey Devils
With John Madden leaving via Free Agency and Bobby Holik retiring, Rod Pelley could get a lot more ice time for New Jersey. Pelley spent the entire 2008-09 season in the AHL but was mentioned by Lou Lamoriello as Madden's replacement shortly after the former Selke Trophy winner left for Chicago.
Usually when thinking of "breakout" seasons immediately goals and points come to mind. But, in typical Devils fashion Pelley's season will more than likely be judged on how well he shuts down the other team's top lines.
Honorable Mention: David Clarkson
(Update: I think that with the Devils signing Rob Nidermayer that effectively kills the chances of Pelley being this year's NJ breakout player. Look for Clarkson to be the guy that hits 25 goals)
New York Islanders
Last year in his rookie season Kyle Okposo had 18 goals and 39 points in 65 games. This season, if all goes according to plan on the Island, Okposo will be riding shotgun for John Tavares. That can mean only one thing - more offensive output from the second year player from St. Paul, Minnesota. If Okposo does spend the season playing alongside Tavares, a duo that could be together for years to come, then expect Okposo to hit the 25-goal plateau.
Honorable Mention: Blake Comeau
New York Rangers
Brandon Dubinsky (assuming he gets a contract signed, he is still a RFA) has already had the privilege of playing with Jaromir Jagr, one of the best hockey players to ever put on a pair of skates. This season Dubinsky is once again likely to be playing center for one of the true superstars in the NHL, Marian Gaborik.
If Dubisnky does in fact get the number one center position (as many are predicting) he'll likely be feeding the puck to Gaborik on a regular basis on both the power play and at even strength. In 2007-08 he had 14 goals and last season he finished with 41 points. In 2009-10 he'll surpass both of those marks.
Honorable Mention: Chris Higgins
Despite playing in only 45 games last season for the Penguins, Alex Goligoski finished the season with 6 goals and 20 points. This year with Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill departing Pittsburgh, Goligoski is likely to play in many more games and get more ice time.
On top of that, after this season Sergei Gonchar is an unrestricted free agent. The Penguins are already rumored to be trying to sign Gonchar to an extended contract. But, it's possible that this season the Penguins will see if Goligoski could eventually be Gonchar's replacement, as Goligoski is known to be an offensive defenseman. Considering that the Penguins signed him this summer to a three year contract extension for $5.5M, they obviously think pretty highly of him.
Ask pretty much any Flyers fan who they expect to have a breakout season this year and chances are than nine out of ten will say "Claude Giroux." Giroux was the Flyers first round pick in 2006 and in 42 games last season finished with 27 points. He was also arguably the Flyers best player in the playoffs.
The one thing working against Giroux is that the Flyers are very deep at the forward position. With both Carter and Richards ahead of him at center, it looks John Stevens will have Giroux penciled in to start the season as the team's third line center. Giroux is known more as a play-maker than a goal scorer, so who Stevens puts on his wings could certainly effect how many points Giroux finishes the season with. Don't be surprised if Giroux gets bumped up to one of the top two lines and moved to the wing.
Check out the rest of the predictions & analysis over at Inside Hockey
Sunday, September 13, 2009
According to Ranger Rants:
Check out Semenov's statistics from HockeyDB
Veteran defenseman Alexei Semenov, who spent parts of the last two seasons with the Sharks and has also played for the Panthers, has joined camp on a tryout invitation and is on the ice today for the 45-lap endurance skate.Haven't seen him skate yet but I can report he's tall, about 6-5. The Rangers were looking for a veteran who could compete for that sixth or seventh blue-line spot, a la Jason Strudwick.
Semenov was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round (#36 overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He's 28 years old and 235lbs.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
heatley for michalek, cheechoo and a second rder done dealI know, I know - he was rumored to be traded Thursday night too by ESPN in a three team blockbuster.
Well, that deal never happened - obviously.
McKenzie is one of the best in the business when it comes to confirming trades before they are confirmed by the teams. So, I'm expecting this one to turn out to be true.
Confirmed by the Ottawa Senators Official Twitter:
Sens Murray announces trade with SJ: Cheechoo, Michalek and 2nd rounder in '10 for Heatley, 5th rounder in '10.
The Lowell Devils will host two AHL preseason games in Newark and both will be open to the public with free admission.
On Wednesday at 1 p.m., Lowell will play the Hartford Wolfpack -- the Rangers' AHL affiliate -- on the game rink at Prudential Center. The New Jersey Devils host the Rangers in an NHL preseason game at 7 p.m. that day.
On Saturday, Sept. 19, Lowell will host the Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 4 p.m. on the practice rink.
Again, admission to both games is free.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren, who had received an invitation to the Rangers training camp, will not be attending, the team said tonight. McLaren, who last played in the NHL for the San Jose Sharks in 2007-08, is injured.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
According to John Buccigross of ESPN via Twitter:
Dany Heatley will probably be a Shark tonight or tomorrowBuccigross later "tweeted":
Frolov and Stoll to Ottawa..Marleau to LABut that second "tweet" was deleted. Either way, it looks like it may just be a matter of getting league approval or making the final tweaks. It looks like the Senators get Alexander Frolov & Jarret Stoll - the Kings get Patrick Marleau and the Sharks get Heatley.
Keep following for more updates via my Twitter
According to ESPN:
Dany Heatley is headed to the San Jose Sharks, NHL sources confirmed to ESPN's John Buccigross.
The 28-year-old forward was part of a three-team deal that will send the Sharks' Patrick Marleau to the Los Angeles Kings and the Kings' Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll to the Ottawa Senators.
The LA Kings Official Twitter feed is now denying the ESPN report:
Kings are aware of today's ESPN report but there is nothing to it.
And apparently according to Puck Daddy:
Dean Lombardi told Rich Hammond of Inside The Kings on Heatley trade: "Complete bull.''
After it looked like a done deal, it now looks like this has fallen through. The drama continues...
"Launching the premiere issue of Corywilkins.ca E-magazine, this in-depth, 32-page online edition previews each NHL team entering the 2009-10 season. Offense, defense, and goaltending are reviewed for each team in a recap of off-season moves. Draft and salary cap info is provided. Predictions for this year’s award winners and who will be the 2010 Stanley Cup champions."
The e-Magazine can be downloaded (.pdf format) in its entirety here or if you visit Cory's website which is linked to below you can download the individual team previews.
You can visit Cory's personal website - he's promised that in the next few days there will be similar projects.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
A "rumor" that was posted in today's Ottawa Citizen:
So let me get this straight - there's a rumor that the Rangers are willing to trade Michal Rozsival, Brandon Dubinsky AND Marc Staal for Dany Heatley and another Ottawa defenseman with a low cap hit.
There may only be days to spare, but it remains to be seen whether the reluctant Senator will actually have to show his face in Ottawa. It would certainly appear that no trade is imminent, but the rumours continue to come at us from all angles.
One that made a lot of sense, and still does, involved the New York Rangers and two of their good, young players, defenceman Marc Staal and forward Brandon Dubinsky.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray has always liked Staal, a big, smart defenceman with ideal family bloodlines. The younger brother of Eric and Jordan Staal (with one more bro to come) makes just $765,000 this season before becoming a restricted free agent.
Murray, then the Senators' head coach, wanted his GM of the day, John Muckler, to draft Staal in 2005. Muckler chose Brian Lee ninth overall. Staal went 12th to New York. Dubinsky, 23, who produced 41 points and 112 penalty minutes last season, has not yet come to terms on a new Rangers contract.
To make it possible for the Rangers to absorb Heatley's cap hit, Ottawa could agree to take beleaguered defenceman Michal Rozsival, who has three years left on his contract, with a $5-million cap hit.
This isn't a rumor - this is a dream that some Senators fan had last night. There's no way that Glen Sather (despite all of the crazy things that he's done), is going to trade a future Rangers captain in Dubinsky along with a top young defenseman in Staal to Ottawa. I repeat, no way that this trade offer should circulate in Glen's brain for more than a second.
There's no doubt that Dany Heatley is a very good player, heck, he's one of the most naturally gifted goal scorers in the NHL. But, he also has a reputation as being a spoiled brat - requesting a trade from Atlanta (because of that fatal car accident he had involving Dan Snyder) and now Ottawa when things didn't go his way.
I can see why this would interest the Senators, but looking at what is going back in return, can't say that I'd consider this anything more than a fantasy ending to a circus sideshow that has lasted the entire summer. If these are the type of offers that Bryan Murray is waiting for, Heatley will be a Senator for a very long time.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
According to both Jim Cerney and Ryan Bright, beat writers for the Rangers and the Flyers - Blair Betts has been invited by the Flyers to their training camp.
No doubt in my mind now that Betts will be a Flyer by the end of training camp. After watching him for the past few years as a Ranger, there is no way that he goes to a training camp and doesn't get offered a contract. He's one of the best penalty killers and shot-blocking forwards in the entire league. A solid addition for the Flyers for their fourth line.
Looks like Mark Bell, who the Rangers claimed off waivers from Toronto last season will also be heading to the Flyers' training camp.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Each week throughout the season I'll be doing a weekly review/discussion of the Atlantic Division over at InsideHockey.com
Every year the Atlantic Division is one of the most competitive divisions in the NHL and amongst the five teams (Devils, Flyers, Islanders, Penguins, Rangers) there are some of the fiercest rivalries that exist in the NHL. Let's have a look at each team in the division and make some predictions regarding how each team will finish the 2009-10 season.
Pittsburgh Penguins (1):
As the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Penguins are instantly going to be considered contenders again for the Cup this season. Plus, it certainly doesn't hurt that the Penguins have two of arguably the best three players (no arguments to be made about top five!) in the world on their roster - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill were an important part of the Cup run, but they are certainly replaceable. The Penguins are hoping that Jay McKee can fill some of that void. Alex Goligoski, who played in half of the Penguins games last season will have a much more prominent role this time around.
The shortened summer for the Penguins, which they certainly won't be complaining about, is likely to result in the team getting tired down the stretch this year. They won't have any problems making the playoffs, capturing the Atlantic Division should be a realistic goal but not a guarantee with the Flyers and Rangers also improving this summer. Winning the East is certainly not out of the question. They'll be there or there about come the beginning of June.
Key Additions: Mike Rupp, Brent Johnson & Jay McKee
Key Subtractions: Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill, Mathieu Garon & Petr Sykora
Check out the rest of the predictions & analysis over at Inside Hockey
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Heading into the 2009-2010 NHL regular season, there are lots of questions surrounding the New York Rangers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because with GM Glen Sather at the helm, there are always going to be many questions and not enough answers.
It might turn out that the answers to questions about this year’s Blueshirts might actually be the keys to their success. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just a few of the questions and how there answers can determine the fate of the 2009-2010 Rangers.
Question: Will Marian Gaborik remain healthy for the entire season?
Answer: In a lot of Rangers’ fans hearts, this is the main question that fans want answered and they want it answered well. When healthy, Gaborik can be a dominant player. In just 17 games last season, Gaborik posted 23 points in 17 games and for his career, has 437 points in 502 games. He’s got tremendous speed, a quick release, not afraid to take the puck to the net, and can help out on the power play.
While that’s great, it’s not going to matter if he ends up spending half the season injured. In 2006-07, he played 48 games. As mentioned above, he played in just 23 games last season and he hasn’t played remotely close to a full season since the 2007-08 season when he played in 77 games. Again, if he’s healthy, he will put a lot of points up on the board. If he’s not, Ranger fans will once again be clamoring for Sather’s head.
Question: How will the team’s power play look?
