Kreider Debuts Against Senators in Game 3

April 16, 2012

New York Rangers top prospect Chris Kreider made his NHL debut Monday night in the Rangers’ 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup. The Rangers lead the series 2-1.

Kreider, who signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers last week just two days after winning his second National Championship at Boston College, played 11:11 and skated alongside Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards throughout the night in the absence of Carl Hagelin, who was handed a three-game suspension for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson in Game 2.

As expected, Kreider didn’t see much action late in the third period with the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead. Head coach John Tortorella said he wanted Kreider to watch the game from the bench to get a better view of the game. Kreider took it in stride.

When asked what he learned, Kreider said: “What it takes to win at this level. More than anything, how the guys have bought into this series. It’s a winning brand of hockey and I was able to see that from the bench.”

Kreider nearly had his first NHL goal in his first game. With a few seconds left in the second period, Kreider had a golden opportunity on the goalmouth but couldn’t get stick on the puck.

“I’m still thinking about it, I just missed it,” Kreider said. “I was so excited I just missed it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Carkner Gets 1 Game Suspension

April 15, 2012

The NHL continues to doll out suspensions in lieu of Saturday night’s physical contest between the Rangers and Ottawa SenatorsBrendan Shanahan announced Senators’ defenseman Matt Carkner will be suspended one game for his actions against Brian Boyle minutes into the opening period.

Just have to laugh at this point. Carl Hagelin gets three games for finishing a check on a player with a concussion history, and Carkner gets inserted into the lineup to injure Boyle and he gets one game.

All these suspensions really stem from Shanahan and the league failing to punish Shea Weber the way it should have. The league received a lot of negative feedback on the $2,500 joke fine, and now it’s “no more Mr. Nice Guy.” Sadly, everyone but Weber will feel the effects.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia


UPDATED: Hagelin Suspended Three Games for Hit on Alfredsson

April 15, 2012

The NHL announced that Carl Hagelin will receive a three game suspension for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson Saturday night in Game 2, which reportedly left Alfredsson concussed. The Senators were awarded a five minute powerplay as a result, which led to a goal.

Brendan Shanahan, vice president for player safety, said the hit targeted the head. He also said the league took into account that Hagelin has no prior history with suspensions.

In a statement, the Rangers said: “The New York Rangers accept the NHL’s three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling’s inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs. We will have no further comment on this decision.”

http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/embed.swf

Let’s be honest. Shanahan dropped the ball with Shea Weber, and now has to carry a big stick. Weber’s was more vicious than Hagelin and he wasn’t even suspended. Byron Bitz of the Vancouver Canucks completely targeted the head of Kyle Clifford and only got two games.

I was expecting a fine, but I would have laughed in your face if someone suggested three games. 

Looking forward, I’d give Chris Kreider the shot to fill Hagelin’s spot on the top line. The other option — aside from an AHL callup — would be John Scott, and I think that’s a terrible mistake given the speed of the Senators.


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 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


Rangers Edge Nash, Blue Jackets in OT 3-2

February 19, 2012

The undertone of Sunday night’s game was Rick Nash visiting New York where he could be playing at this time next week. But tonight, he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and even though it took overtime, the Rangers walked away with a 3-2 overtime victory on a game-winning goal by Derek Stepan just seconds into the extra period.

The Rangers dominated the opening stanza, and walked away with a 1-0 lead on a goal by Brad Richards, off a drop-pass from Carl Hagelin. It was Richards’ 18th goal of the season. The Rangers outshot the Blue Jackets 10-4, and completely controlled the puck from start to finish.

The Jackets tied the game in the second period on the powerplay after Marian Gaborik was called for high-sticking. Columbus’ Derek Brassard‘s slapshot beat Henrik Lundqvist for his 11th goal of the season. Late in the second period, the Rangers took the lead when Artem Anisimov buried a loose puck outside the crease, after Dan Girardi‘s slapshot missed the net and skidded slowly back in front.

The Rangers appeared to take a 3-1 lead in the dying seconds of the second period when Michael Del Zotto beat goaltender Chris Mason, but after further review, it was determined time had expired, even though the television clocks showed .01 remaining on the clock. The NHL said that is not the official clock, and the goal was disallowed.

New York held onto the 2-1 lead none other than Nash scored to tie it with 1:33 left to send the game to overtime, when Stepan completed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe pass from Del Zotto and Gaborik to give the Rangers the 3-2 win.

  • Beautiful play to end the game. I think all Rangers fans have come to love the team’s blue-collar style, but plays like that are always welcomed. The team deserved to win this game, and deserved the fate they got.
  • How wasn’t Del Zotto a star of the game? You could make the case he should have been the first, which somehow went to Ryan Callahan, who finished with zero points on the night. I love Callahan, but Del Zotto should have gotten the nod.
  • The NHL has to get its stuff together with the clock issue. It makes absolutely no sense that the game clock isn’t the official clock. It’s 2012; how is this an issue?
  • The powerplay continues to be an issue. Enough said.
  • Gorgeous pass by Hagelin on the Richards goal. The kid is getting better and better.
  • Lundqvist didn’t get a lot of work, but his save on Jeff Carter was gorgeous.
  • I loved the “We Don’t Want You” chant from the fans. Not sure if it would have any affected on him, but I’m sure Nash didn’t appreciate it.
  • Nothing else to say tonight. It was a pretty boring game, and the dead crowd reflected it.
  • It’s off to Pittsburgh for a matchup with the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin on Tuesday.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia