Monday, January 3, 2011

Daily Recap: Blanked By Vokoun; Trade Gaborik?; Torts Ticked At Penalty; Fed Hurt; Grachev Shows Up

Following their OT loss to Tampa last night the Rangers took the ice looking to get their first win of the calendar year and more importantly a big two points in the standings.  The question heading in is whether the positives from getting the late point against Tampa or the negatives of the quick OT loss would carry over and from the start it seemed a hangover was in effect.  The team did not have much energy through the early part of the game as they were outplayed by an inferior Florida and when they tried to rally in the third Vokoun deny all their advances.  The last 10-15 minutes of the game were the main points in which the Rangers offense showed any sustained life in the game, but they would also surrender a goal and an empty netter in the process while failing to cash anything in.  The full game recap looks at the injury to Ruslan Fedotenko and what they said following the game on its severity, how Del Zotto played in his return, the play of Gaborik, which lines worked as well as the normal details of all the scoring action.

The 3-0 loss meant the Rangers would come out of the weekend with only one of four possible points, two poor performances and only one total goal.  In terms of the standings they were passed by Atlanta falling to 7th with Montreal gaining one to get within two points.  There is still some cushion back to 9th where Carolina is seven points back but Carolina does have 3 games in hand and has won three straight.

Following the game John Tortorella met with the media and he discussed the absence of Fedotenko from his early injury, was livid about an offensive zone penalty, praised certain lines play and refused to discuss the play of Del Zotto before looking at the tape.  Entertaining watch as usual, but there were certainly some things Torts said and did I did not agree with so watch and give me your take.

Before the game the lineup was announced and as I alluded to above Michael Del Zotto was back in the lineup after missing four games as well as the Biron start and new line combinations were listed.  Inside what you will find are my thoughts on Matt Gilroy being scratched and if Del Zotto was to get back in which other defender should have been the one to be taken out of the lineup.

This afternoon the story on the site was about Marian Gaborik and with his play thus far this season, how he fits into the identity the team has built and other factors if it was time for the Rangers to consider trading Gaborik.  This is not a spur of the moment thought for me as I first suggested looking to move Gaborik back in the summer and have been thinking about the idea of it again over the past few weeks, but his play the last two days and over the last stretch certainly did little to dissuade me from the idea.  Inside I give my reasons why I think it might be a good idea, what it would mean for this season and beyond, and a potential package I would look for to move the star winger.

Evgeny Grachev has become a somewhat controversial topic among fans when discussing the prospects as some have thrown in the towel on him and others still profess the potential that he has.  For one day at least on Saturday Grachev would give the ones who still believe in what he can be a reason to puff out their chest as he would help lead the Whale to a 6-2 win over Providence.  In the game he would have a career high game as a professional with three points.  Inside the recap of the game are highlights, the details of the game and a discussion of a key thing the coaching staff is doing with Grachev to keep him more involved throughout the game.

Finally there is video of two excellent fights.  The first fight was from Saturday night between former Ranger Colton Orr and Matt Carkner in which Orr won clean, but both would land nice shots and even wish one another Happy New Year at the end.  The second fight was from tonight between Cam Janssen and Krys Barch which in my opinion was among the best of the year for the brawl it turned into along with what seemed like some agreed upon signals as to when to let the hands go and even switch hands.