Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yankee Stadium Winter Classic on Ice?

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Yankees president Randy Levine says the new Yankee Stadium is not in consideration for a future NHL Winter Classic.

The reason could be that, today, Yankee club executives announced the newest college football bowl game, the Yankee Bowl, which would be scheduled between Christmas and New Year's Day at the new Yankee Stadium.

The NHL needs about six days to prepare a rink and refrigeration for the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

"We'd love to do hockey as well," Levine said. "We're not in the mix; if they're interested, they'll call us."

Zipay adds the new 'House that Ruth Built' was considered a frontrunner for the Jan. 1, 2011 game, with the Rangers as a participant.

...huh? How was Yankee Stadium the frontrunner when Levine is saying its not in consideration? Its got to have something to do with Bettman's incompetency.

Video: Torts Post Practice; Avery on the Knee

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the team's practice on Sept. 30.

Sean Avery discusses his recovery from a knee injury after taking part in the team's Sept. 30 practice.

Torts: Lundqvist A Huge Piece of the Puzzle

Jim Cerny at has a great piece on Henrik Lundqvist including this quote from John Tortorella...

“Henrik is a huge piece of the puzzle here, we all know that,” said Tortorella. “I don’t think you ever have to worry about challenging Hank. I think he is probably one of our hardest workers, and probably is a guy who prepares more than most athletes.”

...ya think?

...without Lundqvist the Rangers would be headed towards a last place season. Well not last place, that spot is reserved for the Islanders.

Rangers Agree to Terms with Semenov reports that the Rangers have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defenseman Alexei Semenov.

Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants says expect the deal to be a one-year deal for slightly over the NHL minimum of $500,000.

...a cheap veteran who can assist with the development of Del Zotto and Gilroy. Nice signing.

Here is video of Semenov from earlier today before the signing...

Opening Night Tickets Released

The New York Rangers have just released opening night tickets. To purchase click here.

Torts: Aggressive System Not Instinctive Yet

Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report asked John Tortorella if his aggressive system of play has to become instinctive with the Rangers players yet...

“No, no, it’s going to take some time,” Tortorella said. “We’re working on it every day, our neutral-zone forechecking, our deep forechecking, and all the different things as far as rush coverage. It takes time, and there’ll be some mistakes as we go through, as we start the season, but that’s when you keep on teaching. That’s when I think it becomes instinctive, when you’re constantly teaching after each game.

“I think as you get into late November, early December, I think your team concept is something that should be instinctive because we’re heavily laden in tape, the season is kind of spread out at the beginning of the year more than it is in the middle and the latter stages. So we’re going to keep working at it, and then we’ll back off the tape. When we feel it becomes more instinctive we get away from the tape a little bit and allow them to play and let it happen from there. We don’t want to map it out. You don’t want to over-coach it because it’s such an instinctive game.”

Ryan Callahan also chimes in...

“It was hard last year, him coming in, and we had two practices and we had to jump into a game,” Callahan said. “It’s hard to teach a new system that quickly. It’s nice to have this whole training camp with him. I feel the guys are starting to get it. You can see it in practice and some of the preseason games, that it’s starting to become second nature and you don’t have to think about that.” my opinion this aggressive system will help the Rangers mask some of their deficiencies by being able to out work their opponents. Something we Ranger fans haven't seen a lot of.

No Word on Avery Status & Semenov Contract

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from Sean Avery after his first practice since injuring his knee...

"It felt good," Avery said. "It's been about a week since I got on the ice (Sept. 21) so that's a good feeling for sure. We'll take tomorrow and see how it goes."

...looks like we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if Avery's a go for the season opener.

Gross also notes that there is still no word on the Rangers offering Alexei Semenov a one-year deal. NHL rosters are due this afternoon so they are likely will be some waiver candidates the Rangers could be looking at.

Other notes from practice are Marian Gaborik absolutely freezing Henrik Lundqvist before beating him with a wrist shot on a penalty shot called after he was taken down by Michael Del Zotto; and Aaron Voros going down hard along the boards during line drills.

...didn't someone tell Del Zotto about Gaborik's brittle body.

Today's lines...

Vinny Prospal-Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik
Christopher Higgins-Chris Drury-Ryan Callahan
Enver Lisin-Artem Anisimov-Ales Kotalik

Donald Brashear-Brian Boyle-Aaron Voros

Bourque Suffers Concussion

Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park reports that Rangers prospect Ryan Bourque suffered a concussion last Saturday evening and is out at the least until Friday. Bourque who plays for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL missed Tuesday's game...

"The Remparts via Coach Patrick Roy (yes that Patrick Roy) are saying that it has not been ruled 100% a concussion but Bourque believes he has suffered one. Bourque is going to sit out a 2 game road trip (game 1 was Tuesday night, game 2 Wednesday) and will be re-evaluated when the Remparts return back to Quebec by Friday."

...Ranger brass better get on the horn right away and make sure the Remparts doctors and organization are doing the right thing here. The last thing the Rangers need is some QMJHL doctor saying he's clear to play before he's symptom free.

Gilroy on NHL on XM at 12:45 p.m.

Updated, 12:45 p.m.:
Looks like Gilroy won't be on until after 1 p.m. as it's 12:45 p.m. and Phoenix GM Don Maloney is on.

Original Post:
Rangers rookie defenseman Matt Gilroy will be live for the 1st "Realizing the Dream" segment of season on NHL on XM at 12:45 p.m. Click on below video to view live...

Avery Skates But Doubtful for Friday

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Sean Avery (sprained right knee) joined his teammates on the ice for the first time since colliding with Ryan Callahan on Sept. 21 during the morning skate. Avery is wearing an orange, non-contact jersey.

Gross still thinks Avery is doubtful for Friday's season opener in Pittsburgh.

...would like the Rangers to play it conservative with Avery. Rather have him sit out the first few games than push it risking further injury and an extended stay on the IR.

Zipay Live Web Chat at 1 p.m.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes will host his weekly web chat today at 1 p.m. To participate click here.

Zipay also has a post on the Rangers cap situation and how Alexei Semenov might fit in.

Sundin Retires

TSN reports that Mats Sundin has announced he is retiring.

"I don't know that there is any other player playing in the NHL that has had so much fun," said Sundin about his career in the NHL.

...thank god. Now Sather won't be tempted to sign him if things starting going wrong for the Blueshirts this season.

Lundqvist a Hart Trophy Favorite

Sam McCaig at The Hockey News lists the top 10 candidates for the Hart Trophy this season, including Henrik Lundqvist at #9...

9. Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers
After being nominated for the Vezina Trophy in each of his first three NHL seasons, Lundqvist didn’t garner top-three support last year. But he still collected one first-place vote and he’s recognized around the league as the reason the Rangers remain relevant. Aside from Niklas Backstrom in Minnesota, there might not be a more important player to his team’s fortunes.
Odds: 30-1

...with the way the Rangers rely on Lundqvist game in and game out Lundqvist will always be in the conversation for the Hart.

Buccigross Likes Rangers

In his Eastern Conference predictions for, John Buccigross thinks the Rangers are going to make the playoffs...

"Winning, and winning early, will help bring the team together and keep it immune from clownish behavior. I know some have the Rangers out of the Eastern Conference playoff mix (injuries could render that true), but I think there is too much coaching, goaltending and leadership here to keep them out."

...first Barnaby, now Buccigross. Why are people all of a sudden jumping on the Rangers bandwagon?

Wednesday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers impressed by teen defenseman Del Zotto

The Bergen Record - Rangers' keys to season

The Bergen Record - Rangers' Girardi sees flaws

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Video: Tortorella Discusses Del Zotto

Jim Cerny at has a piece on Del Zotto making the team.

Late Night With Henrik Lundqvist?

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has the list of Rangers who will perform the Late Night with David Letterman Top 10 list on Wednesday night...

Henrik Lundqvist, Sean Avery, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Donald Brashear, Dan Girardi, Brandon Dubinsky, Christopher Higgins think Brashear will get booed?

Zipay also has a post on Michael Del Zotto joining Brian Leetch and Dave Maloney as the youngest players in Rangers history here.

Still No Contract For Semenov

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants notes that the Rangers have yet to offer a contract to Alexei Semenov and that Glen Sather said Semenov could start the season on a tryout contract.

Gross thinks the reason is that the Rangers are waiting to see what names pop up on the waiver wire.

...makes sense to see who might be out there, but Semenov did everything right during the preseason and deserves a contract in my opinion.

Gross also spoke with Dan Girardi on the recent criticism and the defenseman admitted that his decision making needs to get quicker and perhaps he was getting too comfortable in his play.

Tortorella has yet to make a decision on alternate captains, though he will by Friday's opener. vote goes to Callahan and Staal.

Today's forward lines were:


...that Higgins-Drury-Callahan line could potentially be the hardest working line in the NHL.

Del Zotto Sticking Around...But for How Long

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from John Tortorella on rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto...

"Right now he has made the club. Based on his play, he has made the club."

Bob McKenzie at TSN is even reporting that Del Zotto is running the power play.'ve got to assume Torts is only talking about the first nine games. Those nine games will sort of be important for Del Zotto.

Zipay also reports Sean Avery didn't skate today and Tortorella acknowledged that if a player didn't skate three days before a game, it was doubtful that he would dress

...guess that means no Avery in Pittsburgh.

Finally, Tortorella notes that in order to keep Henrik Lundqvist, who will appear on the David Letterman Show with nine other Rangers to read the Top 10 list, fresh at season's end, the organization must reel in some of his media "distractions".

Rangers Need Bounces

In Allan Muir of's Atlantic Division preview he has this to say about the Rangers outlook for the season...

"If Gaborik stays healthy and Lundqvist gets some support and Marc Staal continues his rapid maturation into a legitimate shutdown defender and if...well, you get the picture. The Rangers look to be a playoff bubble team. A few bounces go their way, they're in. If those bounces don't go their way..."

Muir's team MVP is Lundqvist, kid to watch is Anisimov and player to keep an eye on is Gaborik.

...blah, blah, blah just drop the damn puck already.

Also, Ken Campbell at The Hockey News predicts which teams will improve, decline or remain the same compared to how they finished in the regular season standings last season.

...i'm sure you can guess which way he had the Rangers trending.

Video: Barnaby Talks Rangers, this is the first positive preseason analysis I've seen on the Rangers. Nice Barnaby.

Rangers Moment of the Preseason

Each Monday during the regular season, beginning on Oct. 5, Ranger fans will be invited to vote for the Moment of the Week from among three finalists.

As a warm-up they invite fans to choose one of four great preseason highlights as the Moment of the Preseason.

The winning moment will be posted Thursday at noon along with selected comments from fans who voted for it.

To vote click here.

Moment of the Preseason
* Gilroy's Goal at New Jersey
* Anisimov's Goal at Detroit
* Anisimov's Goal at Boston
* Gaborik's First Goal vs. Washington

Tuesday Headlines

New York Post - Anisimov has staying power

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rangers Ranked #22 in ESPN's First Power Ranking

In ESPN's first power ranking of the year they have the Rangers at #22...

22. Rangers - There is something not quite right with the Rangers. Marian Gaborik will have to prove us wrong. I know the Rangers are making the playoffs.

Coyotes Ink Hollweg

The Phoenix Coyotes official website reports that the Coyotes have signed former Ranger Ryan Hollweg to a one-year deal.

...Ranger players better watch their back when Phoenix comes to MSG on October 26th. Zing!!!

Messier Talks Fighting

Mark Messier recently sat down with Tyler at NHL Digest to discuss fighting and head protection. Here part of what Messier said...

"Fighting has always been a part of hockey, and I personally believe that it will continue to be one aspect of our game. Part of what makes hockey so entertaining is that it requires physical and mental toughness. But as the game continues to evolve, I believe that player safety and better protection need to be our top priority. If that means instituting a rule – like Hockey Canada – that makes it mandatory to keep your helmet on in a fight, I would support it."

...i really can't stand the fair weather hockey fans that look down on fighting. It has been and always will be an integral part of the game. Its part of what separates hockey from any other sport. You want to rough up a team's superstar, you better be ready to throw down.

...h/t to Puck Daddy.

Fleury to Retire

TSN reports that Theo Fleury has decided not to try and pursue a comeback with another NHL team, choosing instead to retire as a member of the Calgary Flames.

"I could not sign with another team," he said. "I retire a Calgary Flame."

...sorry to hear this news, but I guess he did what was right for him and his family.

Rozsival, Girardi Take Steps Back; Redden to Bounce Back

Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report takes a look at the struggles of both Michal Rozsival and Dan Girardi this preseason, while also noting that Wade Redden should bounce back this year and benefit from John Tortorella and his system.

...its funny how a new system can effect players in different ways. Girardi, a more stay at home defenseman, is struggling mightily, while the more offensive minded Redden could flourish. I'm not saying Redden is going to be rejuvenated this season, but his game did get much better under Tortorella last season and I'm hoping he'll come into this season with a chip on his shoulder as well. Either way he still won't be worth that ridiculous contract. far as Rozsival goes, he has been atrocious this preseason as evidenced by his giveaway on the Capitals first goal yesterday. Yuck.

Prediction: Gaborik Will Miss at Least Half the Season

Two Line Pass over at Puck Daddy makes 20 bold predictions for this season including this one about Marian Gaborik...

9. Marian Gaborik will miss at least half the season (I didn't say it had to be a shocking prediction). I really hope Gaborik stays healthy this season, not only for the Rangers success but just to shut all these so-called experts up.

Monday Headlines

Newsday - Tortorella displeased with Rangers' play in loss

Grachev Sent to Hartford

Andrew Gross at Rangert Rants reports that the Rangers have assigned Evgeni Grachev to Hartford after yesterday's game.

For more go to Blue Notes.

Official statement here. far the best thing for Grachev's development.

...looks like it's Boyle and Voros for the last spot when Avery comes back. My vote goes to Voros who has had a much better camp.

Capitals 4, Rangers 3

I missed the game yesterday, so no game write-up but here are some post-game quotes. For a recap and box score go to


“There were turnovers and we had no battles,” Tortorella said. “Everybody was bad, it wasn’t like one of the young kids struggled, it starts with our veteran guys. I think they thought it was a 7 o’clock start. Those were the worst two periods of the exhibition (season). I don’t think we competed. Maybe it was the 12 o’clock start. We skated them hard the last couple days, maybe that had something to do with it. I’m not holding any grudges. I’m glad they answered (with three goals) in the third period. But now this is done. We’ll use the tape of the first two periods as a teaching tool.”

...afternoon games was a problem with this team last year also.


“If we played like that for the first two, it might have been a different outcome,” said Vinny Prospal, who played left wing with Brandon Dubinsky at center and Marian Gaborik on the right. “We didn’t support our goalie and didn’t have enough shots. Then we got our (butts) kicked between periods.”

Tortorella on Girardi:

"He's got some work to do there," Tortorella said. "We've had running discussions going through training camp, him and I and the coaches. He's got some work to do. It's a pretty big week for him. But, to say the least, I'm disappointed with his camp."

...this is the first critism I've heard of Girardi since he was called up three years ago.

On his game Grachev said:

"The first period for me was the worst period for me, ever," the 19-year-old Grachev said. "I didn't think I'd get more ice time. I was way too bad in the first."

Post-game analysis and preseason wrap from John Giannone and Joe Micheletti:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rangers @ Capitals (Preseason Game 7)

The New York Rangers visit the Washington Capitals in their seventh and final preseason game today at the Verizon Center starting at 12:00 p.m.

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

G: Henrik Lundqvist

Opponent Notes:
- Semyon Varlamov will start in goal today.

- Alex Ovechkin will be in the line-up.

- Two former Rangers Mike Knuble and Michale Nylander are expected to play as well.

Opponent Blog:
Capitals Kremlin

Torts: Lisin Doesn't Have a Clue Away From the Puck

In an interview with Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants, John Tortorella talks about Enver Lisin needing to improve certain aspects of his game saying Lisin "doesn't have a clue away from the puck."

Lisin agrees...

"That's always my problem, playing without the puck," said Lisin, who had 13 goals and eight assists in 48 games with the Coyotes last season as he struggled to find consistency and a regular spot in the lineup. "I try to focus on it. I try to listen to the coaches."

Gross also has quotes from Vinny Prospal on his easy transition to center this training camp.

...Lisin has shown speed and an ability to finish this preseason, but if he can't be responsible away from the puck he's going to find it hard to stay on the ice under Tortorella.

Grachev 25th Best Prospect

Hockey's Future continues their list of the Top 50 prospects in the NHL with 11-25, where Evgeni Grachev checks in at 25...

25. Evgeny Grachev
Grachev is a prototypical power forward, who was drafted in 2008 as a center, but spent much of the 2008-09 season playing on the left wing for the OHL Brampton Battalion. At 6’3, 212 lbs, he can occupy whatever space he chooses and has the ability to make things happen in front of the net. Grachev is expected to play the wing in the NHL. At 19, Grachev may not play with the New York Rangers the entire 2009-10 season, however, even if he starts the season as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack, he is expected to become a mid-season call-up to the NHL team.

...i definitely hyped-up Grachev too much in my mind going into training camp as I was a bit disappointed in his performance. Not that he made any glaring mistakes, I just expected more. I need to remember the kid's only 19 and never played professional hockey before. I really hope the Rangers send him down to Hartford so he can find his game at the next level and be ready later this year to make an impact if/when he is called up.

Sunday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers hope Gaborik's Ferrari is jump-started

The Bergen Record - Decisions looming for Rangers

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rosen on WFAN

Sam Rosen was on WFAN's Steve Somers Show earlier today. For a replay click here.

Torts Happy with Team's Conditioning

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that John Tortorella is happy with the team's conditioning despite having five games in a week during training camp...

“we got our skates in. I like it (conditioning) really front-loaded, and it hurt us in some of the games. I was more concerned about the conditioning part rather than have them fresh for those games…We've covered quite a bit of the team concept during tape. We'll do a lot of tape at the beginning of the year, but once you get to late November and December, we feel it should become almost an instinct. I like using the immediate game we played, I don't get it too convoluted going way back. Our tape work is about us, not about the other teams.”

On the taxing early season schedule...

“Once the season starts, I look for time to rest, because of the three-in-four and four-in-six. The first month we’ll have more pre-game skates; after the first three or four weeks, those will be optional. Those are so overrated. Sometimes I like using the pregame skates so I can give them a day off before.”

On Assistant Coach Mike Sullivan...

“He has a lot of thoughts and he's a very bright man. I know exactly what the other team's going to do. We just have to decide how much we're gonna give to the players and Sully---I shouldn’t just pick on him, we laugh about it now---he's changed; instead of his tape being so long, he's cut back. I asked him how long his tape's gonna be for tomorrow and he laughed and said, ‘I've got to cut it back.’ It's a good trait to have, but you don't want to overload." can tell Tortorella is really chomping at the bit to start the season. As am I and I'm sure every Ranger fan out there.

Jim Cerny at has a story on Tortorella and staff facing some tough decisions about the roster as opening night nears.

Higgins & Kotalik Can Get to Next Level

Over at Ranger Rants, Andrew Gross was able to talk with John Tortorella about Chris Higgins and what the coach thought about his performance so far as a Ranger...

"Sometimes, I don't think players understand what level they can get to," Tortorella said. "Like him and (Ales) Kotalik. Not so much stats, but all sitatuions of the games. Yeah, if you talk stats, maybe 35 goals. Both can be very important to the club."

...did Tortorella just say 35 goals for Higgins?!?!? The guy had 12 last year. I'd be ecstatic with 25 out of the Long Islander.

Drury & Gilroy Healthy Scratches Tomorrow

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports Chris Drury and Matt Gilroy will be healthy scratches for tomorrow's preseason finally in Washington. Sean Avery (sprained right knee) will make the trip and continue his rehab and attend team meetings.

Other things Gross says to look for are Brandon Dubinsky centering Christopher Higgins and Marian Gaborik; Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle fighting for the fourth-line center position; Vinny Prospal starting as a center but being used at left wing; Michael Del Zotto being evaluated on the power-play point; and Henrik Lundqvist playing his second straight full game.

...i find it hard to believe that Anisimov is fighting for that position. He should be a lock right now not only for the fourth-line center position, but for the third-line center position.

Gilroy Learned from Watching Green

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants notes that while at college Matt Gilroy enjoyed watching his one of his favorite players Capitals defenseman Mike Green...

"I learned a lot from watching a guy like that with how patient he is," Gilroy said. "He finds his space and he takes full advantage of it. I definitely love the way he plays, he likes jumping in as much as I do, though I think I'm faster."

...there's not a better offensive defensive to watch in the league, so hopefully Gilroy was able to pick up some nice pointers.

On assuming he's made the team as a top six defenseman...

"No one's said anything," Gilroy said. "I'm not thinking anything until I'm told."

...don't worry Matt, not only are you a top six defensemen, in my mind you're in the top three ahead of The Albatross Twins.

MSG has Fifth Best Goal Horn

Bruce Ciskie at AOL Fanhouse lists the top 5 goal horns in the NHL and MSG comes in at #5...

No. 5: New York Rangers
We tend to lean toward cool sounds, but this is also about tradition. No matter what other arenas sound like, there is one goal horn that is probably familiar to even people who don't follow hockey.

With apologies to all fans who feel nothing but general annoyance when the Rangers score, we can't pass up the old horn at Madison Square Garden. know what's funny, I'm usually so pre-occupied with singing the goal song I don't think I've ever really noticed the horn.

Saturday Headlines

Newsday - Dubinsky off to quick start after holdout

The Bergen Record - Rangers' coach gives hints

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flames Release Fleury

TSN reports that Theo Fleury has been released by the Calgary Flames.

Official Flames stament:

"I believe Theoren did a great job and should be proud, especially considering all the factors including age, time away from the game and lifestyle change," said general manager Darryl Sutter in the statement. "This is not a hockey story; it's a life story. Our agreement with Theoren was that he had to be one of our top six wingers and there were never any intentions of assigning him to the American Hockey League."

Fleury statement:

"I am very thankful to Darryl and the Flames organization for following through on the commitment to provide me with this opportunity," Fleury said in a statement. "I said in the beginning that no matter what the outcome, this would be a success story. I intend to take the next few days to review this experience and make decisions with my family regarding next steps in my life."

Fleury said he will have a press conference on Monday but would not commit on whether or not he was retiring from the game.

...this is unfortunate news as I was really pulling for Fleury. I had mentioned a couple of times that I thought the Rangers should have invited him to camp, but now that the Blueshirt's roster has pretty much taken shape I would be against bringing him in.

Anisimov Has Inside Track for Fourth Line Center Position

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants notes that John Tortorella said Artem Anisimov has the "inside track on that position," which, based on where he's been skating recently, would be the fourth-line center.

...this most likely means Dubinsky and Prospal will be at center to start the season. Which is not good news for Brian Boyle.

On Enver Lisin, Tortorella said...

"I'm pretty sure he'll start here, we want him around us to teach him."

Tortorella hopes to have the opening-game roster finalized by Tuesday.

In other bubble player news, Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future NY Rangers Blog thinks that it may be time for Evgeni Grachev to be assigned to Hartford...

"Although Evgeny Grachev had some bright moments, I think its time to send him back to Hartford to get some solid playing time this weekend. He just does not look ready." to agree here. He will develop much quicker getting quality minutes down in Hartford rather than six minutes a game or being a healthy scratch with the Rangers.

Drury Uncomfortable with His Role?

In his Five for Friday feature at Blue Notes, Steve Zipay notes that something is up with Rangers captain Chris Drury...

"Realize that he said “Shut up and play” was the new mantra, but he’s scoreless in three games and some observers are starting to wonder if he’s letting the room develop or isn’t comfortable with his role on the team and the coach."

...Drury is a lead by example captain, which in the New York media market sometimes works against him.

...make no mistake about it Drury wants to win with the Rangers and will do whatever it takes to do it.

Other issues Zipay looks at are the final roster, Tortorella vs. the media, possible moves and alternate captains.

Gilroy Wins Sjoberg Award reports Matt Gilroy has been selected as winner of the 2009 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award. Since 1988, the award has been given annually to the best rookie at Rangers Training Camp, as voted by select New York media.

...the most exciting part about this is that at least two other rookies could have won this award.

Ranger Prospects in Hockey's Future 26-50 Best

Hockey's Future is counting down the top 50 prospects, and two Rangers show-up in the first installment of 25...

33. Artem Anisimov
With good size, work ethic and solid two-way play, Anisimov has made an excellent adjustment to the North American game over the past two seasons in the AHL. The 21-year-old has the hands, instincts, and vision to be a top player in the NHL. Anisimov had an outstanding regular-season sophomore campaign with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2008-09. Fifth overall in the league in scoring, Anisimov was the top point producer among AHLers under the age of 25. A reliable contributor, he didn't miss a single game last season. He is expected to center a line with the New York Rangers roster this fall.

39. Ryan McDonagh
McDonagh was Minnesota’s reigning “Mr. Hockey” when he was selected first among the US defensemen available in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 12th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. A quick-skating, big, powerful, offensive blueliner, he entered the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 2007. A steady presence along the blue line, McDonagh was a solid performer on defense for Team USA in the 2009 U-20 WJCs. The 20-year-old was recently named a tri-captain of the 2009-10 Badgers as a junior. With the departure of Jamie McBain (CAR), McDonagh will get the opportunity to show more of his offensive skills in the coming season. that Gomez-Higgins trade was a coup by Sather to get this guy McDonagh included.

Brashear: I Will Find A Way to Win Their Hearts

Jim Cerny at has a feature on how Donald Brashear is trying to win over the Garden Faithful...

“I just try and give a little action to the fans,” Brashear said with a smile. “All I know is that I will find a way to win their hearts, and they will be with me.”

On why Ranger fans have been slow in accepting him...

“If the fans are mad, they’re mad,” said Brashear, who squared off twice with Sugden on Thursday. “Maybe it’s because of Blair Betts, I don’t know. I don’t really read into it. I’ve played in this league a long time and I know what I can do, and how I can help the team. I’m just going to try and show it and hopefully they can appreciate it.”

...i think Ranger fans need to get over it. The guy is on the team and he's going to protect players such as Gaborik, Prospal and Kotalik from being roughed up.

...please stop booing the guy!!!

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirts Blog has John Tortorella's take on Blueshirt fans negative reaction towards Brashear...

“I don’t know what’s going on there,” the coach said. “Donald Brashear’s gonna be a big part of the hockey club. I just don’t think he needs to be disrespected. I think you (media) guys disrespected him when we brought him in here, I think that started the ball rolling.”

Rangers Shopping Sanguinetti?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that the Rangers don't seem sold on Sanguinetti and the whispers are they've shopped him already., talk about a quick turnaround. A few days ago this guy was fighting for a roster spot now the team is shopping him.

...i really thought he'd be back up soon, but after seeing this report I'm not so sure anymore.

Gross also has quotes from John Tortorella on Sanguinetti...

"We wanted to get down in numbers," Tortorella said. "He had a really good camp. He, to me, is a guy that needs to keep playing. The difference in him going down versus the others (read: Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy) is the speed of his game, the speed of his decision making, the speed he moves the puck. Everything about his game just needs to be quicker

"He'll improve. (The AHL) is a great league. Will he be back? I don't have a crystal ball. He had a great attitude. He still has some work to do."

Friday Headlines

New York Post - Rangers running low on defenders

The Bergen Record - Brashear still has some fight

Video: Tortorella Post Game Press Conference

Dubinsky talks about being back with the Rangers after his holdout here.

