Archive for the ‘New York Rangers’ Category

Looking around the league with…. no colored glasses:

– A very scary moment in the Detroit Red Wings game against The Nashville Predators last night, when a hard shot by Roman Josi caught Patrick Eaves in the side of the head. Eaves was stretchered out of the arena and taken to Detroit Medical Center where he is being treated for a fractured jaw. Hopefully he can have a quick recovery from this very scary incident. The Red Wings won the game 4-1, their 5th straight.

– 2 controversial moments in the game between Pittsbugh and Montreal when Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens hit Kris Letang in OT. This appears to be a head shot. In this guy’s opinion, it appears the head is the principal point of contact, now if it is intentionally aiming for the head, I cannot tell. I believe the hit was going to be shoulder to shoulder before Letang dropped his head for the shot. I do think Brendan Shanahan will definitely be looking at this one, as for a suspension…. I think he might, keyword “might” get a 1 game suspension, if not just a fine. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in OT, easily another controversial moment in the eyes of Habs fans, the referees seemed to fall asleep on that one, but alas, you do not stop playing until the whistle is blown.

– The New York Islanders continued their flip flopping fight with The Columbus Blue Jackets for bottom spot and 29th in the NHL, crawling back out of the basement with a 3-2 win over New Jersey (Thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk)

-The New York Rangers are having a great November so far, going 8-2, including last night’s shutout win against Philadelphia thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in the effort.

– Colorado busted their losing streak in a big way, scoring 5 against Edmonton, including a first goal of the season for Shane O’Brien and a first goal in the NHL for newcomer Stefan Elliot.

– Bye Bye Boudreau? The Capitals got slaughtered for the 2nd game in a row, this time 5-1 at the hands of the slumping Buffalo Sabres. The losses are starting to mount, you can bet the rumors are going to start to swirl (if your name starts with an E, and end with a D, computer generated rumors do not count)

– Lightning strikes twice, Tampa won their 2nd straight game against the red hot Florida Panthers last night thanks to brilliant goaltending by Mathieu Garon, and the scoring abilities of one Steven Stamkos. In 2 games, Garon had 47 saves, and Stamkos had 3 goals, and 1 assist.

– The Phoenix Coyotes continued strong play, as did Mike Smith, making 26 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the falling Dallas Stars. Mikkel Boedker scored career goal number 20 in the 1st period, Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt also added tallies.

– The Los Angeles Kings are 1-2-1 their last 4 after losing to The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick both faced 27 shots, but a Jonathan Toews goal (his 13th this year)  in the 2nd period broke the tie.

-Sit down Luongo! Corey Schneider made his mark last night against San Jose, stopping 43 shots in a 3-2 victory, his 4th straight, only allowing 3 goals in those 4 games. Just think, the goalie making $900,000 is winning games while the guy making $10,000,000 is riding the pine. Silly…isnt it? For Vancouver also, Manny Malhotra, playing in game number 800, scored his 2nd of the year. For San Jose, Patrick Marleau scored his 10th goal, his 20th point on the season, and Joe Pavelski earned his 150th career assist in the game.

Last season: 44-33-5, 93 points. 8th East, lost in first round to Washington (4-1).

Additions: D Tim Erixon, C Brad Richards, LW Mike Rupp

Losses: LW Derek Boogaard, C Chris Drury, D Matt Gilroy, LW Alex Frolov, D Bryan McCabe, F Vinny Prospal

Offense:  The Rangers’ offense got a huge punch when they signed Brad Richards.  Richards should be a good playmaker for Marian Gaborik, provided both guys stay healthy.  Their linemate could be Wojtek Wolski, who was traded midseason for the second year in a row.  The second line consists of team points leader Brandon Dubinsky (54), new team captain Ryan Callahan and young Russian Artem Anisimov.  The trio combined for 65 goals and 146 points.  Derek Stepan started off hot in his rookie year, scoring 14 goals by the All-Star break, but tailed off after.  In rookie scoring, he finished fifth in both goals (24) and points (45).  Brian Boyle was an unlikely contributor, scoring 21 goals, shattering his full season career high of 4.  Ruslan Fedotenko is a reliable veteran who can fill any hole in the lineup.  Tough guy Brandon Prust had 13 goals to go along with his 18 fights.  Sean Avery might have played himself off of the team.

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Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

Sean Avery: What’s next?

Posted: August 5, 2011 by forever&staalways in New York Rangers
Tags: ,

A couple days ago, I went on a rant with my dad about a the New York Jets’ (my favorite football team) recent acquisition of wide receiver Plaxico Burress. I had two objections to his one year, three million dollar contract: 1) The three million dollars was guaranteed and 2) he was just released from an 18 month stay in jail on gun charges. I sat there and angrily told my dad, “I can never root for someone who’s a criminal!” I’ll continue to head-desk once I finish writing.

I first heard the news this morning during a sports radio show update, hearing simply that he was arrested at his California home early this morning. Upon further investigation, I found out that he was arrested for shoving a member of LAPD after a second trip to his home for noise complaints. He posted his $20,000 bail.

There should be an office pool started for what the league is going to do about Sean. He is a repeat offender with a rule subsection named after him. After the league’s response to his “sloppy seconds” (six game suspension in December, though he didn’t return to the NHL until March) there’s no telling what their disciplinary response will be. Ten games? Fifteen games? A fine? If only we could spin the wheel of justice to help solve this one.

There’s no telling what’s going to happen in the next chapter of Sean Avery’s career. There is one thing that is certain, though; the tattoo on his arm still speaks volumes about himself. You used to be alright. What happened?

There were a lot of questions for the New York Rangers going into this summer. Many of them were answered within the first few days of free agency, though some are still looming.

What we have:

Glen Sather did what many a Rangers fan thought he couldn’t do; reel in the season’s prized free agent. In bringing in Brad Richards the Blueshirts now have a nifty center to feed Marian Gaborik the puck. Though both the winger and center are oft-injured, the two could make some magic on the ice if they mesh well. Having Ruslan Fedotenko, Richards’ linemate during their Championship in ’04, could help improve their dynamic.

Another free agent brought into New York was Pittsburgh center Mike Rupp. The main question with the 6-foot-5 center was where did that leave 6-foot-6 center Brian Boyle? Apparently it simply meant bringing along a hard-hitting Cup winner (2003, NJ) into the fold, and not the departure of Boyle, who signed a three year contract a couple weeks later.

The last thing Sather did was ensuring the stability of the Rangers ‘core’ by re-signing RFA’s Michael Sauer (2 year, $2.5m) and Artem Anisimov (2 year, $3.75m), relatively good contracts for those who would have otherwise gone to arbitration. The Rangers got away with a lot, considering how well of a rookie season Sauer had in New York. One of the last pieces of the defensive puzzle was a trade with Calgary in mid-June, bringing in Tim Erixon; who was drafted 23rd overall by Calgary in 2009. Since he had not signed a contract with the Flames, Erixon was set to be re-entered into the 2011 draft. Instead, his rights were traded to his father’s former team, with whom he settled an entry-level contract with. With two more years under his belt with the Swedish Elite League, he is considered a top-ten level prospect, and is considered to crack the roster this season.

What we still have left: (more…)

For fun, six of us (Andy, Dan, Gabbi, Jeremy, Joey and Rob) created a league on What If Sports. We decided to only take players from our teams in the past 20 years, with the website’s $50 million cap. We could only choose a player for a year he played for our team, and could pick no player more than once.

After our rosters are set, each team will play each other twice in an 10 game season, and we’ll highlight the games throughout the summer. The team with the most points at the end of the schedule will be the winner!

So without further ado, here are our rosters:

Blue Jackets (Rob)
Centers: Andrew Cassels (2003), Dan Fritsche (2007), Derick Brassard (2011), Kevyn Adams (2001), Sean Pronger (2003)
Left Wings: Rick Nash (2010), Fredrik Modin (2007), Ray Whitney (2003), Lasse Pirjeta (2003)
Right Wings: Nikolai Zherdev (2008), David Vyborny (2006), Trevor Letowski (2006), Kevin Dineen (2001), Jared Boll (2009)
Defense: Fedor Tyutin (2011), Grant Clitsome (2011), Deron Quint (2001), Ron Hainsey (2007), Marc Methot (2007), Lyle Odelein (2001)
Goalies: Steve Mason (2009), Pascal Leclaire (2008), Fredrik Norrena (2007)

Bruins (Andy)
Centers: Joe Juneau (1994), Joe Thornton (2002), Patrice Bergeron (2007), Travis Green (2006), Marc Savard (2007), Rob DiMaio (2000), P.J. Stock (2003)
Left Wings: P.J. Axelsson (2003), Andy Brickley (1992), Ted Donato (1997), Dave Andreychuk (2000), Mikko Eloranta (2002), Kevin Stevens (1996)
Right Wings: Nathan Horton (2011), Martin Lapointe (2004)
Defense: Zdeno Chara (2007), Raymond Bourque (2000), Aaron Ward (2007), Dennis Wideman (2007), Andrew Ference (2008), Steve Staios (1997)
Goalies: Tim Thomas (2009), Jon Casey (1994)

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Some quick hits from the first two days of free agency:

-The Brad Richards saga is finally over, as he chose to sign with the New York Rangers for 9 years (and $60 million).  According to reports, he turned down more money from other teams (Calgary, Los Angeles and Toronto).  The Rangers have themselves a big money center to play with Marian Gaborik now.  They also added tough guy Mike Rupp from the rival Penguins.

-Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they added Tim Connolly for two years.  Connolly has averaged .83 points per game since the lockout, but has only played in 302 games in that time.  When healthy, he can form a nice duo with Phil Kessel, but how many games he plays is the question.

-Not going to go into much about the Flyers, who were very active on Day 1, as this post sums it up pretty well.

-The Panthers were also very active, adding over $31 million in salary for 2011-12 in the since the draft.  This includes over $21 million to 6 players in free agency the last two days.  They aren’t done yet, as the team is still $1 million under the salary cap floor. (more…)

We’re doing something a little different, instead of one person doing their own mock draft, we are going to set ourselves in a semi-draft atmosphere by splitting the teams between the three of us (Cujo, Joey, RD) and picking our draft that way.  We figure it’ll make things a little interesting and a little competitive as well. There will also be a little reasoning behind each pick.

In order to keep things from getting long, we’re dividing up the draft into two parts, 1-15 and 16-30.

Without further ado, here is part 1 of our draft!

1. Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (Red Deer, WHL)
Highly anticipated number one. As much young talent the Oilers have. Why not stack the deck with even more elite talents.

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Two American NHL veterans are hanging it up after long careers.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski is walking away from a contract that had one year and $6 million remaining. The 37 year old defenseman’s decision was helped by his current injuries. He reportedly played without an ACL in this year’s playoffs.

Rafalski played 833 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. In his 11 years, he scored 79 goals and 515 points. He was a member of three Stanley Cup teams (’00 Devils, ’03 Devils, ’08 Red Wings). He’s also won an Olympic silver medal twice with USA, in 2002 and 2010. In 2010, he was named to the all-Olympic team, as well as best defenseman, after finishing the tournament first in defenseman scoring (8 points). Rafalski was a two time all-star, in 2004 and 2007.

One of the underrated defensemen of his generation, Rafalski’s sudden retirement leaves the Red Wings with $6 million to play with in the offseason. That number could grow if his blueline mate Nicklas Lidstrom also decides to hang up the skates.

Rafalski’s teammate on the 2002 US silver medal team, Doug Weight, is also expected to announce his retirement this week. Unlike Rafalski, Weight has made his way around the NHL, playing 1238 games with the Rangers, Oilers, Blues, Hurricanes, Ducks and Islanders. Weight tallied 278 goals and 1033 points in his 21 year career. In addition to his 2002 silver medal, he’s represented USA in the 1998 and 2006 Olympics. Also in 2006, Weight got his named etched onto the Stanley Cup as the Hurricanes beat the Oilers.

The four time all-star picked up his 1000th point with the Islanders, an assist on a Richard Park goal in a game on January 2, 2009 against the Coyotes. He became only the eighth American and 73rd NHLer to hit the 1000 point mark. His 1000th career game came with St. Louis against the Oilers on November 16, 2006.  Weight was the 25th American to reach the mark.

Hats off to great careers, guys. Here’s to happy retirement for the both of them!

Blue Jackets and Rangers fans tried to warn me.  I wouldn’t listen.  I thought the Flyers picking up Nikolay Zherdev could be a solid signing; giving depth to their scoring, without tying too much into the future if it didn’t work out (1 year, $2 million deal).  They kept telling me that I was going to get aggravated with his one-dimensional play, and trying only when he felt like it.  I thought his stint in the KHL could have set him straight (as it did for former Flyer Ray Emery).  I thought he’d be motivated by playing on a Cup contender.

He started off pretty good, too. By Christmas he had 13 goals and Paul Holmgren looked like a genius.

Then he started playing like the Nikolay Zherdev that NHL fans knew. He wound up scratched for most February.  Flyers fans started to sour on him and realized a tiger never changes his stripes.  He only had three points in 13 games after the All-Star break.

In game in Carolina, Mike Richards fell ill after a ceremony for Rod Brind’Amour.  The team needed a replacement for Richards, and looked for Zherdev.  But he was nowhere to be found.  Jody Shelley eventually filled in for the Flyers’ captain in that game. Four days later, he was placed on waivers, but nobody picked him up.  It was rumored that the Flyers might try to dump him at the trade deadline.  Nobody bit and the Flyers were stuck with him for the remainder of the year.  He played a couple games before being scratched most of March.  When Jody Shelley got hurt, Zherdev got back into the lineup for the final five regular season games, and played seven out of the team’s nine playoff games.

He actually played decent in the playoffs, even though he only picked up three points.  The team as a whole failed, losing in the second round to the Bruins.  This led some fans to believe Holmgren might give him a second chance, but most felt he wouldn’t return.

The team seemed to play better when he was not in the lineup.  Without him in the lineup, the team went 18-4-2 (including playoffs).  When he played, the Flyers went 33-25-7, a winning percentage of .561.  To put that in perspective, the Rangers (who finished 8th in the East) had a winning percentage of .567.  The team scored a bit more goals (3.11 to 3.07) when he was dressed, but their defense suffered.  The Flyers had a goals against of 2.34 when he wasn’t in the lineup, as compared to a 3.02 GAA when he was.  His time on ice also seemed correlated to the team’s win-loss record.  When he played more than his average of ~13 minutes, the team was 12-11-3.  The Flyers record was 21-12-2 when he played less than his average.  However, his stats were about the same (14 points when playing 13+ minutes; 11 points when playing less).

Zherdev wasn’t likely to come back with the club next year, but new developments may have pushed those chances to zero.  Reports are surfacing that Zherdev attempted to beat his wife after an argument at a restaurant. The early reports are conflicting, but who will offer him a contract with his past attitude problems and any pending legal issues?

Philadelphia bids you adieu, Nik Zherdev.