Monday, November 30, 2009

Rangers Talk Loss to Pens

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

John Tortorella on tonight’s game…
“I thought we played better defensively, first of all. I thought we had the puck more. We generated some offense. It is discouraging. I thought there were a lot of good things for a lot of minutes of that game. Right now we are just not figuring out how to win it at key times. We need another big play, another big defensive play, another big offensive play, another big save. That is the fine line between winning and losing in this league and right now we are not getting it done.”

Marian Gaborik on the positives of the game…
“I don’t think we gave them much. We gave them a couple of power plays. I think we had a lot of chances, quality chances. That is what we have to take out of this game.”

Chris Drury on tonight’s game…
“I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game. It’s really a frustrating loss. Hopefully we can take some good things from it, get a good week of practice and get ready for Buffalo.”

...its quite sad when the Rangers are encouraged by moral victories.

Penguins 5, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers (13-13-1) lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins (19-9-0) by the score of 5-2, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...hey at least it wasn't eight goals.

...i thought the Rangers actually played a solid game tonight, but they're just not making the big play when needed. Or they're making the big mistake that costs them. I.E. Rozsival backing in on Rupp's second goal instead of stepping up.

...Gaborik is only 25 games into his Rangers career and I think he's already my favorite all-time Ranger. Not just because he can score at will, but he's not afraid to go to the net and get dirty. I loved seeing him mix it up with Crosby tonight. think Avery looked comfortable on the first line? Too bad it took Torts so long to figure that one out.

...nice to see Higgins finally bury one.

...Henrik, I've got three word for you: high, glove, side. Figure it out.

...i guess Drury and Callahan don't want to play in the Olympics.

...a hat trick by Mike Rupp?!?!?!? Isn't this the same guy Orr used to beat the crap out of when he was on the Devils?

...18 goals in the three games since Redden went down. Maybe the veteran Mathieu Dandenault was the better guy to bring up.

...with the loss the Rangers are officially a .500 team. Feels like they're a lot worse.

...the Rangers are off until Saturday when they head up to Buffalo. I'd like to see Torts really shake things up a bit by maybe sitting Callahan on Saturday.

Rangers vs. Penguins (Game 27)

The New York Rangers (13-12-1) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-0) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist - 11-9-1, 2.68 gaa, .910 sv%, 1 so.

Marc-Andre Fleury - 15-7-0, 2.54 gaa, .900 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- C Sidney Crosby had five points (3g, 2a) against the Rangers Saturday night.

- LW Matt Cooke will miss tonight's game after being suspended for his hit on Artem Anisimov on Saturday.

- C Evgeni Malkin has scored four goals in his last six games.

- D Jay McKee said he could play tonight after missing six straight games with an infected right finger.

Opponent Blog:

Avery to Top Line; Lisin to Sit

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Sean Avery has been moved to the top line with Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik, while Enver Lisin will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Penguins with Ales Kotalik skating on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Aaron Voros.

...i love this move. One of the Rangers most successful lines over the course of the last few years was when Renney put Avery on the top line with Dubinsky and Jagr. I think Avery's going to be able to open things up for Gaborik.

Zipay also has this quote from the recently suspended Matt Cooke on his hit to Artem Anisimov...

"I have to finish my checks. That's what makes me successful, that's my job. Given the situation again... I have to take the body. That's my job."

...and that's why suspensions for head-shots need to be longer. This guy doesn't even care. Take the body? Is this guy kidding me?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more here.

Monday Headlines

Newsday - Pens' Cooke suspended for hit on Anisimov

New York Post - Gut check for Torts

New York Post - Head shot costs Cooke

The Bergen Record - Torts: Guys hide behind rules

Cooke Suspended Two Games

TSN reports that Pittsburgh Penguins left-winger Matt Cooke was suspended for two games for a deliberate check to the head area of Artem Anisimov on Saturday night.

Cooke will miss tonight's Rangers-Pens rematch.

...another weak response by the NHL. A 20 gamer would have sent a real message to the league that those types of hit will not be tolerated. the Rangers get a double whammy as they can't get any retribution with Cooke suspended for tonight's game.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Penguins 8, Rangers 3

The New York Rangers (13-12-1) lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-0) by the score of 8-3, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...if last night was the worst loss of the season, tonight was the most embarrassing. The Rangers looked like an AHL team out there from the coach right on down the line.

...does Torts even have a strategy for this team anymore? The lines change every shift, nobody seems to know what's going on and the fourth line doesn't even play together. What is going on?

...and speaking of what is going on. Why in the world did Lisin not step on the ice tonight? If Torts wanted him to watch the game, dress Boyle and have Lisin sit in the press box. Mind boggling.

...i never realized how much Redden meant to this team defensively.

...the Rangers officially need to find a new back-up goaltender because Valiquette is just not cutting it.

...hold off on those Del Zotto for Calder talks after a -5 tonight. Yikes.

...only 10 minutes of ice time for Sanguinetti, while the rest of the defense has to log over 20. Nice job giving the kid a chance Torts.

...on a positive note, how nice was Staal's goal?

...since I'm bitching, will Bettman do something about these headshots. Another cheap shot to the head of a Ranger player tonight and only a two-minute penalty called. If the NHL isn't going to hand out long term suspensions for this kind of thuggery it will continue to be a part of the game. And to top it off, the linesman jumps in when Brashear decides to pound on Cooke. Disgusting.

...another beating awaits the Rangers Monday night when the Penguins come to MSG.

Boyle, Lundqvist Out; Voros, Valiquette In

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Henrik Lundqvist and Brian Boyle were the only Rangers to skate at Mellon Arena this morning in Pittsburgh meaning Boyle (-2 and two lost fights last night) will be a healthy scratch tonight, with Aaron Voros taking his place.

...someone had to take the fall for last night and Boyle seemed like an obvious candidate.

Zipay adds that Lundqvist skating would indicate that Steve Valiquette gets the start, but Lundqvist may have just wanted to get some work in after being pulled last night. I'm hoping Lundqvist just wanted some extra work.

Video: Tortorella Post Game Presser After Tampa Loss

John Tortorella speaks to reporters after the Rangers loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning here.

Are the Rangers Going to Be Consistent?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from John Tortorella, who called last night's game probably the Rangers worst of the season...

“We’re going to have to make a decision here sooner or later, are we going to be a consistent hockey club,” he added. “I think it starts with our preparation and it goes on to being ready to play at all times. And, top to bottom, from the goaltender on out, no one played. This was a group effort tonight coming from a group effort. It’s a mindset of trying to be consistent. If we’re going to be a team that wants to be there at the end, consistency is a very important thing.”

...its funny all the things Torts seems to be criticizing the team on are actually are his responsibility. Preparation, being ready to play and effort. Take a look in the mirror Torts. Having said that, as Torts says, the entire team was awful.

Including, according to Tortorella, Henrik Lundqvist. Gross adds that Torts mentioned on three separate occasions he did not believe Henrik Lundqvist had played well.

Here's Lundqvist on being pulled...

“Valley came out, I was expecting to keep on playing,” Lundqvist said of backup Steve Valiquette. “But they made a call. That’s it.”

...Lundqvist was actually the only reason this game wasn't a blow-out earlier so not sure why Torts would go out of his way to criticize his best player numerous times.

...i do, however, agree with Lundqvist being pulled. No need to keep him in there when the team wasn't putting up any kind of effort. Get him out and ready for today's game.

Saturday Headlines

The Journal News - Tortorella blasted by former team

The Begrgen Record - NJ kid on block

Friday, November 27, 2009

Video: Lowlights of Loss to Bolts

Rangers vs. Lighning lowlights here.

Lightning 5, Rangers 1

The New York Rangers (13-11-1) lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-6-7) by the score of 5-1, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...not exactly the homecoming Tortorella was looking for. Rangers played like they ate a little too much Turkey yesterday. Had to be one of the worst efforts all season.

...thought Sanguinetti looked a little nervous in his first NHL game, but he held his own. No egregious mistakes.

...wonder if Torts will come right back with Lundqvist tomorrow after being pulled in the second.

...i know Callahan hasn't scored in a while, but no need to raise the stick the way he did to celebrate when they're down 5-1.

...anyone else's heart in their throat when Gaborik went crashing into Smith? Nice to see him bounce back up.

...why was Tampa picking on Boyle tonight?

...for the first time all year I was happy with Brashear's effort. Thought he played with an edge to his game we were all used to watching on the other side. time to dwell on this one as they head to Pittsburgh tomorrow to take on the Penguins who somehow lost to the Isles today.

Rangers @ Lightning (Game 25)

The New York Rangers (13-10-1) visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-6-7) tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG Plus; Radio: WNYM (970AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Rozsival

Henrik Lundqvist - 11-8-1, 2.55 gaa, .915 sv%, 1 so.

Mike Smith - 3-4-4, 3.37 gaa, .890 sv%, 0 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Tampa Bay suffered its first regulation home loss at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night.

- C Vinny Lecavalier has scored three goal in the past five games to give him five on the season.

- C Steve Stamkos has three goals and six assists over the last seven games and is tied with LW Ryan Malone with a team-high 15 goals while ranking first on the team with 26 points. Stamkos is pointless in four games against the Rangers.

- G Mike Smith is 0-2-1 against the Rangers, with a gaa of 2.92 in his career.

Opponent Blog:
Raw Charge

Tortorella Should Expect a Warm Welcome from Tampa Fans

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants spoke with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis on what John Tortorella should expect from the Tampa fans tonight...

“Nothing but cheers,” Lecavalier said. “He’s done so much for this organization. I don’t think people should forget that. Brad Richards came back and he got a huge ovation.”

“I don’t see any bad reaction from the fans, I don’t think there should be,” St. Louis added. “He was active in the community, he was well liked. We won a Stanley Cup. I don’t see how they can’t welcome him back to this building.”

...i'd be shocked to hear boos from the Lightning fans tonight.

Kotalik Back; Lundqvist In

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Ales Kotalik, who missed Wednesday's game with a strained ribcage muscle, will play tonight, likely on the fourth line in place of Aaron Voros. doubt that Brashear should be the one sitting tonight.

Zipay also notes that Henrik Lundqvist will get his seventh straight start tonight. Meaning Steve Valiquette will likely go tomorrow at Pittsburgh.

...chalk the Pens game up as a loss.

Finally Zipay says Bobby Sanguinetti will start on the right side with Matt Gilroy, who switches over to the left defense spot.

...lots of respect for Gilroy giving him the responsibility to move to the left wing and be partnered with another rookie.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more here.

Del Zotto A Top Rookie So Far

Spector over at Fox Sports names his Top 10 rookies so far this season and guess who checks in at #3...

3. Michael Del Zotto, Rangers
Just over 20 games into his NHL career, Del Zotto's play has been drawing comparisons to former Rangers blueline great Brian Leetch. With his smooth-skating and puck-handling ability, Del Zotto is currently third in rookie scoring, fourth in Rangers scoring, and ranks among the top 10 in scoring for defensemen. The 20-year-old has been arguably the Rangers best blueliner so far this season. If he continues to play well throughout the remainder of the season, he could be considered for rookie of the year honors.

Islanders rookie and top pick John Tavares is ranked #1.

...after his goal the other night against the Blue Jackets, Del Zotto should be #1.

Voros Thankful

Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports has an outstanding piece on why Aaron Voros is thankful this Thanksgiving season, including beating cancer in college...

"Problem was, early in his second season with Alaska, Voros suffered an injury that led to a gruesome discovery. It began after the winger had fallen awkwardly during a game and went for X-rays, a seemingly routine examination that revealed a large tumor-like lump on the back of his left knee. Subsequent MRI tests done over the next few months led three different doctors to diagnose Voros with osteosarcoma, a rare type of malignant bone cancer that threatened the loss of his leg, if not his life."

Voros was operated on six times and was lucky enough to find out that the tumor was benign, which was something considered an extreme long shot, given the original prognosis.

"It really was a life-changing experience that makes you stop and think," Voros said. "But it felt like I was getting a second chance and I intended to make the most of it."

Voros finished the following season at Alaska, signed with the Devils and spent the next two-plus seasons with their top minor league team before being traded to the Minnesota Wild and ultimately signing with the Rangers., am I the only person who didn't know about this?

Friday Headlines

New York Post - Rangers' Redden out 5-7 days

The Bergen Record - Homecoming for Torts

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Redden Out 5-7 Days

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Wade Redden is out 5-to-7 days with an upper-body injury, believed to be a right shoulder injury suffered during last night's 2-1 shootout win over the Panthers.

Zipay also notes that because Bobby Sanguinetti is a right-handed shot Tortorella will have to juggle with four right-handed D-men among his six. Tortorella suggested Matt Gilroy might be the top candidate to play some on the left side, but there will be mixing and matching based on game situations tomorrow night.

...Sanguinetti's going to get a real chance to prove he can play at the NHL level the next three or so games. If he plays well not sure if that makes him trade bait come deadline time or maybe he stays with the Rangers as the seventh defensman.

Kotalik Better; No Decision on Goaltender

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Ales Kotalik skated during today's practice and felt better after sitting out yesterday's game with an upper body injury. Gross says it sounds like he’s got a good shot to play tomorrow but that will probably be determined after the morning skate.

Gross added that John Tortorella, as per his own policy, did not reveal whether Henrik Lundqvist or Steve Valiquette would start against the Lightning.

...should be interesting to see who sits if Kotalik can go. My vote goes to Brashear.

Sanguinetti Recalled reports that the Rangers have recalled Bobby Sanguinetti from the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Sanguinetti, 21, has registered six goals and 16 assists for 22 points, along with 10 penalty minutes in 21 games with Hartford this season. Following a two-assist performance last night at Lowell, Sanguinetti leads all AHL defensemen in scoring and ranks fourth in the league overall with 22 points.

...the kid's got offensive talent. But you hope, if Redden can't go, that the Rangers won't be losing too much defensively. Did I just pay Redden a compliment?

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and their families.

Redden Injures Shoulder/Arm; Questionable for Friday

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Wade Redden hurt his right shoulder/arm when he got his arm banged against the backboards by Victor Oreskovich and is not sure whether he’ll be able to play Friday at Tampa Bay.

Gross adds that Rangers’ brass huddled after the game to make arrangements for a defenseman to be summoned from Hartford (AHL). However, Glen Sather wouldn’t say which defenseman was coming up but he said one was coming “as insurance.”

On the injury Redden noted...

“It kind of got extended,” Redden said. “My arm was kind of in front of me and got tweaked. Right now, we’ll see how it feels tomorrow and then we’ll decide.”'d have to think Saguinetti is first in line to be called up. But he's an offensive defenseman and the Rangers already have two rookie offensive d-men in the line-up. Maybe veteran Mathieu Dandenault is the better option.

Happy Thanksgiving Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers win in shootout, 2-1

New York Post - Another win for Rangers

The Bergen Record - Drury's all-points bulletin

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video: Highlights of Rangers Win vs. Panthers

Rangers vs. Panthers highlights here.

Rangers 2, Panthers 1, SO

The New York Rangers (13-10-1) defeated the Florida Panthers (10-10-3) by the score of 2-1 in a shootout, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...gutty effort by the Rangers playing with only five defensemen for almost the entire night then going down to four in third period and still holding Florida to just an Avery aided goal.

...ya think Gilroy just gained everyone's respect in the locker room. Too bad for him he's been taking fighting lessons from Voros.

...speaking of fighting, its gotten so bad for Brashear he's now losing to AHL call-ups.

...Parenteau has turned into this year's version of Nigel Dawes in the shoot-out.

...anyone else hoping Redden's out for an extended period of time?

...even when a team contains Gaborik he still finds a way to score.

...Drury looked like he didn't miss a beat with his performance tonight. I also liked him at the point on the power play.

...i think Higgins needs a hug right about now. At least two more pipes tonight.

...great job by Lundqvist staying focused with the lack of work. the Rangers second power play unit really Avery, Higgins, Parenteau, Rozsival and Gilroy? That's got to be the worst unit in the league. tomorrow for some Turkey then on to Tampa.

Rangers @ Panthers (Game 24)

The New York Rangers (12-10-1) visit the Florida Panthers (10-9-3) tonight at the BankAtlantic Center starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: WNYM (970AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Rozsival

Henrik Lundqvist - 10-8-1, 2.64 gaa, .913 sv%, 1 so.

Tomas Vokoun - 7-8-3, 2.72 gaa, .923 sv%, 3 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Florida is 5-0-2 in their last seven, including a 3-2 victory over the Rangers last Saturday.

- Tomas Vokoun is 6-1-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average and three shutouts in his last nine games.

- C Stephen Weiss has scored in five of his past six games including three goals and five assists.

- RW Nathan Horton has three goals and five assists in his past six games.

Opponent Blog:
On Frozen Pond

Wednesday Headlines

New York Post - Slice of 7 recharges Rangers

The Bergen Record - Rangers hope Drury brings consistency

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inconsistency with Staal

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirts Blog reports John Tortorella spent a good long while talking with Marc Staal along the boards after the official break of practice, discussing defensive reads and where Staal can better position himself to make those reads.

On Staal's play, Torts said...

“there’s just been some inconsistency there.

“He’s too important of a player for us and we’re just trying to get him consistent on the most important part of the puck right now, and that’s the defensive side,” Tortorella said. “So we’re just gonna slow down the process - we’re not taking anything away from him.

"We’re gonna keep him off the power play for a little bit. We just want to focus on one part of his game where that is at a more consistent level. This is all part of a process of a defenseman.”

...lots of opponents roaming free in the slot lately. Nice to see Torts address this.

Rangers Plummet in Power Rankings

ESPN ranks the Rangers #24 down from 12 last week...

24. Rangers - It has come down to this: The free-falling Blueshirts are now behind the hated Isles in the power rankings.

CBS Sports has the Rangers dropping five spots to #22...

22. Rangers - Marian Gaborik and Vinnie Prospal are carrying the offense, but it isn't enough for the free-falling Rangers.

The Rangers also drop in The Hockey News and TSN power rankings.

Drury to Play Against Panthers; Kotalik Injured

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that John Tortorella announced that Chris Drury is ready to play tomorrow against the Florida Panthers.

Drury, who went through contact drills during today’s practice for the first time with his teammates, said...

“Yeah, I’m traveling, hopefully I’ll get in there tomorrow,” said Drury, who reported he passed about an hour-long series of medical tests on Monday and said he just needed to clear “another good 24 hours.” “Barring anything, I would assume I’ll be in. I don’t anticipate any issues.”

...sounds like Tortorella is a bit more confident than Drury. Not sure I like that.

Gross is also reporting that Ales Kotalik missed today’s practice and will be a game-time decision tomorrow after taking a hard hit behind the Blue Jackets’ net in the second period last night.

Tuesday Headlines

The Journal News - Rangers respond to Tortorella’s timeout

The Bergen Record - Rangers notes

Monday, November 23, 2009

Video: Highlights & Reaction to Win vs. Blue Jackets

Rangers vs. Blue Jackets highlights here.

Players react to win against Blue Jackets here.

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the Blueshirts' 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets here.

Rangers Talk Win vs. Blue Jackets

Below are quotes released by the Rangers after the game.

John Tortorella on the timeout…
“I just told them to take a deep breath because we weren’t playing that badly. We just made a couple of mistakes and it ends up in the net. I just told them to take a deep breath (because) there is a lot of hockey left. They deserve a little bit of the credit of staying within themselves.”

Marian Gaborik on the team’s play…
“We had a good forecheck and we kept playing in their zone which was important. Our defensive side of the game was good. We’re talking about having the third guy coming back and being responsible defensively and I think we did that. It has to carry over on the road. We haven’t had a long trip in a while so we have to build on this and just go from here.”

Henrik Lundqvist on Coach Tortorella’s early timeout…
“It was good to have a break, that is for sure. I think the first goal was huge. To get that in the first period and not go in here trailing 3-0. We needed some positive energy and we got that from #10 (Marian Gaborik). After that, you could see how we got confidence.”

Sean Avery on tonight’s game…
“The biggest thing was coming back from a two goal deficit. I think regardless of what the score was, coming back and winning a game after you’re losing 2-0 is big for a team that has been struggling. I hope it puts everybody around here in a good mood and the guys can go to Florida just feeling good and be able to not clench the stick as hard and just make some plays.”

...way too much emphasis on the timeout. The Rangers game actually got worse immediately after the stoppage. In my opinion Gaborik's goal got the team on a roll.

Rangers 7, Blue Jackets 4

The New York Rangers (12-10-1) defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-3) by the score of 7-4, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and about an offensive explosion. If the Rangers are going to score like that every game I go to you guys should buy me season tickets.

...loved the team's fight to comeback tonight. Natives were growing real restless when it was 2-0. Not sure if the timeout had anything to do with the resurgence, but it definitely calmed things down.

...poor Higgins. On a night when virtually everyone scores the guy hits the pipe.

...just give Gaborik the Hart Trophy.

...welcome back to the scoring column Sean Avery.

...Gilroy just put himself in the running for a top three spot in the Rangers next shootout.

...i hate to make this comparison, but Del Zotto looked Leetch-like on his goal. it me or is Voros actually getting good at fighting?

...while I should have left tonight's game on Cloud 9. I left with a bad taste in my mouth when the Rangers once again did nothing when their star goaltender got run in the crease. Its gotten to the point where Lundqvist is going to have to take things into his own hands and waffleboard the next guy who runs him in the face. Embarrassing. is Columbus a 12 win team? God their defense is terrible. Although the Rangers defense didn't look that much better. Blue Jackets wide open in the slot all night long.

...hopefully the Blueshirts didn't use up all their goals as they travel to the sunshine state to take on the Panthers Wednesday night.

Rangers vs. Blue Jackets (Game 23)

The New York Rangers (11-10-1) host the Columbus Blue Jackets (12-6-3) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Rozsival

Henrik Lundqvist - 9-8-1, 2.57 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Steve Mason - 8-5-3, 3.44 gaa, .890 sv%, 3 so.

Opponent Notes:
- This is Columbus' third game of a five game road trip (1-0-1)

- RW Derek Dorsett was placed on IR with a concussion after a hit from behind by Dallas' James Neal last Thursday.

- LW R.J. Umberger is coming off his first two-goal game of the season vs. Nashville on Saturday.

- Former Ranger D Fedor Tyutin has 1 goal, 10 assists and is a -5 on the season.

- LW Rick Nash leads Columbus in goals (14) and points (25).

Opponent Blog:

Higgins: Just Keep Getting Them The Pucks

Michael Obernauer at the Blueshirts Blog has this quote from Chris Higgins on his game plan tonight with his new linemates Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal...

“Just keep getting them the pucks, they seem to be doing the right things with it. They’re putting a lot of points on the board so just keep getting the puck in their hands as much as possible. They’ve got a lot of finish and a lot of skill, so that’s all I’ll be trying to do.” idea since Gaborik and Prospal are the only two Rangers to score the last three games.

On being moved to center, Ryan Callahan noted...

“I think it shows (Tortorella) has confidence in me, that I can play a different role and that I have the capability to be able to play in the defensive zone. I just have to step up and show that I can do it. Right now it’s hard with Dubie and Dru out, guys have to fill roles and step up.”

Obernauer also has an update on Chris Drury.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Henrik Lundqvist will make his fifth straight start tonight.

...great news as I would be pissed if Valiquette started in my first game of the season.

Callahan at Center

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Ryan Callahan will center Enver Lisin and Ales Kotalik tonight against Columbus.

...sure why not?

On Chris Higgins being inserted on the first line tonight, John Tortorella said...

"Maybe it's a position we can use to get a guy going," Tortorella said of the wing spot accompanying the Prospal-Gaborik tandem. "(Higgins) has been a productive player, he just hasn't finished."

...i have a feeling this move will pay off for the Rangers and Higgins.

Rangers Junior Prospect Update

Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future takes a look at the Rangers junior prospects playing in the CHL, WHL, OHL, and QMJHL including four forwards, four defensemen, and one netminder.

One of the players highlighted is Ryan Bourque...

Ryan Bourque, C, Quebec Remparts
Acquired: Third Round (80th overall), 2009 NHL Entry Draft

Currently tied for fourth among rookies in the QMJHL, Bourque has been playing extremely well over the last month. An offensive wizard, who at first had a little trouble adjusting to the level of QMJHL play, Bourque is now only one of two rookies in the league who is on a more than a point a game pace. He has had five multiple-point games, including three this month.

Bourque is a highly talented playmaker who is expected to put up really good numbers in the Q. Learning to play in both zones will be important, as well as making adjustments to his play to compensate for the tight coverage against him. Thus far, he is doing a better job at the latter than the former, but it will take both for Bourque to become a regular NHL player.

Giacomin on Rangers Radio

I missed this last week. Rangers Radio recently welcomed Rangers legend Ed Giacomin to the show.

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

Gaborik Proving Sceptics Wrong

Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy looks to see how his preseason predictions are doing at the quarter pole, including this one on Marian Gaborik...

Marian Gaborik will miss at least half the season (I didn't say it had to be a shocking prediction).
He's only missed two of 22. That's not half, but I still have time here. Too early to tell but a loss for now.

...if Gaborik ever went down with a long term injury this team would be done.

Wyshynski also calls out John Tortorella on the Rangers lack of passion...

New York Rangers: It says here that the Rangers lose all the time because they lack passion. If true, that's on John Tortorella, who should be able to pump the boys up more than, say, a Tom Renney did.

...i'm with Wyshynski here. Torts was brought in to bring passion to the team. And right now the team is lacking in that area.

Betts Out Four Weeks

TSN reports that former Ranger Blair Betts suffered a separated shoulder during the Flyers 3-1 loss in Phoenix Saturday and could miss up to four weeks.

...tough break for Betts. But f'em, he's a Flyer.

Drury Back at Practice; Higgins on 1st Line

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports Chris Drury (concussion) skated with the Rangers in practice yesterday, though in a non-contact capacity. However, he will not play against the Blue Jackets tonight at the Garden, but is seemingly likely to make the three-game road trip that begins Wednesday in Sunrise against the Panthers.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more on Drury's timetable, including this quote from the Captain...

“It’s my first day with the guys again and it feels like I’m back in the mix,” Drury said. “My legs feel like they’ve had two weeks off but my head is feeling good.”

Gross also reports that Chris Higgins has been moved to the top line on Vinny Prospal’s left with Marian Gaborik. Here’s how the lines looked at yesterday's practice:


...obviously Drury isn't playing today, so I'm not sure whose going to center the second line. Maybe, as mentioned by Larry Brooks today, it's Boyle.

Monday Headlines

Newsday - Drury returns to practice for Rangers

New York Post - Rangers short at pivot

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video: Highlights, Torts & Hockey Live on Loss to Panthers

John Tortorella speaks to reporters following the Blueshirts' 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers here.

The hosts of MSG's "Hockey Night Live" take a look back at the Blueshirts' 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers here.

Rangers vs. Panthers highlights here.

Sunday Headlines

New York Post - Panthers hand Rangers 3rd straight defeat

The Bergen Record - Rangers notes

The Journal News - Rangers continue slump

Rangers Talk Loss to Panthers

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

John Tortorella on the team’s play…
“You stay with it. You just keep on trying to battle through this and stay with it. You go to work tomorrow and keep on banging away on it.”

Vinny Prospal on tonight’s game…
“There should have been more urgency because it wasn’t getting it done until that point – with five minutes left in the second period. They scored kind of a fluky goal to go up 2-1. Then all of a sudden it looked like, for some reason, we relaxed a little bit. We got the puck in the zone, started to make more passes and really put a lot of pressure on them but once again we didn’t come out with the result.”

Henrik Lundqvist on the team’s play…
“It is not easy but you have to know you are not that far away from turning this around. We definitely had chances to tie or win this game in the third. We played well but the puck just didn’t bounce our way tonight.”

While Steve Zipay at Blue Notes had these quotes...

On the backhanded flip goal against, Lundqvist said...
“I just lost it,” said Lundqvist. “Guys were waving their sticks and it just bounced in front of me. Instead of going down to block it, I went down on one knee.”

On the team, Chris Higgins noted...
"We're missing something," said Chris Higgins, who had four shots. "We had plenty of opportunities, we're just lacking that extra finish. If we had played the first part of the game like we did the second half, (the Rangers outshot the Panthers 27-16 after the first period), it might be different."

...yeah the team is missing you scoring.

Tortorella also declared that the one-game Kolalik on the first line experiment was over...
“I don’t think he (Kotalik) can play with the top two guys.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Panthers 3, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers (11-10-1) lost to the Florida Panthers (10-9-2) by the score of 3-2, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and

...for a team that's supposed to pride themselves on the forecheck, they got completely out-forechecked by the Panthers tonight. Florida showcased the type of speed players you need on your team to run Torts system.

...can anyone besides Prospal and Gaborik score please?!?!?!

...i know they have two key injuries, but it's time for the coach to figure this out. Because right now he's not doing a very good job. Over playing the top line, calling out Gilroy, putting Brashear on the second line. C'mon Torts, let's get these guys going.

...a backhanded flip from the point? Really Hank?

...nice to see Torts give Brashear a chance. 5:41 of ice time.

...i don't think Higgins or Avery could score on an empty net right now.

...atrocious refereeing in the third period. Refs missed at least three calls late. whose next to play on the top line with Prospal and Gaborik? My vote goes to Avery. assist and a +1 from Rozsival. Trade him while he's hot. tomorrow then Columbus is in town for my first game of the season.

Drury Skates (Game Preview Below)

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Chris Drury skated on his own for the first time today since suffering a concussion in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss at Calgary on Nov. 7.

On the Glencross hit, Drury said...

“I thought I ran into our own guy because I knew I didn’t have the puck or I wasn’t really near the puck. It wasn’t until talking to some of the guys in our room or seeing it on tape that I was knowing what happened.”

When he knew he had a concussion...

“I knew something was right away, you just know right away. I played in Calgary and they changed the visiting training room from the last time I was there. It’s a new setup. I’m sitting there thinking, this isn’t the right room. It kind of felt like you were on the wrong side of a dream. That’s one of the symptoms. Two seconds, two minutes, five minutes later you’re thinking, no, this is the right room.”

Drury added that there’s still no timetable for his return but he did not rule out taking the Rangers trip to Florida, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh that begins Wednesday.

...i know a lot of Ranger fans haven't been happy with Drury since coming to the Rangers, and while he hasn't come close to living up to his contract, I think his importance to the team is evidenced by the Rangers slide in his absence.

Rangers vs. Panthers (Game 22)

The New York Rangers (11-9-1) host the Florida Panthers (9-9-2) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.

TV: MSG; Radio: ESPNRadio (1050AM)

Probable Lines:

Del Zotto-Rozsival

Henrik Lundqvist - 9-7-1, 2.54 gaa, .920 sv%, 1 so.

Tomas Vokoun - 6-8-2, 2.76 gaa, .922 sv%, 3 so.

Opponent Notes:
- Florida has won four of their last five games.

- Tomas Vokoun is 5-1-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average and three shutouts in his last seven starts. He’s also won his last two starts against the Rangers, but has dropped his last two at MSG.

- LW Cory Stillman left last night's game in Detroit (a 2-1, OT Florida victory) with an apparent left knee injury and could be out awhile.

- LW David Booth has been out since Oct. 24 with a concussion suffered in Philadelphia.

- D Bryan McCabe has goals in his last two games.

- Former Ranger Radek Dvorak has 2 goals, 2 assists in 14 games this season, while another former Blueshirt Dominic Moore has 1 goal, 2 assists in 10 games.

Opponent Blog:
Litter Box Cats

Another Reason to Hate Brashear

Check out this video of Colton Orr destroying Matt Carkner of the Senators...

...would have been nice to see this a couple of times this season after Hank was run by the opposition.

Saturday Headlines

Daily News - Drury moves closer to return to lineup

The Bergen Record - Up next: Panthers at Rangers

Friday, November 20, 2009

Drury Cleared for Next Phase of Comeback

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports that Chris Drury was cleared medically yesterday after his afternoon doctor’s visit to begin the next phase of his comeback from a concussion.

Gross adds that Drury came to the Madison Square Garden Training Center for a 20-minute off-ice workout today for the first time since Nov. 11, when he was sent home.

There’s still no timetable for his on-ice return.

...the Rangers and Drury are doing the smart thing taking it as slow as they have.

Lisin Back to 4th Line, Replaced by Brashear

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports that Enver Lisin has been demoted to the fourth line, replaced by Donald Brashear who will skate with Chris Higgins and Ryan Callahan.

...looks like Torts wants to add a little more toughness to the top of the line-up. Brashear is going to have to step-up his game if he wants to last one period with his new linemates.

Parenteau, Rookie D-men and Tough to Read

Brian Duff at looks at late round draft picks recently making a difference including P.A. Parenteau...

* Rangers call-up P.A. Parenteau, No. 264 by Anaheim in the 2001 Entry Draft, provided the shootout winner against Ottawa.

Duff also mentions both Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy as Calder Candidates.

Finally, Duff looks at the five toughest teams to read...

Rangers -- Can you imagine where this team would be without Marian Gaborik? I'm still not sure they're going to be much -- if at all -- better than a year ago.

...the way they're playing now, looks like they'll be worse.

Friday Headlines

Newsday - Rangers' Drury making progress toward return

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Del Zotto Needs to Shoot More

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports from today's practice where John Tortorella put the Rangers through a spirited, hard-skating, point-making 50-minute practice today and then kicked everybody off the ice, something that’s rarely seen at an NHL practice as groups of players usually linger after practice. Torts reasoning was to give all his players a break from the ice.

On the power play struggles Torts feels Michael Del Zotto needs to shoot more...

“It’s a 19-year-old guy, you’ve got Gabby (Marian Gaborik) over here with his stick on the ice and you’ve got Kots (Ales Kotalik) over here with his stick on the ice. And you’ve got a 19-year-old who respects the hierarchy of the locker room. That’s where it comes to the coaches telling him to do it and telling the players flanking him he’s going to do it and take him off the hook a little bit.”

...tough situation for a youngster. Never want to piss off the vets.

Torts also talks Kotalik, Lisin and Callahan.

Trade Lundqvist?

That's what the Masked Man over at is proposing...

"Find a team that needs a goalie as their last piece to winning the Cup. Is it Chicago, is it Detroit, is it Washington? Think about what you can get back from those teams in a trade if you moved Lundqvist now while he has good trade value. You’d need a goalie back; Steve Valiquette isn’t the guy to play 60 games for you. Let’s say hypothetically the Wings gave you Jimmy Howard back in the deal. Good goalie, can play in the NHL, has yet to prove himself as a #1 but certainly could be one (and he is an upstate NY kid). That gives you a season to see if he is your guy of the future or if you need to find a #1 but you certainly have the time to do it. Remember, this Ranger team is a good team but not a Cup contender so you are taking one step back to take three forward." might have thought that I would start my comments by saying how ridiculous this is. But I ask you, is it? While Lundqvist is the main reason the Rangers have made the playoffs the last four years, what has he done when they got there? Not much. While I strongly disagree with the Masked Man that Howard would be the answer in goal, would you be interested in Keith, Kane or Toews (not sure how they're going to sign all three) and Huet from the Blackhawks for Lundqvist and maybe Staal? I thought so.

...having said all that, there is no way Sather is making that move. If you thought the Giacomin trade was unpopular, just wait to see the reaction of the Graden Faithful after a Lundqvist trade.

...h/t to reader David for the link.

New Lines; Still No Drury

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants, via Twitter, reports these new line combinations...


...i like this move. Kotalik is more of an offensive threat than Lisin. Being on a line with Gaborik should generate more scoring.

Gross also reports that Chris Drury has still not returned to practice.

Grading the Rangers

Rick Carpinello at the Rangers Report grades the Rangers at the quarter pole. Here's a snippet...

Wade Redden: B … Fits much better in this system, is playing with some passion; but will never earn that type of salary.

Marian Gaborik: A … Absolutely as advertised, and remained upright for most of the first quarter. Where would they be without him?

Ales Kotalik: B … Probably could do a little more, but that shot has given the Rangers a legit PP pointman they didn’t have at all last year.

Sean Avery: C … Don’t know if the benching in last year’s playoffs put too much of a leash on him, or what. I do know that the Avery Rules, as called by almost all officials, are ridiculous.

Fixing the Rangers

Larry Brooks at the New York Post says the Rangers are a much too easy team to play against...

"Tortorella is the personification of passion behind the bench, but that isn't transferring onto the ice. This is not about the Rangers' lack of prime-time parts, but instead about a tough-talking coach who doesn't seem to demand that his players stand up for one another. It's bizarre."

...there's been two main complaints from Ranger fans over the years. Not developing talent and not having a bruising blueliner. They've taken care of developing youth this year, but the toughness is just not there. As Brooks points out, if the Ranger brought Brashear in here for that role, why is he only getting four minutes a game. Oh yeah, because he sux. Two years ago they had the chance to bring in a Brooks Orpik. They would have had to overpay to get him to sign, but instead they held out to grossly overpay Redden and Rozsival.

Speaking of Rozsival, here's Brooks take on what the Rangers should do with him...

"Rozsival is chewing up nearly $26,000 a day on his annual $5M cap hit. Deleting him by the end of the month via trade or demotion would clear an additional $3.4M of space that increases proportionately with the season.

Moving Rozsival this month would allow the Rangers to be in the market for pretty much anyone who becomes available. Including, perhaps, a player who will look out for his teammates."

...i'm in.

Malik Could Be Back in NHL

In other former Ranger news, Craig Custance of the Sporting News reports that Marek Malik is weighing a couple of offers from Europe and has been recently contacted by an NHL team about playing this season...

“I feel great, I feel perfect,” Malik told Sporting News by cell from the Czech Republic. “I’m looking at myself and I’ve got a good two more years in me.”

Malik adds that he'll jump on the next plane if a job offer comes from the NHL. think the NHL team is the Rangers looking for a seventh defenseman?

Hossa Leads KHL in Goals

John Grigg at The Hockey News takes look at the KHL's leading point getters...

8. Marcel Hossa, Dynamo Riga, 17-8-25
After playing parts of six NHL seasons, Hossa, the brother of Chicago’s Marian, moved to the KHL last year to play for its Latvian entry. His 17 goals lead the league as of Wednesday; his two shorthanded snipes were also tied for the league lead. that league must be terrible if Marcel Hossa is leading goal scorer.

Brashear, Voros Are Tough Guys

Both Donald Brashear and Aaron Voros landed on Fox Sports' "Tough Guy Tracker" after their bouts this week...

10. Aaron Voros, NY Rangers
Tuesday, bloody Tuesday. New York's Aaron Voros beat Washington's Matt Bradley to a pulp on Nov. 17 at Madison Square Garden. But Bradley scored the biggest blow of the night as the Caps stitched-up forward returned to the ice to bury the game-winner late in the third period.

2. Donald Brashear, NY Rangers
Rangers tough guy Donald Brashear celebrated his 1000th NHL game by dropping the gloves with Atlanta's Eric Boulton on Nov. 12th. Like so many who came before him, Boulton was no match for the veteran pugilist that night.

...look at Voros getting some props other than for being a human punching bag.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where's the Secondary Scoring?

Dan Rosen at asks just that...

"That was the Rangers' biggest problem last season and it was supposed to go away with Tortorella and his aggressive forechecking system now in play. But lack of secondary scoring appears to be haunting this team once again."

John Tortorella said the forechecking, which is supposed to be a key component of his aggressive system, has been inconsistent...

"The one thing we are trying to work on is to develop more of a forechecking attitude," the coach said. "We had it at times (Tuesday) and others we didn't."

...Torts has definitely been taking hits today as his aggressive system, which worked so well earlier in the season, has seemed to fizzle. have to start to wonder if this system is suited for a Rangers team filled with grinders, not snipers.

...he better figure this out fast or the fan base will turn on him in a New York minute.

Zipay Live Chat @ 1pm

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

Rangers Continue to Plummet in Power Rankings drops the Rangers three spots to #16 in their recent power rankings...

16. Rangers - They'd dropped five of six on the road before heading to Ottawa and were playing without Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky, so even a shootout win had to feel like a series clincher. They are just 4-7-1 since that blazing 7-1 start, and their flaws were apparent even in victory. For a team that's supposed to be playing a puck possession game, they don't actually possess the puck often enough. Last week: 1-1.

While Fox Sports drops the Blueshirts from #14 to #18...

18. Rangers - A minor-league call-up came to the Rangers rescue in Week 7. P.A. Parenteau's shootout goal against Ottawa in the seventh round of the extra session gave New York its only victory of the week. The Rangers� ninth-ranked power play only connected once in eight tries last week.

Finally, CBS Sports actually keeps the Rangers at #17 this week...

17. Rangers - Defenseman Marc Staal leads the Rangers in ice-time with 22:29 per game, but he's minus-6 in the past 11 games and pointless on the power play this season.

Gaborik Hart Trophy Candidate; Del Zotto for Calder

Pierre LeBrun at gives out his quarter pole awards and names Marian Gaborik as a Hart Trophy Finalist saying...

"...Gaborik and Kopitar have carried their teams offensively, and you wonder where those clubs would be without them..."

LeBrun's Hart quarter pole winner is Rick Nash.

For Calder, Lebrun nominates Michael Del Zotto noting...

"...Del Zotto has been a power-play and puck-moving sensation..."

Calder quarter pole winner is James van Riemsdyk. Jack Adams nod for Torts? Just kidding.