Tortorella Fined $20K

April 7, 2012

I don’t think many believed the NHL would take a hard stance against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik for his illegal knee-on-knee Thursday night on Derek Stepan.

But many didn’t think John Tortorella would take the brunt of the punishment. But we were wrong, as the League handed Torts a $20,000 fine yesterday for his post-game comments against Orpik, Sidney CrosbyEvgeni Malkin and the Penguins organization as a whole.

“Absolutely, it’s a cheap, dirty hit,” Tortorella said. “I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, I wonder what would happen? So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect among players, none. It’s sickening.”

He wasn’t done. When asked why players have no respect for each other, Tortorella responded: “Ask the guy who did it, ask him. It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the times and look what happens. It’s ridiculous, but they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two (bleepin’) stars.”

Torts spoke the truth and the League didn’t like it. Do we see some pattern developing? Last week, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette complained about a late, big hit on Danny Briere in the dying minutes of a Flyers 6-4 loss that resulted in a melee. A few days later, Mike Milbury took the airwaves to bash Crosby and others on the team.

The Penguins are the love of the League. They get away with everything and escape punishment at every corner. I don’t think Orpiks’ knee was overly viscious but was still illegal. Could you imagine if that was Stu Bickel or Brandon Prust injuring Crosby or Malkin. I think the Rangers would forfeit their playoff spot. 

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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.

 


Rangers Cut Ties With Sean Avery, Dubinsky Has Sinuses

March 7, 2012

According to several reports, the Rangers’ organization has told Sean Avery to stay away from the Connecticut Whale. The organization told the feisty 31-year-old winger that he would not be on the team’s playoff roster, and while he’s at it, not to report to practice or games anymore.

What does this mean? Well, it basically speeds up the inevitable. The relationship between Avery and the Rangers was going to end July 1, when his contract with the team expired. There was no way he would be brought back, even if he agreed to play for designer clothing.

It’s a shame it ended this way because Avery contributed a lot to this team, especially in his first stint under Tom Renney. It just didn’t work out with John Tortorella, and there was no way it would. 

Onto hockey-related news, Brandon Dubinsky left last night’s 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils after mixing it up with Ryan Carter with sinus trouble. It was originally believed to be a hand injury.

“Just didn’t feel well; got hit in the nose pretty hard,” Tortorella told the NY Post. “[He is] just having some problems with his sinuses; just isn’t on top of it. So he took today off.”

I originally believed it would be a concussion, as Dubinsky got his rear-end handed to him big time. Glad it’s just sinuses. 

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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.

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Rangers Stay Quiet at Deadline, No Nash, Acquire Scott

February 27, 2012

The weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline are fun. The speculation of what players a team will acquire, what deals will be made, the breaking news; it’s all great. But sometimes it doesn’t live up to the hype. Today there were only about 15 trades, with one real headliner.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is staying put in Ohio, at least for the time being. According to the NY Post, the Rangers made one last ditch effort in the dying seconds prior to the deadline, offering up Brandon Dubinsky, 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, prospect Christian Thomas and a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but it was not enough.

In the same report, it is believed Columbus G.M. Scott Howson actually increased his demands, wanting Dubinsky along with either defensemen Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh, either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Boston College star and 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick at this year’s draft.

Following the deadline, Howson said he was approached by Nash asking to be traded, less than two years after signing an eight-year contract extension.

The Rangers did make one minor move, acquiring defenseman John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2012 fifth-round pick. Scott, 29, has one assist and 49 PIMs in 29 games this season.

At the end of the day, I think this was the right move for the Rangers to make. As I’ve written, Nash is a world-class talent, but he isn’t worth the asking price. Chris Botta of the NY Times Tweeted that this team as is, should be given a shot to show what they could do in the post-season. Nash will still be on the market, and if this team falls short of the Eastern Conference Finals, then go make a move.

Scott won’t be much of a difference maker. He’s a 6-foot 8-inches and about 260 pounds, but doesn’t bring much in terms of offense. 

I still would have liked to see the team add a scorer, but the market just wasn’t there this year. Too many potential movers re-signed with their teams, while others’ asking prices were just too high.

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Rangers Trade Wolski to Florida

February 25, 2012

We’re about 48 hours away from the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline, and the Rangers have made their first move, dealing forward Wojtek Wolski to the Florida Panthers for a 2013 third-round pick and minor league defenseman Mike Vernace, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

This season, Wolski, 26,  had no goals and three assists in just nine games for the Rangers. He was injured in training camp and early in the season, and never found a regular spot in the lineup. He was acquired last season for defenseman Michael Rozsival from the Phoenix Coyotes.

In 37 games for the Rangers, he had six goals and 19 points.

A quick Google search shows Vernace is nothing special.

The Rangers were either going to waive or trade Wolski, so good for him that it was the latter and not the former. The kid has all the skill in the world, but can’t really get it together. At 26, the Panthers will be his fifth team since 2009-10. Something has to click with this guy before he’s traded again.

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Rangers Could Play Avery on Re-Entry Today

February 25, 2012

According to the NY Post, the Rangers may place forward Sean Avery on re-entry waivers Before you start celebrating, this isn’t the first step to seeing Avery back on Broadway.

The Post is reporting the Rangers would have to decide by this morning to place No. 16 back on re-entry to allow him the chance to play in the NHL again if he is picked up. If a team does claim him, the Rangers would be charged about $200,000 against the cap for the remainder of the season.

If Avery goes unclaimed, the Rangers would simply put him back on waivers and he’d be returned to the AHL, where he hasn’t played a game for the Connecticut Whale since late January.

I like the Rangers giving Sean another shot at the NHL. I still think he could have helped this team if he were given more of a chance this season, but it is what it is. He loved playing here and really never took a shift off, or never really became a distraction off the ice. 

That often gets forgotten when think about Avery. I don’t believe he’s as bad as people make him out to be all over one dumb remark he made four years ago. I can’t speak for all Rangers fans, but I really appreciate the work and dedication he put in during every shift. Also, who will ever forget his battles — and often victories — over Martin Brodeur.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia