Metro Rink Report: Jan. 31, 2012

January 31, 2012

We’re back after a few weeks. This week, we discuss the NHL All Star Game and how the new system is dumb, Sidney Crosby’s latest setback and give our Top-20 list of players in the Metro Area.

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Gleason Re-signs With ‘Canes, Rangers Must Look Elsewhere

January 30, 2012

A name that has been bounced around all season as a potential trade target for the New York Rangers was taken off the market today, when Tim Gleason re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for four-years and about $4 million per.

The 29-year-old has one goal and 13 assists in 51 games this season. He’s never scored more than five goals in a single season, or broken 21 points.

The reason I mention his poor stats is because the last thing the Rangers need is a shutdown defenseman. The Rangers need some pop from the point, and Gleason would not provide that. With Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh all more defensive defenseman, not to mention Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger when healthy, this blueline is desperate for some scoring punch.

There are options out there for the Rangers to explore to improve their blueline, but I don’t think Gleason was the answer. As a Ranger fan, I’m glad he’s staying in Carolina.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Gaborik Named All Star Game MVP

January 29, 2012

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find the All Star game to be extremely boring. Add Jeremy Roenick on the color commentary, and I just wanted to turn the game off.

But as a Ranger fan, I had a pretty nice day, seeing Dan Girardi tally an assist, Henrik Lundqvist only allow three goals, and to top it off, Marian Gaborik gets named the MVP, scoring three goals and adding an assist.

Nothing else to say really. As a whole, I find the game very boring. When you remove defense, checking and — for the most part — goaltending, you have a pretty boring game.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Hagelin Named to Rookies All Stars

January 25, 2012

The NHL announced today that Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin will be heading to Ottawa this weekend as one of 12 rookies to take part in the All-Star Skills Competition.

The 23-year-old speedster will join Marian Gaborik, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist, who was named an assistant captain for Daniel Alfredson‘s team. Rangers head coach John Tortorella will be the head coach of one of the squads.

I’d put my money on Hagelin taking home the fastest skater contest. The kid skates like the wind. Not much else to say, other than its nice to see Rangers being represented this weekend north of the boarder. I still probably won’t watch the competition or the game, though.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

McDonagh Fine After Hit, Sauer Has Setback

January 23, 2012

Mixed emotions for the Rangers today, as they received good news for Ryan McDonagh, but bad news for Michael Sauer.

Starting with McDonagh, who suffered a crushing hit Saturday afternoon courtesy of Andrew Ference, in the Ranger’s 3-2 overtime win over the Boston Bruins. Ference was given a three-game suspension following the hit.

McDonagh said he will play tomorrow night against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden, the team’s last game before the All-Star break.

Sauer, who has been out of the lineup sine Dec. 5 suffering from a concussion, didn’t take part in practice today for the third straight day. He practiced last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Rammer (trainer Jim Ramsey) backed him off,” head coach John Tortorella said. “He hasn’t really felt that great after a couple of days on the ice.”

Steve Eminger, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 17 with a separated shoulder, was cleared for contact today. Although he was pleased with the development, he said he was still a few weeks away from getting back into the lineup.

Obviously good news for both McDonagh and Eminger, but not good for Sauer. I didn’t think McDonagh’s head took the brunt of the collision, but I did see him missing Tuesdays’s game. Eminger is still a few weeks off, but good news of course.

More frustration for Sauer. After the great rookie season, this season has definitely been a disappointment. Hopefully it doesn’t snow-ball much more, and he returns to action this season. It could force the Rangers’ hand to acquire another defenseman at the trade deadline.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Rangers Excited For J.T. Miller

January 22, 2012

Newsday‘s Steve Zipay today gave a little preview into what Ranges fans and the organization itself should expect from 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, who is playing with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

The 6-1, 200 pound center has amassed 40 points in 38 games this season, while missing seven games to play in the World Junior Championships earlier this month.

The comparisons should make Rangers fans very excited to see the kid play. “He has Tonelli-type tenacity,” said Gordie Clark, the team’s director of player personnel, referring to the Islanders’ John Tonelli, who won four Stanley Cups with the team in the 1980s. “Mike Richards is another good comparison, although Richards probably scores more. J.T. is a playmaker who finishes every check. He doesn’t have that beautiful stride like [Marian] Gaborik. He beats you by outworking you.”

Zipay points out that the Rangers have built a core of American born players, and Miller, from East Palestine, Ohio, could join that group once he comes to New York, maybe a year or two away. The team currently has seven U.S.-born players in the lineup, and the organization’s top prospect, Chris Kreider, will be turning pro this summer and could make the lineup out of camp next season.

Miller signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Rangers this summer.

A lot of people were confused as to why the Rangers took Miller so early (15th) in first-round, but it appears he’s the type of player the organization has been building around. He plays a hard-nosed, North American style game, which has become this team’s identity. Along with Kreider, I can’t wait to see Miller on Broadway in the coming years.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Ference Gets 3 Games for Hit on McDonagh

January 22, 2012

Ryan McDonagh left Saturday's game after getting boarded by Andrew Ference (Getty Images)

According to, the NHL has suspended Andrew Ference for 3 games after he hit Ryan McDonagh from behind midway through the overtime period in yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

In Brendan Shanahan‘s explanation video for the suspension, he said Ference made contact with McDonagh’s skate before shoving him from behind into the boards.

“While we would agree with Ference’s assertion that there was no malicious intent,” Shanahan said in the video, “This nevertheless is a reckless shove from behind that causes a dangerous collision with the boards.” He said it was a “textbook” example of the boarding penalty explanation.

Shanahan put the blame on Ference for not making a better decision, and said the Rangers have said there doesn’t appear to be any injury to McDonagh.

McDonagh, who appeared to hit the end boards shoulder-first, but was holding his head after the collision, did fly home with the team from Boston last night. There was no update to his status after the game.

Jeff Woywitka has been cleared to play after being out for a month with a bone bruise in his foot, so expect him to be in Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets, while the Rangers give McDonagh the night off. It will be the last game before the All Star break.

Bad news all around, but I’m trying to stay optimistic because his head did not directly collide with the boards or glass after the hit. Of course that doesn’t mean a concussion cannot happen, but you have to believe it won’t be as severe as others we’ve seen when the head has been directly impacted. The All-Star game should definitely help him out, as the team will have a week off between games, and McDonagh was not selected to play.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia