Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who Are We Going to Pick On Now?

Joe DeLessio at New York Magazine wonders with Wade Redden exiled to Hartford who are Ranger fans going to pick on now and lists Michal Rozsival, Chris Drury, Derek Boogaard and Alex Frolov as the top contenders.

Here's DeLessio's thoughts on why Rozsival is leading the pack...

Michal Rozsival. Far and away the leading contender, Rozsival heard it as bad as Redden did at times over the past two seasons. Why? He's a $5 million cap hit, and since signing his new contract in 2008, his offensive numbers have plummeted while his "pucks bouncing over his stick at the blue line" totals have risen. In his defense, he wasn't always so unpopular. He was liked just fine back during the Jaromir Jagr era, when he posted a +35 in the season after the lockout and put up 40 points the year after that.

...of the four players DeLessio mentions I agree that Rozsival is the leading candidate. If he struggles out of the gate he has no chance of eluding the wrath of the Garden Faithful.

...however, I do think that Boogaard is definitely not that far behind. If he doesn't get into a few scraps right away or god forbid loses one he will be dubbed Brashear Part II in a New York minute.

...h/t to Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy.

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Thanks for Trading Me

Jeff Klein of Slap Shot has this quote from rookie Pavel Valentenko after last night's 5-1 preseason win over the Red Wings...

“I’m so happy to be here — I want to say thanks to Montreal Canadiens that they traded me to New York Rangers.”

...i'm sure he didn't mean it, but man that sounds like a shot at the Canadiens.

...and by the way, that Gomez trade gets better and better every day.


Valentenko's quote reminds me of this classic Eddie Murphy line from Coming to America...



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Cuts Won't Come Until After Sunday's Game

Steve Zipay tweets...

Next cuts won't come until after Sunday's game, Tortoreella says, after meeting with Sather and Schoenfeld...less than a minute ago via web


Zipay also tweets that Rozsival (knee) is out for Friday's game vs. Ottawa and Eminger (groin) is in. He adds that Lundqvist will play the entire game on Friday.

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Video: Torts Post Game Presser - 9/29



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Prospal Centering Top Line; Christensen Scratched Friday (Updated)

Update, 11:38 a.m.:
@thenyrangers tweets that Mark Messier on ice with centers huddled around him discussing faceoffs.

Andrew Gross tweets that Rozsival is not on the ice this morning.

...could be his knee injury flaring up after last night's game. There was one play in the second period when his man completely skated right past him to the net and he was laboring to catch-up.

...something to keep an eye on that could effect cuts.

Original Post:
Steve Zipay tweets that Vinny Prospal was centering Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov this morning at practice, while Erik Christensen along with Todd White and Tim Kennedy were wearing orange jerseys meaning they are likely scratches on Friday against Ottawa.

...candidate #3 for the top center job. Right now I'm on "Team Stepan."

Jesse Spector tweets today's lines...

Frolov-Prospal-Gaborik
Avery-Stepan-Fedotenko
Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan
Boogaard-Boyle-Prust
Kennedy-Christensen-White


...man where do you put Drury when he comes back?

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Ranger Fans Second Craziest in NHL

John Grigg at The Hockey News counts down the top 10 craziest NHL fans...

2. Madison Square Garden Few barns in the world can boast fans as boisterous as those found on Broadway. They’ve mobbed opposition busses, kept ambulances with injured players from leaving and thrown batteries from the stands at their most hated players. It’s not a nice place to play.

Flyer fans were named #1.

...Flyer fans are bat@hit crazy, so I don't mind that we're ranked below them.

...to be honest, I think the crowds at MSG have mellowed out through the years. With ticket prices sky rocketing the hard core Ranger fans have been priced out opening the door for corporations to purchase tickets to give to clients.

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Entering Enemy Territory

I was recently interviewed by Jesse Marshall of Faceoff Factor (a Penguins blog) on a number of different issues pertaining to the Rangers. Here's a sample...

FF: Name one player that Penguin fans need to watch for when the Rangers come to town.

KD: C Derek Stepan. He is a rookie who was captain of USA’s Gold Medal winning team at last year’s World Junior Championship and also played in the National Championship game for the U of Wisconsin. He has had some early chemistry with Gaborik and Frolov and is expected to be on the opening night roster. The kid is just a flat out winner.


For the rest of the interview click here.

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Thursday Headlines

Daily News - Mike Sauer, Henrik Lundqvist lead New York Rangers to 5-1 preseason win over Detroit Red Wings

New York Post -
Drury's unsure of Ranger role

New York Post -
Tortorella mulls final roster cuts

Bergen Record -
Pavel Valentenko impressing Rangers

Newsday -
Rangers get a bit of revenge on Red Wings

Newsday -
Lundqvist puts Rangers' preseason record in perspective

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Redden Talks Demotion

Bruce Berlett at hartfordwolfpack.com was able to speak with Wade Redden yesterday about being waived by the Rangers and his expectations in Hartford...

“Looking at my time in New York, things didn’t go the way I wanted, so it was tough,” Redden said. “So I’ll come here, play the game and have some fun because I don’t think things were going to change in New York. When I sat down with Glen, he obviously said the same thing and wasn’t willing to go further with it, so I have to come here with a fresh slate.

