Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Renney: Something Unique

Its no secret that I despise the Rangers participating in the 1st Annual Victoria Cup against Metallurg Magnitogorsk tomorrow (see here). My main concern is that one of these Russian players trying to make a name for himself will take out a key component of our team. Its on Tom Renney to make sure these guys know that Metallurg is going to come out physical and ready to play. If the Rangers think they're playing a team similar to the over-matched SC Bern team who looked just happy to be there they'll be in for a shock. Here's what Renney said about how the Rangers will view this game...

"We have to treat it as something a little bit unique, it's the inaugural Cup. It's an opportunity to purse that and treat it with the respect it deserves. The opponents, too. They would like nothing more than to beat us. But the most important thing is to get ready to play National Hockey League hockey and take care of Game 1 against Tampa Bay in Prague," Renney said to Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants.

Drury Looking Comfortable With Gomez

Brett Cyrgalis at The Blue Seats discusses how comfortable Chris Drury looked with Scott Gomez today. Saying this about how Gomez can elevate Drury's game...

"The point is that Drury is going to get a lot more scoring opportunities playing on Gomez's wing. He's not necessarily the direct playmaker that Gomez is, and maybe that's why his production wasn't where he wanted it to be last year. As an indirect playmaker, he will see more success."

...so I guess I jumped the gun the other day when I said the Drury on the wing experiment failed. Although success against an obviously over matched SC Bern team should hardly be considered as a given that Drury will produce on the wing.

Cyrgalis also looks at Prucha's size, Redden's offensive ability, Valiquette finally playing well and Dubinsky scoring a Gretzkyesque goal today.

Video: Al & Joe Breakdown Ranger Win vs. SC Bern

Eklund: Lundqvist To Possibly Have Knee Surgery

Eklund at HockeyBuzz reports...

"BUT, as I have been mentioning, there are swirling rumors that a deal is in place involving an Eastern Conference squad. Rumors include the Sens, Thrashers (odd to me, too)...and the NY Rangers. The latter could tell us something about a possible Lundqvist injury...involving a knee? Maybe involving surgery?"

...any concerns Ranger fans might have had regarding Lundqvist's knees have just been alleviated by this report from Eklund.

...i can't believe people actually pay this guy for unsubstantiated rumors such as this.

Video: Rangers Bonding in Europe

Rangers Send Sundin Ultimatum; Look to Sign Shanahan

Steve Buffery at the Toronto Sun reports...

"According to media reports, the New York Rangers have issued a ultimatum of sorts to free agent Mats Sundin: Make up your if you want to play for us. The Rangers, the Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canucks, had expressed interest in signing the veteran. The Rangers are attempting to sign veteran forward Brendan Shanahan."

...i thought the Rangers gave Sundin a deadline of two weeks ago (see here)?

...not sure about you guys but i've pretty much had enough of the Sundin, Shanahan rumors.

Rangers 8 SC Bern 1

The New York Rangers defeated SC Bern by a score of 8-1, today in Switzerland. The Rangers are now 2-5 this preseason.

For pictures from today's game visit newyorkrangers.com.

For game recap visit Blueshirt Bulletin or newyorkrangers.com.

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says fans shouldn't get too excited over this win against 'a clearly inferior Bern team' and wonders whether it was counterproductive preparation to play in a European sized rink.

...didn't see the game. Nice to see the Rangers finally score more than 2 goals.

Live Blogging Rangers vs. SC Bern

Newyorkrangers.com will be live blogging today's game vs. SC Bern. Click here.

Tuesday's Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers' trip brings lots of baggage

Blueshirt Bulletin - Update From the Morning Skate

...sorry so late getting started today. As I'm sure you guys already know the Rangers are up 1-0 over SC Bern in the 1st period.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Osgood Better Than Giacomin & Richter?

Mike Kern at XM Radio NHL Home Ice gives his Top 30 goaltenders since 1940 and you won't believe who he has ranked ahead of Eddie Giacomin and Mike Richter. Or maybe by reading the title of this post you can...


1. Martin Brodeur 2. Jacques Plante 3. Glenn Hall 4. Patrick Roy 5. Dominik Hasek 6. Terry Sawchuk 7. Bernie Parent 8. Billy Smith 9. Ken Dryden 10. Ed Belfour 11. Bill Durnan 12. Grant Fuhr 13. Tony Esposito 14. Johnny Bower 15. Gerry Cheevers 16. Gump Worsley 17. Rogie Vachon 18. Tom Barrasso 19. Frank Brimsek 20. Andy Moog 21. Mike Vernon 22. Turk Broda 23. Chris Osgood 24. Ed Giacomin 25. Chuck Rayner 26. Mike Richter 27. Roberto Luongo 28. Ron Hextall 29. Roger Crozier 30. Harry Lumley

...i know as Rangers fans we're going to be impartial to our guys. But c'mon, you're going to tell me that Barrasso, Moog, Vernon and Osgood were/are better than Richter. I could even give you a great argument that Richter was better than Belfour.

...too much hardware for Brodeur, Roy, Hasek, Smith and Fuhr to argue against them.

...i didn't put Giacomin in there because its almost impossible to compare goaltenders in the pre-facemask era to those of today. Two completely different animals.

Practice Update

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants says that Marc Staal was back at practice today. However, he might sit tomorrow to give either Corey Potter or Brian Fahey a chance to prove themselves. Gross also reports that Petr Prucha played on a line with Gomez and Drury today.

...while Prucha has looked good this preseason. He's going to have to start scoring some goals if he wants a permanent spot in the line-up, not one in the press box.

Pock Claimed By Islanders

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report says that the New York Islanders have claimed Tomas Pock off waivers. Weinman thinks this is best for both parties saying...

"Whatever upside Pock displayed as a puck-moving defensemen, it was apparent in his tenure with the team that the Rangers’ brass was never too enamored with him. Whether it was an inability to process the game at an NHL speed or whispered doubts about his grit, Pock was never going to get the chance with the Rangers he’ll probably get at Nassau Coliseum."

...for some reason I've always liked Pock and never felt he got a fair chance with the Rangers. He proved during the 2007 run to the playoffs that he could play and play well in the NHL.

...this definitely is a great move for Pock as he'll get a chance to play. I just hope it doesn't come back to burn us when Pock steps up his game against the Rangers to prove them wrong.

Despite Construction, Atmosphere Will Not Be Lacking in Bern

Andrew Podnieks at Slap Shot reports that despite on-going summer renovations at PostFinance Arena in Bern 'the ice itself is pristine, and when the renovation of the building is finished it will return to its classic, albeit upgraded, European look.' Regarding the atmosphere Podniek says 'it’s as cold as an old Prairie barn, and at ice level the of Zamboni fumes waft pleasantly. Hockey truly is in the air here.'

...should be a great scene in Bern for the next two games. Podniek also has a video of the crazed SC Bern fans.

Eklund: Rangers Looking to Make a Move

Eklund at HockeyBuzz has this report...

According to a source this morning, a lack in scoring has led the Rangers to seek offensive help by possibly packaging a few prospects for a proven scorer "should Sundin not be heading to NY."

...no way the Rangers are going to make a panic move based on six preseason games. Plus its coming from Eklund so you know its not true.

Monday's Headlines

Newsday - Rangers prepare for games in Europe

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Staying Pat, Valiquette vs. Bern & Staal Hurt

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report tells us that Tom Renney will be sticking with his line combinations from yesterday meaning Chris Dury will stay on Gomez' wing. Weinman says this is notable because 'Among the knocks against the coach is that he is a) too defensive-minded and b) too trigger happy jumbling his lines.' Weinman also reports that Valiquette will start against SC Bern and Lundqvist in the Victoria Cup game.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rant reports that Marc Staal injured either his shoulder or arm in yesterday's loss to the Devils.

...despite my saying that the Drury experiment didn't work, I'm glad Renney's giving it another chance. I'd actually stay with it the next two games. Renney needed to change the Dawes-Drury-Prucha line. Not enough size.

...with the way Redden and Rozsival have been playing this preseason we better hope Staal's injury isn't too serious.

European Vacation

Here are some articles on the Rangers arriving in Europe...

Newyorkrangers.com - First Day in Europe an Eye-Opener

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Moment of Silence

I'd be remiss of I didn't mention the passing of one of the greatest actors of all time Paul Newman. While Newman had more prominent roles (Cool Hand Luke and The Hustler) hockey fans every where will remember Newman for his portrayal of Reggie "Reg" Dunlop in Slap Shot. RIP Mr. Newman.

Video: John, Joe & Chico Recap Rangers Loss to Devils

Devils 4 Rangers 2

The New York Rangers lost to the New Jersey Devials by a score of 4-2, today at MSG. The Rangers are now 1-5 in the preseason.

For a recap, box score and play-by-play go to newyorkrangers.com.

For post game analysis and quotes go to Ranger Report and Blueshirt Bulletin.

...i didn't see a second of this game, but all I can say is only two goals again!!!!

...looks like the Drury on the wing experiment didn't work out. I actually would like to see Dubinsky put on the wing. He would be great fighting in the corners to dig pucks out and feed Drury on the crease. Just a thought.

...from what I've read Redden had another tough game. I told you I was worried about this guy.

...hopefully this team just needs some more practice time together which they should get in the next couple of days.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bertuzzi Incident Still Haunts Naslund

Back in 2004, when Todd Bertuzzi ended Steve Moore's career with a disgraceful sucker-punch from behind. It was Markus Naslund that he was sticking up for. Reports out of Vancouver have suggested that Naslund was shaken by this incident and was the reason for his decline in play. Naslund has this to say...

"It still bothers me what Todd has had to go through over this and the way it's dragged on and on over the years," said Naslund to Tony Gallagher at the Vancouver Province. "I still keep in close contact with him and it's been tough on him. It's taken its toll. There's no question he was standing up for me and for his teammates when it happened and it all went too far. All of the circumstances around it went the wrong way and got out of hand. It's been a long road and he's been through a lot. I feel bad for him and the way it's worked out for everyone involved."

...i'm sure the incident had an affect on Naslund, but I think the fact that Naslund didn't have Bertuzzi's size and ability in the line-up had more of an affect on his game.

25 Preseason Games!!!!

With the Rangers touring Europe this preseason and opening up in Prague, Evan Weiner at NHL.com sits down with Ranger great Rod Gilbert to discuss playing in Europe for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series and the preseason schedule the Rangers had his rookie year, which he had this to say...

"We used to use training camp to get into shape, now these guys come in in shape and they go into their season prepared and ready to go," Gilbert said. "We were making only $7,000 for the whole year and then we played 25 extra games so they could pay for their training camp for the expenses of flying all the players. I remember starting in Vancouver and playing all throughout Canada, across Canada and our 25th game was in Moncton, New Brunswick. I played every night, every game because I was a rookie. Our training camp was over a month, like a month and a half, so we played 25 games in about 35 days."

...back then it was all about the love of the game. Could you imagine the protests from today's players if they had to endure a 25 game preseason schedule? Which does seem a bit excessive by the way.

26 Must Be Cut to 23

After the first set of cuts today, 26 players still remain in camp. 15 forwards (Dawes, Dubinsky, Zherdev, Callahan, Korpikoski, Voros, Rissmiller, Betts, Orr, Sjostrom, Prucha and Fritsche), 8 defensemen (Mara, Kalinin, Fahey, Staal, Girardi, Redden, Potter, and Rozsival) and 3 goaltenders (Lundqvist, Valiquette, and Wiikman). The Rangers must cut this to 23 players by the time they get back from Europe.

Obviously, Wiikman is on his way back to Hartford after the trip to Europe (Renney wants three goalies on the trip and the Rangers are allowed to carry 24 players in Prague) which leaves two cuts left.

On defense it will come down to Fahey or Potter. Both of these players have pluses and minuses, and as a seventh defenseman I'm not going to go crazy over who makes the team.

The big decision will be the last forward cut. I think the five players most vulnerable are Voros, Fritsche, Korpikoski, Rissmiller, and Sjostrom.

In my opinion Voros has shown enough toughness and skill to stick, while last night's performances from Fritsche (1 goal and 1 assist) and Korpikoski (1 goal) should have cemented their spot on the team.

So the final forward cut will most likely come down to Sjostrom or Rissmiller. I always like to go with the guy more familiar with the organization, so would lean towards Sjostrom sticking. I haven't seen enough or anything from Rissmiller that would allow me to argue for him to be on this team.

The next three games are the biggest in the lives Fahey, Potter, Sjostrom and Rissmiller. Really looking forward to seeing which of these players step-up.

Nedved Cut; Korpikoski Hanging Around

Petr Nedved's attempt to make the Rangers is over as he was among those cut this morning. Artem Anisimov, Greg Moore, Dale Weise, and Thomas Pock were reassigned as reported by Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report. Weinman also notes that Tom Renney had Chris Drury practicing on the wing with Gomez and Naslund this morning, while Korpikoski centered a line with Callahan and Voros.

Glen Sather had this to say on the Nedved cut...

“I told him this summer we had a lot of young guys and we have only so many spots,” Glen Sather told Weinman. “Plus, there’s a cap issue to deal with. I thought he played well. I just knew what we’d be up against. But I didn’t want to not give him the opportunity.”

Brett Cyrgalis at The Blue Seat has more here, while Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants analyses the cuts here.

...Nedved had to know that everything needed to break his way to make the team. He held up his end of the bargain, but Korpikoski was too good to be sent back down to Hartford.

Video: Sam & Joe Recap Home Loss to Tampa

Rangers Host Free Viewing Party

The Rangers and MSG invite Ranger fans to experience the Blueshirts open the 2008-09 regular season vs. Tampa Bay on Oct. 4 during an exclusive big-screen, high-definition (HD) viewing party at the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens. For more information click here.

Video: Orr In Mid-Season Form

Betts: Hopefully They Have Plans for Me

One of the more interesting subplots to this preseason is Petr Nedved possibly taking Blair Betts fourth line center spot.

For a team that has only scored 10 goals in five preseason games, Nedved's 2 goals and 1 assist is very appealing. But this team is about team defense first. And there's no one on this team that personifies that more than Blair Betts.

I can't see Nedved diving to block shots (Betts lead Ranger forwards last year) or playing significant minutes on the penalty kill giving players such as Gomez and Drury some rest.

When we need a line to shutdown Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin are you going to feel more comfortable with a line centered by Betts or Nedved?

Here's Betts on Nedved and the situation...

“He’s a great player that has made his name in the National Hockey League. I’m not exactly sure if I’m competing for a spot with him,” Betts said to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report. “If they’re looking to have him play on the fourth line and be on the power play and put the puck in the net and things like that, that’s their decision. My game’s not necessarily to go out there and score every night. It’s to play good defensively and be good on the penalty kill and things like that. Hopefully they have plans for me.”

Friday's Headlines

Newsday - Korpikoski continued to impress in preseason

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lightning 4 Rangers 2

The New York Rangers lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-2, tonight at MSG. The Rangers are now 1-4 on the preseason.

For recap, boxscore and play-by-play go to newyorkrangers.com.

For post game quotes go to Blue Notes.

...at least they didn't lose 3-2 again.

...didn't watch much of the game as I was too busy biting my nails off watching the Mets. Beltran!!!! But from what I saw, Prucha has to get some confidence back in his offensive game. He could have easily had a hat trick tonight.

...can't see how Korpikoski doesn't make this team. Even if we have to put him on a wing.

...is it me or is Voros literally trying to fight his way onto this team.

...i think Nedved is done. While he looks great now. You have to assume he's been giving his all just to make the team and won't look nearly this fresh come February when the games really start to count.

...once again tons of shots 47 and only 2 goals. I can't take another year of this.

...hopefully with most of our starters in there on Saturday against New Jersey we'll see a few more goals.

Cut Day

Stan Fischler at MSG.com looks at tomorrow's roster cut day and who'll still be around...

"Compelling individual performances by the likes of defensemen Brian Fahey and Michael Del Zotto, as well as forwards Pierre Parenteau and Lauri Korpikoski, over three exhibition games will force some re-thinking as to whether any – or none, for that matter – make the big club. And there are other interesting characters in the audition line as well.

But by far the most riveting issues involve the disposition of Petr Nedved and Brendan (Remember Me?) Shanahan."

...can't remember the last time roster cuts were so exciting. Performances in tonight's game should go a long way in making those decisions either difficult or easy.

Tonight's Line-up Against Tampa

Tonight's skeleton line-up courtesy of Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report...

Forwards: Rissmiller-Betts-Weisse; Parenteau-Nedved-Prucha; Sjostrom-Korpikoski-Orr; Voros-Callahan-Fritsche.

Defense: Fahey-Pock; Redden-Girardi; Potter-Kalinin

Goalie: Valiquette

Weinman also has some game day notes.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes looks at tonight's line-up.

Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin takes a look at how the preseason grind is taking its toll on the Rangers.

...Renney is giving the guys battling for the final few spots a big opportunity tonight to fight it out. Big night for Nedved, Korpikoski, Sjostrom, Pock, Fahey and Potter. Should be interesting.

Weinman Hosts Live Video Chat at 1 p.m.

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report will be hosting a live video chat at 1 p.m. today. To participate click here.

Dubinsky Ready for the Season

Newyorkrangers.com sits down with Brandon Dubinsky. Here's an excerpt...

newyorkrangers.com: You played on a line with Jaromir Jagr for much of last season but you’ll have some new linemates this year. Are there any guys particularly who you would like to see on your line for opening night?

Dubinsky: To be honest with you, as far as guys to play with ... to me, it doesn't make a difference. It's entirely up to Tom (Renney) and the coaching staff. Obviously, there's going to be some guys who fit well with other guys and it's just a matter of finding that. I think things are going to get juggled around a lot until we find those good combinations and that chemistry. So I'm just going out there optimistic every day. I certainly don't know who I'm ultimately going to end up playing with and jell with the best, so it's a great time and it's a lot of fun to do that as well.

...Dubinsky is the player I'm most excited about on this team. He is the future of the franchise and will be wearing the "C" within the next few years.

Thursday's Headlines


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Devils 3 Rangers 2

The New York Rangers lost to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-2, tonight in Newark. The Rangers are now 1-3 this preseason...

For a recap, boxscore and play-by-play go to Newyorkrangers.com.

For post game quotes visit Blue Notes.

...anyone else sick of losing 3-2.

...with 2 goals and 1 assist in 2 games is Nedved actually putting himself in a position to make this team? It wasn't all positive for Nedved tonight as he had a brutal giveaway leading directly to a Devils goal and he didn't seem as noticeable as Monday night. But for a team that is only averaging 2 goals a game this preseason, Renney is going to have to give Nedved a serious look.

...another bad game for Rozsival.

...by the way, no goals so far in four preseason games from Gomez, Drury, Dawes, Callahan, Prucha, Naslund, Zherdev or Fritshe. Paging Mr. Shanahan.

Offensive Numbers

Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin gives us a breakdown of the Rangers putrid offensive and goaltender numbers so far...

"Overall, the Rangers have nearly doubled their opponents' in shots on goal (114-59) but have scored only five goals -- their goalies have an anemic save percentage of .879 (.830 aside from Lundqvist's perfect 12 saves) while opposing goalies have an enviable .956 save percentage."

...while these numbers are scary to look at, I'm not very concerned. Obviously the goaltending stats will be much better with Lundqvist starting 85% of the games. And I think the offensive numbers will be much better once the entire team is assembled and able to work together.

Messier on WFAN

Yesterday, Mark Messier was a surprise guest on WFAN's Boomer & Carton radio program. To listen click here.

Tonight's Line-up Against Devils

Tonight's line-up courtesy of Andre Gross at Ranger Rants...

G: Henrik Lundqvist, Matt Zaba, Antoine Lafleur

D: Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Thomas Pock, Paul Mara, Vladimir Denisov, Brian Fahey

F: Nigel Dawes, Patrick Rissmiller, Brandon Dubinsky, Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan, Petr Prucha, Aaron Voros, Greg Moore, Dan Fritsche, Brodie Dupont, Dale Weise, Petr Nedved

Get Used to it

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report tells Ranger fans to get used to low scoring games...

"But I also think this team has still been built from the goaltender out, and the Rangers are counting on winning more games 2-1 than they are 5-4."

Weinman also tells fans to expect a lot of the Chris Drury-Petr Prucha-Nigel Dawes line, as well as Petr Nedved tonight in New Jersey.

...while I would much rather watch a high scoring, back and forth game (remember what an exciting game the 6-5 SO loss to Montreal was last year) if 2-1 games win them the Cup I'm all in.

Video: Sam & Joe Recap Loss to Tampa

Wednesday's Headlines

Newsday - Rangers' scoring woes continue in preseason loss

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lightning 3, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-2 in Tampa, tonight. The Rangers are now 1-2 in the preseason.

For a recap, box score and play by play visit newyorkrangers.com.

...is it me or do the team's performances so far remind you of last year. Tons of shots and no goals. Still I love the effort as we outshot Tampa 40-18.

...last night I gave a pass to Redden for letting Isbister get around him leading to an Ottawa score, but with Ryan Craig scoring after blowing past Redden again tonight, is it time to worry that this guy's lost a step? On a positive note he did have seven more shots on goal, giving him 13 in his first two games.

...i actually thought Hugh Jessiman played a solid game tonight. Went to the net hard a few times and drew a penalty.

...the Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev line continues to click, but a goal from one of them would be nice.

...big goal for Sjostrom at the end of the game. He's been real quite and could be a candidate to lose his job to a player like Korpikoski.

...was that two power play goals from the Rangers tonight. Wow!!! Actually, to be honest I feel the power play has looked much better than last year so far.

What Does Ticket Hike Buy Us?

Steve Soldwedel at The Blue Seats wonders what the recent ticket increase the Rangers implemented buys us fans...

Buy your "cheap" seat tickets online and you can tack on a $10 per ticket "convenience" charge with an extra $3.15 thrown in for "processing" and a pair will run you $115.

That's one-hundred fifteen simoleons. For the worst seats in the house. For a team that didn't have the decency to let Brendan Shanahan decide his own fate, instead letting him twist in the wind all off-season long. For a team that cut loose Sean Avery, a dynamic and energizing player beloved by the fans for his intensity and agitating style...

...this piece is very similar to the column I wrote two months ago. See here.

Video: Sam & Joe Recap Last Night's Game

Tonight's Line-up

Here's tonight's line-up in Tampa courtesy of Steve Zipay at Blue Notes...

F: Gomez, Naslund, Zherdev, Betts, Anisimov, Korpikoski, Jamtin, Jessiman, Orr, Parenteau, Byers, Sjostrom

D: Redden, Girardi, Kalinin, Del Zotto, Sanguinetti, Potter

G: Valiquette, Wiikman

...doesn't look like line combinations have been released yet.

Richter for Congress?

For the last couple of years former Ranger netminder Mike Richter has floated the idea of running for political office. Richter's personality and smarts would make him an ideal candidate. When asked about his political aspirations here's what Richter had to say...

“I won’t say never,” Richter said to Adam Proteau at The Hockey News. “One of the things I felt strongly about was that I got paid because the fans came out to see us play and you feel you owe a debt to people in a way, and public service is a pretty cool way of getting it back. You can use some of your stature or political capital to put yourself in a position to do something useful. We’ve got a lot of problems in the United States right now, and we could use a lot of help in making things better than they are.”

...if Richter does decide to run for office I bet he'd have a long line of Ranger fans willing to volunteer for his campaign.

Chemistry 101

Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline wonders how the Rangers chemistry will play out this season in his "NHL Burning Questions"...

New York Rangers: How will a chemistry 101 experiment play on Broadway? The Rangers reverted to old habits in the summer of 2007 when they opened up the check books for free agents Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, adding them to a lineup that included several young players and a veteran pack led by Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan. But the puzzle pieces had to be forced into place and barely made it to the playoffs. So GM Glen Sather went back to the drawing board, moving out Jagr, Sean Avery, Martin Straka, Marek Malik and, as of now, Shahanan, while spending some pretty big dollars again on free agents like Markus Naslund and Wade Redden, veteran players who have each been in rebound mode for at least two seasons. There were a few trades thrown in as well, which means the Rangers will have at least a half dozen new faces and a lot less Czech spoken in the dressing room.

...so far so good as the new players seem to be integrating themselves very well. Especially Zherdev and Naslund with Gomez.

Messier Sits Down with ESPN

Mark Messier talks to ESPN about the Yankee Stadium farewell, Brett Favre in the Big Apple, Sidney Crosby's new season and Sean Avery's interning at Vogue...

To Nedved or Not to Nedved

Last night Petr Nedved showed he still has some gas left in the tank. Heck, even Mark Messier mentioned how good he looked. But even if he continues this impressive play throughout the preseason can his 36-year-old body hold up? Brett Cyrgalis at The Blue Seats tries to answer this question...

"I guess what scares me about that is the memories of being in the stands between 1997-2004 and hearing the things that were said about Nedved. And when the games start getting quicker in October, will he be able to hang? And if he can't, will the fans get down on him, down on the team and begin a snowball effect of hatred? I just don't think his 36-year-old body, or his 36-year-old psyche would be able to deal with it."

Stan Fischler at MSG.com has more on Nedved making the cut.

...another reason to not give Nedved a roster spot is it will stunt the growth of younger players such as Korpikoski, Anisimov or Parenteau.

...plus we need a defensive presence on the 4th line which Blair Betts provides.

Tuesday Headlines

Daily News - Lauri Korpikoski's wait with Rangers is finally over

Newsday - Korpikoski makes case for Rangers roster spot

The Journal News - Rangers' Redden glad to be just a face in the crowd

Bergen Record - No win for Rangers, Shanahan


...while Lundqvist says its nothing. The fact that he does still feel "twinges" it is a concern.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rangers 2, Senators 1

The New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators by the score of 2 to 1 at MSG tonight to split the home-and-home series.

For a full recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports.

For post game quotes visit The Rangers Report.

...so does this mean Nedved actually has a shot at making this team? Maybe we could move Dubinsky to the wing on the second line and have Nedved center the third line? Do I have all the Nedved haters going nuts yet? But you have to admit, he did look pretty good out there.

...i know its only been two preseason games but I am loving the way this team looks right now. Playing hard, skating fast I love it. Right now it's looking like the decision to go with younger faster players is going to pay off.

...despite getting toasted by Isbister of all people, I thought Redden had a nice game. Including 6 shots on goal. I hope Rozsival was watching.

...Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev continued to click tonight and I think someone showed Zherdev the Larry Brooks article as he had a really nice back check while on the power play and his play against the boards to seal the game was outstanding.

...and Naslund got some major points with me for sticking up for Zherdev after Ruutu (Does anyone else want to punch that guy in the face?) took a cheap shot at him at the end of the game. Maybe he should be wearing the "C" afterall. Just kidding.

...by the way 0-7 on the power play. Perry Pern (insert insult here)!!!

Line-up News & Updates

The local beat writers report on the line-up for tonight and the next couple of preseason games...

Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report is having a hard time understanding the line-up for the next couple of days saying its complicated.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Matt Zaba, the goaltender from Colorado College who will play in either Charlotte or Hartford, is expected to relieve Lundqvist at the halfway point of the second period tonight.

Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin says that the late insertions of Dubinsky, Voros and Fahey into tonight's line-up has knocked Andreas Jamtin, Brodie Dupont and Maxim Kondratiev out.

Andrew Goss at the Bergen Record says Petr Nedved needs to make something happen, quickly tonight, if he has any shot at sticking around.

Naslund Can't Handle the "C"

Responding to NHL.com listing Marcus Naslund as a Ranger Captain in their game notes for the Rangers preseason opener in Ottawa on Saturday, Hockey Tard at HockeyDump takes a look (albeit sarcastic) at Naslund's ability to lead...

"This seems like an Amazingly wonderful idea considering Markus couldn't handle the pressure of wearing the "C" in Vancouver, so slapping one on his jersey in New York is about as bright as dumping some Vogue intern in the middle Texas.....oh, wait."

For more on the Rangers captaincy visit Puck Daddy.

...i'm assuming Renney just ceremoniously put Naslund down as a Captain for the game. Although you do have to wonder why he didn't give it to Gomez.

...i don't think many Ranger fans will be happy if Naslund skates out wearing the "C" tonight in the preseason home opener over Gomez. I know I won't.

Tonight's Line-up Against Ottawa

Courtesy of Steve Zipay at Blue Notes...

G: Lundqvist, Zaba

D: Redden-Girardi; Kalinin-Sanguinetti; Pock-Fahey.

F: Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev; Fritsche-Dubinsky-Weise; Voros-Nedved-Parenteau; Korpikoski-Anisimov-Orr

...very much looking forward to debuts of our new acquisitions. Also excited to see Sanguinetti and Weise.

...surprised to see Dubinsky in there again.

American Fritsche Excited to Be A Ranger

Newyorkrangers.com sits down with one of the newest Rangers Dan Fritsche...

Newyorkrangers.com: Going from a small market team like Columbus to one of the biggest U.S. market teams, do you feel like the atmosphere around you is going to be radically different?

Fritsche: Oh, absolutely. You said it right there. I think Columbus is probably the smallest market team in the NHL, the newest but still the smallest, and to go to absolutely no doubt the biggest market, an Original Six team, it's going to be a change of atmosphere for sure regarding that. As far as big city living and everything about this organization so far, I couldn't be happier. So I'm really excited.

...love the excitement the new players have coming to the Rangers organization.

Monday Headlines


...can't believe the Rangers actually told Shanahan he could come and try-out. That is such a slap in the face to a Hall of Fame player.

...c'mon Sather. Cut him loose or sign him. You're making a mockery of the situation.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Gaborik to the Rangers Rumors

The Vancouver Province reports...

"If the Wild can't come to terms with the potential unrestricted free agent - Gaborik will likely want at least $9 million US a year - before he hits the open market next July, you can bet GM Doug Risebrough will be on the blower to his two closest friends and former Canadiens teammates, Glen Sather and Bob Gainey."

...i assume the Rangers are going to be mentioned in every trade rumor. But if this is true, I'd say except for Dubinsky, Staal and Lundqvist they can have whomever they want for him.

Rangers NHL's True Flagship Franchise?

With the closing of Yankee Stadium, Ryan Dixon at The Hockey News wonders if there is a hockey team that equals the Yankees’ all-encompassing presence. The answer is obviously no, which even Dixon admits, but here's what he said about the Rangers chances...

"No team has the ability to raise the profile of the entire league continent-wide like the Rangers. There are certainly teams that are more beloved in their own city, but New York is New York. Make it big in Manhattan and the world pays attention."

...the Rangers could have easily been that team. They have the history, they have the historic arena. The only problem is they haven't had the success. Only four Cups since 1926 is a far cry from the Yankees 26 World Championships since 1913.

...it's too bad. We all witnessed and enjoyed the height of the NHL's popularity in 1994. Then the strike and it was all downhill from there.

...it makes you wonder if the Rangers had the same success as the Yankees would the NHL be a more popular sport? I think the answer is yes.

The Future is Now

Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future takes a look at how Ranger prospects are performing at training camp...

"With the top three forward lines pretty much set, absent a trade, forward prospects will try to fill at most two wing positions on the fourth line. Byers, Hugh Jessiman, and Lauri Korpikoski are considered to be the top prospects fighting for a wing roster position. Should the team not decide to go with veteran Blair Betts (who looks great in camp) in the fourth line center position, prospects Anisimov and Moore are top prospect candidates to make the Rangers' roster in that position. On the blueline, a seventh defenseman is likely the only available roster spot. Both prospect Corey Potter and AHL veteran Tomas Pock are in the mix for it."

...love to see so many youngsters fighting a position on the big club.

Sunday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers' Dawes finding a place alongside Drury

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ottawa 3, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators in their first preseason game by the score of 3-2, tonight. For a recap go to Yahoo! Sports....

...with the exception of the first period, I thought the Rangers, minus their top line, top goalie and no real power play unit, took it to a full Senators squad (minus Alfredsson). And if not for Gerber the Rangers win this game.

...stand-outs were obviously Dubinsky, Callahan and Del Zotto.

...goats were Valiquette (3 goals on 11 shots) and Rozsival (-1, a brutal giveaway on the power play and only 1 sog in 21 minutes).

...way more positives than negatives coming out of this game.

...the Rangers continue their home and home with the Senators on Monday night at MSG.

Dellapina Leaves The Daily News

One of the best Ranger beat writers out there John Dellapina at The Daily News will be leaving to join the NHL as their Director of Media Relations. Here's Dellapina in his own words at The Blueshirt Blog...

"The Rangers will win the Cup this season.

I know this because I won’t be there. At least, not to chronicle it.

I’m leaving the Daily News after 15 ½ years. The last 14 of them have been spent as the Rangers beat writer. And since I took over the beat in July 1994 - a few weeks after the Rangers last won the Cup - I figure my daily presence is as good a reason as any why a fifth championship banner hasn’t been hung from the Garden’s spoked ceiling since."

