Thursday, December 31, 2009

Speculation that Drury, Callahan Make Team USA

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun at take a last-minute look at how Team USA might look when the roster is announced tomorrow during the Winter Classic.

Burnside has both Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan making the team, while LeBrun has just Drury.

...surprised to see Drury's name mentioned by both. Maybe his play of late has gotten him back on the team because I was sure his overall play this season forced Team USA to look somewhere else.

AHL/ECHL prospects update

Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future takes a look at the 17 Ranger prospects playing in either the AHL or ECHL.

Here's what she has to say about top prospect Evgeny Grachev...

"Grachev's effort level has been in question though, and while he does have 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 34 games, only two of those points have been posted in the last 13 games. He is also carrying a -8. Despite Clark's protestations otherwise, Grachev does not appear to be on the fast track to an NHL career. That does not mean that he won't get there within a season or two, but early predictions of a mid to late-season call-up seem unlikely."

...while I'm ok with a young player struggling I hate to hear questions about his effort level. Hopefully, he'll learn from his mistakes and be ready to contribute for the Rangers next season.

New Year's Eve Headlines

New York Post - Flyers dismantle rotten Rangers

New York Post - LARRY BROOKS: Callahan hopes to get Olympic nod

New York Post - Rangers’ rookie goalie makes NHL debut

Daily News - Henrik Lundqvist pulled as Philadelphia Flyers rout New York Rangers, 6-0

Newsday - Careless Rangers routed by Flyers, 6-0

Newsday - ARTHUR STAPLE: Rangers' Johnson gets first taste of NHL

The Bergen Record - Flyers rout Rangers, 6-0, at the Garden

The Bergen Record - Rangers notes: Marc Staal, Michal Rozsival and Vinny Prospal not selected for Olympics

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rangers Talk Loss to Flyers

Below are quotes released by the Rangers after the game.

John Tortorella on going forward…
“We start over. That is the best thing for us right now is to get on a plane and play. Some things, obviously, there has to be some discussion on certain situations but we have to start over. We have to start over. The best thing for us is to play right away.”

Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…
“We were into a really nice rhythm before the break. The last two games, I think, our energy was okay but not tonight. In our zone, we have to be ready to battle. We just made it way too easy.”

Marian Gaborik on tonight’s game…
“We weren’t ready. They got three quick goals and then nothing was working out for us. It is obviously unacceptable. The positive thing is that we play tomorrow. We need to redeem ourselves.”

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants and Steve Zipay at Blue Notes have more quotes.

Video: Torts, Players React to Loss to Flyers

...anyone else sick of Torts saying he doesn't have an answer.

Chris Dury, Henrik Lundqvist and Brandon Dubinsky talk about the Rangers' sluggish effort against the Flyers here.

Flyers 6, Rangers 0

The New York Rangers (18-17-4) lost to the Philadelphia Flyers (19-18-2) by the score of 6-0, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and, and I thought the effort against the Islanders two weeks ago was the worst since the lock-out. This game trumps that one by ten fold. Can Torts send the whole team to the press box tomorrow and call up the entire Wolf Pack team? Now that would send a message.

...that could have been one of the worst all-time defensive performances. It was like the Rangers were playing man down. Flyer players were routinely open or given two on ones like they were going through drills in practice.

...i knew Prospal was important to the team, but I didn't realize it was this much.

...welcome to the NHL Chad Johnson. Actually, thought the kid held his own after a shaky start.

...once again with the game slipping away, the Rangers so-called game changer Brashear is no where to be found. I guarantee you Orr finds someone to fight with in an effort to flip the momentum.

...Boyle over Betts. Nice decision Slats.

...FIRE SATHER!!! Since I wasn't at the game, there's my contribution.

...right back at it tomorrow to hopefully end the year on a good note in Carolina.

Rangers vs. Flyers (Game 39) - Updated

Update, 6:15 p.m.:
Steve Zipay, via Twitter, is reporting that Drury (illness) will dress tonight.

Original Post:
The New York Rangers (18-16-4) host the Philadelphia Flyers (18-18-2) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG2; Radio: WNYM (970AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 16-13-4, 2.42 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Michael Leighton - 4-4-0, 3.45 gaa, .883 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Flyers have won three straight.

- Philadelphia is 5-7-1 under new head coach Peter Laviolette .

- C Jeff Carter has two goals and one assist over the last two games.

- RW Danny Briere has goals in back-to-back games and now has 13 goals in 31 games.

- Former Ranger C Blair Betts has three goals and one assist in 19 games.

Opponent Blog:
Broad Street Hockey

New Jersey Wants 2011 Winter Classic

Anthony "Fooch" Fucilli at reports that New Jersey State officials are sending a letter to the National Hockey League and commissioner, Gary Bettman, requesting that the 2011 Winter Classic be played at the new Giants Stadium.

Officials are asking that the annual NHL event match up the host New Jersey Devils with the New York Rangers.

...consider me officially excited.

Yankee Stadium has long been considered the top Metro area site for a Winter Classic but scheduling conflicts have gotten in the way.

Olympic Rejects

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Vinnie Prospal (Czech Republic), Michal Rozsival (Czech Republic) and Marc Staal (Canada) have all been left off the rosters of their respective countries' Olympic Hockey teams.

...the less players the Rangers have playing in the Olympics the better as far as I'm concerned.

On not making the Czech team Rozsival said...

"Obviously, it's something you'd like to be a part of, but there's nothing I can do about it. Definitely, I’ll be watching and cheering for them. "I’ve got a job to do here. I can’t really worry about that.”

Ryan Callahan is the only possible Ranger Olympic hopeful left and Team USA assistant coach John Tortorella said that Callahan "didn't need any help on my part. People know the kind of player he is."

...seems like Torts is tipping his hand that Callahan has made the Team USA squad.

Henrik Lundqviust (Sweden) and Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) have already been informed that will be representing their countries.

Drury Questionable for Tonight

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Chris Drury is fighting an illness that may keep him from the lineup tonight against the Flyers. If Drury cannot play, Aaron Voros would play for the first time since Nov. 30.

...oh yeah, Voros is on the team. I forgot.

Gross also notes that John Tortorella has indicated that rookie goaltender Chad Johnson won't get a start until January, meaning he won't make his NHL debut tomorrow in Carolina as many predicted.

...apparently Torts plan to give Lundqvist some rest is to play him until he drops.

Brandon Dubinsky will replace Vinny Prospal on the first power play unit.

Video: Torts, Players Talk Prospal; Gabby, Lundy on Olympics

John Tortorella speaks to reporters after the Blueshirts' practice at the MSG Training Center to prepare for a Dec. 30 game vs. the Flyers here.

Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal, Christopher Higgins, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan discuss how the team will handle Vinny Prospal's absence here.

Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist share their thoughts about the Olympics after both players were named to their nations' respective teams here.

Jagr Makes Czech Olympic Team reports that former Ranger Jaromir Jagr was added to the Czech Republic's Olympic squad for February's Vancouver Games.

...congrats to Jagr. I've missed being able to watch Jagr play hockey, so it will be real nice to be able to see him play during the Olympics.

Ranger Prospects Lead USA Rout of Latvia reports that Rangers prospects Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Ryan Bourque combined for eight points on Tuesday afternoon, as Team USA routed Latvia 12-1 at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to improve to 3-0 at the 2010 World Junior Championships.

Team USA captain Stepan led the way with two goals and two assists. While Kreider had a hat trick and Bourque chipped in an assist.

The Americans next game is against Canada in a New Year's Eve showdown at 8 p.m. ET.

For video highlights click here.

Bruce Peter at Puck Daddy names Kreider third star of the night and gives Stepan an honorable mention.

Wednesday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Rangers lean on depth

New York Post - Rangers bank on Higgins

Daily News - Rangers' Callahan hopes for Olympic nod

Newsday - Rangers still searching for offense

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Higgins to Top Line; No 7th D-man Coming

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Chris Higgins will take the injured Vinny Prospals spot on the top line while Ales Kotalik joins the top nine forwards and Erik Christensen is back in the lineup.

...Higgins deserves a shot on the top line after scoring the game winner in OT...oh wait he fanned on the shot and the Islanders won. No idea why the player least likely to score is on a line with Gaborik.

On the Prospal injury Brandon Dubinsky notes...

“It’s tough to replace that guy,” Dubinsky said. “It just means other guys have to step up to fill that void. Hopefully we come ready to play and we’ll be OK.”

Gross also posts that John Tortorella said the Rangers were going to go with who they had on the roster and not recall either a forward or defenseman from Hartford

Rangers Looking to Move Higgins and Kotalik

Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun, in a story on the Ottawa Senators needing to make a trade after hearing that Daniel Alfredson will be out an extended period of time, says that the Rangers are looking to move Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik.

Unfortunately, one league executive says the Rangers will have a hard time finding a suitor...

“All these guys can be had pretty easily,” said a league executive. “But there’s a reason they’re available: They make too much money and aren’t playing well.”

...if the Rangers really are looking to dump these two, the Blueshirts need Higgins and Kotalik to catch fire offensively these next two months then hope a team has the need and cap room around the trade deadline.

...unfortunately if the Rangers are willing to trade them at the deadline they're probably out of the playoff hunt.

Rangers Movin' On Up in Power Rankings moves the Rangers up eight spots to #17 in their most recent power rankings...

17. Rangers - The Rangers had a four-game winning streak stopped in overtime by the New York Islanders, but they still look a lot more like the club that started the season with such confidence.

While CBS Sports, which gives John Tortorella credit for the Rangers recent turnaround, bumps the Rangers up to #14...

14. Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist has been better when the workload is heavy. He's 9-0-1 when facing 33 shots or more, but 7-14-4 when facing less.

...uh oh Ranger fans, the so-called experts are back on the Rangers bandwagon. Get ready for a losing streak.

Tuesday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Vinny Prospal is out after knee surgery

New York Post - Rangers' Prospal out up to three weeks

Daily News - Prospal out up to 3 weeks after surgery

Newsday - Prospal out at least 10 days after surgery

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blogs: Team USA, Prospal, Higgins, Trade & Avery Girlfriend

Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park takes a closer look at the Rangers prospects playing in the World Junior Championships.

Scotty Hockey has possible replacement options for Vinny Prospal.

Over at the Rangers Tribune, NYR Blogger wonders what to do with Chris Higgins.

Greg Caggiano at Metro Hockey says the Rangers must improve themselves through a trade.

Finally, the Mouth at Rangers Crisis reports on Sean Avery's new girlfriend.

What Ifs

Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report wonders if the Rangers would be better off not making many of the moves from this summer...

"If you could go back and do the Gomez deal and the Gaborik signing all over again, then undo the other stuff … would you rather, right now, have Zherdev and Antropov and Orr and Sjostrom and Korpikoski on your forward lines than, say, Higgins and Boyle and Lisin and Kotalik and Brashear?"'s obviously easy to say yes to that right now. But remember last year's team didn't exactly light it up offensively either.

...the only decision I would like to see undone was signing Brashear over Orr. That was a colossal mistake.

Prospal to Have Knee Scoped

Update, 4:00 p.m.:
The Rangers have released the latest on the surgery here.

Original Post:
Larry Brooks, via Twitter, reports that Vinny Prospal's knee is going to be 'scoped and will miss anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks.

...injuries have been really hampering the Rangers of late and this latest is the last thing this team needed.

...not sure where the Rangers go to replace Prospal. Christensen? Voros? Grachev? I'd like to see Grachev, but from all the reports I've seen he's not NHL ready.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has more.

Monday Headlines

Daily News - Avery hurting as much as he helps

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ranger Prospects Lead Team USA to 2-0 Start at World Jrs. reports that Rangers 2009 #1 pick Chris Kreider scored the game winner in Team USA's 3-0 victory over Switzerland today helping improve the team's record to 2-0 at the World Junior Championships.