"You always say a fresh slate every year, but I think it’s really a change in location is going to test me. I just have to come and play and have some fun. That’s when I play my best anyway, so I’ll try to do that.”

...Redden really didn't have much of an option but to report to Hartford. No way he was giving up his salary by not reporting and the recent birth of his daughter all but ruled out playing in Europe.

...listen we're all ecstatic he's not with the Rangers anymore, but on the human side of things you do hope things work out for the guy.

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MZA Gets Goal, Assist in Wolf Pack Preseason Win

Bruce Berlet and Bob Crawford at hartfordwolfpack.com report that Mats Zuccarello Aasen scored a goal and an assist in a three-goal third period that lifted the Wolf Pack to an opening 3-0 victory over the Albany Devils in their preseason opener.

Zuccarello says his adjustment to the smaller rinks...

“is coming more and more every game, every practice so hopefully it’ll be feeling pretty normal when the season starts.

“The hardest part is in the corners where it’s tighter as you try to make any moves," he said. "First game here, new coach, so I thought it went OK. As the game kept going, I found my game more and more. Good start to build on.”

...i've seen plenty of smaller players dominate in the AHL and can't make the transition to the NHL. Let's hope that's not the case with MZA. Nice start for him.

Wade Redden did not play.

Speaking of Hartford, apparently the logo for the Connecticut Whale I posted the other day was a fake and this is the real one...

...i like the fake one better.

...h/t to Mitch Beck at the Howlings.

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Hockey's Future Counts Down Top 50 Prospects

Hockey's Future takes a look at prospects 26-50 as they countdown the top 50 young stars in the NHL.

38. Evgeny Grachev – C – New York Rangers
Height: 6-3, Weight: 202

Big and strong, Grachev was selected by the NY Rangers in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. After being named the OHL Rookie of the Year for 2008-09, Grachev disappointed some by his early performance in the AHL last season. After adjusting to the jump to professional play, Grachev began to perform as was expected of a top prospect. He is competing for a roster spot this fall, but expect him to begin the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. He will be watched closely and should be a call-up to the Rangers at some time during the 2010-11 season.

41. Derek Stepan – C – New York Rangers
Height: 6-0, Weight: 168

Stepan joins the professional ranks this fall, after spending the last two seasons with the University of Wisconsin. After captaining the gold medal-winning US team in the 2010 World Junior Championships and achieving the tournament's scoring title (14 points in seven games, with a plus-nine rating), Stepan went on to post more than a point a game with the Badgers last season. An excellent puck distributor, with elite on-ice vision, Stepan is expected to join the Rangers roster this fall. If not, he is at most six months away from his NHL debut.


...not sure how these guys can rank Grachev ahead of Stepan when the Wisconsin star is on the doorstep of winning a roster spot on the big club, while Grachev is ready to start another season in Hartford.

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Why No Anisimov on the Top Line?

John Tortorella explains to Jesse Spector at the Blueshirts Blog why he hasn't tried Artem Anisimov between Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov this preseason...

“I wanted to see Artie play with (Tim) Kennedy and (Ryan) Callahan tonight - I thought they were a really good line in Jersey,” Tortorella said. “I have to be careful, I think, with Artie and not skip a step here, and throw him in between them. Last year, I moved him up, and it just seemed to be a little bit too much for him. I think he’s playing with a ton of confidence right now and I don’t want to screw him up by giving him too much.”

...i'm with Torts here. While Anisimov has been solid so far in camp, I'm not so sure he is ready to center the top line right now. Maybe later in the season, but not right now.

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And The Winner Is....

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about the new banner. I absolutely love the Ranger jersey wording along with the jersey material background. And obviously the logo fits so perfectly.

The other aspect I enjoy so much is it's simplicity. Not too much flash or bells and whistles. It gets the job done, just like the blog.

And the genius who put this amazing banner together is Joe L.

Joe I'd just like to congratulate you and thank you for creating this for me. It really adds so much to the blog.

Let me know what you guys think.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rangers Talk Win vs. Red Wings (Updated)

Update, 11:01 p.m.:
Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has more quotes.

Original Post:
Rick Carpiniello has post game quotes...

John Tortorello...

On maturity if Gilroy and Del Zotto:
“I think Gilly has tried to be more aggressive … that’s a point of contention with us, as far as just defending harder. He’s trying. Michael I thought made some good plays tonight, stayed within himself. He’s looking for the long pass and made some good stretch plays.

“Sauer, again I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I want to watch tape, but I know Mike played within himself which he’s done all camp, which is why he’s still here.”

On Fedotenko:
“Feds flies under the radar (Tortorella then talked about how tough he’d been on Fedotenko over the years together). Even tonight, he made some really subtle plays that a lot of people won’t see or recognize. But he’s a solid guy offensively and defensively. He’s a guy, as a coach, when you’re looking down the bench in situations and you don’t have a lot of people, or whatever the situation may be, you can put him in all those spots. He continues to fight for a position and we’re still looking at him here, and he deserves the length he’s been here in camp.”

Players quotes...

Derek Stepan:
“My thought process is still to just play, and play hockey and compete for 60 minutes. That’s just the way I’m going to keep it, and I’m not going to change the way I’m thinking.”