...the curse of Dellapina is over!!! Just kidding John. We will miss you and your amazing insight on our beloved blueshirts. Good luck and maybe you can slap some sense into Gary Bettman.

Lundqvist Received Cortisone Shot In Knees This Summer

There's been an internet rumor going around this summer stating that Henrik Lundqvist was getting weekly cortisone shots in his knees.

Steve Zipay at Newsdays, who refutes the reports, says...

"Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist received cortisone shots in his knees once in the offseason after playing for Team Sweden, but is not receiving any now and is fine, contrary to a Swedish newspaper report, the team said."

Zipay also added this on whether Lundqvist was getting weekly shots in Blue Notes...

"Untrue and medically impossible. Cortisone is administered no more than once every three months. It was a one-time thing in the worlds after the post-season. Once. He's fine."

...i don't care if it was only once. I'm still a little worried.

Lots of Energy

Except for the news about Nikolai Zherdev dogging it yesterday, I've been really excited with what I'm reading about this team. Lines seem to be clicking, new players are fitting in and players with something to prove are stepping up. I'm also impressed with the physicality of the practices. There are a lot of spots wide open and its great to see these guys competing. Here's what Tom Renney had to say about training camp so far...

"I like what I'm seeing here," Renney said to Dubi at the Blueshirt Bulletin. "The pace the energy, the attempt to execute. It's the best I've seen since I've been here."

...wow, the best since he's been here. That's a pretty strong statement. Can't wait for tonight.

Tonight's Line-up

Here is the split squad roster that will be playing in Ottawa tonight...

G: Valiquette, Wiikman

D: Staal-Rozsival, Mara-Potter, Del Zotto, Fahey

F: Dawes-Drury-Prucha, Byers-Dubinsky-Callahan, Voros-Betts-Orr, Rissmiller-Moore-Sjostrom.

...none of the big acquisitions in the line-up tonight. However, I am looking forward to watching first round pick Del Zotto.

Good Change

After coming off one of the worst season's of his career in which he scored only 6 goals in 80 games for Ottawa, Wade Redden is hoping that a change of scenery does him good...

“There certainly has been a lot of change for me this summer,” said Redden to newyorkrangers.com during a recent interview. “But it’s good change, and exciting change. It’s been a very special time in my life.”

...i've been saying for awhile now that I'm worried about Redden adjusting to the media scrutiny in New York. But the mad anonymous poster made a good point the other day. The Canadian media has to be a lot worse on hockey players than the New York media. They live hockey up there. So hopefully I'm worried about nothing.

Pre-season Opener Headlines

The Journal News - Nedved taking final shot at making Rangers

Friday, September 19, 2008

Zherdev Continues to Struggle

On the same day that Larry Brooks called him lazy, Nikolai Zherdev had his second straight tough practice as reported by Dubi at The Blueshirt Bulletin. Dubi also gives today's stand-outs which included goalie Antoine Lafleur, Dan Fritsche, Lauri Korpikoski and Freddie Sjostrom.

...it's still way too early to get that concerned about Zherdev, although he does have a history of taking shifts off so maybe I should be worried.

...i guess Sjostrom read my blog post yesterday. See here.

Rangers Sign Weise to Contract

The Rangers, obviously impressed with his play this pre-season, have signed 4th round draft pick Dale Weise. Weise scored three of the Rangers seven goals in the Traverse City Tournament and has now scored a goal in each of the last two scrimmages with the big club. According to Sam Weinman at The Rangers Report, this signing doesn't mean he'll be competing for an NHL roster spot.

For more on Weise click here.

...at 6'2", 206 this is a big boy who could probably still fill out. Great to see a young draft pick step up his game and force the organization to take notice.

Zipay Web Chat Transcript

Apparently Steve Zipay at Blue Notes moved his web chat from 3pm to 1:30pm. For a transcript click here.

Eklund: Drury to Be Named Captain

Eklund at HockeyBuzz reports...

"According to a source, shortly the Rangers will be naming Chris Drury as their new captain. Makes sense and happy to see this for Drury."

...congratulations to Scott Gomez on being named the next Rangers captain.

Barnaby To Join ESPN

Earlier in the summer I posted a rumor that Matthew Barnaby was being looked at as a possible replacement for Barry Melrose as lead NHL analyst at ESPN. Looks like he had a good interview...

From Alan Pergament at The Buffalo News...

"According to broadcasting sources, Barnaby and the cable sports network are finalizing details on the deal to replace Melrose, who left after last season to become the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Barring a last-minute snag, Barnaby's hiring could be announced within a few days."

...good luck Matt. Hopefully ESPN uses your colorful personally to make its NHL coverage more interesting, not just sit you behind a desk.