Monday, December 20, 2010

Daily Recap: Stepan's Calder Standing; MDZ Sit Again?; Zuccarello Suspended; Boogaard Shut Down

Nick Laham/Getty Images
New York Rangers fans are excited for the future based on what rookie Derek Stepan has shown them in his first 35 games as a professional and with good reason.  The rookie has 9 goals, 10 assists and beyond that has answered the bell with every different task the coaching staff has put in front of him.  The question now becomes two months into the season where does Stepan stand in terms of the highest individual honor a rookie can achieve in the NHL; the Calder Memorial Trophy?  I gave my answer to that by ranking what I think are the current top 10 in the Calder Race showing who has stepped to the forefront as we approach the midseason mark.  Stepan is certainly in the discussion but there are others who are ahead of him if he wants to take home that piece of hardware by season’s end.

Following that from this morning the Rangers had practice which lead to news on: line changes, Vinny Prospal’s comeback; Derek Boogaard being shut down and Michael Del Zotto possibly sitting again.  The line changes are getting beyond comical at this point because it really turns into a chicken or the egg type discussion as to whether inconsistent offense is created by inconsistent partners or if inconsistent offense causes the need for more changes.  In the latest round Dubinsky, Frolov, Stepan, Christensen and Drury all have different lines and/or positions compared with the start of the last game.  For the rest on the timetable for Prospal’s return, why Derek Boogaard has been shut down (possibly career threatening for a fighter) and what leads me to wonder if Michael Del Zotto might sit again check the full thoughts.

The Connecticut Whale will be looking to bounce back from a 5-0 whipping they took Sunday night when they play the Manchester Monarchs tomorrow, but they will be without the services of their electrifying rookie RW Mats Zuccarello.  This evening the AHL handed down a one game suspension to Zuccarello for his actions in Friday’s game against the Worcester Sharks.  The full story details what Zuccarello did to get the suspension, which former promising NHL player he injured, how badly the player is injured and how long he will be out of the Sharks lineup.

Finally tonight as fans know in blowouts there is chippy play and chippy play can lead to fights and that happened when PITT took on PHX tonight as you will see when you watch the video of Deryk Engelland knocking Taylor Pyatt out with a devastating right hand.