Marian Gaborik talks about the feel of the game and Chris Higgins describes what happened on his game-winner here.

Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti break down the play of Marian Gaborik, Chris Higgins and Brandon Dubinsky in the Rangers win over the Caps here.

For more quotes visit Blue Notes and Ranger Rants.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rangers 3, Capitals 2

The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals by the score of 3-2, tonight. For a recap and box score go to

...that's as entertaining a preseason game as you're going to see.

...three points (2g, 1a) from Gaborik. I can get used to that. camp? Dubinsky don't need no stinkin' training camp.

...Brashear is lucky he was able to fight Sugden a second time, because Rangers fans were all over him after his flop in round one.

...Long Island, represent, represent. Love Higgins driving to the net all night long.

...speaking of Long Island, Gilroy spends more time down low in the offensive zone than most forwards.

...Del Zotto proved tonight that he belongs in the NHL and rewarded his coaching staff for making the decision to keep him around.

...god I love Callahan.

...i know they had an o-fer tonight, but Kotalik has single handedly turned the Rangers power play around. His shot from the point is lethal.

Rangers vs. Capitals (Preseason Game 6)

The New York Rangers host the Washington Capitals in their sixth preseason game tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

G: Henrik Lundqvist

Opponent Notes:
- Former Ranger Michael Nylander is likely out of the line-up.

- Jose Theodore will start in goal.

- According the the Capitals Insider, it looks like Alex Ovechkin is playing.

Opponent Blog:
Jaspers' Rink

...what's up with the re-uniting of The Albatross Twins? I thought they were done?

Video: Tortorella Pre-Game Interview

Reminder: Season Preview Show Tonight

Thought I'd re-post this... announced that MSG will kick off its Rangers coverage this season with an hour-long "Rangers Preview 2009-10" show tonight, Thursday, September 24th at 6 p.m.

The show will feature the latest news from training camp, key storylines to look for in the months to come, and unprecedented access to the players and coaches on and off the ice.

The other day, I posted a sneek peak of the show.

Anisimov to be Bounced Around

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirt Blog reports that John Tortorella likes Artem Anisimov's diversity...

“He’s the kind of guy, like I said with Donald (Brashear) - not the same type of player obviously - that I can bounce him around in different spots,” Tortorella said, noting that Anisimov starting out as the fourth-line center means very little. “He’s been one of our better faceoff guys, we’re trying to teach him how to kill penalties, I think he’s done a pretty good job there. So we’ll see.”

...the kid's been impressive and gives Tortorella lots of options.

Obernauer also reports that Tortorella will keep Vinny Prospal in the middle tonight alongside Marian Gaborik at least at the start. But the head coach insisted that he’ll take a look at Dubinsky in that roll as well.

...if Torts decides to keep Dubinsky and Prospal at center and Grachev impresses in the last two preseason games, Brian Boyle (a scratch tonight) could find himself headed to Hartford.

Sanguinetti Sent to Hartford reports that Bobby Sanguinetti has been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

...keep your head up Bobby you'll be back up with the big club soon enough.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has analysis and Sanguinetti quotes from yesterday...

"Obviously, you can always improve on things," said Sanguinetti, a New Jersey native who grew up in Lumberton. "As far as my overall game, defensively, I've learned a lot. Offensively, I have to get comfortable. Ultimately, I'd like to be here and develop at this level."

Staal, Sanguinetti & Boyle Scratches Tonight

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Marc Staal (groin), Bobby Sanguinetti and Brian Boyle will be scratches tonight against Washington.

Tortorella said Staal would play Sunday at Washington but did not know whether Sanguinetti would get another chance to play in the preseason.

...that's not good news for Sanguinetti's chances of making the team

Gross also reports on two minor incidents today including Matt Gilroy taking an Ales Kotalik shot off his left ankle and Chris Dury pulling up during a line rush.

...doesn't sound like either injury is that serious.

Gretzky Steps Down

TSN is reporting that Wayne Gretzky has stepped down as head coach of the Coyotes...

"This was a difficult decision that I've thought long and hard about," Gretzky said in a statement. "We all hoped there would be a resolution earlier this month to the Coyotes ownership situation, but the decision is taking longer than expected. Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don't fit into their future plans, I approached General Manger Don Maloney and suggested he begin looking for someone to replace me as coach. Don has worked hard and explored many options. I think he has made an excellent choice, and so now it's time for me to step aside."

...not even the 'Great One' wants to help save the Coyotes.

Lines at Morning Skate

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this morning's lines, minus Sean Avery...


Del Zotto-Girardi

...not sure what the line-up will look like tonight against Washington, but you have to assume Sanguinetti and Grachev will get another chance to prove themselves.

Valiquette Dissed by THN

John Grigg at The Hockey News lists his Top 10 backup goaltenders in the NHL and Steve Valiquette is no where to be found.

Goaltenders making the list included Yann Denis, Tuukka Rask, Alex Auld, Brian Boucher, Corey Crawford, Dan Ellis, Jaroslav Halak, Ty Conklin, Josh Harding and Scott Clemmensen.

...while I do have my concerns regarding Vali, he absolutely deserves to be in the top 10. Especially when there are goalies such as Denis and Boucher on the list.

Jagr Eyeing Return to NHL?

RSD.CA reports that Jaromir Jagr is trying to negotiate a contract extension with his KHL team Avangard Omsk but has also instructed his agent to contact NHL teams to determine the possibility of an NHL return next season. to assume there will be a lot of interest in Jagr who has played well in the KHL.

Avery's Excited

Jim Cerny at was able to catch up with Sean Avery to discuss his knee injury and the up-coming season...

“I think it’s exciting to see how everyone has kind of adapted to how we are going to play,” said Avery. “I think the lineup is a reflection of that. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can skate. And even more so, it seems like the guys are all kind of excited about being together.”

...nice to hear that the team seems to be meshing well, which, according to Avery, wasn't the case last year.

Thursday Headlines

Newsday - Avery off crutches, likely ready for opener

The Bergen Record - Avery's healing power working

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sharks Sign Malhotra

TSN reports that the San Jose Sharks signed former Ranger first round pick Manny Malhotra to an undisclosed contract today.

Malhotra, who is coming off a career-high 35-point season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, was invited to Sharks camp on a try-out. whose the bigger acquisition for the Sharks Heatley or Malhotra?

Video: Tortorella Post Practice - 9/23

Flyers Close to Signing Betts reports that the Flyers have made a trade in an effort to reduce their number of pro contracts from 49 to 48 (the NHL maximum is 50) giving them some additional contract space to sign former Ranger Blair Betts.

...while I'm happy for Betts, unfortunately the Flyers are about to become that much harder to beat.

Torts: Sanguinetti Not on the Same Plane as Del Zotto & Gilroy

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirts Blog has this quote from John Tortorella on Bobby Sanguinetti and how he's come along in his offensive game...

"Not as much as a Del Zotto and a Gilroy. We know it's in him, we tried to give him some power-play time the last game, and we'll probably give him some more in the next game or two to give him a look.

Right now I don't think he's on the same plane as the other two kids in that offensive part of it. Sometimes maturity at that position, in all facets of the game, is different for different people. But he's certainly put himself on the map here as far as me getting to know him as a player. I didn't know anything about him."

...i guess we know who the front runner is for the sixth and final defensive spot.

Dubinsky to Make Debut; Staal & Redden May Sit

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Brandon Dubinsky will make his preseason debut tomorrow against Washington and that both Marc Staal (groin) and Wade Redden (back) returned to practice after missing yesterday, but feels that the Rangers might sit them as a precaution.

Gross also notes that it appears Henrik Lundqvist will play the full 60 minutes both tomorrow and Sunday in the preseason finale at Washington.

...looking forward to watching a full squad tomorrow night.

Avery to be Ready for Opening Day

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports Sean Avery, who was off crutches and walking comfortably through the Rangers' dressing room today, says he will "Definitely" play in the season opener.

Gross adds that Avery's MRI "came up clean" and tomorrow he'll go for a procedure where they inject his own blood into the tissue around the knee in an effort to speed the recovery.

...gross. This is great news about the Grate One.

Avery also had this to say about the Rangers tiring in their seven game playoff series loss to the Capitals last season...

"It was a tough situation, I think it was a long year," Avery said. "Much of it was a lot of smoke and mirrors with the team. It was not as close as people indicated." Avery saying the team wasn't a close group of guys or that the series against Washington wasn't close? If anybody knows, leave a response in the comments section.

Update 1:40 p.m.:
Gross' Twitter page clears this up as it indicates Avery says the team wasn't as close as people indicated.

...interesting. Could be why a lot of players weren't re-signed in the off-season.

THN: Rangers to Finish 4th in Atlantic

In The Hockey News' Atlantic Division preview, Ryan Kennedy predicts the Rangers will finish fourth in the division...

"Another summer of housecleaning by GM Glen Sather leaves New York fans wondering what their Blueshirts will look like once the puck drops. The arrival of East Bloc wingers Gaborik, Kotalik and Prospal swings the team’s makeup back to the European side of the ledger, much like during the Jagr-led 2005-06 campaign. But the new trio is far from stable when it comes to health and consistency and Gabbo is already feeling twinges in his groin – not a good sign for the marquee winger."

Kennedy predicts the Penguins will finish 1st, Flyers 2nd, Devils 3rd and Islanders 5th.

...there are so many questions with this team right now, I wouldn't be surprised if they won the Stanley Cup or missed the playoffs.

Season Preview Tomorrow on MSG announced that MSG will kick off its Rangers coverage this season with an hour-long "Rangers Preview 2009-10" show tomorrow, Thursday, September 24th at 6 p.m.

The show will feature the latest news from training camp, key storylines to look for in the months to come, and unprecedented access to the players and coaches on and off the ice.

Yesterday I posted a sneek peak of the show.

The Breaking Up of Last Year's Defense

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes says last year's defensive pairings of Wade Redden-Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal-Dan Girardi may be a thing of the past...

"The four pairs in the hopper in last couple days have one youngster with a partner with NHL experience, with one of the two counted on for joining the rush. Torts wants Staal to increase his offense.

So Del Zotto-Redden; Gilroy-Girardi, Staal-Rozsival, Sanguinetti-Semenov."

...breaking up The Albatross Twins was a necessity. Hopefully their play won't bring down Del Zotto or Staal.

Fischler: No More than 60 Games for Lundqvist

Stan Fischler at jumps on the less games for Henrik Lundqvist bandwagon saying...

So, what should Tortorella do about Lundqvist? My conviction is that Henny should play no more than 60 games ... 65 at most.

It's based on two factors:

The coach is right. Lundqvist did appear tired as the Washington series extended to a seventh game. A respite would have been beneficial.

I've been a Steve Valiquette fan ever since his Islanders days. He always has been underplayed and underrated. Without a doubt, he's one of the best back-ups in the NHL.

...i'm with the Maven here. In a year with the Olympics there is no reason for Lundqvist to play more than 65 game or he will be gassed for the playoffs. If the Rangers are lucky enough to make it.

...although he has improved dramatically, i still have my concerns about Valiquette being able to handle the additional workload. I don't see the Rangers bringing someone else in but Chad Johnson could be an option if Vali falters.

