Author Archive

Final Trade Chart

A final look at the trades from this month:

FEB. 28

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Jason Arnott, F David Steckel, F
2012 second-round pick
Dustin Penner, F Colten Teubert, D
2011 first-round pick
2011 first-round pick
Bryan Allen, D Sergei Samsonov, F
Brad Winchester, F Third-round pick
Chris Campoli, D Ryan Potulny, F
Conditional draft pick
Scottie Upshall, F
Sami Lepisto, D
Rostislav Klesla, D
Dane Byers, F
Dennis Wideman, D Jake Hauswirth, F
2011 third-round pick
Radek Dvorak, F
2011 fifth-round pick
Niclas Bergfors, F
Patrick Rissmiller, F
John Mitchell, F 2011 seventh-round pick
Fredrik Modin, F Seventh-round pick
Chris Higgins, F Evan Oberg, D
2013 third-round pick
Maxim Lapierre, F
MacGregor Sharp, F
Joel Perreault
2012 third-round pick
Drew MacIntyre, G Brett Festerling, D

FEB. 27

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Brad Boyes, F 2011 second-round pick
Brian McGrattan, F;
Sean Zimmerman, D
Stefan Chaput, F;
David Laliberte, F

FEB. 26

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Bryan McCabe, D Tim Kennedy, F
Third-round pick

FEB. 25

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alexander Sulzer, D Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 24

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Dan Ellis, G Curtis McElhinney, G
Alexei Kovalev, F Conditional seventh-round pick
Brent Sopel, D
Nigel Dawes, F
Ben Maxwell, F
2011 fourth-round pick
Cory Stillman, F Ryan Carter, C
2011 fifth-round pick

FEB. 21

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alex Goligoski, D James Neal, F
Matt Niskanen, D

FEB. 19

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Chris Stewart, F
Second-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)
Erik Johnson, D
Jay McClement, F
First-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)

FEB. 18

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Tomas Kaberle, D Joe Colborne, F
2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional second-round pick
Blake Wheeler, F
Mark Stuart, D
Rich Peverley, F
Boris Valabik, D
Craig Anderson, G Brian Elliott, G
Future considerations Derek Joslin, D
Ian White, D 2012 second-round pick
2011 third-round pick
Rights to Brock Beukeboom, D
Eric Brewer, D

FEB. 17

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Jarkko Ruutu, F 2011 sixth-round pick
Paul Mara, D 2012 fifth-round pick

FEB. 15

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Chris Kelly, F 2011 second-round pick
Aaron Voros, F Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 14

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kris Versteeg, F 2011 first-round pick
2011 third-round pick

FEB. 10

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Mike Fisher, F 2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional pick

FEB. 9

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Francois Beauchemin, D Joffrey Lupul, F
Jake Gardiner, D
2013 conditional pick
Patrick Davis, F
Mike Swift, C
Jay Leach, D
Steve Zalewski, C
Al Montoya, G 2011 sixth-round pick
Michael Frolik, F
Alexander Salak, G
Jack Skille, F
Hugh Jessiman, F
David Pacan, F

Dustin Penner Traded To Los Angeles

It only took 6 1/2 of TSN coverage for a big deal to break as Dustin Penner is traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Colten Teubert, 1st round pick (2011), conditional pick (2012).

Penner gives the Kings playoff experience and gives them a big bodied forward who can get to the front of the net and score some dirty goals. The Kings are now an even more dangerous team going into the playoffs as they have a ton of scoring depth.

The Oilers get a great return for Penner. They free up over $4 million on the cap, Teubert was the Kings 13th overall choice in 2008, they also receive a 1st round pick this year and a conditional pick in 2012 which will be either a second or third round pick.


Two More Trades Come Through

With about 50 minutes left a couple more deals have slipped through the cracks.

The Florida Panthers trade defenseman Bryan Allen to the Carolina Hurricanes for Sergei Samsonov.

Secondly, the Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Chris Campoli and a conditional seventh round pick in 2011 from the Ottawa Senators for forward Ryan Potulny and conditional second round pick in 2011.

Campoli is the penalty killing defenseman that the Blackhawks have been looking for and Campoli has the ability to handle the puck pretty well.


Updated Trade Chart

Since the deadline has been slow I figured I would update the trade chart.

FEB. 28

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Scottie Upshall, F
Sami Lepisto, D
Rostislav Klesla, D
Dane Byers, F
Dennis Wideman, D Jake Hauswirth, F;
2011 third-round pick
Radek Dvorak, F
2010 fifth-round pick
Niclas Bergfors, F
Patrick Rissmiller, F

FEB. 27

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Brad Boyes, F 2011 second-round pick
Brian McGrattan, F;
Sean Zimmerman, D
Stefan Chaput, F;
David Laliberte, F

FEB. 26

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Bryan McCabe, D Tim Kennedy, F
Third-round pick

FEB. 25

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alexander Sulzer, D Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 24

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Dan Ellis, G Curtis McElhinney, G
Alexei Kovalev, F Conditional seventh-round pick
Brent Sopel, D
Nigel Dawes, F
Ben Maxwell, F
2011 fourth-round pick
Cory Stillman, F Ryan Carter, C
2011 fifth-round pick

FEB. 21

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alex Goligoski, D James Neal, F
Matt Niskanen, D

FEB. 19

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Chris Stewart, F
Second-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)
Erik Johnson, D
Jay McClement, F
First-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)

FEB. 18

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Tomas Kaberle, D Joe Colborne, F
2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional second-round pick
Blake Wheeler, F
Mark Stuart, D
Rich Peverley, F
Boris Valabik, D
Craig Anderson, G Brian Elliott, G
Future considerations Derek Joslin, D
Ian White, D 2012 second-round pick
2011 third-round pick
Rights to Brock Beukeboom, D
Eric Brewer, D

FEB. 17

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Jarkko Ruutu, F 2011 sixth-round pick
Paul Mara, D 2012 fifth-round pick

FEB. 15

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Chris Kelly, F 2011 second-round pick
Aaron Voros, F Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 14

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kris Versteeg, F 2011 first-round pick
2011 third-round pick

FEB. 10

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Mike Fisher, F 2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional pick

FEB. 9

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Francois Beauchemin, D Joffrey Lupul, F
Jake Gardiner, D
2013 conditional pick
Patrick Davis, F
Mike Swift, C
Jay Leach, D
Steve Zalewski, C
Al Montoya, G 2011 sixth-round pick
Michael Frolik, F
Alexander Salak, G
Jack Skille, F
Hugh Jessiman, F
David Pacan, F

Blue Jackets Trade Former First Rounder Klesla to Phoenix

The trades are coming through very slowly today but hopefully this one opens the floodgates a little bit.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded former first-round pick, Rostislav Klesla to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto.

Klesla was the first pick ever for the Blue Jackets franchise when they selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft. “Rusty” has been plagued by injuries in his career which has limited him from becoming a big factor on the Blue Jackets blueline.  He now moves to the desert to hopefully rejuvenate his career.


Florida Stays Busy as They Ship Wideman to Washington

Florida is helping to keep the trade deadline some what interesting right now as they have made their second trade within the last hour.

They are now shipping defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Washington for a third-round pick and Jake Hauswirth.

This trade is surprising from Washington’s standpoint because they have been chasing a second line center so another deal should be coming soon for them.

Here’s Wideman’s career statistics:

Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS PPG PPA SHG SHA GW SOG Pct
2005-06 STL 67 8 16 24 31 83 N/A N/A 5 9 1 0 1 150 .053
2006-07 STL 55 5 17 22 -7 44 N/A N/A 4 11 0 0 1 94 .053
2006-07 BOS 20 1 2 3 -3 27 N/A N/A 0 0 0 0 0 28 .036
2007-08 BOS 81 13 23 36 11 70 N/A N/A 9 11 0 0 1 171 .076
2008-09 BOS 79 13 37 50 32 34 N/A N/A 6 19 1 0 2 169 .077
2009-10 BOS 76 6 24 30 14 34 100 110 2 11 0 2 2 146 .041
2010-11 FLA 61 9 24 33 26 33 75 100 8 11 0 0 1 135 .067
Career 439 55 143 199 38 325 175 210 34 72 2 2 8 893 .062



First Trade is Complete

The first trade of the 2011 NHL trade deadline is complete and more will start to trickle in as the minutes pass by

The first trade is:

The Florida Panthers have traded forward Radek Dvorak and a fifth-round draft pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for  forward Patrick Rissmiller and winger Niclas Bergfors.


Updated Trade Chart

FEB. 26

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Bryan McCabe, D Tim Kennedy, F
Third-round pick

FEB. 25

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alexander Sulzer, D Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 24

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Dan Ellis, G Curtis McElhinney, G
Alexei Kovalev, F Conditional seventh-round pick
Brent Sopel, D
Nigel Dawes, F
Ben Maxwell, F
2011 fourth-round pick
Cory Stillman, F Ryan Carter, C
2011 fifth-round pick

FEB. 21

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Alex Goligoski, D James Neal, F
Matt Niskanen, D

FEB. 19

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Chris Stewart, F
Second-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)
Erik Johnson, D
Jay McClement, F
First-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)

FEB. 18

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Tomas Kaberle, D Joe Colborne, F
2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional second-round pick
Blake Wheeler, F
Mark Stuart, D
Rich Peverley, F
Boris Valabik, D
Craig Anderson, G Brian Elliott, G
Future considerations Derek Joslin, D
Ian White, D 2012 second-round pick
2011 third-round pick
Rights to Brock Beukeboom, D
Eric Brewer, D

FEB. 17

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Jarkko Ruutu, F 2011 sixth-round pick
Paul Mara, D 2012 fifth-round pick

FEB. 15

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Chris Kelly, F 2011 second-round pick
Aaron Voros, F Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 14

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kris Versteeg, F 2011 first-round pick
2011 third-round pick

FEB. 10

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Mike Fisher, F 2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional pick

FEB. 9

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Francois Beauchemin, D Joffrey Lupul, F
Jake Gardiner, D
2013 conditional pick
Patrick Davis, F
Mike Swift, C
Jay Leach, D
Steve Zalewski, C
Al Montoya, G 2011 sixth-round pick
Michael Frolik, F
Alexander Salak, G
Jack Skille, F
Hugh Jessiman, F
David Pacan, F

Rangers Acquire McCabe for Kennedy and 3rd Round Pick

By Eric Bancker

Trade season officially started for the New York Rangers today as they acquired Bryan McCabe from the Florida Panthers for Tim Kennedy and a 3rd round pick.

The Rangers are able bolster their blueline with a very good, offensive minded, veteran defenseman. McCabe will also help the Rangers powerplay which has been horrible all season as they now sit 21st in the NHL. McCabe has 143 goals in his career, 72 of which have come on the powerplay so the Rangers are getting a legitimate powerplay quarterback for their playoff run.

Tim Kennedy was sent back in return to the Panthers. Kennedy signed a two-year deal with the Rangers this off-season but was sent to the AHL earlier this year and for fear of losing him via re-entry waivers, the Rangers decided to leave him in the minors until next season when they could call him back up.

So for the Rangers to acquire a powerplay quarterback with an expiring contract for a player that they weren’t going to call up until next year and a 3rd round pick is another great move for general manager, Glen Sather. Sather acquired Wojtek Wolski for Michal Rozsival earlier this season so he is 2-for-2 on trades so far. Glen Sather may need to be arrested for robbery because he has been able to get rid of unwanted parts for players that can immediately help this team.

Now everyone is questioning whether the Rangers still have cap space to go acquire Brad Richards and with how good Sather is at trading, I wouldn’t count them out. It was reported earlier in the week that Stars general manager, Joe Nieuwendyk, was requesting Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marc Staal in exchange for Brad Richards. Now if Nieuwendyk really expects the Rangers to part with all of that for Richards then I don’t see him coming to Broadway until this summer. Now with the way Sather is with trades you may see Richards in New York on Monday for Matt Gilroy, $3.99, and a bag of chips. The Rangers best move might be to wait until July to go after Richards, that way they don’t have to part with some of their young players. Richards won’t help them win a cup this year so why sacrifice the future?

McCabe will most likely get his first action in a Rangers uniform tomorrow when the Rangers go back home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Major Blockbuster Deal Being Discussed Between Los Angeles and Colorado

By Eric Bancker

At this point this is just a rumor but it’s one of the main things that people are talking about right now.

The Avalanche have a surplus at center and with Matt Duchene coming back in a few days from a hand injury, the Avs are rumored to be moving one of their centers. The main name being tossed around is Paul Stastny’s.

Here is the proposed trade:

Kings acquire:
Paul Stastny
T.J Galiardi
Maybe another player/pick

Avs acquire:
Jack Johnson
Jonathan Bernier
Jarret Stoll

Now again this is just a rumor but if this trade were to go down it would easily be the biggest trade so far and it would really shake up the Western Conference. The Avalanche already made a major trade when they traded for former 1st overall pick, Erik Johnson, just a few days ago.

The NHL trade deadline is just a week away and its been one of the most active deadlines in recent memory and with rumors like this it will only make the next week more and more interesting.


Rangers Lose, Gaborik Hurt, What’s Next?

By Eric Bancker

Things can’t get much worse for the New York Rangers right now. They put together a half-hearted effort, until the 3rd period, this afternoon against the Flyers and Marian Gaborik went down with and undisclosed injury which turned out to be a concussion.

The Rangers were able to score first against the Flyers when Wotjek Wolski got one past Brian Boucher but the Rangers shutdown after that and let the Flyers take it to them.

The Rangers came alive in the 3rd period and looked like a completely different team and they threw everything they could at the net but in the end it just wasn’t enough to beat Boucher and the Flyers. Boucher was phenomenal today and out-dueled Henrik Lundqvist. Does that make you cringe Rangers fans?

The Rangers can’t seem to score as they have only scored over three goals just five times since they beat Toronto 7-0 on January 19th, which is a 13 game span.

Henrik Lundqvist has also been below average as he has allowed soft goal after soft goal, including a couple today. Lundqvist has lost confidence in himself and it’s showing and when this team isn’t scoring, like they haven’t been for the past five years, they can usually rely on him to shut the door and give them a chance but it hasn’t happened too often lately.

So with the trade deadline a week away, what do the Rangers do?

They obviously need scoring and Bryan McCabe is being looked at as a possible powerplay quarterback for the Rangers.

Filip Kuba and Chris Neil have been mentioned from the Ottawa Senators but neither one can fulfill the Rangers need for scoring at this point.

Brad Richards is off of the table now that he recently suffered a concussion so the Rangers most likely will not pursue him until the off-season.

At this point Glen Sather needs to do something and fast because the Rangers are sinking rather quickly and are about to find themselves outside of the playoff race which at this point may be a good thing with the way they have played because they don’t stand a chance of winning a seven-game series.

Most Ranger fans are calling for Gaborik to be traded but I’m sure they will all break their ankles when he starts scoring again because they will be forced to jump off of the “Trade Gaborik” bandwagon. Last time I checked the guy is a two-time 40 goal scorer, one of which was last year when he lit the lamp 42 times.

The Rangers are now showing their true identity, a rough and tough team that can out muscle you but not out score you. They are the sixth youngest team in the NHL and they aren’t Stanley Cup bound just yet. They teased us earlier in the season with the amazing run that they had but injuries and inconsistent play have helped to show that this team just isn’t ready for a deep playoff run. They still need to shred contracts, (Drury), and continue to develop their young talent so until then they just need to focus their sights on making the playoffs and they need to do that without jeopardizing their future. The playoffs are a great benchmark for this young team and it will keep the fan base happy, for now.


Rundown of Recent Trades

In case you have missed any of the trades so far this month, here is a quick rundown of the recent trades to catch you back up:

FEB. 19

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Chris Stewart, F
Second-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)
Erik Johnson, D
Jay McClement, F
First-round pick
(either 2011 or 2012)

FEB. 18

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Tomas Kaberle, D Joe Colborne, F
2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional second-round pick
Blake Wheeler, F
Mark Stuart, D
Rich Peverley, F
Boris Valabik, D
Craig Anderson, G Brian Elliott, G
Future considerations Derek Joslin, D
Ian White, D 2012 second-round pick
2011 third-round pick
Rights to Brock Beukeboom, D
Eric Brewer, D

FEB. 17

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Jarkko Ruutu, F 2011 sixth-round pick
Paul Mara, D 2012 fifth-round pick

FEB. 15

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Chris Kelly, F 2011 second-round pick
Aaron Voros, F Conditional seventh-round pick

FEB. 14

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Kris Versteeg, F 2011 first-round pick
2011 third-round pick

FEB. 10

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Mike Fisher, F 2011 first-round pick
2012 conditional pick

FEB. 9

TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION TEAM PLAYER/COMPENSATION
Francois Beauchemin, D Joffrey Lupul, F
Jake Gardiner, D
2013 conditional pick
Patrick Davis, F
Mike Swift, C
Jay Leach, D
Steve Zalewski, C
Al Montoya, G 2011 sixth-round pick
Michael Frolik, F
Alexander Salak, G
Jack Skille, F
Hugh Jessiman, F
David Pacan, F

Turning Over a New Leaf

With the trade deadline just a week away its easy to say that the Maple Leafs have been the most active team before the deadline.

The Leafs had multiple assets that they could trade away and they spent no time in doing so.

Here’s a look at how busy the Leafs have been over the past 10 days:

February 9th: Francois Beauchemin was sent packing to his former team, the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, and a 4th round pick in 2013. The Leafs acquired the bloated contract that is Joffrey Lupul but he has been providing a spark for the team as he has three points in his first four games in a Leafs uniform.

February 14th: The next to go was forward Kris Versteeg, who never really found his way in Toronto after an off-season trade from the Blackhawks. Versteeg was traded to the Flyers for a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick in this year’s upcoming draft. The Leafs were able to free up a little over $3 million off of their salary cap and the Flyers acquired yet another scoring threat giving them the best scoring depth in the NHL

February 15th: The next deal was a small one as the Leafs acquired Aaron Voros from the Anaheim Ducks for a 7th round pick. Brian Burke loves to have tough guys in the lineup and Voros will help Colton Orr rest his fists every once in a while as Voros can fight, not well, but he can fight.

Just as a side note the Leafs have a tendency to acquire ex-Ranger fourth liners. Colton Orr, Fredrik Sjostrom, Aaron Voros, and Ryan Hollweg, who is no longer with the team.

February 18th: The most recent trade, and most noteworthy, is Tomas Kaberle being traded to the Boston Bruins for Joe Colborne, a 1st round pick this year, and a conditional 2nd round pick which the Leafs would receive if the Boston were to either re-sign Kaberle or if they make the Stanley Cup Finals. Kaberle has been part of the Leafs for the last 12 years and it was a sad moment for him to leave the team that drafted him but after years of speculation Kaberle has finally moved on.

There was also a report from the Toronto Sun that a Leaf’s scout said that Phil Kessel’s name was being dangled in trade talks. Burke immediately denied the claims and it wouldn’t make much sense for the Leafs to move him since they paid a hefty price to acquire him in the first place.

Additions:
Joffrey Lupul
Jake Gardiner
4th round pick (2013)
1st round pick (2011)
3rd round pick (2011)
Aaron Voros
Joe Colborne
1st round pick (2011)
Conditional 2nd round pick (2011)

Subtractions:
Francois Beauchemin
Kris Versteeg
Conditional 7th round pick
Tomas Kaberle

There’s no doubt that the Leafs have been busy and with nine potential new assets added to the organization, you can see that they are building toward their future. What else is in store for the Leafs? No one knows for sure but with Brian Burke in control there will be no shortage of speculation from the fans and media on what his next move will be.


Rangers Moving on From Souray, Set Sights on Kaberle and McCabe

As the trade deadline draws near one thing is for certain for the New York Rangers, they need scoring and they need it badly.

The Rangers have now dropped six straight and the offense has looked atrocious, averaging exactly two goals a game.

The team’s superstar, Marian Gaborik, has seemingly dropped off of the face of the earth. Gaborik hasn’t scored a goal since January 24th against the Washington Capitals. After scoring 42 goals last season, he has only scored 16 goals in the 43 games he has played this year which is far below average for the five-time 30 goal scorer.

The Rangers have been relying on players like Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust to bail them out offensively but now that well has dried up and the Rangers playoff hopes are starting to die of thirst.

So with the trade deadline just two and a half weeks away the Rangers will be looking to gear up for a playoff run. The Rangers were reportedly interested in Oilers defenseman, Sheldon Souray, and were ready to trade for him before a few of the Rangers scouts reported that Souray was “Too slow for the AHL much less for the NHL”. All talks of acquiring Souray have died down and now the Rangers will turn their focus to Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe.

Tomas Kaberle has been a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs for his entire 12 year career. Kaberle is not a flatout goal scorer from the blueline but he knows how to distribute the puck to his teammates. Kaberle averages 36 assists a season and is on pace for 49 assists this season. Kaberle has always been known as a powerplay quarterback but the one thing that drives Leafs fans up a wall when it comes to Kaberle is his hesitation to shoot the puck. Kaberle will most likely be on top of the Rangers shopping list over these next two weeks.

Bryan McCabe is the opposite of Tomas Kaberle, he has always been known for his ability to shoot the puck and to rack up large goal totals from the blueline. McCabe isn’t as much of an offensive threat like he was just a few years ago but he could still add quite a bit of offense to the team which, as I mentioned before, they need horribly.

The nice thing for the Rangers is the fact that both Kaberle and McCabe have contracts that expire this upcoming off-season. The Rangers will have about $15 million to spend this off-season with the current roster they have. The main problem for the Rangers is that they will need to re-sign three main pieces to their young core as Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Artem Anisimov all have expiring contracts and will be due for a raise.

The Rangers have recently shredded two big contracts off of the books (Rozsival and Redden) but they still have one bloated contract left and that would be the $7 million cap hit that Chris Drury carries. Chris Drury’s offense has evaporated completely and at this point of his career he is a third or fourth line player who is best suited for penalty-killing duty. The best thing for the Rangers to do is to buyout Drury’s contract this summer which would save them roughly $9 million of cap space over the next two years. Now the best case scenario is if Drury decides to retire this off-season which means they wouldn’t have to pay any of his contract on the cap, but it seems very unlikely that he will choose to do that.

Not only do the Rangers want to prepare themselves for the playoffs but they also need to look ahead to this off-season as they need to make sure that they can re-sign their young players and also have the ability to land a big fish in free agency, such as Brad Richards. The Rangers aren’t usually conservative at the trade deadline and Glen Sather is a wizard when it comes to making trades so I’m expecting him to make moves that benefit the team over the next few months of the season and that benefit them once the off-season rolls around.


Rangers Starting to Get Healthy as the Trade Deadline Nears

The Rangers have been through hell and back over the last month and a half. A team that has notorious with being able to stay healthy over the past couple of years has been decimated by injuries this season. The Rangers have been without a huge portion of their roster for most of the season.

Here’s a quick rundown of the notable injuries the team has been forced to overcome:

Marian Gaborik–  Injured October 15th, missed 12 games. Now its no surprise that Gaborik got injured but the team relies on Marian so heavily as when he is healthy there is no sniper that is quite as lethal.

Ryan Callahan – Injured December 15th, missed 19 games. Callahan broke his hand blocking a shot in mid-December against the Penguins. Callahan was the leading scorer at the time and of course Cally is a heart and soul player that the Rangers desperately need. He was finally able to return to the lineup on Tuesday, expect him to be a key piece to the Rangers stretch run puzzle.

Brandon Dubinsky- Injured…to be honest no one has a clue when he was injured. He played through a fracture in his leg for as long as he could but he eventually needed to be taken out of the lineup, he missed five games before returning on Tuesday.

Erik Christensen- Christensen has been out since December 30th with a strained MCL and is time on the injured list is coming to an end as he could be back in the lineup within the next week or so.

Ruslan Fedotenko- He was originally out of the lineup with a separated shoulder but now an appendectomy has him sidelined for another 3-4 weeks.

Vinny Prospal- Prospal has been out all year with complications from his surgically repaired right knee but he is now coming back into the lineup tonight against the Devils which is huge, especially for Marian Gaborik.

Now Callahan and Dubinsky were able to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Penguins and now they get Prospal back tonight. The team now sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference with 62 points, only two points out of 5th place which with a win against the Devils tonight it would move them into a tie for 5th place in the East.

The Rangers are getting healthy at just the right time, we are now just 25 days from the NHL trade deadline. The Rangers also only have 29 games left in the regular season and they are going to need to get healthy and stay healthy to make a strong stretch run to the playoffs.

Now as for the NHL trade deadline, the Rangers are players every single year when the deadline rolls around and this year will be no different. The main piece that they will look to add will be the likes of Brad Richards from the Dallas Stars. This move seems to be unlikely because the Stars are 3rd in the West and I don’t see them moving one of their main offensive weapons at the trade deadline unless it’s for a huge return. The Rangers’ best bet is to wait until July when they can offer him a contract when he is unrestricted free agent, that is if he doesn’t re-sign with the Stars first.

Other names that the Rangers might pursue:

Erik Cole of the Carolina Hurricanes. Cole has 13 goals, and 17 assists in 51 games this season. Cole would be a nice addition for the Rangers to add as he has plenty of experience in the playoffs including a Stanley Cup ring in 2006.

Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the Calgary Flames? No, it’s not that they suck. The first name that comes to mind is Jarome Iginla. Iggy has been the face of that franchise for the past decade and I’m sure the Rangers would love to add the superstar to their lineup. Iginla has scored at least 28 goals in the last 11 seasons and at least 30 for the last 9 seasons. If the Rangers are going to acquire any big name at the deadline then I except Iginla to be that big name.

Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs. This guy’s name has been involved in trade rumors for the past couple of seasons and now it seems as though it could finally happen and the Rangers could use a powerplay like himself. With Del Zotto having an off-year, the Rangers would really benefit from having a strong offensive defenseman at their disposal.

Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils. Now I don’t see a scenario where Parise gets traded to the Rangers but it is fun to entertain the idea. If the Rangers were to land Parise then it would give them a young superstar to pair with Gaborik and give the Rangers a lethal one-two punch.

As usual the trade deadline will be active and full of excitement. For all the coverage and breakdown of every deal and rumor make sure you check in right here at Atlantic Division Hockey.





Rangers Shopping Alex The Not So Great?


By Eric Bancker

Alex Frolov’s short time as a New York Ranger has been painful for everyone involved. Frolov inked a one year/$3 million deal with the Rangers this past offseason in the hopes of adding some offense to the stale blueshirts attack.

Frolov started off somewhat strong, collecting five points in the first month of the season. Since November 1st, Frolov has only tallied seven points, four of which came in a 8-2 thrashing of the Edmonton Oilers. He hasn’t contributed on the powerplay either, as he has only one point on the powerplay so far this season.

Alex has been bounced around in the Rangers lineup, at first finding himself on the top line but he has now been banished to fourth line duty. This is very similar to what happened to him last year in Los Angeles. Frolov was benched because of lazy play and lack of production thus prompting the Kings to give him a one-way ticket out-of-town.

The Rangers have been able to have success without Frolov being at his best though, as they now sit in a tie for 5th in the Eastern Conference. Although there a numerous reports that the Rangers would like to add Dallas Stars center, Brad Richards, for their playoff run. Every single year Rangers fans have heard the rumors of Richards coming to New York but a deal was never worked out, but that could change this season, although it seems unlikely. The Stars are currently at the top of the Western Conference and its hard to imagine them trading a player of Richards caliber.

It seems as though Frolov has run out of time in New York as multiple news outlets, including the Ottawa Sun, are reporting that Glen Sather has been shopping the Russian winger. There is only one problem though, there aren’t many takers right now for Frolov. Ottawa has apparently kicked the tires on a possible deal but it doesn’t seem like there is even any sort of ground work for a deal to this point. Frolov was recently asked in an interview if he was going to ask for a trade, he said that he felt as though it wasn’t the time just yet. Sather doesn’t seem willing to wait for Frolov to ask for one.

Moving Frolov may not be easy but if there is one thing that Glen Sather is good at, and I’m positive that this is the only thing he is good at, is that he is a wizard when it comes to trades. He has the ability to ship bad contracts out-of-town, e.g. Scott Gomez.


New York Rangers Quarter Report Cards

Since the season is now a little past quarter of the way done I decided its time to take the Rangers back to school and give them their first quarter report cards.

Artem Anisimov
Games Played: 23
Goals: 7
Assists: 8
Points: 15

Grade: A-

 

Comments: Anisimov is having a solid sophomore campaign and he has been really successful with his new linemates, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. This trio is the only line that hasn’t been juggled by coach John Tortorella because of their success. Anisimov helped offensively while Marian Gaborik was out of the lineup with a dislocated shoulder. Anisimov will look to continue on his great start and hopefully become a top-line center for the Rangers.

Sean Avery
Games Played: 23
Goals: 1
Assists: 8
Points: 9
Grade: D-

Comments: I’m not sure why Rangers fans still love this guy so much, it truly baffles me. Avery has become less and less effective over the past few years and he is more of a pain to his own team than anything else.  He’s a bad teammate, and he’s a bad hockey player, do I really need to say more?


Martin Biron
Games Started: 7
Record: 5-2-0
Goals Against Average: 2.15
Save Percentage: .917%
Grade: A-

Comments: Biron had a rough season last year as a member of the New York Islanders but the Rangers knew all along that they wanted him to be the backup for Henrik Lundqvist. Biron has been great in net and other than a beating by the Thrashers in October he has really looked good in every game. Biron is providing stability for the Rangers in-goal since Henrik Lundqvist has been shaky this season.

Derek Boogaard
Games Played: 18
Goals: 1
Assists: 1
Points: 2
Penalty Minutes: 33

Grade: D-

Comments:
He scored his first goal in over four years….thats about the only positive thing Boogaard has done all season. Boogaard is getting paid $1.65 million a year to fight and he has done that but he isn’t worth the green that he receives, he’s also been a healthy scratch a few time already this season.


Brian Boyle
Games Played: 23
Goals: 10
Assists: 1
Points: 11
Grade: B+


Comments:
If someone would have told me that at the quarter mark of the season that Brian Boyle would have just as many goals as Alex Ovechkin I might have died from laughing so hard, but here we are and its a reality. I’m not trying to make fun of Brian Boyle, I like the guy, but he’s not the goal scoring type although he has always been a player that had the potential to do some great things. He’s on pace to score 30 goals, any Rangers fan will take that from Boyle.

Ryan Callahan
Games Played: 22
Goals: 5
Assists: 12
Points: 17
Grade: A-

Comments:
Heart and soul player, future captain, the only name that can come to mind is Ryan Callahan. This guy has always flirted with becoming a good offensive player and this year. You can combine that with his hitting ability and willingness to block shots and you’re getting someone who is becoming a complete player.

Erik Christensen:
Games Played: 22
Goals: 3
Assists: 5
Points: 8
Grade: C+ 

Comments: Christensen was a waiver pickup last season and he was very helpful for the Rangers coming down the stretch. He re-signed with the Rangers and has been solid so far this season. He isn’t a big offensive contributor and he’s okay on defense and he can win face-offs. Nothing spectacular but a good third or fourth line center.

Michael Del Zotto
Games Played: 23
Goals: 2
Assists: 5
Points: 7
Grade: C-

Comments: Del Zotto had a great rookie season but so far he has looked lost in his second season. He has been okay offensively but his defense has been very poor and at times he looks like he’s still a rookie out there. The Rangers need him to return to the form he was in last season.
 

Brandon Dubinsky
Games Played: 23
Goals: 12
Assists: 7
Points: 19
Grade: A


Comments:
To put it plain and simple, Brandon Dubinsky has been the best forward on the Rangers. After a few years of getting 40 points and not really showing signs of breaking out he has finally broken out and has been having himself a great season. He is the most consistent player the Rangers have and they will look for him to improve on his already impressive numbers.

 

Steve Eminger
Games Played: 21
Goals: 1
Assists: 1
Points: 2
Grade: D

Comments: I have no idea why Eminger is still on the team, he’s a mess out there on most nights. He isn’t going to contribute on offense but his defense has been bad. He can throw the body around which is nice but, much like the rest of the Rangers defense, he is out of position a lot but I guess he has gotten a little better since the beginning of the season but, what do you call getting a little better than atrocious? 
 

Ruslan Fedotenko
Games Played: 23
Goals: 4
Assists: 7
Points: 11
Grade: B-

Comments:
Fedotenko was a late signing but he has been a nice addition to the Rangers lineup. He appears a bit snake bitten at times but he doesn’t give up and he has been getting a lot of chances, expect him to cash in on more of his opportunities as the season moves along.

Alex Frolov
Games Played: 23
Goals: 5
Assists: 6
Points: 11
Grade: C-

Comments: Alex has been anything but great so far this season. When the season opened up, a lot of people thought that Rangers had a nice combo with Frolov and Gaborik but with Gaborik getting hurt early in the season and being out of the lineup it seemed like he took Frolov with him. Frolov has been playing better since Gaborik came back but he just doesn’t seem comfortable. The chances are there for Frolov but either he misses the net, shoots it back into the goalie, or he doesn’t get enough on the shot.

Marian Gaborik
Games Played: 11
Goals: 4
Assists: 6
Points: 10
Grade: B-

Comments: Gaborik has been doing well since he came back from his shoulder injury but his numbers are a bit deceiving since he had a hat-trick against the Oilers so his numbers look a little better than they really are. Gaborik may still be feeling discomfort in his shoulder, but it’s only a matter of time before Gaborik starts lighting the lamp on a nightly basis.

Matt Gilroy
Games Played: 16
Goals: 0
Assists: 3
Points: 3
Grade: D-

Comments: Gilroy is having another rough season, the former Hobey Baker award winner is having a tough time adjusting to the NHL. But at the age of 26, he is running out of time to get adjusted. Gilroy’s contract expires at the end of the season so if things don’t change he may have to look for a new home which won’t be easy to do.

Dan Girardi
Games Played: 23
Goals: 2
Assists: 11
Points: 13

Comments: Girardi has been the Rangers best defenseman so far this season both offensively and defensively. He leads the Rangers in blocked shots and he is the main reason why the Rangers lead the league in blocked shots as team. Girardi got a big contract extension this off-season and he has earned every single penny, not too bad for a guy who was an undrafted free agent.