Answer: As I’m sure many of you knowledgeable Ranger fans know, the team’s power play last season was awful. They had trouble getting the puck to the net, they passed the puck more often than they shot it and they constantly looked for the perfect play, which was never there. Normally, most teams like to keep it simple on the power play and that usually results in quality scoring chances and goals. However, last year’s Rangers failed to generate much of both.
Going into this season, both Sather and head coach John Tortorella believe that the club’s power play will be much improved. Sather and Co. are hoping that by having a healthy Gaborik, newly acquired Ales Kotalik, hard worker Christopher Higgins and maybe some help on the point from 25-year-old defenseman Matt Gilroy or even someone like Bobby Sanguinetti or Michael Del Zotto, the power play will come out of the cellar and be one of the top team’s in that area.
It’ll certainly be a process and there will be lots of experimenting by Tortorella but one has to think “can it really get much worse?”
Question: Who will be the team’s No. 1 center?
Answer: Ranger fans have been pondering this question all offseason long and with good reason. It’s obvious that Gaborik is going to need to play with someone who can get him the puck, go into the corners and dig the puck out for him, find him in the slot or flying down the wing, etc.
Here on PuckCentral.net, many of you believe that role should go to Brandon Dubinsky, who has yet to sign with the team (hopefully happening soon). He works hard, he’s not afraid to shoot the puck, he had success with Jaromir Jagr in that role and head coach John Tortorella likes him.
I’m not sure where I stand on this but I believe that for now, Dubinsky should get a shot and could end up being more than a capable first line player.
Thanks to Declan/PuckCentral.net for allowing me to post my thoughts. You can find my work by visiting my blog on Kuklas Korner.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Guest Blogger: Joe Adler on Twitter
On Wednesday night, about 250 Rangers season ticket holders filled the lobby to the theater at MSG to hear from their captain and four of the newest Blueshirts. Donald Brashear, Marian Gaborik, Christopher Higgins, and Ales Kotalik joined Chris Drury in answering questions posed by Dave Maloney and a number of season ticket holders.
Here’s a recap of some of the moments that were most interesting and entertaining:
- Donald Brashear (who doesn’t look so intimidating in person) received some boos when he was first announced, but those boos turned to cheers and laughter after Brashear remarked to those who were booing, “I’ll take you one-by-one.”
- Ales Kotalik was slightly underdressed, sporting just a polo shirt. Dave Maloney provided the excuse, as Kotalik had just arrived in New York earlier in the day and had to dig through boxes to find something to wear.
- Chris Drury high-fived and shook hands with fans on his way to the stage.
- A fan no older than 10 years old asked Gaborik whether his center was on the team now or would be traded for. He responded by stating that he just wants to play and isn’t really worried about who’s centering him.
- Another fan addressed Kotalik: “Ales…you, my friend, have an amazing slap shot. Has Tortorella talked to you about playing the point on the power play?” Kotalik chuckled before acknowledging that Torts has spoken to him briefly about it, and added that it’s a role he’s comfortable with due to his past experience.
- Many fans asked what would become of the Rangers’ worst component last season, the power play. At one point when asked who would score all of the power play goals, Brashear just raised his hand and smiled.
- Brashear was asked by a very young fan who his favorite player was growing up. “Cam Neely. He was big, could score, and knew how to use his body.”
- A self-described fan since the ‘60s asked Brashear and Maloney about the future of fighting and the enforcer role. Brashear said he just has to do what he can to intimidate, while Maloney made it known that he doesn’t think fighting will ever be removed from the game. Christopher Higgins interjected that Brashear has hockey skills on top of his fighting skills. “…he scored 38 goals in the AHL one season. You can’t be a dummy and do that, he can play."
One fan made a comment tonight that I feel needs to be addressed…
An older gentleman stood at the mic and forcefully addressed the players, “When we say shoot the puck, SHOOT THE PUCK!”
