Miller to Join Whale for Playoffs

April 18, 2012

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, New York Rangers 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller will join the Connecticut Whale (AHL) for their playoff matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, which begins Friday night.

In 61 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, Miller scored 25 goals and 62 points.

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Rangers Recall Erixon, Callahan, Lundqvist to Play

March 17, 2012

Some notes on this St. Patrick’s Day that will see the Rangers host the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.

To combat a recent string of injuries — and to keep Jeff Woywitka out of the starting lineup — the Rangers recalled Tim Erixon from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

In 43 games with the Whale this season, Erixon has 3 goals and 33 points.

It’s been a few months since we last saw Erixon with the Rangers. Some people were really pushing for him to play with the big club all season, but the organization did the right thing with him to not rush him. We’ll see how much he’s improved tonight.

In addition to the call up, Ryan Callahan said he will play tonight against the Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Artem Anisimov, who injured his shoulder Thursday, will not play.

According to Rangers Rants, Michael Del Zotto may also return tonight after missing the last few games with a hip injury.

After missing Thursday’s game with the flu, Henrik Lundqvist will start tonight.

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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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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.

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Blue Jackets Scouts At Whale Game

February 19, 2012

Teams sending scouts to high school, college, minor and pro league games isn’t a big deal. But when an NHL teams sends scouts to another squad’s minor league affiliate amid trade speculations, it will cause some buzz.

So when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent an advisor to take in the Connecticut Whale game this past evening, eyebrows will no doubt raise.

If you’ve lived under a rock the past week, Jackets’ star Rick Nash has been placed on the trading block, and the Rangers are among the teams Nash has stated he’d waive his no-trade clause to be sent to.

Nash is an unquestionable talent, and has been since he entered the league about eight years ago. Analysts have said if the Blueshirts are able to acquire him, they could be thought of as the Cup favorite.

But his talents won’t come cheap, with rumors suggesting it could take Brandon Dubinsky, possibly Carl Hagelin, top-prospect Chris Kreider and a 1st-round pick to land the Canadian forward, who carries a cap-hit of $7.8 million through the 2017-18 season.

The price is just too high, especially when looking down the road, with players such as Michael Del ZottoDerek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh all due for raises either this year or next. This team has 14 regulation losses and it’s nearly March. Let’s see what they could in April, May and hopefully June, and keep the cap space for July.

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Woywitka, Wolski Return from AHL Purgatory

February 15, 2012

Remember Jeff Woywitka and Wojtek Wolski? Well if you forgot about them, you’ll hear about them a little more before never hearing about them again — at least not in Ranger land.

The two returned today from their two-week “conditioning” stint with the Connecticut Whale (AHL), but don’t expect them to jump back into the lineup.

In six games, Woywitka tallied three assists and was a plus-2, while Wolski registered three goals and five points and was a minus-1.

Woywitka played decently with the Rangers after he was signed towards the end of training camp — or soon after the season started…who could remember at this point? — but has not dressed since Dec. 30 due to a combinations of a foot injury and Stu Bickel leapfrogging him on the depth chart.

Wolski, meanwhile, has had the season from hell. After hurting himself in training camp, he’s appeared in just nine games this season, and has been a healthy scratch for 14 contests when not on IR.

Don’t expect either to crack the lineup, with Wolski either getting dealt at the deadline [unlikely] or getting waived [likely]. Woywitka could see a similar fate in Connecticut, as he won’t command much of a return on the market.

Part of me feels for Wolski. He’s similar to Erik Christensen in that he has all the skill in the world but can never put it together. There’s a reason he’s on his fourth or fifth team and he’s only 24-years-old. I remember I had him penciled in to play alongside Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards in training camp. That hasn’t worked out in more ways than one.

I do think he’ll be off this team by playoff time, but he could have one last opportunity to make an impact, as he could play tomorrow night if Ruslan Fedotenko can’t go against Chicago.

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Bickel At Forward Shows Torts has Little Faith in Wolski, Zuccarello

February 12, 2012

With an uncertain future regarding Ruslan Fedotenko following a dirty hit to the head last week, the Ranges have been using defenseman Stu Bickel as a forward the past two games, rather than call up forwards Wojtek Wolski or Mats Zuccarello.

Bickel hasn’t seen much ice time in his two games up front. Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers, Bickel six shifts for just over four minutes. Sunday afternoon against the Washington Capitals, Bickel played 3:30 and was glued to the bench for the entire third period.

Following the game, head coach John Tortorella said Bickel wasn’t the permanent solution to fill Fedotenko’s roster spot.

It is telling, though, that Tortorella did not opt to recall either forward from the AHL, and preferred to pencil in a rookie whose natural position is defense.

It’s been the season from hell for Wolski, who battled injuries and was relegated to the press box for most of his time during his second season in New York. He’s had success, though, with the Connecticut Whale, tallying three goals and five points in just six games, albeit against minor league competition. Read the rest of this entry »