Henrik Lundqvist
Games Played: 16
Record: 7-8-1
Goal Against Average: 2.90
Save Percentage: .910%
Grade: C

Comments: Oh boy, its tough to see Lundqvist struggling early on in the season. The guy who has been the backbone of the Rangers for the last 5 years and he is now turning to his team to help get him out of this slump, the only problem is the team hasn’t answered the call. Lundqvist is too good and too competitive to stay down for much longer, once he gets going it’s going to be lights out for the Rangers opponents.

Brandon Prust:
Games Played: 23
Goals: 0
Assists: 6
Points: 6
Grade: B

Comments: Prust has been the spark plug that he was last season. The guy doesn’t give up and he isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. Prust is a fan favorite in New York and for good reasons, he’s been great.

Michael Sauer
Games Played: 17
Goals: 0
Assists: 3
Points: 3
Grade: C+

Comments: Sauer has had a rough transition from the AHL to the NHL but he is starting to get the hang of playing defense in the NHL. Sauer will continue to grow and learn as the season goes on.

Marc Staal
Games Played: 23
Goals: 3
Assists: 3
Points: 6
Grade: C

Comments: Talk about the most overrated player on the team, Staal is not as good as everyone claims. The only good defensive plays he makes are right after he turns the puck over and too many times he has been caught pinching in the offensive zone which leads to odd man rushes the other way. Staal needs to be more responsible in the defensive zone and not worry about scoring goals.

Derek Stepan
Games Played: 23
Goals: 5
Assists: 8
Points: 13
Grade: B-

Comments: Stepan has come back to earth after getting a hat-trick in his first NHL game. He has still been pretty good considering as he is second in rookie scoring behind only Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes. Stepan is still learning and before you know it he will be a valuable weapon for the Rangers.


A Look at the Frontrunners for the NHL Awards

By Eric Bancker

The NHL Awards aren’t handed out  until June but with the All-Star Game voting underway it seems like the debate has started for who is going to walk home with what hardware for their mantel. Here’s a look at a few awards and who may be winning them come June.

Hart Trophy: awarded annually to the “player adjudged most valuable to his team” in the National Hockey League.

Winner: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Games Played: 22
Goals: 21
Assists: 17
Points: 38
Powerplay Goals: 10
Shots: 87

When you talk about the best players in the NHL two names come to mind, Ovechkin and Crosby, but now there is a new player in the discussion and that guy is Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos has looked amazing early on and he looks like he’s only getting better. There is also talk that Stamkos may flirt with one of the most elite clubs in NHL history, the 50 goals in 50 games club. Only five players in NHL history have accomplished this, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Mike Bossy, “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Brett Hull. Regardless of whether Stamkos reaches the 50 goals in 50 games plateau he is in perfect position to bring home the Hart Trophy.

Dark Horse: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Games Played: 22
Goals: 8
Assists: 21
Points: 29
Powerplay Points: 15

If there is anyone that can take the Hart Trophy away from Stamkos it may be his teammate and linemate, Martin St. Louis. St. Louis is most responsible for Stamkos success as he has really helped him to grow. St. Louis is on pace for about 107-108 points, which would be a career high for him. He is one of the most underrated players in the NHL but I don’t think anyone will be able to overlook him this year.

Calder Trophy:  award given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.”Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky, Philadelphia Flyers
Games Played: 17
Record: 12-3-1
Goals Against Average: 2.21
Save Percentage: .925%

It’s only November but Bobrovsky is already becoming one of the best goalies in the NHL. The Flyers have spent the last decade looking for a goalie to take them to that next level and early on “Bob” is looking like the guy to do it. Flyers fans were excited to have Michael Leighton back as their starter after a strong playoff run last year that saw them make the Stanley Cup, but an injury has led to Bobrovsky stealing the show and stealing Leighton’s job.

Runner-up: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Games Played: 21
Goals: 6
Assists: 11
Points: 17
Shots: 53

Skinner was surprise draft pick, the Hurricanes took him with the 7th overall pick in the 2010 draft and he has repaid them nicely. Skinner leads all rookies in points and he has really grown into a good player for the Hurricanes. equipped with speed and a good shot it seems like the youngest player in the NHL isn’t showing his age to this point.

Vezina Trophy: awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position”.

Winner: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
Games Played: 14
Record: 11-1-1
Goals Against Average: 1.46
Save Percentage: .955%

Tim Thomas’ career is like a rollercoaster for Bruins fans. In 2008-2009, he was the best goalie in the NHL and he captured the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his career. Last season he lost his job to Tuukka Rask and he just didn’t look like the same goalie as he had a sub- .500 record. Now this season it seems like Thomas is back and he is playing better than ever. Leading the league in goals against average and save percentage and there isn’t a better goalie in the game right now.

Runner-up: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Games Played: 21
Record: 13-7-1
Goals Against Average: 2.00
Save Percentage: .933
Shutouts: 4

I never thought that Carey “Swiss Cheese Glove Hand” Price would be mentioned as a Vezina Trophy nominee at any point of the season. All the comparisons to Patrick Roy were too much for him over the past three years and he has crumbled under the pressure of the Montreal fans. He was under even more pressure this season when the team shipped off Jaroslav Halak, who was the main force behind the Canadiens playoff run, leaving Price as the lone man in net but he has answered the call, for once.


Rangers Cool Off the Flames in 2-1 Victory

 By Eric Bancker

The Rangers and the Flames got together at Madison Square Garden for their only matchup of this year, but with the way this game was played you would think they were division rivals. There was tons of hits, fights, and brawls going down at the Garden but Martin Biron lead the way as the Rangers were able to stay cool and extinguish the Flames.

This game got nasty early on, and all it really took was a suspect hit from the Rangers, Michael Sauer on Stefan Meyer of the Flames. Sauer hit Meyer from behind and got a two-minute minor for boarding on what was potentially a very dangerous play. Tom Kostopoulos, who was recently acquired by the Flames, didn’t take to kindly to the hit on his teammate and this triggered a brawl behind the net which saw Kostopoulos taking a two-minute minor for roughing and wiping out the chance for the Flames to go on the powerplay. From that point on, Sauer was a marked man. Once both Kostopoulos and Sauer got out of the box it took little time for the two of them to get into a scrap which landed them right back in the penalty box. Later on in the period Meyer decided to exact his revenge and also got into it with Sauer, giving Sauer two fighting majors on the night.

Once the dust settled there was still a hockey game to be played and the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Brian Boyle scored his 9th goal of the season. Boyle came into the season with 12 career goals in 107 career games but he has been on fire this season and his on pace to score 30 goals. Flames captain, Jarome Iginla, showed why he has scored at least 28 goals per season since the 1998-1999 season as he also scored his 9th of the season to tie the game 1-1. Just a side note, who would have thought Boyle would have just as many goals as Iginla at the quarter mark of the season? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The Rangers continued to get offense from unexpected sources as Dan Giradi scored on the powerplay to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead and that’s how the game would end. Girardi now has 13 points on the season which ties him with Duncan Keith, Chris Pronger, and Mike Green. Two of those defenseman, Green and Keith, were nominated for the Norris Trophy last year with Keith winning it so Girardi is in nice company right now.

Biron made 31 saves and really stepped in nicely for the inconsistent Henrik Lundqvist, improving his record to 5-2-0 on the young season. “Mar-ty!” chants were pouring down from the crowd as they showed their appreciation for Biron’s strong performance in net as he seems to have become a fan favorite. Biron has been the backup that the Rangers have been looking for over the past few years. Last season was rough for Biron, going 9-14-4 with a 3.27 goals against average. He has rebounded nicely and has helped the Rangers as they are now only five points out of the Eastern Conference top seed which is held by their division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers will now go on the road and take on the Lightning, Panthers, and Predators. Michael Rozsival should be back in uniform as he seems to be healthy and ready to go. Chris Drury is also skating but he is not able to hold a stick at this point in time.

Just as I mentioned before, this game was very physical and got nasty at times. This was realized in the 3rd period when Rangers defenseman, Marc Staal absolutely destroyed Matt Stajan of the Flames. Stajan struggled to get up at first but he did find his way to the bench and then the locker room. Staal hit Stajan from the front, not from the side which would have been against the rules. Staal’s hit was clean and there shouldn’t be any suspension coming down for his actions but with how crooked Colin Campbell is, you never know. I’ll leave the Staal hit below as well as a hit that is considered to be dirty in the NHL to show a comparison. The second clip is the Penguins, Matt Cooke, when he hit Marc Savard and was not suspended by the league, which is absurd seeing has Savard is still not right from this hit


Rangers Look to Rebound Tonight Against the Devils

By Eric Bancker

The Rangers are coming off a poor performance last night as they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. The Rangers found themselves in penalty trouble and just got beat down by the red-hot Flyers.

Now the Rangers come into Newark to face a familiar foe in the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have had an awful start to the season. After everything they went through to acquire superstar sniper, Ilya Kovalchuk, I’m sure they were expecting better results. They are the worst team in the NHL in scoring and they are third worst in goals against and also boast the fourth worst record in the NHL at 4-9-1. They are also 0-4-1 in their own building this year.

The Rangers are now 6-5-1 and are tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the Atlantic Division. The offense has been strong for the Rangers but the defense on the other hand has been a disaster, especially the penalty kill. They will be looking to get back on the winning track against the struggling Devils

Injuries:

Usually when you talk Rangers-Devils hockey two names are brought up instantly, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur. These games are all about these two goaltenders, low scoring affairs with flashy goaltending is the standard for Rangers-Devils hockey. Henrik Lundqvist has been a Devil killer since he came into the league in 05-06. His record currently stands at 19-7-5 with a 1.89 goals against average, the Rangers put their faith in Lundqvist to beat the Devils and he does it time in and time out. Rangers head coach, John Tortorella had this to say about Lundqvist’s success against the Devils, “I’m playing Hank against New Jersey,” said Tortorella at the morning skate Friday. “I don’t care if it’s four games in four nights, Hank’s playing against Jersey.”

Brodeur on the other hand has a record of 42-24-15-5 with a 2.10 goals against average, he has been a thorn in the Rangers side ever since he stepped on to the ice in 1991. Now Brodeur will not be able to play in this game tonight due to a sore elbow so the great goaltending matchup that everyone loves won’t be here. Now the Rangers, as well as their fans, may feel better not having to face Brodeur but there is still one problem…the Devils signed Ranger killer, Johan Hedberg this off-season. Hedberg has a record of 11-4-2 with a 2.12 goals against average, so the Rangers don’t get much of a break here.

The Rangers have had their own mash unit this season. Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, and Chris Drury have all been out for the past few weeks with injuries and Ryan Callahan can now be added to the list. The Rangers top scorer will not dress tonight as he is “too sore” to play, Callahan plays hard and his bound to get banged up but he is a really tough guy so if he can’t play then there is something really bothering him. Alex Frolov, who seems to be suffering from a case of  Chris Higgins syndrome, will most likely take his place on the top line tonight. Frolov has only two goals and five points in 12 games so far this season but being paired with red-hot forwards, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky may help him breakthrough.

Rangers may also be without winger Ruslan Fedotenko was elbowed in the head by the wonderful, Daniel Carcillo in last night’s game. He seems to be ready to go but if he can’t then the Rangers will go with 11 forwards and seven defenseman. Todd White will also be back in the lineup tonight as well to help fill in with all the injuries to the Rangers forward corps.

Prediction:

Even with all their injuries the Rangers should still be able to beat the Devils and that’s because of one person, Henrik Lundqvist. When the Rangers need him he delivers and even if the Rangers forwards and defenseman were swapped with a pee-wee hockey team, sometimes they look like they are, the Rangers would still have a chance to win this game. Lundqvist is just that good.

Rangers win 2-1


Dubinsky Leads the Rangers to a Victory Over Defending Stanley Cup Champions

By Eric Bancker

The Rangers were aware coming into last nights game that the Chicago Blackhawks posed a great test for them as the defending Stanley Cup Champions made their way to Madison Square Garden. The also knew that a win could send a message to the rest of the league to prove that they were the real deal. The Rangers were able to pass the test with flying colors as they were able to withstand the late charge by the Blackhawks as they improved to 6-4-1 on the season.

The Rangers have been able to establish themselves as a tough defensive team this season. The Rangers now lead the NHL in both hits and blocked shots with 327 hits and 223 blocked shots on the season. They had 35 hits last night and 33 blocked shots in front of Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers seem to always have their sticks and their bodies in the passing lanes or the shooting lanes causing tons of blocked shots and errant passes.

Brandon Dubinsky continued his great start as he netted two goals last night to bring his season total to seven in eleven games. The Rangers top line was on fire once again last night as Callahan and Anisimov tallied two assists a piece. Erik Christensen added his second goal of the season, which turned out to be the game-winner, 28 seconds after Patrick Kane had tied it at two with his fourth goal of the season.

Henrik Lundqvist was once again strong on this night as he has been all season. Lundqvist made 33 saves and improved his record in his career against the Blackhawks to 4-0-2. Lundqvist made key stops late in the game to preserve the Rangers one goal lead. The only real blunder on Lundqvist’s part last night was the goal that he gave up to Patrick Kane. Kane was at a sharp angle and just threw the puck at the net, Lundqvist was hugging the post and it somehow made its way through his pads and into the back of the net. The Rangers were able to respond though as they picked up the slack for their netminder. Brandon Prust  commented on Lundqvist’s blunder and the Rangers response after the game, “I think we owe Hank a couple still,” Prust said with a laugh. “He saves our butts a lot, and that’s why he’s the best in the league. So it’s good to get one for him.”

The Rangers seems to be playing well as a team and they seem to be doing all of the right things to get victories as they now have won five out of their last seven games. The Rangers will play again on Thursday as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers who have picked their game up lately so the Rangers will need to rest up before heading into Philly because they are in for a physical game. Nothing says hate like Philadelphia and New York so it should be a great game, expect Derek Boogaard to be back in the lineup because ever since July 1st we have heard about the potential for a fight between ex-Ranger, Jody Shelley and “The Boogeyman”.


No Gaborik, No Problem for the Rangers

By Eric Bancker

The Rangers season seemed to be doomed right from their home-opener this year. The New York Rangers superstar forward, Marian Gaborik, went down opening night in Madison Square Garden with a separated shoulder and was figured to be out for a month or potentially longer. The Rangers knew that they would need their young core to pick up the slack but that seemed to be a tall task since Gaborik accounted for about 1/5 of the Rangers goals last year. So far the young guys have stepped up and the Rangers find themselves in a good position early on in the season.

Since Gaborik’s injury the Rangers are 4-3-1, the overtime loss is from the night Gaborik got hurt. Now that record may not be anything great but without a former 40 goal-scorer in your lineup it shows that the Rangers can survive until he is 100% and ready to come back. The Rangers have leaned heavily on their top line of Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky. The trio has combined for 12 goals and 27 total points, the Rangers have scored 31 goals so far this season so their importance can’t even be measured at this point.

The Rangers are averaging 3.10 goals a game, after last year where they only averaged 2.70 goals a game. This of course caused them to miss the playoffs for the first time since the lockout and this was with all of their players healthy. The Rangers are currently missing Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, and Chris Drury who last year were responsible for 34% of the Rangers goals. The Rangers are only two points behind the division leaders, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins who are currently tied with 13 points.

The one concern for Rangers fans with this strong start is that they do this sort of thing every single season. They start hot in the first 10 games and then they can’t score for the next 60 games and then get hot the last 12 games of the season. Brandon Dubinsky had 8 points in the first 10 games of last season and had 10 points in the first 10 games of the 2008-2009 season. Dubinsky finished 2008-2009 with 41 points and finished last season with 44 points. It appears that if history tells us anything it’s that the Rangers are set to fall apart once again and their strong start will be wiped away by 3-4 months of half-hearted hockey.

If the Rangers are to continue their strong play then they will not only need to keep their offense going but the defense needs to get better. The Rangers are giving up an average of 3.00 goals a game. There is practically no separation for the amount of goals they score per game and the amount they give up per game. The defense has been bad and as usual they have left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry on many occasions. The two games that really stood out this season was the 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers and Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers started backup goalie, Martin Biron, against the Thrashers and the Rangers defense as well as Biron fell apart quickly. The Rangers were down 5-2 at one point in the game and fought back to come within one goal of tieing the game when Atlanta finished them off with an empty-net goal. The Rangers really lost a heartbreaker on Friday after a hard-fought effort but the defense looked bad and Henrik Lundqvist played a great game in net but he wasn’t able to keep the Rangers alive as Jeff Skinner scored the go ahead goal with about 4:00 left in the 3rd period. The Rangers gave up a bunch of odd-man rushes and they were surrendering too many high percentage shots to the other team. The Rangers have put together shot blocking clinics in many games throughout the season. They need to get back to this style of play if they are to succeed.

The Rangers are at home tonight against the defending Stanley Cup Champions,  the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers are coming off a shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs so the Rangers have a ton of confidence coming back home. They are 1-3-1 at MSG this year and the Rangers will look to turn that around as well as send a message to the rest of the NHL if they can beat the Blackhawks who are without their superstar forward Marian Hossa.


The Resurgence of Michal Rozsival

By Eric Bancker

During the 2008 offseason New York Rangers general manager, Glen Sather, re-signed defenseman Michal Rozsival to a 4 year/$20 million deal and many Rangers fans were happy to have the offensive defenseman back after a 13 goal campaign in 2007-2008. Rozsival was at the top of his game and the Rangers seemed like they had a legitimate powerplay quarterback on defense. After signing that contract Rozsival’s numbers declined and many felt as though he had given up after getting his big pay-day. Many fans called for Rozsival to either be traded or bought out of his current contract. Since the Rangers had already internally decided to bury Wade Redden and his massive contract to the minors, so any sort of deal to get rid of Rozsival was out of the question.

This year has been a different story for the 32-year-old defenseman. Rozsival has six points in the Rangers first eight games, two goals and four assists, three of his assists have come on the powerplay which ties his total from last year. Rozsival already has two goals on the young season after last season where he only scored three goals all season. Rozsival didn’t score his second goal last season until March 4th against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rozsival also didn’t reach six points last year until November 27th which again was against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So whats different this year for Rozsival?

The very simple answer is that Rozsival is shooting the puck. Even though Rozsival has only registered seven shots on goal he is throwing the puck at the net more often and its leading to opportunities for the Rangers offense to score goals. Over the past few seasons it seems as though Rozsival lost confidence in his shot and in himself. He would pass the puck in obvious shooting situations and it was frustrating to watch. Whenever you would tune into a New York Rangers broadcast you would hear the Rangers color analyst, Joe Micheletti, say “The Rangers coaching staff really worked with Rozsival on shooting the puck in yesterday’s practice” then you would see the results for one game and then it wouldn’t be there for the next week or two.

It’s not only Rozsival that has benefited from shooting the puck more. The Rangers top four defenseman, Michal Rozsival, Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal, have registered 16 points total this season so far. The Rangers have scored 26 goals this season which means these four defenseman have registered points on 61% of the Rangers goals while last season they only contributed on 50% of the teams goals. That’s a big increase from last year and even though its early in the season it seems as though the Rangers defensive corps is starting to come together and its something the Rangers will need to fall back on as the season progresses.


After Altercation With a Fan, Rick Rypien Recieves 6-Game Suspension

After being ejected from the Canucks game against the Wild, Rick Rypien grabs a fan in the stands before being separated by his teammates and security

 
 
By Eric Bancker
 
Rick Rypien has been the talk of the NHL for the past few days and it’s not for a good reason. Rypien was heading to the dressing room after an on-ice skirmish with the Wild’s Brad Staubitz when he grabbed a fan in the stands. He was then pulled off the fan by his teammates and security and he then walked down to the Canucks locker room.
 
The next day Rypien was suspended indefinetley by the league and had to wait to see what his punishment would be. That punishment came down today and he will be suspended for 6 games. This suspension was lighter than everyone, including myself, figured it would be. The consensus was that it would be about 10 games since putting your hands on a fan is a big no-no in the NHL or in any sport.
 
Rypien’s actions were very immature considering the fan didn’t throw anything at him, all the fan did was say something to Rypien and he went off. You can clearly see the fan clapping as Rypien heads to the locker room but thats it. When a bull sees red they attack, so maybe when Rypien sees people clapping he attacks or maybe someone clapping tore his family apart as a kid and he just wasnt going to let that guy clap because it conjured up bad memories, I don’t know. We all come to points where we are heated and when someone says something we feel as though we could go over the edge but as a professional hockey player, and I use the term “professional” lightly when I speak about Rypien, but you cannot put yourself in a situation like that when you are in the spotlight.
 
Rypien’s suspension should have been a bit longer but its a good enough suspension so that he can learn his lesson. Colin Campbell is sometimes shaky with the  suspensions he hands down, but this one he got right.
 
Here’s a video of the altercation: