Stepan, McDonagh headed to World Championships

April 26, 2011

Henrik Lundqvist, at the request of the New York Rangers brass, declined to play for Team Sweden yesterday at the upcoming World Championship tournament held in Slovakia. Today, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, two of the Rangers’ most prized rookies, announced that they would be joining Team U.S.A.

The former Wisconsin Badger teammates will join former World Junior Championship teammate and New York Rangers’ 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider on the U.S.A. squad. Kreider recently announced that he would be returning to Boston College for his junior year, much to the chagrin of Rangers officials who had hoped he’d have made the jump to at least the professional level, if not the N.H.L. all together.

Read the rest of this entry »


Prospal Optimistic on Return to Rangers

April 26, 2011

Jesse Spector over at the New York Daily News included this sound-bite from break-up day of Vinny Prospal’s plans for skipping the World Championships to attempt to heal up and prepare for another possible return to the Rangers in 2011-12.

“Hopefully I’ll be back here. This is a fun team to play on, and I would like to continue here. … One of the reasons I said no to the world championships was just to make sure – I’ll train as much as possible to strengthen, and make sure there is enough strength in the leg that I can play as many games as possible. I don’t really intend to go through what I went through last year, when it gave up on me after the first couple of days in training camp. That’s what it is, because I’m not 26 years old.”

Vinny is right. He’s not 26 anymore and Tortorella seems to really be preaching the youth on this team moving forward, now more than ever during his tenure behind the Rangers’ bench.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lundqvist Won’t Play in World Championships

April 25, 2011

According to a Tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist won’t be manning the pipes for Sweden in the World Championships in Slovakia.

Semi-good move by the Rangers’ brass. Henrik played every game since the end of February, and God knows he can use a rest, even if he has the rest of the summer. The last thing the Rangers need after a disappointing playoff “run,” is for Lundqvist to get injured because of exhaustion.

He already showed in Game 4 that he was cramping up. I’m sure it was nothing too serious, but either way, rest him.

What do you guys think? Should Hank play in the World Championships, or should he use this time to rest and heal up? Let me know in the comments.

Tortorella: “We Need to Add Some Skill”

April 25, 2011

Well, it’s break-up day for the New York Rangers, and posted an uplifting quote from head coach John Tortorella on the future of the team that he will be coaching for what looks like the next three seasons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gaborik To World Championships, McDonagh, Stepan Hopeful

April 25, 2011

That’s the word coming from the Rangers’ writing corps via Twitter. With the Rangers’ luck, Marian Gaborik will go out and score a goal-a-game for Slovakia.

As for Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, the Wisconsin Badger friends, I’m hopeful they go and have success. Obviously Ranger fans wish they were having success for the Rangers in the playoffs, but any big-time experience these two young players can gain is priceless for their development.

Flyers/Rangers Winter Classic 2012?

April 25, 2011

Pretty interesting stuff.

According to Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal, there’s talks circulating that the NHL may hold the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia in Citizen’s Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Philadelphia might get the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizen’s Bank Park, the MLB Phillies’ ballpark. But it won’t be held on New Year’s Day because that’s a Sunday and an NFL day. It could be on New Year’s Eve or on Jan. 2, possibly against the New York Rangers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tortorella Given Three-Year Extension

April 25, 2011

Less than 24 hours after the New York Rangers’ season came to an end at the hands of
the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the New York Post broke news today that the Rangers have given a three-year contract extension to head coachJohn Tortorella that will keep him behind the bench through the 2013-14 season.

Tortorella, who replaced Tom Renney in February 2009, made the playoffs in two of his first three seasons as coach, but has yet to get past through the first round (or the Capitals, for that matter, who eliminated the Blueshirts in 2009 as well). He as a record of 94-73-18 in 185 games as head coach.

After a quick exit from the playoffs, many fans were quickly putting the blame on Tortorella, but that isn’t justified. Tortorella was able to win 44 games this season (seventh best in franchise history) all while dealing with injuries to key players including Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal.

This is a good move for the franchise. Simply put, this team plays for Tortorella. The mantra all season was that this team doesn’t give up and never feels dead, and that’s attributed to the coach. If a coach has lost a team, you’ll see them give up after trailing 2-0 in a game. That just wasn’t the case.

He has finally put his signature on this franchise, and it’s great that he has been given more time to see this team develop. There is a young core here who have really come of age under Tortorella, and a coaching change could be damaging. Tortorella was the last reason this team had a quick exit from the playoffs.

Follow Me on Twitter @matt_calamia