Hagelin to Have Hearing With League Over Elbow

April 15, 2012

Game 2 between the Rangers and Ottawa Senators was chippy and nasty from start to finish. Matt Carkner was a lunatic on his one shift, jumping Brian Boyle which led to Brandon Dubinsky to take a third-man in penalty and an ejection, along with Carkner.

Later in the game, Carl Hagelin checked Daniel Alfredsson, and his shoulder appeared to hit Alfredsson’s head and was given a five minute major penalty. Alfredsson left the game with a possible concussion, and according to ESPN New York, Hagelin has a hearing with the league tomorrow.

Hagelin isn’t the only one with a hearing tomorrow, as Chris Phillips elbowed Ryan Callahan in the second period, which resulted in a two minute minor.

A hit like Hagelin’s gets a hearing, but Shea Weber smashing another players’ head into the glass like he was fighting in the WWF gets a $2,500 fine? This league is so backwards.

Have to figure if Chris Kreider will be the guy to take his spot if anything does happen.

Game 3 is Monday night in Ottawa. The series is tied 1-1.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia


Rangers Stump Senators, Win Game 1

April 12, 2012

Courtesy of BlueShirtsUnited.com

You couldn’t have asked for a better performance from the New York Rangers in Game 1 Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators. No, the Rangers didn’t dominate from start to finish, but their offense was solid and their defense weathered the storm when the Senators’ potent offense was controlling the puck. When the defense broke down, Henrik Lundqvist stood tall and the Rangers walked away with a 4-2 opening game victory to lead the best of seven 1-0.

Ryan Callahan opened the scoring in the first period when his turnaround shot found space between the far post and goaltender Craig Anderson‘s pad to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 7:59 left in the first period.

The Senators responded and applied pressure, but a key timeout by head coach John Tortorella settled the game down for the Rangers. They responded when Marian Gaborik drove to the net and slipped the puck between Anderson’s legs to give the Rangers a 2-0 with 3:36 left. Brian Boyle added to that lead when he fired a loose puck over Anderson’s shoulder to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the middle period.

Brad Richards closed the scoring minutes into the third period, converting off a pass from Carl Hagelin after he stripped a Senators defenseman of the puck to make it 4-0.

Daniel Alfredsson broke Lundqvist’s shutout bid with 9:55 left, and Erik Condra cut the lead to 4-2 with 2:19 left. Read the rest of this entry »

Rangers Draw Senators in First Round

April 8, 2012

No one expected the Rangers would be playing the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that’s what we got.

After losing Saturday night against the Washington Capitals — the matchup most saw coming — the Rangers will draw the Senators, whom the team went 1-2-1 against in the regular season.

Let’s face it, this isn’t an ideal matchup for the Blueshirts, especially in the first round. The Senators are a fast, offensive-minded team that plays a run-and-gun style. That style has given the Rangers a tough time all season. The Rangers prefer to slow the game down to a grind; with a team like the Senators, doing that is difficult.

The Senators have scoring depth throughout the lineup, including on the backend. Jason Spezza had a phenomenal season, finishing with 34 goals and 84 points, while Milan Michalek tallied 35 goals and 60 points. On defense, the Senators posses possible Norris Trophy candidate Erik Karlsson, who at just 21-years-old finished with 19 goals and 78 points.

While Ottawa’s 249 goals was good enough for fourth in the Eastern Conference, the team allowed 240 goals, 10th worst in the East. The Rangers aren’t a high-scoring team, but facing against a team that isn’t defensively sound plays well into the Rangers game. They will need to capitalize on any and all chances the Senators give them, including on the powerplay.

The Senators had the 20th best penalty kill in the league, another area that should benefit the Rangers, who have had success lately against poor penalty killing teams, including Winnipeg and Philadelphia.

On the flip side, Ottawa finished with the 11th ranked powerplay, operating at over 18 percent. Even with a penalty kill that has been strong all season, the Rangers have to stay out of the box against a team with as many weapons as the Senators.

The Rangers have the talent to come out on top. Marian Gaborik, who finished with 41 goals and played in all 82 games,  is playing as well as anyone in the NHL alongside Brad Richards. The team is receiving some secondary scoring from players like Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky, but more is needed.

Henrik Lundqvist is the key to any success the Rangers will have this spring. He hasn’t played well the last little bit, save for the game last week against the Flyers. The Rangers need him to be the player he was for the first four or five months of the season, especially against a team like the Senators.

The Senators outscored the Rangers 11-8 in their four-game matchup this season. Both teams blanked the other 3-0, while the Senators defeated the Rangers 4-1 early last month. The first clash of the season was back in October, where the Rangers blew a 4-1 lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout. That game was before the Rangers hit their stride, which began two days later against the San Jose Sharks.

It isn’t the ideal matchup for the Rangers, but at this stage in the game, nothing is easy. Every team — minus the Florida Panthers — deserves to be where they are. If the Rangers play their game and play within themselves, they’re going to be a very difficult team to defeat, no matter what jersey the other team is wearing.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

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. 

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Rangers Top Hurricanes 3-2

March 1, 2012

I’m actually having difficulty coming up with witty openings for post-game entries. This team just keeps rolling and rolling. They lose one or two, they win three or four. The shock is starting to wear off, and many Rangers fans have now just become used to the success of the regular season. That, obviously, will change in about five weeks time when the playoffs start.

Tonight, the Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, behind second period goals by Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, and a third period tally by Brandon Prust. For the Hurricanes, Jeff Skinner and Jay Harrison were able to beat Martin Biron over 60 minutes.

The Rangers improve to 41-15-6, lead both the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division

  • Really solid effort from start to finish. The Rangers were the better team for 60 minutes and were just too much for the Canes to handle.
  • When the Rangers got into penalty trouble — especially the four-minute double-minor in the third period — the penalty kill stepped up huge. This team prides itself on team defense, and it very rarely fails them.
  • Speaking of penalties, Brandon Dubinsky‘s tossing the stick penalty late in the first period, which led to Skinner’s goal early in the second period, is just a bad penalty to take. Dubinsky didn’t have a shift in the second or third periods. Hopefully it sends the message. Coach John Tortorella called it a “dumb penalty.”
  • The line of Anisimov, Gaborik and Derek Stepan continues to generate offense on a nightly basis. They’re developing into a legitimate first line threat. Gaborik’s tally was his 30th of the season, and he’s had over a point-per-game over the last 20.
  • This was one of Biron’s most solid starts, and he needed it. He’s been lack-luster as of late, and he really bounced back and maintained the Rangers’ leads. Big win for him.
  • Scary scene in the third period when Dan Girardi appeared to injure his arm blocking a shot. I understand the mentality of blocking shots, but sometimes I wish these guys would let the guy with the goalie pads block them.
  • Michael Del Zotto left the match with a hip injury. It could be the same injury he suffered last weekend against Buffalo, but not a lot of information given tonight.
  • No Ryan Callahan, no problem. The team didn’t skip a beat without the captain in the lineup. Obviously we don’t want to make that a regular story, but one night they survived.
  • Ryan McDonagh is a great player.
  • The Prust goal was something out of NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis. Picture perfect.
  • I really hate when Marc Staal plays one of his brothers. MSG makes out like it’s the first time this happens, rather than a 10-time a season thing.
  • Right back at it tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

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.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia