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 »


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.”

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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 Sign Kreider

April 10, 2012

The waiting game is over.

The New York Rangers today announced it came to terms with 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider on an entry-level deal. According to the NY Post, the deal is worth $1.3 million per year.

Although the deal is for three years, the first year will be burned due to Kreider joining the team immediately. He is expected to be at practice tomorrow as the Rangers prepare for their opening round matchup against the Ottawa Senators.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward shined at Boston College where he won two National Championships in three years. He finished his junior season with 23 goals and 45 points in 43 games, as well as had success in World Championship tournaments.

He’s finally signed, but now what do they do with him. Personally, I’d like to see him in the lineup by Game 2 Saturday. Sure he doesn’t know the system, but let him play Mats Zuccarello-type minutes; four or five minutes at 5-on-5 on the fourth line, and some time on the powerplay. The kid is a dynamic play maker who knows how to win. If anything, he’s an upgrade over John Mitchell who has been invisible over the last two months.

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Report: Kreider to Sign With Rangers

April 9, 2012

Nothing official yet, but according to The Boston College Hockey BlogChris Kreider will forgo his final year at B.C. to sign with the New York Rangers.

Not sure how legitimate the post is or if there is any substance behind it, but that is what is being reported right now. As stated in an earlier post, it is really down to when over if Kreider signs with the Rangers.

There’s nothing left he can prove in college after he won his second National Title in three years at the school. Time for bigger and better things for the former first-round pick.

The question then comes down to whether the Rangers will insert him into the lineup against the Ottawa Senators or have him play the remainder of the season in Connecticut. Personally, I put him into the lineup on the fourth line and let him get his feet wet. Nothing better than having the kid have a handful of playoff games under his belt before he even dresses for a regular season game next season.

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Kreider Still Unsigned

April 9, 2012

Chris Kreider shined at Boston College for three years. Now, the Rangers hope their 2009 first-round pick can shine on Broadway.

Kreider’s collegiate season ended Saturday night when B.C. defeated Ferris State for their second national title in three years. The Rangers can sign him at any point.

But as of 7 pm Monday, Kreider has not signed on the dotted line. Attribute it to Kreider wanting a little break more than not wanting to play in New York. Several reports indicated a deal could happen as early as tonight, making Kreider eligible to attend practice tomorrow as the team readies itself for the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs.

I’m not sure where I stand on the Kreider situation. I think it would better suit him to head to Connecticut over jumping into the lineup and play in a system he knows little or nothing about in the playoffs. I do think this kid is going to be the real deal, so let him take the rest of the year in the AHL and save the one year on the entry level contract.

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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.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia