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 »


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.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Rangers Interested in Prospal, Moore?

January 15, 2012

In two years in New York, Vinny Prospal was a fan-favorite among Rangers fans, and rightfully so. The guy was a team guy who when healthy, contributed mightily often playing on the first-line with Marian Gaborik. And who didn’t love his goal celebrations filled with pure, genuine ecstasy?

According to Larry Brooks at the NY Post, Rangers fans shouldn’t be surprised to see Prospal back on Broadway this season. Brooks said the Rangers’ lack of offensive production from the bottom-six forwards gives reason to inquire about an asking price from the Columbus Blue Jackets, where Prospal has nine goals and 30 points.

Brooks goes on to also suggest the Rangers should contact the Tampa Bay Lightning about trading for forward Dominic Moore. Brooks said acquiring Moore, who was drafted by the Rangers in 2000 and played one full season in New York, would add depth for “any sort of serious run through the tournament” come April.

I don’t think I’d be against trading for Prospal. As I stated, he was very successful — when healthy — here in New York, and I don’t think it would cost too much to bring him back for a stretch run. He’s a guy who has won in this league, and with John Tortorella

As for Moore, I’m not sure if this team is lacking depth. Although I like Moore and liked him when he played here after the lockout, I’m not sure there’s another spot on this team for another third and fourth line player. Looking at the bottom-six, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Mike Rupp and Ruslan Fedotenko are here to stay. Carl Hagelin is also here to stay, so it would come down to John Mitchell to be sent back down to the AHL. I’m not totally against that move, but Mitchell hasn’t played poorly, especially in favor of a guy that has never won anything in this league.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Rangers Fall to Caps, End Streak At 5

December 28, 2011

Through 35 games this season, the Rangers have limited turnovers and kept the sloppy play at a minimum. Wednesday night in the nation’s capital, the first-place Rangers did neither in a second period they’d soon like to forget, as they gave up two goals to the Washington Capitals en route to a 4-1 defeat at Verizon Center.

After entering the period tied 1-1, turnovers by John Mitchell and Brad Richards led to two quick goals by Jeff Halpern and Alex Semin — who may have had his best game of the season — and the Rangers couldn’t recover.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the defense, I would say it’s some brain-dead plays at our blue line as far as turnovers,” coach John Tortorella said. “It’s unfortunate with Del Z (Michael Del Zotto), he loses the puck on the first one. But a turnover by Mitch (John Mitchell) and a turnover by Richie (Richards), not against their third- or- fourth-line, but against their top line. It kills us. That’s what’s frustrating.”

Tortorella said the team beat themselves, and he sure was right, as the turnovers led to goals and the team failed to capitalize on several powerplay opportunities throughout the night. The Capitals, to their credit, gave the Rangers little to work with all night.

Martin Biron suffered just his second loss of the season, as Tortorella continues to insert him into the lineup often to spell Henrik Lundqvist from playing 65-plus games a season in an attempt to keep him fresh for April and — hopefully — May and June. Although Biron didn’t play awful, he did give up several big rebounds, including one that led to the Capitals’ first goal in the first period.

If there was a bright-spot for the Rangers Wednesday night, it was Brandon Dubinsky scoring his second goal in three games, after going stretches over 15-plus games for his first two goals of the year.

The Rangers appeared to come within one goal in the third period after Ryan Callahan put home a rebound on the powerplay, but it was determined he kicked the puck into the net, negating the tally.

The loss bounced the Rangers out of first place, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Phoenix Coyotes. 


Rangers’ Log-Jam Fills Up As Wolski Nears Return

December 26, 2011

After missing two months with a sports hernia, Wojtek Wolski is nearing a return to the Rangers lineup as soon as the end of the week. With that, the log-jam that is the Rangers’ roster becomes even more congested, with Sean Avery and Erik Christensen already spare forwards.

In short, something has to give. We know the top six players are safe, along with Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko probably won’t be removed from the lineup. But players like Mike Rupp, John Mitchell, Avery, Christensen and Wolski are all on the bubble, one that is going to pop pretty soon.

According to Brooks, if Jeff Woywitka returns from injury tonight against the New York Islanders, the team would send Tim Erixon back to the AHL. If that happens, Wolski could return off IR without Glen Sather having to make another personnel move, such as trading or waiving Avery or Christensen.

Brooks said the team is unlikely to carry three spare forwards, which could lead to a move being made with either Avery or Christensen. Once Marc Staal returns from injury, which could be as early as the Winter Classic, the team would then have to make a move. It is unlikely they’d return Mitchell to the AHL, but they could send defenseman Stu Bickel back to Connecticut, though he has played well since his call-up last week. Brooks believes Rupp will be used as a rotational insert into the lineup.

Just like training camp, it will come down to Avery against Christensen to be the second spare forward on this team.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Deveaux Waived, Rangers Interested in Ryan?

November 30, 2011

Some news and rumors away from the ice following last night’s big win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Garden. No piece coming because I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but these issues had to be addressed.

First, the Rangers today announced Andre Deveaux was placed on waivers. Deveaux has been suspended the past three games following last week’s elbow to the head of the Florida PanthersTomas Fleishmann. If he clears waivers by tomorrow, he could report back to the AHL. According to Rangers Rants, Deveaux did not participate in the team’s practice and was saying goodbye to several teammates.

“I guess I elbowed myself out of the league,” Deveaux said to the website when asked if he knew what the next step was.

The team left for Carolina this afternoon for its matchup against the Hurricanes tomorrow night. Joining the team will be injured forwards Wojtek Wolski and Mike Rupp, as well as defenseman Marc Staal. Read the rest of this entry »

Game 20: Rangers Blank Flyers for Second Straight Win

November 27, 2011

The Rangers Saturday looked to stars and rookies- and Brandon Prust‘s fists- to overpower a very potent Philadelphia Flyers squad en route to 2-0 victory at Madison Square Garden.

New York opened up a 1-0 lead early in the second period on an off-speed slap-shot by Brad Richards. The goal came moments after a goal believed to be by Richards was waved off when it was determined Ryan Callahan swiped the puck into the goal with his glove.

Early in the third period, rookie Carl Hagelin put a rebound on net that Sergei Bobrovsky had trouble with. Hagelin buried the second rebound to give the Rangers the two-goal lead they would not relinquish.

“He’s not only fast but he’s playing smart,” said head coach John Tortorella of the former captain at the University of Michigan. “He puts himself in great spots in getting to pucks and is doing the right things because of his legs. Mitch has lonesome really good things on the wall. It’s been seamless in the first two games.” Read the rest of this entry »