Kreider now has a goal and an assists in the first two games of the tournament.

Other Ranger draftees Derek Stepan (1g, 3a) and Ryan Bourque (1a) chipped in with assists.

Team USA's next game is Tuesday vs. Latvia.

Rangers Looking at Line-up Options for Second Half

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from John Tortorella on possible roster moves...

“We’re discussing a lot of different things with our lineup as far as the second half (of the season),” Tortorella said. “I don’t have a whole bunch to report. Myself, Glen (Sather) and Schoney (assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld) have talked and we’re going to continue talking. A lot of things come into play with this type of decision. It’s discussed among the organization. I don’t foresee anything happening before the next game. I don’t know, I can’t guarantee it. We discussed it this morning.”

...i hope one of the options they are discussing is cutting Redden.

Tortorella also discussed Sean Avery's penalties last night...

“I still want Sean to play with more personality and be consistent where he’s effective,” Tortorella said. “He can’t be yapping at the refs. We killed it off for him. I haven’t talked to him about that. We talked about a couple of other things today. But he can’t put himself in that spot.”

Torts did, however, disagree with the goalie interference call on Avery.

Gross also reports that Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan all did not skate at this morning's non-optional practice due to them being a little banged up.

Sunday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Islanders top Rangers in OT, 3-2

The Bergen Record - Sean Avery frustrated

New York Post - Isles thwart Rangers' comeback in OT

Daily News - Islanders hang tough to beat Rangers

New York Times - Islanders Win Despite Rally by Rangers

Newsday - Rangers rally but lose in overtime to Isles, 3-2

Newsday - Staple: Suggestions for Isles, Rangers

Ranger Prospects Lead Team USA to Win reports that Rangers prospect and Team USA Captain Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists in USA's 7-3 win over Team Slovakia in the opener of the World Junior Championships.

2009 #1 pick Chris Kreider also hit the scoresheet with an assist in the game, while Ryan Bourque was held scoreless.

Team USA will face Switzerland on Sunday.

Rangers Talk Loss to Islanders

Below are quotes released by the Rangers after the game...

John Tortorella on tonight’s game…
“I thought we played hard. I thought we developed a lot of scoring chances, we couldn’t score but we stayed with it. We will take the point and try to find some good stuff out of it. I thought we played really hard to get back into it in the third period.”

Brandon Dubinsky on the tying goal…
“I was just trying to be there, ready. Time is winding down there, we know things are going to go to the net to try and get some traffic and some sticks there and I think Cally (Ryan Callahan) made a great play. I feel like he shot for my stick and I was standing there ready for it and I made the play.”

Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…
“They got a goal on our power play – that is always tough. The PK (penalty kill) was really good. I think if we tied the game a little earlier, I think we would have had them. They played pretty solid in their own end, kept us on the outside. We at least tied the game and got a point out of it.”

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants and Steve Zipay at Blue Notes have more quotes.

Video: Highlights, Torts & Analysis of Loss vs. Islanders

John Tortorella speaks to reporters after the Blueshirts rallied to force overtime in a 3-2 loss to the Islanders here.

MSG's "Hockey Night Live" team takes a look back at the Rangers' 3-2 OT loss to the Islanders here.

Rangers vs. Islanders here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Islanders 3, Rangers 2, OT

The New York Rangers (18-16-4) lost to the New York Islanders (15-17-7) by the score of 3-2 in overtime. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...i loved the fight to comeback and get a point, but if they're going to wait until the third period to start playing they're not going to win.

...not sure why it took so long for Rangers to get traffic in front of Roloson. Made life too easy for him. much for my Lundqvist getting back in the Vezina race. Got to make that save. (Edit, 12:20 a.m.: Apparently game winner deflected off Staal. Still should have made the save.)

...i hate to rip on Higgins because the guy gives a good effort, but if his scoring woes have gotten so bad he can't bang home a rebound on an empty net he can't be in there anymore.

...and the NHL's anti-Avery bias strikes again.

...nice to see someone other than Gaborik carry the Rangers offensively for a change. Dubinsky has looked like a legitimate #1 NHL center these last few games. i hate when an opposing player I spotlight in my pre-game "Opponent Notes" for being in a scoring drought scores the game winner.

...great Saturday night crowd tonight. Fans were really fired up.

...three days off then Flyers in town on Wednesday.

Rangers vs. Islanders (Game 38)

The New York Rangers (18-16-3) host the New York Islanders (14-17-7) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 16-13-3, 2.41 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Dwayne Roloson - 12-7-5, 2.87 gaa, .910 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Islanders lead the season series 2-1.

- The Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Toronto on Wednesday.

- #1 Pick John Tavares leads the team with 16 goals.

- The Islanders power play is 1 for 27 (3.7 percent) in the last six games.

- Matt Moulson has one goal in 10 games while Kyle Okposo has gone 18 games without a goal.

- Dwayne Rolosonis 2-1-0 with a 2.33 GAA in three games against the Rangers this season.

- The Islanders are 8-3-1 in their last 12 visits to MSG.

Opponent Blog:

Remember the Alamo

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants says the theme for tonight's game is "Remember the last game at the Garden against the Islanders"...

“We should be ready to go,” Vinny Prospal said. “Especially after what they did to us the last time at home.”

“I still think there’s bad memories,” Michal Rozsival said.

“That was brutal,” Henrik Lundqvist added. “It was really tough losing that game. It felt like it could only go one way from there. Winning four in a row feels great but if we’re not really battling we can be back at square one pretty fast.”

Gross adds there will be a tweak to the defensive pairings tonight with Marc Staal being paired with Michal Rozsival and Michael Del Zotto with Dan Girardi.

...i'm going to the game tonight so they better put forth a better effort than last time the Isles invaded the Garden

Gaborik a Big Surprise this Season

Sam McCaig at The Hockey News looks at the biggest surprises so far this season and says Marian Gaborik's success is the biggest...

1. Marian Gaborik: The Rangers sniper is second overall in league scoring (49 points) – and has the most goals in the NHL with 26 in 35 games. Wild, eh?'s not so much I'm surprised that he's second overall in scoring, it's the fact that he's been healthy enough to be able to put up those numbers.

Saturday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers on a roll as second half of season looms

Newsday - For Isles, another crucial game against Rangers

New York Times - Gaborik Does His Share and Much More for the Rangers

Daily News - Drury goes fourth and produces

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

From The New York Rangers Blog family to yours have a Merry Christmas.

There won't be any posts until Saturday, so just enjoy the early Christmas gift we Ranger fans received in the form of a four game winning streak.

Rangers Talk Win vs. Panthers

Below are quotes released by the Rangers after last night's win vs. the Panthers...

John Tortorella on tonight’s game…
“We are again trying to find a way to win at home. I thought everybody contributed. Hank (Henrik Lundqvist) contributed when he had to. Our fourth line contributed. These games, before you break, you don’t want them to think it is Christmas too early. I thought we played well and we deserved to win the hockey game.”

Vinny Prospal on tonight’s game…
“Hopefully it is starting to turn around for us. We have been able to put together the second longest winning streak since the beginning of the season. It doesn’t matter that the Christmas break comes now, we want to prolong this thing.”

Ryan Callahan on tonight’s game…
“We are coming into this with confidence obviously with three big wins on the road. We weren’t happy what we showed last time we were here. We came in wanting to prove something and with the confidence from three road wins.”

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants and Steve Zipay at Blue Notes have more quotes.

Video: Highlights, Torts & Analysis of Win vs. Panthers

John Tortorella speaks to reporters after the Blueshirts beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 here.

Al Trautwig and Dave Maloney take a look back at the Rangers' 4-1 victory over Florida here.

Rangers vs. Panthers highlights here.

Christmas Eve Headlines

The Bergen Record - Rangers run win streak to four games

The Bergen Record - Rangers notes: Girardi OK

New York Post - Blueshirts snag 4th in a row

New York Post - Resurgent Drury scores again

Daily News - Streaking Rangers storm past Panthers

The Journal News - Rangers win fourth straight

New York Times - Prospal Gives the Rangers a Nice Break

Newsday - Prospal scores two; Rangers win 4th straight, 4-1

Newsday - Rangers may bring in another defenseman

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rangers 4, Panthers 1

The New York Rangers (18-16-3) defeated the Florida Panthers (16-16-7) by the score of 4-1, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...Tortorella has taken a lot of heat on this blog (constant line changes, messing with rookies heads, etc.) by I've got to give credit where credit is due. His putting the players on notice after one of the worst post-lockout losses (Islanders last week) has obviously resonated with the team and inspired them to this four game win streak, which was capped off by a complete effort against a tough team tonight.

...and the one player that has really heeded that message is Drury. Three goals and one assist in the four games since being dropped to the fourth line. It's a shame that the Rangers captain needed a demotion to get him going, but as long as its working I don't care.

...welcome back to the season Vinny Prospal.

...136 saves on the last 141 shots against. Lundqvist is starting to put himself in contention for the Vezina.

...didn't notice Redden tonight. Not sure if that's good or bad for him.

...someone I did notice on defense was Rozsival who reverted back to his terrible self and if Torts is serious about putting players on notice should be in the press box when the Rangers play the Islanders on Saturday.

...despite not scoring I thought Lisin played one of his best games of the season.

...just Avery being Avery tonight and I loved every minute of it. have to wonder if Lundqvist's teammates don't like him the way they refuse to stick up for their goaltender when he gets bumped. I know Ballard didn't knee him in the head on purpose, but I don't care. Somebody please send a message that you're going to pay the price if you hit our goalie.

...two days off for Christmas then Islanders in town.

Rangers vs. Panthers (Game 37)

The New York Rangers (17-16-3) host the Florida Panthers (16-15-7) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 15-13-3, 2.45 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Tomas Vokoun - 11-10-7, 2.57 gaa, .924 sv%, 3 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Florida is 5-1-1 in their last seven.

- Stephen Weiss is on a seven-game point streak with five goals and eight assists.

- Nathan Horton has five goals and seven assists while Michael Frolik has recorded four goals and five assists in the last seven games.

- Tomas Vokoun is 3-0-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average in his last four games against the Rangers.

Opponent Blog:
Litter Box Cats

Boyle Returns, Christensen Out; Redden Still On Notice

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Brian Boyle (back) will return to the line-up tonight against the Florida Panthers and center the fourth line. Boyle's return means that Erik Christensen will be a healthy scratch.

...if Boyle is 100% Christensen needs to be waived. No need for him on the roster or even in the organization.

Gross also reports that John Tortorella made it very clear that Wade Redden is still on notice.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from Torts backing Gross' report...

"Reds, I thought he had some good shifts, I thought he had some crappy shifts, so it’s still, as we go through here...we’re frozen here at Christmas, we’re not bringing anybody up, but after Christmas, we have some decisions to make along the way."

Torts also said that bringing up a seventh defenseman is not out of the question after the holiday freeze.

...Redden better still be on notice. I'm assuming a decision is going to be made on Redden (AHL?) after the New Year.

Zipay also has quotes from Torts on the Rangers needing to get some wins at home.

Kreider, Bourque Score in Team USA Exhibition Loss (Updated)

Update, 12:07 p.m.:
USA Hockey has anounced the final Team USA roster and as expected Kreider, Bourque and Stepan have made the team.

...congrats guys and good luck.

Original Post: reports Rangers 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider and 2009 third-rounder Ryan Bourque provided the two U.S. goals in Team USA's 3-2 shootout loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday in the final tune-up before the U.S. World Junior Championship tournament.

U.S. team capatain Derek Stepan, the Rangers' 2008 second-round pick, was chosen to participate in the shootout, but was stopped by the Czech goalie, who denied all three American shooters.

Only two more players must be cut before the team's final tournament roster is named later today. Kreider, Bourque and Stepan are all considered locks to make the final U.S. squad.

The U.S. begins World Junior tournament play on Saturday against Slovakia. have to be excited about the furture of this team with players like this in the system.

Giannone on Rangers Radio

Last week, MSG's John Giannone was a guest on Rangers Radio. Giannone currently serves as host of the New York Rangers telecasts, providing analysis and commentary, along with player interviews during pre and post game shows and intermission reports.

"Rangers Radio" is a web-only radio program, exclusively on, that provides Rangers fans the opportunity to decide what topics are discussed on your favorite team.

To listen click here.

ESPN Jumps In on the All Decade Action has their own top 10 all decade lists which seems to be all the rage across the internet.

Lists include players (Jaromir Jagr), #1 picks, late pick gems (Henrik Lundqvist), upsets, playoff series, trades, teams, uniforms, controversies (Sean Avery 'Sloppy Seconds' suspension), and moments.

Wednesday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Rangers hope Dubinsky sticks with top line

New York Post - Torts' Rangers revert to Renney style

Daily News - Scrapping Dubinsky rounds into form

New York Times - Over the Glass and Into Lore

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Video: Happy Holidays from the Rangers

Nine members of the Rangers family share thoughts on the holidays. Hear from Redden, Prospal, Gaborik, Gilbert, Schoenfeld, Higgins, Voros, Lundqvist and Boyle here.

Torts: We've Gotten Better Defensively

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from John Tortorella on the adjustments made in the neutral zone...

“I think sometimes it’s a misconception on the team concept,” Tortorella said. “We want to forecheck. But when we talk about it as far as getting up the ice and forechecking and pressuring, people say they just want to go. That certainly hasn’t been our philosophy from Day 1 because you have to play defense in this league. We have changed a little bit in the neutral zone where it’s kind of a hybrid right now. When we have chances to go, we’re going. When we’re not, we’re going to be a little bit smarter as far as filling the middle. That was probably a couple of weeks ago we changed into that. But I think we’ve gotten better defensively, too. When you’re having problems scoring goals, you fall into that trap of just scoring goals and you forget about the details of playing defense. We have always talked about playing defense first and when we say defense first, it doesn’t mean we’re falling back and playing in our end zone. Defense is when you don’t have the puck, just being on the right side of the puck. We’ve gotten better and better on the odd man rushes and that’s just being cognizant of being on the right side of the puck.”

...what would make the defense even better would be Redden in Hartford.

Dubinsky, Boyle Come to Blows

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky took a few swings at one another at today's practice, but both downplayed it afterwards.

...always great to see our number one center who is coming off a broken hand taking swings at a teammate. Real smart.

Malik Shootout Goal Best of the Decade

Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy names Marik Malik's between the legs shootout winner against the Capitals in 2005 the best of the decade...

1. Marek Malik goes to the trick bag (Nov. 26, 2005)
The utter disbelief in Mike Crispino of the MSG Network's voice was the universal feeling for the entire Madison Square Garden crowd and, most likely, Olaf Kolzig as well.

It's not often we see such moves from a 6-6, 240-pound defenseman, but his circus act ended a lengthy, 15-round shootout between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals and gave Blueshirt fans their only favorable memory of Malik.

...way too much ink given to coverage of Marek Malik this week.

More Holiday Wishes for Rangers

In another of many holiday wish features, Spector at Fox Sports has this Christmas wish for the Rangers...

New York Rangers: Scoring depth. The Rangers have been in free fall in the standings in recent weeks, due in large part to their lack of offensive punch. After superstar Marian Gaborik and linemate Vaclav Prospal, no other Rangers forward has 20 or more points, and if Gaborik should get hurt they’ll be in big trouble. With limited cap space to bolster their ranks more Blueshirts need to step up.

...hey, the Rangers scored three goals last night against the worst team in the NHL. What lack of scoring depth is Spector talking about? Sarcasm folks, sarcasm.

Rangers Moving Up in Power Rankings ranks the Rangers #25 up from #28 last week in their recent Power Rankings...

25. Rangers - John Tortorella ... we hear ya, buddy!

The Hockey News and TSN also have the Rangers moving up in their power rankings.

Tuesday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Marian Gaborik scores 25th goal to lead Rangers past ’Canes, 3-1

Daily News - Marian Gaborik's two goals lead New York Rangers past Carolina Hurricanes

Newsday - Rangers top Hurricanes, 3-1, for third straight win

Rangers Talk Win vs. Hurricanes

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has the below quotes..

Brandon Dubinsky...
“It takes a while to get back into the groove of things and when I first came back my hand wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” said Dubinsky. “Tonight was the first time I was able to play without having my hand covered, not to make excuses, but anytime you’re hindered by anything it makes it harder. I’ve tried hard and worked hard and tonight I took a big step, producing a little bit which, let’s face it, is one of my jobs being on the top line; I’ve gotta get some points.”

Henrik Lundqvist...
"You can see when we’re in the lead, there’s not a lot of odd-man rushes, right now as a team we are playing smarter. When you’re winning, you don’t drain yourself between games. When you’re losing you think a lot, when you’re winning you can relax.”

John Tortorella...
"We're growing, I think the grit of the team is improving...Not just in our own zone but along the boards int he neutral zone to try to get into a forecheck. It was a better game for uis than the Philly game/ I thought we played a better third period. SO as far as the battle level and grind of the game, I think we're improving there."

Video: Highlights, Torts & Duguay on Win vs. Hurricanes

Rangers @ Hurricanes highlights.

John Tortorella speaks to reporters on Dec. 21 after the Blueshirts beat the Hurricanes 3-1 for their third consecutive road victory here.

MSG broadcaster and former Rangers star Ron Duguay takes a look back at the Blueshirts' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1

The New York Rangers (17-16-3) defeated the Carolina Hurricanes (9-21-6) by the score of 3-1, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...missed the game tonight too busy watching Giants take it to the Redskins. Here are the post game notes released by the Rangers:

• The Blueshirts defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1, tonight at the RBC Center to improve to 17-16-3 (37 pts.) overall and 10-7-2 (22 pts.) on the road.

• Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves, including 13 in the third period, to close out the victory; Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in eight of his last nine games.

• Marian Gaborik notched a goal and two assists; Gaborik has now had 15 multiple points games and has scored six goals and seven assists in his last 10 games.

• Brandon Dubisnky scored the game-winning goal and notched an assist; Dubinsky tied for the lead among all skaters with a plus-3 rating.

• Marc Staal tallied a goal and logged a team-high 24:47 of icetime; Staal tied for the lead among all skaters with a plus-3 rating.

• Michal Rozsival recorded an assist and had a plus-two rating for the game; Rozsival logged 24:31 of ice time and led all skaters with 4 blocked shots.

• The Blueshirts’ practice for tomorrow, December 22, is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. at the MSG Training Center.

• The Rangers return to action on Wednesday, December 23, when they will face-off against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.); the game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.

Rangers @ Hurricanes (Game 36)

The New York Rangers (16-16-3) visit the Carolina Hurricanes (9-20-6) tonight at the RBC Center starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 14-13-3, 2.50 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Cam Ward - 4-11-4, 3.12 gaa, .896 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Carolina has won two of their last three games.

- Cam Ward is 4-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA and one shutout at home against the Rangers.

- RW Patrick Dwyer has one goal in each of the past two games.

- RW Erik Cole (upper body) is expected to be out for two or three weeks.

- C Eric Staal has just six goals on the season.

Opponent Blog:
Canes Country

Gilroy, Redden, Kotalik Return

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Matt Gilroy, Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik will all return to the line-up tonight in Carolina.

Brian Boyle (back) and Aaron Voros (healthy scratch) will sit.

Redden on returning to the line-up...

"I know what I have to do to be successful," said Redden. "It's not just one thing, just a certain feeling when things are going well, when you're mentally ready, you read and react, you're not taking that half second extra. I think you've got to have an edge."

...if you know what you have to do to be successful why haven't you been doing it?

Steve Zipay also has quotes from Matt Gilroy who noted that he learned some valuable lessons both one-on-one and watching video with Wolf Pack assistant coach J.J. Daigneault.

While, Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that with the line-up changes Chris Drury will move off the fourth line...


...the guy is finally scoring with his new role on the fourth line and Torts moves him back up. Unreal.

Rangers Literally a One Man Team

Jeff Klein at Slap Shots reports that Marian Gaborik has the highest percentage of team goals in the NHL...

"When you subtract the bookkeeping goals the league awards to teams that win shootouts (in the Rangers’ case, two) and use only those goals scored during regulation and overtime, the Slovakian wingman has accounted for 25.5 percent of all the Rangers’ goals."

Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning is second with 23.3%.

...i can't even imagine the degree of horribleness that would be the New York Rangers offense if Gaborik wasn't on the team. They might have broken records.

Redden Could Be Headed to AHL (Updated)

Update, 12:22:
Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report has more on the importance of tonight's game for Redden.

Original Post:
In Larry Brooks' article in the New York Post today, he reports that Wade Redden's last chance to impress coach John Tortorella or be sent down to Hartford begins tonight against the Hurricanes., that would be an astonishing move by the Rangers. Through all the bad contracts the team has given out to aging, under-performing players, not once have they admitted a mistake by exiling the player to the AHL. I'd be very impressed.

...also think about the cap room it would open up to make a move at the deadline or sooner.

Jagr May Be Back in NHL Next Season

Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal reports that Jaromir Jagr still has many connections in the NHL, especially with the Edmonton Oilers...

"Former New York Rangers' captain Jaromir Jagr may be toiling away with Avangard Omsk with the Kontinental Hockey League but he's still good enough to play in the NHL, even after turning 38 in February. He has many connections left with the NHL. He has good relationships with the Edmonton Oilers assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who coached in Omsk last season, and Oilers assistant Tom Renney, his head coach in New York. He also has a close friendship with Ales Hemsky from the Czech national team. So don't bet against him being back in North America next year when his contract runs out."

Jagr has 13 goals and 12 assists in 29 games this season for Avangard Omsk.

...Edmonton seems like the obvious destination for Jagr, but I'm sure he still has some good contacts in New York as well. So you never know.

Zipay Live Chat @ 2pm (Updated)

Update, 12:15 p.m.:
Zipay has re-scheduled the chat for 2 p.m.

Original Post:
Steve Zipay at Blue Notes will host a live web chat today at 1 p.m. To participate click here.

To Gaborik's Health & Our Happiness

Sam McCaig at The Hockey News has a holiday wish for all 30 NHL teams...

A Marian Gaborik Groin Guarantee.

...from your lips to God's ears.

Monday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Michael Rozsival making his case at left point

New York Post - Torts gives Redden one more chance

Daily News - 'Tis the season for Henrik to work

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kreider Stars in Team USA Exhibition Game

Since the Hockey's Future article I posted on Ranger prospect Chris Kreider's struggles created a lot of interest, I thought I'd pass this along from Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park...

"For those who have been worried about Chris Kreider (2009 1st) not putting up big stats we have been saying all along not to worry. The Boston College freshman has been playing well enough to be the starting left wing all season and that is good enough for us.

But if stats are what you want then you will very much like Kreider's performance for Team USA against North Dakota on Saturday night. Kreider led Team USA with 2 goals as they defeated North Dakota 4-2 in exhibition play."

...very encouraging report from Jess.

Malik Shootout Goal a Play of the Decade

Today Newsday featured the top 10 New York sports plays of the decade and Marek Malik's between the legs shootout goal made the list at #8...

No. 8) Marek Malik’s shootout goal, Nov. 26, 2005

NHL shootouts still were a post-lockout novelty when the Rangers and Capitals engaged in an epic, 15-round duel after ending overtime tied at 2 at the Garden.

At last, Marek Malik sent everyone home, drawing the puck between and behind his legs backhand, then flipping it over Caps goaltender Olie Kolzig forehand – with his stick still between his legs.

Malik, a defenseman who would finish that regular season with two goals, waved his arms to encourage the crowd’s cheers.

...we all know the Ranger fans hatred towards Malik for many reasons, mostly his horrific turnovers in Game 5 of the Eastern Semis against the Sabres in 2007, but there is no denying that Malik will always be remembered for that shootout goal.

Gilroy Recalled from Hartford reports that the Rangers have recalled Matt Gilroy from Hartford.

Gilroy had four assists in five games with the Wolf Pack.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more on the recall.

...glad to see Gilroy back so quickly.

...doubt we're going to see Sanguinetti or Heikkinen back tomorrow against the Hurricanes as Larry Brooks explained might happen. Meaning Redden should be back in. Which I still don't like as the Rangers have won two in a row by outscoring their opponents 7-3 with Redden in the press box. Not sure why he deserves to be back in there yet.

Rangers to Pursue Kovalchuk at Deadline

Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun reports that if contract negotiations breakdown between Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers the Rangers will be one of many teams interested come the trade deadline...

"If Waddell and Kovalchuk can’t come to terms soon, the Thrashers GM will have to consider shopping Kovalchuk at the deadline. Sources say the Kings, Bruins, Capitals, Rangers, Avs and Devils will be among the teams most aggressively pursuing a top-shelf offensive player."

Kovalchuk, who is in the final year of his contract, is said to be looking for a 10-year contract in the range of $11 million.

...i'm assuming the Rangers would be able to fit Kovalchuk under the cap for the rest of the season. But unless the Blueshirts can get rid of some of their huge contracts Kovalchuk would be nothing more than a rental. And I'd hate to see who the Rangers would have to give up to obtain a player they can only retain for two months.

Sunday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Henrik Lundqvist stonewalls Flyers

New York Post - Last-period heroics lock up Rangers win

Daily News - Lundqvist's 36 saves foils Flyers in 2-1 win

The Journal News - Rangers' Lundqvist halts Flyers' best shots

New York Times - Lundqvist Helps Rangers Win Second in a Row

Newsday - Lundqvist, Rangers beat Flyers, 2-1

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sanguinetti, Heikkinen Sent Back to Hartford (Updated)

Update, 11:50 p.m.:
Larry Brooks at the New York Post offers an explanation as to why the Rangers sent Sanguinetti and Heikkinen down...

"The NHL’s eight-day holiday roster freeze goes into effect at midnight tonight and lasts through midnight, Dec. 27, with anyone on the roster at 12 PM ineligible for demotion to the AHL. Thus, absent an injury serious enough to merit time on IR, the Rangers, who were at the 23-player maximum, could not have made a personnel move for the duration of the freeze without these moves to clear roster space.

The team can recall Heikkinen and Sanguinetti tomorrow for Monday’s match in Carolina. Or, they might well recall one or the other plus Matt Gilroy, who is scheduled to play his fifth game for the Wolf Pack tonight since being sent to the AHL on Dec. 10. Players recalled during the freeze can move between the NHL and AHL without restriction." move by the Rangers. Like I said in the comments section, good thing I didn't overreact to the news without hearing an explanation.

Original Post: reports that the Rangers have assigned Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more here.

...unreal. Not even 30 hours after Torts says they are going with youth, the Rangers send two rookie defensemen down. Obviously this means Redden will be back in the line-up Monday night. are we ever supposed to believe anything Torts says from now on? I'm guarenteeing a loss Monday night.

Video: Highlights of Win vs. Flyers

Rangers @ Flyers highlights here.

Rangers 2, Flyers 1

The New York Rangers (16-16-3) defeated the Philadelphia Flyers (15-17-2) by the score of 2-1, today. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...for those of you who don't remember because it's been so long two wins in a row is called a winning streak. it's nice to have the King back there to make everything alright. it me or has Laviolette turned the Flyers into a soft team? I thought for sure they'd come out looking to pound the Rangers from one end of the ice to the other. Instead it was the Rangers who were the aggressors.

...Torts better not move Drury back up in the line-up now that he's scored in two straight. Keep him where he's successful.

...reward Anisimov with ice time and he will reward you with goals.

...not sure Lisin did it on purpose but I loved him burying Pronger into the boards on the icing. And I don't care that Pronger then scored on the ensuing power play.

...big time pk at the end of the game.

...why does Heikkinen only get six minutes? Torts I thought you were going with the kids?

...2 assists, +2, 4 shots on goal in 32 minutes the last two games. Looks like Rozsival got the message.

...30 minutes of ice time for Staal!!! tomorrow then the Rangers head to Raleigh to play the lowly Hurricanes.

Rangers @ Flyers (Game 35)

The New York Rangers (15-16-3) visit the Philadelphia Flyers (15-16-2) today at the Wachovia Center starting at 1:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 13-13-3, 2.55 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Brian Boucher - 4-8-1, 2.62 gaa, .903 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Flyers have dropped 12 of 15 games (3-11-1). Including 2-5-1 under their new coach Peter Laviolette.

- Mike Richards leads the Flyers with 13 goals and 27 points, but has been held to two assists in his last five games.

- The Flyers have allowed seven power-play goals in their last six games.

- Former Ranger C Blair Betts returned to the Flyers lineup last game after missing 12 games with a seperated shoulder.

- Flyers starting G Ray Emery (abdominal surgery) is out until mid-January.

Opponent Blog:
Broad Street Hockey

Time for Brashear to Earn His Keep

Today's game against the Flyers is one of the reasons the Rangers brought in Donald Brashear. Despite Philly's struggles, they're a tough team that can run the Rangers right out of the building. A story we've all seen before.

Brashear's toughness hasn't materialized for the Rangers and he's become a Blueshirt Faithful wipping boy. But this afternoon he has a real opportunity to finally start earning his money.

I'd love for John Tortorella to send the fourth line out to start the game and Brashear drop the gloves with whoever he is lined-up against to send a message that if the Flyers want to pound on the Rangers they will have to go through him.

No Significant Changes Coming for Rangers

Lyle Richardson (Spector) at Fox Sports speculates on which teams will be making moves to upgrade their team and doesn't think the Rangers will be one of them...

