Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daily Recap: Gaborik Hat-trick; Frolov Alive; Brawl at MSG; McIlrath Hurt; Byers Return

Today was a good day on the professional level for the New York Rangers as the big club struck a match against the Oilers in the 8-2 win.  From 12:30 on the news for the Rangers and their fans has been mostly of the very good variety, but let us take a look back at the full day that was for us here at Bleeding All Blue.

Video: Gaborik's Hat-trick vs Edmonton Novemeber 14, 2010

Here is the video of Gaborik getting back into the groove with his first three goals of the season against Edmonton. Now let's hope he makes it two in a row tomorrow against the Pens.

Rangers Week In Review 11/8-11/14 : Gaborik's Skill Returns But Hard Work Remains So Far

The Rangers opened the week at 7-6-1 coming off a nice a relatively lackluster performance against the St. Louis Blues in a 2-0 loss that opened a four game home-stand.  This week they would play the last three games of that stand and while it would start slow with the loss to Washington on Tuesday it would end with their most decisive win of the season today versus the young Oilers.  The rollercoaster that the Rangers have been on for the most of the season is definitely on an up loop because of them winning, how they won and the fact that they started to win some games at home.  It also doesn’t hurt to get your best offensive player not only back in the lineup but back on track as they did today with the performance of not only Marian Gaborik but what he did for the previously struggling Alexander Frolov and Erik Christensen.  If this team can continue to play with some balance offensively, play with the tough efforts using the fore-check and cycle they learned to play with more in Gaborik’s absence and add his skill to it, maybe they minimize the downs and play on a more consistent up from here.  Hope is back as the week concludes, but in order to see why we must go back to earlier in the week when it did not look so pretty.

No Suspensions Just Fines From Brawl?

According to E.J. Hradek he is hearing that there is unlikely to be any suspensions from the brawl this afternoon and that fines are much more likely to be used to solve any penalties deemed necessary.  As I have said earlier today if this is the outcome I would be surprised, but obviously this would be welcomed news to the Rangers as Sean Avery and Brandon Dubinsky were the two Rangers most likely to be suspended if suspensions did happen.  We should find out for sure one way or the other tomorrow before the New York Rangers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Update:  Apparently it was reported on NHL Network that the Hradek comments are correct and their will be no suspensions, so good news for the Rangers.

Update (9:45 AM 11/15): According to TSN no suspensions were given out but Darren Dreger believes Brandon Dubinsky was fined for the incident

Video: Rangers vs Oilers Brawl

Here is the video of the brawl that developed during the blowout win for the New York Rangers over the Edmonton Oilers today at Madison Square Garden. The Brawl started at 11:18 of the 3rd period after a clean hit from Avery lead to Ladislav Smid taking exception and challenging Avery but then looking to run away as Avery clocked him with a right. While Avery was being escorted off the fireworks lit and the video will tell the rest.

Avery and Peckham are probably locks for suspensions and in my opinion Dubinsky will get one as well as he initiated against Colin Fraser from the bench and then proceeded to throw punches from the bench.

Gaborik, Sparks, Lights Fire, Then Extinguishes Oil in 8-2 Rangers Victory

The Rangers finally got a laugher this season or at least that is how it looked by the end, though there were points today where they were not laughing and the result was in doubt.  In the 8-2 victory Marian Gaborik was the spark early, the fire starter in the middle frame and the extinguisher on the goal scoring onslaught.  All in all the Rangers played an excellent game mixing the skill a Gaborik and today Christensen and Frolov can bring with the blue collar hard work they showed in the absence of those guys playing and/or producing.  They will need that combination to be evident for the rest of the year if they are going to go anywhere.  Now the Rangers have improved to 9-7-1, with two straight wins on home ice and will look to continue that tomorrow against Pittsburgh in their building.  

Full details of the game in terms of goals, fights and all are inside.

In what set itself up for a trap type game against a young struggling team against a former coach and even further an afternoon start was changed from a worry to a positive very quickly.  Marian Gaborik took the puck up the ice made a tremendous move on Kurtis Foster and leading to a backhand shot that was stopped by Khabibulin, that Erik Christensen nearly put and many thought was in, but was only on the back of the net.  As the play continued after good work by each member of the line, Gaborik was able to step out in front and with Kurtis Foster failing to take the body lead to Marian Gaborik getting his first of the season at 1:35.  The best chance for the Rangers to add to their lead came after Artem Anisimov came out the box for serving a weak cross checking penalty and he flipped the puck ahead to lead Ryan Callahan break in but Builin would deny the Ranger winger.  The Rangers play in the period would be the kind of hockey they need to play to be successful.  The best recipe for the Rangers is to play a physical fore-check cycle game and mix in the tremendous skill of Gaborik.  The physical play was brought in the first by most, but the most noticeable were Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal.  At the end of 1 the shots 7-4 New York.

As good as the first period was, the start of the second was equally as bad.  Matt Gilroy and Michael Sauer failed to corral rookie Jordan Eberle at multiple points on the same shift leading to an Eberle shot that Ryan Jones put in the rebound at 2:45 tying the game at 1-1.  Then 28 seconds later as Shawn Horcoff would score on a shot that did deflect off the blade of Marc Staals’ stick, but Martin Biron has to make that save as the Oilers gain the lead 2-1.  The Rangers play started to turn two minutes later when Ryan Callahan set up Artem Anisimov at the far post for a couple of tremendous chances, but failing to lift the puck allowed Khabibulin to make the saves and preserve the lead.

It was after this that the skill would spark the Rangers attack again as Erik Christensen intercepted the puck at center ice and head-manned a pass to Gaborik at the Oiler blue-line for a breakaway in which he deked Khabibulin badly and scored on the forehand.  It was a beautiful piece of skill by Gaborik to tie the game at 2 and as excited as fans were about the goal there was apprehension in the building as Gaborik crashed into the post following the goal and appeared shaken up.  The good news for the club and the fans was he was fine, though I can guarantee Edmonton wasn’t happy to see him keep coming back for more shifts.

Following the skill goal, the hard work returned and a shot block by Michael Sauer would lead to Brandon Prust playing the puck up the boards, Ruslan Fedotenko took it into the Edmonton zone on the two on one feeding across to Brian Boyle who put home his 8th goal of the year to make it 3-2 at 7:37 of the second period; only 25 seconds after the Gaborik equalizer.  The Rangers hard work meeting skill would continue as Marian Gaborik took the puck in center ice and would not let go of it as he danced around his teammates and Edmonton defenders until Ladislav Smid finally tripped him.  On the powerplay Christensen would hit the post, nearly extending the lead, but then Cogliano would get a chance on a break, but hard work by Marc Staal to stay with and harass Cogliano the whole way down would help Martin Biron in making the save and preserving the lead.  The play would flip again right after as eventually after a good fore-checking shift which lead to a great feed from Derek Stepan a wide open Artem Anisimov would score on a deflection from his right skate to make it 4-2 at 13:17 of the second.  The goal was reviewed, but since there was no distinct kicking motion it was let to stand.

If that was not enough the Rangers would go for more as the period continued and Erik Christensen’s tremendous period was capped off when he fed Alexander Frolov for a goal with a few seconds remaining in the period.  Frolov who had been desperate for a goal took the pass while on his backside and put in to make it 5-2 New York.  It appeared that the pass was intended for Gaborik, but the goal for Frolov was more important than Gaborik getting a hat-trick and after an awful start to the period the Rangers would get four straight to have a 5-2 lead at the end of 2.

The first shift of the 3rd would show that the Rangers were going to stick with the hard work as Dubinsky and company would be hard on the fore-check.  At 2:28 the fighting would be literal as Derek Boogaard and Steve MacIntyre would square off in a heavyweight showdown or at least that is the way it would be billed.  The reality of the actual fight was that Boogaard dominated MacIntyre.  A Gaborik penalty would come shortly after for interference that was legitimate but also should have been accompanied by a penalty to Brule for his slew foot on Gaborik.  The penalty kill did a great job in killing off the third chance for the Oilers.

At 8:46 of the period MacIntyre decided that he wanted another chance at Boogaard even going to the point of moving his teammate Stortini before the faceoff.  In the second version of the fisticuffs both were still tired from the first one, but MacIntyre would equate himself much better though probably still losing a close decision.  At 11:18 chaos breaks out as Smid challenged Avery and then backed off before Avery clocked him with a right.  On the way off the ice for Avery Whitney had words, then Peckham came at him, but Boyle stopped that quickly and then everyone squared off with the best fight being Stortini against Prust, but the most consequential for the Rangers might be Dubinsky throwing punches from the bench as I expect a suspension.

