Saturday, October 31, 2009

Parenteau Sent Back to Hartford

Newyorkrangers.com reports that the Rangers have returned P.A. Parenteau to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

...i guess Parenteau didn't convince Torts he had the skating ability to stay in the NHL. Him losing his man on the second goal last night probably didn't help either.

...this is also a good sign that the players who sat out last night with injuries are ready to play tomorrow.

Gaborik, Avery & Higgins Back on the Ice

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Marian Gaborik (right knee), Christopher Higgins (left foot) and Sean Avery (right knee) were all on the ice for today's practice.

Hartford call-ups P.A. Parenteau and Dane Byers will stay with the team for now and will take warm-ups tomorrow.

...Happy Halloween everyone.

Torts Caught Off-Guard With Injuries

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from John Tortorella on the communication break-down regarding last night's injury report...

"We just did not think three people were gonna be out of the lineup today....that was mind-boggling that we lost three people (Gaborik, Avery and Higgins) and we didn't think that."

Zipay adds that somehow, the passoff was wrong on Avery or Higgins.

...i just went through this type of injury communication break-down all summer long with the Mets. Please don't tell me that incompetence has now hit the Rangers.

Zipay also has quotes from Torts and others on the lack of offense.

Video: Torts & Highlights After Loss to Wild

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the Blueshirts' 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild here.

Rangers vs. Wild highlights here.

Saturday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers fall to Wild, 3-2



New York Post - Blueshirts come up short


The Bergen Record - Rangers more mild than Wild


The Bergen Record - Rangers' defunct rivalry

Wild 3, Rangers 2


The New York Rangers (8-5-1) lost to the Minnesota Wild (4-9-0) by the score of 3-2, last night. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...this is starting to resemble last year. I know the Rangers were down some key players last night, but there is enough talent on this team to be able defeat a 3-9 team.

...for the second game in a row the Rangers allowed a team to get their first regulation win.

...the Rangers have now scored just three goals in the last two games. Two from Hartford call-ups and one from Staal.

...was Callahan out last night also?

...Brashear is officially done. This guy needs to be waived immediately.

...nice, tough game out of Byers. I guess when you show up 15 minutes before the game there's not a lot of time to think about things.

...despite the goal, Staal has been a little shaky lately.

...on a positive note Anisimov was a +2 last night.

...off day today to hopefully get healthy, then Bruins in town tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rangers @ Wild (Game 14)

The New York Rangers (8-4-1) visit the Minnesota Wild (3-9-0) tonight at Xcel Energy Center starting at 8:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG2; Radio: WNYM (970AM)

Probable Lines (These lines are absolute guesses by me):
Lisin-Prospal-Parenteau
Boyle-Drury-Kotalik
Voros-Dubinsky-Callahan
Byers-Anisimov-Brashear

Staal-Girardi
Del Zotto-Rozsival
Redden-Gilroy

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 7-3-1, 2.65 gaa, .910 sv%, 0 so.

Niklas Backstrom- 3-7-0, 2.70 gaa, .910 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Minnesota has scored just 26 goals in 12 games this season.

- The Wild average 3.25 goals against after giving up just 2.40 last season.

- The Wild are 3-1 at home.

- Andrew Brunette leads Minnesota with seven goals, while Eric Belanger is the team's top point getter with 10.

- The Wild have surrendered the first goal in nine of their 12 games

Opponent Blog:
Hockey Wilderness

New Episode of Rangers Radio

The newest episode of Rangers Radio is available at newyorkrangers.com.

This week's show includes Jim Cerny and Steven Gelbs discussing a number of Rangers topics on the eve of weekend games against Minnesota at Boston, covering everything from Marian Gaborik's return to the Twin Cities to what it's like to chat with some of the players in the locker room on a regular basis.

Andy Bathgate, who was originally scheduled to be a guest this week, will appear next week.

Why No Grachev?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants inquired as to why Dane Byers was summoned from Hartford over Evgeni Grachev and received this answer from John Tortorella...

“That’s the call we got from the coaches down there,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

Gross adds that the Rangers see Byers as the better player right now.

...hey, if the Gernander and Schoenfeld don't feel the kid is ready, I've got to respect their opinion. However, it would have been cool to see Grachev out there tonight.

Gaborik, Avery & Higgins Out Tonight

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Marian Gaborik, Sean Avery and Chris Higgins will all miss tonight's game against Minnesota with various injuries.

P.A. Parenteau will play in his second straight game, Donald Brashear will return to the line-up, while Dane Byers is currently on a flight to Minnesota so the Rangers can fill-out a line-up card for tonight.

On not playing in his return to Minnesota, Gaborik, who participated in this morning's optional skate, said...

“It is disappointing but I can’t do anything about it,” Gaborik said. “I’m trying to push myself to have a good feel but it’s not there. I don’t think I would b e a piece to the puzzle (tonight)."

On whether he'll skate again tomorrow Gaborik added...

“I don’t know. I need to do a lot of treatment.”

...talk about the walking wounded. Luckily they're playing a struggling Wild team. Although, they just lost to terrible Islander team so you never know.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal tonight.

No More 1940

In NHL.com's feature on superstitions in the NHL, Rocky Bonanno looks at the Rangers 54 year Stanley Cup drought....

"Would you believe the team was cursed? That's the legend, anyway, and there are a few differing theories.

One stems from a desecration of the Stanley Cup. During the 1940-41 season, team management supposedly burned the mortgage of Madison Square Garden in the bowl of the Cup after making the final payment, as a sort of celebration. The legend goes that the hockey gods were not happy with this symbolic gesture.

No Cup for you!

Another theory on the curse involves the first NHL team to play in New York, the Americans, which was another tenant of Madison Square Garden. The Americans were run by coach and general manager Red Dutton, who suspended the operations of his team following the 1941-42 season because his team lost several players to the armed services for World War II. Dutton always had planned to revive the Americans following the war, but when he attempted to do so, in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1946 his plan was rebuffed by the NHL. Dutton believed the Rangers were behind the decision. Angered, Dutton declared that the Rangers would never win the Stanley Cup again for as long as he lived."

...i was only alive for 17 of those years, but man they were tough ones. Especially living on Long Island where Islander fans were all too happy to remind any Ranger fan about 1940.

Friday Headlines

Daily News - Gaborik likely out for Minny return





The Bergen Record - Up next

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Video: Torts & Players Post Practice Remarks - 10/29

John Tortorella speaks with reporters following the Blueshirts' Oct. 29 practice at the MSG Training Center here.

Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto discuss the upcoming game at Minnesota following their Oct. 29 practice here.

Torts: It's a Matter of Consistancy

Michael Obernauer at The Blueshirt Blog has this quote from John Tortorella on his frustration with last night's loss to the Islanders...

"It's a matter of consistency. It's not the X's and O's part of it, it's the mental approach. That's my frustrating thought after last night's game," Torts said. "I thought we played a stiff game against Phoenix, did a lot of good things that we made some corrections on, and played harder, and against the Islanders, for most of that game - not just the start, but after watching it, for most of that game - that game was won by a team that played harder than the other team. That's what frustrating, because that's something you can control."

...hopefully Torts can get these guys back to the hard working style that helped win them seven in-a-row.

Gaborik Doubtful for Tomorrow

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Marian Gaborik is going to make the trip to Minnesota for tomorrow night's game, however he’s still sore and is listing himself as day to day.

Gross adds that the Rangers sniper will try to skate tomorrow morning and see how he feels, but he won’t try to rush himself back and put himself at further risk for injury.

On the injury Gaborik said...

“It’s not that serious,” Gaborik said. “I thought it was going to be worse the way it felt. I have to make sure I do the right thing and treat it and take it day by day. It doesn’t feel great but it feels better.”

...sounds like more of a bruise than anything and I'm sure the Rangers are just being ultra conservative with their top player.

Gross also reports that Sean Avery and Chris Higgins both missed practice today because they were, as Tortorella explained it, "banged up." Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports Higgin's injury is an ankle, while Avery's is a knee.

Finally, Gross has this quote from P.A. Parenteau on Tortorella's statement last night that he was worried about the rookie's skating ability...

“I’m not really worried about it, I know what I can do on the ice,” Parenteau said. “I was a little nervous (last night) and I didn’t want to make mistakes. If I play more games, I’ll have more confidence. I made a few mistakes because I was nervous. It’s getting used to the pace. I know I can play at that pace.”

...with the Gaborik injury and some key players struggling, Parenteau might end up getting those games.

Bathgate on Rangers Radio

A new episode of "Rangers Radio" will air tomorrow, Friday at 12 p.m. and includes a guest appearance from Andy Bathgate. To submit a question for Bathgate click here.

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

Avery, Higgins Also Absent from Practice

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants, via Twitter, reports that besides Marian Gaborik both Sean Avery and Chris Higgins were also absent from practice.

...calling Evgeni Grachev. Evgeni Grachev to the front desk. Hopefully, they're not injured and its just a extra day off.

Richter Mentioned for NHLPA Post

Craig Costance at The Sporting News reports that Mike Richter has been mentioned as a successor for Paul Kelly who was removed as executive director of the NHLPA...

Richter on being mentioned...

"Look, anybody who played in the era the last two decades benefited an awful lot from a strong PA," Richter said. "I would certainly be there to help."

Ian Penny is currently the interim executive director.

...i guess this will put his congressional aspirations on hold.

Gaborik Not Practicing Again

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes, via Twitter, reports that Marian Gaborik is not participating in today's practice and that P.A. Parenteau is still with the team.

...not good.

Avery Called Boudreau the Fattest Bleeping Pig He'd Ever Seen

Corey Masisak at The Washington Times reviews Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau's new book which includes this encounter with Sean Avery during last year's playoffs...

"He told me I was the biggest, fattest bleeping pig he had ever seen," Boudreau said in the book. "He told me I was fatter than bleeping Ken Hitchcock. He told me I was going to die because I was such a fat bleep."

...i always wondered exactly what Avery was saying to opponents on the ice. Now I know. God I love this guy.

Boudreau coached Avery for the AHL's Manchester Monarchs.

...h/t to Puck Daddy.

Messier Enjoying Life

Pierre Lebrun at ESPN.com catches up with Mark Messier and asks him about his new role as special assistant to Glen Sather...

"Glen has given me a lot of latitude to look into the organization, into a lot of different areas, to spend time in different areas, starting with Traverse City [Red Wings rookie tournament], working through training camp, evaluating, going to Hartford [AHL], watching other games, taking in some meetings downtown with internal operations ... every day is different," Messier said. "A lot of latitude to move around, see what's going on and continue to learn."

...i can't tell you how excited I am having Messier within the organization. He has the respect of everyone in the NHL which can only help him develop into a top executive and hopefully a successful GM with the Rangers.

Torts Doesn't Give a Damn About John Tavares

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from John Tortorella on #1 pick John Tavares after last night's 3-1 loss to the Islanders...

"I don't give a damn about John Tavares," he said. "I care about my team."

...unfortunately, the Rangers don't have Torts' post game presser on their website. I'd love to see that quote.

On what he does care about (the Rangers), Torts said...

"I just think we're too easy a team to play against in these type of games," said Rangers coach John Tortorella. "They played hard, they played through the body, we didn't answer, as far as hitting back, except for a few shifts in the second period....They were the better team."

...ok, so what are you doing to change this?

For more post game quotes visit Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants.

Thursday Headlines

Newsday - Islanders top Rangers, 3-1





New York Post - Isles take it to Rangers


Islanders 3, Rangers 1


The New York Rangers (8-4-1) lost to the New York Islanders (2-4-5) by the score of 3-1, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...if you didn't know how important Gaborik is to the Rangers you just found out.

...i really felt the Islanders outworked the Rangers tonight. Which I thought wasn't supposed to happen anymore under Tortorella. The Blueshirts were a bit snake bitten also hitting five pipes.

...a real missed opportunity for some of our emerging leaders (Callahan, Dubinsky, Higgins) to step up with their super star sitting out.

...someone who didn't miss his opportunity was Parenteau, who scored his first NHL goal last night. I know Torts said after the game that he was worried about P.A.'s skating, but the kid's got a knack for scoring which the Rangers are going to need with Gaborik out. And when Gabby comes back some of the struggling Blueshirts better watch their back b/c Parenteau could take their spot.

...on the #1 pick Tavares, I think he is an atrocious skater, but similar to Parenteau, the kid knows how to find the back of the net.

...thought Gilroy had a tough first period in his return to Long Island, but seemed to pick it up after that.

...another invisible game for Avery which included a penalty (the Isles scored on the pp) and a -2.

...Rangers need to forget this one and get ready to head out to Minnesota to play the struggling Wild.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rangers @ Islanders (Game 13)

The New York Rangers (8-3-1) visit the New York Islanders (1-4-5) tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG2, MSG+; Radio: WWRL (1600AM), WMJC (94.3FM)

Probable Lines:
Lisin-Prospal-Parenteau
Avery-Drury-Kotalik
Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan
Voros-Anisimov-Boyle

Staal-Girardi
Del Zotto-Rozsival
Redden-Gilroy

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 7-2-1, 2.61 gaa, .920 sv%, 0 so.

Dwayne Roloson - 1-1-3, 3.36 gaa, .890 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Matt Moulson (39 career games) leads the Islanders in goals (5) and points (9).

- After scoring three goals and four assists in his first six games, top overall pick John Tavares has been held without a point in his last four.

- Jeff Tambellini has scored three goals in four games since being a healthy scratch for five straight.

- Islanders captain and former Ranger Doug Weight returns to the line-up after missing the last three games with the H1N1 virus.

Opponent Blog:
Islanders Point Blank

Mixed Bag as Far as Lines Tonight

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirts Blog notes that John Tortorella is likely to mix and match lines tonight after the coach said this...

“...you may see a mixed bag up here as far as our lines...I’d like to get him (P.A. Parenteau) in an offensive position. I’m just not sure where it’s all gonna work out.”

...guys like Callahan, Dubinsky and Higgins are really going to be looked at to step up their games offensively with Gaborik out of the line-up.

...however it could be the younger guys like Anisimov, Lisin and Parenteau who make the difference tonight.

Torts Has No Idea When Gaborik Will Return

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from John Tortorella on Marian Gaborik's timetable for a return to the line-up...

“He won’t be playing tonight,” Tortorella said. “And, again, I’m not going to get into explaining his injury but it is not anything from prior as everybody is always worried about and certainly we are are. But, no, I’m not concerned. We’ll keep him out tonight. I have no idea (when he’ll return)."

...i'm worried that the Rangers are being so secretive about the injury. Which looks like its to the knee. I also read somewhere that NHL Live (XM radio) was reporting that Gaborik needed additional testing to determine the extent of the injury.

As I posted earlier P.A. Parenteau will be replacing Gaborik in the line-up.

Gross also reports, via Twitter, that Donald Brashear will miss his fourth game in the last seven with a possible hand/wrist injury, meaning Aaron Voros will be back in.

Gaborik Out, Parenteau In

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants, via Twitter, reports that Marian Gaborik will sit out tonight's game against the Islanders. P.A. Parenteau will take his place in the line-up.

No report on lines.

...no need to risk further injury. Smart move.

...big night for Parenteau to possibly stick around.

Gaborik Doesn't Skate at Morning's Optional Practice

Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report says that Marian Gaborik did not participate in this morning's game day optional skate.

Carp says if he were Torts he wouldn't even think about playing Gaborik tonight.

...got to agree with Carp here. I know the Islanders are going to come out hard tonight, but there is no need for Gaborik to further injure himself against a one-win team.

Dapuzzo Reveals Anguish, Depression After Skate Severs His Face

Don't know if you guys remember two years ago during a Rangers/Flyers game when Fedor Tyutin hip-checked Steve Downie and Downie's skate came up and kicked linesman Pat Dapuzzo in the face severing his nose.

If you do, then you must read Chris Botta's story over at AOL Fanhouse in which Dapuzzo opens up for the first time about his memories of the incident...

"There were 10 fractures in my face. My right cheekbone was shattered. Between the accident and all the surgeries I've had, I lost all of my teeth. I lost my sense of smell. I developed sleep apnea. I dealt with terrible earaches caused by bone fragments in my right ear."

...i remember when that happened. It was crazy when Dapuzzo skated over to the malay that broke out with a severed nose. This is an awful story. Dapuzzo was great linesman and I wish him the best.

Here's video of the incident...

Marian Gaborik Hat Trick

Joe Delessio at New York Magazine tells us about the newest hat trick in the mold of the Gordie Howe trifecta...

"Last night, he treated the Garden crowd to the full Marian Gaborik experience: two goals, an assist, and an injury. If a Gordie Howe Hat Trick consists of a goal, an assist, and a fight, we suggest this feat heretofore be referred to as a Marian Gaborik Hat Trick. We suspect it won't be the last time we see it."

...wow that's a low blow. But sadly, it's also 100% correct.

Rangers Drop in More Power Rankings

The Rangers dropped from #1 to #7 in the latest TSN power rankings...

7. Rangers - The former top-ranked team took it on the chin last week, losing all three games by a combined score of 16-9, revealing some defensive cracks that weren't seen earlier in the season.

The Rangers also dropped in the CBS Sports, Fox Sports and SI.com power rankings.

Yesterday, I posted polls from ESPN.com and The Hockey News.

...you guys didn't think the Rangers were going to be a top 5 team all year did you?

Wednesday Headlines

Newsday - Tortorella plays it coy on Gaborik's injury

Newsday - Islanders braced for battle against rival Rangers

Daily News - Lundqvist unhurt after car crash

New York Post - Gaborik's status in doubt vs. Islanders

The Bergen Record - Anisimov adjusting well to NHL, U.S.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rangers Call Up Parenteau

Newyorkrangers.com reports that the Rangers have recalled P.A. Parenteau from the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Parenteau has recorded eight goals and six assists for 14 points in nine games with Hartford this season. He currently leads the AHL in goals and is tied for the league lead in points. He is also tied for first in the league in power play goals (five) and fourth in power play assists (four).

...this obviously has to do with Gaborik's uncertainty for tomorrow. Its also not a good sign for Voros getting back in the line-up if Gaborik can't go.

Rozsival Needs A Trade

Rafal Ladysz at The Hockey Writers lists his Top 10 players who need a trade, including Michal Rozsival...

9) Michal Rozsival (New York Rangers)
Rozsival’s production has taken a dive since fellow Czech native Jaromir Jagr decided the KHL was the way to go. Youth is emerging on New York’s blue line and the veteran is feeling the heat.

Shooting more and sending direct passes both can change his fortunes but time is more of the essence as each day concludes. Signed through 2012, Rozsival may turn into another example of big bucks creating large disappointments.

...i'm sure the Rangers would love to trade Rozsival and his ridiculous salary, but there's not many teams in the market for an over-paid, under-achieving defenseman.

...i've got to give Rozsival some credit though, as his game has improve dramatically since his benching.

...h/t to Puck Daddy.

Staal Explains Defensive Lapses; More on Gabby, Lundy

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants spoke with Marc Staal about the defensive lapses during the three game losing streak and why they seemed to be corrected last night....

“We scored a lot of goals and we were winning games,” Staal said. “We just thought we could go in and wheel around and get a couple and bury teams. We’ were not paying attention to the defensive part of the game.”

...i would have assumed with Tortorella constantly riding these guys it would have cut down on over-confidence. I guess not.

Gross also further updates us on Marian Gaborik reporting that the Rangers are not disclosing what type of injury it is and are not giving word on his availability for tomorrow night’s game against the Islanders but coach John Tortorella said he was not too concerned.

...the Rangers better not be messing with us by saying Gaborik's injury isn't that serious and then he misses two weeks. I hope they're giving it to us straight.

As far as Henrik Lundqvist, Gross notes that he was said to be OK after his morning one-car fender-bender but was obviously late getting to practice. Gross adds that there is no reason he shouldn’t be available tomorrow.

Lundqvist in Car Accident

Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, via Twitter, reports that Henrik Lundqvist was in a single car fender bender as he slid on the rainy road and hit a guard rail today. He is said to be fine.

...what did Lundqvist think he was on the Autobahn? In all seriousness, glad to hear he's ok. Nothing yet on his status for tomorrow night against the Islanders.

Gaborik, Lundqvist Not Practicing

Steve Zipay, Andrew Gross and Jim Cerny, via Twitter, all report that both Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist are not practicing today.

...not going to get too crazy, as you had to assume Gaborik would get the day off to rest. No need for him to make the injury worse by pushing it in practice.

Gross also reports on the line configurations...

Lisin-Prospal-Voros
Avery-Drury-Kotalik
Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan
Brashear-Anisimov-Boyle

...a little flash back to last year with Voros on the top line. Not a good flash back, but a flash back nonetheless.

Zipay Live Chat @ 2pm

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes will host his weekly web chat today at 2 p.m. To participate click here.

Video: Highlights & Torts After Win vs. Yotes

Rangers vs. Coyotes highlights here.

John Tortorella speaks with reporters following the Blueshirts' 5-2 win over Phoenix here.

Gaborik Gets Monday's 2nd Star

Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy names Marian Gaborik Monday's 2nd star...

No. 2 star: Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
The good news: Gaborik's two goals and an assist propelled the Rangers over the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2, to snap their three-game losing streak and to give the free-agent star a share of the NHL lead in goals scored (10) with Anze Kopitar. The bad news: Gaborik's durability is all anyone can talk about after the victory, as he limped to the dressing room before the game was finished and after colliding with a Coyote. Gaborik told Rangers Rants the injury wasn't related to any of his nagging ailments, and it doesn't appear to be serious in nature.

...it's simple with Gaborik. He stays healthy, the Rangers are in the playoffs. If not, all bets are off.

...he is awesome though isn't he.

Rangers Drop in Power Rankings

The Rangers dropped from #2 to #9 in the recent ESPN.com power rankings...

9. Rangers - Losses to San Jose, New Jersey and Montreal during the past seven days remind us that the Blueshirts are indeed human. Hey guys, a little defense, eh?

While The Hockey News dropped the Rangers eight spots to #10...

10. Rangers - Chris Higgins not endearing himself to new coach John Tortorella.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Gaborik leads Rangers to victory









The Bergen Record - Rangers' top line on fire

The Bergen Record - Rangers notes

Monday, October 26, 2009

Torts: There's Going to Be Other Benchings (Gaborik Update Below)

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has quotes from numerous Rangers including this one from John Tortorella...

"There's going to be other benchings. I'll tell you right now. I have some people in mind."

...man, Torts keeps these guys on their toes.

Zipay has additional quotes from Torts as well as statments from Lundqvist, Dubinsky and Drury.

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

John Tortorella on neutral zone play…
“We were better at it. I think we gave up 11 or 12 scoring chances but we were much better away from the puck. The second goal was the one we got caught changing and a couple of people leaving the zone…we were sloppy there but for the most part we were pretty good as far as those types of situations.”

Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…
“I think tonight we were off to a really good start. They are a fast team. They skate a lot and move the puck a lot. We did a good job. It changed a little bit when they scored a couple of goals and got some energy. I like the way we responded in the third. Personally, I knew it was going to be a good intense third period. It felt good with the help of the defense.”

Chris Drury on Enver Lisin…
“Enver brings a lot to that line (first). He seems to be working well with those guys and he does a lot with the scoring chances.”

Sean Avery on Phoenix’s two quick goals in the second period…
“That is something that is not a pattern at this point. If it is, it is probably because we got away from our foundation which is our forecheck and our system. We have a certain style we are supposed to play every night and when we stray from that, things don’t go well. I think when we play into our system and into our foundation we find success.”

Gaborik Update

Update, 11:40 p.m.:
Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has this quote from Gaborik on the injury...

"It's nothing related to my groin or hip or torso," Gaborik said afterward. "We'll see how everything is in the morning. I collided with one of their players, but it's nothing major. It happened with about five minutes left and the game was pretty much over."

...the news keeps getting better.

Update, 10:45 p.m.:
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Gaborik spent a long time in the trainers room after the game but was not limping when he emerged and said the injury wasn’t related to his groin or hip, injuries that limited him to 17 games last season.

On the severity of the injury, Gaborik noted...

“We’ll see how everything is in the morning.”

...very encouraging news.

Original Post:
During John Tortorella's press conference he was asked about Marian Gaborik's injury and said that the team sent him to the locker room early because the game was already decided.

He also noted that he didn't see the injury and hadn't spoken with the trainers.

...i don't want to speculate, but at least that sounds a little positive. Better than if he came out and said Gaborik was having x-rays.

...assuming we won't hear anything until tomorrow.

Rangers 5, Coyotes 2

The New York Rangers (8-3-1) defeated the Phoenix Coyotes (6-4-0) by the score of 5-2, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...well Rangers fans you knew it was only a matter of time until Gaborik went down with an injury. Let's hope its not that serious. Putting the injury aside, is this guy sick or what?

...unfortunately, the injury mars a nice win by the Blueshirts. Lots of offensive pressure, a better defensive effort and as always Lundqvist there when things broke down.

...despite the shorty, the Rangers power play is so fun to watch.

...i was a big advocate for bringing Betts back, but I tell you what, if he's centering the fourth line the Rangers aren't getting the offensive production they have right now.

...yesterday, i asked if anybody else noticed that the Rangers losing streak had coincided with Brashear being out of the line-up. And low and behold the guy comes back and they win. Coincidence? Hey I'm looking for anything positive for the guy.

...nice bounce back game for Dubinsky and Higgins. While still not scoring, I thought that might have been Higgins best game of the season. Nice to see Torts giving him every opportunity to succeed tonight.

...assuming Torts wasn't happy during the second intermission.

...big pk to start the third period.

...Prospal continues to be the best bargain in the league.

...who else was rooting for Prucha to bury one?

...Lisin and Anisimov continue to get more and more comfortable.

...off tomorrow then we get our first look at #1 pick John Tavares on the Long Island.

Rangers vs. Coyotes (Game 12)

The New York Rangers (7-3-1) host the Phoenix Coyotes (6-3-0) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: WNYM (970AM)

Probable Lines:
Lisin-Prospal-Gaborik
Avery-Drury-Kotalik
Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan
Brashear-Anisimov-Boyle

Staal-Gilroy
Del Zotto-Rozsival
Redden-Girardi

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 6-2-1, 2.68 gaa, .910 sv%, 0 so.

Ilya Bryzgalov - 6-2-0, 1.59 gaa, .933 sv%, 2 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Former Ranger fan favorite Petr Prucha has 2g, 1a on the season, while another former Blueshirt Lauri Korpikoski is scoreless.

- The Coyotes are 3-1 on the road.

- Shane Doan is Phoenix's leading scorer with with three goals and six assists.

- Bryzgalov is 1-1 with a 2.02 career GAA against the Rangers.

Opponent Blog:
Five For Howling

Lundqvist to Honor Plante's Mask

Michael Obernauer at The Blueshirts Blog reports that Henrik Lundqvist will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Jacques Plante donning the first goaltender's mask by wearing a special edition mask he and Steve Valiquette had made.

The mask is designed with an image of Plante and his mask, the dates “1959-2009,” and a rendering of a ticket stub to that Rangers-Canadiens game - Nov. 1, 1959.

Obernauer says the smart money is that Lundqvist (or Valiquette, whoever is the starter) will wear the commemorative mask next Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Garden against Boston.

Plante wore the mask after taking shot to the face from Ranger great Andy Bathgate.

Higgins, Dubi Together; Brashear Back

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports from practice today that Christopher Higgins and Brandon Dubinsky will start on a line together with Ryan Callahan tonight but John Tortorella said that this was an important game for Higgins to retain his spot in the lineup.

...glad to see Torts giving Dubinsky and Higgins another chance.

Gross adds that Donald Brashear returns to the lineup with Aaron Voros back to being a healthy scratch.

...hopefully, Brashear can give the Rangers a bit of a spark tonight.

Finally, Gross notes that despite lingering stiffness in his right foot, Henrik Lundqvist will make the start in net tonight.

For more on practice visit Steve Zipay's Blue Notes.

Rangers Organizational Depth Analysis

Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future does an organizational depth analysis of the New York Rangers...

"There are 17 new prospects in the Rangers stable since last Spring, and the prospect depth chart is much stronger at every position except right wing. Very active in the signing of free agent prospects last spring and summer, as well as obtaining prospects via trade prior to the season, the Rangers now are third in Hockey's Future's organizational rankings."

Treff breaks down the organization by position and features top prospects.

Hockey's Future recently named the Rangers the third best organization in the NHL.

...you can't be anything but excited about the franchise's future.

Rangers Moment of the Week

Each Monday, fans are invited to vote for the newyorkrangers.com Moment of the Week from among three finalists. On Wednesday at noon, the winning moment will be posted along with selected comments from fans who voted for it. Here are this week's finalists...

* Del Zotto Gives Rangers 2-0 Lead Over Sharks
* Kotalik Breakaway Ties New Jersey in Second
* Gaborik Burns Halak for 4-2 Lead at Montreal

Gaborik's goal against Kings was last week's winner.

Monday Headlines

Daily News - New York Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky and Christopher Higgins feel wrath of coach John Tortorella

The Bergen Record - 'Lazy' backcheck, says Torts



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Higgins to Fourth Line; Dubi Talks Benching

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports from today's practice that Chris Higgins wore a yellow jersey and skated with the fourth line. He'll most likely be there tomorrow night because Donald Brashear is expected to miss his third consecutive game with a sore hand.

...Higgins should be excited to be on the fourth line, because as I noted last night, numerous Rangers (Anisimov, Lisin and Kotalik) have been able to find their offensive game there.

...anybody else notice that the Rangers losing streak has coincided with Brashear being out of the line-up.

On benching Higgins, Torts said...

"I thought Higgy gave us some good shifts, but he’s not doing enough right now. I’m not trying to turn this into a bigger story than it should be, but the player needs to do more. Will he get a chance to show more offensively. I think he will. It’s not trying to embarrass him at all."

On whether Torts explained to him the benching, Dubinsky said...

"Nope…I think it was pretty obvious what happened. Sometimes you make mistakes and you’ve got to pay the consequences…I certainly know what I did and what happened to me and you certainly can’t make those mistakes. It was a big turning point in the game and I’ve got to take care of the puck and be strong on it."

Later Dubinsky added...

"...I’ve been playing hockey for 20 years and been benched plenty of times for stupid plays. I feel like I’m a pro, and I’m not gonna dwell on it or pout about it, just come back and not make those mistakes."

...like a few of you mentioned in my game recap, Torts' benching of Dubinsky was a bit excessive. It's not like Dubi's mistake was due to laziness or not working hard. Dubinsky has played too well this season to deserve a full period benching.

Finally, Zipay reports Henrik Lundqvist practiced but his leg was still stiff from being jammed into the post in a collision last night. ZIpay expects him to play tomorrow against Phoenix.

Video: Torts, Analysis & Highlights of Loss to Habs

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the Blueshirts' 5-4 overtime loss on Oct. 24 at Montreal here.

The hosts of MSG's "Hockey Night Live" shared their take on the Rangers' overtime loss to the Canadiens on Oct. 24 at Montreal's Bell Centre here.

Rangers vs. Canadiens highlights here.

More On Ranger Fans Being Blacked Out in Albany Region

Earlier this week, I posted a petition to get the Sabres off of MSG Network. Apparently, when MSG reached their deal to televise Sabres games in certain areas it included non-Sabres markets such as Albany and Utica. Meaning when the Rangers and Sabres have a home and home conflict, the Sabres are put on over the Rangers as well as the Devils and Islanders.

Today, Larry Brooks at the New York Post follows-up on why Ranger games are blacked-out in favor of the Sabres by stating...

The answer, as provided in an e-mail by deputy commissioner Bill Daly is that the Albany region is a "shared territory" for the Sabres, Rangers, Devils and Islanders, and that the Sabres are given precedence, "because the Rangers' footprint has traditionally pushed north and east (not north and west) and the Sabres' out-of-market territory has historically been New York State outside of the metropolitan area."

...Daly has only added fuel to the fire with that statement.

Sunday Headlines

The Journal News - Canadiens capitalize on Rangers' errors, Cammalleri's hat trick





The Bergen Record - Rangers notes

The Bergen Record - Big Whistle dies at 94



Canadiens 5, Rangers 4, OT


The New York Rangers (7-3-1) lost to the Montreal Canadiens (5-5-0) by the score of 5-4 in overtime, yesterday. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...deep breath Ranger fans. I know it's three losses in a row, but at least the games are entertaining. If this was last year that would have been a tough to sit through 3-1 yawner. Man, the Bell Centre has really become the Rangers personal 'House of Horrors.'

...tough night for Dubinsky and Higgins. Not exactly the homecoming the former Hab was looking for. Dubi can't make that turnover there. Turned the whole game around.

...the Rangers might think about putting someone on Camalleri the next time they play the Canadiens. Especially in OT.

...Lundqvist as usual was outstanding but he's got to make that save on Bergeron from the point.

...i guess all the Rangers need to do to get someone going offensively is put them on the fourth line. Anisimov being the latest example. Torts, it may be time to give Higgins a shift down there.

...i officially hate Gomez again.

...oh yeah, the Rangers have another rookie defenseman.

...Gaborik and Kotalik continue to be the only Blueshirts to supply consistent offense for the Rangers. It may be time for 'Captain Comeback' to make an appearance.

...Petr Prucha and Yotes on Monday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gomez, Mara Talk New Home

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants was able to catch-up with former Rangers and current Canadiens Scott Gomez and Paul Mara before tonight's game...

On playing in hockey-crazed Montreal, Gomez said...

“It’s different being in a hockey atmosphere as far as being in a Canadian city,” Gomez said. “It took a little bit to get adjusted to but it’s been great.”

Gomez also explained that his poor performance last year was due to injury.

...excuses, excuses.

On being motivated to allevate his game playing in Canada, Mara noted...

“You want to play better for them,” Mara said of Montreal fans. “It’s similar to New York, the fans are very knowledgeable.”

...i really thought Mara came into his own his last two years with the Rangers and I would have liked to have him back this year. But, unfortunately, there really wasn't a spot for him on the roster, unless he was willing to accept a lot less money for a seventh defense spot. Which obviously he wasn't.

Rangers @ Montreal (Game 11)

Update, 1:14 p.m.:
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Donald Brashear will miss his second straight game with soreness, meaning Artem Anisimov will center the fourth line tonight. For the third game in a row, Jaroslav Halak will get the call over starter Carey Price in goal for the Canadiens.

Original Post:
The New York Rangers (7-3-0) visit the Montreal Canadiens (4-5-0) tonight at the Bell Centre starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: WABC (770AM)

Probable Lines:
Lisin-Prospal-Gaborik
Avery-Drury-Kotalik
Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan
Boyle-Anisimov-Voros

Staal-Gilroy
Del Zotto-Rozsival
Redden-Girardi

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 6-2-0, 2.41 gaa, .920 sv%, 0 so.

Jaroslav Halak - 2-1-0, 1.87 gaa, .920 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- The Canadiens are playing the fifth game of a six game homestand (2-2 so far).

- Former Devil Brian Gionta leads the Canadiens with four goals.

- Starting goaltender Carey Price has been benched for the last two games and is 2-4-0 with a 3.36 gaa, while back-up Jaroslav Halak surrended just two goals in those games both Montreal victories. Against the Rangers, Halak is 2-2-0 with a 3.26 gaa.

- F Sergei Kostitsyn was suspended for the second time this season when he left Montreal's AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs.

Opponent Blog:
Habs Eyes On The Prize

Good to See Ya Gomer

I haven't mentioned this yet, but tonight will be the first time we get to see Scott Gomez since the Rangers sent him to Montreal for Chris Higgins, Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko.

On the season, Gomez has two goals, three assists and is a +1 in nine games. Montreal is 4-5-0 on the season.

Gomez is also currently caught in the middle of a vicious Montreal rumor that has him getting into a fight with teammate Sergei Kostitsyn during the preseason leading to Kostitsyn being sent down to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. Gomez denies the altercation. (Read here).

...when the Rangers signed Gomez I really looked forward to his play-making ability. Unfortunately, the Rangers never surrounded him with the personnel he needed to succeed. And for the most part he was a bust.

...the most ironic part about the Rangers trading Gomez is the money the Blueshirts where able to free-up they used to bring in a player Gomez probably would have thrived with in Gaborik.

Del Zotto an Unusual Suspect for Success

Sam McCaig at The Hockey News looks at 15 pleasant early-season surprises including Michael Del Zotto...

3. Michael Del Zotto, Rangers
It’s a surprise he made the Rangers out of training camp in the first place. It’s a surprise he’s leading all NHL rookies in points (nine points in 10 games). And it’s a surprise he’s leading all NHL defensemen in points.

Only Dion Phaneuf, with five goals, has more goals among D-men than Del Zotto’s four. And no blueliner has more than Del Zotto’s three power play markers. Not bad for a 19-year-old.

Del Zotto, in fact, has been handed the keys to the Rangers’ power play and he’s driving it a 27.3-percent clip right now, which translates to an NHL-best 12 man-advantage goals for the Rangers through 10 games.

...it's a surprise how many of these stupid lists are out there.

Ranger Trio Looking Good to Make Team USA

Allan Muir at SI.com takes a look at the players competing for roster spots on Team USA and Team Canada for this year's Olympics, including three Rangers trying to impress Team USA brass...

Under the heading "Stitch His Name On A Sweater":

Ryan Callahan: Exactly what you want in an Olympian -- smart, fast and gritty. He's trailed only Marian Gaborik as New York's most important forward.

Chris Drury: Veteran leadership and a history of coming through in the clutch ensure he'll be there.

...i tell you what if Callahan doesn't start to pick up his game offensively they might start removing those stitches.

Under the heading "Making A Case":

Brandon Dubinsky: The Rangers' top center can't match Gomez's resume, but he's much more physical. Sounds like a Burke player...plus he'll have assistant coach John Tortorella in his corner.

...Dubinsky has played himself into contention with a hot start, hopefully his play will continue to put the pressure on Brian Burke to add him to the roster.

Saturday Headlines

New York Post - Rangers' Higgins out to end 0-fer



The Bergen Record - Higgins seeks spark

Friday, October 23, 2009

Defensive Basics & Line Changes

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that John Tortorella went back to basics at practice today especially with the defensemen where they worked on how to view an on-coming rush, closing off rushing wingers along the boards and being physical around the net without ending up in the penalty box.

On the defensive problems last night, Torts said...

"blown coverages, plain and simple. We had the guys there, we just missed an assignment."

Dan Girardi, whose play this season was described as "very average" by Torts last night which was changed to "inconsistent" today, said of his work ethic...

"I try to go out and play hard every shift," Girardi told me. "If it looks like I'm not working as hard as I should... That's something I can't control."

...i sense a little anger in that statement.

While, Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants notes that for the first time this season Torts tinkered with the defensive pairings by putting Staal with Gilroy and Girardi with Redden.

Forward line changes included...
Lisin-Prospal-Gaborik
Avery-Drury-Kotalik
Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan
Brashear/Boyle-Anisimov-Voros.

Gross adds that Anisimov was on the ice late with Valiquette meaning he will be a likely scratch tomorrow night against the Canadiens.

...hate to see Anisimov being scratched. Would rather him try to find his game on the fourth line similar to Kotalik and Lisin.

Sean Avery Website

Sean Avery has a new website complete with photos, video, a blog and much more.

For more on the website, visit Puck Daddy.

...still a work in progress over at seanavery.com. But once they get the site filled up, it should be fun to visit. Definitely something worth adding to your favorites.

Torts: It can’t be all on the shoulders of a Prospal and Gaborik

Michael Obernauer at The Blueshirts Blog has this quote from John Tortorella after last night's game...

“Guys like Higgy and Cally, players like that - it can’t be all on the shoulders of a Prospal and Gaborik,” Tortorella said. “We need some help elsewhere. Higgy needs to get going, Cally needs to get going. Dru is a guy that’s working hard but is coming up empty. In my mind he’s a little bit different than the other two because I think Dru’s been more involved. But we need to get something there.”

On Callahan getting caught from behind on a breakaway...

“Cally got caught from behind; it’s happened quite a bit with Cally the first part of the year. You know how I feel about him, I think he’s going to be a huge part of the team, but for some reason it’s just not happening for him, and he tends to get caught right now when he’s breaking in. Hopefully we’ll pick up another step with him and we’ll get some opportunities.

“I believe he is going to bounce back, but we need to get it going now. For us to get out of a little bit of a jam here, losing two in a row, we need to get some help from some guys that need to be part of the club.”

...Callahan has been taking a little bit of a beating these last few days. I'm confident he'll be able to bounce back quickly, but this is the first time I've seen him being criticized since he was sent down to Hartford two years ago.

...Higgins on the other hand, I'm really starting to worry about. After struggling the first few games he really seemed to find himself, but when he couldn't find the back of the net his confidence has waivered. And Torts dropping him to the third line can't help.

Paying for Zipay & Newsday.com

Update, 12:13 p.m.:
Zipay follows-up on the below report by noting that if you have an RSS feed from Newsday.com (and are a non-subscriber) that you will have one click to read the latest post and if you follow him on Twitter his hyperlink to Blue Notes will continue for free as well.

Original Post:
Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that starting next Wednesday, if you are not an Optimum Online customer or Newsday subscriber, you will have to pay to use Newsday's website including Zipay's blog.

Zipay adds that non-subscribers will have to pay what comes out to 66 cents per day.

Here's Zipay's reasoning...

"Hess doesn’t give away gas, restaurants don’t offer free food, Blackberries aren’t handed out at subway stops.

Somebody’s producing the goods.

So are we."

...the newspaper industry has been absolutely destroyed by the internet and economy, so I can't kill Newsday for actually trying to make a profit. But my concern is that the hit in on-line readership that Zipay will face could affect the quality of his work. Meaning, Newsday may decide, hey, your readership is down so we won't be sending you to report from practice anymore or possibly deciding not to send him to away games. That would be devastating for us Ranger fans who rely on Zipay to get us the latest news.

...but be assured my friends, I am a Newsday subscriber, so I will have access to Zipay and will continue to post on what Zipay is reporting. Which probably isn't a good thing for Zipay or Newsday because why would you pay for something you could get here for free. Sorry Zip.

Video: Lundqvist in Newest Versus Ad

I was just e-mailed by someone at Versus asking if I could post their latest NHL spot which includes Henrik Lundqvist...

Rangers Named 3rd Best in Organization Ranking

Hockey's Future has ranked the Rangers #3 in their organization rankings...

Strengths: The Blueshirts' blueline is the jewel of the system. Ryan McDonagh was a key acquisition in the offseason from Montreal, and welcome defensive addition to go with Michael Del Zotto, Bobby Sanguinetti, and Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy. Russian power forward Evgeny Grachev has begun to emerge as a powerhouse in junior. The 19-year-old is the organization's top-flight scorer. Fellow Russian Artem Anisimov is also highly prized, and has begun his rookie campaign this season after a dominant year last year in the AHL. McDonagh's teammate with the University of Wisconsin, forward Derek Stepan, also turned heads as a freshman last year.

Weaknesses: The biggest deficit in the system is in goal. With three netminding prospects in the organization, none have distinguished themselves. With difficulty as of late cultivating their own draft choices at the position, free agent Chad Johnson, a Hobey nominee, is the team's best bet as of now.

Top 5 prospects: 1. Evgeny Grachev, C, 2. Artem Anisimov, C, 3. Ryan McDonagh, D, 4. Derek Stepan, C, 5. Michael Del Zotto, D.

...how in the world is Del Zotto only the Rangers fifth best prospect when he's currently starring for the big club and being mentioned as a potential Calder Trophy winner?!?!?!?

...now that I got that off my chest. Every Ranger fan should be ecstatic about the future of this franchise. Not only do they have young kids performing at the top level right now they have a stock pile of younsters who should be making a difference for this team for year's to come.