"With only $2 million available cap space and too many players on big contracts there might not be any significant changes coming for the Blueshirts."

...exhibit "A" as to why Glen Sather should be fired.

While Alan Muir over at in a Q&A says he doesn't expect the Rangers to cut their dead weight similar to the way the Capitals did with Michael Nylander...

"But this is New York and it would be one of the boldest moves of his career for Slats to walk up to Jim Dolan, tell them he screwed up, and that they need to eat the salary of one (or more) players who no longer deserve a spot on the team. That's why it's not going to happen."

...what I'd like to know is how Dolan doesn't know this already. Is he so far removed from the Rangers that he has no idea about all the over-paid, under-achieving players? By not cutting ties to these players (Redden, Rozsival & Drury) they are just compounding the situation.

Rangers Need Offense for Christmas

Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports looks at the Eastern Conference Christmas Wish List...

New York Rangers: So much to ask for, they look greedy. But somebody other than Marian Gaborik to provide some offense on a regular basis would do the trick. about a Christmas miracle that some team is willing to take Redden or Rozsival in a trade.

Video: Torts, Players Talk After Dec. 18 Practice

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the team's Dec. 18 practice to prepare for a Dec. 19 game at Philadelphia here.

...we Ranger fans have been waiting a long time to hear a coach say those things. Now it's about action. Will Torts stick by those comments? I think he will.

Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto discuss the Dec. 17 victory over the Islanders and look ahead to the game at Philadelphia here.

Saturday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Gross: Attention! Tortorella on deck

The Bergen Record - Tortorella: Underachievers will sit

New York Post - Rangers coach says vets' jobs aren't safe

Daily News - For Tortorella, turnaround is kid stuff

Newsday - Redden, Kotalik to be benched again in Philly

Friday, December 18, 2009

No More Entitlement

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that John Tortorella put the entire team on notice today...

“This isn’t to make an example out of Wade Redden, Wade Redden hasn’t played well enough to be in the lineup,” Tortorella said. “I’m not interested in making examples out of people. A coach’s responsibility is to put the best lineup on the ice. I felt I did that last night. It will be the same lineup going into Philly (tomorrow afternoon). For 25-30 games we tried to stay with him, we tried to bring confidence in with him and go about it that way and it hasn’t worked. It’s still trying to gain confidence but there’s going to be no entitlement around here. I think it kind of stinks of that around here. We’ve got kids and this coaching staff and manager want to infuse some kids into our lineup becase we feel that’s going to be the best way to build it. We’ll go through some bumps in the road with kids but not with underachieving veterans. I just don’t but it and it’s not going to work that way.” we're talking. What took you so long to come around Torts?

Gross also notes Torts confusion with Redden's statements that he was singled out and the coach's conversation with Chris Drury on being demoted to the fourth line.

Line-up will stay the same for tomorrow's game in Philadelphia, meaning Redden and Ales Kotalik will again be healthy scratches.

Rangers to Host Viewing Party @ Foxwoods reports that the Rangers will be hosting a viewing party on January 21, 2010 at Foxwoods to watch the Blueshirts take on the Flyers.

Special packages are available which includes tickets and lodging starting at $125. On hand will be Rangers alumni Adam Graves, Ron Duguay and Nick Fotiu.

Also, continues with their video feature "Road to the Rangers" with Brian Boyle.

Sather Not Going Anywhere

Despite reports yesterday, Larry Brooks at the New York Post reports that Jim Dolan will be sticking with Glen Sather as the Rangers GM for the foreseeable future...

"There is no indication that Garden CEO Jim Dolan is considering a change in the Blueshirts' hierarchy."

Brooks also says that Sather is not looking to make an immediate change with the Rangers roster...

"Everything has been discussed, and I mean everything, but this is not the time for drastic action," Sather told The Post. really is unfathomable the length of the leash Sather has been given by the Dolans. The Rangers have won two, TWO!!!! playoff series in his over nine seasons as GM with the Rangers.

...i would love just once to hear what it is about Sather that they like so much.

Del Zotto, Kreider Trailing the Play

In the Hockey's Future's monthly look at NHL prospects who are either exceeding expectations or not quite living up to them, Michael Del Zotto and Cris Krieder are said to be struggling and are placed in the "Trailing the Play" category...

Michael Del Zotto, D – New York Rangers
2008, 1st round, 20th overall
A fiery October has led way to a cool November and a cold December for 19-year-old Del Zotto. After posting four goals, 11 assists in his first 20 games, Del Zotto has potted a goal, four helpers, and a minus-10 over the past 12. Head coach John Tortorella’s confidence in the young blueliner has, at least publicly, not wavered as his ice time is 21:44 through the month of December, over two minutes more than his season average of 19:15. The problem for the offensively gifted defender is how opposing teams key in on him. The additional ice time and responsibility is starting to lead to defensive errors.

...i think after some recent struggles, Del Zotto seems to be turning his game back around. He looked real good the other night against Atlanta and last night he played with some snarl I hadn't seen from him all year.

Chris Kreider, LW – Boston College (Hockey East)
New York Rangers, 2009, 1st round, 19th overall
Some adjustments to the NCAA style of play were to be expected for this first-round pick. However, Kreider's offensive production to date, two goals in 14 games, does not even meet modest expectations for a forward who is highly touted for his skill and conditioning. Still, he has managed to at times show good offensive instincts and puck-protection and has two goals and three assists to show for it. Currently mired in a four -game pointless streak, the 18-year-old has seen a decline in ice time recently. There is no reason to push the panic button though. Kreider is still young and raw. Also, as he is just a first-year player, and holdovers from the previous season such as Ben Smith (CHI) and Cam Atkinson (CLB), are given first crack at power-play duties.

...i know there were some concerns about Kreider's lack of competition at prep and he now seems to be struggling against superior opponents in college. But the kid's just a freshman and has plenty of time to figure it out.

Video: Highlights & Torts on Win vs. Islanders

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the Blueshirts' 5-2 win over the Islanders here.

Rangers @ Islanders highlights here.