Monday, December 31, 2007

Jagr named NHL's 2nd Star of the Week

The NHL named its three stars of the week today and Jaromir Jagr received the second star, with the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin receiving the first star and the San Jose Sharks Evgeni Nabokov receiving the third star...


Jagr tied for first among NHL scorers with seven points (4-3--7) in three games. On Dec. 26 he recorded two goals in a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He notched one goal and three assists in a 6-1 victory over Toronto Maple Leafs Dec. 29 and recorded one goal in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens Dec. 30. For the season Jagr is second on the Rangers with 34 points (11-23--34) in 39 games.

...the rest of the NHL better take notice that Jagr is starting to heat up big time.

...I still can't get over the fact that Jagr's turn around has coincided with Sean Avery's return from wrist surgery. And even last year, Jagr really seemed to turn it on after Avery was traded to the Rangers. Not sure why it would make a difference as they're not on the same line, but maybe Jagr feels more comfortable with Avery lineup.

OT Magic

The New York Rangers (20-15-4) defeated the Montreal Canadiens (19-13-7) last night by a score of 4-3 in OT. Brendan Shanahan scored 66 seconds into overtime to give the Rangers the victory, extending their winning streak to three games. Chris Drury tied the game with 5:51 left in regulation when he found a loose puck at the top of the crease and flipped it over a prone Christobal Huet. Dan Girardi, who assisted on Shanahan's goal, and Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Rangers, who got 18 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...looks like the Rangers have righted the ship. Its great to see them come from behind in 2 of the last 3 games.

...while Gomez has been in a groove for the past month, it finally looks like Drury might be turning a corner. I love when he scores goals around the net. Also his saucer pass to Shanahan in OT was a thing of beauty. He also went 15 of 21 in the faceoff circle.

...great quote by Drury after the game regarding the crowd, "I think the whole game felt like a playoff game, how the crowd was during the anthems and all. It was exciting." Much better than Buffalo huh Chris.

...obviously, there have been lots of rumors floating around regarding the Rangers and their need for an offensive defensman. Do they really need one? Ranger defenseman have 24 goals and 43 assists so far this season. Not sure how that compares to other teams, but that seems like a lot of offense to me.

...speaking of defenseman scoring, another goal by Girardi last night his 7th of the season. I didn't think he'd have 7 goals all season. He also made an outstanding play at the Rangers blueline directly leading to Shanahan's overtime winner.

...big trip to Western Canada coming up this week I'd be happy getting 2 out of 3.

...Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rangers vs. Canadiens Preview

The New York Rangers (19-15-4) host the Montreal Canadiens (19-13-6) tonight at MSG. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. For the Rangers yesterday, Petr Prucha scored two goals to double his total for the season and Jaromir Jagr had a goal and three assists. The Rangers have seven power-play goals in their last two games after recording just five in their previous eight. The Canadiens are looking for their third straight victory after defeating Florida on Friday to improve to 3-1-1 on a six-game road swing their longest stretch away from home in 2007-08. Though the Canadiens are just 6-7-4 at home, their 13-6-2 road record is second-best in the Eastern Conference behind Ottawa, which is 13-3-2 away from home. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...the Rangers need to start making it harder on teams when they come into MSG. They're currently 12-8 on home ice, but to me they need to be a lot better than 4 games over .500 at home. With Avery back in the lineup I think we'll be seeing a more physical Ranger team at home.

...hopefully, the Rangers didn't leave all their goals in Toronto as they'll need some tonight against a Montreal team that has scored 113 goals in 38 games this season. The Rangers have 93 in 38 games. However, Montreal has also given up 105 to the Rangers 91.

...looking to see a more confident Prucha on the ice tonight after his 2 goal performance.

...I'm a bit worried about Lundqvist tonight, as he seems to have bad games right after a day off. Let's hope not.

...I'll have a recap after the game.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bagging the Leafs

The New York Rangers (19-15-4) defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs (15-16-8) by a score of 6-1. Petr Prucha scored 2 goals, his first goals in 17 games, to lead an outstanding Ranger effort. Jaromir Jagr had a goal and three assists, linemate Martin Straka had one of each, Brendan Shanahan added a power-play tally, and Blair Betts scored for the first time in 12 games -- New York's only even-strength goal. Darcy Tucker ended Stephen Valiquette's (27 saves) shutout bid with 11:40 left. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...absolutely great game by the Rangers tonight. Haven't seen a laugher from the Rangers in a while. They were by far the hungrier team tonight. I was very surprised with how flat the Leafs looked tonight considering all the drama surrounding the game.

...big relief for Prucha tonight. The guy's name has been mentioned in just about every trade rumor and to be able to get off the schneid by scoring twice tonight is awesome. Plus it enhances his trade value. Just kidding Pruchs.

...quick stat: 28-10 with Avery in the lineup and 8-10 without since being traded to the Rangers last year.

...I think Valiquette solidified himself as the official starter for any game played in Toronto for the rest of the year. Too bad Valiquette can't have games like this on a more consistent basis.

...looks like all Jagr needs is Avery in the lineup to succeed. In the 3 games since Avery's return from wrist surgery Jagr has 3 goals and 4 assists. And they're not even on the same line.

...before the Rangers headed out to Minnesota a week ago I said they had a grueling 9 game stretch coming up. Through the first 5 games they are 2-2-1. Not bad, especially considering they started the stretch 0-2-1.

...another tough test against the Canadiens tomorrow night at MSG. A win pulls the Rangers within 1 point of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Rangers vs. Toronto Preview: Avery's return

Tonight the New York Rangers (18-15-4) visit the Toronto Maple Leafs (15-15-8). The Rangers had been 1-3-2 in their past six games before a 4-2 win against Southeast-leading Carolina on Wednesday. After completing their longest road trip in nearly a decade, the Maple Leafs take the ice at the Air Canada Centre for the first time since Dec. 10. Toronto went 2-3-2 on a franchise record high-tying seven game swing - its longest since January 1999. Tonight's game also marks Sean Avery's first return to Toronto since he was accused of poking fun at Jason Blake's battle with cancer. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...obviously, the storyline tonight is Avery. So instead of going into it, I'll just give you a run down of all the newspaper articles: The New York Journal, New York Post, Slam Sports, and the Toronto Star.

...should be an intense game tonight. Can't wait.

NHL Rescinds Orr Major Penalty

John Dellapina is also reporting at The Blueshirt Blog that the NHL has rescinded the major penalty for interference and game misconduct that Colton Orr was assessed for his collision with Carolina’s Matt Cullen...

"...Upon reviewing the tape at the Rangers’ request, the NHL has rescinded the major penalty for interference and game misconduct that Colton Orr was assessed for his collision with Carolina’s Matt Cullen Wednesday.

While this might anger any of you who have Orr in a fantasy hockey pool that rewards penalty minutes, it gives him more wiggle room. That’s because three game misconducts for illegal hits would add up to an automatic one-game suspension."

...anyone who has seen the hit knows this is obviously the right decision. I don't even think Matt Cullen or the Carolina Hurricanes would argue.

Valiquette to Start Tonight

Over at The Blueshirts Blog, John Dellapina reports that Stephen Valiquette will get the start tonight in Toronto...

"...having pulled out a 3-2 shootout win here on Nov. 10 by starting Steve Valiquette in goal, Renney will go to the rangy backup to Henrik Lundqvist again tonight when the Rangers take on the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

Presuming Valiquette gets through the entire game, that will leave a rested Lundqvist to play tomorrow night in the Garden, when his tired teammates might need a big effort from him against the recently-impressive Montreal Canadiens. Renney also did not rule out Lundqvist playing in all three games on the Western Canada trip that begins Jan. 2 in Calgary."

...this move makes a lot of sense all of which are stated by Dellapina. Hopefully, Valiquete is able to recapture some of the magic he showed in his last start in Toronto, because he has been awful lately.

Rangers Interested in Ryder

According to Red Fisher at the Montreal Gazette, the Rangers have inquired about the Montreal Canadiens' Michael Ryder...

"...Ryder wasn't nearly as productive in the first half with 10 goals and 16 assists, but while Koivu's goals production slipped to seven in the second half, Ryder came down heavy on the accelerator with 20 goals, thus reaching the 30-goal mark for a second consecutive season.

Can he find his game again? A better question is whether or not he'll have the chance to do it in a Canadiens sweater. At $2.95 million and due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, teams won't be lining up to trade for him. On the other hand, there's always somebody out there who feels he can press the right button with a 30-goal scorer.

My guess, and it's only a guess, is that the New York Rangers, who have been having offensive problems despite acquiring Scott Gomez and Chris Drury during the offseason, are interested. What I know for certain is that they've made inquiries about him..."

...obviously, I'd need to know who the Rangers would be sending to Montreal before I could make a judgement on this possible trade.

...Ryder is having a tough season so far with only 4 goals and 7 assists in 33 games but this guy is coming off back to back 30 goal seasons, so he might just need a change of scenery to get him going again. Might be worth a flier.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dawes Demoted Again

According to Josh Thomson at the Ranger Report, the Rangers have sent Nigel Dawes back to Hartford...

"...Predictably, Nigel Dawes was on a morning train to Hartford. (I actually don’t know how he got to the home of insurance, but I do know he’s been shipped back to the AHL.) Renney said Dawes can be sent back and forth, which made him an obvious candidate for a demotion, and that he’s currently a little limited because he is a scoring LW still working on his skills as a penalty killer. However, the coach assured that Dawes’ time is near: 'It really is only a matter of time,' Renney said. 'Whether he secures it in the next couple weeks, months or this year, Nigel Dawes is going to play for the New York Rangers.'

Renney said Dawes kills penalties in Hartford now, so presumably that is with the goal of expanding his game..."

...I'm too distraught to type right now.

Avery Stirring the Pot

Larry Brooks of the New York Post, reports on Sean Avery's first visit back to Toronto with the New York Rangers since the on and off the ice situations with Darcy Tucker, Jason Blake and Toronto Radio Host Howard Berger...

"...In discussing his return to Toronto, Avery yesterday screwed on his best Dead-End Kid face and proceeded to disrespect the city and more.

'I never enjoy going to Toronto,' said Avery, who hails from nearby Pickering, approximately 25 miles away. When asked why, he rattled off three responses.

'Because I don't enjoy hockey-obsessed Canadians; because the exchange rate is not very good; because it's going to cost me a lot of money for tickets for people I don't like.'

Goodnight everybody!..." do you not love this guy. I know his scoring numbers are down this year (2 goals and 7 assists in 16 games), but every time he's on the ice the Rangers are a better team and his sound bites are incredible.

Ranger Prospects at World Junior Championships

The New York Rangers Official Website is following Ranger prospects playing in the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic... far Artem Ansimov has 1 goal, 1 assist and a +2 and Alexei Cherepanov has a goal in two games for Team Russia.

...Bobby Sanguinetti has 1 goal, 1 assist and a +1 in 2 games for Team USA.

Rangers #21 in THN Power Rankings

The Hockey News has ranked the Rangers #21 in their recent Power Rankings...

21. NY Rangers (19) - Scott Gomez has been hot since re-joining Jaromir Jagr’s line, but the Rangers remain woefully inconsistent. #21!!! The Hockey News had the Ranger ranked in the top 5 a month ago. That is a major drop.

In Renney We Trust

Daniel Sallows at the Bleacher Report gives Coach Tom Renney praise for keeping the team together during his 2 plus seasons with the Blue Shirts...

"There's still hope for the New Yorks Rangers this season—despite the mediocre offense, inconsistent play, and persistent trade rumors.

That hope lies ultimately with the players, who are certainly good enough to make a run to the top of the standings. But behind the Blueshirts stands their motivational, well-spoken coach, Tom Renney..."

...Renney has taken some major criticism this year for the first time as head coach of the Rangers. I agree with a lot of the criticism, especially the handling of Nigel Dawes, but you can't ignore what he's done for this team since becoming head coach. The entire culture has changed. The Rangers are no longer a country club for aging veterans. He has held players responsible for bad play by benching them and has guided the Rangers to two straight seasons in the playoffs including last years ride to the second round. I think Renney deserves to be the Rangers head coach for the rest of the season and at least the beginning of next year even if they don't make the playoffs this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Conflicting Reports out of Columbus

Some conflicting reports coming out of Columbus on the potential Ranger/Blue Jacket trade front...

On the Columbus Dispatch hockey blog Puck-rakers they state...

"...Trade rumors update: We've been told that no trade between the Blue Jackets and Rangers is in the works. The two teams have talked, but nothing has been agreed upon and nothing will be announced when the roster freeze is lifted..."

However, in an article in today's Columbus Dispatch Tom Reed reports...

"...The Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers have been discussing a possible trade, an NHL source told The Dispatch yesterday, and one name mentioned has been Vyborny, an original Blue Jacket and the franchise leader in points and games...

...Contrary to reports in New York, neither Blue Jackets captain Adam Foote nor fellow defenseman Rostislav Klesla has been discussed, the source said...

...The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are believed to have an interest in former 30-goal scorer Petr Prucha, but only as part of a package deal....

...The Blue Jackets might have an interest in several young forwards, including center Brandon Dubinsky and wingers Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes."

...lots of different stories going on here. The Columbus Dispatch hockey blog says there's no trade in the works, but then in today's Columbus Dispatch Sports Section they go into great detail on the potential trade. Not sure what to think. thing that does worry me as President of the Nigel Dawes Fan Club is that Dawes sat last night and now I see his name mentioned in this article. I might have to go out and buy a Blue Jackets jersey.

Sather to Break Up Rangers Next Year

Adam Proteau at The Hockey News feels that you're delusional if you think the Rangers will look the same next year...

New York Rangers
The Delusion: Next year’s Rangers team will feature many of the same faces from this year’s Rangers team.
Reality Check: With Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Marek Malik, Martin Straka, and Sean Avery all on course to be unrestricted free agents come summertime, Glen Sather simply won’t have the cap space to re-sign everybody. Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Henrik Lundqvist will be back, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess what the Blueshirts will look like.

...I think if you polled people around the league most of them would agree that next year's version of the Rangers will look a lot different. So I'm not sure where Proteau got the idea that people think the Rangers will look the same next year.

Shanahan, Malik and Mara Potential to be Traded

Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News feels that the salary cap has all but eliminated trades involving players in their prime and in the midst of their contracts and that nowadays salaries do become easier to move later in the season, but it’s those of impending unrestricted free agents. Players on multi-year contracts rarely move...

"...So if you want a good forecast of which players are most likely to be dealt over the next two months, check out the list of potential unrestricted free agents.

It includes Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, Mike Commodore, Cory Stillman, Pavol Demitra, Daymond Langkow, Kristian Huselius, Ron Hainsey, Joe Sakic, Mike Ribeiro, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rolston, J-P Dumont, Brendan Shanahan, Jason Smith, Mats Sundin, Markus Naslund and Olaf Kolzig.

Don’t expect to see most – if any – of those players changing addresses by the trade deadline. Every one are valuable to their respective clubs and the only reason any of them would be dealt is if their respective teams give up on this season and going into rebuilding mode.

As long as those teams are in the playoff picture, none of the aforementioned will be dealt.

Instead, expect lesser lights or fading stars like Bobby Holik, Dmitri Kalinin, John-Michael Liles, Dick Tarnstrom, Keith Carney, Michael Ryder, Paul Mara, Brad Stuart, Marek Malik, Barret Jackman, Mike Johnson or Matt Cooke to become possible trade candidates." does make sense that if the Rangers take a major nose dive in the next two months they'd be looking to unload Shanahan. But I really don't see them falling out of the race. In today's NHL, it is almost impossible to fall completely out of the race by February. Right now there are only two teams under .500 in the Eastern Conference (Washington and Tampa).

...and of course Mara and Malik are definitely available to be moved, whether the Rangers are in the thick of the race or not.

More Ranger Trade Rumors from HockeyBuzz

Eklund over at HockeyBuzz says not to be 'shocked' if the Rangers don't pull off a deal at the end of the trade freeze at midnight tonight...

"...The Trade freeze ends tonight at midnight and don't be shocked if the Rangers pull a deal. I have been told they are talking to Columbus, Edmonton and San Jose. Prucha is the likely guy that all three teams are highly interested in. Adam Foote has been rumoured to NY, but I HIGHLY doubt that Hitchcock would let that happen. Hitch is loyal and Foote campaigned to get Hitch there and more importantly Hitch's system only works if there are players that can sell his system..."

...this actually may be the first time Eklund is right about something as rumors regarding Prucha have been flying around for days.

Orr Hit on Cullen is video on Colton Orr's hit on Matt Cullen last night for anyone who missed it or wants to see it again.

...even the next day this check still looks legal.

...I think this hit sends a message to the rest of the league along with the return of Avery that the Rangers are going to be a much more physical team going forward.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Back on Track

Tonight the New York Rangers (18-15-4) defeated the Carolina Hurricanes (19-16-3) by a score of 4-2. Jaromir Jagr scored twice to end a goal-scoring slump and Brendan Shanahan set up a pair of third-period power-play goals. Chris Drury and Dan Girardi also scored for the Rangers, who snapped a three-game losing streak, winning for only the third time in the last 11 games. Scott Walker and Eric Staal scored for Carolina, which had won 3-of-4. For a full recap go to

...looks like a few Rangers looked themselves in the mirror over the holiday break and didn't like what they saw. Jagr and Drury came out playing like I haven't seen in awhile. Actually what I think happened was that Jagr, who I heard is an avid reader of my blog, got pissed off when he saw my previous post about being discussed in numerous trades.

...I love when Drury plays his game down low causing havoc in front of the net and getting garbage goals. Although his goal tonight was far from garbage as he had a beautiful tip, it shows that for him to be successful he needs to be in front of the net. Another example was Girardi's goal which came from a weird carom off of Drury in front of the net.

...I said in my game preview that the Rangers needed some breaks and bounces. And they got some tonight. Rebounds came right to the Rangers and the last goal came off a terrible hand pass call by the ref. Doesn't that guy know you can hand pass the puck in the defensive zone? That call led to a face off in Carolina's zone and a Jagr goal after Gomez made an outstanding strip of the defenseman behind the net.

...obviously, I have to bring up the Orr hit on Cullen. That was absolutely a legal hit. It was tough to see Cullen laying there on the ice, but that's what happens when you skate with your head down. A big time over reaction by the refs. Just because a guy is laying on the ice doesn't mean he was hit illegally. I'd be shocked if there was a suspension. thing I noticed during the game tonight was how excited Gomez and Drury get when the Rangers score. A few of the replays had their reactions to Ranger goals and these guys were pumped up. It shows that these guys really care about the success of this team. Another great shot was of Gomez' face when he thought he took away Drury's goal. It looked like he felt so bad. It must have been a relief when it was announced that it was Drury's goal.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Preview

Tonight the New York Rangers (17-15-4) host the Carolina Hurricanes (19-15-3). The struggling Rangers hope to avoid matching a season-high four-game losing streak. During the last 10 games, the Rangers are 2-6-2 and have been outscored 37-21. Even Henrik Lundqvist hasn't been immune to the slump, going 2-4-2 with two shutouts and a 3.42 goals-against average in his last eight starts. The Rangers' 2-6-2 skid started Dec. 3 with a 4-0 home loss to Southeast Division-leading Carolina. The Hurricanes lost four of their next five games before rebounding to win three of four, including a 4-1 victory Saturday at Tampa Bay. The Rangers had won three straight against the Hurricanes before Ward shut them out in the most recent meeting. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...this is a big game for the Rangers. The team is in a rut and now, as seen on this blog, there's lots of trade rumors going around. The only way to stop all of this is to go out and win.

...I don't necessarily feel the Rangers have been playing poorly they just need a couple of bounces to go their way.

...and one last thing. Put the puck in the net. Please!!!

More Jagr Rumors

...throughout what's been a disappointing season for Jaromir Jagr, there have been numerous trade rumors mentioning his name, here are two if the most recent...

Daniel Sallows at the Bleacher Report discusses a trade that would send Jagr along with Michal Roszival, and Petr Prucha to the Phoenix Coyotes for Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski...

"...The deal makes sense for both clubs.

I don't like ripping on Jaromir Jagr—I'm actually a huge fan, and wore 68 in my last year of playing—but it's time for a change in Manhattan.

Wayne Gretzky, meanwhile, has a young squad in Phoenix that will once again struggle to make the playoffs—and could use a veteran like Jagr to bring the club together.

In Roszival, the Coyotes would get a quality power-play defenseman who will bolster a lackluster offense. Prucha could catch fire with a new coach in a new setting.

The Rangers get another solid two-way player in Doan, who's a bona fide captain and has played under Tom Renney. In Jovanovski, they get an experienced defensemen who can also help a struggling power play unit—which has seen five forwards on the ice more often than not..."

...I have my doubts that this trade is even being discussed, but the only way I make this trade is if the Rangers can get Roszival's name out of the discussion. Not sure who they could insert in his place, but there's no way I'm trading Roszival's 9 goals and 13 assists, especially for Jovanovski.

...Shane Doan wouldn't be bad to have on this team. His 9 goals, 18 assists and +8 on the right wing would fit in nice with with Gomez and Straka.

...I know the Jagr apologists will be all over this saying how could you trade one of the best players ever. But, you know what, the guy has a history of dogging it when he's not happy and right now he's dogging it. Maybe he's a lot more upset with the Rangers not resigning Nylander than was originally thought.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch mentions that one team that might be willing to trade for Jagr would be the Detriot Red Wings...

"... If the Rangers decide to trade W Jaromir Jagr at the deadline, Detroit is a possible destination. There is no way New York GM Glen Sather will deal Jagr to a team in the East..."

...just the fact that Jagr's name has been mentioned in so many trade discussions has to make you think that the Rangers are shopping him. And to tell you the truth, maybe earlier in the year I would be against this, but as the season moves along and Jagr continues to struggle I'm now starting to think that trading him might be for the best.

Prucha to Blue Jackets for D-men?

According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, the Rangers are trying to pry either veteran Adam Foote or top-four defenseman Rostislav Klesla from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Petr Prucha...

"...The 36-year-old Foote, a physical presence the Rangers so obviously lack on the blue line, is on the final year of a three-year contract at $4.6M per that contains a no-trade clause he would have to waive in order to come to New York.

If willing, the two-time Cup-winner with Colorado will become one of the prime rentals on the market as the Feb. 26 deadline approaches. Hence, the Rangers' attempt for a pre-emptive strike.

Klesla, the multi-dimensional fourth-overall selection in the 2000 Entry Draft who will turn 26 in March, is under contract through the 2009-10 season at $1.6M per.

The Blue Jackets, who have scored four goals in their last four games, are believed primarily interested in Petr Prucha. The Rangers, who have approximately $2.25M of full season cap space which to work, would likely look to send either Mara ($3M) or Malik ($2.5M) to Columbus in an expanded deal that could include either left wing Jason Chimera or right wing David Vyborny. Obtaining Klesla would almost certainly require much more going the other way.

The 28-year-old, 6-foot-2, 215-pound Chimera, drafted by Sather's Oilers in 1997, has gone 17 straight games without scoring, so he'd obviously fit right in on Broadway. Earning $875,000, he's eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.

Vyborny, who will turn 33 next month and is also an impending unrestricted free agent, was drafted by Sather's Oilers in 1993. The 5-10 Czech native, who has scored two goals in 28 matches, played the final two games before the Christmas break after spending three weeks on IR with a groin injury. He's earning $2.2M..."

...looks like Brooks is a little late on the rumor that the Rangers and Blue Jackets were interested in a trade. Although Brooks has a lot more details, my blog mentioned a possible deal last Saturday. See here. to the actual trade, I'd make this deal for Klesla and Chimera. Don't care if its with Mara or Malik. We don't need Adam Foote as we have enough veterans on this team and the last thing we need is a 5-10 forward in Vyborny. I think we have enough of those on this team with Drury, Gomez, Callahan and Dawes.

...obviously, Prucha is a fan favorite, but he hasn't scored a lick since his rookie year and its only a matter of time until this guy gets a serious concussion from the beatings he takes during the games.

Refreshed And Ready To Go

I know the blog's been a little spotty lately, especially with the holidays and the Rangers current slide. But now after a two day absence, I'm refreshed and ready to get the blog rolling again. Let's hope the Ranger players are feeling the same way when they take the ice tonight.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Video of the Week - Christmas Edition

My Christmas gift to all my faithful readers is to not write a recap of another Ranger loss. Instead I have this Christmas edition 'Video of the Week'...

Merry Christmas. I love this movie.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rangers vs. Senators Preview

In an attempt to shake things up. I've decided to not write a preview for tonight's game. Let's go Rangers. If you'd like a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

Here is the latest from Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report...

"With the Rangers losers of seven of their last nine, the Sean Avery factor will again be put to the test tonight against the Eastern Conference-leading Senators.

The left wing, originally scheduled to return no sooner than the day after Christmas, said his wrist made significant progress in the last few days, and was deemed fit to play tonight against Ottawa.

'The bottom line is he can’t do any damage to it, he can’t hurt himself at all, so as long as it’s not prohibitive from a pain perspective, which it isn’t, (he’s fine),' Tom Renney said.

Avery’s impact on the Rangers when he’s in the lineup has been well documented, dating back to his arrival last season but also this year in between his shoulder and wrist injuries, when the Rangers went 8-3-1 and surged into first place. Now with the team again struggling, he’ll be counted on to provide an immediate lift.

Meanwhile, Renney originally said Petr Prucha would be a scratch to make room for Avery. But while Prucha was lingering on the ice after the morning skate, he was called off the ice by the coach, which could suggest the coach is contemplating putting him back in.In other news:

Paul Mara is the other healthy scratch tonight, which means Marek Malik goes back in, only now most likely alongside Jason Strudwick. With those two together, the Michal Rozsival-Marc Staal pairing remains intact.

Marcel Hossa has also been slow to recover from the flu, so he’s out as well. Nigel Dawes is still with the team, and assuming that Prucha remains a scratch, Dawes will probably skate on a third line with Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Renney said the first line and fourth line will definitely remain intact."

...I guess I ended up giving more of a preview then I intended. Oh well.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Down on the Farm: Juniors Update

Leslie Treff at gives an update on some of the Rangers top junior prospects, including Bob Sanguinetti...

Ryan Hillier, LW - Junior Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) - In his fourth year with the Halifax Mooseheads, Ryan Hillier has become a scoring machine. Currently second on the team in points, Hillier has been successfully playing in all situations.

Tomas Zaborsky, LW - Junior Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL) - the winger is third on the team in scoring and has been given greater responsibilities. Assistant coach Steve Cooke attributes the change in ice time and success to the fact that, "Zaborsky has worked hard on his strength and conditioning, and the improvement is noticeable. The result is that he is winning puck battles, and is quicker and stronger at the net."... Expect him to join the Hartford Wolf Pack this spring and be in his first Rangers training camp next fall.

David Skokan, C - Junior Team: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) - Skokan has done well offensively thus far this season, however, he was drafted for his two-way skills, and he is struggling defensively. He has one of the worst plus/minus ratings on the team.

Danny Hobbs, RW - Junior Team: Ohio Jr Blue Jackets (USHL) - In his second season with the Junior Blue Jackets, Hobbs has put up respectable, but not exceptional numbers. Continued work on his two-way game and increased strength will be required for him to play the professional game.

Bob Sanguinetti, D - Junior Team: Brampton Battalion (OHL) - From the moment he arrived in Brampton after Rangers’ training camp this past fall, Sanguinetti was a more confident, knowledgeable player. He began to put up big numbers almost immediately, and in mid-November, the blueliner was named OHL Player of the Week. Although he is expected to play with the Wolf Pack next season, Sanguinetti has an outside chance at an NHL defensive roster spot next fall. Currently, Sanguinetti is a member of the team that will represent the United States in the IIHF U20 World Junior Championships

Antoine LaFleur, G - Junior Team: PEI Rocket (QMJHL) - The Rangers were impressed with LaFleur’s regular season 2006-07 statistics (27-19; 2.97; .909). LaFleur did not play as well in the playoffs, and has continued his lackluster play to begin this season. LaFleur is currently sharing the netminding duties with rookie Marc-Antoine Gelinas.

...looks to me that Hillier, Zaborsky and Sanguinetti are the guys we're most likely to see on the Rangers out of this group.

Possible Ranger/Blue Jacket Trade

Tom Reed over at the Columbus Dispatch, reports that a Rangers scout has been spotted at three recent Blue Jacket games, while Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson attended Thursday night's Ranger/Wild game...

"New York Rangers scout Rick Kehoe has been spotted here on three occasions in recent weeks. On Thursday, Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson watched the Rangers play in Minnesota. Hey, we can speculate, no?

The teams don’t seem trade compatible on the major league level, however. Both need offense. Despite their $51 million payroll, the Rangers are the league’s lowest scoring team.

The Rangers have four unrestricted free agents on the blueline, including Marek Malik, who’s fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.

Malik, 32, was part of the Rangers’ shutdown defensive pair last season, but he has a penchant for turnovers. He doesn’t seem like a Hitchcock guy." have to figure these two teams are discussing a trade as they don't face each other this year so there's no need to do advance scouting.

...I also find it odd that Reed would mention Malik's name. Hopefully, as a beat writer, he knows something.

...maybe the Blue Jackets would trade us Rick Nash for Malik. A forward with 18 goals and 13 assists for a defenseman who has been rotting in the press box, seems fair to me.

Hockey Buzz: Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

Lots of Rumors out there, mostly from HockeyBuzz, which aren't necessarily true, but they're still fun to discuss...

This one from HockeyBuzz mentions the Rangers needs for d and grit...

"NY Rangers: They will go and get their d-man, but they will also be looking for a Raffi Torres type of player..."

...I don't think this is much of a rumor as you would assume that the Rangers are in the market for a defenseman. Its a good thing the report doesn't say the Rangers are looking at Raffi Torres as he is out 3-4 weeks with a sprained ACL.

Another rumor from HockeyBuzz involves Jagr...

"There are people in the Rangers organization who are starting to question some of the 'choices being made based around #68.' One person I talked to today reiterated what I was told by a source "not as close to the scene." He said, 'There comes a point when you start to ask yourself, 'How far do we go to make a single player comfortable.'

The team that is most often linked to Jagr is Edmonton, although I have also heard the Penguins would make a serious pitch..."

...I don't believe any of this Jagr trade talk, but I can see how people in the Rangers organization could be getting fed up with him as he has seemed lost lately. Jagr hasn't scored in 9 games and now other parts of his game are suffering as well. As seen Thursday night when he was stripped of the puck by Demitra in the defensive end and then just stood there as Demitra fed Gaborik for his 1st of 5 goals on the night.

NHL's Amazing Feats

In the aftermath of Martin Gaborik's five goal performance against the Rangers the other night, David Amber of gives his top ten NHL rarities, one of which includes a marathon shootout with the Rangers...

"10. Rangers-Capitals shootout lasts 15 rounds (Nov. 26, 2005) - You don't have to tell us the shootout era in the NHL has been a short one. But of the 364 played through Thursday, one stands alone as a rare moment … with an unpredictable finish. When the Rangers and Capitals faced off at Madison Square Garden, both clubs played 65 minutes of back-and-forth hockey before the real game began. Henrik Lundqvist and Olaf Kolzig faced shooter after shooter in the shootout. Then, Bryan Muir and Jason Strudwick both scored in the 14th round to keep the marathon going. (Bizarre considering the average NHL shootout has 6.8 shots.)

Finally, the 30th shooter, hulking defenseman Marek Malik, lumbered down the ice and shocked everyone with a through-the-legs dipsy-do that would have made even Wayne Gretzky blush. Malik, who has averaged a modest four goals per season during his 12-year NHL career, was the hero despite the fact that the Rangers only called on him after every forward and almost every defensemen already took shots. It was a highlight-reel goal, and truly a strange finish that has not been duplicated."

...I know most Rangers fans are not in love with Malik, but you have to admit that goal was pretty sick.

...if you want to re-live that Ranger memory, here you go...

Rocky Mountain Low

The New York Rangers (17-14-4) lost to the Colorado Avalanche (20-13-2) last night by a score of 4-3 in OT. Wojtek Wolski tapped in the winning shot 1:16 into overtime, and Milan Hejduk scored twice for the Avalanche. Brendan Shanahan, Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist had 33 saves in the lose. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports. bpette02 said in the comments section of my previous post, the Rangers are definitely sucking the Christmas spirit right out of their fans right now. The Rangers are now 3-5-2 in the month of December after going 10-3-1 in November.

...thankfully for the Rangers, Lundqvist found his game on the flight over from Minnesota, because without his 1st period heroics that game could have been over early.

...I actually thought the game was entertaining. A lot of back and forth, a couple of scraps and some great goaltending.

...since I'm sick of writing about all the negatives, I'm going to stick with with some positives today. I'm really loving Gomez right now. The guy is really playing well. He's scoring goals, making plays and is all over the ice.

...and as President of the Nigel Dawes Fan Club I'm very happy to report that Nigel has been working hard and even scored the other night against Wild. Hopefully he is doing enough to stay with the Blue Shirts when Hossa and Avery are healthy.

...the Rangers need to get their rest today as the Ottawa Senators are in town tomorrow. The Senators have won 4 of 5, however, we catch them on the backend of back to back games as they host Blackhawks tonight. So hopefully we'll see a tired Senators team tomorrow night.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sakic and Smyth Out Tonight

According to, Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth are almost certain to miss tonight's game...

"The Colorado Avalanche could be without two of their most important players for the next few games and possibly more, according to a Denver Post report.

Forward Ryan Smyth is waiting for the test results on a neck injury so severe that even a slight move of the head causes severe pain. Center Joe Sakic continues to suffer with an injured groin.

Sakic has not played since picking up the injury in a game at San Jose on Nov. 30 and hasn't skated at all since Saturday after the groin apparently tightened..."

...without those two in the lineup tonight we might actually have a chance. Sorry to sound so negative, but this team is really frustrating me right now. Hopefully we can take advantage of this.

Avalanche Blogging

Check on the latest on the Colorado Avalanche at Mile High Hockey.

...looks like the Avalanche has been decimated by injury lately. Maybe we'll catch a break tonight.

Rangers vs. Avalanche Preview

Tonight the New York Rangers (17-14-3) complete their two-game mini road trip when they visit the Colorado Avalanche (19-13-2). The Rangers have played the Avalanche just once since 2003, losing 2-1 at Madison Square Garden in December 2005. The Rangers have lost six straight against the Avalanche since January 2002. The Avs had won three in a row and five of six before losing their last game to Anaheim. Goalie Peter Budaj will likely earn his fifth straight start for Colorado on Friday, having allowed two or fewer goals in each of the past four games. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...not much to report on the Rangers yet today. The only change I'm expecting in the lineup tonight would be inserting Hossa. His presence is needed on the PK. Might even see him on the 3rd line, which struggled to get any offense going last night.

...hoping to see a bounce back game from Lundqvist tonight. He has been far from his steller self lately, as he has allowed 4 or more goals in 4 of the last 6 games.

...I'll have more later.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One Wild Game

Tonight the New York rangers (17-14-3) were defeated by the Minnesota Wild (20-12-2) by a score of 6-3. Marian Gaborik posted the NHL's first five-goal game in 11 years for the Wild. Michal Rozsival, Martin Straka and Nigel Dawes scored for New York, which fell to 2-5-1 in its last eight. Henrik Lundqvist has allowed at least four goals for the fourth time in six starts. He was pulled in the third period after giving up six goals on 18 shots. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...let me start by saying I never like giving excuses, but that had to of been the most one-sided officiated game I've seen in a while. Whether it was the elbow to Prucha's head, Drury being cross-checked in front of the crease or Kim Johnsson leaving his feet to check Gomez nothing was called on the Wild. Then to make matters worse the officials call two unsportsmanlike conducts on the Rangers for arguing. I don't remember the last time I saw a game with one penalty for arguing let alone two. Then they cap it off by calling Gomez for goaltender interference after he was checked from behind into Harding. And of course the Wild capitalized on every opportunity. The referees from this game need to be reprimanded for their absolutely atrocious officiating tonight. that I got that out of my system, the Rangers lost their cool tonight. They showed no composure at all. Sure the calls weren't going our way, but a strong team fights through it not takes cheap shots like Gomez and Rozsvial did. By doing so they only made things worse and the Rangers look childish in the process. to the actual game. Do you think the Rangers could have put somebody on Gaborik tonight? That guy was left unchecked and wide open all night. If Valiquette doesn't make a tremendous save on him late in the game he would have had six goals. I know Gaborik is good, but c'mon.

...when I'm wrong about things on this blog I don't run and hide from them. I confront them. We need Marcel Hossa in the lineup. The penalty kill looked terrible. Hossa's defense has rarly been questioned and it was sorely missed on the PK tonight. He has to be on the 4th line tomorrow with Hollweg or Orr watching from the press box.

...the Rangers better put this game behind them real quick as they travel to Colorado to take on the Avalanche tomorrow. If they don't find a way to turn this around, we all know what the upcoming schedule looks like, these next few weeks could get real ugly.

Lineup Intact

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Coach Tom Renney has decided to not make any changes to the lineup for tonight's game...

"...After scoring four goals and playing outstanding defense against Pittsburgh, Rangers coach Tom Renney kept his reconfigured lines intact... 'I think we've got to let this go for a couple games. Coaches change their minds like we change our socks,' Renney said. 'You'd like to think we can get something going, get some momentum off these combinations, knowing we've got fallback positions. Knowing the people who are involved, this looks the best for us.'

So, LW Marcel Hossa, who has recovered from the flu, will be scratched for the third consecutive game..."

...this is great news. Good job coach. You're finally getting it.

Minnesota Wild Talk

To see what the Minnesota Wild are up to check out Wild Puck Banter.

...from what I read it looks like the Wild are having a tough time on the power play. Sound familiar.

Rangers vs. Wild Preview

Tonight the New York Rangers (17-13-3) visit the Minnesota Wild (19-12-2). The Rangers have not played in Minnesota since a 5-3 loss on Oct. 10, 2003. The Rangers have scored at least three goals in all eight meetings between these teams, winning six. The Wild has put together a three-game winning streak behind the outstanding play of their backup goaltender Josh Harding. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...with the unbalanced schedule its a real treat to finally see some of these Western Conference teams. Its a real shame that the Rangers haven't played a game in Minnesota in over 4 years. As you can see by their record Minnesota is having a solid season and are currently tied for 1st place in the Northwest Division. This should be a nice test for the Rangers.

...I feel confident going into this game, as I'm very happy with the lineup right now. The only thing that would put a damper on it is if Hossa is inserted anywhere in the lineup other than the 4th line. I noted in the previous post the Rangers have a grueling stretch ahead and if they want to come out alive, Lundqvist is going to have to regain the form he had earlier in the year.

...Minnesota plays a defensive system similar to the Rangers so I don't expect much scoring tonight. The Wild's big guns are Gaborick and Rolston. If the Rangers can hold them off the score sheet they should be just fine.

Tough Road Ahead

...I was just checking out the Rangers upcoming schedule and its a doozy...

12/20 - @Wild, 12/21 - @Avalanche, 12/23 - Senators, 12/26 - Hurricanes, 12/29 - @ Maple Leafs, 12/30 - Canadiens, 1/2 - @Flames, 1/3 - @ Canucks, 1/5 - @ Oilers.

...this grueling schedule begins tonight with a game against the Wild. Hopefully we can use the momentum from the Penguin game to start this tough stretch off on the right foot.

Malik Mopes

Larry Brooks has an article in today's New York Post on Marek Malik's reaction to sitting in the press box...

"...'I know I can play a lot better, and I think I showed that the last two years, but right now I feel like I've lost a little confidence,' the 32-year-old, nine-year NHL veteran said following yesterday's practice...

...'When it happened the first time I was kind of ticked off,' Malik said. 'I didn't think I deserved it but I was terrible in the Phoenix game, so I can understand why I came out again. It was one of the worst games I've played in the last six years; my confidence was gone, my timing was awful.'...

...'I'm not really happy with this, but this is the situation.'"

...the sad thing about Malik is that he actually thinks he's played well the last two years. Someone needs to show this guy some game tape.

...while Malik is not happy with this, every Ranger fan is elated.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

HockeyBuzz: Rangers Intensify Looks for D-man

According to Eklund at HockeyBuzz, the Rangers are still eyeing a trade for a defenseman...

"I am also hearing that the Rangers are intensifying their looks at a d-man, and that Liles, Morris, and even Pitkanen are popping up in talks today."

...I've seen Eklund mention Liles and Morris as potential targets for the Rangers but this is the first I've seen of the Oilers Pitkanen. Pitkanen has 4 goals, 4 assists and is a +1 on the season. Pitkanen doesn't make sense for the Rangers as he's not much of an upgrade over what we have. Although if Eklund is reporting it I probably don't have much to worry about.

A Night Out With Sean Avery

Alex Williams at the New York Times, gives us this look into a night out with Sean Avery...

"...Out on the town with him, however, one wonders what Mr. Avery has to be so surly about. Mr. Avery has spent much of his career squiring around girlfriends like Rachel Hunter and Elisha Cuthbert. Equally at home in the penalty box or the front row of a Calvin Klein show, he has become the rarest of sports subspecies: the boldface hockey bruiser.

“In a way, I want to make our sport cooler,” Mr. Avery said of his high-profile exploits.

The fans at Madison Square Garden don’t need to be sold. Earlier that Monday, the muscular Mr. Avery, dressed in a black V-neck while recovering from wrist surgery, had made a surprise appearance in the raucous upper ring of the arena known as the “blue seats” during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes..."

...this article is a bit of a let down as there's no reports of late night debauchary. I thought this guy was cool. Just kidding Sean we love you.

Gomez and Jagr Mesh Well

Over at The Blueshirt Blog, John Dellapina, reports on the successful return of Gomez to the first line...

"Jagr’s take was that the Gomez who centered him tonight was a far more confident, significantly quicker Gomez than the guy with whom he could not connect through seven games in late October. Gomez didn’t want to go too deep into analysis after one game back with Jagr, but he did concede that he might have overthought their pairing the first time around, forcing the puck to the captain in his early-season attempt to be a good new teammate.

Then again, Gomez might have had it just right when he said the key to the success of the top line (three goals, two assists) against Pittsburgh in tonight’s 4-0 victory was the presence of Martin Straka on the left wing. Straka, of course was injured for five of the seven games Gomez played with Jagr in October."

...I like both players take on why their line was so successful last night. In the 9 games since Renney's pep talk with Gomez about shooting more, Gomez has 4 goals 6 assists. With teams now respecting Gomez' shooting prowess it should open up some scoring opportunities for Jagr.

...but I think Gomez said it best when he said that the key to their line is Straka. Jagr is lost without Straka. With those two paired with a play making center, I'm expecting much more offense from that line. Even more than when Nylander centered them last year.

Hossa Back in the Lineup?

Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report, says that Hossa will most likely be back in the lineup Thursday night...

"Marcel Hossa appears to be headed back in the lineup, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow."

...Renney finally gets the lineup right, the Rangers respond with a 4-0 victory and now he wants to change the lineup again?

...the only way I won't be completely out-of- my-mind upset with this move is if Hossa is put on the 4th line for either Hollweg or Orr. Because having a player who has 1 goal in 27 games on any other line but the 4th is unacceptable.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now That's More Like It

The New York Rangers (17-13-3) defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins (16-15-2) tonight by a score of 4-0. Scott Gomez had 2 goals, while Martin Straka and Chris Drury each had a goal and an assist. Henrik Lundquvist had to make only 18 saves for his 6th shutout of the season. The Rangers improved to 3-1 against the Penguins this season and are 7-1-1 in their last nine home games in the series. For a full recap go to Yahoo! Sports.

...Renney finally puts out a lineup that makes sense and the Rangers respond with a solid 4-0 victory.

...I can't give all the credit to the Rangers as the Penguins played like they were at Brother Jimmy's into 4 a.m. last night. I mean only 5 shots after two periods with Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar. Wow.

...great to see Gomez and Drury proving to Renney that they should have been on the top two lines all year long. Gomez now has 8 goals on the season, he had only 13 all of last year. In his last 11 games, Drury has 5 goals and 5 assists. These two have taken a lot criticism this year for the lack of Ranger scoring, but it looks like they're finally starting to get comfortable.

...very happy to see an outstanding bounce back game for Hollweg, who has been just dreadful lately. He was hitting everything in sight and even drew a penalty.

...with the victory the Rangers are now only 2 points out of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Penguins Chat

Shelly Anderson's Penguins Chat gives a nice overview on what's going on in Penguinland. Here are some highlights...

SDWC: Do you believe Sabourin can hold up as the #1 until Fleury returns? I'd hate to see the team have to spend money on a veteran stopgap only to be stuck with him later in the year.

Shelly Anderson: So far, so good. This might be a good time for that high-powered offense to kick it up so that Sabourin doesn't have to play like Ken Dryden to keep them in games. As you say, and as the earlier answer indicates, the Penguins would rather not have to find a different short-term answer.

The_priapist: Hi Shelly. Thanks for taking our questions. What's Sergei Gonchar's status? Will he be available for tomorrow night's game against the Rangers?

Shelly Anderson: Like Scuderi, Sergei Gonchar was back at practice. He apparently is over his flu-like illness. Sabourin played despite similar if milder symptoms. So far, it hasn't struck anyone else on the team.

...I promise to have more of these features on our opponents in the future. I've been too busy focusing on our team to worry about the opponents lately. Enjoy.

Ranger vs. Penguins Preview

Tonight, the New York Rangers (16-13-3) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (16-14-2). The Rangers are 2-1-0 this season against the Penguins, winning 4-2 at MSG on Nov. 8. New York is 6-1-1 in its last eight home games versus Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh rebounded from consecutive losses by holding on for a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Captain Jaromir Jagr has only one assist in his last six games. He has seven goals in 32 games this season after he had 14 at this point in 2006-07. For a full preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

...we finally have our top two centers playing on the top two lines, Dawes playing on the second line, and Malik and Hossa sitting in the press box. The only thing missing is a banged up Avery, but I'm very happy with the lineup tonight. is imperative that the Rangers score the first goal tonight. The team's psyche is so fragile right now that an early goal will most likely send this team into a tailspin similar to last game.

...Marc-Andre Fleury has been sidelined with a sprained ankle, so Dany Sabourin figures to make his fifth straight start tonight and his first against the Rangers. We need to fire pucks at this kid early and often. this point I don't care that Crosby and Malkin are in town because we have too much going on with our team to worry about the opponent. If the Rangers can get their house in order, there isn't a team in the Eastern Conference, minus the Senators, who scare me.

Nice Knowing You Al

Sam Weinman is now reporting on the Rangers Report, that Al Montoya will be returning to Hartford and Henrik Lundqvist will be starting tonight...

"...Yes, it looks like Al Montoya’s trip down the Official Greg Moore Highway was all for naught. Henrik Lundqvist took part in the morning skate today, looked fairly sharp, and is in tonight against the Penguins. As I write this, Montoya is on the ice working out with scratches Marcel Hossa, Marek Malik (control yourselves) and Sean Avery, meaning I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back in Hartford by dinner..."

...this is obviously good news because it means Lundqvist is healthy enough to play in tonight's game.

Montoya Called Up

According to Sam Weinman at the Rangers Report, the Rangers haved called up Hartford Wolf Pack goaltender and former 1st round pick Al Montoya for tonight's game vs. the Penguins...

"The Rangers have called up Al Montoya, presumably to hedge against Henrik Lundqvist not being ready to even be a backup tonight. Whether Montoya plays is the question..."

...if Lundqvist can't go tonight, I'd love to see Montoya get the start. I know Valiquette had some nice starts earlier this year, but his last two have been spotty and right now I don't have much confidence in him. Especially, with the Crosby and Malkin in town.

...I think having Montoya in goal tonight, might also motivate the team to get the guy his first NHL win.

...Montoya's stats this year: Games played 17; Goals Against 39; Shutouts 0; GAA 2.48; Save % .908; Record 8-5-2. Not bad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Name Your Price

In yesterday's New York Post, Larry Brooks reports that Henrik Lundqvist has leverage over the Rangers organization when it comes to his contract negotiations, which should start in January...

"...What is Lundqvist, who can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, worth to the Rangers? He's worth pretty much any dollar amount he and agent Don Meehan request. Let's face it. The Rangers have no leverage in the negotiation. They had leverage last summer and were afraid to use it, instead signing the goaltender to a one-year, $4.25M deal when an arbitration hearing almost certainly would have yielded an award of between $2.8-3.3M, given the comparables.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, the league's highest-paid goaltender, is working for $6.75M per. Lundqvist can certainly start there if he wants. The Rangers gave two free-agent centers, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, deals in excess of $7M per last year. The King can start there if he wants and no one could blame him...

... If Lundqvist somehow gets to July 1 unsigned, everyone should expect him to receive an offer sheet for at least $9M per, and it will be one the Rangers will have no choice to match. The King is going to get his money. It's just a question of whether it's going to come from the Rangers or from somewhere else..."

...I missed this article yesterday, but its safe to say that Lundqvist has, as George Costanza would say, 'hand' when it comes to his contract negotiations with the Rangers.

...the way contracts are being put together we might see a DiPietroesque 15 year deal.

Ranger Scouts Attend Ducks/Sharks Game

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Ranger scouts where in attendance at a recent Ducks/Sharks game...

"...It might not mean anything, but with the nine-day NHL trade freeze beginning Wednesday scouts from 14 NHL teams were in the Honda Center on Sunday night.

Franchises represented were Pittsburgh, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus, Toronto, Detroit, Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis and both New York teams, the Rangers and Islanders..."

...not sure who the Rangers might be interested in on either of these teams, but I've seen Matthew Schneider's name mentioned as someone the Ducks are willing to part with since the return of Scott Niedermayer. With the Rangers in desperate need of an offensive minded defenseman, you never know.

What Me Worry?

Over at, Stan Fischler thinks that the Rangers have noting to worry about heading into Tuesday night's showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins...

"...To worry or not to worry (about the direction in which Tom Renney's troops are heading)?

Answer: NOT!

The 5-1 loss to Phoenix on Sunday night was an aberration, or, eccentricity, if you will..."

...the Maven has officially lost his mind. Not sure what team he's been watching the last fews weeks, but it is absolutely time to worry. the Maven not worrying about the Rangers scoring the second least amount of goals in the league or the fact that they've given up at least 4 goals in 4 of the last 5 games.

Rangers Down to #10 in TSN Poll

The Rangers continue to plummet in the TSN poll as they dropped to #10 this week from #7...

#10 New York Rangers - What can the Rangers do with Jaromir Jagr? As long as he's in a funk -- and one assist and minus-7 in the last six games sure qualifies -- the Rangers aren't going anywhere.

...can you believe that TSN actually had this team ranked #2 only a few weeks ago.

We Want Baranka!!!

Bruce Berlet at the Hartford Courant, has a nice read about Ivan Baranka's development with the Hartford Wolfpack...

"...Baranka has made enough happen this season to get three goals and seven assists and lead Pack defensemen in plus/minus (plus-12). It helped earn him his first NHL game in which he played 17 shifts for 12:44 and assisted on Colton Orr's winning goal in a 2-1 victory. He didn't play in a 3-2 loss to Florida Nov. 23 and then returned to the Pack..."

...with the way the defense is playing its only a matter of time till we see Baranka up with the Blue Shirts. his one game earlier this year I thought he was solid and didn't seem out of place. Obviously assisting on the game winner never hurts.