Zipay Live Web Chat @ 1pm

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

Video: Torts Post Practice Interview 9/22

For video of Aaron Voros talking training camp and Marian Gaborik click here.

Also Jim Cerny at has a feature on the Rangers getting down to the business of preparing for the season now that the roster has been trimmed down to 24.

Here's Tortorella on getting to this point of camp...

“I have my checklist as far as our team concept, and I get a little antsy because that checklist is a little long,” said the head coach. “It’s just so hard to get to everything when you are caught up in the evaluation process and have such large numbers (of players). So I am anxious, though this is the fun part of coaching for me.”

...we Ranger fans are getting anxious to Torts.

Dubinsky: I'm Not Dangerous

In a piece for, Dan Rosen has this quote from Brandon Dubinsky on increasing his production...

"I can have the puck and great control of it and I can look up to make a play, but I'm not dangerous," he said. "I want to get the puck and be dangerous and that means going to the areas of high traffic and making sure you play more of a gritty game to get the scoring opportunities. That's something I'm definitely going to focus on."

Rosen also has a quote from Tortorella on what he expects from Dubinsky...

"A scorer?" Tortorella asked rhetorically on Tuesday. "I think that's why they held out for that contract, didn't they? I hope so. I'm serious. We're not paying him ($1.8 million) to check. I'm not trying to run him down, but when it comes to that there are expectations and there are responsibilities that come into play now."

...i love it Torts. You got your money kid, now prove you deserve it.

Rosen also has a story on Marian Gaborik which includes this quote from Tortorella on what the high octane winger brings to the table...

"I don't look at him as just a scorer or a guy that can skate," Tortorella said. "He can beat people one-on-one. He can give-and-go and move a puck into small areas. He's a skilled guy and a dynamic guy. Through watching him play and watching him up close in person in camp, he's the complete thing."

...despite a -2 rating, I really liked what I saw from Gaborik Monday night. He is going to attract so much attention, ala Jagr, that it will open up the ice for players like Dubinsky, Kotalik and Callahan.

Wednesday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers roster is coming into focus

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Torts: We'll Stay Here Till You Do

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has more from today's practice including this gem from an obviously annoyed John Tortorella...

"Get this right so we don't have to spend all day...If you don't, we'll stay here till you do..."

...crack that wip Torts.

The units at this morning's power play practice were...

Gaborik, Prospal, Callahan, Kotalik, Del Zotto

Higgins, Drury, Lisin, Gilroy, Redden/Rozsival (aka The Albatross Twins)

...i told you I was going to use that one (see here).

On his conditioning so far Brandon Dubinsky said...

"I feel surprisingly better than I thought I would."

...having a $3.7 million contract will do that.

Staal, Redden Hurting; Avery on Crutches; Dubinsky to Wing?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Marc Staal (groin) and Wade Redden (back) did not participate in the Rangers' regular practice this morning, though Redden was on the ice for the earlier power-play practice.

Staal on the injury...

"It was sore today but one more day and it should be good to go," said Staal, who first felt the soreness in the warmups prior to Saturday's 5-2 win at Boston, where he did not play the third period. "Better now than at the start of the season."

...thankfully, it doesn't sound that serious. Unfortunately, Redden's injury doesn't sound that serious either.

Also on the injury front, Gross says Sean Avery (sprained right knee) was on crutches in the Rangers dressing room and that there was no update on his status.

Finally, Gross notes that Brandon Dubinsky was back at center today during line rushes but that Tortorella still seems to be leaning toward leaving Vinny Prospal at center meaning Dubinsky could be moved to wing.

On playing wing...

"I think I'm better naturally as a centerman," Dubinsky said. "I've felt like that's where they want to slot me. But I played wing last year and wherever I fit in with that concoction of players, I'll be ready to go."

...this is the second time this preseason that a Rangers player is talking about not playing at their natural position (Gaborik was the first). Can we please keep our players in the positions they're most comfortable with?

Video: Rangers Season Preview Show

Here's a sneak peek at the Rangers 2009-10 Season Preview show which premieres Thursday, September 24 at 6:00 p.m. on MSG.

Anisimov for Calder?

Rory Boylen at The Hockey News says Artem Anisimov's highlight-reel goals this pre-season have set the tone for a run at rookie of the year honors...

When I was doing my due diligence for a “Fab Freshman” article for our annual Poolbook in the summer, I grabbed the opinions of a couple NHL scouts on which players they thought would impress the most in their inaugural run through The Circuit. Names on the list included Tavares, Nikita Filatov, Cody Hodgson, Matt Gilroy, Colin Wilson and more, but when the name Artem Anisimov came up, there was an underlining pause.

The Rangers prospect is the guy to watch out for.

“Honestly, I think he’s the best of the ones you’ve named so far,” said one scout.

...the Russian rookie has definitely displayed the talent level that made him the Rangers #1 prospect, however, there have been games this preseason where he's been completely invisible. So I'm not so sure I'm ready to hand him the Calder yet.

...having said that I do expect Anisimov to have a solid year and blossom into one of the Rangers top players for years to come.

Parenteau Sent to Harford

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that the Rangers have re-assigned P.A. Parenteau to Hartford.

On the talk he had with Tortorella after he was re-assigned...

"He likes me, he likes the way I played," said Parenteau, playing on a one-way contract for just around the NHL minimum of $500,000. "Torts and Schoney (assistant GM/coach Jim Schoenfeld) and the guys really know me. They know what I can accomplish. I go down with my head up. I'll be back this year, that's how I'm feeling and I'll be ready when I get the call."

...unfortunately for Parenteau the top three lines are filled and he's not fit for the fourth line. I think this might be what happens to Grachev as well.