RANGERS FANS: “Shoot the puck!” needs to stop. NHL teams will pay talented players some $40.8 to $56.8 million this season. Something tells me I should trust those players a bit more than fans in the seats who don’t see the angles the same and probably don’t have the experience. Oh, and please learn what a shooting lane is and keep in mind that if a player passes instead of shooting, he may not have one. I know a lot of fans don’t understand this because they yell “shoot” but complain when that shot they yelled for gets blocked.
On top of being just asinine to begin with, I’m sure screaming “SHOOT” at a player who isn’t confident enough to take that shot won’t do much to help his confidence.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The one notable addition is that Kyle McLaren who hasn't played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season will be at the Rangers training camp. McLaren last played in the NHL for the Sharks and was traded last season at the Trade Deadline to the Flyers but that deal was voided when McLaren failed the physical.
Thanks to Lauri for pointing this out via Twitter
Guest Blogger: AddiesDad (aka Forechecker on HFBoards) and on Twitter
What? It's September 1st, and Brandon Dubisnky hasn't been signed, yet? OH NOES!!!!! Surely a sign of the apocalypse, no? No, no it's not.
As most of us know, Dubi did not have the leverage that Ryan Callahan did going into his RFA season, and thus was never going to get the attention early in the off-season. Also, as a center, which I believe take longer to develop than wings, Dubi hasn't come as obviously far as Cally has. That's not a knock on Dubi at all, just my opinion what that each has achieved in their short, but strong, careers. What I do believe, is that Brandon Dubinsky is a key cog to the long term future of the organ-eye-zay-shun, and this is a major reason why the signing is taking so long.
Glen Sather and company (who know who actually does the nitty gritty stuff) knew they had more time to work with Dubi and his contract, but they also have a responsibility to the organization to run down all the potential free agents/trade possibilities before concentrating on their #1 center: Brandon Dubinsky (hey, see what I did there! Dubi = #1 center). What this all means is that in all likelihood Dubi will start the season on a short-term contract (1 year?) at something north of his qualifying offer of $698,000 (maybe 2-3x), as they did with Henrik Lundqvist a couple of years ago. In January, as Dubi continues to prove he can center Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan as the top center, Slats et al will get down to he business of a long term, multi million dollar contract. Unfortunately, the inscrutable fact here is the salary cap situation the Rangers are in, and Dubi & Slats need to figure out what the magic numbers are that allow Dubi to stay in blue until he becomes a free agent in a few years without causing more cap headaches. Is it right for Slats to force this position on Dubi? No, but it's a reality that he, and pretty soon Marc Staal, have to face if they wish to remain in Broadway Blue. Besides, Slats has one more cigar up that sleeve of his: Mark Messier.
Now, does anyone really think that His Captain-ness was brought in to be Slats' errand boy, or otherwise passively learn the ins-and-outs of being a GM? No, and if you did please make your way to an Islanders blog until you are recalled. Seriously, if Garth Snow can become a relatively competent GM in the matter of a few months, I am sure Mess is more than capable of handling the duties.
ANYWAY, I've been thinking a lot of Mess' return to the Garden, and I believe it is an extremely astute and clever decision by Slats (with much input from Adam Graves I am sure) to give Dubi a reason to be being patient with the contract negotiation process. Why? What could this reason be? Dubi has the promise to be a physical center with strong leadership qualities and pot more than his share of goals and assists. Sound familiar? While Mess will undoubtedly learn much about running a team, and be constantly rumored to replace John Tortorella at the first protracted slump of the season, I think an unofficial, but primary, role will be to tutor young Dubisnky in what it means to be the #1 center for the Rangers on and off the ice. The first sign of this will be replacing the canned, post-game cliches Dubi picked up from Gomez with more honest, but team strengthening, comments to the media coupled with a bit more snarl on the ice. This potential relationship with a mentor like Messier could go a very long way to easing the sting of taking a less than desired contract, and also send a huge message about what it means to be a team player. I believe the organization sees Dubi has the to Drury's "C", and who better to prime Dubi for this honor than Mess himself?
