Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Update on Mike Sauer

For those confused by the late switch from Sauer to Eminger, as I was, there is an update on the reason for what seemed like an otherwise baffling decision.  According to Andrew Gross:
AGrossRecord #NYRangers D Mike Sauer apparently scratched due to undisclosed soreness. 
Obviously I will keep an eye out for any updates on this tomorrow and in the coming days if further details emerge.  Hopefully this is nothing serious as Sauer has had a history of injuries costing him time.  This does make me feel a little better if this was because of an injury concern rather than just a coaching decision which would have had no basis in the comparative play.

Henrik Burns Devils For Rangers 3rd Straight Win

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 24: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers protects the net in the second period against the New Jersey Devils on October 24, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
Coming into the game everyone expected a goaltending battle because that is the history of this matchup over the past few seasons, and true to form both goalies played very well, with Henrik Lundqvist once again getting the best of Martin Brodeur.  Henrik ended up with 27 saves on the night as the Rangers won their 3rd straight, but for the most part Henrik was untested until the 3rd where he made 11 saves on 12 shots.  The biggest save of the night had to be on Jacob Josefson with 1:59 remaining, as he stoned him twice after a bad turnover by Michal Rozsival in the neutral zone.

Final Lines vs NJ

Based on reports of Rangers beat writing crew observations of pregame skate, lines will be as follows:


Lineup Updates: Prust, Williams In; White Out vs Devils. Kovalchuk news, Goaltending matchup

Steve Zipay is reporting that Brandon Prust despite his injury last night will play tonight and today's call-up, Jeremy Williams, will also get in the lineup, taking the spot of Todd White.  It will be interesting to see the combinations that this causes on the 3rd and fourth line.  Here is what I will project:


I could easily see keeping Prust with Frolov and EC as he was the last couple of games, but Williams is not a gritty/4th line type, but more of a scoring threat so tough to see him with Boogaard and Boyle.  This move should also put Ranger fans at ease that at some point Todd White will be gone from this club.

Other News: Ilya Kovalchuk is said to be in tonight's lineup for the Devils.
In net it will be Henrik vs Marrrrty
John Amirante has recovered from his illness and will perform tonight's anthem.

New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils Pregame: Beware of Wounded Animals

New Jersey (2-5-1) @ Rangers (3-2-1)

Key Opposing Player: ZIP line (Zajac, Ilya, Parise)

Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Avery - Stepan – Fedotenko
Frolov - Christensen - Prust
Boogaard - White - Boyle

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi
Gilroy - Sauer

(No definitive word on Prust being a go or Hank in net as of now)

Jeremy Williams Called Up

With this injury to Brandon Prust last night on the high stick over his eye the Rangers have called up Jeremy Williams as an insurance policy.  Prust has not been ruled out of the game so this only in event Prust cannot go.  I wouldnt get overly excited about Williams an NHL player, but he has shown very good results in the AHL, both this year and his past.  The 26 year old has 4G 2A in 8 game this year and is coming off a 32G 63 point season from Grand Rapids in the AHL.  If he does get in the lineup the 5'11" RW will probably slot in with Christensen and Frolov allowing Tortorella to leave his other three lines in tact tonight vs NJ.

The Search For The Elusive Top Flight Centers Is Over

For the better part of the last decade the Rangers as an organization and all Ranger fans have been desperately seeking a number 1 center to lead this team back to a real semblance of being a contender.  It was in this quest that the Rangers have overspent on guys like Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, even captian Chris Drury.  The Rangers in the middle part of this last decade of questing got excellent play from Michael Nylander on a top line with Jaromir Jagr.  Even in those years we had only one high quality center on the roster.  The Rangers over the early parts of this period were obsessed with the big names and many times they would get very good production, but usually it was from the wingers instead of having a foundation built down the middle.

I am of the belief that championships are won by teams that can control the pivot as much as any other position in the game.  Great wingers are phenomenal scorers and a joy for fans to watch but the center has a bigger impact on the outcome of games.  Show me a team that doesn’t have a top line center and I will show you a team that is incapable of competing to win it all.  This question mark has hung over the Rangers like a dark cloud for a long time and still hovered as the team entered camp this year.  I am here to tell you that what I saw coming in the future has arrived a little earlier than expected and the sun is beginning to peak through the black hole that was the Rangers pivot position.