Henrik Lundqvist on having Biron around:
“What I feel is that I have to play really well to earn my minutes. I want to play, but to have Marty behind me there, he’s a great goalie and if I don’t play well enough he’ll step in. Hopefully that competition—it’s a support, but it’s also a competition, so we’ll push each other to play better."

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Sauer to Phoenix?

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes reports two people have mentioned to him that Mike Sauer may get traded to Phoenix for 22-year-old RW Viktor Tikhonov (8g, 8a in 64 games last year).

...looks like Sauer's great game tonight may have been a tryout for another team rather than the Rangers.

...Rangers must think Sauer will be claimed on waivers if sent down to Hartford and are trying to get something for him.

Zipay also says Columbus scouts have been watching the Rangers and C Stephen Weiss may be available in Florida.

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Rangers 5, Red Wings 1


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

...well if the decision on the 6th or 7th defensemen was hard before the game it's impossible now as Sauer (1g, +1) and Valentenko (+2) were outstanding tonight. Unless Torts plans on using a rotation with the 5th, 6th and 7th d-men, I think Eminger might still make sense as the 7th because I'd hate to see either Sauer, McD or Valentenko sitting in the press box for long stretches as the #7.

...in other tough decisions, two more assists for Fedotenko (also a +2) tonight, who, if he doesn't make the team, may have a tryout waiting for him with the Red Bulls after that kick assist to Stepan.

...loving the new, old Avery.

...after a shaky first outing nice to see Lundqvist in mid-season form.

...not that I thought he was in danger of not making the team but Stepan just clinched a spot on the opening night roster with that performance.

...i haven't been able to catch all the preseason games so far but Prust has seemed awful quiet.

...20 goals for Del Zotto this season?

...Frolov is looking like the steal of the off-season. What I loved the most was when hustled back to breakup the two-on-one in the third period.

...in other bubble player news, I thought Kennedy had a real active game, while White continues to disappoint.

...oh yeah, Gaborik is still good.

...since all my comments where ridiculously positive, I'll bring everyone back down to earth by reminding you tonight's effort was against Detroit's "B" team. I also thought the defense looked real shaky in the 2nd period. Lots of chasing after Red Wing players.

...next preseason game is Friday night at MSG against the Sens.

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Sauer Could Be Claimed on Waivers

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants reports on the dilemma the Rangers might face if they decide to send Mike Sauer back to Hartford...

"As you can see, defense prospect Mike Sauer is one of those players who would need to pass through waivers to be sent back to Hartford and, based on the way he’s played in training camp and the preseason (and could very well play tonight), it stands to reason another team might put in a claim for him. That may leave the Rangers with this question: Keep McDonagh or start him in Hartford because they can send him down without fear of losing him or risk losing Sauer (I suppose you could insert Valentenko into this part of the conversation, since he doesn’t require waivers, either)."

Gross adds that Derek Stepan also does not have to clear waivers.

...this could be a major factor in the Rangers decision on defense. As Gross points out, Sauer has played well in camp, so why wouldn't team with a lack of d prospects take a chance on him?

...if he gets claimed, that would be a big hit to the Rangers defensive depth.

...i doubt the decision will be between McD and Sauer, more likely Eminger and Sauer.

Here's Sauer on his performance so far in camp...

“That I can be counted on to play solidly in our own end,” Sauer said. “The last game, we seemed to line up against the top line a lot. As a defenseman, what you want is to play well against those elite athletes and show the coaches that side of your game. I think (tonight) is a big opportunity for me. Any time you play at this level, with people in the stands and a high caliber team like Detroit, it’s a good chance to show what I’m really capable of. You can only control what’s yours and you’re accountable for that. It gets back to your game and you let the coaches and general managers do their job.”

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Rangers vs. Red Wings (Preseason Game 4)

The New York Rangers (2-1-0) host the Detroit Red Wings (2-2-0) tonight at MSG starting at 7:00 p.m.

Pregame Notes

TV: MSG

Probable Lineup:
Frolov-Christensen-Gaborik
Avery-Stepan-Fedotenko
Kennedy-Anisimov-Callahan
Boogaard-White-Prust


Gilroy-Valentenko
Del Zotto-Rozsival
Staal-Sauer


Lundqvist, Biron

Opponent Notes:
- Jimmy Howard is expected to start in goal for Detroit.

- The Red Wings defeated the Rangers 5-3 on Sunday.

- Kris Draper remains sidelined with a small tear in his groin that could keep him out into the regular season.

- Johan Franzen, who sat out Sunday's game with a charlie horse, is expected back in the lineup tonight.

2009-10 - Rangers vs. Red Wings
Dec. 6 - Rangers 1, Red Wings 3 at MSG

Opponent Blog:
Hockeytown Blog

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Video: Torts Talks Roster & Lineup for Tonight's Game



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Drury on the Mend

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from Chris Drury about possibly being back from his broken left index finger for the season opener on Oct. 9th in Buffalo...

“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Drury said. “I like to think in a positive way. We’ll see what happens with next week’s X-ray.”

...Drury's injury will have a lot to do with who may get cut. If Drury is ready by the opener not sure Fedotenko is here. If not I think Fedotenko's tryout continues into the season.

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New Banner Going Up Tomorrow!!!!

After a couple of tweaks, the brand new The New York Rangers Blog banner will be unveiled tomorrow morning.

I absolutely love it and think it will add so much to the blog.

I again want to thank all the participants for their hard work and all the readers for their insight.

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Tonight's Scratches

Update, 11:56 a.m.:
Gross tweets that Drury may start the season on IR.

Update, 11:51 a.m.:
Zipay tweets forward lines:

Frolov-Christensen-Gaborik
Avery-Stepan-Fedotenko
Kennedy-Anisimov-Callahan
Boogaard-White-Prust


...looks less and less like Stepan is going to start the year on a line with Gabby and AFro.

Update, 11:50 a.m.:

Andrew Gross tweets tonight's defensive pairings: Gilroy-Valentenko, Del Zotto-Rozsival, Staal-Sauer.

...big games for Sauer and Valentenko.

Original Post:
Steve Zipay tweets...

Prospal, Dubinsky, Boyle scratches up front vs Wingsless than a minute ago via web


Zipay also tweets that the defensive scratches appear to be Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger and Ryan McDonagh. Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal.

...surprised that Boyle's not in there as he is a bubble guy. McDonagh as well, unless he's already locked up a spot.

...i assume Eminger is out because of his groin injury.

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Fedotenko's Strong Play Not a Surprise

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has this quote from John Tortorella on Ruslan Fedotenko's strong camp so far...

“He’s had two solid games,” Tortorella said. “I coached him but I wasn’t sure what he was going to be. But it’s not a surprise.”

...ultimately, I don't think he makes the team, but if he has another strong game tonight, man Torts is going to have some tough decisions to make.

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Sports Blogger Round Table Discussion

Here's video of me during a round table discussion on sports bloggers and whether they should be given credentials.

The other bloggers on the panel included Brad Wells of Stampede Blue and Jordan Lauterbach of Pro Sports Blogging.com. The host is Deniz Kofteci.



...let me know what you guys think.

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Del Zotto Doesn't Like His Greens (Updated)

Update, 10:21 a.m.:
Brian Compton at NHL.com also has a feature on Del Zotto.

Original Post:
James Duthie at TSN reports on Gary Roberts training regime being passed down to some of the young stars in the league including Michael Del Zotto.

Here is Roberts talking about Del Zotto struggling with eating healthy...

"Michael was the pickiest," says Roberts with a chuckle. "He'd text me and say, 'Holy Crap what was that green stuff in my sandwich?'. I said, 'Those are sprouts Michael.' One time I got him excited telling him he was getting spaghetti. I didn't tell him it was actually zucchini, shredded like spaghetti."

...hopefully the new diet and workout will lead to better defensive responsibility from Del Zotto this season.

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

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USA Today Ranks Rangers Last in Atlantic

Kevin Allen at USA Today previews the Atlantic Division and puts the Rangers dead last...

Key question: Can the Rangers compete without a true No. 1 center? Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and White have flair, but each seems better suited as a second-liner. Christensen and youngster Derek Stepan have centered the Gaborik line in camp.

Allen also thinks the Rangers are going to end up 14th in the 15 team Eastern Conference.

...you guys know I love when the so called experts hate on the Rangers, but this is unreal. Lundqvist alone puts the Rangers ahead of the Islanders in the Atlantic and at least to 10th in the Conference. What in the world is this guy Allen smoking?

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Trying to Figure Out the Proper Balance

Jim Cerny at Newyorkrangers.com has this quote from John Tortorella on cutting the roster down this week...

“We have to decide upon the best lineup and where they all fit,” said Tortorella. “We also have to figure out the proper balance in the lineup. We need to get the team ready to play.”

...these last couple of cuts could be the hardest I've seen in a while for the Rangers. Lots of arguments for everyone on the bubble. Should be very interesting. Tonight is a huge game for a lot of these guys.

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Leetch Talks Redden Demotion

Matt McCue at New York Magazine has this quote from Brian Leetch on the demotion of Wade Redden...

"It's unfortunate for everybody," Leetch said of the widely anticipated waiver move. "The Rangers wouldn't have liked to do that. Obviously, for someone who has played in the league that long, it's going to be hard for him, too. The flip side is that with the salary cap and young players coming up, it is part of the process. It's the reality of the game these days."

...how awesome would it have been if Leetch was just like "he sucked what did you expect."

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

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Byers, Williams & Newbury Clear Waivers

Steve Zipay tweets...

Dane Byers, other Rangers, clear waiversless than a minute ago via web


...glad to see Byers made it through. I'd still like to see him get a chance this season. I was impressed with what he brought to the team during his brief appearances last season.

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Wednesday Headlines

New York Post - Rangers' blue-liners battle to survive cut

Daily News - Derek Stepan expects to play between Sean Avery and Ruslan Fedotenko Wednesday for Rangers

Bergen Record - Rangers mixing things up in search of best lineup

Newsday - Tortorella impressed with defenseman Valentenko

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Zipay Live Chat Replay

Totally forgot to post about Steve Zipay of Blue Notes live chat today that took place at 1:30 p.m.

For a replay click here.

Prospal Skates; Christensen Centers Gabby & AFro

Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants reports that Steve Eminger, Vinny Prospal (knee) and D Michal Rozsival (groin) all participated in this morning’s practice.

...for some reason I see Prospal missing a lot of games this year. His age along with the knee surgery may be a problem for him.

Gross also reports that Erik Christensen was back centering Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov. Here are the lines from practice today...

Frolov-Christensen-Gaborik
Kennedy-Anisimov-Callahan
Avery-Stepan-Fedotenko
Boogaard-White-Prust
Dubinsky-Prospal-Boyle

...to be honest I'm not a big fan of any of these lines. Except for maybe the top line.

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Watch Me Participate in Blogger Round Table @ 1pm

Update, 3:17 p.m.:
Sorry everyone, I think they had some computer issues and couldn't stream it live. I'll get the video and post it soon.

My apologies for having endure that terrible ad all afternoon.

Original Post:
Here is the live stream of the blogger round table I will be participating in today at 1pm. The topics will be sports teams prohibiting bloggers from being part of the press box as well as bloggers vs. newspapers.

NHL.com Previews the Rangers

Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com previews the Rangers saying that the Blueshirts hope to have solved the one area that seemed to be their Achilles heel on more than one occasion last season -- depth.

Morreale names Anisimov, Del Zotto and Grachev as players to watch.

...obviously Morreale hasn't been watching the Rangers if he says Grachev is a player to watch.

Morreale also says the Rangers three reasons for optimism are re-signing Staal, Gaborik and signing Biron.

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Pressure's on Frolov

Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports takes a look at 12 players who will face increased pressure to produce this season, including the Rangers Alex Frolov...

Alexander Frolov: He's 28, which means he's in the prime of his career, and Frolov has socred 30 goals twice for Los Angeles and more than 20 three other times. Still, the Kings didn't think he was worth re-signing. Apparently a lot of teams agreed and Frolov lingered on the open market until late July, when the offense-starved Rangers signed him to a one-year deal. Frolov is a talented player but he doesn't always show up and the Kings got tired of his act. New York is desperate so Frolov will get plenty of chances to strut his stuff. If he doesn't, the NHL part of his career could be over.

...for Frolov I think the pressure he may feel is for his future not for how far he can carry the Rangers. The offensive load will again be put on Gaborik's shoulder's so he is not being counted on to carry the team. But if he has a season similar to last year, as Goldstein says, his once promising NHL career may be over.

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Tuesday Headlines

The Bergen Record - Rangers send Hobbit to Hartford

New York Post - Don't ac-cost Rangers for Redden cut

Newsday - Zuccarello a surprise cuts for Rangers

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Gaborik's #1 Goal is to Stay Healthy

Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the importance of Marian Gaborik's health to the Rangers success...

Gaborik on staying healthy...

“It’s the No. 1 thing for me, personally, to stay healthy,” Gaborik said. “Everything goes from there.”

John Tortorella on managing Gaborik...

“When there’s a little bit of soreness, maybe being a little tired, it’s not about taking a day off,” Tortorella said. “It’s about getting on the ice to get that soreness out. I thought that was very effective for him last year, and I think he believes that now, too. We monitor that every day as far as taking care of him. I thought he did a really good job getting his work in, where I think maybe prior years, maybe it’s a day off. We’re going to keep him on the ice and keep it moving.”

...if Gaborik ends up missing any significant portion of the season, I don't see how the Rangers can be successful. Unless Frolov has a monster year and MZA develops quickly down in Hartford.

...h/t to reader Joe.

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Banner Contest Over

Ok boys and girls the banner contest is officially over.

I just want to thank all the participants and everyone who commented on the banners.

It's going to be a very tough decision, but I've been able to narrow it down to two finalists.

I hope to have a decision in the next day or so.

To view all the banners click here.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

New Wolfpack/Whale Logo

When the Hartford Wolfpack turn into the Connecticut Whale later this season this will be the new logo...


...whatever.

...h/t to Mitch Beck at Howlings.

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Last Few Forward Spots Up for Grabs

Jesse Spector at the Blueshirts Blog takes a look at the position battles going on at camp right now and says this about the forward position...

"That leaves six players - Brian Boyle, Erik Christensen, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tim Kennedy, Derek Stepan and Todd White - for three or four spots.

Right now, it’s a fairly even race, though it’s worth noting that the two players who have drawn the most unsolicited praise from Tortorella in recent days have been Fedotenko and Kennedy. Then there’s the appearance - though it’s not necessarily the case - that Christensen and Stepan are in a battle to either be the top-line center or go to Hartford. Boyle has made great strides to be a more physical player, but he struggled with a fourth-line wing assignment in Detroit. White might be the best two-way center of the group, and might make the most sense as a fill-in for Drury until the final decision has to be made."

...i'd say the two that get cut are Boyle and Fedotenko. And White might just be up until Drury gets back. The Prospal injury may have a lot to do with how the roster turns out as well.

...i know a lot of fans don't like Christensen, but he is really the only play-making center the Rangers have. And while Stepan looks great now (he came back down to earth last night) who knows what's going to happen during the season. He could end up splitting time between New York and Hartford.

...here are my lines...

Frolov-Stepan-Gaborik
Dubinsky-Christensen-Prospal
White-Anisimov-Callahan
Avery-Kennedy-Prust

Boogaard, Drury

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Round Table Discussion on Sports Bloggers Tomorrow @ 1pm

Tomorrow at 1pm I will be participating in a round table discussion about sports teams prohibiting bloggers from being part of the press box as well as bloggers vs. newspapers.

I was invited to discuss the Rangers policy not to allow bloggers access to the team, which I posted about last month.

The other bloggers taking part are from SNY and SB Nation. Not sure what teams they cover.

The segment should run for about 10-15 minutes and can be viewed live starting at 1pm here.

It will also be downloaded to YouTube and I will post it when it becomes available.

Because the segment is being taped in Manhattan there will be a lack of updates tomorrow.

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Former Rangers 1st Round Picks On Waivers

Bob McKenzie tweets...

Two former first-rounders, though, on waivers. Goalie Al Montoya in PHX and Hugh Jessiman in CHI. Montoya and Jessiman were both NYR picks.less than a minute ago via web


...sorry to remind everyone of these two forgettable first round busts.

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Ortmeyer Accepts Tryout from Islanders

The New York Islanders announced today that Jed Ortmeyer has accepted an invitation to Training Camp on a Professional Tryout (PTO).

...as Scotty Hockey tweeted. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

...so the question is, if Jed makes the team is there anyway you can root for him in an Islanders jersey?

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MZA, Grachev Among 5 Sent to Hartford (Updated)

Update, 12:21 p.m.:
I missed this earlier. Forwards Dane Byers, Kris Newbury & Jeremy Williams will continue training camp with Hartford but must clear waivers first.

Update, 12:19 p.m.:
Here's the official announcement of moves.

Update, 12:16 p.m.:
Andrew Gross tweets that there are now 27 players left in camp meaning there will be at least four more cuts.

Fedotenko is the only tryout player left.


Update, 12:12 p.m.:

@thenyrangers also tweets defensemen Alexei Semenov, Garnet Exelby, & Brandon Manning have been released from tryout agreements.

...i thought for sure Semenov was getting that 7th spot. Looks like Gilroy, McDonagh, Valentenko, Sauer, Eminger fighting for final three spots. Assuming Rangers carry 7 defensemen.

Original Post:
@thenyrangers tweets...

5 players assigned to Hartford: Chad Johnson, Wade Redden, Evgeny Grachev, Dale Weise & Mats Zuccarelloless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


...wow I really didn't think those two would be sent down yet when I posted it earlier today.

...having said that, neither earned a spot with their performance this preseason. Assuming we'll see both at some point during the season. Hopefully, neither sulks and they do the right thing and work on their deficiencies.


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Redden Waiving to Cause CBA Changes? (Updated)

Update, 4:50 p.m.:
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy has more on this.

Original Post:
Ken Campbell at The Hockey News thinks that the Wade Redden waiving should lead to new CBA rules...

"The way it stands now, the only salaries that cannot escape the salary cap are for long-term deals for players 35 and older. But if a younger player signs a long-term deal, there is nothing keeping the team from burying his contract in the minors and taking it off the salary cap books the way the Rangers are sure to do with Redden and the Chicago Blackhawks will do this season with Cristobal Huet."

...another Ranger hit piece by the national hockey media. Every dig Campbell takes at the Rangers and Sather makes the article less and less credible.

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Redden to Clear Waivers; Cuts Loom

Jesse Spector tweets...

A little more than two hours until Wade Redden clears waivers. Rangers also expected to make some cuts today.less than a minute ago via twidroid


...wonder if they'll be any surprises today. Grachev? MZA?

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My First Rangers Game

Pic from reader Desmond of his son at his first Rangers game last Thursday...

...poor guy doesn't know what his father just got him into. I guess it could be worse, he could be growing up an Islanders fan.

...keep e-mailing (nyrfan94@yahoo.com) me your pics and I'll continue to post them.

See more reader pics here and here.

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Finding a Center for Gabby & AFro "a Process" (Updated)

Update, 9:27 a.m.:
Leslie Treff at the Hockey Future's New York Rangers Blog has more on the Rangers need for a first time center.

Original Post:
Jesse Spector at the Daily News has this quote from Marian Gaborik on finding him and teammate Alex Frolov a center...

"It's a process," Gaborik said. "I think that's what happens during the preseason. I played with Erik last year - he's very talented, good with the puck, and he had a good game. Step was there earlier, and he keeps having a good camp. These exhibition games are to make sure everyone clicks together and gets into game shape."

...i would still love to see Stepan between these two to start the season, but if the chemistry is better with Christensen to start the season I think that's the way Torts has to go. These next two preseason games will determine a lot.

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Banner Contest Entry #20


Banner contest entry #20 comes from Scott. Just one more banner left.

As always make sure to leave your comments. To view previous entries click here.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rangers Talk Loss to Red Wings

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has these quotes...

“We have to figure out who we are in the middle of the ice, who we are in the back end,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella after the Wings skated around and past the Blueshirts in a 5-3 win last night, out shooting the visitors 34-21. “It was a struggle, not just our defensemen, but all and all in our end zone. All this circling…you have to stop and start in the end zone, that team over there, you circle, they expose you. And they had the middle of the ice on us all night long.”

“We were a little in awe of them, gave them too much respect at the start of the game,” said Todd White. “All their systems are full go.”

“They’re always moving,” said the 20-year-old who left the University of Wisconsin to turn pro. “They find the open man, they make great three-foot passes.”