Finally, EVERYONE is saying the right things here, and as Steve Zipay and other beat writers have mentioned, Dubi probably wouldn't be on the ice this week if he didn't think something was coming soon. This is a non-issue that has been fanned into a California wild fire, mostly because we're bored after all the drama happened so early in the off-season. I honestly believe that not only will Dubi be signed in short-order, but we are witnessing the grooming of one of those truly rare athletes. He may not be the flashiest player on the team, but I can't think of another player who may have more of a long term impact on the team than young Dubinsky, and I have little doubt about what the future holds for him.
Thanks to Declan/PuckCentral for letting me post my meandering thoughts here, and maybe I'll even be invited back!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
- There could be a lot more to the Paul Kelly firing over the weekend by the NHLPA then was first reported. Steve Valiquette, who is the Rangers NHLPA player rep, said that based on information the player reps had it was a decision that they were "forced" to make. Valiquette said exact details can't be discussed until all of the players are told first. Maybe there will be more information once training camp begins. [Link]
- Jason Smith who played last season for the Senators will be announcing later today that he is retiring after playing 17 seasons in the NHL. [Link]
- Reports from Rangers informal pratices:
Gaborik says that he has no lingering effects from his most recent hip surgery. Ranger fans hope that this is the first and last time that they have to hear Gaborik talk about injury problems. [Link]
Steve Zipay takes a closer look at new addition Enver Lisin (acquired from Phoenix earlier this summer for Lauri Korpikoski) and even has some quotes from the Russian forward. [Link]
- Anyone that listens to XM Radio during the NHL season knows that Phil Esposito is very opinionated. He throws in his two cents about the Phoenix situation. [Link]
- Speaking of Espo, it looks like there could be trouble in Tampa. It's rumored that Len Barrie, one of the co-owners, improperly took money from a group of investors to purchase the Lightning. - I love the use of the phrase "improperly took money," otherwise known as stealing! [Link]
- I posted this list of "Team Beat Writers Who Have Blogs" this morning. I'd recommend bookmarking it, so that throughout the season you can check up on those blogs. Usually when there is breaking news, it is the beat writers who are with the team a lot of the time who break it.
Anaheim Ducks: Ducks blog
Boston Bruins: Bruins Blog
Buffalo Sabres: Sabres Edge
Calgary Flames: Flames Insider
Carolina Hurricanes: Canes Now
Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago Breaking Sports
Colorado Avalanche: All Things Avs
Columbus Blue Jackets: Puck-rakers
Dallas Stars: Stars Blog | Five for Fighting
Detroit Red Wings:
Edmonton Oilers: The Cult of Hockey
Florida Panthers: On Frozen Pond | Panthers Blog
Los Angeles Kings: Inside the Kings
Minnesota Wild: Russo's Rants
Montreal Canadiens: Habs Inside/Out
Nashville Predators: Preds Insider
New Jersey Devils: Fire & Ice | Star Ledger
New York Islanders: On the Islanders Beat
New York Rangers: The Blueshirts Blog | Rangers Report | Blue Notes| Ranger Rants
Ottawa Senators: Off The Posts | Senators Extra
Philadelphia Flyers: Flyers Report | Phila.Bright | CSN Philly | In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo
Phoenix Coyotes: Ice Chips
Pittsburgh Penguins: Chipped Ice | Empty Netters
San Jose Sharks: Working the Corners
St. Louis Blues: Morning Skate
Tampa Bay Lightning: Lightning Strikes | Bolts Report
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Vancouver Canucks: Vancouver Sun
Washington Capitals: Capitals Insider
Winnipeg Jets: Jet Stream | Winnipeg Free Press
Special thanks to James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail based out of Toronto who put most of this list together originally. I've checked to make sure that they are still the current beat writers and have added several that were left off of the original list.
If you know of a beat writer who has a blog, that has been left off of this list, please post it in the comments section and I'll update the list.