After they get back to “hockey” an awful turnover by Tom Gilbert gives Frolov his second goal of the game at 12:14.  40 seconds later Ruslan Fedotenko would make it 7-2 and then if that wasn’t enough Frolov would fire a pass to Gaborik springing him for another breakaway and the hat-trick was complete and an 8-2 lead was on the scoreboard.  After this there was not much in the way of action to speak of at least of consequence other than Callahan once again being banged hard into the boards.
  • Gaborik was Gaborik and he keyed them twice today
  • Erik Christensen’s game today is what he is capable of and makes him so frustrating
  • Alexander Frolov has been hoped that one goal would get him going and if the 3rd period was any indication it looks good as he played with a tremendous amount of confidence
  • Fedotenko played a very good game being rewarded late with a goal
  • Boyle continued his excellent play getting a goal but also sticking up for his teammates
  • Dubinsky and Callahan did not score today, but both played very good games in all phases and were extremely good taking the body.
  • Marc Staal backed up his strong defensive game the other night with probably his best overall game this season.  Positioning was excellent and physical play was at another level today
  • Dan Girardi continued his excellent season doing what he does in being solid and blocking lots of shots
  • Biron was not great, but he certainly didn’t have to be.

Will be news on suspensions and injuries between now and tomorrow against Pitt and I will bring you it when I see it.

Video: Derek Boogaard vs Steve MacIntyre Round 1

For those who missed it or just want to watch it again, here is Derek Boogaard destroying Steve MacIntyre for the first of what would be two fights in the game.

Boogaard In: White Out

In a last minute change to today's lineup, Andrew Gross, is reporting that Derek Boogaard will get the call today with Todd White once again returning to the press box.

In discussing the move last night I said I was surprised that White was playing considering how invisible he was the last game, and I guess between yesterday and this morning Tortorella realized it too.  Derek Boogaard will have his 1 game scoring streak on the line during the game.  It will be interesting to see how Boogaard being in might change up the line because playing Derek Stepan with Boogaard is a waste, so maybe Stepan will get some time with Gaborik today and Erik Christensen will be moved to the fourth line considering that is what his recent play is worthy of.

Byers Beats Hartford in Final Home Game As WolfPack

As you know a few days ago the Rangers traded Dane Byers the then Hartford Captain to the Columbus organization in exchange for Chad Kolarik.  Last night Byers was in a familiar building, but an unfamiliar locker room as his new team took on the Wolfpack in what will be the last home game as the Wolfpack.  On November 27, 2010 the Wolfpack officially become the Connecticut Whale and Hartford now only has five road games left until that happens.  

Dylan McIlrath Injures Knee (No Official Diagnosis/Prognosis Yet)

According to Jess Rubenstein of TheProspectPark, via Gregg Drinnan's tip, last night during the Moose Jaw Warriors against the Lethbriidge Hurricanes, 2010 1st round pick Dylan McIlrath went down with a knee injury in which no official diagnosis is available at this time, but initial indications are not good and an MRI will be performed today, Sunday.  Obviously any injury to McIlrath would be bad news for him, Moose Jaw and the New York Rangers and it is too early to speculate until we get the results of the testing so let us hope it is on lower scale of what it could be.  This would be the 4th major injury (Yogan, shoulder; McNaught, ankle; Maggio, upper body) to a Rangers prospect in Juniors, fifth if you count Dale Weise, hand/wrist in Hartford.

This was the full tweet by theprospectpark
TheProspectpark Some bad news out of Moose Jaw Dylan McIlrath went down with a knee injury, severity at this time is unknown but 1st reports say not good

After a slow start to the season, both Dylan and his Moose Jaw Warriors had really picked up their games of late with Moose Jaw getting to 11-9-0-1 on the season and McIrath sitting at 2G 5A in 20 games with a -4 rating.  We will keep an eye out for any updates and bring them to you as soon as we see them.

Update 4:52 PM:   TheProspectpark Latest word from Moose Jaw is they still do nto have an exact answer but report Dylan in good spirits and hopeful he will not be out long

We certainly hope that Dylan is right about that being the case.