Callahan, Del Zotto Out; Zuccarello Recalled

March 11, 2012

A bit of news a couple of hours before the Rangers take on the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden tonight for the final time this season.

Captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Michael Del Zotto will both be out for the game tonight. Callahan returned Tuesday after missing three games with a foot injury, but has appeared to re-injure it. Del Zotto will miss another game with a bruise hip.

After a five-month hiatus, Mats Zuccarello was recalled from the AHL and is available to play tonight. Whether he does it another question.

Brandon Dubinsky appears to be back in the lineup after missing both games Thursday and Friday after sustaining a sinus/hand injury in a fight against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday in Newark.

It appears Jeff Woywitka will be the healthy scratch tonight.



Callahan Out, Biron, Scott In Against Hurricanes

March 1, 2012

According to several reports, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan will miss tonight’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes with what the team is calling a bruise foot. After missing about 20 games last season with a broken wrist and foot, tonight marks the first game Callahan has missed this season.

In his place will be newly acquired John Scott, playing in his first game with the Rangers after he was traded to New York by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

The 6-foot 8-inch enforcer could play either defense or offense — though he’s slated to play upfront tonight — and said he wants to make a “good first impression” on his new teammates.

Scott told Ranges Rants that he doesn’t feel like part of the team yet, but that should change after tonight’s game. “I know I’m a Ranger but it’s still weird to think about it,” Scott said. “I still like of the Rangers as them. Once the game starts, it will be us.”

Henrik Lundqvist will get the night off, meaning Martin Biron will get the start. Biron has lost his last two starts after coming out of the gate slow. He allowed four goals in the opening 10 minutes against the Blackhawks on Feb. 16, and two goals last Friday against the New York Islanders in the game’s opening nine minutes.

Both Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka remain healthy scratches.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Preview: Rangers Meet Panthers at MSG

December 11, 2011

A day after they snapped a two-game losing streak thanks to Carl Hagelin‘s two-goal performance against the Buffalo Sabres, the Rangers are right back at it tonight against the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers, looking for payback two weeks after the cats handed the Rangers a 2-1 loss in Florida.

Tonight’s back-to-back is the fourth of 14 total this season. Thus far, the Rangers are 2-0-1 in the second of the back-to-backs.

After dropping two-straight to snap a five-game losing streak, the Rangers took it to the Sabres last night, scoring two shorthanded goals in one period for the first time since 1997, and added a powerplay goal late in the 4-1 victory.

Defenseman Michael Sauer is expected to miss his third-straight game as he continues to be day-to-day with a concussion he suffered last week against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Anton Stralman will be in the lineup, taking Sauer’s place. Forward Artem Anisimov is expected to play following his nasty collision last night after smashing his face against the glass, and missing the final 12 minutes.

After blocking a puck with his hand last night, defenseman Ryan McDonagh said he is OK to play tonight.

If not for the Minnesota Wild, the Panthers have been the biggest surprise thus far in the NHL. After adding some questionable high-priced contracts to get to the cap-floor this summer, the Panthers have emerged as one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, and currently lead the Washington Capitals by six points in the division. They are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

The Panthers are a quick, explosive team lead by one of the best lines in hockey, with Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weisse and Tomas Fleischmann, who have totaled 89 points as a unit.

Rangers: 16-6-4, 3rd place in Atlantic, 5th in Eastern Conference

Panthers: 16-8-5, 1st place in Southeast, 3rd in Eastern Conference

Update: Sean Avery will be a healthy scratch tonight. Erik Christensen, who has been a healthy scratch for eight-straight games, will get the start.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Preview: Rangers Looks to Extend Streak to Eight in Montreal

November 19, 2011

The Rangers (10-3-3) tonight visit the unfriendly confine of Montreal and the Bell Centre, where they will take on the Montreal Canadiens (8-8-3) for the second time in two weeks. The Bell Centre hasn’t been the kindest place to the Blueshirts recently, going 0-4-1 on their last five trips to Montreal. Historically, the Rangers are 64-195-40-2 against the Canadiens in Montreal.

The players, though, look forward to playing up in Montreal and the rabid Canadiens fans. These games always have more of a European soccer game than North American hockey game.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Brandon Dubinsky said to Rangers Rants. “The fans are loud and the building gets rocking. There’s a lot of history with the team. It’s a lot of fun playing in that building.”

“It’s a pretty unique atmosphere,” said Ryan McDonagh, who was drafted by the Canadiens in 2007 before coming to the Rangers in 2009 in the Scott Gomez trade. “Hockey pretty much runs the city there. It’s a little different experience. The average person knows a lot about hockey. Even people that don’t know much probably know more than the average fan in most NHL cities.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Rangers Take on Leafs at MSG Opener

October 27, 2011

We thought it would never come, but tonight the Rangers finally open their home season at the partially transformed Madison Square Garden against the Toronto Maple Leafs. From the photos and videos, the place looks great. Your’s truly, though, will be watching from the front seat of his living room.

The Rangers come in winners winning three of their last four games (3-2-2 overall), but haven’t put together a full 60-minute game. Marian Gaborik has been the teams’ best offensive player, and has clicked thus far with newly signed center Brad Richards. Last season’s productive line of Ryan CallahanArtem AnisimovBrandon Dubinsky has been dreadful, leading to coach John Tortorella to split them up.

On the blue line, Michael Sauer will return after he missed several games with a shoulder injury. He’ll more than likely skate with Michael Del Zotto as the team’s second pair. Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net. Read the rest of this entry »