Jess Spector at the Blueshirts Blog has more...

“I think you have to be really careful not to fall of the map on guys because they struggled tonight, because this is a really good hockey team that we played, basically with their lineup,” Tortorella said. “You have to use the whole body of work as you go through this, not just knee-jerk on one game. And the same thing goes the other way, when they play well. You can’t knee-jerk because they had one good game. It’s got to be body of work over these next couple of weeks.”

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Red Wings 5, Rangers 3


The New York Rangers (2-1-0) lost to the Detroit Red Wings (2-2-0) by the score of 5-3, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...i missed the game as I had a wedding tonight so here are the post game notes from the Rangers...

- The New York Rangers were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, tonight at Joe Louis Arena, in the second game of their back-to-back road set. The Blueshirts are now 2-1-0 in pre-season action.

- After allowing two early goals to the Red Wings, the Rangers got on the board with an even strength goal from Sean Avery, his first goal of the pre-season, at 8:35 of the first period. Avery led the team with four shots on goal and logged 13:25 of ice time.

- Forwards Erik Christensen and Artem Anisimov each notched a goal in a span of 27 seconds mid-way through the second period to tie the score at three goals. Christensen’s goal, his first of the pre-season, was unassisted at 11:37 of the middle frame. He finished the contest with four hits and three shots in 17:02 of ice time. Anisimov’s goal was a shorthanded tally at 12:04 of the second, his second goal in as many days, and he is now tied for the team lead with two goals in the pre-season.

- Rangers forward Alex Frolov recorded an assist on Anisimov’s shorthanded goal, and is now tied for the team lead with three assists and four points in two pre-season contests.

- Todd White registered an assist on Avery’s first period goal and won a team-high, five face-offs in 10 attempts (50%). White has recorded an assist in each of his two appearances with the Blueshirts, having tallied an assist in last night’s 5-4 overtime win at New Jersey while making his Rangers debut.

- Martin Biron turned aside 19 of 22 shots in the game’s opening two periods (39:59) in a no decision. Chad Johnson stopped 10 of 12 shots in the third period, and is now 1-1-0 in pre-season action.

- Rookie defenseman Ryan McDonagh led the Rangers with 24:43 of ice time, and registered three blocked shots. Defenseman Pavel Valentenko and forward Brandon Prust tied for the game-high with five hits apiece, while defenseman Dan Girardi led all skaters with four blocked shots in 23:06 of ice time.

- The Rangers do not have practice scheduled for tomorrow, September 27. The Blueshirts next practice is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 28, at the MSG Training Center.

- The Blueshirts will return to action on Wednesday, September 29, when they will face-off against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the second game of their home-and-home set. The contest will be broadcast live on MSG Network.

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Rangers @ Red Wings (Preseason Game 3)

The New York Rangers (2-0-0) visit the Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0) tonight at Joe Louis Arena starting at 5:00 p.m.

Pregame Notes

TV: MSG

Probable Lineup:
Frolov-Stepan-Gaborik
Dubinsky-Christensen-Zuccarello
Avery-White-Grachev
Boyle-Anisimov-Prust

Girardi-Semenov
McDonagh-Gilroy
Sauer-Valentenko

Biron, Johnson

Opponent Notes:
- Three key offseason Red Wings pickups -- center Mike Modano, defenseman Ruslan Salei and LW Jiri Hudler.

- Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk tallied just 70 points last season after Datsyuk had 97 points in each of his previous two seasons and Zetterberg had 43 goals and 92 points in '07-08.

- Johan Franzen (charley horse) was injured from a knee-on-thigh hit by Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik on Sept. 22 and was expected to miss at least three exhibition games.

2009-10 - Rangers vs. Red Wings
Dec. 6 - Rangers 1, Red Wings 3 at MSG

Opponent Blog:
Winging It In Motown

Prospal to Miss At Least Next Two Preseason Games

In Larry Brooks article on Sean Avery in the New York Post this morning he gives us an update on Vinny Prospal's knee...

"Vinny Prospal will be held out until at least the last two or three exhibition games because of problems with the right knee that was surgically repaired during the middle of last year."

Brooks thinks Prospal's injury could open the door even wider for Fedotenko to make the team.

...when I first heard about the Prospal injury, I didn't realize it might be this serious.

...between the Drury and Prospal injures maybe Brooks is right and Fedotenko could find his way onto the opening night roster.

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Redden Wants to Enjoy the Game Again

Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com spoke with Wade Redden after being waived today...

"Hopefully I can get somewhere where I can play and enjoy the game again," Redden said.

...yeah, playing a kid's game while getting paid $36 million makes it real difficult to enjoy.

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Sather's Not Good at Signing Free Agents

Arthur Staple at Newsday reports on Glen Sather's less than stellar record of signing UFAs to long term deals...

Since 2005, Sather has signed 18 unrestricted free agents to contracts of at least two years. With Redden gone, only five still are here...

"The others either were not good enough for long enough, or never were helpful. From Donald Brashear in 2009 to Matt Cullen in 2006 to Marek Malik in 2005, Sather's strategy to add high-priced talent from outside the organization has not panned out well enough. About the only signing of significant length that went well was Michael Nylander (three years, $8.9 million) in 2004, though that turned into a two-year deal because of the lockout."

...to Sather's credit he's somehow been able to get rid of a number of those bad contracts (Gomez, Kotalik, Brashear), but man he has done just an awful job of signing free agents (sans Gaborik & Prospal).

...however, like I said his trades have been unreal (don't forget he also traded Anson Carter for Jaromir Jagr) and recently the team's drafting has been much better. So it's not all terrible with Sather.

...having said that, two playoff round wins in nine years is unacceptable and it baffles me on a daily basis that he is still GM and seems like he will be for life. Unless he decides to step down.

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Sunday Headlines

Bergen Record - NY Rangers part ways with Redden

New Yok Post - Rangers waive goodbye to Redden

New York Post - Torts defuses trouble

New York Post - Aggressive Avery makes big impact

Daily News - Blueshirts place Redden on waivers

Newsday - Rangers put Redden on waivers

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Rangers Talk Win vs. Devils

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has these quotes...

“He’s utility,” Tortorella said of White. “He can kill some penalties, give us some offense. It’s nice to have that.”

“I put Kennedy on the wing, I thought that line was good,” Tortorella added.

Steve Zipay at Blue Notes has more.

Torts on the apparent throat slash gesture by Kovalchuk to Avery...

"There was no (throat) slash, none of that," Tortorella said.

Jesse Spector at the Blueshirts Blog has even more...

On his tough start Lundqvist said...

“Just a little rusty,” Lundqvist said on the way to the team bus. “It was a tough start, but I felt more and more comfortable as the game went on. It feels good to start with a win.”

Del Zotto also talks about his bad start to the game...

“Tough start, tough preseason start,” the 20-year-old defenseman said. “It’s part of the game, we bounced back, and at the end of the day we got the two points. That’s the biggest thing. You learn from your mistakes and move on. I’m glad I got a chance to redeem myself there.”

Tim Kennedy on his first two preseason games...

“It’s been a good first two games,” Kennedy said. “I’ve been playing a lot, and I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone. It happened last year where I started playing center, went to wing and then back to center. I can play both, and I really have no preference where I’m playing.”

Jim Cerny has more on Del Zotto's night at newyorkrangers.com.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Video: Kovalchuk Talks Avery









...it really is baffling to me how Kovalchuk allows Avery to get under his skin like that.

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Rangers 5, Devils 4 (OT)


The New York Rangers (2-0-0) defeated the New Jersey Devils (0-0-3) by the score of 5-4 in OT, tonight. For a recap and box score go to Yahoo! Sports and newyorkrangers.com.

...if this is what preseason games are going to be like, I cannot wait for the regular season.

...Del Zotto is looking more and more Leetch-like on offense every day. On defense? That's a different story. But man that OT goal looked a lot like Leetch's in Game 7.

...4/5 on the power play with that lineup? I'm impressed.

...Gilroy and Anisimov are looking more and more like they'll have breakout seasons.

...Fedotenko is making tough decisions even harder for Torts and company.

...Lundy looked a little off tonight. Assuming nothing to be concerned about.

...i thought Grachev was supposed to be in the lineup tonight. He was?

...great to have the old Avery back. Hopefully he sticks around for the entire season.

...if I didn't think the Ranger brought my boy Voros back after seeing Byers skating around in the #34, I was convinced after watching Byers take a Voros-like beating.

...biggest thing for me tonight was the heart the team showed coming back from two 2-goal deficits to win.

...right back at it in Motown tomorrow.

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Rangers/Devils Post Game Live Web Chat

Rangers @ Devils (Preseason Game 2)

The New York Rangers (1-0-0) visit the New Jersy Devils (0-0-2) tonight at the Prudential Center starting at 7:00 p.m.

TV: MSG

Probable Lineup:
Fedotenko-White-Callahan
Byers-Anisimov-Grachev
Avery-Kennedy-J. Williams
Boogaard-Newbury-Weise

Del Zotto-Eminger
Semenov-Valentenko
Exelby-Gilroy

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist - 35-27-10, 2.38 gaa, .921 sv%, 4 so.

Johan Hedberg - 21-16-6, 2.62 gaa, .915 sv %, 3 so

Opponent Notes:
- According to Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice, Zach Parise said his line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk will play again tonight after combining for three goals and four assists in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers.

- Gulitti also reports that it appears the Patrik Elias-Jason Arnott-Jamie Langenbrunner will not play tonight.

- The Devils have lost both preseason games in the extra frame. Shootout vs. Flyers and OT vs. Rangers.

Last Year Season Series:
Oct. 5 - Rangers 3, Devils 2 at New Jersey
Oct. 22 - Rangers 2, Devils 4 at MSG
Jan. 12 - Rangers 0, Devils 1 (SO) at MSG
Feb. 6 - Rangers 3, Devils 1 at MSG
March 10 - Rangers 3, Devils 6 at New Jersey
March 25 - Rangers 4, Devils 3 (SO) at New Jersey

Opponent Blog:
Pucks and Pitchforks

Post Game Live Chat Tonight @ 10pm

Last minute decision to hold a live chat after tonight's Rangers/Devils game. Figured with the Redden waiving, plus preseason games starting it's a great time to do one.

Plan on it starting around 10pm.

If I have to cancel it for any reason I'll just have my usual post game recap and you guys can have at it in the comments section.

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